It’s often said that you don’t appreciate something until it’s gone. Well, I just want to take this opportunity to show my appreciation of one of the most special places on Earth. I’m talking about our cabin on Weiss Lake.

I was able to drive up here this afternoon, and spend a couple hours aboard the pontoon boat. As I sat there watching another spectacular sunset, I couldn’t help but think of some of the amazing memories surrounding this place. Please excuse me while I reminisce.

Some of my very earliest memories are long before we owned our current cabin. Once a summer or so, we’d visit relatives at the cabin next door. I remember being scared to death in their fishing boat. See, the motor wasn’t exactly mounted properly on the transom, so when the boat started going fast, it had a severe list to one side. I always felt like I was going to fall out. This was back when “Geek” (although I don’t recall why we called him that…) owned the bright blue cabin that we eventually purchased. And, thankfully, painted.

I remember my surprise 13th birthday on the way home from Camp Laney…the one where my aunt asked if I “felt rebellious yet” because I was now a teenager. I remember carving my girlfriend’s name in a tree out back in 8th grade, because I just knew I was in love. (She’s married now, btw.) And I remember some great trips up here with the church youth group back when my parents taught Sunday School.

What would become one of the most defining moments of my life took place here at the lake in January 2002. While exploring behind the cabin, I noticed a small sailboat under about 4 feet of pine straw. That’s when I hatched a plan to spend that summer fixing up the boat and learning to sail. I was fortunate enough to be able to share that experience with several friends, but mostly Andy, who is still one of my closest friends.

I’ll never forget the first time dad and I launched the S/V Miss Lady. We were so concerned about whether or not it would float, the fact that neither of us had ever sailed before was forgotten. Mom towed us out into the middle of the lake with the wave runner, and we sat there trying to figure out how to get the keel down so the boat would stay upright. We eventually figured it out, and when we did, the keel dropped with a loud bang and a bit of a splash. Dad thought we were sinking…I’ve never heard him scream so loud! Luckily we didn’t sink. Unknown at the time was how this would lead to my life-changing sailing trip across the Gulf.

Since then, there’ve been countless weekends & holidays spent up here with family and friends. There’s one Thanksgiving that stands out in particular…Hey Goob, duck next time you ride the 4-wheeler under the dock. One evening with the Garlingtons, we actually saw the sunset 8 times. The weekend that 10 of us arrived to find an inoperable toilet (it’s amazing what you can do with an old wooden chair & a 5 gallon bucket…). And as I look at the floor right now, I fondly remember a weekend spent with the Tarpley family laying tile (although it wouldn’t hurt my feelings to never lay tile again).

There certainly have been some memorable bad weather moments here though. We played Scrabble during a tornado once…I swear we heard the local hick DJ say “Well, yeah, it umm, it looks like their’s a ‘nader comin’ ‘cross Weiss now, so, uh, you might oughta take cover or somtin. You know, if you ‘ount to.” I think my favorite bad weather story is when dad was here alone, and it got so bad he actually went into the boathouse and sat inside the boat til the storm was over. Because that was safer. I still can’t help but crack up when I picture that scene.

Our lives constantly change, yet the lake remains a constant place to spend time with those most important to us, and create memories that last forever. It doesn’t matter what you need, the lake always provides exactly what you’re looking for. Rest, relaxation, reflection, worship, fellowship, inspiration. We’re just so blessed that we have a place like this, and I hope we never give it up.