Please, please, please God, let it be. I mean, I’ve been through enough already this past year.

Thankful Notes (#79)

(note: I’m writing a thankful note each day and posting on Facebook, but have not continued posting to the blog daily – occasionally I will add one here that I especially like)

As I walked downstairs this morning and looked out the windows, I could see that much of the lake was shrouded in fog. I like it when the view is altered in some way and I love seeing Lake Wilderness in all of the seasons.

For some reason, I changed up my drink this morning and had a Starbucks doubleshot instead of the quad tall Americano that I’ve been having. I was pleased with my choice. This made me reflect back on some of the different drinks I’ve had as “my drink” over the years, including a double tall upside down con pana (basically a mini dessert in a cup), a tall sugar free vanilla flat white, and a triple tall cappuccino. There was also that season, after coming home from a trip to Italy, that I would order a quad espresso. Wowza! I don’t think I could do that now… I need a little fluff.

I had a productive day at work, preparing for this coming weekend. It feels good to have everything figured out, settled, printed, and ready to go so early in the week. I’ve never been a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda guy (stress!) and I like to be well-planned, so this has become my routine – first day of the week in the office: get ready for Sunday.

Later in the afternoon when Camper and I got home and Shari came home from her job, we all went for a walk together around the lake as the sun was setting.

The air was brisk and smelled sweet, like pine needles and cedar branches and browning maple leaves.

Camper was especially rambunctious on the walk, lunging after every stick or branch on the ground. She has a thing for large branches—ones that are a good 5-6’ long that she can drag and flip around as we walk (inevitably hitting me in the legs repeatedly).

camper with huge stick for poster

This had me a bit worried because tonight is her dog obedience class graduation. I’m crossing my fingers hoping that she gets all the wiggles and antics out before we go to the class.

Back at home, I made dinner – angel hair lemon pasta with some rotisserie chicken. My favorite thing in our kitchen is this little grater with an olive wood handle that we bought in Italy a few years ago (in Assisi – the village where St. Francis was born). We use the grater for parmesan cheese and for lemon zest, and whenever I use it, I think of the Umbrian countryside and our experiences there.

grater for post

Something else showed up in our kitchen recently and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I’m pretty sure it’s a gnome and it looks like it is a Christmas gnome. I think my wife is testing the boundaries with me. Maybe Camper will jump up and grab the gnome thinking it’s a dog toy and shred it like she does all her other toys…

weird gnome thing for post

After dinner, it was time for Camper and I go to her dog obedience class one last time. I was nervous, really nervous. It’s the one thing each week that makes me the most nervous. Camper knows how to do all the things, but she’s also highly excitable, distractible, will do anything to get attention from other human beings, and has regular lose-her-mind freak-outs where she snarls and jumps and goes berserk for 10 minutes at a time.

If I pray, will God make this dog focused and docile for one everloving hour? Please, please, please God, let it be. I mean, I’ve been through enough already this past year.

When we get to the class, the instructor informs us that the dogs will be tested one by one. Gulp. My heart sinks… this is not good. We will be on display, all the eyes looking at us—no way to hide in the mix.

It’s puppies first. Even though Camper is mentally and emotionally a puppy, for the sake of the class, she’s considered a grown-up dog. So we watch and we wait. The puppies aren’t graded. They just have to do the stuff (or attempt to do it) and they are all passed.

Next, it’s the adult dogs. Another name is called and I am relieved. I can watch them and continue offering my prayers to God about Camper. As I’m watching and praying, Camper has one of her freak-outs. She goes full-on buck wild, and I’m sweating and cursing and praying and trying to contain her without any success.

During all this craziness, I don’t end up seeing what the first dog did out there.

That’s when I hear the instructor call Camper’s name. We’re up. Oh Lord.

We go out to the center of the gym floor and wait for the instructions. I had Camper’s favorite treats in my pocket and gave her one. The instructor barks out the commands and we follow obediently. And in some kind of miraculous Red Sea parting-type moment, Camper actually does everything she’s told to do, really well, and on the first time. The whole thing was over in just a few minutes and I was relieved. Miracles still happen.

After the last dog went through the paces, we were all told to stand on the center line of the gym and await our diplomas and scores. The puppies all got their diplomas first. Then the instructor says, “With the highest score, we have Camper!”

OMG. I could not believe what I was hearing. What. The. Actual. What.

She hands me the diploma and score sheet, and I see that Camper got 148/160. I’m all proud now and in no rush to leave… we are model citizens. We have arrived. Other dog owners and dogs probably want to be like us.

camper score for post

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting this outcome. I’m feeling kinda guilty – I didn’t even have a graduation present for Camper. Maybe tomorrow I will take her to Pet Pros and let her pick something out.

We did it! We graduated.

I think we’re both going to sleep well tonight.

camper graduated for post


I am a husband, father, pastor, leader & reader. I love God, love people & love life.

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