Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

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.

 

 

Back to the Future September 6, 2014

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 9:25 pm
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The last time it happened I vowed it would never happen again. But today it did. Twice.

I don’t know what came over me. After 20 minutes in the car with a very upset dear baby Carter, I guess I just needed some space. So when mom opened the door when we arrived at grandma’s house, I bolted. I was out the door and up the block before mom could even begin scolding me for it. She found me a few minutes later as I was perusing the backyard paradise that I later learned belongs to a rather large German Shepherd named Geoff, And she was not happy. She was out of breath and screaming my name over and over again. I am never sure what all the fuss is about in these situations because I have every intention of returning to my people when I’ve finished exploring. But I digress, and along with her I went.To Making It Happen

I got the same disgruntled reaction from both mom and dad when I managed my way out of my collar about three hours later on a walk around the neighborhood. Down the block I went in a gleeful trot, as dad chased after me. I will never understand why people don’t play chase with the same rules as dogs, but that is neither here nor there. The point is I keep forgetting why I shouldn’t do these things. Because every time I do it I think it’s going to be all kind of fun, and I’m always met with nothing but disappointment.

It all got me to thinking what it would be like if we could see what happens before it happens. Like if we could somehow see the aftermath of a decision or life choice before we make it. Would we chose differently? Would we stay the course? Sometimes I think it would help us avoid life’s potholes and make smarter decisions. But I also think sometimes you need to make the mistake to learn from it. It means more that way.

So no, I don’t think I would want to predict the future if I had the chance. Today I will renew my vow to not run away again. Because much like our past has a presence in our future, our future has a presence in our past.

To read about my first escapades on the streets of Port Washington: http://wileyschmidt.com/2013/12/29/keeps-on-giving-2/

 

Every Single Day August 2, 2014

Every year my reaction is the same. “It’s Fish Day!” mom will say. Meanwhile, my mouth starts watering and I begin to pace the hallways of my forever home because I know what this means. And as mom and dad put on their flip flops, I know the journey is about to begin.

As long as I’ve been around my forever family, it means off to Port Washington, Wisconsin we go. It is the home to lots of things, including the birthplace and childhood home of my dear forever father. But on this one special day every year it is the home to so much more. It is home to the world’s largest one-day outdoor fish fry. (Google it if you don’t believe me). And, since it is home to much of the Schmidt family, that means it’s a reason to celebrate.

Because I’m sure everyone has one. A month of birthdays. For us it’s July. In addition to my dear forever mom and several of her pals, her sister and mom have birthdays in July, as well as dear favorite little people of mine Abigail and Sam, and my forever father’s dad Gerry.

So you could say that Fish Day has taken on a life of its own for our forever family. It’s a day when we get together and celebrate by way of eating fried fish, but there is also cake. (Which means there is a little frosting to spare for everyone’s favorite four-legged friend otherwise known as me).

And this year, I was surprised to find even more meaning behind this special day. Yes, everyone was glad everyone was born. And yes, everyone loves a good piece of fried fish and birthday cake for dessert. But this year was different for my forever family. Because this year involved dear baby Carter. And he was a bit of a handful, what with all of his almost 7-month-old teething at the time. Master of the computer

But none of that mattered to his grandma Schmidt, especially since she hadn’t seen him in a few weeks. He fussed and cried and did everything he doesn’t normally do. But what I saw through her eyes that day was pure and completely uncomplicated love and appreciation for all things this little person would bring into the world.

Joy. From the ground up, I saw that in her wisdom that day. Her and my dear forever mom talked at length in the living room with no one but a sleepy Carter and myself there to hear them about life as a mom and all that entails. I’ve heard it before from other family members (like my mom’s mom and sister) too, but something seemed to come full circle that day hearing it from my grandma Schmidt. Like in some odd way everyone who loves dear baby Carter was on the same page.

This isn’t to say I didn’t know this before. But I know every year something special is going to happen at Fish Day and this year was no different. This year I was reminded there is so much more to life than fried fish (though that was and always will be very yummy). There is life. And the love that life breeds. These are the things worth celebrating not just one day a year but every single day.

 

 

 

The Mouse Will Play August 23, 2013

From sneaking people food right off the dinner table to jumping four-foot fences, I used to fancy myself a master of mischief. Somewhere along the line, I determined it was best to use my God-given brains to cause trouble because it triggered attention from people. Sometimes it was even the good kind of attention. Though they were few and far between, occasionally my behavior merited a “oh, that is so cute” comment in place of the dreaded “bad dog” nickname.

Me? Sassy? No...But something changed for me the day I escaped through the doggie door and jumped the fence of my first adoptive family. I remember feeling so disappointed when they found me and brought me home, and then (almost) relieved when they took me back to the humane society. (This ended up being a very positive thing because I met my forever people a few weeks later as a result). Forever changed for me that day as I wandered the streets of Port Washington exploring my newfound (short-lived) sense of freedom.

I’ve had it all wrong, I thought to myself when the people drove me home. “Bad dog, Zorro,” I remember the woman saying. In that moment, I realized was tired of being called a bad dog. And despite my best intentions at being bad, I was terrible at it. It was work. I don’t know why this came as such a surprise to me, since us canines tend to wear our hearts right outside our bodies for all the world to see. We can’t lie – our tails, our ears and our eyes give it away. No one is as mysterious as they think they are, especially when they have four legs and a tail. So I resolved that day to give up mischief forever. From that moment on, I would use my God-given brains to do only positive things for the world. No more bad dog. Naughty dog was a thing of the past.

