March 17, 1996 – Sunday – 11:30 p.m.

Twenty-four hour ago, I was in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Now I’m in Mount Vernon Springs, North Carolina.

Brandon and I awoke Saturday morning and did some shopping with Sara and we all ate lunch at Red Lobster.  While Sara took a nap, Brandon and I went rock climbing.  We headed towards Phoenix at 6:00 p.m.  Once there, we walked around the mall, then drove to the airport, he stayed with me until I got on the plane.  I shook his hand, and he said, “thanks for coming out.”

I enjoyed my time in Arizona.  It will always be cherished.

I flew to Las Vegas and spent an hour there then flew to Atlanta.  From the Atlanta airport I took the Marta train to Brookhaven.  Curtis gave me the wrong number, so I couldn’t get a hold of him.  I spent two hours waiting.  Then, I called my mom, she called information and got the right number.  Curtis came and got me.  I slept in his bed and played with Chili, his dog, for a while, then we headed to North Carolina.  I slept most of the way.  We got to Banner Elk, but I was supposed to meet my mom at 6:00 p.m.  I am going home to get a second opinion on my finger.  Therefore, once I got to Banner Elk I left for Siler City, which is where I am now.

This place smells wonderful.  My room is warm and I can sleep there now.  I went for a walk and was reminded of the joys of this place, especially this past summer.  Water gun fights with Mike and Jonathan.  The picture of Emily on my desk.  That was May of 1995.  It’s already March of 1996.

So much is ahead of me.  Yet so much is behind me.

I have one moment under heaven.

Yet each second seems like a lifetime.

March 15, 1996 – Friday – 9:01 p.m.

Wednesday was Jenna’s birthday.  I called my two friends from here out west and I was reminded of how much I need them and how much they are a part of me.  Tenielle was excited to talk to me.  She said that she wrote me a long letter and sent it in the mail.  I talked to Jenna, who just turned 16, and they told me that they loved me when I said goodbye.

Yesterday, Brandon and I went to town and ran some errands.  We met Sara and they went shopping for a pet rat, but ended up buying a bunny.  It is adorable.  We spent the evening at Sara’s apartment with her

I’m not sure about those two.  I asked Brandon if he thought they would last, and he said they better.  But not only do they have a bunny, they have a baby coming in September.  They are stuck with each other.

Today we went to garage sales, but bought nothing, then took a drive through Jerome and Cottonwood to Sedona.  We picked up some hitchhikers and took them to Cottonwood.  We saved them about a two days walk.  The sites were beautiful.  I took a lot of pictures.  I felt like a child again, being born for the first time and discovering the world.

Last week was terrible, this week has been amazing.  A whole new world.  All new people.  I’ve learned by watching this family and by watching Brandon and Sara.  And I have one day left.

I discovered an hold tape here and on it was written Christmas Come to Detroit Louie.  It was a play performed at Abundant Life on December 15th and 16th of 1990.  I was in it.  My first public performance and I got all the laughs.  It’s on tape.  I have proof.  How I long to grow in my work as an actor and filmmaker.  It burns inside me.  I think about Braveheart and how it reminds me of Jesus, a man who died for someone else’s freedom.

The sights today were so big.  How small I am.  How simple, yet how complex.

Here, I look above me and see a sky I’ve never seen before.  I look at me, and I realize for the first time, I am alive.

And everyone else around me…they are too.

March 8, 1996 – Friday – 4:53 p.m.

Chris and I went into Atlanta today.  I met his brother Chase.  I was amazed at how many people were in the city.  So many individuals, and they all have their own story.  The buildings were huge.  It’s such a competitive world.

My plane leaves at 8:30 tomorrow morning.  Curtis and I have to get up pretty early.  I am excited.

I will soon see Brandon.

He left right when I started keeping this journal.  So all you have read about, he knows very little of.  He was my greatest friend since junior high.  We haven’t seen each other in over three years.

I’ve always wanted to fly.

January 26, 1995 – Thursday – 1:30 p.m.

I’m in the college post office at this time.

Jeni and I spent some nice quality time together last night.  She has been homesick ever since we got here.  She loves her mommy.  For a while, I thought I was the one bringing her down, but it turns out she just wants her mom.

Everything else is okay.  Jonathan and I still email.  He’s okay.  He wrote me today and told me that I was the most special person to him on this planet.

Tonight, our World Civilization class is watching Black Robe.  I don’t know what it is about, but we get extra credit if we watch it.

A few nights ago, I figured out how three-way-calling works and Brandon and Jeni and I talked at once.  It was cool.

All is well.

November 6, 1994 – Sunday – 11:25 p.m.

The weekend is over.  Bummer.  I had a lot of fun this weekend.

Yesterday, Jeni and Tracey and I went to Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  Craig, Jeni’s old youth pastor, and his wife, Coletta, were there to take their youth group on a fall retreat.  They rented a chalet.  Jeni had directions so after hanging around in Gatlinburg, we drove up to the Chalet.  They were out, so we just waited.  The sun had set and it was dark.  While we were waiting Jeni heard some weird noises, so she walked down the driveway to see what it was.  I just sat on the porch.

