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.

May 24, 2001 – Thursday – 10:30 a.m.

Two days left. Holy cow. I’m in Florida. Vince, Allen, Jessica, Lindy, Natalie, and Tracey are here. Dan, Abigail, Chris, Ashley, and Ellen are on their way.

Vince is pretty overwhelmed. I’m glad I had my time with him on the drive up from Miami.

It’s hard to know what to write. Anna’s world just combined with Banner Elk, so this is a huge moment. Everyone just left for the beach, but I’m waiting for Anna. She is the one I love.

There is much I don’t have in this world, but I do have good friends. How could I ask for more?

I am a free man. I’m marrying a beautiful woman I love. Jesus has saved my soul, and I have good friends. Keep us all safe Lord, and may we grow old together and share the gift of life with each other for as long as we can.

I love you God.

May 19, 2001 – Saturday – 4:42 p.m.

I no longer live in Virginia Beach. All my stuff has been moved out of my apartment and into Anna’s studio apartment in downtown Norfolk. We leave tonight for Florida, and we’ll be man and wife seven days from now.

When did all this happen?

I feel as though the current stage of my journaling is coming to a final conclusion. These books have covered roughly ages 16 to 24, that time in everyone’s life when they discover what all this is truly about.

Did you go on that journey with me? I don’t even know who I am asking. Will anyone but me every read these words on paper?

Here is what I have learned. Everything changes except the love of God.

That’s it, that’s the bottom line.

Coming here to the Hampton Roads corner of Virginia was a rough transition, but I met my wife and I made a good movie. Through this entire journey, through all the smiles, the looks, the glances, the beauty; through Veronica, Jeni, Sarah, Marie, and all the crushes I have dreamed about, I want to marry and live the rest of my life with Anna.

The friends I made at Lees-McRae will most likely remain my best friends for the rest of my life. I feel I will be close to them no matter how far apart we actually are in life.

The next two weeks hold a true ending to the story of my life as a single young man. It will be difficult for me to find the time to write, but I will do my best to bring closure to everything. I’m sure I’ll continue journaling in some format, but it too will change and be different in nature. For one thing, there will be no more girls to write about, there will only be Anna.

So, I thank whoever took the time to read these journals. I wrote these past several years simply to help me realize the manner in which I was growing and changing.

And in this moment of self-reflection, here is another truth I’ve learned. My perfect moment in this world, my finest hour, the time when the thin line between heaven and earth disappeared and all stood still to be the most beautiful thing I’ve ever known was when the snow was falling on my warm body in that abandoned tree house on top of Hemlock Hill with The Secret Wedding playing softly in my ears.

I truly doubt it’ll ever get any better than that.

February 26, 2001 – Monday – 6:12 p.m.

The second month of the year is nearly over. I don’t know how it happened. Just a few days ago I was 16-years-old, and I thought it would be cool to keep a journal. Now I am 24, and I’m so busy with school, work, and wedding-planning that I often forget I have a journal.

So much is in transition at the moment. I’m finishing up my first short films, and, in so doing, I’m finishing up graduate school. From kindergarten until now, I’ve been in school just a few months shy of 20 years. I’m marrying a beautiful blonde-haired girl from Florida; the girl I’ve been dreaming about and praying for this entire time. Everything between this moment and the night I began writing feels like pure story.

I see I was never on my own. God’s been there the entire time. He’s the true author.

January 6, 2001 – Saturday – 10:00 a.m.

It has been a week since I asked Anna to marry me. What a beautiful week; people have been freaking out. Everyone is blessing us like crazy and are so happy for us. Some are super surprised, for they didn’t even know we knew each other.

We are planning our wedding together and I’m planning the honeymoon. It will be beautiful. We decided May 26th in her hometown would be a bit easier than July 7th. That’s four and a half months away.

Anna is going to have her good friend Steve in her bridal party and I’m going to have Lindy as one of my “groomsmen.” How cool! Hopefully, Vince will be able to come up from Bolivia and be my best man.

I just love this stuff. I love planning my life with Anna. She is perfection. God saved the best for last.

So, I will be a husband before I turn 25-years-old. All these years, her name was always Anna. It was never Veronica, never Ryan, never Jeni, never Emily, never Sarah, never Marie, nor any other girl. It was always Anna, and she turns 23 in 19 days.

December 16, 2000 – Saturday – 11:05 a.m.

Ten days have passed. What has happened in 10 days?

I live a beautiful life with my Jesus. Anna and I see each other every day. We stay up late, for it is difficult to say goodbye. If we have an hour of free time, we find a way to see each other.

Work at Forefront is going well, but I must ask for more money soon; I’m simply going broke. I have received additional editing and production work: a missions video for Laos and a evangelistic video. Both are paying decently well.

Once February arrives I’ll need to start earning $400 a week to be able to make my student-loan payment. I might have to get a second job.

In one week Anna will return to Florida for Christmas. She is so lovely. I visited her this morning just so I could watch her get ready for work.

I have an audition today as well as three videos I must complete before tomorrow.

I love you Lord. Thank you for this full life!

December 6, 2000 – Wednesday – 10:00 a.m.

Last night was full of beautiful movements. Anna and I went to Colonial Williamsburg and walked there among the past. My favorite was the first stage of the United States. We sat there, under trees and stars, retelling the story of our meeting.

I’m amazed by my God. I feel you smiling down on me great God. I see you, and I say thank you, and say that you are beautiful!

December 4, 2000 – Monday – 4:00 p.m.

The events of the past weekend were extraordinary.

During the month of November, Anna and I were able to see a few movies together and go out to eat a bit. She also started coming to church and to my small group with me.

This past Tuesday we went to see Requiem for a Dream, then we took a walk along the cobblestone streets of Ghent in Norfolk. Thursday, after our small group, we tried to go see the Christmas lights at the beach, but we ended up just driving around since we arrived after it closed. That night I found myself serenading her with The Little Mermaid’s “Part of your World” in the lobby of a huge women’s restroom on campus. The acoustics were fantastic!

Saturday, after I went bowling with my Wednesday night group, I picked Anna up and we went to see The Grinch. Then we bought some hot cocoa and ended up under a blanket on wooden lookout in the Mackie Island National Wildlife Refuge across the state line in North Carolina. We just sat there and snuggled for hours until a police officer came and nearly arrested us for trespassing. That night ended with us barely being able to let go of each other at her apartment door.

Yesterday, Sunday, I went over to her apartment, and we just snuggled, and talked, and kissed, and adored each other for five straight hours.

We don’t know how this happened, but it did. I stand completely in awe. I’m amazed at the way she sees me, the way she holds me, the way she touches me. There is hardly anything to say, hardly anything to write, for we simply are. I can’t explain it. I met her nearly a year ago when she first arrived. She’s been walking around Regent this entire time, but we just now found each other.

“Spill-tained pages of poetic prophecy

tickle my interest and taunt at my fantasy

gentle new lover, favorite friend

with hidden desire that bothers my

conscience again.”

So here I am. Snow fell on warm hearts last night. The frozen morning melted away but our hearts and lips are still intact. Frozen forever by winter. Forever captured in sight.

December 1, 2020 – Friday – 9:05 p.m.

I’ve been back in the area for four days, and I am now listening to the music that filled my summer as I drove back and forth to Acoustic Works: Enter the Worship Circle.

. . .

As of right now I am tempted to write about a girl, but I will not. I do not want to over-analyze or curse these amazing days because of what I might write down on these lined pages. Time will simply speak for itself, and my own memory will suffice for my time spent with this beautiful girl.

But do allow me to jot down some nice thoughts and images about the things we have shared.

Cobblestone streets, historic strolls, a mysterious portal into China’s ancient past, a frozen floating rocket, rejection from holiday lights at the beach, my singing of a Little Mermaid song into the acoustical corner of a female restroom lobby, swing dancing in my bedroom, and endless abundant laughter.

I thank you for all these sweet days Jesus.

. . .