But no one’s perfect. And experience has actually taught me we all need a little mischief in our lives every now and then. I know it’s happening with my people when my people call me a “little stinker” or “ball of sass.” I don’t mind – I know these are pet names, employed when just the right amount of mischief has been applied to a situation. Like when I make “the face” at mom when she’s eating a steak. Or when I paw at dad’s foot to let him know it’s time for our nightly game of fetch. And (let’s face it) I do my fair share of things that merit the occasional “bad dog” or “naughty dog” sentiment. (Barking madly at all variations of animal life on the television comes to mind). I might not be perfect, but I can say I no longer fancy myself a master of mischief. I’d much rather be the administrator of joy from the ground up.

 

 

Only in Wisconsin July 20, 2013

Cheese. Beer. The Green Bay Packers. We are known for a lot of silly things in the fabulous American state of Wisconsin. But today was something new for me. Today I attended the world’s largest one-day outdoor fish fry. Fish Day, it’s called, which sounds pretty simple all on its own.

But everything about this festival was far from simple. After an excessive heat wave, the weather lent itself to the perfect temperature that set the stage for a fabulous day. There was no wind, but still the most amazing smells wafted through the air. My nose enjoyed the cocktail of all sorts of fried goodness, kettle corn, sunscreen and people. Lots and lots of people.

The best part of it all was the people at Grandma’s house. I saw all the usual characters like my favorite little people and their parents and grandparents, but also met for the first time the majority of the extended Schmidt family. They drove up from Illinois to enjoy the day, and I was tickled pink to meet more members of my forever family.

Among them were some new (to me) little people, who embraced me without question. Literally. I got all kinds of hugs, kisses, playtime and treats from Reanna, Ryan, Emma and Grace. They range in people years from 2- to 8-years-old and I love them. We dogs fall in love pretty easily.

When I wasn’t busy making new forever friends, I enjoyed time playing pretend with my old ones. I love seeing their imaginations come together and create different scenarios. More than that, I love seeing them play together like little people regardless of their range of ages. They even made me Mr. President in our game. I wasn’t sure what to do with all of that power but smile and enjoy the show unfolding in front of me.

As compensation for my service as Mr. President I was awarded a couple of cheese curds. (Shh! Don’t tell mom!) Only in Wisconsin would a dog be treated with cheese curds. After all, it is for good reason we are known for our cheese, beer and Green Bay Packers. But while these may be favorites of visitors to our fine state, they are not my favorite thing about my forever home in the state of Wisconsin.

Before today I’d never heard of such a thing as the world’s largest one-day outdoor fish fry. But it didn’t take long for my keen doggie senses to pick up something even more special about today than the smell of fried fish wafting through the beautiful summer air. Laughter. Family. Unconditional love. We had plenty of all of these things in the state of Wisconsin today. That beats fried fish any day.

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Daily Prompt: You can’t always get what you want January 9, 2013

I had a rare and awful nightmare last night. I know people sometimes mistake doggie nightmares for dreams about chasing squirrels or playing with our favorite little people. Sadly that is not always the case.

I walked into a room, the door shut behind me, and there was nothing. It was darkness. There was nothing but blackness all around me, so I sniffed around and there was literally no water, no food, no toys, no people…and the worst part was not knowing how long I would be there. Fortunately for me (mom woke me up because I was yipping) the terror didn’t last very long. I was grateful that she put an end to the madness, but I am still thinking it over. I can say with honesty I think that scenario is among my greatest fears.

I was sleeping...Don’t get me wrong, I am a firm believer in “The Single Woman” Mandy Hale’s thought that “sometimes God takes away everything you thought you wanted to bring you everything you ever dreamed of.” I now see it as a blessing to have experienced that in the years before my people brought me to my forever home.

After all, I was devastated when that family in Port Washington returned me to the humane society. Granted, I did not necessarily enjoy sharing a home with three other (much larger dogs) and those (pain in the neck) cats they had, but I definitely wasn’t alone in the dark room. I had company, food, and shelter, and I thought that I was finally living the high life. God knew better. He knew something was missing. Most importantly, he knew that sometimes what we want is so different than what we need.

I want my own doggie sized convertible so I can go on the flit whenever I please (I’m sure I’d find my way home, right?). I want to try chocolate (even though I hear it could kill me). I want to fly (and often try with no avail). Turns out the majority of things on my “want” list are not even good for me. Its almost like there is a reason I can’t have these things.

Little did I know that the same thing was missing from that home in Port Washington as the dark room of my nightmares: Love. To me, that is more important than my doggie Porsche, the chocolate that would kill me anyway, and the flying which is probably overrated. That is what I need.

It brings to life the words of historical heroine Hannah Sanesh, whose words also inspired today’s reading with Simple Abundance. “In my life’s chain of events nothing was accidental,” she said. “Everything happened according to an inner need.”

You can’t always get what you want, as the Rolling Stones put it,  but you get what you need.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/01/09/daily-prompt-fear/