Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Our Corner of the World January 8, 2015

Last night, words spilled out of my heart. Tonight I’ve got nothing.

It’s not like today was particularly different than yesterday. There was a fair share of ups and downs just like any other day. Dear baby Carter danced around like a ninny (on his own!) in the kitchen, which in itself was a joy-filled feast for the eyes. And earlier in the day, mom cleaned up what might have been the most horrifying diaper explosion anyone has ever seen. Ups and downs. But none of it was as prolific as everything that made yesterday what it was.

The more I thought about it, I started to realize something. Not every day is spectacular. Now is our present to do with what we will, but that doesn’t mean each day is filled with life-changing revelations. Every day is a gift filled with moments that flood our hearts with a variety of emotions. As it should be.

I watched it all today. The dancing. And the diaper change with the epic poop (so much poop). And the silliness that happened when mom and Auntie M went to get Carter as he woke from his mid-morning nap. He giggled a strange and unrecognizable giggle that is unlike any other I’ve heard of his. His whole little body shook with excitement at the sight of two of the people he loves most in this world coming to get him from a nap of all things.

“I have found that if you love life, life will love you back,” as American-Polish thinker Arthur Rubinstein suggested. It sounds simple, but maybe that’s the point. Carter loves life with his whole heart, regardless of what each day brings. I saw it today in his shameless giggle.

To think that after the magic I witnessed yesterday, I was under the impression I had a whole lot of nothing to share with the world today. I thought wrong. Because the more I thought about it, the more I realized how special even the seemingly uneventful days are.

Joy. From the ground up, it does not only live in prolific moments. It is all the little moments that make up our corner in this world.

 

 

The Gift January 1, 2015

I finally found it. It took a little digging this year, but now it’s alive and well in my heart. The spirit of Christmas. From the ground up, there’s a certain appeal in the understanding and appreciation of all it has to offer. I don’t know for sure what the hold up was this year, but today I was reminded of something.

For most people, today was New Year’s Day. A day to focus on all things new and exciting. For the Schmidt family, it was Christmas. Again. Mom even dressed dear baby Carter in his special Christmas Eve pajamas again last night, so when he woke it would be (kind of) like Christmas Day. Except without the quiche and Santa and presents. But that wasn’t the point.Love Is

The point was we had another exciting day of family time to look forward to in Port Washington where my forever dad grew up. His side of the family opts to celebrate together a few days after Christmas for a variety of reasons, and while some might find this strange, it’s something I’ve come to look forward to each year.

This year did not disappoint. All the usual suspects were there, but there was someone new too. I got to meet my new doggie cousin, Jackson. At about a month old, the puppy energy he exuded was contagious from the ground up. Similar to how it is for Carter, everything is new to him. He sniffed and explored and played and explored some more. And I don’t think his little tail stopped wagging the entire time we were there.

I had to dig a little to find my Christmas spirit this year, but today reminded me of something. Sure, there were presents (again). And way too much delicious food (which I obviously scored several samples of throughout the day. Thanks, Sophie!). But that’s not what it was about.

Sometimes the things we have to dig for are most worth the effort. That certainly was the case for me this year. As we drove home and the reality that all things Christmas have now ended, the love in my heart reminded me of the most important Christmas gift of all. The gift that keeps on giving all year round. Joy. From the ground up, it brings us to life in a way few other things can.

 

 

Those Who Wait November 16, 2014

Waiting drives me crazy. I don’t care whether it’s good news or bad, just give it to me straight and give it to me now. I don’t like waiting for my people to get back from that place called work or practicing my least favorite tricks (which involve waiting and staying). Waiting is not for the dogs.

Winter has arrived around here, complete with our first measurable snowfall. I love everything about the snow and the joy it seems to surround this time of year. Excitement abounds as people start putting together plans for holiday festivities and parties and all things involving delicious food and time with loved ones. How High?

But I find this thing happens all to frequently as far as the seasons are concerned. Just as a new one starts, we find ourselves anxiously anticipating, waiting, for the next. I find this happens even more so with winter, since there are the obvious drawbacks to snow-covered roads when attempting to travel safely to one of the aforementioned festivities. People wait for spring and when spring comes they wait for summer. And so on.

While I do have an (albeit learned and carefully practiced) appreciation for patience, waiting drives me crazy. I think it’s to do with the passive nature of it almost as much as the implication that today isn’t good enough. I know the great and infamous “they” say good things come to those who wait, but I disagree. For the most part, good things come just as frequently to those who live in the moment. Who don’t wait. Who decide that today is a day to embrace rather than wish to be over just so we can be one step closer to tomorrow.

I know my mom is guilty of this all to often. She puts so much emotional energy in planning for something that when it comes it is almost a let down as it happens. Mostly because she wants it to be just so. She wants it to be perfect. And she gets so tied up in that she misses the joy in the moment.

That’s why I believe in the practice of patience, which Christian author Joyce Meyer describes well when she suggests “patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” I figured out today why waiting drives me so crazy. It’s because I’d rather be living.

 

 

The Great Greek Yogurt Caper October 14, 2013

I’ve heard this song about how girls just want to have fun? Well let me tell you, I think this is true of dogs regardless of our sex. My tale of fun today began with mom’s container of Blueberry Acai Greek Yogurt.

I was really only after the yogurt. Needless to say, I got a lot more than I bargained for with that one. I did not get any yogurt (apparently it’s not for doggies); instead I got a bout of hysterical laughter right in my face. And I didn’t mind it one little bit.

You see, us canines have a way of getting what we want. I know I have mentioned it before. The look. And today my employment of the look involved the use of unexpected props. I put my adorably cute little face right in the crook of the book mom was reading while she snacked on her yogurt. The Happiness Project I think it’s called. Well I got right up in that happiness and donned my most sincerely loving face. It looked something like this:Please can I have some yogurt?

The laughter that followed (almost) made up for not getting any yogurt. And if that didn’t, what happened next most definitely did. “Do you want to go to the dog park Wiley?” she asked. Silly mom. Of course I do. The answer to that question is always yes.

A few minutes later we were in the car ride and I could barely contain my excitement. We haven’t been to the park in a while, ever since I overheard some of the people telling mom about a three-legged dog starting all kinds of fights there recently. I’d already had my run-in with death at that park (the time the scary dog swung me around by my neck atop a picnic table), and I’m not fixing for a rerun episode of that any time soon.

But after a quick survey of the people and dogs in attendance today, it was deemed safe to enter. In I went and instantly I came across a new friend named Belle. Also a rescue, she is about the same age as myself and we got along immediately. We wagged and wrestled and chased and wagged some more. Simply put, we had fun.

Girls just want to have fun? Certainly this was true of my new friend Belle. But it’s not just a girl thing. I may not have scored any yogurt today, but the look certainly got its money’s worth of fun. And perhaps more importantly, I got a reminder of how important it is to get silly and let loose from time to time.

“We are driven by five genetic needs,” suggested American psychiatrist William Glaser, “survival, love and belonging, power, freedom and fun.” Sometimes I think it’s too easy for us to get caught up in the more obvious of the needs (like survival) that we forget to have a little fun every now and then. That certainly was not the case today. Fun. From the ground up, it was had today.

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Standing In A Moment September 27, 2013

There’s this thing about dogs. New breeds continue to emerge on a daily basis, both of the mutt and purebred variety. Some have pointy ears. Others have fluffy tails. Others weigh more than some humans. But underneath it all, we all have a few things in common. Most of us like to play. A lot of us have a crazy obsession with smelling whatever we can get our nose into. And the majority of us don’t always know what’s in our best interest. Beyond that, there are a couple of things that unite us all – including (but not limited to) our perception of time. Big Time Thinking

It’s kind of hard to explain in a context other than a story like what happened to me this week. My people left me at Grandma’s house with my cousin Buddy on Wednesday. I didn’t know how long I would be there, and at first I was downright miserable. That is, until Buddy’s contagious joy struck a cord with my little doggie heart. We chased around the house and I got lost in the moment with my friend and our silliness. In that moment, I decided to live it up at Grandma’s house. Why not?

It wasn’t long before my heart reminded me why not. Time. It’s a dog’s best and worst friend. I love it when it’s on my side, and despise it when it’s not. (I suppose this can’t be that different than the human perspective on the matter). Why is it that time seems to slow to a complete halt when we’re anxious or looking forward to something? And then when it happens it happens in the blink of an eye?

That was today for me. This morning Grandma kept teasing me about how my people were coming home today. One might think this made the day fly by as I waited for their return. Not so much. I paced. I whined. I sat and stared at Grandma. Where are they? Didn’t you say they’d be back soon? I asked her these things silently, hoping she could somehow read my mind and tell me not to worry. Time. My worst friend. I waited and waited and finally, it was time. Grandma had me outside when they arrived and I couldn’t contain my excitement. I showered them with doggie hugs and kisses. Time. My best friend.

“Time is the coin of your life,” suggested American poet Carl Sandburg. “It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent.”

There’s this thing about dogs. We’re playful. We like to smell anything and everything. We don’t always know what’s good for us. But above all we love people. Much of our coins are spent loving people. Case and point: I love Grandma. Even though she told on me to my people about my whining by the door after they left the other day. And therein lies the one thing that (above all) ties all canines together regardless of our differences in appearance and personality. Sure, we all have a similar perception of time. But beyond that we love people. People are our universe. And our people — my forever people — they are the world.

