Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

To Feel It In My Heart March 13, 2015

First the windows got opened to let in the fresh air. Then there was a bustling around the house I’ve come to recognize means one (very exciting) thing. Shoes are gathered and the diaper bag is packed to the brim and I know what’s coming next. Adventure. From the ground up, it’s one of my most favorite things.

Except when I get left behind. Disappointment filled my heart this afternoon as adventure incarnate left with mom and dear baby Carter as I stayed behind. Dogs are apparently not allowed wherever they were going, which made my heart sad. The Great Outdoors

So I went to my spot in the window and did my best to stay positive as I soaked up the sunshine and felt a warm breeze run through my fur. I watched as a group of children from a nearby school literally skipped their way down the street. I saw a few people running. The mailman stopped by as he usually does in the afternoon.

I must have dozed off briefly because the next thing I knew, I heard the familiar car engine. The garage door opened. From the open windows I could hear the final notes of a familiar song about a rainbow. The car doors shut. The garage door went down. And in they came.

Adventure. From the ground up, it apparently only lasted just about an hour today. And at first I was heartbroken because it didn’t involve me. I found myself sulking throughout the time they were gone. When they got back, the sight of them together turned my heart’s frown upside down.

It doesn’t matter where they went or for how long. The fresh air and sunshine did them so much good, I could see joy radiating from them both from the inside out. They were smiling and laughing together, and I got an epic squeal and squeeze combination from Carter almost immediately upon their reentry into our forever home.

It made me think of the words of American pilot Amelia Earhart, who said “adventure is worthwhile in itself.” Sure, it would have been nice to be along for the ride. But seeing them come home like that, so happy, so full of life, I didn’t have to experience the adventure to feel it in my heart.


A Lot Like Love February 13, 2015

It’s one of those things I’m glad us canines never have to worry about. We are what we are, and (other than our breed, I suppose) it really is as simple as that. We don’t have labels for things. Not like people with their relationship statuses anyway.

Single. Widowed. Divorced. Married. It’s complicated.

Indeed it is complicated, and not in a good way. Because in my mind there is something that unites all of these labels together in spite of society’s attempts to identify separate groups. Love. From the ground up, I find it to be a constantly evolving emotion that truly knows no bounds. Nor does it fit perfectly into any one of those boxes.

Around here, I saw this brought to life today in some intriguingly interesting ways. My dear forever mom worked mostly from home today, which means Carter and I got to enjoy a little extra time with her than usual. I watched as she put on her Energizer bunny hat, seeming determined to get some serious work done around here. When she wasn’t taking care of Carter, she was working. And when she wasn’t working, she was cleaning. Kisses

It probably doesn’t sound like much, but I could tell this particular round of chores had a special motive for her. My suspicions were confirmed when she (as she does quite often) explained to Carter and I what she was up to. Her goal was to get chores done today so her and my dear forever dad wouldn’t have to worry about them over the weekend. It was her little way, in addition to the gift and card she got him for Valentine’s Day tomorrow, to show her love.

So when the doorbell rang this afternoon, she was actually a bit irritated at first. How dare whoever is at the door interrupt her in while she was in the midst of her love-driven cleaning/organizing/working rampage? The tears came when she opened the door and saw what awaited her outside. Flowers. From dad, Carter and I.

And so we showed our love for mom in a slightly less practical way. (Though I will admit it was dad who took the lead with the idea).

Watching all of this happen reminded me of some pretty important features about this thing called love. It doesn’t have to fit into a box. Whether you’re single or have been married for 75 years, it finds its way into life in moments like these. As it should, I feel, for anyone you care about.

So tomorrow, as we in America pause to reflect on all things love, I’ve decided to stop to take stock of all of the loved ones in my life. Not just my forever family, but my extended families and friends and those I haven’t seen in a while and you out there in the blogosphere. I might not be able to show you with chores (or flowers), but believe me when I say from the bottom of my little doggie heart: I love you.


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.


The Best of Friends February 7, 2015

I may be a bit biased in saying so, and it might not be that popular an opinion. But for the most part I think people friendships are a bit overrated. There, I said it. Now let me explain.

I’ve always been a believer in a family favorite quote to “love many, trust few, always paddle your own canoe.” Life has taught me these things. And as a canine, I feel like we are born with an innate desire to do things that have earned us that famous title of man’s best friendThrowback to my first few days at my forever home

We are loyal. We love unconditionally. And we always listen quietly with a completely open heart. If we are lucky enough to be welcomed into a forever home, those people become our world. It’s that simple.

