Throughout our childhood, we never hesitated to find wonder in the ordinary. We’d gasp in awe upon discovering those miracles we would later grow to consider simple. That first time we let a fuzzy caterpillar crawl across our skin made us smile. Watching it emerge from its cocoon as a butterfly filled us with wild wonder. For many, as adults, it’s just another bug.
What happened? 😕 Unfortunately many of us “grew up” and no no longer find wonder in the ordinary things that once amazed us. Our Chief Fun Officer Jerry taught us to find the wonder in everyday life once again.
Some people, however, don’t stop and smell the roses any more. For anyone who can no longer see the magic in a rainbow – or thinks I’m being silly – I suggest Bernie Freytag may be able to help. Check out his book, Find Wonder in the Ordinary.
3 Paws Up for Find Wonder in The Ordinary
Bernie refers to his award winning collection of ramblings and doodles as a Children’s Book for Adults. That’s a good description, but it is so much more. His chapters are self contained memories, musings, and observations that remind us to find the wonder within ordinary things. Eloquently written, they’re amusing, enlightening, and often thought-provoking. Together, they provide even deeper meaning.
Early on, we discover that Bernie has had some rather close calls with life threatening conditions that threaten his own mortality. He still has regular check-ups which keep his time on this planet at the top of his mind. And he’s okay with that…
“…I believe that with reminders of your mortality, that’s when your life is truly enjoyed. We often overlook the beauty of everyday experiences.”
—Bernie Freytag, Find Wonder in the Ordinary
This really struck home with me. I wholeheartedly agree that without such reminders of our fragility and impermanence, “we are prone to missing all the little beautiful things that Life has to offer.”
This is one of the valuable lessons our life on the road with Jerry taught us. It was only after he lost a leg to cancer, that we started to fully appreciate every remaining moment we had together. Including all those little things.
As a child, my friends and I would capture fireflies and find wonder watching them in our jar. If you think keeping them captive was bad, as little boys we sometimes smeared them on our cheeks as glow in the dark war paint. “Growing up” on the Left Coast, I never thought much of them after that. Long after our life-altering road trip with Jerry, I recall a time Rene and I returned to Luckenbach, Texas. We sat and watched a firefly show in silence, while everyone else rushed around before hitting the dance hall.
But I digress…Bernie has a whole chapter about finding wonder in the world of Fireflies.
The simplest of motives and the simplest of actions can truly be a beautiful thing. It’s an inspiring display to witness. And to know that there is a lot more going on in a firefly display, than merely a fancy light show is pretty damn cool!
There’s also a funny firefly cartoon that kicks off that chapter. Bernie is a talented artist, and begins each chapter with single-panel cartoons that sum up the subject to come. Or maybe they wrap up the previous chapter. I believe both, because Bernie brilliantly creates a common thread that ties together all his ramblings.
From day dreaming to string theory, Find Wonder in the Ordinary takes the reader on a wild trip through space, time, faith, family, and certain secrets to living a long happy life. Bernie Freytag is a successful entrepreneur living in a beautiful remote location. (More “coincidences” follow below.) He knows how to balance life and work. In his brief exploration of spirituality and faith, he explains the balance he found after a certain encounter with nature.
In many ways we need that Balance of what we have to do, with what we want to do. Inside that Balance there is peace.
Not surprisingly, animals play a big role in finding wonder. Short stories about spiders,
primates monkeys, owls, and fireflies all help the reader find wonder in the ordinary. Of course, Bernie has something poignant to say about all these amazing animals – including this form his chapter about those beautiful butterflies
Their one single purpose is survival. To adapt and live…It’s almost like they are born with the answers on how to truly live and have less to learn.
I’m a firm believer that there are no coincidences, so let me tell you about a few that drew me so much to the deep meanings found in Bernie’s book. For starters, there is this:
“Some people talk to the animals. Not many listen, though. That is the problem.” —A.A. Milne
Bernie includes many thoughtful and relevant quotes throughout his book. And this one by the author of Winnie the Pooh is the exact same quote MUTTS creator Patrick McDonnell chose to start the foreword he wrote for our book Be More Dog: learning to Live in the Now.
Visit findwonderintheordinary.com for more information, reviews, and media resources.
Much More Than a Mere Book Review
So, how do we know Bernie? What does he have to do with Tripawds? And what’s this about a dog named Floyd? Our paths first crossed in the Tripawds discussion forums, when I got a message from a new member with the username deathdefyingfeets. This was more than a decade ago. Bernie’s beloved dog Floyd had recently been diagnosed with bone cancer and undergone amputation – just like our Jerry.
Bernie sent me an image of the old-timey circus poster he had painted featuring Floyd the Amazing 3 Legged Pooch. He also graciously allowed us to feature it on some fun items for the Tripawds Gift shop. Like any self respecting gift recipient would do, I asked for more. And, with very little begging, Bernie created the awesome Tripawds Have A Ball design for us to include on more t-shirts, sweatshirts, gifts and greeting cards!
You can read all about it in this Tripawds Gifts Blog post from November, 2010:
Bernie and I kept in touch over the years, but had never really connected since then. One day on LinkedIn not too long ago, I noticed he had written a book and was building a new website. I found wonder in the much more than ordinary cover and description. So I reached out and told him about Be More Dog. We both self published our books just in time for the COVID-19 pandemic to put a damper on any major marketing plans. So I offered to review Find Wonder in the Ordinary – A Kid’s book for Adults. Really, being a kid who never grew up, I just wanted to read it. Surprisingly, Bernie wanted to read ours too. So we swapped books. And that is, well…wonderful.
I followed up this review with more thoughts on Find Wonder in the Ordinary for our Live Work Dream nomadic lifestyle travel blog: