March 30, 2001 – Friday – 11:06 a.m.

The past month has been full of much life, love, sorrow, and even death. My grandmother, my dad’s mom, passed away on Monday night at 8:30 p.m.

Anna and I went to see her in the hospital before our trip to Florida, but even then she was like a vegetable. She had leukemia. My grandpa is now alone, and everyone is deciding what to do with him.

He is nearly 80. My grandma was 72.

The funeral was yesterday, and my brother brought a rather annoying girl to it. Anna had to work, so she couldn’t come.

I quit my bookstore job this morning. April simply contains too much, and something had to go. I’ve got the church videos to produce, I’ve got to finish up two films, and I’m graduating.

Anna and I marry in about eight weeks. I’ll pick Vince up from the Miami International airport on the 21st of May. I haven’t seen him in a year.

I saw a bald eagle out in the wild a couple of days ago in West Point, VA. It got me thinking about the new beginning that is right around the corner. Very soon, my best friends will all be in one place, and the love of my life will be presented to me. I’ll then drive away to have to my honeymoon with Anna in a land that fills my soul, the mountains of North Carolina.

I love you Lord.

February 12, 2001 – Monday – 7:00 p.m.

I’m sitting in my new home. I do not live here fully yet, but my heart is here. Ann and I will live in this studio apartment in early June after we return from our honeymoon. I wonder how long we’ll stay.

My brother Nate turns 16 today. How crazy! I was only 8-years-old when he was born.

My family has gone through a lot recently. I don’t think I’ve written about it at all. Henry went through some sort of mental illness spell, but he is beginning to come around. Mom called me on her new cell phone tonight. Nate got on the call and said that she got so into reading the instructions about it that she forgot she was running a bath and ended up flooding the bathroom.

My small group had a fantastic time swing dancing the other night. I enjoy them so much. I’m glad Anna and I go there together; our love has become worship to God. All we seem to do is praise Him for what he placed in the other that we’ll benefit from. I am amazed every day.

I’ve never known a love like this. All this time, through all these journals, from Veronica to Marie, it was Anna all along.

I feel stupid.

I feel human.

But I am forgiven, and I am loved.

So much time has passed since I began these journals. I tried to seek after God, I tried to find a good woman, and I tried to become a filmmaker. I also tried to be a good friend and neighbor to all those around me. Overall, I think I did okay. I just showed up and let God do His thing. I’ve traveled everywhere from California to South Africa, and this whole time my future wife was in Florida.

In the end, all these journals told the story of how God brought me to Anna.

December 27, 2000 – Wednesday – 10:44 a.m.

The day before Anna met my mom, we talked about marriage. God had been speaking to each of us individually about marriage for about two weeks. We were half expecting my mom to talk us out of it, but she did the opposite. She prayed for us and felt we were right for each other; that our union was God’s will. My mom was a blessing to us both.

Anna flew down to Florida for Christmas, and we agreed to look at rings together when she returned.

During Christmas, Kevin and I talked a great deal about our upbringing. Much was covered; some painful, but all good. It was so weird to see Nate as a full-fledged teenager.

There are five days left in the year.

2001 will be a jewel.

December 21, 2000 – Thursday – 10:19 a.m.

And so it is tomorrow again.

Anna and I stayed up until four in the morning, just talking. We are so great together, and she will meet my mom on Saturday morning. Mom is driving up to grandma’s as I write.

Anna has one year of school remaining before she’s done with her Master’s. God, please let us know what you have planned for us for afterwards.

This is the life I live now. All time seems to run together. I have no regular schedule; I just try to be as close to Anna as possible. It is the cold weather that brings our hearts together, or just our Lord and Savior?

Each week, in between seeing Anna, I seem to pull together all the video work I need to do for church. After she meets my mom this weekend, I’ll meet her mom the following weekend. We are planning our lives together.

Thank you Lord.

November 18, 2000 – Saturday – 1:50 p.m.

It’s been an interesting week. I acted in a video shoot and have been working on Trey’s film. On Thursday night I spent some time with Anna again. We had dinner at The Jewish Mother near the beach. I enjoy her company so much.

I also called Tenielle, and I am going to drive down to see them at the end of December. It was great to talk to her and Jenna.

My mom called this morning. They may not be able to come up to Virginia from Florida for Christmas, so I don’t know what I am going to do. Anna invited me down to her place in Florida, so I might get to see my parents after all.

And so the Holidays are here again. And I have many people to love.

November 6, 2000 – Monday – 3:30 p.m.

I’m in Suffolk, VA shooting on location with a small part because someone saw me in an improv skit at Forefront. I have a few minutes of down time.

This past Saturday was a wonderful day. There was a Virginia Tech game on and I went over to Scott and Paige’s house to watch it with our small group. I’m not really into football, but I enjoyed the snacks and company. They had shrimp, oysters, and some amazing dipping sauces. Their kids were great fun; I played with little Grant. One time, while holding him in my arms, I walked further into the backyard and turned around to watch the perfect scenes of an autumn cookout with playing children, loving friends, and cheering fans. Things I’m glad I’m allowed to observe even if I cannot have them for myself at the moment. God has always provided other homes, families, and backyards for me to take great delight in.

The rest of the month seems pretty loaded. I have this shoot this week, then we are making a Matrix parody for church. I’ll have another week of movie parodies for church, then I’m off to New Mexico.

I’m looking forward to this trip. I need to see new sky, a new land, and new eyes. I can’t wait!

May 6, 2000 – Saturday – 1:00 p.m.

I’m at my grandparents’.  I was headed out yesterday to visit Vince and say goodbye before he flew off to Bolivia, but my car broke down near Bottom’s Bridge in New Kent County.  I think I blew the engine.  I’m not sure what is going to happen, but it is nice being here.  I’ve had some time to reflect and think.

Soon I will be 24-years-old.  I am not married, but I’ve found a potential girl.  I’ll soon have a Master’s Degree, and I need to start working.  I have an interview Monday at a place called Acoustic Works.

I’ve watched some old home videos since I arrived here yesterday.  My grandpa always had the latest video camera in his hands while I was growing up.  How amazing to see me as a little boy back in 1987!  God is teaching me something.  I long for the life of pure love and innocence.  Oh, to be a child again.

I’ve come a long way.  High school, college, graduate school, all all the different churches that came with those places.  All the different friends.  Some now lost forever.

And all the different girls.

Cincinatti, Winston-Salem, Metuchen.

All the places I’ve walked.

I’m no longer a student, and that is all my memory has known.

So fix me God.  Prepare me for the next wave.  Send to the place you have prepared for me.

April 28, 2000 – Friday – 7:53 a.m.

April is ending.  As are many other things.  I am no longer a full-time student, and Marie and I have just come through a really difficult time.

I think the past week really traumatized me, so much so that I can hardly remember the harsh words that were spoken to me.  I feel my mind is trying to forever forget them, like a scab covering a wound and allowing new skin to grow.  I’m tempted to not write about this at all, but I should put something down in these pages.

Clearly hurt and rejected after spending a week with my friends in North Carolina, a vulnerable Marie and I visited her family.  And while they are kind in action, I didn’t have a great time these past few days in New Jersey, one, because I was sick, and two, because there just wasn’t an abundance of joy and peace, at least not when you compare it to the amount of joy and peace in all my friends in Banner Elk.  So, once we headed back to Virginia, all of that pain and defensiveness bubbled up in Marie, and she became very critical toward me and of all my friends.

She said it was unnatural and immoral of me to have as many female friends as I do.  And, as if that didn’t hurt enough, she then accused me of only being involved with the youth group at Parkway because I was sexually attracted to all the girls in the youth group.  She said that my friendship with girls like Sterling, Christin, and Kimberly was inappropriate and that I should be ashamed of myself.

Much more was said, many more stabs were taken at my heart, but I pulled off the road, got out of the car and found a distant ball park, where I sat on the bleachers and stared off into the landscapes of Delaware, trying to make sense of what had just happened with this girl I want to marry.

I don’t know if I’ve ever been more hurt.  Sterling, Christin, and Kimberly and their families and I all adore each other.  We are fellow believers together.  They take care of me, I like spending time with them, and yes Christin crushed on me for a while, but nothing ever happened.  I took her to her prom and I didn’t even kiss her.  The whole reason I didn’t pursue a relationship with her was because she was too young.  I sat there alone for a long time, and eventually heard from the Lord that Marie’s accusations were false.

So, I returned to the car.  By the look on her face, it was clear she knew she was out of line.  She apologized.  We drove home.

I prayed silently as we drove, and God gave me a very clear answer that I love my friends, and the fact that many of them are women is not a sin.  What Marie said to me reveals much more about her heart and mindset than it did mine, and, after spending a week with her family, it’s clear to see that she was raised in such a negative and narrow mindset.  We both got to experience where each of us came from these past two weeks, and the fact that we both came from two different words really broke us.  She felt like she didn’t belong with my group of friends and possibly even felt like she doesn’t have as good of friends as I do, and I felt rejected by (and bored with) her family.

So there it is.  God is breaking us.  Or maybe he’s sharpening us.

Perhaps this will make us a stronger couple than we were before.  Perhaps we won’t be able to recover from this.  Time will tell.

April 7, 2000 – Friday – 9:09 p.m.

I’m horrible at journal writing these days.

Right now though, I am in Metuchen, New Jersey.  I’m in Marie’s childhood home.  We had a wonderful dinner, and earlier I met some of Marie’s friends from when she was a teacher.

Looking back, I hardly know what has happened over the past week and a half.  I’ll try to slow down soon enough and really write.

But for now, Marie’s room is so adorable.  This entire house looks like the inside of a miniature doll’s house.  I always heard New Jersey was the armpit of America.  I never knew it could be so sweet.

January 23, 2000 – Sunday – 7:15 a.m.

It snowed last night.  The second snowfall in the past week.  And now I realize it has been a week since I’ve written.  It feels like a day.  Wow.

Things are good.  God is blessing me.  The Dang! footage looks great.  We will begin editing next week.  It also looks like there is a good chance that at least one of my screenplays will be selected for a funded production this summer.

Last night the roots of Marie and my’s relationship ran deeper.  It’s hard to write about the two of us because we have our own little book we started together.  We tell each other we love each other now.  And it is a very painful and scary thing; almost to the point that it is comforting.

We visited both sets of Grandparents, she even met my Dad last Sunday.  He acted like the total antisocial butthole that he is.  It was difficult, but it is also nice dealing with all this buried junk inside me with Marie by my side.  I’m learning to see it all through her eyes.

The purity outside reminds me of God’s fresh grace.