Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

The End of the Tunnel January 17, 2015

It reminds me a bit of when mom had her knee surgery. I got to spend a lot more time with her than usual as she recovered. The nights were long, and contained the occasional tearful cry at 3 a.m. that woke both dad and I up. That part was awful. But all the extra time with her was certainly the silver lining. As was hearing her tell me my snuggles helped her leg feel better. It’s kind of like that again.

Except this time, it’s my dear Aunt Morgan who is recovering. She had something called carpal tunnel surgery on her hands recently. Recovery has been far from easy for her, especially since the surgeries happened surprisingly close together, but it seems to me like the worst is definitely behind us now. Throwback Saturday

The best part is I can say so knowledgably because I’ve been fortunate enough to see it happen. I watched the faint twitch develop into a terrible inconvenience for her before the surgery. I watched her struggle to do a whole lot of anything for the first couple of weeks post-surgery, since her hands were bandaged fairly heavily. And I am happy to report I watched today as she picked up dear baby Carter (a few times) with no issue what-so-ever.

I’ve been fortunate enough to witness all of this first-paw because she’s been around my forever home a lot recently. And I’ve got to say, it bothers me when she points it out like it’s a bad thing. When she says she’s imposing or bothering us or intruding on our plans. Because she never is.

She’s a welcome presence in our forever home. We all think so. And you should see how happy Carter is to see her at any given moment. Beyond that, we all know this is a phase in life that will one day all-too-soon come to an end. So I don’t even listen to that nonsense she says about being around too much.

Instead, I embrace the moments of joy that happen when this segment of my forever family is all together. Like when she picked Carter up so many times today. That was special to me not just because of the love captured in their embrace, but because it demonstrates renewal coming full circle.

She got a fresh start with this surgery. And I know there were probably times when it seemed like the pain would never end. But it is. This too shall pass. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now and it’s a welcome sight.

 

The Truth About NYE December 31, 2014

Fancy dinners and parties and dresses and champagne. All of it is so beyond me if I’m being honest. Yet that’s what so many people will be embracing from all over the world today and tonight as we ring in the new year. There is all kinds of anticipation for this big night of refreshment and renewal and you’d probably think it’s something your resident doggie optimist would stand behind. You’d be wrong.

I actually would venture to say that this New Year’s Eve holiday is probably one of my very least favorite of those my beloved forever family chooses to celebrate. I never mind the leftover goodies from dinner (which they usually opt to make themselves at home). I definitely appreciate the extra hour or two of snuggles that happens as we all countdown to midnight. But ultimately I feel a bit like the day itself is entirely overrated.

That all changed a year ago. Dear baby Carter was born exactly a year ago today, on New Year’s Eve. I still don’t understand why I couldn’t have been there at the hospital to meet him right away, but that’s okay. I honestly had no idea the joy he would bring into our home. Into our lives.When You Wish

Beyond that, I realized as I reflected back on this year that is 2014, that he’s taught me some things about life. Perhaps most important on this eve of the new year is what he helped me figure out about this holiday. It happened every morning he woke up since the very first day he was here in our home. Rebirth. Renewal. Not every day was a good one, but that is exactly what tomorrow is for. A fresh start. A new beginning.

I think that’s what bothers me so much about this holiday. It’s not one day a year we should be celebrating life. It’s every day. Every day we wake is a blessing that should never go unnoticed. Even the challenging ones and the ones that make us wish we could go to sleep just so it can be tomorrow. Because tomorrow is indeed another day. New Year’s Day in our case. Here’s to a year filled with new beginnings.

 

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

 

My Two (Fashion) Cents July 18, 2013

It startled me at first. There I was, minding my own business, when someone else’s business looked me directly in the eye. There she was, the most beautiful West Highland Terrier I’d ever seen, all dressed up. Literally. She was walking down the street in a dress that matched her collar that matched her scarf that matched her visor. Yes, you read that right. She was wearing a visor obviously made special for a small dog, as it had teeny tiny holes for her ears to peak through. Our eyes met and she radiated this powerful positive energy that led me to believe she was incredibly happy to be waltzing down Antoine Avenue covered in matching pink fabrics.

It didn’t make any sense to me at all. I guess it would be plausible for a dog to wear clothes to keep warm, but it was a beautiful 70 degree day. There is no need for extra layers upon an already warm fur coat. But I don’t think it was a coincidence that I happened to be living with Tiger (the black lab) and his litter of puppies. They took me in as part of the family after I misjudged Tiger as the big, bad dog in the neighborhood. (When in reality, he was gruff and pushy because he was a single dad trying to provide for his family).

I learned a thing or two about the judgment trap from my experience with Tiger. First impressions aren’t all they are cracked up to be. Its never fair to judge a book by its cover. So why would it be fair to judge a dog by its clothes? Fashion is an art form, and no form of self expression should be off-limits for us canines. (Or our people for that matter). Donning the Green

I say this now, as the proud owner of a small assortment of doggie sweaters, T-shirts, and turtlenecks. I occasionally sport a timepiece people call a watch. I even have a classy blue Body Glove swimsuit top should I ever feel the need to don it. I say this as a dog who now feels naked without my collar, lost without my identity. I say this as a believer in all things artistic. All things joyful. All things alive.

Next to my collar, my favorite animal accessory is my green scarf. It was a gift from my dog groomer Mary, who gave it to me at about the same time I started this blog. It’s threadbare, dirty, and falling apart so mom doesn’t let me wear it anymore. But it wears itself on my heart. Symbolically speaking, green is a color of renewal. Rebirth. Life.

I get it now. It’s not about matching pink outfits or visors with holes for doggie ears to poke through. It’s not about how many collars you have or whether you have that sweater in enough color variations. Sweaters, T-shirts, and timepieces aside, a the art of self-expression never goes out of style. “Fashion fades,” as fashion icon Coco Chanel put it, “only style remains the same.”

To read the story of how I met and befriended Tiger: http://wileyschmidt.com/2013/03/14/forget-first-impressions/