Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

The Small Stuff October 24, 2014

Laundry. Cleaning the bathrooms. Doing the dishes. Emptying the Diaper Genie. These are certainly far from exciting ways to spend one’s early Friday evening. Yet that is what I observed today as mom scurried around the house dusting and tidying and picking up. I figured someone special must be coming over for her to randomly be taking such care with the house so suddenly.

As it turns out, I was right. But it wasn’t who you’d think. The small stuff

Apparently, the point of her efforts was simply to have dad come home for the weekend to a clean house. He was working a bit later than usual and she thought it might be nice to have a few less chores to worry about over the weekend.

It’s little things like this my people do for each other that make my heart smile.

But there is another side to the coin, and it is just as important to recognize. Just as the small stuff can be, and often is, something to cherished, it can also become its own kind of roadblock if we let it. In the early days when dear baby Carter first came home, for example, mom and dad set aside most of the same “small” things. Laundry piled up. Bathrooms weren’t the cleanest place in the house. Dishes accumulated in the sink. That was a time not to do it. That was a time to not sweat the small stuff. Because there was something (rather, someone) who was more important in those moments.

It’s a strange dichotomy to be sure, but certainly one the heart can navigate its way around if we let it. The little things that mean so much should own that special place in our heart, while not consuming us when something else takes precedence.

“Life is what’s happening while we’re busy making other plans,” suggested American author Richard Carlson. Don’t get me wrong, I like making plans. I like structure just as much as the next doggie. But sometimes going with the flow means seeing the small stuff in a different light. For better or worse, the small stuff has a life of its own. Don’t let it rule yours.


What Lies Inside

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 7:38 pm

Wiley Schmidt:

I’m happy to report it’s been almost as long as Carter has been in my forever home since I’ve last seen Demon Dog. Though I do wonder what happened to him…

Originally posted on Wiley's Wisdom:

A lot happened in my backyard today.

After a mysterious three-week hiatus, my neighbor demon dog has returned. It wasn’t a pretty reunion, as he “greeted” me with some pretty intense growling and panting from his usual hangout on his side of our mutual fence. I saw my neighbor Lady for the first time since her husband passed away recently. She looked sad. I wagged hello at her and I think she may have looked right through me. And after a startling separation from the rabbit family about a month ago, I think they’re back. (Though they are likely being much more careful about revealing themselves this time aroundFeeling Sad for Neighbor Lady).

So many days are quiet and uneventful around here (not that I’m complaining), but today was a feast for the emotional senses. It all happened so fast, and when it was over I found myself longing to piece the puzzle together into some sort of semblance of normalcy…

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To Be Loved October 23, 2014

It took a the better part of a Chicken McNugget Happy Meal. And patience, lots and lots of patience. Oh, and I guess there was some laying on the ground involved, too (though that doesn’t sound so bad to me). After all of this, a dog named Cricket now knows how it feels to be loved.

About a week ago, I shared a story of a hero of mine named Emily, who took a good deal of time out of her life to rescue two stray dogs in her neighborhood in Dallas, Texas. A patriot for rescue dogs, she over the span of a couple of weeks personally took on the emotionally tasking job of reeling in the dogs, who she named Dallas and Cricket. It wasn’t easy for Emily or the dogs, as she worked diligently to earn their trust.Feeling thoughtful

It was easier for Dallas, who only took a few days before he recognized her as the hero she is. Cricket was a bit more stubborn. Because of my own personal experiences with the man with the leather belt, I know all too well some possible reasons for her hesitation. I don’t blame her one bit.

But I also know the love of a person. I know how warm my heart feels when I snuggle with my forever family. I know joy, from the ground up. I live these things each and every day because someone like Emily took the time to do the same for me.

So it is with the sincerest sense of glee that I report the good news. It took four Chicken McNuggets. And patience. And even some time laying on the pavement (which apparently is something people don’t usually do). But dear Emily earned Cricket’s trust a few days after she did the same for Dallas. And now both are together again at a fabulous place called ARROW Dog Rescue, on the path to being adopted into forever homes.

Persistence is a very powerful thing on its own. Combine it with passion? You’ve got a recipe for success. Or, at least in this case, you’ve got a recipe for a fresh start for two very fortunate dogs. Especially in the technological age of all things text message and Snapchat, it is so important to reach out to others because you never know who will reach back. And to me, it’s a lesson not only in selflessness, but in the importance of staying true to your beliefs. Staying true to yourself. Fighting for what’s important. It’s a lesson in not just living life, but making it a better place to be.



