Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Feel My Love April 9, 2015

From fluffy blankets and rays of sunshine to hugs and smiles, warmth happens in a variety of ways. And I love all of them.

So last night and today when the sky cried really, really (really) hard, it became a priority of mine (as it always does) to make sure my warmth was felt. This is not that unlike most days, yet there is something different about days like today. Getting cozy

The dreary, chilly, wet days when the sun keeps its distance and is replaced by thunder and lightning. I’ve never minded the actual weather pattern as I know some of my canine pals do. Instead, I mind the impact it has on the world around me and do what I can to adapt.

There was nothing all that unusual about what I did this afternoon as my dear forever mom settled down to get some work done during dear baby Carter’s nap time. She sat first on a loveseat, where I immediately snuggled myself in very (very) close to her.

She had to go to the bathroom a couple minutes later, so I followed her upstairs and kept her company while she did her business. Then she settled into the couch instead of the loveseat, and I again found my snuggly self a spot that I knew would keep us both cozy. And warm. In more ways than one.

I guess she must not have been very comfortable (as has been happening more frequently lately now that she’s in the home stretch of pregnancy) because she moved back to the loveseat a few minutes later. Again I followed, making sure we were cozy and warm.

It was then that she paused and gave me a good long once over. It was then I knew she felt the warmth I intended her to feel with my presence. She smiled, and scratched some of my favorite places, and for at least those few moments I knew I’d done my job for the day.

I know there are comfy blankets and rays of sunshine that can do it. I know there are smiles and hugs that can do it, too. But for me, the ways of warmth don’t stop there. Snuggles do the trick, too.

 

To Have Faith April 1, 2015

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 9:29 pm
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It’s one of those things when you don’t even know what to say. All roads point to everything not good. There is nothing positive. No silver lining. And there is nothing anyone can do about it. Crisis. From the ground up, it’s not my strong suit. Think with the Heart

Tonight it’s happening to a close friend of the family. Someone close to my heart is struggling with a very emotionally challenging situation that is making her question everything. Which makes my heart ache. Because I wish I could intervene. I wish I could step in and make it all better somehow. Yet I know I can’t. In fact, if watching people as long as I have has taught me anything, usually you make it worse when you try.

So I do what I can do. I listen. I love. And I pray. Sometimes that’s all you can do.

“The world is a crazy, beautiful, ugly complicated place, and it keeps moving on from crisis to strangeness to beauty to weirdness to tragedy,” suggested American journalist David Remnick.

Most days I believe in the dichotomy of the world around us, though I simultaneously choose to embrace joy and cast aside negativity. Yet I also know and respect that is not always how life is. There are ups and downs and good times and bad times, but I think that’s where the grey area stops and black and white begins.

Because you can’t have one without the other. Life balances out, naturally, often without any thanks to what we do or don’t do. God works it out, just as He intended, and just as He planned.

I know this knowledge may not help in the moment. Not in the crazy awful grizzly moments when you don’t know what to say. It may seem like all roads point to everything not good and there is nothing positive and no silver lining. But it’s not up to us in those cases to find any of that. It will find us.

Because it’s in these moments, in the midst of crisis, when it’s most important to have faith.

So tonight I pray.

 

 

On Everything and Nothing March 31, 2015

It starts the same every time. I can see it in the eyes of my dear forever mom from the moment she wakes. This is going to be a good day, she thinks. Today I will get it all done.

I have to say it has intensified since she became a mom to dear baby Carter. I guess it makes sense since he is a reason the list itself is naturally longer now than it was before. From laundry to doctors appointments to simply cleaning up after the messes a toddler tornado can make in a day, he is his very own list maker. Joy

Today was no different, as she set out to accomplish x, y, z for work, and clean the house and take Carter to the doctor over lunch, squeeze in a run to the store, accomplish a, b, c for work and make dinner. In itself, it wasn’t that unheard of for her to think she could do it all. Except that she’s still sick. And Carter is a little sick. And none of that is as easy to accomplish under those circumstances.

It hit her hard around 3 p.m. when she realized basically the only things that got done were x, y, z for work and Carter’s doctor appointment. The visit to the store was a failure, since she forgot the two things she went for in the first place. And she hadn’t had a second to eat a proper breakfast or lunch, let alone give a second thought to dinner or cleaning the house.