I drove with Kerstin today to pick up Chris from the Raleigh/Durham airport down in North Carolina. It was good to see him.

It’s the last month of the year.

I have no idea what is next.

I guess that is a perfect place to be.

November 27, 2000 – Monday – 5:00 p.m.

I’m in the Dallas airport and much has happened since I’ve last written. So much so that it would make a pretty good movie, a character study about lonely people trying to communicate with God.

I have spent the past six days with Theresa, the 25-year old former co-worker of mine from the bookstore my roommate Dan thought he was supposed to marry. He believed this not only because he loves her and wants to be with her, but mainly because he feels God told him she was to be his wife.

I came to New Mexico because she invited me, and I wanted to visit a new state. However, Dan is back home wondering what the heck I’m finding out for him, for I suggested that if he gave me a letter to give to her, perhaps she would send one back with me for him.

I was wrong.

She did not.

I arrived late Tuesday night and slept on an air mattress in a one bedroom apartment in Albuquerque. I woke up the next morning to discover this is a very brown city. I forgot how green the east coast was, even in November.

We then picked up Michael, a 40-year-old massage therapy student, who I could immediately tell has the hots for Theresa. I should add here that I have never been attracted to Theresa or have ever been even remotely interested in her. She’s always been Dan’s girl in my mind.

We headed south and drove through very wide and flat land. We stopped in Truth or Consequences just to see it, for I have some significant scenes taking place there in my screenplay To Fly. While I was looking around and taking pictures, Michael spoke endlessly to me about the power of touch.

We stopped at a small hut in the middle of an open desert plain to visit a friend and client of Michael’s. There was no water or electricity at this place, but it was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. The couple living there chose to live that way, off the grid, as they say. They wanted to be separate from society. I took pictures, especially of their distant out house that had no walls. Every time they relieved themselves they saw a sight few will ever see.

We continued around a chain of green mountains and ended up in Grant County and finally Silver City, where Theresa’s parents live. We ordered takeout and then awoke the next day to serve the hungry and homeless a warm Thanksgiving meal at a local soup kitchen. It was a beautiful time.

That afternoon Theresa and I visited the City of Rocks and we talked about how Dan never really knew the real her. Dan simply put the ideal woman he wanted to marry onto Theresa simply because she took the time to show him a bit of attention while they worked together.

That evening, after a very healthy and natural dinner, I went to see M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable with Theresa’s dad. I love going to a movie theater on Thanksgiving Day!

The next day, Michael, Theresa, her dad, and I hiked around Catwalk State Park about an hour north from where they live. It was a beautiful canyon with waterfalls, brown rocks, and green cacti. Again, I took pictures.

On Saturday we drove back to Albuquerque and then hiked with Theresa’s other friend Justin. We went up to Sandia Crest, and that was without a doubt my favorite part of my days in New Mexico. We were 10,678 feet above sea level, easily the highest I’ve ever been. Everything was covered in snow. The sunset was a bright red blaze over the entirety of the west, and Theresa was glued to Justin’s side. He is only 19, but he is filled with confidence, and this is something Dan does not have.

Confidence and beauty are the two main things Theresa is attracted to. Sadly, Dan, in her eyes at least, has neither.

That night I held a crying Theresa on her couch. She cried because she is no longer sure of her relationship with God.

The next day we drove north to Colorado and drove back along beautiful, snow-covered, secondary roads. I enjoyed every minute of seeing a new part of God’s creation.

After we returned we went to see Bounce, and this morning I went to her Massage Therapy class with her. What I experienced there broke my heart. So many people were looking for answers, looking for meaning, but they were looking for it in their own physical bodies. They were not looking for God at all. Imagine the good work one could do if they invited God into massage therapy. Surely someone is doing that.

So now I’m at the airport in my middle of my return journey. Of course, nothing I mentioned above is what truly happened, what truly happened can be found in the expressions I saw in each person’s face as they sought out human connection, meaning, and love. Those eyes, eyebrows, and glances are difficult to capture in these pages, but that is where the true stories reside.