Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Feel My Love April 9, 2015

From fluffy blankets and rays of sunshine to hugs and smiles, warmth happens in a variety of ways. And I love all of them.

So last night and today when the sky cried really, really (really) hard, it became a priority of mine (as it always does) to make sure my warmth was felt. This is not that unlike most days, yet there is something different about days like today. Getting cozy

The dreary, chilly, wet days when the sun keeps its distance and is replaced by thunder and lightning. I’ve never minded the actual weather pattern as I know some of my canine pals do. Instead, I mind the impact it has on the world around me and do what I can to adapt.

There was nothing all that unusual about what I did this afternoon as my dear forever mom settled down to get some work done during dear baby Carter’s nap time. She sat first on a loveseat, where I immediately snuggled myself in very (very) close to her.

She had to go to the bathroom a couple minutes later, so I followed her upstairs and kept her company while she did her business. Then she settled into the couch instead of the loveseat, and I again found my snuggly self a spot that I knew would keep us both cozy. And warm. In more ways than one.

I guess she must not have been very comfortable (as has been happening more frequently lately now that she’s in the home stretch of pregnancy) because she moved back to the loveseat a few minutes later. Again I followed, making sure we were cozy and warm.

It was then that she paused and gave me a good long once over. It was then I knew she felt the warmth I intended her to feel with my presence. She smiled, and scratched some of my favorite places, and for at least those few moments I knew I’d done my job for the day.

I know there are comfy blankets and rays of sunshine that can do it. I know there are smiles and hugs that can do it, too. But for me, the ways of warmth don’t stop there. Snuggles do the trick, too.

 

All Toasty Inside February 14, 2015

It’s one of those things you almost had to see to believe. And I had no idea what was happening until it was too late.

My fur froze today. It honest-to-goodness turned into icicles. I had just finished drinking up the majority of the contents of my water bowl before going outside and I swear it only took a matter of a second or two. That frigid cold Wisconsin winter air hit my wet chin furs and bam! Chin fur icicles. I’ve experienced some epic cold days, but I can’t say I remember that ever happening before. Me and My Shadow

At a high temperature hovering around a whopping seven degrees, it was the coldest Valentine’s Day I can remember experiencing. And I’m not going to lie. It kind of put a damper on things. There was a variety of local festivals and other events to keep the whole family busy today, but my forever family wanted nothing to do with any of that.

Usually my people make an elaborate surf and turf dinner together in the kitchen or they go out to a fancy restaurant. This year they ordered a heart-shaped delivery pizza and called it good enough.

I know my mom well enough to know that she increasingly frustrated as the day went on that nothing was going according to tradition. Disappointment. From the ground up, it would definitely qualify as one of my least favorite people emotions.

But that seemed to change tonight as we made some new traditions. Though I gathered the pizza itself to be a bit underwhelming, the idea of it was something they had a lot of fun with. Carter had a nice long nap this afternoon, so he was a hyper little bundle of joy who earned himself an extra hour of playtime before bed with all the smiling and crazy giggling he was doing.

It might not sound like the picture-perfect romantic celebration to everyone. And that’s fine. But I know that this will qualify as one of those days we not only cherish now, but will all look back on fondly someday. Because it may have been cold enough to turn my fur into tiny little icicles outside, but the love in my home made it all toasty inside. To me that’s what love day should really be about.

 

Little Star November 19, 2014

Winter is here. Remember those posts about it knocking at the door? It has arrived in all of its snowy, frigid goodness. With it I’ve already gotten more snuggles than I knew in the summer months, which I think is one of my favorite things about winter in Wisconsin.

Tonight I discovered another silver lining to being cooped up inside for the better part of the next several months. It’s a new one this winter, and while I can’t say I wasn’t expecting it in some ways, it still took me by surprise.Ground Up Thinking

An old favorite of mine has resumed on an almost daily basis as we play together as a family for a bit before Carter’s bedtime. Your resident pickle in the middle is back. Mom and dad throw a toy of mine back and forth while I chase around trying to intercept it. Meanwhile, Carter sits by giggling at the action. And when he gets the toy for some reason, he gives it to me like he knows he is a co-conspirator.

Tonight’s game really wore me out, and when it was over I snuggled myself into mom’s legs on the floor as she and dad took to playing some sort of silliness with Carter. That’s when something new happened. Dad turned off all the lights in the basement except for this little nightlight that is shaped like a doggie (of course) that projects an image of stars onto the ceiling.

I couldn’t help it. The scene as my three favorite people in the world laid on the floor together looking up at the fake stars warmed my heart. ‘Twinkle twinkle, little star,’ mom sang softly. “How I wonder what you are. Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky. Twinkle twinkle, little start, how I wonder what you are.”

I made a wish as mom sang her song and dad and Carter and I listened. I wished with all my might for something I can’t share. (I can’t say or it won’t come true).

As the moment ended and the bedtime routine ensued, I found myself again thanking my lucky stars that winter is here. With all its snuggly, snowy, frigid goodness. And that’s okay by me.