 

Cheering For The Team September 8, 2013

It’s easy for me to forget sometimes. I go about my days seeking good in all people, places and things so why on Earth would I ever prepare for the worst? Instead I always expect the best. I guess you could say I’ve come to a place in my optimistic philosophy of life where I take good things for granted.

Because it’s not always good news. Sometimes the worst is reality. Like when a loved one is diagnosed with cancer. Or there was a car crash. Or there is something terribly wrong with the baby.

It didn’t even occur to me that something could be wrong with the baby. I know mom has been nervous enough about that for the lot of us, but I just assumed that all is well and in approximately 19 more weeks my little person will arrive home happy and healthy. Apparently that may not be the case.

The big ultrasound happened about a week and a half ago. The exciting one. You know, the one where they could find out the sex of the baby? But I’ve decided to continue withholding the results of that particular portion of the test. Because that’s not all it involved. From what I could tell from the conversation that followed the appointment, that wasn’t even the focus. Rather, the true purpose of the ultrasound was to see the baby. Measure the baby. Make sure the baby’s organs are developing in the right places inside the body.Hope

Hearing all of this shocked me to my little doggie core. Well of course the baby looks good, is growing at a healthy pace and has a heart inside its little baby body, I thought. Right? A technician named Steve did the procedure, and he calmly talked them through everything. He explained what he was looking for as he took various pictures, and alas I was right. Each and everything he checked looked perfectly healthy.

What a blessing! And to think I just assumed it to be so. Albeit fabulous news, this was somewhat of a sobering reminder of all of the things that could still go wrong. The worst could still happen. But I realized something today.

My parents were dressing up in their usual Packer Sunday football garb and my little doggie Packer jersey was thrown into the mix. I pictured this happening with my little person someday soon so we would be a happy family of Packer fans cheering on our team.

To cheer on our team. That’s why I think I function in my optimistic bubble of positivity. But like anything, I find myself reminded that we need balance. Because sometimes we get benched. Or injured. Or our career ends forever. Preparing for the worst while expecting the best doesn’t make us weaker. It makes us stronger. That’s easy for me to forget sometimes.

 

I Believe I Can Fly June 26, 2013

It’s a sight to be seen. Sometimes when I see other dogs doing it I laugh a little inside. But it doesn’t change the pure unadulterated truth. We canines sure do love sticking our heads out the windows of cars. It doesn’t what we look like, generally with our eyes all squinty, fur all slicked back, and ears out like wings. We are flying high and nothing can get us down.

And as we are (in my neck of the woods) in the heat of a time of year when it is best for dogs to avoid car rides altogether, I find myself reflective on some of my best car ride moments. I’ve had so many its hard to choose just one, but the heat of the day today reminded me of a day at about the same time of year two summers ago.

Laughter so incredibly gut-wrenching it brought my mom to tears. That, my friends, is what I most vividly remember about one of the most memorable car rides of my little doggie life. My aunt Morgan had just recently become the proud owner of a Volkswagen convertible, which she was committed to keeping clean and spotless inside and out. She wasn’t necessarily thrilled when my mom pleaded to bring me along on whatever summer adventure they were about to embark upon, but she ultimately agreed to let me tag along. (I gave her “the look” – you know the one – and she couldn’t say no). I Believe

I don’t remember too many details about the adventures that unfolded other than the car ride to get there. It was yet another instance of life’s journeys being more exciting than the destinations. There I was, on my first ride in a convertible with its top down, and my mom and her sister could not stop laughing. Not just giggling. This was full-fledged, gut-busting, face-turning-purple, almost-peeing-your-pants laughter. I had no idea what they were laughing so hard about, but it didn’t matter. I was in car ride heaven.

I had more wind in my fur than ever before, my eyes were certainly not even open because of the squinting, and my ears were slicked back against my head. In that moment, I could fly. In the soundtrack of a dog’s life, R. Kelly’s lyrics to “I Believe I Could Fly” were blaring in my head. In that moment felt more free than I ever had before. (Which is ironic as I know some of my former pals from the streets would consider my station in life as a family pet to be restrictive and undesirable. Not for me.) In that moment, I felt free because I felt safe and loved and no one could take that away from me. Not to mention all that laughter in the car made my heart smile.

All right, all right, I will admit it. (I may be cute but I’m not stupid). I’m 99.99% certain that they were laughing at me, because (let’s face it) I know I looked absolutely ridiculous. It is a sight to be seen, after all, when us dogs stick our heads out car windows. But to us it doesn’t what we look like, generally with our eyes all squinty, fur all slicked back, and ears out like wings. We are flying high and nothing can get us down.