Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

You Lose Some January 18, 2015

There are some pretty disappointed people in my neck of the woods tonight. High expectations, excitement and enthusiasm abounded this afternoon as our dear Green Bay Packers battled the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship game. The mission? To make it to the Superbowl.

It was a close game, filled with its share of exciting moments and ups and downs. Going into halftime, it seemed like the Packers were destined for a win. But a whole lot of nervous pacing, nail biting, almost-heart attacks, and anxious eating later, it was all over. By no fault but their own, the Packers will not be making the journey to the proudest game in football this year. Instead, the season has ended. Game day love

I don’t know much about these things, but what I do know very well is the emotional atmosphere of my forever family. So its a little tough not to be sad with them as they mourn the loss of a good game and come to terms with the end of an entertaining season. But I’m staying strong this time around. I will not let the negative energy get to me. It stops here.

Instead, I can’t help but think about all the things in life that don’t go quite right. From the little things, like when you search high and low for something valuable and can’t find it. To the big things, like when something truly traumatic happens that you may never fully recover from. It’s bound to happen. Just as we are all blessed with those days when the sun shines brightly and the birds provide a gentle soundtrack to the day filled with all things happy. Those days are winners that we cherish and need to pause to appreciate fully.

Those are the days that get us through those days filled with nothing but anxiety, worry and disappointment. Because we all lose some from time to time. But this too shall pass. The sun will shine and the birds will sing and peace will be restored to the world again soon enough.

 

With or Without January 11, 2015

I’m usually pretty good with tension. When there is proverbial ice to be broken, I know just what to do. Any number of my repertoire of doggie antics tends to do the trick. But today my powers were useless in my very own living room. In The Right Direction

Nails were being bitten. Nervous eating had ensued. I could feel the tension rising with each passing minute. And nothing I could do seemed to mitigate the situation in any way. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as big a Packer backer as those in my forever family. I just prefer to stay calm if at all possible.

It was not possible today. For me, or for anyone in the room. The final minutes of the Packer game against the Cowboys were intense and scary and exciting and devastatingly amazing all at the same time. I know, I know, it sounds impossible and yet it’s true. It all ended well, though I think at several points throughout the game, it didn’t seem it would.

When all was said and done, the stress and worry was for naught. Everything worked out. The Packers won the game. All was well.

It reminded me of why I’m usually pretty good with tension. I have an entire cabinet of tricks I break out to lighten up the emotions in the room, which us canines have a knack for picking up very easily. I jokingly call it our seventh sense. Cats have nine lives. Dogs have an innate understanding for human emotion.

That’s why I can say with some sense of authority that you can’t sweat the small stuff. The outcome of that game would be the same whether or not we worried and stressed like we did or not. I think there’s something to be taken from that.

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another,” suggested American thinker William James. Any good journey will be filled with ups and downs and moments when we think it’s not going to work out. Yet sometimes it always does. With or without the stress.

 

Things Live in Memories January 10, 2015

I would say I’ve lived a pretty full life. This year I will turn seven doggie years old, and I’ve seen a lot, witnessed a lot and learned a lot in my time living joy from the ground up. But even though that makes me the equivalent of almost 50 people years old, I know I haven’t seen it all. There are lots of people in my life who have been around a lot longer and seen a lot more.

Change. From the ground up, I find it’s everywhere. People change and adapt as the world around them evolves. I’ve even seen it as I’ve seen my dear forever mom grow (what some might say is) a bit too attached to her cell phone. The same conceptual device that she used to use to call loved ones has developed into a multi-functional tool. Heck, I can even remember in one of my other (temporary) adoptive homes, they had a phone that was attached to the wall. They had other things I rarely see anymore too, like a humongous box for a television and a record player.

From what I can tell, technology is one of the most rapidly changing things people need to adapt to. And while I feel there is a certain degree of caution that needs to be taken with any and all aforementioned devices, the concept behind the continued modification of society isn’t necessarily a bad one in my mind. Today will become tomorrow whether we like it or not. And that’s nothing to be afraid of in my humble doggie opinion. Hard At Work

I’ve seen a lot in my doggie life. I aspire to see a lot more. But that doesn’t give any less meaning to the things of the past. Though the things themselves may no longer be around, that doesn’t mean they can’t live on through the memories they helped create.