 

A Little Sunshine October 16, 2014

It’s a pretty easy thing to take for granted. It’s there so much more than it isn’t, so I think that’s part of the problem. But I’ve certainly missed it around here the last few days. Sunshine. From the ground up, its light has the power to warm the soul. Backyard Happiness

I do sincerely love and appreciate the beauty of fall and all the things it brings with it. This you know. The last few days I was reminded why I sometimes doubt my love of this spectacular season. It has been cloudy and rainy and downright dreary for four or five days now. I find its easier to lose count when you succumb to the darkness.

I didn’t even realize I had indeed let the weather get to me until the sun slowly revealed itself this afternoon. It was like seeing a long lost friend. There I was in one of my favorite spots in my forever home – the windowsill in the living room. (My beloved forever people call it my perch). As the light shined in through the blinds, I felt it warm my fur and somehow it seemed to soak right through to my soul.

It must have had a similar effect on mom, because it was a matter of a few seconds before dear baby Carter was bundled up and in his stroller and it was time for a walk around my neighborhood. The crisp fall air smelled so much better with the light shining down around us. The leaves fell from the trees in the beautiful silent way they do. I pranced. Carter giggled. Mom smiled. It was a happy moment for the three of us.

It was a reminder to me to cherish the sunshine. It was a reminder not to let the darkness get to me because the sun will shine again. It was a reminder to live in the moment instead of longing for something you can’t have. Because if you do these things, there is no way the dreary things in life can conquer your spirit. If you do these things, you bottle up the sunshine for the bad days. If you do these things, you have the power to warm your own soul, whether or not the sun is shining.

Take that, dreary Wisconsin fall.

 

Circle of Love March 29, 2014

I don’t get out much. Between the never-ending frigidness that has been this winter and my forever people’s recent attachment to being home with my little person, it’s a reality of life lately. Walks around the neighborhood have been fairly nonexistent in this weather. Car rides are few and far between. And the dog park has been covered either in feet of snow or layers of ice for months. Such is life.Circle of Love

Every time I find myself feeling down about it something magical happens. This morning it happened during snuggle time. It’s always been part of Saturday morning in the Schmidt home in one way or another but its been different since baby Carter came home.

Until today. Today was special somehow because I was nestled between dad and Carter, and Carter was snuggled on mom, who was holding hands with dad. There we were. The four of us. Our own little circle of love. In that moment nothing outside that circle mattered.

The moment passed, the day went on, and I didn’t think it could get any better. But it did. Because today, after what feels like a very long time without leaving the house, I got to go on a car ride. Better yet, the car ride was to see extended members of the circle of love at Grandma Schmidt’s house.

My time there today more than made up for all of the time inside this winter. Not because I was the center of attention. That role obviously went to baby Carter. (It’s okay. I’m used to it.) Today I felt so much warmth, so much joy, it melted all that remains of winter away. It doesn’t matter whether it happens at my forever home or elsewhere. I was born to be with these people. From the ground up, such is life.

 

 

The Truth About Cuddling January 21, 2014

The sun deceived me today. There it was, all bright and happy, tempting me with its beauty. After a few days of dreary Wisconsin winter, it was a breath of fresh air waking to the beautiful sunrise this morning. I couldn’t wait to get outside to soak it all in.

I (not-so-patiently) waited my turn while mom changed, fed, and rocked baby Carter back to sleep. Then it was my turn. It was breathtaking. Literally. It took my breath away. It was all kind of sunny and a whopping two degrees outside. I was devastated.

I shouldn’t have been surprised. I know this is the norm in Wisconsin this time of year. But when I woke up and saw that beautiful sunshine, it’s like my months got all switched around. Suddenly it was July 30 and Carter and I were playing in the grass together. It was warm, but not just from the sun. It was warm from the love. From the ground up, love warmed my heart thinking about all the fun I have to look forward to this summer.

The breathless start to my morning was a pretty clear reminder that some time needs to pass between now and then. Some chilly and potentially dreary time. But as I am not in the habit of wishing time away, I realized later today it is a time to embrace.

Who needs the sun anyway? The sun may have deceived me today, but its message did not. Sometimes even when its sunny we need to make our own warmth. Because true warmth starts in the heart.Tummy time for two

So that’s what I did today. I snuggled with baby Carter and I had all the warmth I needed. Scientists undermine such things, attributing a dog’s desire to cuddle as purely logical. People are warm, so we cuddle. While there is some truth to that, warmth is not just a physical thing. There is more than one kind of warmth, and it is both kinds we canines seek in cuddling. The main source of warmth is that which we feel in our hearts when we are close to our people. Next to that, physical warmth is just a bonus.

 

 

Come In From the Cold December 7, 2013

It happens in an instant. And a few minutes later it’s gone. Call me crazy, but I get the zaniest surge of energy from being outside in the cold. It is 11 degrees in Wisconsin right now, which feels downright toasty compared to the 3 degrees it was earlier this morning.

