June 8, 2021 – Tuesday – 1:00 p.m.

This entry doesn’t come from the past, but from today. It isn’t a journal entry from 20 years ago, but a ‘thank you’ letter from today. This is the final entry for this blog.

My goal in copying my thoughts and feelings from my younger self into a blog was mainly for preservation, but I also found the culture of my youth to be very different from my observations of current youth culture. I thought the contrast might be nice for others to read and experience.

If you did take the time to read any or all of these posts from the past eight years, then I thank you deeply for the attention. It’s crazy to think about what a difference two decades can make.

These memories written down before the events of September 11, 2001, before the release of the first iPod, before digital cinema, before social media, before everyone walked around with their heads bowed down to a screen, before COVID-19. It was a very different America.

Nevertheless, we all still want the same things. We want to see and be seen. We want to be know and be known. We want to love and be loved.

Time will never change those truths.

I hope through some miracle reading these entries allowed you to feel seen, known, and loved.

To catch you up, my wife and I just celebrated 20 years of marriage, we have two adorable kids, and I did have the opportunity to make a few more movies and direct a few more plays in the past two decades. Similar to this blog, my audiences remained small, but I was able to continually practice and delight in the crafts I studied in my youth.

As of this writing, I’ve traveled to 48 states and 25 countries. God’s creation, both the people and the places, never cease to amaze me.

Speaking of God, throughout the past 20 years, I have yet to find any fault with Jesus, so I have continued to follow him to this day.

There nothing I could write that is more important than the above line, so as I say goodbye to any and all readers, I simply want to say that journaling in my youth, my years of formation, truly helped me know and understand myself. At the time, I didn’t write my thoughts and feelings down for anyone else to consume other than myself, so if you feel you don’t yet know who you are, then I encourage you to give it shot.

We are not want we do, we are not what we own, we are not what others say about us. We are merely two things. We are beautifully loved by God, and we are worth spending time with.

Thank you so much for spending a little bit of your time here in these memories with me.

All the best,

J

June 8, 2001 – Friday – 2:17 p.m.

Much time has passed since I’ve written. Come tomorrow, Anna and I will have been married for two weeks. The wedding was beautiful. Everyone said the communion portion of the ceremony made them cry. Abigail sang two perfect songs, Tracey played the piano, and Vince, Lindy, and Dan stood by my side.

A perfect moment.

Danny, Peter, Marcus, and my brother were there as well.

Two weeks ago this night was one of the most magical evenings I’ve ever known. We had our rehearsal dinner party at a professional banjo player’s house. He had a swimming pool that was in the shape of a banjo, and after a while they brought out their guitars. It was a might of amazing music in which everyone participated. The music went on for hours. My single life came to an end with all my friends by my side, live music in the air, and my bride-to-be constantly glancing at each other and smiling.

That evening we all walked down to the beach, only to discover a swarm of sea turtles covering the sand as they dropped their eggs in freshly dug holes. I’d never seen anything like it before. To be with all my friends and to experience something so pure and magical, wow, that evening will always be with me.

I cried after the reception because I had to say goodbye to Vince. I’m probably the first guy to cry on the way to his honeymoon.

After spending the evening in a nice hotel in downtown Jacksonville, FL, Anna and I spent a perfect week of campfire building, hot tub soaking, and endless love-making in the mountains of North Carolina, not too far from Deep Creek.

For once, I didn’t take the time to look over my timeless ledge outside of the Pizza Hut. That was my way of letting go of the land and sealing up that beautiful corner of my history with my honeymoon.

On Tuesday I met with Vince and Tim at Forefront and quit my job at Forefront. I am totally unemployed. I’m working on sending Dang! out to festivals, and we are waiting to hear where we might go next. I’ve applied for Resident Director positions in several states all across America. I even applied to be a video editor at a production company in South Dakota. We may stay here, we may leave within a month. We are both open to whatever God wants.

So this is the end. I’m sure I’ll keep journaling in some form or fashion, but I know it will change. Another story is beginning. This collection of days was about finishing high school, four years at Lees-McRae, and three years at Regent University.

I am no longer a student. I am no longer single.

I thought about writing some amazing words of wisdom, but, when it comes down to it, I don’t know a thing, and I’m very aware of that. Instead, I’ll wrap this story up with a single image, and thank my God for every good thing I’ve ever known.