Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Hurry Up (and wait) February 3, 2015

Twenty two minutes. It doesn’t seem like a long time, but for me it was an eternity. I was ready to go the moment I heard my forever mom say it. “Want to go play in the snow when dad gets home?” she asked dear baby Carter. Unlike me, he didn’t really register much about her words other than the word “dad.” But I knew fun was in the near future and I was ready. Waiting

What I wasn’t ready for was the preparation it would take for my people to be ready. There were snow pants and hats and mittens and boots.  And layers (and layers) of clothes. Mom and Carter weren’t feeling the best yesterday, so no caution was spared in terms of ensuring they were cozy and warm. The same goes for dad when he got home a few minutes later. All said and done, it took twenty two minutes for my forever family to be backyard ready.

Fresh snowflakes fell from the sky as family playtime ensued in the foot (or so) of snow we were walloped with the other day. I stood back and watched as poor Carter sank into the snow. Moving wasn’t really an option at that point, but that didn’t change the smile on his face. I watched as he laid back and watched the snowflakes fall, covering his eyelashes like angel dust. I watched as my parents sat by his side and took it all in.

And I realized as I watched that if I could make a snowglobe, it would look just like this. With my people and their joy and love and happiness filling the space between the snow in the sky and the snow on the ground.

Even if it all only lasted six minutes. It took twenty two minutes to get ready. From the layers (and layers) of clothes to the snow pants and jackets and hats and mittens and boots, it was quite the process. But even though it took more than three times as long to prepare for the big backyard outing as it did to actually enjoy it, waiting was only part of the fun.

Joy. From the ground up, it doesn’t have to last any longer than a snowflake that melts the instant it meets a person’s skin. Because it lives on in our hearts.

 

 

 

 

No Waste of Time January 4, 2015

It’s been a good run. My dear forever dad has been home from that place called work for what feels like ages. He gets a break each year when his work shuts down during the holidays. Though the time off is nothing new for us, something about this time seemed special somehow. Pausing to smell the snowflakes

I couldn’t really say why until today. It was kind of a mystery to me why this felt so different this time. We celebrated the holidays (mostly) as we always do. There was love and joy with family and friends. There were a few days when they left to go somewhere exciting where dogs weren’t allowed. I was fine with that because of all of the positive energy I felt from them upon their return. (That, and they were never gone too long on account of dear baby Carter’s napping schedule). And there was an unconventional New Year’s that was more about Carter’s first birthday than anything else. All of it was special in its own rite, but that’s not that unusual in itself around here.

So today when mom said it, a light bulb illuminated my heart. This is the longest stretch of time dad has been home with Carter since he was born. And that didn’t go unnoticed by him or Carter, believe me. In the last week and a half, Carter has perfected his pronunciation of “dada,” favors him for many parts of his daily routine, and chases after him all over the house.

As I’ve watched this all unfold, I thought it might start to bother my dear forever mom. As his primary caregiver, I thought maybe she’d be jealous of this behavior. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I knew it as her and dad reflected on the events of the last few weeks. From Carter’s birthday party to the family time in the snow yesterday to the time they spent together doing nothing at home today as another snow storm made its way through our area, it’s been a pretty great stretch.

That all ends tomorrow when everything goes back to reality. Work. From the ground up, it’s not one of my favorite things. But as tonight makes its way into tomorrow, I figure it’s better to embrace everything that has made this last couple of weeks so memorable. Because that is exactly why these kinds of breaks are important. Not only do they have the power to make reality a lot more bearable, but they remind us of what’s important in life. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the rat race and forget what it’s all about.

As British thinker John Lubbock once said “rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”

In our case it was pausing to make snow angels as beautiful snowflakes painted the sky, but it’s all the same to me.

 

In A Moment January 3, 2015

I woke up smiling today. I didn’t know why at first (as I sometimes don’t), but I encountered the reason as soon as I made my way outside to my backyard paradise for my early morning stroll. Snow. From the ground up, it has always been a favorite source of joy for me. I know some people (especially anyone who plows or shovels it, or tries to drive in it) don’t particularly care for the stuff. But I love it.