It ends the same every time. There’s a sense of defeat in the air and I can feel mom’s heavy heart weighing on her as if it were my own.

The thing is, I know she knows it as well as I do: the problem is sometimes “it” is legitimately impossible. Sometimes the list literally is too long to achieve. Sometimes you can’t do it all. And that’s okay. Because sometimes when you feel like you got nothing done, it means you got everything done you were meant to that day. And everything is always better than nothing.

 

 

Coming Home March 30, 2015

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 8:47 pm
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The first three years in my forever home, it was unchanging. My favorite time of day was at night when both of my forever people were home from that place called work and we all were together. It was that simple.

Since dear baby Carter arrived, it has changed multiple times. First it was my alone time with my dear forever mom after Carter was in bed. Then it was family time before baby bedtime. Now my heart has changed it up on me again, which I’m honestly a lot less surprised about this time around. Singing in the Rainbows

In a million years I didn’t think anyone could ever be as excited to see my people come through the door of my forever home as I am. For almost five years, I have made it among my most important life’s missions to make sure my mom and dad feel my enthusiasm about their return home whether they were gone a minute or all day.

But I was wrong. Someone other than me can show the same (if not more) level of excitement about that key turning in the door. There’s running and squealing with glee as dear Carter and I make our way to greet our parents with all the love and joy and happiness we stored up in our hearts while they were away. It’s one of a few ways we’ve already become the dynamic duo I always knew we would be.

It happened today after mom was gone a grand total of about an hour and a half. She went to that place called the doctor to have the new little person checked out. When she returned, you would think she’d been gone for weeks the way Carter carried on. He and I did what we always do in running to the door together, but he took over from there.

He was squealing with glee the entire time he ran from the living room to the kitchen, and practically jumped into her arms. While I will admit I miss the days I would be the one doing the jumping, what happened next warmed my heart in a way that made me forget all of that.

The second he was in her arms, he leaned in for a hug and a kiss on the forehead. Joy. From the ground up, it lived in that moment when I realized my favorite time of day has changed yet again.

I do still love my alone time with mom after Carter is in bed. And the family time we enjoy together before bedtime. But those moments, those precious moments, when my dear forever parents come home and my partner in crime and I are able to bring joy to life? My new favorite time of day lives in those moments.

 

To Be Still March 29, 2015

The sky cried today. It was dreary and cold and windy outside. But none of that mattered, because there were no tears inside. There was only warmth and laughter and relaxation. Sleeeeeeep

The bad news is that had a lot to do with the fact that this illness that my dear forever mom has is spreading. Between dad’s sneezing and dear baby Carter’s coughing, all I can say is I’m pretty relieved things like this usually don’t pass to man’s four-legged friends.

The good news is it was a day to remember. I honestly can’t recall the last time I watched as all of my dearest people spent the day together in their pajamas. It didn’t matter that the sky was crying and it was cold and dreary outside.

Inside there was playing and resting and playing some more. There was snuggling and cuddling. There was joy, from the ground up.

Yes, there was also sneezing and coughing. And yes, no one is feeling 100 percent. But today, as I snuggled into a spot much too small for me next to mom and dad and Carter on the couch, I realized how important these days are to have every now and then.

It doesn’t necessarily need to happen in pajamas, but there was something nice (and cozy) about the fact that it did. As a (somewhat professional) observer of people, I can say with some authority that today was necessary regardless of the coughs and sneezes.

The reasons are different for everyone. Around here, it’s been all things baby No. 2 lately, with endless errands to stockpile things like diapers and make sure the nursery is just as it should be. Weekend respite from the daily grind doesn’t always happen like it should between nap times, at least not with groceries to buy and cleaning and laundry to be done. Rat race takes on a whole new meaning when there’s a new little person on the way.

So what happened today was special. Sometimes you really do just need to be still. To be together.

Days like today are not only good for their health. Days like today are good for their hearts.

 

 

All I Could Do March 25, 2015

I think I would probably put it darned near close the very bottom of the emotional barrel. Somewhere close to negativity and rage. It’s just one of those personal things with which I, the dog who makes an effort to find the good in all people, places and things, struggle to find a silver lining. Helplessness. From the ground up, there is really no way to sugar coat the way helplessness breaks my heart.