And I love it. It’s like a volt of electricity coursing through my veins. It charges me up in a few short moments so much that I run around the house like a ninny for several minutes upon returning inside. If they made a 5-hour energy drink for dogs, this would be it. But just like those energy drinks, the moment passes. The high is inevitably short-lived. Not to mention there is a very thin line between just enough and way too much time outside in such frigid temperatures.Running Joy

It reminds me a bit of one of those late-night infomercials mom has been skimming over when the little person’s kicks wake her in the night. The salespeople are pitching all of these gadgets and gizmos that they promise will make life easier in one way or another. Yet I fear these too are quick fixes. So many of these things are not really solving a problem as much as they are pacifying them.

It made me wonder what I would tell the world if I had 15 minutes of air time (and could speak people obviously). Tonight when I came back in from the cold I got my answer. I was running amuck with no particular destination in mind. I galloped down the hallway to the master bedroom and that’s when it happened. Joy from the ground up. Literally. My people both got down to my level and we all played together. My joy (albeit sparked artificially by something in the freezing cold Wisconsin air) was contagious.

In that moment I knew what I would share with the world in my 15 minutes of fame. My sales pitch wouldn’t be a momentary fix. It wouldn’t promise five hours of energy. There wouldn’t be any of that “order in the next five minutes” and “limited-time offer” business. Forget the gadgets and gizmos. I know what will really make life easier in the long-term. Joy. In my world, it is not a limited time offer. It’s a way of life. And its warmth will outlast the cold every single time.

 

A Midsummer’s Spell June 23, 2013

The weather cast a spell on me today.

I’ve always been one to appreciate lounging in the sun on a hot summer day (who isn’t?), but today I was obsessive about it. Forget the refreshing comfort of air conditioning and bring on the warming comfort of the heat, I thought. You can imagine  my disappointment when this became a point of contention with my mom and dad. I heard them talking about the heat and how I shouldn’t be in it very long…something about 100 degree heat indexes. Whatever that meant.

This is my beg face

So I begged and whined and pestered until I got my way, albeit in five-to-ten minute increments (for my alleged safety). Each time I was barely out the door before I found my comfy spot in the grass and instantly I was in heaven. Weather is one of those unbelievable constant sources of inspiration for me. I relish every falling snow diamond, find a sort of melancholy peace with the rains of spring, and now I celebrate the second official day of summer in style. All is well with the world in moments like these.

That is, until I was rudely interrupted and brought back inside. And again I began the begging game to get back into the beauty of the summer day. It was all I could think about. That’s when I remembered the date. Today isn’t just any summer day. Indeed it is Midsummer’s Eve, a special day set aside in Europe for wonder and merriment. Rich with historical culture, June 23 is celebrated with special food, dancing and plenty of time outside (weather permitting, of course).

Sarah Ban Breathnach writes of this special day in Simple Abundance, quoting the words of Canadian writer Lucy Maud Montgomery. “(Let this become) a never-to-be-forgotten summer,” Montgomery writes, “one of those summers which come seldom into any life, but leave a rich heritage of beautiful memories in their going — one of those summers which, in a fortunate combination of delightful weather, delightful friends and delightful doings, come as near to perfection as anything can come in the world.”

The weather cast a spell on me today. All I could think about was being outside appreciating warmth in the sun’s promise of an unforgettable summer. Just as Breathnach wishes for her readers, I will share this wish with you. “May this potent Midsummer spell never be broken for you and those you love,” Breathnach writes. I know I probably should care about heat indexes. But I don’t. Instead I relish in the Midsummer’s Eve spell that was cast on me today, and breathe in all its contagious (albeit humid) joy.

 

Home is Where the Heart Is January 28, 2013

I’ve lived a lot of different places in my relatively short life.

When I was a little pup, my birth mom and my two brothers moved around a lot, finding shelter under garbage cans, in alley ways, and in cardboard boxes (if we were lucky). Times were pretty tough and food was scarce, but one thing brought me comfort like nothing else: cuddling with my mom. I would scrunch myself as small as I could, inhale her motherly smell, and listen for her heartbeat. It was warm, and with each beat of her heart, I could somehow feel her loving me just a little bit more. More than anything, I miss that about her. She was home to me.

Later when I was fending for myself, it brought me the most powerful sense of relief to picture myself back there snuggling myself into serenity. I could be shivering cold in the icy cold rain, and the memory of being in my mom’s arms brought me warmth.

As time went on, her smell became more a distant memory and her image became the slightest bit blurry, but her warmth somehow remained a source of solace in my heart.

People at the humane society (fondly?) referred to me as needy, and perhaps that’s what I am. I never passed up the opportunity to nudge myself into the hands or arms of the workers and especially of visitors who asked to see me outside of my room. I know that’s why I struggled in the first adoptive home with all of those other cats and dogs. There was simply not enough cuddle time to go around in that house.

That has never been a problem in my forever home. My mom and dad (and various people visitors) seem to enjoy my cuddly nature (for the most part).

The other day, it was bedtime in the Schmidt household and (as has become customary), I snuggled myself in between mom and dad on the bed. I closed my eyes, let out a deep grunting sigh and realized something. While my birth mother’s warmth is irreplaceable, I have found not just one but two new hearts to lull me to sleep with their love. And with that, I realized I am truly blessed.

If its true that home is where the heart is, my heart has found its forever home.

Smiles for Cuddles