April 28, 1997 – Monday – 8:20 p.m.

Derek, Jessica, and myself went to Wal-Mart today to buy basketballs for Crossnore School.  It was our community service project.  We also went hiking in the old mines near Cranberry and stopped to see a beaver dam.  We had a great time.  I always have fun when I’m with Jessica.  We are complete opposites in every way, and maybe that’s why we get alone so easily.  We’ve been talking about going camping together on Thursday night.

I only have one more exam and it’s tomorrow at 1:30 p.m.

It’s 8:30 p.m. and the sky is not completely dark yet.  Summer is approaching.

I saw Marjorie at Wal-Mart today.  She looked really good.  We gave each other big hugs.

Thanks God!

March 10, 1997 – Monday – 9:45 p.m.

Last night there was a family get-together here at Kate’s house.  We ate steak, played with her new nephew Hunter, and sat in the hot tub after everyone left.

It was a good day.

Today came and it is now already over.  It too was a good day.  I was dropped off at the movie theater while Kate and Charlie went to some bookstores.  I saw Secrets and Lies and Shine.  They were both so wonderful, but Secrets and Lies got me where it counts.  It looked into eyes.  It looked into souls.  It did what I do every day; it watched people.

I was picked up and then we headed to Clearwater to see the Highlanders at the Hampton.  We eventually found it and I walked into the lobby and there was Timothy.  I ran up and hugged him, and the next thing I know, everyone is shouting my name and I’m immediately hugged by dozens:  A.J., Andrea, Eddie, Lisa, Tracey, Ann-Marie, Dawn, Rachel, Derek, Natalie, Missy, and even Abigail.  They all looked great.  It had been only four days since I had seen most of them, but when you see someone other than where you normally see them…it’s a big deal, and we had a special little reunion.

A smile filled my face the whole night.  Gayle was even there.  I sat next to the coolest little old lady during the concert.  She has 12 children and 65 grandchildren who all live in Michigan.  Wow!

Andrea asked me to go to the Spring Formal with her.  I told her I’d think about it.

We left and ate a breakfast-dinner at a local restaurant.  Our beautiful waitress’ name was Jasmine.

I got in the hot tub again and stared at the stars.

Good movies, good friends, good music, good food.  Does it get any better?

September 7, 1996 – Saturday – 2:55 a.m.

It has been a wild evening.

My classes ended at one.  I ate lunch with Dawn and some of her friends.  Then at 2 o’clock, Dan, Allen, Vince, and I went to clean the church.  After we finished we played basketball with Charlie and his friend Casey.  After the game, Vince met Laura to go running while the rest of us went back to eat dinner.  Derek wanted me to cover duty for him since he had a performance, so I picked up the radio for him at six.

A fire alarm got pulled in Tate Hall on the other side of campus.  The fire trucks arrived, and over the radio I was asked to bring the alan wrench keys from back campus to help open some doors.  I ran over there quickly.

Fire trucks were everywhere, but soon everything was under control.  I came back to my room and began to write a paper due on Monday.

Vince, Laura, and Hannah soon came by.  They came to borrow a movie from me and take it over to their house to watch.  We talked just a little bit, but then they left.

Charlie, Allen, and Dan went bowling and Curtis went with Vince, Laura, and Hannah.

And then five minutes after they left, Derek came by to pick up the radio.  He looked angry, hardly said a word, and left quickly.

I finished two paragraphs and leaned back in my chair.  I was alone.  All my friends were out having fun, but I was alone and at peace.

And then I felt the sudden urge to go for a walk.  It was a quickening in my spirit, something that said “go outside now.”

So I did.  I walked down to the waterfall and crossed the bridge.  I noticed a girl sitting on the bridge.  She was alone.  I walked by, not getting a good look at her.  It was dark.

I got to the end of the bridge, walked up the trail, and then something happened in my spirit.

God spoke.  “Hey!  Turn around.  You just walked past the whole reason I brought you out here.”

So, I turned around, walked back to the bridge and from that angle I could see better and saw the girl’s body shaking.  Her face was buried in her hands.  She was crying.

I still didn’t recognize her.  I walked up to her and asked, “Are you okay?”

“No!” she cried.  And I recognized her voice.  It was Tracey.

I sat down and put my arm around her.  I held her close.

“Does this have to do with Derek?”

She nodded her head and cried louder.

“I can’t do this Jacob!  I love him too much!”

She cried and cried.  I kissed the top of her head.

It turns out that Derek has been going out with Dawn, yes the same Dawn I used to like, whom I met through The Farm House over the summer.

Tracey and I talked a little more.  I told her everyone was over at Sharon’s and she always knows how to make you feel good.  Tracey had promised to watch a movie with Jeni, so all three of us went instead.

Jeni drove.  I hadn’t been in that car in a long time.  It smelled the same.  I called Sharon before we left.  She greeted us when we got there.  Melissa had come home.  Everyone was watching a movie.  Sharon and I made hot chocolate and Laura came in and helped.  We played games a little later.  Laura had some friends over to work on a school project.  They were going to spend the night.  I spent a lot of time talking with Laura, Molly, Brooke and Karen, four beautiful high school juniors just laughing and enjoying their life.  It made me feel young again.

I think the visit helped Tracey a little.  We got back at 2:30 a.m. and I found a girl in someone’s room, so I had to write them up.  And now finally, I’m nearly finished writing and I can go to sleep.

Tracey and Derek.

Tenielle and Scott.

Hurricane Fran.

The whole world is on fire.

And I’m doing just fine.

June 11, 1996 – Tuesday – 10:30 p.m.

I talked to Derek today.  He was honest with me and he told me that he did make a huge mistake and sleep with Sherry.  But he also said that Tracey knew about it.  I believe him.  I even talked to Tracey myself.  And she has forgiven both Derek and Sherry.  Now Sherry is completely amazed at how loving, forgiving, and nice Tracey is.  She looks up to her and, in fact, wants to be like her.  She wants to come to church tomorrow.  She is changing.

We went swimming together at the pool this evening.  I spent some time in her room afterwards.  She even called me up a little while ago.

This thing with Derek has taught her a lot.  She told me that she talked to her boyfriend back home.  She told him about how she had been talking to me and that she doesn’t want to have a sexual relationship with him like she always has had with her boyfriends in the past.  She wants to love him for who he is and not just for his body.  He agreed and told her to go to church with me.

Satan tried to destroy these people, but God has turned it around to bring healing and restoration.  I claim Sherry for the Kingdom of God in Jesus’ name!

June 10, 1996 – Monday – 11:58 p.m.

Why me?

Something has come up.  Something unbelievable.

Dinner was nice.  I had to work on a paper for costuming, so Sherry offered to let me use her computer.  I got to her room about 5:45 p.m. and began my paper.    She cleans her room.  We begin to talk.

Before I get into our conversation, let me mention this:

Friday night, when Sherry and I plus two others saw Sense and Sensibility, we ran into Tracey, Derek, Jeni, and another girl.  We all said “Hi.”  Tracey stopped and talked to Sherry and I.  Derek walked on.

After they were gone, Sherry said, “I can’t believe Derek doesn’t even look at me anymore.”  And Sherry said something along those lines at least half a dozen times that night.

I invited her to church on Saturday.  She said, “If Derek is going to be there, I’m not going.”

So, something has occurred between Derek and Sherry, and I don’t think anybody else knows about it.

I asked her tonight.  She told me.  And then let me listen to voice mail recordings to back it up.

To be brief, Derek and Sherry were friends the first semester.  But from the end of January until the middle of April, they had sex 11 times, including a spring break trip to Florida, where it happened five times.  During all of this, Tracey, Derek’s steady girlfriend, went to sleep on her pure bed probably saying her prayers to the Lord.

Sherry and I continued to talk.  She doesn’t believe that Tracey knows what happened.  Sherry regrets all of it and feels Tracey has a right to know that her boyfriend cheated on her.

I began to talk to Sherry about the Lord and about how much he loves her.  We talked about the goodness of God for so long and she actually listened.  She wants to go to church with me, but she feels she needs to be forgiven by Tracey first, after Tracey finds out that is.  She wants me to help her make all this right.

I called Sharon for wisdom.