Yet that’s how I have felt for going on three days now, as my dear forever mom does her very best to fight some sort of cold that won’t quit. .Not since Battle Bra Royale in her pregnancy with Carter have I seen her so miserable. And not since then, when (if I recall correctly) she was oddly enough also right about seven months pregnant, have I felt so incredibly helpless. Deep Thinking

At least I am in good company, especially with my dear forever dad who also struggles with the insatiable urge to fix it. (Carter is pretty oblivious, I think, though he has been somewhat more generous with the hugs he gives mom in recent days).

Helplessness. It shook my forever home today as dad ran to the store (twice) for something (anything) that mom can take that is deemed “safe” for pregnancy. Twice he came home with the wrong thing, causing mom to break down in tears. It really was a lose-lose situation for all of us today.

Until tonight, when I did all I can do. As she snuggled into bed much (much) earlier than usual, I snuggled my way as close to her as possible, laid my head on her protruding belly, and sighed heavily. She looked at me, with her puffy eyes and bright red nose and smiled a brighter smile than I’d seen from her all day. She snuggled me closer to her, and I laid there by her side until she fell asleep.

Helplessness. From the ground up, it’s one of those things I struggle with being the optimist I am. Not only is it hard on the helpless helper, but it implies someone or something in need of help isn’t getting what they need. That is, until you realize maybe you’re not as helpless as you think you are.

 

No More Sick Days March 24, 2015

There’s coughing. And sneezing. And lots (and lots) of tissues. All of these things made for a very tumultuous night of sleep last night at absolutely no fault of dear baby Carter (who ironically slept more soundly than he has in weeks).

My dear forever mom is, as they say, sick as a dog. Though I’ve never fully understood that phrase, this seems an appropriate time to use it. Normally, she would run to the drug store for the usual arsenal of cold-fighting medicines and kick this thing in the butt. But she’s pregnant. So nothing is normal. Love in Truth, Truth in Love

Instead, I watched as she (albeit sluggishly) made it through the day. Though I would say that is exactly what she did (made it, barely), I noticed something throughout the day that made my heart smile. She woke up and got out of bed (very) slowly, rubbed her tired eyes, and slipped on her slippers. What surprised me came next.

“Good morning, sunshine,” she said to Carter, in her cheeriest voice. She smiled at him and he hugged her and (at least in that moment) everything was okay. I saw it in glimpses throughout the day, too. Because she was clearly tired. And that makes working and keeping up with a toddler even more challenging.

I listened as she kept painfully clearing her throat to cheerfully talk him through the day. I watched as he hugged her more than usual, almost like he knew she wasn’t quite herself (in spite of how hard she tried to hide it). And I felt the love in my dear forever home.

 

Today I realized there are indeed no sick days as a parent.

There was coughing and sneezing and so very many tissues. And yes, mom is, as they say, sick as a dog. But today she became living and (albeit barely) breathing proof that whatever this sickness is will not get the best of her. Because she’s a mom. She’s being a mom to the baby in her decision to use only natural means to tend to whatever illness ails her. She’s being a mom to dear Carter by doing her very best to stay cheery for him even though I know she feels anything but that.

She’s a mom. There is power in that. There is strength in that. If that’s not enough to kick this thing, I don’t know what is.

 

 

A Heart Full of Seeds March 22, 2015

It’s not the first time it happened, and I’m sure it wont be the last. My guess is this story started yesterday as I enjoyed a little more time than usual in my backyard paradise. The weather was nice, so I relaxed in the sun for a bit under my favorite tree.

I found myself daydreaming about the warm summer days to come, with Carter running around and swinging in the tree swing dad hung for him last year. And the new baby, most likely all bundled up and protected from the sun. And mom and I in my beloved cozy spot with her in her hammock. There is so much to look forward to as the weather continues to warm up, I found myself lost in all of it. Second Chances

So I suppose it makes sense I didn’t particularly stop and take notice when a teeny tiny tick decided to move his permanent residence from somewhere in my favorite tree to somewhere in my neck fur. I went about my daydreams and (as far as I knew) all was well.

That is, until my forever dad was petting me this morning and found the creature had embedded itself into my neck. He and mom immediately jumped into action, mom consoling me as dad carefully extracted it. It doesn’t necessarily hurt, but it does feel a bit itchy. I know a visit to the doggie doctor is likely in my future this week, too, just to make sure everything is okay.

