Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

With the Lamp Lit February 25, 2015

I don’t understand any of it. But I’m a dog, so I think that’s okay. What I do know is all that worry weighing on mom’s heart a couple of weeks ago has been has been lifted slightly. At least for now.

When she left dear baby Carter and I with Aunt Morgan, I could tell her nerves were getting the best of her. I knew wherever she was going something important must be happening. So I wished and hoped and did all I could to send all things positive with her as she left a very upset (very teething) Carter behind to tackle whatever she was about to do. In the Deep End

When she returned home, she was a different person. Even her step looked lighter. (Well, as light as it can be at six months pregnant). I stood by listening anxiously as she filled Morgan in with all kinds of technical medical jargon that went in one ear and out the other. But I didn’t need to understand any of it except for a few precious words.

It’s better than it was, so that’s a good sign.

That’s all I needed to hear to breathe my own sigh of relief.

Meanwhile, I know the journey isn’t over. We are not out of the proverbial woods just yet. Mom gets more information from her doctor on Friday, and I’m hopeful there is more good news. Until then, I shall follow mom’s lead and proceed with caution until at least Friday (if not longer, depending on what the doctor says).

Because while I share in the enthusiasm and overall anticipation to meet this new little person, I do understand he or she shouldn’t be meeting us just yet for health and safety reasons. So we will wait, cautiously, but somehow I knew in my heart what I saw in mom’s eyes today.

Hope. From the ground up, it’s a pretty powerful thing. Christian author Tertullian certainly thought so when he said “hope is patience with the lamp lit.” I don’t need to understand anything about all things medical to know this as truth.

 

Too Much of a Good Thing February 15, 2015

I’ve got nothing against cats. Or their curiosity. Yet I’ve heard once or twice this thing people say about how curiosity killed the cat. I know it’s just a philosophical anecdote, and therefore falls into a category of phrases I don’t particularly trust.

I also know we canines have our own level of curiosity that can get us into trouble sometimes. In my case, I usually find myself getting into mischief when I blindly follow my nose to places like garbage cans and freshly folded laundry. Those stories never end well for me. Mom and I

Lately, I’ve noticed a similar pattern among some of my dearest loved ones. Except that instead of following their noses, they’ve been following their fingers on a keyboard that leads to nothing but heartbreak and fear. They have brilliant doctors who they trust and yet they are turning to the internet for answers to some of life’s challenging health questions. And I don’t need to understand anything medical to know that is not the right place to turn.

Research, like many good things, can be taken too far. In this case, it is being taken to places where my dear forever mom is put on bed rest and can’t take care of dear baby Carter or the new little person, who may be born too early. Or (gulp) maybe not be born at all if things end badly.

These are all the absolute worst case places that my dear mom has (admittedly somewhat irrationally) allowed the internet to take her mind. And her heavy heart for that matter. All because of a little (albeit serious) complication that’s arisen in her pregnancy with our new little person. A little complication that could just as easily resolve itself in the next few weeks.

I wish I could take the computer away. Because it’s nothing against cats or their curiosity. In her case it’s true. Curiosity can kill the cat. It’s all too easy to head to the worst case place in your head with the help of too much of that good thing called research. Though moderation is never an easy thing for a dog, I can give it the respect it deserves. Now if only I could figure out a way to get mom to do the same.

 

Never Gonna Keep Me Down November 29, 2014

It started so very small. A couple of baby steps a few weeks ago was all it took to get the proverbial ball rolling. Each day since then, the steps have gotten bigger and gone farther, as they tend to do with practice. Meanwhile, I stand by and watch it all unfold.

It can only be described as persistence. Or maybe stubbornness. What I’ve been witnessing around here is truly a study in little person behavior. It’s nothing new, as I know it happens to most babies. But it’s new to me, and what I’m learning from watching it all unfold is surprisingly insightful.Feeling Thoughtful

What stands out to me most prominently is how much trial and error is involved in the process of dear baby Carter learning how to walk. He has these unmistakable bursts of energy when all he does is walk. And fall. And walk. And fall. The process is one that has involved as many falls as it has steps, which I’d like to say are getting easier for all of us to see. But really it’s still hard to stand on the sidelines, fully capable of walking, and watch this dear little being struggle so desperately.

