May 10, 2001 – Thursday – 11:23 a.m.

Last night was a miracle. It was my first film festival. Dang screened to a packed theater in downtown Norfolk, and people were laughing. They were laughing so loud I heard a few people choke on their laughter. They were also quiet, and they listened. It was my movie that was playing, it was my script, my story, and the audience loved it. I won the audience award and another award; I have two statues forever to remind me of this moment. Lindy and Eddie came up to see it, and Anna was there with me. She looked beautiful!

An editor of feature films came up to me after the award ceremony and said, “In this industry there are people who try for it, they look for it, but never find it, but then there are people who were just born with it. You, you were born with it.”

This film has been a long journey. From all its real-life inspiration to all the acting and directing classes in both theater and film; it all culminated in this project that I’ve been working on here and there for the last two years. Thank you God for allowing me to be noticed and rewarded for the work that I put into it.

The festival plays again tomorrow night, and I graduate on Saturday. I graduated from Lees-McRae College three years this morning, and it is sixteen days until Anna and I marry. Life is very full at the moment.

But I know that I can’t live forever in last night’s glory and honor. It too will fade. More life is ahead. I’m marrying a beautiful woman. I’m honeymooning in my favorite land. I’m turning 25 in a few months.

And no matter what, heaven awaits.

February 15, 2001 – Thursday – 6:15 p.m.

It’s already mid-February. Can the second month of the year already be half over?

In 100 days I will marry the love of my life. The more I say that number, the more I realize it is a very short amount of time.

My heart has been burdened recently. I was asked to put together a little drama for church, but, once I finalized the script, much confusion set in. I work in a world that exists somewhere between the church and entertainment, between the sacred and the secular. I feel as if sometimes art has to prostitute itself out to the church in order for the church to make its points. It weakens both the art and the message. I feel I’m stuck in the middle, often questioning where I stand.

God, I often wonder why you called me to this field. There’s no security in this profession. I’ve seen the vicious circle of it all, the constant chasing after, the constant self-promotion, the constant selling, but I want none of that. I just want to tell the stories you’ve placed in me. Do I have to sell them God? Couldn’t I just make them for the two of us to enjoy together? Why does money have to be an issue?

There has to be a better way.

Please show it to me God.

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 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.

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.

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!

November 3, 2000 – Friday – 5:10 p.m.

Trey and I have completed a rough cut of Dang!, but it is going to cost a few more thousand dollars to finish it on 16mm, which is what is required for it to play at the Regent Film Festival at the Naro Cinema in the spring. Having already put a few thousand dollars on a credit card to make this movie, I thought I’d show it to Terry, one of the top dogs in the administration, to see if he could help. I showed it to him this afternoon.

After it was over he said, “Wow! I’ll make sure you get your money.”

And there it is! My God has remained faithful. Not only will my film show here, but also in Los Angeles at the Director’s Guild of America later next year. From there I’ll try to submit it to as many festivals as I can.

I’m still a bit speechless. I feel very thankful inside. I’m making movies, and I stand in awe of it every day.

On a totally different note, I’ve met some amazing girls this past week. Perhaps I know my movie is good, and that has improved my confidence, which makes me a bit more appealing than I usually would be. Oh, I wonder if that movie will ever get made.

There’s a girl out there somewhere praying for me, and there’s a song inside each us of that neither of us have ever heard. We will hear it soon, when we find one another.

Oh God, I’m amazed by you.

October 20, 2000 – Friday – 6:07 p.m.

Much has happened. Rosie is in a box, stuck to a sticky mousetrap pad, in a garbage bag, in a garbage can, outside the Regent Village. She escaped while I was cleaning her cage and it took Dan and I two days to catch her through a horrible ordeal. I just couldn’t have a huge rat roaming free, so I eventually trapped her, and well, Rosie is gone. Still alive at the moment, but gone nevertheless. Those “humane” rat traps aren’t very humane at all.

Our first college age small group was last night and that cute girl I’ve been noticing showed up. Now I can’t get her out of my head. I contemplated calling her up and asking her to do something, but I’m pretty sure I’ll chicken out. Ugh!

The footage from The Accuser came back and it looks fantastic!

Okay God, to call or not to call…

Hmm.

October 15, 2000 – Sunday – 8:26 p.m.

It has been a week since I have written. We are now in the middle of the tenth month, what an amazing time! It feels like much has happened.

I just returned from visiting Jean, one of the employees from Acoustic Works. I feel so safe talking with her about love and relationships because she is married. We had dinner and played with Katie, the adorable little girl she was babysitting. Katie seemed to enjoy the way I would make my hair tickle her forehead; she has such a beautiful smile.

This past weekend were our shooting days for The Accuser. I directed a fantastic cast and crew on Ft. Wool, which is an island in the middle of Hampton Roads. Jeremy played his role so well that he banged his head open and cut up his leg. He’s okay though. I can’t wait to see the dailies!

I feel so at home when I’m directing a film. It puts me and all my thoughts, hopes, memories, and feelings together in such a way that everything of who I am, and who God has made me to be, completely makes sense.

This past week I also wrote a letter to Sarah. It is difficult to describe what came over me, but I told her that I loved her fully and unconditionally for who she is, and that she is one of the few people in the world whom I love in such a way. I can explain my love for others away, but I cannot explain my love for Sarah away. It simply exists, it is there, I cannot deny it, and it blesses my soul so much.

Also this past week I picked up a rat for The Accuser shoot. It takes place in a dungeon, so I thought a rat would add some atmosphere. The crew named her Rosie, and I decided to keep her. She is in her cage in my room now.

This coming Thursday kicks off the college-age small group that I will be leading. I’m so excited. I want God to show up. I want him to change us and this whole area.

Thanks for a great week God, you are so good!

October 5, 2000 – Thursday – 10:08 p.m.

I’m going to see Caedmon’s Call in concert tomorrow night! That’s awesome!

Well, the days have been interesting. I have the best job in the world. Vince and I made a super funny video on Tuesday. I can’t wait for it to be shown on the big screen on Sunday.

The college-age small group I’ll be leading kicks off on October 19th. I’m so excited; that’s two weeks from tonight.

The Accuser finally shoots next weekend. This morning myself plus some other student directors were interviewed by Portfolio magazine about filmmaking. So this is where I am now. Everyday I’m writing, directing, and editing videos that find an audience every Sunday. I’m in a delightful small group, and soon I’ll be leading one. Plus, I’m directing and finishing up some short 16mm films.

I’m doing all that I’ve ever wanted to do.