Suddenly Jeni was running up the drive way screaming, “Jacob, it’s a bear!  Jacob, it’s a bear!”  She was scared to death.  I went down to see it, but only caught a glimpse of him as he walked off the driveway and into the woods.

Finally, the group came.  I played basketball with the guys and we all ate spaghetti for dinner.  The girls got a kick out of me since I laughed at everything.

I enjoyed myself.

Craig and Coletta are really great and I see them in the way I saw Jason, Christi’s brother, my youth pastor before Shurby.

We left that night and got back around 2:00 in the morning.

Jeni and I ate breakfast together then went to church.  Tracey didn’t go to Sunday School with us, she just went to the worship service.  I love holding Jeni’s hand in church.  She is so delicate.

Mr. Angel was out of town so he asked Jeni and I to lead the Sunday School lunch.  Everyone seemed to enjoy it.

Today I had to run props for a rehearsal of The Dining Room.  It was fun.  I enjoyed myself.

Tonight I was lying next to Jeni in her bed while she was studying.  I fell asleep and then started talking in my sleep.  Jeni and Tracey both laughed their head off.

Brandon called me today.  I wasn’t in, so he left me a message.  He sounds like he is doing okay out in Arizona.  I really hope I can visit him soon.  I’ve never been out west.  It’s been almost two years since he left.

In one week I will be back from visiting home.  I wonder how I will feel.  I feel so honored to take Jeni home with me.  I know everyone will love her.

Who couldn’t?

She loves to serve me.  She likes to get me dessert in the cafeteria and to refill my drink.  She takes care of me.

Thank you for her Lord.  Please keep us together.

February 26, 1994 – Saturday – 12:40 a.m.

It hasn’t been the 26th for that long.  Tonight was supposed to have been the last VIP gathering, but there wasn’t a home game, so it was cancelled.  I didn’t find that out until I got there with Jenna, Tenielle, and Sunny.  Sunny is staying with them while her parents are at the beach.  Scott was there with Tim, so we stayed and watched the Olympics.

Congratulations Nancy!

Then an employee comes out and says “Is there a Jacob here?”

I said “yes.”

He said, “you have a phone call.”

I thought it would be my mom, but it wasn’t it was Brandon.  Can you believe it?  He called my mom and she said we were at Mr. Gatti’s and since he still has a Sanford phone book, all the way there in Arizona, he looked it up and called there.  He said he did it just to scare the heck out of me.

We left a little after 10:00 p.m. and went to the park.  I didn’t tell Jonathan I was going down to Jenna and Tenielle’s and Marcus wasn’t with me.  So, for once I spent a lot of time with Jenna and Tenielle without another guy there.  Every time a guy is with me, they always ask me what is wrong because I’m not acting like myself.  I just can’t be myself around Marcus, Jonathan, or Kevin when I’m around Jenna or Tenielle, because they pick on me later.  It’s weird.  But tonight, I was myself.  We had a lot of fun.  Thank you Jesus!

Things are going to get busy in the future.  Tomorrow we are going to Fayetteville and ride with Kevin and two guys from his Bible Study to Charlotte where we will see DC Talk in concert.  We will spend the night at a house, go to church down there the next morning and then come back home.  We will miss church Sunday morning in Sanford.

Wednesday, March 2nd, I have to have my essay on Macbeth turned in.  We also have cap and gown pictures then and a huge Pre-calculus test.  I have read to then read Hamlet and turn in an essay on it the following week.  We also have to act out and perform a scene from either play on March 7th.

There are 13 weeks of school left.  Sixty-five days of my senior year.  Only sixty-five days of high school remain.

After all this Shakespeare stuff, we will start a 20-page long research paper.  I’m doing mine on either evolution or dinosaur extinction.

On March 4th, the Imperials will be at our church.

Hopefully, I find the time to finish everything.  I never have time to do anything on the weekend, because I’m always in Sanford.  But hey, the heart has a hunger too.  Just like the mind hungers for knowledge and insight, just like the flesh hungers for food, the spirit longs for God and those who know him.

January 15, 1994 – Saturday – 10:30 p.m.

Today is January 15, 1994 and today would go under the category of “One of the Best Days of My Life.”  It wasn’t exactly what happened that made it a good day, but it was more about what I learned.

The only way to begin is with last night, which also ties in with today.

After work, I went to Mr. Gatti’s; mom dropped me off.  Jenna, Tenielle, Shar, and Sunny showed up a few minutes later.  Shar and I split a pizza.  Then Scott showed up and he had a few slices.  Later, Jenna, Tenielle, Shar, Sunny and I played a game.  It’s too difficult to describe here, but we had a blast.

While we were playing, Ryan came in with a friend.  They sat at a table across the room and then a guy sat with them.  For about 45 minutes I didn’t say a word to her, then I excused myself from the game for a moment and went over to her table and said, “I just wanted to say ‘hey’ so you couldn’t accuse me of being stuck up later.”  I smiled.  She smiled back and said, “Oh Jacob,” and I left and went back and sat with the four girls.

Four.

It hit me.  Something was different.  All the other times I went to Mr. Gatti’s it was always with Ryan, Amy, Cheryl, and Christi.

Now, I was with Jenna, Tenielle, Sunny, and Shar.  Retrospect hit me and all the girls noticed something was wrong and kept begging me to tell them what I was thinking.  Jenna and Tenielle mostly.

The five of us joked about everything.  I never did tell them though until later.  The evening was great fun, but then we had to leave.  Sunny’s parents came to pick them up and they said that they needed a ride tomorrow to the door to door ministry shindig.  I offered to pick them up.  Sunny’s mom gave me directions.

They left.  I went with Scott to his house and Kevin picked me up from there later.

We went home and soon, morning came.

We picked up Marcus, like we do every Saturday morning, (unless he’s staying the night), and we drove to Sanford.  Cheryl showed up at Band Practice.  I was supposed to leave at 10:00 a.m. to get Jenna, Tenielle, Sunny, and Shar.  I didn’t leave until 10:30 a.m. since Kevin and Marcus took the car to get something to eat.

Well, I’ve never been in that part of Lee County before and I got lost.  When I finally found their house, I discovered that they somehow conjured up another ride and had already left because they didn’t think I was coming.  Well, I drove back and when I arrived at the church, I saw Tenielle running out to explain everything.  Jenna and Shar followed.  Sunny didn’t come.

We all had a good laugh.  We then went in and prayed for a while and then head out into the city to spread the Word.

Dear God…I saw poverty today like nothing I’ve ever seen before.  And I complain when the hot water in the shower runs out.  It made me thankful.

Very thankful.

A few people got saved, one baptized in the spirit.  A wonderful, wonderful, time.  There is nothing like sharing the gospel.  I love it.

We all ate pizza back at the church and had a service.  I took the three girls back and we had a wonderful conversation.  I told them what I was thinking about in terms of Ryan and the other girls I used to spend a lot of time with.  They were thankful I was with them.  I wish I could live through that conversation again.  There was more laughter and joy in that short drive than I’m most experience in a week.

I took Shar to her house and Jenna and Tenielle to theirs.  They live in a trailer park.  The trailer itself isn’t that bad.  When we got there, Jenna gave me a letter she had written to me the night before.  And their mom gave me $3 for gas money…I accepted.

We said our goodbye’s and I left.  While I drove off, I saw Jenna come outside in the bitter cold and wave goodbye.  I waved back and drove on.  In the rearview mirror, I saw her standing there waiting until she couldn’t see my car anymore, then I’m assuming she went back inside.

I smiled.

When I got back to the church, the skit group met and we got stuff cleared away.

Then myself, Kevin, Marcus, Cheryl, and Sherry and her sister all went bowling.  I won and then the three girls left while I watched Kevin and Marcus play a game in the arcade.  While there, I saw so many people acting “worldly.”  Praise God I’m a Christian.  I can be myself and take off my mask.  Everyone always seems to be performing for everyone else; trying to get attention; simply being too loud.  It’s like I’m the only one who is aware of who I am.

We went home, and I read Jenna’s letter.  I’ll try to write in here later.

The reason today was so wonderful was because it was so simple.

Right now I’m going to call Brandon; Mom said he called earlier.

And I’m going to end this wonderful day by talking to my wonderful friend who moved across America more than a year ago.

December 23, 1993 – Thursday – 11:10 a.m.

The day turned out different than I thought it would, although it isn’t over yet.

A few days ago, I figured I would talk to Jenna and Tenielle on Wednesday night and even though I just wanted to be their friend, we would still do something together today, since I would be in town getting some last minute shopping done.

Well, it snowed, and last night I didn’t really get to talk to them.  I also wanted to see Jason and Christi, but it doesn’t look like I’ll be able.  We leave tomorrow morning really early.  

I mailed Christmas cards off.  With Ryan, I just wanted to share everything with her about how I used to feel, but I didn’t, I just said Merry Christmas and thanks.

I miss Christi so much.  Cheryl gave me a Christmas Card and a candy cane last night.  So did Ryan and Amy.

It’s been a month and four days since I’ve seen Les Miserables.  That’s hard to believe.

It’s been a year since I’ve seen Brandon.

A year.

Brandon and I tried to tip a cow one time, but it was awake.  That was last November.

In Anne’s Christmas card, I told her when she gets back to college to take her time and not come back so soon.  Because when she comes back for the summer, that means its almost time for me to leave.

I don’t want to leave.

It’s too perfect here, but I know I must go.

Already it seems like I’m gone.  But I still have eight and a half months.

When I spent the night at Danny and Peter’s, it felt so weird.  It wasn’t my bed, it wasn’t my shower, it wasn’t my shampoo.

I’ve grown too accustomed to this place, but soon I’ll get used to another shower.

Right now, I’m in my room, my home, but it seems as if I’m so much farther away.