Especially today, when the poor little guy just couldn’t catch a break. Sure, he walked farther than he did yesterday. But he fell too. A lot. And he kept bumping his little head on things as he did it. Nothing scary enough to worry about, but I’m not going to lie to you. It was pretty tough to see.

What there is to be learned from all of this, though, is no small feat. First of all, starting small and building slowly is a recipe for both short- and long-term success in my book. Beyond that, persistence is virtue. He gets knocked down, he falls out of balance, he stumbles. We all do. But he gets back up every single time. No matter what. And he keeps going.

Life has a way of tripping us up from time to time. Making us lose our footing. Maybe even causing us to call into questions choices or decisions we’ve made. The way I see it, none of this happens without a cause. A good one. Perseverance. From the ground up, that is the word I would use to summarize what I’ve been witnessing around here.

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish,” said American president John Quincy Adams. While I have mixed feelings about patience, I do believe in the power of perseverance. That’s why I know in my heart Carter will soon be walking without an issue. Challenges will never stop getting in the way, but with enough passion and drive they don’t stand a chance.

 

The Power of Hope September 11, 2014

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 9:52 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

It doesn’t Feeling reflectivehappen often that I’ll say it. The chance to experience things that happened before I was around ranks usually ranks right up there with figuring out how to fly. Except when it comes to this.

Today marks the 13th anniversary of a day no American will ever forget. If you can call it an anniversary, that is. Usually anniversaries are to celebrate happy things, and this is far from happy. September 11, 2001 was a day, the day, when 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda hijacked four airliners and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. As a result of their attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, more than 3,000 people were killed, including more than 400 police officers and firefighters.

Today I give thanks I was not around to see all of this happen. But I also am grateful that my spirit sister Bretagne was. The now-15-year-old Golden Retriever is the last remaining rescue dog who, for 12 hours a day for two weeks, searched through the rubble for any sign of survivors. Today she was recognized with the honor of being named a Top Hero Dog by the American Human Association.

Today is a day to remember what we’ve lost as well as be thankful for what we still have. Because of the efforts of Bretagne and her other four-legged comrades did something beyond the call of duty. Sure, they searched for countless hours. Yes, they most likely uncovered things that would otherwise not have been uncovered. But the real value of what they did cannot be measured. Hope. From the ground up, that is what Bretagne brought to life for people all of those years ago.

It might not happen often, but I’m not afraid to say it. I’m okay with the fact that I wasn’t around to bear witness to that terrible day. But I am also so very thankful for the work that Bretagne did and the lives she touched.

“Hope is patience with the lamp lit,” suggested Christian author Tertullian. Here’s hoping that Bretagne’s memory burns brightly for years to come.

 

 

The Joy of Restoration June 1, 2014

Something pretty special happened today. I know I’ve said so before, but it really is a shame they don’t let four-legged friends into that place called church. Because today my dear baby Carter was baptized. He was made new. While I say he’s been one all along, he “officially” became Jesus’ little lamb.

All of this apparently happened at that place called church, so I had to rely on the stories and photos afterward to learn of what occurred. It sounds like it was really something. Carter didn’t cry or babble or squeak (it’s a high-pitched bird-like sound he discovered he could make recently). Instead he smiled. He smiled while the congregation sang songs of praise. He smiled at people in other pews. And he smiled as the pastor baptized him.

This was somewhat a miracle since I know the time of day this all happened is usually his (and my) mid-morning nap time. But instead he did what he does best. He shared joy. He did it at church and at home later (after his nap).

Happiness All of that preparation on the table cloths yesterday was unnecessary, since the party took to the backyard. God smiled on our day with plenty of beautiful sunshine and warmth. And the 12 pounds of pork? It turned out perfectly. I may have gotten a sample (or two) from a few family members whose identities will be protected.

So there we were, all together for the first time since baby Carter was born. Mom’s family and dad’s families came together in one place to celebrate the joy of restoration. I know they weren’t there to see me, but having everyone together like this in my backyard paradise brought me the sincerest of restorative joy.

Something pretty special happened today. I still say they should have let me come to the church. But alas, the meaning behind the day takes center stage in my heart whether or not I was there to witness it. Because I witnessed the aftermath. Joy. From the ground up, it was realized by my beloved forever family today. And in doing so it brought to life my belief that faith restores us, and in turn restores the world to the way it was intended to be.