It’s so simple and understated as it falls silently from the sky, covering everything in a snow blanket of diamonds. Happy memories abound for me and especially my forever mom, who has on occasion been so excited to get outside and play in the snow with me that she has abandoned all common sense to do so. (Coats and boots? Who needs them?)

Family in the snow

Today was no exception to this, as we got our first significant snow that dear baby Carter could enjoy. It has been an unusually warm and dry winter in Wisconsin thus far, with hardly any snow to date. Though I’m sure the headaches involved with snow were not terribly missed, I could tell my forever mom was waited with baited breath for this day. This day when she could share her child-like appreciation of the simplicity that is snow with her son.

There was no forgetting boots and coats this time around either. Carter was so very bundled by the time we made it outside that I wasn’t sure he’d be able to move. True to form, he figured it out.

Really it’s no surprise I woke up with a smile today. Because in the matter of a few hours, there we were. Mom and dad and Carter and aunt Morgan and I, playing together in the snow like a bunch of ninnies. Dancing like no one was watching. There were snowballs. And giggles. And silliness. We played and they laughed and I couldn’t tell whether my tail wagging or their laughter came first. Joy. In a moment, there it is.

 

On Stupid Friendship November 24, 2014

I thought it was a terribly stupid idea. I’ll be honest and come right out and say that. In doing so, I’ll stand by dad on what mom insisted was the wrong side of the fence. Because to us it was a no-brainer. Today we had the first significant snow event of the winter and I know the havoc that wreaks on people.

Not necessarily the people I love, but people in general completely forget how to drive for the first few snow storms each year. Accidents clutter the freeways, cars fill the ditches, and sirens seem to run almost as rigorously as the snow plows and salt trucks. Snowy Dreaming

That’s why tonight was not a good time for people to come over to my forever home. Obviously mom did not know when she planned an event she referred to as “Friends-giving” that mother nature herself would try to put a damper on an otherwise festive evening. Nonetheless, she could have called it off several times on account of the weather, as dad and I thought she should.

She suggested it, sure. A couple of times. But no one agreed to postpone a dinner they had looked forward to since it was finalized on the schedule several weeks ago. Friends-giving was on, snow or no snow. And as it turned out I may have been wrong on this one.

There was turkey and potatoes and vegetables and rolls and all kinds of other goodness (which means there were table scraps for me). There was love, which has its way of seeping through all the concern about the weather. And there was joy. From the ground up, Friends-giving brought joy to life tonight.

As the night drew to a close and a few of mom’s dearest and closest friends packed up to leave, I knew for sure I hadn’t misjudged the situation. It’s never easy for me to admit wrongdoing, but I have decided not to budge on this one. Because I know dad and I were right. It was dangerous what they did tonight, braving the storm to come together. Yet that’s exactly what they did. They came together. And it was worth it. Everyone traveled safely after sharing a delicious meal with great people.

“It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them,” suggested transcendentalist thinker Ralph Waldo Emerson.

As we celebrate a holiday about pausing to count our blessings, I’ve paused tonight to count mine. What my dear mom (and her friends) did tonight was stupid, but I guess it’s okay to be stupid sometimes. Because they were in it together. And their hearts were in the right place. I suppose that’s what friendship is all about.

 

Those Who Wait November 16, 2014

Waiting drives me crazy. I don’t care whether it’s good news or bad, just give it to me straight and give it to me now. I don’t like waiting for my people to get back from that place called work or practicing my least favorite tricks (which involve waiting and staying). Waiting is not for the dogs.

Winter has arrived around here, complete with our first measurable snowfall. I love everything about the snow and the joy it seems to surround this time of year. Excitement abounds as people start putting together plans for holiday festivities and parties and all things involving delicious food and time with loved ones. How High?

But I find this thing happens all to frequently as far as the seasons are concerned. Just as a new one starts, we find ourselves anxiously anticipating, waiting, for the next. I find this happens even more so with winter, since there are the obvious drawbacks to snow-covered roads when attempting to travel safely to one of the aforementioned festivities. People wait for spring and when spring comes they wait for summer. And so on.

