“But let it never be forgotten, that tenderness of spirit is absolutely inseparable from a spiritual frame. When our blessed Lord prayed, it was “with strong crying and tears?i?:” and when Jacob wrestled, “he wept, and made supplication.” This then is the state of mind which we must aspire after. Our fervour must be a humble fervour; and our confidence, a humble confidence. And whilst we look to God to accomplish all things for us, we must at the same time use all proper means for the attainment of them.”

Charles Simeon on Genesis 32:26 (1832-63)

Burnin’ it up at Lake Winnie

Amusement Park Rides Mixed with Heat and Thunderstorms


It would have been nice if we could have picked a cooler day for roaming an amusement park under the sun; but amidst the humid heat we discovered memories that will last a lifetime. Months later, looking at the photos reminds me of those memories that can be so easily forgotten in the business of daily life.

Lake Winnie is a modest amusement park near Chattanooga Tennesse. The weather forecast predicted it to be one of the hotter days and coming out of the car onto the pavement gave a foretaste of the hot afternoon to come. The heat was so thick it felt like I needed to move slowly and carefully or the heat would somehow penetrate my body too fast. I’m prone to sweat, so I carried a wash cloth with me that afternoon, wiping the waterfall of sweat that was raining from my forehead. I was careful not to put sun screen on my forehead knowing that sweat mixed with sun screen would burn my eyes.


Quite honestly, I remember the afternoon like some sort of survival test. Would our bodies hold up in the heat? Will we survive the several minutes that we had to wait in line? Will we actually enjoy ourselves?

Papa Mike, Nana Lynn, Sammy and Karen drove separately. We didn’t see them until perhaps 30 minutes later. Supposedly they had watched us since our arrival from the other side of Lake Winnie’s man-made lake. Why didn’t they come meet us? Perhaps it was a combination of the heat, the fact that they were sitting at a table they scored in the shade and because Mike had fallen over from a likely heat-induced dizzy spell. Yeah, it was hot!

Time seems meaningless when it’s this hot. The mind only has the capacity to think about right now and perhaps there’s a few ounces of energy to plan where to go next. 

Tea Cups

After a few minutes or hours into the afternoon the sound of thunder could be heard approaching and the clouds were building. As a safety precaution, the park shut down all the rides. Rain poured down and we rushed to the parking lot and climbed into our vehicles. Sammy, Karen, Mike and Lynn left for the day while the rest of us stayed in the vehicles and ate a hodgepodge of snacks. We were unsure if this was the end of our day. There was a chance that they would shut down the park for the day and give our money back. After suffering the heat, I was secretly wishing they would.

Worm Ride

In hindsight, by God’s grace that thunderstorm came through at the right time. The thunderstorm cooled the air, provided some shelter from the harsh rays of the sun, and was a nice transition into a pleasant cooler evening at the park.


We rushed back into the park and occupied nearly every minute until closing. We rode nearly every ride and enjoyed nearly every minute. I hope the memories last forever.

Running to the last ride

The photo above was taken as the kids were running to the last ride. Unfortunately, when we arrived, they had already closed the entrance to the ride. The galleries show a picture of Claire crying after discovering that it was over.



Swimming In Alabama

A Survival Strategy For Outdoor Fun

Sammys Pool

Alabama had one of the hottest summers this year, and the best way we survived the heat was to jump in a pool. Our friend Jeannie, brother Sammy, brother Jared, aunt Jean, and Nana Lynn all had pools. Sammy’s pool was the most unique swimming experience I’ve ever had. You can kick back, relax, and wave to the transfer trucks rolling down the freeway.

Claire Swimming

Matthew and Claire loved being in the pool and their skills as swimmers improved, even though they still need swimming aids. Towards the beginning of our trip Claire was using both a floaty and arm rings, and always staying close to one of us; by the end of the trip Claire was using only one swimming-aid and was roaming the pool on her own.

Matthew Jumping

Matthew jumped off a diving board for the first time in Alabama. He would hold his nose and take such a deep breath that his cheeks puffed up like a puffer fish. At first he wanted me to be so close to the diving board that he would nearly jump onto my head, which brought both of us underwater. As Matthew overcame his fear I would move back a little more so that he could jump more into the water rather than onto me.

Usually in San Jose pools are only refreshing on very hot days, during heat waves, when it’s 95 degrees or more outside, otherwise it’s usually a too cool to be hanging out in a pool. But in Alabama, it was 95° or hotter, with high humidity nearly every day. It was so refreshing to hang out in a pool, take a break from the heat, and play in the water.