Check out Carter and mom in church: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=576672457867&l=121c4add20

 

He Looked At Me May 3, 2014

The emotion evoked by well-being, success or good fortune. This is one of four definitions on a sign I noticed in baby Carter’s room tonight. It seems an appropriate set of people words to reference today, after the day our family had. It’s downright silliness really.

The best part was (of course) that I was involved in mostly everything that happened. This is not always the case anymore, since all things Carter took over about four month ago. I don’t complain about such things as I have come to be quite fond of my alone time under the bed of my forever people. Day or night, it has become by safe haven from all things baby. I know it sounds terrible but I don’t care. Sometimes you just need some time away.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This has certainly not been the case for my dear forever mom, who just can’t seem to get enough of the crying, spitting, pooping thing that is my dear little person. But I digress.

Because today it doesn’t matter. None of it does. None of the crying, spitting, pooping messiness that is babies matters. Because today we had that emotion evoked by well-being, success or good fortune. Today my distaste for “smart” phones went on holiday. For today we had joy. From the ground up, it was everywhere today. It was in this new-fangled hanging jumper thingy for Carter. It was in the car ride we all took to go for a walk. It was in the moment when Carter looked at me.

He really looked at me. And I saw so many things in his big brown eyes. I saw love and joy and hope and a future filled with all of these things. I might be biased, but I happen to think my dearest little person is pretty darn adorable.

Aside from any of the not-so-adorable things he does. And aside from the time I choose to spend away from any of it. He showed me a new side of him today. A side I knew was there, but had yet to see. He is a little person indeed. He may cry, but he also smiles. He may fuss, but he also jumps with glee. He may make stinky things (like spit and poop and burps and foofters), but…well, these things I don’t mind.

Not to mention how happy he makes my beloved forever people. The emotion evoked by well-being, success or good fortune. To be honest, we needed none of this today. Because today we had each other. From the ground up, that is all that mattered in these precious moments.

 

God Will Provide April 17, 2014

I certainly didn’t want to be the one to say it. Which is a good thing because I physically can’t. But dad can. Yet I know he never would even if maybe he should. Or maybe he would and just has opted not to. Yet.

Well today fate intervened. It made it possible for neither of us to say the thing we’ve both been thinking but couldn’t say. Mom’s wardrobe needed a boost. There, now I’ve officially said it. And please don’t misunderstand – I mean no disrespect. My dear forever mom has always been trendy as far as I can tell. I have absolutely no expertise in the area of people fashion, but I know she generally kept up with the trends.

Yet over the last year and a half or so I’ve noticed she started caring a lot more about others than herself. The bags filled with things for me were gradually replaced with things for my dear little Carter, and the bags filled with things for herself became few and far between. Just the other day, she and dad came home from what appeared to be a shopping excursion with a whole bunch of new clothes for Carter. Think with the Heart

I find it the slightest bit infuriating since I know how quickly he is growing out of things, but I digress. Because today fate intervened. My mom had a friend over to spend some time with baby Carter, and that friend came bearing gifts. I could tell she didn’t think they were anything special. But to my mom they were gold. All kinds of beautiful sweaters and shirts that I know she never would have bought for herself under our current circumstances.

They were headed for a donation to the thrift store, but instead ended up in mom’s closet. She took every one, and she seems downright giddy about it. All of this made me realize when it comes to people fashion I know nothing. And that’s okay.

Because today I saw what matters. I didn’t want to be the one to say it. And neither did dad. But now, because of the generosity of a friend, we don’t have to. And maybe we won’t have to worry about it again. Because I think mom got another present along with the recycled clothes today.

I think she realized its important not to lose yourself. And, perhaps more importantly, it’s okay if you do every now and then. Because these things have a way of working themselves out. God will provide, as they say. And – in so many ways – they are right.

 

On Precious Moments April 12, 2014

I often wonder what it would be like if life had a remote control. If we could stop and pause and fast forward and rewind segments like I see my people do when something is particularly funny or if they need to leave the room for a few minutes. What happens when something is particularly funny in life? There’s not really a way to duplicate it again because you can’t rewind. And when times get rough? You can’t fast forward.

But I do think we have within us the capability to pause the present from time to time. To stop and appreciate a precious moment (or moments) in time that brings life into focus. I’ve heard mom say this is what the better part of the first three months of Carter’s life were like for her. In a way, she says she felt like she was in a time warp. Like somehow the world outside didn’t exist and it was only our little family enjoying each other in those (albeit) trying times. Rolling Over

I think you emerge from something like that – from a time warp, or pause in the rat race of life – a completely different person. Whether you pause for a second or for three months doesn’t matter. You see things differently. Feel things differently. Live differently.