While I do have an (albeit learned and carefully practiced) appreciation for patience, waiting drives me crazy. I think it’s to do with the passive nature of it almost as much as the implication that today isn’t good enough. I know the great and infamous “they” say good things come to those who wait, but I disagree. For the most part, good things come just as frequently to those who live in the moment. Who don’t wait. Who decide that today is a day to embrace rather than wish to be over just so we can be one step closer to tomorrow.

I know my mom is guilty of this all to often. She puts so much emotional energy in planning for something that when it comes it is almost a let down as it happens. Mostly because she wants it to be just so. She wants it to be perfect. And she gets so tied up in that she misses the joy in the moment.

That’s why I believe in the practice of patience, which Christian author Joyce Meyer describes well when she suggests “patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” I figured out today why waiting drives me so crazy. It’s because I’d rather be living.

 

 

Winter. Is. Coming. October 4, 2014

I’ve heard people talking about it for days. It started with something so tiny that popped up all over people’s (not-so) Smartphones. A glimmer of something that glitters but is not gold around here. A snowflake showed up on the forecast for today, and people were not happy to see it.

Being that it is so early in October, most of us Wisconsinites aren’t quite ready for the snowy white stuff. Except for me, that is! I suppose it might have something to do with the fact that I have nothing to do with the cleanup of it, nor the navigation through it. I get to enjoy it for what it is. And to me it is beautiful. Playing in the snow

So (please don’t tell everyone else in the state of Wisconsin I said this, but) I was actually the slightest bit disappointed when the snowflake on the forecast didn’t happen in my neck of the woods. There were some minor snow showers in other parts of the state, and (believe me) people were pretty upset about it. But not here.

All the weather-related pandemonium of the last few days did get me to thinking, though, about the inevitable winter that awaits us. It’s just around the corner. It was a frigid 40 degrees today around here, and while that is nothing compared to the subzero temperatures of this past January and February, it felt pretty darned cold. That is what I don’t look forward to about winter.

But there are a lot of good things to think about too. Like (gasp!) the snow, for me at least. And the cuddling – I love the cuddling. And the Christmas music and the lights and the traditions and all the extra time with extended family during the holiday season. And this year will be extra special because dear baby Carter will turn one whole year old.

So yes, winter is indeed coming as sure as I know my name is Wiley. And while I might be in the minority of those around me, I am more than okay with that. Warmth. From the ground up, it’s found in more than the what the forecast says. It’s found in our lives, in our minds, and in our hearts.

 

Go With The Flow April 14, 2014

There was a warmth in the air that found its way to my heart the other day. After what has been one of the historically worst winters ever in Wisconsin, it was 70 degrees. The grass was dried out from months of being blanketed with snow. But the air was warm and all was well with the world.

That was three days ago. Today it is 25 degrees and snowing. It was like night and day. In addition to wreaking havoc on the sinuses of my beloved people, the severe change in temperature is playing games with our hearts around here. Cold and wet

As I fought the urge to stay outside a little longer regardless of the cold, it occurred to me. It’s not really a surprise. It’s part of the reality of living where I live. It’s nothing new. Sure, this winter was exceptionally challenging. But we don’t live in a part of the world where there are hurricanes or tornadoes or earthquakes or tsunamis.

We live in a part of the world with four distinct seasons that bring with them their own sources of joy. From the ground up, that is what I forced myself to remember as I made my way back into the warmth of my forever home. If it wasn’t this it would be something else.

And what is the use complaining about it then? Ultimately it is one of those things we can’t control. And that’s okay.

“Complaining is a dangerous business,” suggests theologian Joyce Meyer. “It can damage or even destroy your relationship with God, your relationship with other people, and even with your relationship with yourself.”

I don’t know about you, but I think I would go crazy if I tried to control everything anyway. Instead I go with the flow and find peace in the renewal of spring. It’s coming. Until then I have the warmth of positivity to keep me warm.

 

A Sea of Gray March 13, 2014

Apparently it’s normal. But I’m not going to lie, it is kind of freaking me out. I haven’t seen mom cry this much (this randomly) since the last time we watched Marley and Me. Which, coincidentally was today. (Probably not the best idea, given her tender emotional state).

