Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Just A Little Time February 8, 2015

It doesn’t take much. An hour, or even a few short minutes seem to do the trick. It can’t be doing something for work either. It has to be something at least semi-spontaneous or fun. Like a quick coffee or lunch date. Or a walk around the mall. Or even grocery shopping. Sometimes a momma needs just a little time away. All Smiles

I used to see it as an insult, not just for me but for dear baby Carter and dad too. Like what do we all do that is so tremendously awful that we drive her to a place she feels like she needs to escape? Recently I’ve realized that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Because before there was Carter and before there was me and before there was dad, there was mom. She had friends and family then, sure. But she decided things like what she wanted for lunch with little-to-no struggle. It was not a decision she was making with a family in mind, but rather simply for herself.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think she wants to go back to that place in her life. I know she loves me and dad and Carter bigger than the sky. (She even says so out loud from time to time). That doesn’t change the fact that she, like any other person, occasionally needs a moment to recollect herself. To hit the proverbial reset button if you will.

It happened today for a bit with aunt Morgan and later with a close friend of hers. I’m not sure what she did with each of them, but something kind of special happened when she returned from her second outing. She came home with a big smile on her face and wasn’t in the house more than five minutes when it happened.

She gathered up “her boys” (as she calls us sometimes) and said “I love my little family.”

It’s not that she didn’t love us before she left. But something about being away that little bit of time (I think it was a whole hour) focused her heart in a way few other things can. That’s a little time well spent in my mind.

 

When You’re Down January 26, 2014

Please don’t laugh. It was a big time adventure for mom and I today. She took me with her to an especially exciting destination on what was her first venture out of the house in almost a week. The grocery store! It doesn’t mean much for me, other than a brief car ride to and from, with a quick nap on the driver’s seat in between.On the Road Again

But it was more than that. I was mom’s copilot again. Amidst the last several weeks since baby Carter’s arrival, I’ve missed alone time with her. So that made what some might call a routine drive into something kind of special for me. And then it happened.

I looked around and noticed some serious changes since my last car ride around the holidays. It was all holly and jolly with twinkle lights and Christmas wreaths and joy. From the ground up, the holiday season was everywhere.

Not anymore. Today was a dreary day in Wisconsin. I don’t even think it hit the anticipated high of 26 degrees. And we face more frigid temperatures (with wind chills estimated in the -50 degree range) in the days to come. The sky was grey. And there are no twinkle lights left to bring any holly or jolly. To be honest, it is a pretty depressing sight to be seen.

So there are no more twinkle lights. We just need to make our own. I know it’s silly, but I found such joy in my car ride today. Because I’m not in the business of all things sad. As mom went inside the grocery store and I cuddled into a cozy ball, I fought to find a silver lining in these doldrums that surround us.

I know its tough not to let such things take a negative effect on emotions. But thinking about the negative inspires positivity for me. That is what joy from the ground up is all about. When you’re down, there is no where to go but up. Or on a car ride to nowhere. That always does the trick.

 

A God Thing August 6, 2013

Mom calls it a God thing. When something unusual happens that seems to right a wrong turn in life.

I’ve had several that I can think of, but one stands out in my mind as one of my life’s most powerful turning points. It happened the day of my great escape from the house with three other dogs and two cats. The house I’d hoped to be a forever home ended up feeling more like a dungeon. And I wanted out.

The doggie door had been tempting me for weeks. And I knew I could clear that four-foot fence if I really put my mind to it. Nothing was going to stop me from achieving my ultimate goal. Freedom. Freedom from a house ruled by people who didn’t really care for animals.  Freedom to find my own food on the streets instead of scavenge for scraps when there wasn’t enough dog food to go around. Freedom from feeling unloved.

There’s something better out there for me, I thought, and I’m going to find it! So one mid-summer day while the people were away at that place called work, I left it all behind. I cleared the fence, and tore down the first few blocks before I let myself slow down. No turning back. I remember breathing in the fresh lake breeze coming off the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline and feeling like I had the world at my paws.Picture Perfect

That’s when it happened. I stumbled across a crumpled up piece of paper on the sidewalk and stopped to sniff it. It smelled like peanut butter (which is one of my most favorite things) and strawberries. It was a drawing of a house with three stick people I recognized vaguely as a mom, a dad, and a little girl (most likely the artist who smelled like peanut butter). What caught my eye (and pulled at my heart) was the little brown stick doggie she was holding. It appeared to be a puppy of some sort (it’s hard to decipher breeds in stick drawings). And everyone was smiling.

That’s when I knew I had to turn back. I knew I would be loved again like Jo loved me before the man with the leather belt deserted me on the side of the road. I had faith. But I wasn’t going to find that kind of love on my own. I wasn’t going to find it on the streets of Port Washington, Wisconsin.

So I made my way, slowly but surely, back to the house of unrest. And (at the time I thought) my whole plan backfired because “my little escapade” as the people called it was “the last straw.” They returned me to the humane society that same day, never to return.

I didn’t know it until later, but that crumpled piece of paper changed my life forever. I may have stayed the course if I hadn’t smelled the delicious peanut butter-y goodness. I would have kept going if not for the image pulling at my heart strings. And if I had I may have never met my forever parents. The people who make up my picture perfect life.

Mom calls it a God thing. I call it faith coming to life. We all have moments with our own versions of the crumpled up piece of paper. Moments that point the way. Moments that change our life forever. We just have to keep our eyes, hearts (and noses) peeled so we don’t pass them by.

 

Just Keep Swimming April 3, 2013

Maybe it’s because I never knew my deadbeat dad. Or perhaps for the unconditional love I still have for my birth mom. I guess it could have something to do with the beautifully written storyline and brilliant character development. Whatever the reason, I get pretty excited about the Disney film “Finding Nemo.”

For those who might be unfamiliar (shame on you), the movie tells the story of a Nemo (a young clownfish out to earn his stripes and independence) and his dad Marlin (who spends the majority of the movie tracking down his beloved son). They each encounter and befriend unique characters along the way, including my personal favorite the lovable and incredibly forgetful Dory.Daydreaming

Something Nemo, Marlin and Dory all do a lot of in the movie is escape a number of dangerous and sometimes life-threatening situations. Dory’s positive attitude amidst even the most scary of situations is inspiring. “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming…What do we do? We swim, swim, swim.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOnPbNfKcds

Take that, negativity! As I found myself humming that song to myself today, my thoughts turned to my escape in life. While the best laid plans never seem to come to pass, there is one escape that has never let me down. I’ve said before I’m a daydreamer. (How else should I be spending all that time while mom and dad are away at that place they call work?) Today I realized my imagination is my escape. It always has been and always will be.

Mr. and Mrs. Prickles come alive. My friends from the past, present and future are there, canine and human alike. There is no shortage of peanut butter, and there is an abundance of love. These are things that happen in my imagination frequently. It’s my safe place from the negative energy in the world.

Maybe that’s why I love “Finding Nemo” so much. Of all the characters, I think I identify most with Dory. Before she met Marlin, she was a drifter, uncertain of her purpose in life. Joining Marlin on his search for Nemo brought her fears to purpose. She remembered things better when she was around him. “And I look at you,” she said to Marlin, “and I…and I’m home.” I know what its like to feel at home just by looking at someone. My birth mom taught me that. Now I look at my adoptive parents and I’m home.