Like this person mom was talking to the other day who fondly remembers when he was seven years old watching the historic 1967 Ice Bowl on 12-inch black and white television with his family. He remembers everything about that day, in part because of that tiny little box that made it all possible.

All good things from the past are not lost. Sure, they are just things. But they are also memories. And memories are meant to hold on to for as long as we’d like.

 

Close Your Eyes December 21, 2014

It wasn’t the first time he said it and it won’t be the last. My dear forever dad made the comment today when he thought I wasn’t listening. It was one I’ve become all too familiar with hearing, especially around him. The Green Bay Packers were on television and I had assumed an incredibly comfortable position in one of my most favorite places in my forever home. To the average observer (and my dad, I guess), I was asleep on that cozy chair cushion.

“You sleep all the time, Wiles,” dad said, more for those in the room than for me. Or so he thought. Not only did I hear him loud and clear (as I always do), but it got me to thinking about the s0-called sleeping that I do. While I will admit there is the occasional bout of pure unadulterated snoozing, a lot of the time my mind is racing. Sleeeeeeep

I close my eyes and I see so much. I dream. I think about the future. I cherish the present. It seems like so long ago that I closed my eyes and saw my replacement doggie playing with mom and dad and little boy and girl there. Though it was jarring at first, I found peace with the concept of passing my legacy as the dog of the house to my successor. It’s a big job and I want to know that someday when the torch is handed off, it’s to someone I trust.

That image came to mind today as mom and dad shared what they thought was a private conversation. (See, I hear way more than they think I do). Mom was thinking out loud (as she does a lot) about when her and dad have another little person someday. She was saying it’s something she’s looking forward to, but finds herself stressing about more than she would have thought. “What if he or she is nothing like Carter?” she questioned. “What if we only had good luck with one, and the second one is all kinds of trouble?”

My ears perked up in anticipation of dad’s response. It’s a big question, to which he had the perfect answer.

“It’s not luck,” he said. “It’s how you’re raising him, Ty.” Wow. I don’t think he could have paid mom a higher compliment than he did with a mere handful of words. Here she was, babbling on and on about it and he says a grand total of eight words and brings the babbling brook to a happy and peaceful standstill. I honestly don’t think he could have said anything more perfect in that moment.

I would know, because it happens all the time. I hear all kinds of things when my people don’t think I’m listening. A lot of good things happen behind closed eyes. To me, as well as to those around me. I don’t mind if dad teases me about sleeping too much as a result. It’s worth it to witness moments like this.

 

It’s A Win-Win January 5, 2014

It’s not about winning. That was mom’s opinion of a failed attempt by the Green Bay Packers to continue their journey to Superbowl 48. Today our beloved Packers fell to the San Francisco 49ers 23-20 in a playoff battle to remember. My Little Team

It was Carter’s first Packer game, and (while he didn’t stay awake for any of it) that brought with it a new kind of excitement. Packer Sundays are filled with traditions in the Schmidt home, and this Sunday was no different. Except it was. My people prepared the usual delicious smelling food, dressed up in their Packer Sunday best, and cheered on the beloved team.

And it was an exciting game, filled ups and downs. Packed with moments of joy and moments of frustration. So when the clock ticked down to nothing and the loss was imminent, mom’s words brought to the situation into perspective for me.

This game, or any game for that matter, is much like life in that way. Filled with ups and downs. Moments of joy and moments of frustration. All of this is experienced as part of a team, which is sometimes greater than the sum of it’s parts. I was reminded in that moment how blessed I am to be part of this particular team. I know we aren’t going to win every battle. But that’s okay, because I wouldn’t trade any of them for the world. They are happiness to me.

“Winning isn’t everything,” Packer coaching legend Vince Lombardi suggested, “it’s the only thing.” And in most other ways, I agree with him. But he was wrong about this. It’s not about winning. It’s about enjoying the game.

 

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.