I’m just glad it doesn’t seem to involve me. Or at least it didn’t, until I involved myself. She was crying tonight (for what seems like the millionth time in the last 48 hours) as she rocked baby Carter to sleep because it’s the last time she will do so on a weeknight before she’s working again. It seems a silly reason to me, since it will clearly not be the last time she rocks my dear little person to sleep. But its all going to be different now, she told dad. This Too Shall Pass

It has definitely become one of those lose-lose situations for dad and I, since neither of us can seem to say or do anything to help. So he did what he does best and gave her a hug and a kiss on the forehead and told her we have a lifetime of nights like this ahead of us. Which made her cry more. So I did what I do best and shoved my way into the love fest. Which made her cry more. You see? Lose-lose situation.

But as I thought more about it, it’s not so much the situation itself that seems to be causing these emotions. It’s the thought of transition. The fear of the unknown. I know it all too well. As a family we have been in flux for some time now waiting for the baby to arrive and living through the first precious months, and now moving on with life involves a different kind of change. Transition. From the ground up, it can be a pretty scary thing.

It reminds me a bit of the situation in our backyard right now. As much as I love snow, I cannot stand what it looks like in transition. It’s sloppy and goopy and (worst of all) an awful dreary mixture of gray and brown. A sea of gray. Not to mention the stuff underneath that apparently used to be grass. Now it just looks like mushy brown death.

Just as this is a normal occurrence, apparently this emotional struggle mom is encountering is also fairly common. But here’s the important thing. Eventually all of the gray snow melts away. The grass doesn’t stay brown and sloppy forever. In just a few weeks time, it will be vibrant and beautiful again. My backyard paradise will be restored. The same can be said for this time we are in right now – it’s messy and emotional and that’s okay. Because I know in my heart these fears will be brought to purpose and the sun will shine again.

 

 

The Luck We Make January 17, 2014

I don’t mean to be rude. Quite the opposite in fact. I make it a business of mine to speak the truth in love. Even if it hurts. And even though I can’t speak. (At least not on command).

JoyTruth. From the ground up, I have some to share today. It occurred to me as I watched more snow diamonds fall from heaven. Snow is a pretty common occurrence in the beautiful state of Wisconsin, but it never ceases to amaze me with its understated beauty. In today’s peaceful stillness of the snowfall I found myself counting the flakes, each one a reminder of the blessings I have in life.

Family. Love. Loyalty. So many things money can’t buy, all at my paws at a moment’s notice. But I wouldn’t say this makes me lucky. The truth is, I wouldn’t call myself lucky. Friends and family call me this all the time and I tend to disagree. But not for reasons one might think.

I’m not bitter. I have no reason to be negative. But I believe in a lot of things, and luck isn’t one of them. Luck implies happenstance. Chance. Random good fortune. I’ve had too much good in my life happen to believe in such things.

Instead I count my blessings. Each one is unique and brings me a different kind of joy. Like today when baby Carter grabbed my paw in his sleep. My heart surged in that moment and I instantly forgave him for all the screaming he’s been doing morning, noon and night.

No snowflake is alike, and no true and lasting moment of joy is either. Each is a blessing of its own, entirely separate from this think called luck. Truth. From the ground up, I mean no disrespect to anyone who believes in luck. Instead I tend to side with World War II general Douglas MacArthur, who once suggested “the best luck of all is the luck you make for yourself.” And my luck isn’t luck at all. It’s joy. From the ground up, this is the truth I speak in love.

 

Also It Snowed January 14, 2014

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 8:47 pm
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It snowed today. And (even with a two-week-old newborn to care for) mom still made some time to play with me outside. (She even remembered to put on practical snow boots first!)

I love snow, but not as much as I love my forever mom.

Snow

Related posts

Snow: My Blanket of Diamonds – http://wileyschmidt.com/2013/02/07/snow-my-blanket-of-diamonds/

A Snow Globe Life – http://wileyschmidt.com/2013/12/17/a-snow-globe-life/

Pilot Post – Joy: From the Ground Uphttp://wileyschmidt.com/2012/12/21/joy-from-the-ground-up/