Now, I’m going to pray.

January 20, 1995 – Friday – 1:15 a.m.

Today (Thursday), has been pretty good.

I have three classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  World Civilization, Freshman Composition, and Piano.  I also spend a few hours with my work study job in the campus post office.  It was a lot of fun!

Auditions for Student-Directed One-Acts were tonight.  I was only going to audition for one: Marcie’s children’s show of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.  I did okay.  I’ll find out if I got the part tomorrow.  But as I was walking back, a senior named Joey stopped me and handed me an audition sheet, wanting me to audition for a small scene he is directing later in the semester.  I did.  And then he asked me to read for the second half of the scene as well.  He really seemed to like me.  I would play an awkward virgin talking to a prostitute.  I guess that isn’t too much of a stretch for me.  The girl playing the prostitute is a super pretty girl named Penny.

Auditioning was fun.  I hope I get something.

Jeni and I got to see each other some throughout the day.  We ate all three meals together.

It snowed a little bit this evening.

Charlie is supposedly seeing this girl named Kate.  I sit next to her in World Civilization.

Charlie wrote up another RA and all the guys on the hall except for me aren’t talking to him.

This weekend Jeni and I are going to see Legends of the Fall.  Tracey and Derek might go with us.

I am having a good time.  I have my girl beside me.  I have good friends who like me.  It turns out I’m not a bad actor.  Perhaps I  have a future.

Jeni wants to be my wife.

She loves me.

She loves me.

She loves me.

We will have children together one day!

It’s good to see all of my great friends.

This day closes, but a greater one is beginning.

Another day to spend more time with Jeni.

Another day to love her.

Another day to worship Jesus.

Another day to live for him.

Then another and another.

My Book of Days.

January 17, 1995 – Tuesday – 4:30 p.m.

Today is my older brother’s birthday.

Kevin is 20!

I can’t believe it.  He still is like a kid to me.

The events of the past two days have been unexpected.  On Sunday Jeni and Tracey and I went into Boone to eat at Makoto’s, an awesome new Japanese restaurant, because our school’s cafeteria was closed due to the water being contaminated thanks to the sewer system backing up with all the flooding going on.  One thing always leads to another.

And when we returned to campus…boom…we discovered that school had been cancelled until further notice and all students had to go home.  People who couldn’t go home would stay in a shelter off campus.

So, Jeni and I drove to my house that night.  Tracey waited for Derek to return from New York and then they went to stay at a camp Tracey used to work for near Asheville.

Jeni and I arrived at home Sunday night at 10:00 p.m.  We didn’t know how long we were going to be there, but we went home anyway.

For Monday, Jeni and I went to visit Scott.  We shot his bow and arrow and a few of his guns at a target he had set up in his back yard.  It was fun.  Scott told me a little about what had been going on at church.  Pastor Steve does the youth group now, and Scott says he doesn’t go anymore.  He said that he wants to leave the church.

“Why?” I asked.

He didn’t say.

So, I asked. “Is Pastor Steve still in God’s will?”

“I’m not going to answer that,” he said.

But I guess I already know the answer.  What has happened?  I hope I will never know.  I told Scott that I didn’t want the present truth to pervert and twist my wonderful memories.

Next, Jeni and I went to Jenna and Tenielle’s.  They’re mom cut my hair and we spent a little time with them.  Tenielle has a new boyfriend who came over.  To be honest, he seemed like an arrogant brat.

But Tenielle’s only 13.  It’s all still a game to her.

I’m glad I wasn’t a game.

Afterwards, Jeni and I drove to Southern Pines and just spent time driving and talking.

We picked up some subs and went to Kiwanis Park for lunch.  Then we went to visit Kristen.  She was surprised to see me.  We talked about tons of stuff.  We stayed and ate dinner with her.  She cut all her long pretty hair off, but otherwise she’s doing great.

Monday came to a close as Tuesday dawned.

Today.

Jeni and I didn’t go anywhere, but we found out from Tracey that classes started on Thursday and orientation was tomorrow.  So at 4:00 p.m. began the three hour journey back.  I’m writing while she’s driving.