Maybe that’s the problem I’ve found so frequently with interpersonal relationships I observe. They’re never simple.

They’re messy and complicated and sometimes people aren’t loyal. Sometimes people don’t love unconditionally. Sometimes people would much rather be heard than listen. Therein lies the fundamentally simple yet surprisingly complex problem that is human emotion in friendships.

Yet that is also what I’ve found makes them so special. Every relationship is unique, with its own story of origin and development. And it seems these imperfections are also what breathes life into friendships in the first place.

Today mom celebrated friendship. She had lunch with a couple of her closest friends, a rare occurrence since she and dad brought home dear baby Carter all those months ago. I could tell it brought her joy, not only from how happy she seemed when she made it home, but from how much I know she looked forward to it beforehand.

Something about time with good friends can do that. Just as I know sometimes things don’t always go as planned and feelings get hurt and things get complicated, friendship can rejuvenate the soul like few other things can.

It doesn’t change my biased and admittedly unpopular opinion that, for the most part, interpersonal friendships are overrated. Because in my heart I know I love my people more than any of their people friends do. But I also know the joy that warms my heart when they are happy. I know because they’re my best friends. It’s as simple as that.



The People That Make It Real January 31, 2015

A birthday. A baby. Job news. And a whole lot of seafood.

A day like today always starts the same way around my forever home. There is a sense of wonder and merriment that resonates with my forever mom and dad especially as preparations ensue for whatever might be to come. Music plays. The table is set. And don’t get me started on the food smells. So many deliciously mouth-watering food smells.

The best part was I don’t even think everyone realized it until it was happening. It was just going to be an informal coming together for lunch. But that turned into something else pretty quick. Celebration. From the ground up, it brings joy to life in an entirely unique way.


Though I’ve gathered he would (for some reason I don’t understand) prefer not to acknowledge it, dad’s birthday is in a few days. It will never make sense to me why little ones like Carter spend all year looking forward to their birthday and then it switches when adulthood hits. But I digress.

Obviously, news from earlier this week that little person no. 2 is developing well and there is nothing to be concerned about is something to embrace with all our hearts.

And dear aunt Morgan will soon be returning to (a slightly upgraded version of) work after her medical leave for her successful carpal tunnel surgeries last month.

In these things, I felt the words of a favorite American author of mine come to life.

“Let’s choose today to quench our thirst for the ‘good life’ we think others lead by acknowledging the good that already exists in our lives,” suggested Sarah Ban Breathnach. “We can then offer the universe the gift of our grateful hearts.”

Sure, I was (more than) grateful for the scraps of table food my dear Grandma snuck to me. That made for quite a delectable treat combined with the usual purposeful droppings from dear baby Carter. But there was a sense of life in the room only the joy of celebration can bring.

A baby. A birthday. Job news. And a whole lot of seafood. Today I am grateful not just for these things, but for the people in my life that make them real. They are who make mine the good life.


News To Me January 22, 2015

I’ve heard it more than once from family and friends. It’s a joke they say sometimes when they find something out they already knew. I think it’s a reference to a television show or something they all like, but I’m not sure exactly. What I do know is I like the idea behind the words, as a joke or otherwise.

“That is brand new information,” they say. Most recently it happened when my forever mom shared the news of her pregnancy with some friends in cyberspace and Aunt Morgan said the words. She’s obviously known for a while that she was going to be an Aunt again, so it was a funny thing for her to say (at least for those of us in the know with the inside joke). Surfing the world wide web

It came to mind for me today while Grams was over to watch dear baby Carter. She hasn’t spent quite as much time with him lately since mom was working from home a little more than usual, and I can tell she missed him dearly. (I think she even missed me, but that’s beside the point). When mom left to go to that place called work, serious playtime ensued. There was lots of reading Carter’s favorite book and reviving some of the toys he’s been ignoring lately. There was a general sense of silliness in the room, as Carter engaged in a number of his usual antics (like a baby version of downward facing dog where he peaks at you upside down through his legs). But they really were new to Grams. And she loved every minute of all thing new to her, even if they weren’t necessarily new to him.

As a creature of habit, new things aren’t always my favorite. But as I watched the joy in the room today as Carter went about his usual silliness, I realized the wonder and merriment all things new can obtain. I used to worry about how much is new to Carter each and every day. He knows nothing of heartbreak or war or poverty or crime right now. All he knows is love and joy and laughter. But I think I’ve changed my mind.

Because seeing things like what I saw today gives me peace in knowing those are the lenses through which he views all things new in his world. All kidding aside, there is nothing wrong with that.