Something I’ve found observing my little family since my beloved little person came home is that no one wants to miss anything. And (while at times) this is not always the best attribute, I do feel that it has within it a level of context that should not be misunderstood. Every moment is precious.

Baby Carter rolled over a bunch today. It didn’t seem like that big a deal to me, as I roll over all the time. But my people stopped cold – paused – and relished in what is apparently some sort of developmental milestone in a little person’s life. It was such a little thing that meant so much.

It made me think about the little moments that happen in a person’s life that make a difference. Not just for the person who decides to hit the pause button, but for whoever else happens to be around when it happens. It took me back to that fateful day when the snow fell from heaven and mom and I went outside and I didn’t know what came first – her laughter or my wagging tail.

That’s when I realized we actually have the only remote control button we really need. We have within ourselves the ability to pause to be thankful for the present that is the present. Who needs rewind and fast forward when you have the present?

 

Punch In The Stomach March 23, 2014

At first I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. It was a stroke. My feline neighbor friend Penny finally reported the news to me this afternoon. The other day when I saw the flashing lights and heard the sirens, it was for her person Rose. Her person Rose had a stroke.

I don’t know much about these things. Except that when I don’t know much about things I am more likely to fear them. Not this time. I decided this time would be different. Just because I don’t understand what this stroke business is about will not keep me from finding the silver lining. Which, in this case, is pretty obvious.

All SmilesRelief. From the ground up, it swiftly overcame my fear. Rose is sick. She is in the hospital, and will be for some time. But she is there to get better. She is there to recover. And while she does, I find myself contemplating life’s most basic questions.

Because we never know. We never know when our last day might be. It certainly puts things into perspective when you think that way. If you knew it was your last day, what would you do differently? How would you spend the time? Who would you be with? To some it might seem morbid to contemplate these things. To me it seems sensible. Motivational even.

“Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today,” suggested American actor James Dean. I don’t think its a coincidence this insight came from an actor fans agree died too young.

Unlike him, Rose has lived a long and full life. She has children and grandchildren and joy from all kinds of sources. Today she shared her joy with me.

Sure, at first I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. It was devastating news that dear Rose had suffered from something serious enough to keep her away from Penny for so long. But she lived. And she will go on living. Sometimes we need a good punch in the stomach to remember just how precious a gift life really is.

 

True or False? March 16, 2014

It happens pretty frequently if you ask me. Not so much to me personally, for which I am thankful. But it seems to happen a lot to the people I love. You see, I am a big supporter of the meaning of the little things in life. The simple things. That is why I can with absolute certainty that the unknown confuses me on a pretty regular basis.

Again, this is not of my own doing. I have a pretty simple life devoid of stress over the big or little questions. Most of my big questions are answered by others. What will I have for dinner? Where will I spend my day today? What is my purpose in life? It’s a fairly sure thing that every day will bring the same answers to these questions.  My regular kibble will be in my bowl in the forever home in which I will spend my day doing what I do best – bringing joy to whoever will take it.

Be What You BelieveThe same cannot be said for people. I frequently observe lengthy conversations about things as simple as what to have for dinner and as complex as one’s true purpose. And I’m not going to lie – it confuses me. Oftentimes I wish there would be a way for me to provide an answer as easy as the question seems.

I thought of this today as I watched baby Carter sleeping. I thought of all the questions – big and small – he has to encounter throughout his life. And so I wished I could tell him some of what I’ve learned from my observations – the first being that things that are true are often also false. It depends on how you flip the coin or how you view the glass. Since my glass is half full, so are three of my most important life lessons.

Believe what you think. It might not always be good, but follow your heart and you will find peace with your choices.

Believe what you feel. Good or bad, another person’s opinion is only as real as you let it be.

Be what you believe. What you feel in your heart is powerful. Embrace it and let it guide you.

I have so much I hope to teach baby Carter in the time we have together, but these simple truths are among the most important. Especially since it seems to happen pretty frequently among the two-legged population – this game of questions and answers. Most times I am thankful for not having the same questions to answer every day. But today I realized that it wouldn’t matter even if I did. Because in spite of it all, I am what I believe.