Today we spent a lot of time talking about us and how close we have been.  Although we haven’t had sex, I told her that what we’re doing is too much for my comfort level and it feels like we are cheating ourselves from something better in the future.  I love her very much and I don’t want to hurt her or myself.

I’m glad we were able to go home because I doubt we would have talked about this at school.

We are currently in Wilkesboro, no, sorry, Yadkinville.  I always get those two towns confused.

The sun is setting.

I have my Les Miserables painting with me.

We are listening to Enya.

I love Jeni.

And this day is slowly coming to a close.

December 3, 1994 – Saturday – 8:00 a.m.

I know I haven’t written in my journal in about a week, but all is well.

Final exams are two weeks away!

I talked to my dad.  On New Year’s Eve he is going to drive me towards Ohio to meet Jeni halfway, then I’ll ride home with her and spend the first few days of 1995 in beautiful Cincinnati.

Jeni and I are volunteering with Habitat for Humanity this morning; other students are helping out as well.  Later today I’m going to take Jeni out to see a movie and hopefully do some shopping.

Jenna and Tenielle were going to come and see me today, but they had to change their plans.

It still hasn’t snowed up here yet.  I thought for sure I’d see snow before December; the campus is nearly 4,000 feet above sea level.

Tracey and Derek are a couple now.  Derek is a performing arts student from New York.  He is in the directing class and he is directing a scene from A Few Good Men.  He asked me to play the part Tom Cruise plays in the movie version.

I’m excited!

November 19, 1994 – Saturday – 1:55 a.m.

It’s real early Saturday morning.  So much has happened.  I’m not sure if I can explain it all.

I got a message from Scott on Thursday morning.  He and Marcus decided to come up and visit me from Thursday to Saturday.  They arrived Thursday night and we all hung out in Jeni’s room.  I’m not sure if I mentioned this or not, but while Tracey and Jeni were home with me last weekend, Marcus took a liking to Tracey.  And as you should know, Marcus always has to be the center of attention when it comes to the females.  He will do anything, even cry, to get girls to pay attention to him.

He was the same way Thursday night.

I then found out that when Tracey was down in Sanford, visiting my home church with me, Scott took a liking to Tracey.  They both, together, decided to come up to see me, but they each had the secret agenda (without telling the other) of getting to know Tracey, my girlfriend’s roommate, a little better.

Men.

Tracey is very sarcastic and Marcus got a little hurt.  Scott, Marcus, and Jeni came to see Dining Room while I ran props.  Tracey didn’t come even though Marcus wanted her to.

Anyway, that night ended.

On Friday morning, Scott, Marcus and I ate breakfast with Glenda.  I went to my classes and they shot pool.

We ate lunch and what not, then the evening came.

After dinner we all went to Jeni’s room.  Marcus, however, went with Tracey to a rehearsal of hers.

Scott and Jeni and I just hung out.  When Tracey and Marcus returned, we just talked and played Balderdash.  That went on for a while, and then we all went to Evans Auditorium and watched Sister Act 2.  There is a big screen TV and VCR there that people can use.

Guess who else was there?  Derek.  He is a junior who really likes Tracey.  Long story short, Tracey gave Derek a lot of attention and Marcus got hurt.

Scott just appeared to let it all roll off.

I told Jeni that this happens to Marcus everywhere he goes.  He always finds some girl, but he tries too hard because he is afraid.  He tries to make them like him.

Jeni felt sorry for Marcus.  He looked very sad.  Jeni even had tears in her eyes, she felt so sorry for him.

We all went back to Jeni and Tracey’s room and watched Quantum Leap.

When it was over, Derek gave Tracey a goodnight kiss while Marcus was in the room.

We left to go to our dorm, but Scott and I went to the Pantry.  He told me he was very proud of me; that I was doing a great job here at college.  He really likes and respects Jeni and says we are great together.

I told him that back home I felt like I couldn’t be me.  But here, I am me.

He said that it was because of Kevin and Marcus.  I realized he was right.  Kevin and Marcus dwarfed me.  Their characters and personality would not allow the true me to shine.  That is how everything got messed up with Jenna and Tenielle.  Our best times together were when it was just the three of us.

Here, at Lees-McRae, I am me.