Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

A Heart Full February 27, 2015

There are now two cribs in my forever home. Two closets filled with tiny clothes. Two car seats. Two changing tables. And if I’m being honest, it’s all a bit overwhelming. But if there is something I would prefer not to hear again any time soon, it’s a set of words I find condescending and unnecessary.

“You’re definitely going to have your hands full,” people have been saying to my forever parents. It’s been uttered by friends and family. It’s been referenced by doctors and nurses. It’s even been joked about by complete strangers at the grocery store. And while 18 months (to the day) is not a big gap between little people by any means, it is certainly not one to be condescending about either. Thinking in the Nursery

Because while this may not have been in my parent’s play book for the ideal sibling spacing situation, it wasn’t up to them. From my perspective, it may not have been their plan, but it was certainly God’s plan. And that’s what matters.

Now that I’ve experienced infancy through early toddlerhood, I feel like I can say with some sense of (albeit doggie) authority that I think any sort of spacing would come with its fair share of pros and cons. In our case, I’m happy my people won’t be pushing the reset button after Carter is grown enough that they have forgotten how to survive through sleepless nights. Diapers and bottles and all things baby are all still fresh on their minds.

I know it won’t be easy. I’m just mentally prepared for a couple of pretty challenging years.

But beyond any of that, I heard mom say something today that put things in perspective for me. She was on the phone for work and I’m not sure who she was talking to. I cringed when I heard whoever it was say “you’re going to have your hands full.” Mom didn’t bat an eyelash.

“That’s probably true, but at least I’ll have a heart full too.”

It’s true there are now some doubles of baby things in the house. Soon it will probably look even more like a day care than the organized oasis of peace I once knew. But I’m okay with that. Because I know what mom said is true. These things are signs of what is to come. Right along with the extra crib and diapers and sleepless nights will be more love than any of us knew we even had in our hearts. And that right there is more than worth the extra trouble.

 

A Kindness Too Soon November 22, 2014

Stop. Pause. Breathe. If people could learn tricks, that is what I wish I could tell them to do this time of year.

I’ve said before the holidays are a favorite time of mine, what with all the family time and music and snow and snuggling. There are few things about the holidays I don’t enjoy. But there is one thing in particular that gets to me. It happens every single year and seems to intensify as the countdown to Christmas continues.

I Am Listening!People get rude. Pushy. Rushed. And completely inconsiderate of those around them. I don’t witness much of it in person, but I hear plenty of stories exchanged between my forever people to know what’s up. It drives me crazy. Not just because it’s the season of giving. Gratitude. Unconditional love. But because of the impact this behavior has. Negativity has an awful way of spreading like a disease no one can control, and while I would hate to see that happen at any point in time, it bothers me most around the holidays.

“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late,” suggested one of my favorite transcendentalist thinkers Ralph Waldo Emerson. If there is a reason to rush this holiday season, that’s the reason.

Because this is supposed to be a season of kindness. A season to share love with others who may otherwise not receive it. This is supposed to be a time of joy, and any ignorant person in a parking lot who steals a spot from an elderly lady or shoves their way in front of someone in line or loses patience with the overworked clerk who is only in the challenging position because the store is understaffed…well, they are doing nothing but stealing joy from other people. Not sharing it.

So I say stop. Pause. Breathe. Remember what the season is really about. It’s not about the gifts or the wrapping paper or the perfect Christmas tree. Its about joy. From the ground up, that is the real reason for the season.

 

 

With My Thoughts March 4, 2014

I thought I had forgotten what it sounds like. Which is okay with me, since I never really cared for it in the first place. But I’m not going to lie. Today it wasn’t so bad. Silence. From the ground up, the sounds of silence brought me joy today.

It was the first day in what feels like a very long time that I was all alone at my forever home for an extended period of time. In the past, this would have made me a bit melancholy. I would have spent the majority of the time wishing I were with them on whatever adventure they were encountering. But today they took with them all things noisy and it wasn’t so bad. Deep thinking

I think everyone needs some alone time every now and then, so I can’t say I minded it. There I was, alone with my thoughts. Alone to count my blessings. Like my spot basking in the afternoon glow in the windowsill. And the treats they left me as a consolation prize for not accompanying them on their journey. And my family. My beloved family.

Suddenly I missed them so. They hadn’t been gone long at all, and (based on the amount of things I saw bursting from the diaper bag) I knew they would be gone quite a while longer. So I made the most of it. I made the most of my time alone with nothing but my doggie bed and the silence I hadn’t realized I missed.

It’s funny what perspective can do to your thoughts. Silence is generally not my friend, yet it was today because it allowed me to reflect on the power thoughts can have on emotions.

“You are the architect of your own destiny,” suggests motivational speaker Brian Tracy. “You are the master of your own fate; you are behind the steering wheel of your life. There are no limitations to what you can do, have, or be. Accept the limitations you place on yourself by your own thinking.”

I didn’t think it was possible. But it’s true what they say about absence making the heart grow fonder. I was so very happy to see them return from what appears to be an epic shopping excursion. It didn’t matter that they didn’t bring anything for me. Because they brought themselves. Home. From the ground up, that’s the best thing that happened all day.