Adventure Becomes Us

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 8:23 pm

Wiley Schmidt:

Adventure is within.

Originally posted on Wiley's Wisdom:

I knew as soon as we woke up that today would be special. There was a sense of adventure in the air. And, like most emotions, it’s contagious. The funny thing is, I don’t think my forever people were on to me. It was no secret they were excited about something, and as they hustled and bustled around the house I got excited too.

The dreaded suitcase made its way back out, and with it all the supplies for what I recognized as camping. Then mom said the magic word and confirmed my hopes and dreams for the day. Do you want to go camping, Wiley? (Silly mom, always asking me questions she already knows the answer to.) So I watched excitedly as mom and dad packed the car to the brim and off we went.

We drove to a beautiful campsite a few hours away, but as we approached the…

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Let It Take You Over October 22, 2014

Nothing went wrong. Nothing spectacular happened either. It was pretty much your average day around the Schmidt house today. Dad went to that place called work. Mom cared for dear baby Carter when she wasn’t working. Carter was in good spirits. All was well around here.

So when it happened this afternoon, it brought an unexpected smile to my heart.

Carter has taken to spending time with dad when he gets home from work. It’s like he’s soaking up all the dad time he can, since he doesn’t see him as much as mom and I. Today was no exception, as he clung to dad while mom finished making dinner. That’s when that magic thing happened again. To me there is really other logical explanation for the emotional vacation the spirit takes when a good song makes an appearance in one’s day. Music. From the ground up, it touches the soul in a way words alone cannot.

Please let me preface this by saying dad, in general, is not a giggly person. And he doesn’t particularly care for dancing. But when One Republic’s “Good Life” came on the radio as mom was cooking and dad was holding Carter, what happened next really was its own slice of goofiness. I think dad thought mom wouldn’t see, but she has a way of noticing these kinds of things. Namely, she could hear both dad and Carter giggling like ninnies, so there was no way she wasn’t going to investigate the cause.

The scene in the living room was one that would have brought a smile to anyone’s heart. There dad was, with Carter, dancing around like a ninny to a song about living a good life. “When you’re happy like a fool, let it take you over,” Ryan Tedder sings. “When everything is out, you gotta take it in.” Good Life

That is exactly what mom and I did in that moment. As dad was happy like a fool, we took it in. And, in doing so, we were happy little fools too.

Today was just another day. Nothing went wrong. Nothing spectacular happened. It was definitely a pretty average day around the Schmidt house. That is, until that moment, when joy came alive at the hand of music and reminded us we are, indeed, living the good life.


Only in Wisconsin

Filed under: Man's Best Friend — Wiley Schmidt @ 7:03 pm

Wiley Schmidt:

Wisconsin. From the ground up, it’s a pretty quirky place to live. And I love it.

Originally posted on Wiley's Wisdom:

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…

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Walking On Sunshine October 21, 2014

I didn’t really need another reason to love fall. From homemade apple pies (and the leftover apple pieces I score) and brisk twilight walks around the neighborhood to Packer football (and my dreams of catching a pass from QB Aaron Rodgers), it’s definitely my favorite season. And don’t get me started on the cuddles.

So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that today I lived another reason to embrace all things fall. There has been somewhat of a pattern forming this time around that involves several cold, dreary days in a row followed by relief otherwise known as the sunshine. Today the sun shined on me as I strolled along next to dear baby Carter in the stroller mom pushed through the neighborhood. As we walked, I felt the crisp fall leaves under my feet and soaked up every ounce of sunshine.

That’s when it happened. I discovered another thing I love about fall. From the ground up, there is no other time of year you can walk on sunshine. Our neighborhood has an abundance of mature trees that a few short weeks ago made for a beautiful landscape as you approached my forever home. That is no longer the case, as much of the trees have now shed their (mostly yellowish) leaves, which can be a bit disheartening. Not to me.

I love the idea that today I walked on sunshine in the sunshine. I was warmed with joy to my core as we perused the neighborhood I’ve grown to know and love. I know I didn’t need another reason to love fall, but you can never have enough reasons to feel blessed. And that is how I felt in that hour or so with my beloved forever mom and dear baby Carter. Completely and utterly blessed.

I know not everyone saw the sunshine today. Literally or figuratively. So today I share the words of American baseball executive Frank Lane, who said “if you want to see the sunshine, you have to weather the storm.”

As certain as I know the sunshine will come again, I believe no one should have to weather the storm alone. For what it’s worth, that is why I choose today to share my sunshine with you in hopes the light of joy is as contagious as I know it can be.

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