I’m sure everything will be fine. But as I thought about this thing ticks do, burrowing into a host and potentially infecting it with disease, it reminded me a bit of that thing called negativity. It’s not a favorite people feature of mine, and for good reason. I feel like for every good thing you share with someone and they pass along, there are ten bad things that seem to catch fire even easier. I don’t know why this is, but I know I don’t like it.

Nor do I like the impact it has on the host it infects with its parasitic evil. However, I hold the belief that just like my dear forever parents jumped into action to remove that tick, negativity so too can be removed. It’s not always easy to flip the switch and turn things around. It can even be painful. But (at least in my opinion) it’s necessary.

“Your heart is full of fertile seeds, waiting to sprout,” suggested Japanese thinker Morihei Ueshiba.

None of those seeds will sprout in a cloak of negativity. They need light, they need joy, to come to life.

 

What You Give March 20, 2015

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 7:43 pm
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I knew it had to be bad. I saw the runny mascara and generally disheveled appearance of my dear forever mom as she came home, and something told me something pretty terrible happened. She didn’t seem herself the rest of the day, in spite of dear baby Carter and his good spirits. It turns out I was right, though this is a case I wished so badly to be wrong. I like tug of war

I listened in horror as she recounted the tale to dad later today, and it all made (hearatbreaking) sense.

I knew she worked extra hard this week. I watched her set aside time with dad at night so she could work instead. All so she could take Carter swimming this afternoon at a local workout place. She looked forward to it all week.

So when she called this morning to confirm “free Fridays” was still happening and was told that didn’t apply to our closest location she was devastated. I listened as she talked with the lady on the phone, who encouraged her to still come in and apply for a scholarship so it wouldn’t be so expensive to join. Mom’s eyes (and heart) lit up at the idea.

Off she and Carter went, and all too soon they returned.

Apparently the people charged with greeting and welcoming members and visitors were not feeling very welcoming today. They turned up their noses at my mom when she asked to apply for a scholarship, and made her feel stupid for thinking she could apply and swim the same day.

“All I wanted to do was take my son swimming today,” she told them. No such luck. Instead, she found herself crying on a bench outside the facility for all to see because she simply didn’t care.

As if it wasn’t hard enough for her to pack things up and head over there feeling all pregnant and huge (her words, not mine). Not to mention how hard it can be to ask for help, especially financially. Still, she was “greeted” with nothing but snickers and rude behavior.

I knew it must have been bad when they came home so soon. And when I saw the tell-tale mascara smears, well, that told me all I really needed to know. People are jerks sometimes. For whatever reason, they say awful and hurtful and terrible things. I don’t know why.

What I do know is things have a way of balancing out. Mom will be okay. She’s too strong to let any of this bother her for too long. I’m not a vengeful dog by any means, but I can’t help but think this is a case when the golden rule has been broken. And you get what you give.

Just because our forever family chooses to give love and joy doesn’t mean that’s everyone else’s first choice. And that’s fine. Because ultimately it’s their loss.

 

Family Ties March 19, 2015

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 8:30 pm
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There is wagging. And there is screeching. It’s the same for most visitors to my forever home these days. They are greeted as they always have been with my enthusiasm, followed almost immediately by a happily squealing dear baby Carter.

Today was no different as we got a visit from great grandma and great auntie. There was wagging and screeching. (Also, they brought yummy smelling food, so there may have been some jumping). They came to visit mom and Carter after not seeing us for a couple months. And it was nice.Family

Not just because I scored table scraps from more than one person (who will remain anonymous to ensure similar behavior in the future) or because it was simply a joy to see them. It was nice because time has no bearing with family. Sure, it’s been too long since we’d all been together. But you couldn’t have guessed it.

Love. From the ground up, it filled my forever home today as we primarily all watched Carter engage in various toddler antics. He sampled his first donut (which means I sampled it too, of course). He showed them his old room where the new baby is going to be in a couple months. He ripped his socks off and put them on his hands (much to the dismay of great grandma). And they laughed.

Best of all, the love didn’t only fill the air. It filled my heart. Both guests made a point to take some time to give me pets in all of my favorite places. This warmed my heart even more since a lot of visitors who are not around my home very often focus entirely on dear Carter. Though it doesn’t bother me, it certainly is nice to be the center of attention again, even if it is only for a few minutes every now and then.

My time today with the wagging and squealing and laughing brought to life the words of American actor Michael J. Fox, who suggested “family is not an important thing. It’s everything.”