 

When You’re Down January 26, 2014

Please don’t laugh. It was a big time adventure for mom and I today. She took me with her to an especially exciting destination on what was her first venture out of the house in almost a week. The grocery store! It doesn’t mean much for me, other than a brief car ride to and from, with a quick nap on the driver’s seat in between.On the Road Again

But it was more than that. I was mom’s copilot again. Amidst the last several weeks since baby Carter’s arrival, I’ve missed alone time with her. So that made what some might call a routine drive into something kind of special for me. And then it happened.

I looked around and noticed some serious changes since my last car ride around the holidays. It was all holly and jolly with twinkle lights and Christmas wreaths and joy. From the ground up, the holiday season was everywhere.

Not anymore. Today was a dreary day in Wisconsin. I don’t even think it hit the anticipated high of 26 degrees. And we face more frigid temperatures (with wind chills estimated in the -50 degree range) in the days to come. The sky was grey. And there are no twinkle lights left to bring any holly or jolly. To be honest, it is a pretty depressing sight to be seen.

So there are no more twinkle lights. We just need to make our own. I know it’s silly, but I found such joy in my car ride today. Because I’m not in the business of all things sad. As mom went inside the grocery store and I cuddled into a cozy ball, I fought to find a silver lining in these doldrums that surround us.

I know its tough not to let such things take a negative effect on emotions. But thinking about the negative inspires positivity for me. That is what joy from the ground up is all about. When you’re down, there is no where to go but up. Or on a car ride to nowhere. That always does the trick.

 

Recharging Life December 16, 2013

Momma said there’d be days like this. Well, not my momma. But apparently this is a message moms everywhere chose to communicate to whomever will listen. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how proudly we optimists wear our rose-colored glasses. It doesn’t matter that we chose to see the good in all people, places and things. Because ultimately we can’t always control when the battery runs out.Recharging My Battery

Literally. That is how my beloved people began their Monday. The battery went out on one of the cars, which made them both late for work. There was no turning back from there. I don’t know what happens to either of them when they are away, but I know what happens when they return. And on a rare occasion like today, I can’t say I care for it.

Clearly they both had very little emotional battery left upon their return this evening. I don’t think it’s a coincidence either. The car, which (at least in my humble doggie opinion) normally functions as a mode of transportation to various sources of joy instead gave them grief. When money is already tight. And temperatures are bitterly frigid.

That’s the thing about days like today. Most times you don’t see them coming. But that’s not such a bad thing, because the tides can turn just as quickly in the other direction. It’s not always easy, but it certainly didn’t take much today. My people were sad. Tired. Disgruntled.

So I did what I do best. I engaged in a game of pickle in the middle with my newest addition to my comfort circle cast of characters. Mr. Squirrel is floppy, unlike the majority of my other toys, and he did just the trick. It started with dad. We played tug of war on the living room floor. Laughter followed smiles. Then it caught on with mom. Joy. From the ground up. It’s a pretty effective way of recharging one’s emotional batteries, that much is for sure.

Dad swapped out the battery for a new one. I swapped out the negative energy in our house for the positive. Maybe that’s why my momma never said there’d be days like this. Just because we can’t control when or how the battery runs out doesn’t mean we don’t have the power and strength within us to recharge.

 

Survival in the Real World December 14, 2013

It’s a pretty crazy world out there. Yesterday was Friday the 13th and (though neither of them believe in the meaning of such things), both my mom and dad came home regaling a series of unfortunate events involving unexpectedly odd amounts of crazy. Their stories were incredibly different, yet one thing bound them together. Negativity. Not enough money. Not enough time. Not enough heart to practice common courtesy around others.

Going Somewhere?Mom would never have expected that nicely dressed elderly woman to literally push another woman out of the way over a bar of luxury bath soap. But it happened. Dad didn’t believe his eyes when he witnessed a near hit-and-run accident in the parking lot over a spot that was literally five feet away from the next closest spot. Wherever that person was going sure must have been important.

Regardless of the source, this negativity thing is like it’s very own breed of pollution. Its own unique type of noise that keeps us from hearing the music. And it sneaks up on you in the oddest of ways to tear away at your resolve. To bring you down. And ultimately to make you weak. It’s all so frustrating to me. I would much rather be strong. And I can be, when I am armed with the most powerful weapon.

Optimism keeps me strong. As milk is to bones, optimism is to my soul. So when I think about what can be done to reverse the pollution in our society, I think it comes down to us. The fighters. The people who resolve to retain a positive outlook amidst life’s most challenging curve balls.

“Negativity is an addiction to the bleak shadow that lingers around every human form,” proposed Irish poet John O’Donohue. “You can transfigure negativity by turning it toward the light of your soul.”

It can be pretty crazy out there. It’s enough to make me second guess my occasional bitterness that I am not allowed to accompany my people to literally everywhere outside our forever home. But negativity has no place in my home, nor out there in the world. Because the real world is what we make it, not what it tells us it should be.