April 15, 1999 – Thursday – 9:30 p.m.

Life is beautiful.

There are beautiful eternal instants happening all around me.  Moments of bike-riding with Kimberly and studying the photo albums of her youth with her under the amber light shade of her living room.

Mary Jo just left here.  We spent nearly an hour together just listening to good music, especially Caedmon’s Call’s Table for Two.  We have declared it our song.  Our conversation turned into a pillow fight.  She is so lovely to be around.

Kerstin came to visit me in the bookstore.  We seem to talk so much about relationships, despite the fact that neither of us are in one.  Oh how beautiful conversation is.

David and his brother and I are going to see The Matrix tonight.  They haven’t seen it yet. I called Vince last night, he said he saw it and he loves it.  He said he plans to spend the summer in Banner Elk, as does everyone else.

Everything looks better.  Everyone is beautiful.  Jesus has become my eyes.  To know him; that is the only reason why we are here.

Angela (from my South Africa trip) and I email each other regularly.  She is such a blessing.  She lives in Seattle.

I’m sure the air feels nice outside McAlister Hall right now, but I’d rather feel the air here.  How wild this thing is.  I don’t miss driving the hour back and forth between Siler City and Winston-Salem; I’m just glad to know I was once there.

I’m happy to know that I was a good undergraduate student and that I did it well.  Oh this life is not my own.  I’m so thankful for that; it’s easier to exist that way.  No burdens.  No fears.  I only task is to let go and love every minute freely and fully.  I job is to rest in his peace and salvation.

My beautiful Jesus.  You are perfection.  Thank you for the life you’ve breathed into me.  I love you.  I do, I do.

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January 31, 1999 – Sunday – 11:38 p.m.

What an amazing weekend!  Friday, after youth group, Kimberly, Sterling, Christin, new friend Tessa, and a few others went to eat at IHOP.  These girls are the joy of my life these days.  I took Kimberly home afterwards.

Saturday, after going to Northwest River Park to measure a pier I found there for a short film I hope to make, I went to Kim’s birthday party, and everyone just had a fantastic time.  There was so much laughter!

Afterwards, some of us went to the movies and saw She’s All That.  It was definitely a movie for 16-year-old girls, but that’s who I surrounded by, so it was fun.  I took Kimberly home then as well.  I sat next to her in church this morning and felt like a helpless high schooler again.  She’s unbelievable, and I wanted so badly to reach over and hold her hand, but I didn’t.  Sometimes it feels like I like every girl I ever meet.

I went over to Sterling’s this afternoon and we played in her room all afternoon.  At the Super Bowl party tonight at church, the teenagers started talking about potential guy/girl relationships, so I walked away and stayed out of it.  Later Rebekah came and talked to me and asked me if I knew how women wanted to be treated.  I shared my answer and her mouth hung open in disbelief.  She said I was spot on.  My feelings then were bittersweet.  Many women tell me I have them all figured out, yet I don’t have anyone to give share my life with.

David and I talked a bit after everyone left.  He is interested in a 20-year old girl at church.  He’s 26.  It should happen.

February is around the corner, so it feels like talk of love and relationships is in the air.

But no matter how much I dream of Kimberly or Christin, these girls are simply too young for me at this stage of life.  They are Winter Dreams.  I will have moved on from here by the time they are of the right age for a serious relationship to truly go anywhere.

But that doesn’t mean I won’t lose sleep thinking about them now.

December 20, 1998 – Sunday – 8:51 a.m.

There are 11 days left in this year.  I am trying to think of a way to let whoever ends up reading this to truly grasp the beauty and wonder of what is happening here.  I cannot believe God is using me in the way he is.  In less than five months, God has allowed me to see how my simple presence and laughter is changing people’s lives.  I am making a difference, as I assume everybody is, but I somehow get to see it.

Love never fails.

David sent me a card saying his life had never been so interesting until I came into it.  God is using me to minister into so many girls’ lives here.  Somehow God leads me into a group of girls and they don’t stop being themselves.  They don’t seem to change from a “girl” into a “girl that is now around a guy.”  I’m seeing things many guys never get to see.

Our Christmas show is all God.  I showed up and wrote and directed it, but I really can’t take any of the credit.  The kids gave me a card last night, and, for some of them, it seems I am changing their entire perspective on life.  They are waking up and seeing the beauty around them they have never seen before.  God is using me to wake people up and help them find their freedom.

Yet, I don’t feel like I do anything but be me.

And it isn’t difficult to be me.  I remember when it used to be insanely difficult to be me, perhaps I wasn’t entirely sure of who I was back then.

My card was full of phrases like, “Never stop being you,” or “Thanks for being you.”

What an honor!  What a joy!  What a gift!

I am being thanked for doing the only thing I know how to do: be me.

And here is another day to laugh, to smile my crooked smile, and love those around me.

God is beautiful!

November 4, 1998 – Wednesday – 11:00 p.m.

Tonight was wonderful.  I talked with Jeremy and Robin on the phone last night.  They are two teenagers from the youth group who had gotten into a little word fight at school concerning the youth group and their spirituality.  I was on the phone with them for hours.  They play Adam and Eve in the play, and have to get close, so things weren’t good.  I gave a little talk before practice tonight, an hour and a half long talk, about living in harmony.

I used many illustrations, even read from my journal, and I let the others talk.  Others opened up and everyone had a cry fest about all the transitions we’ve been through recently.  God healed our body, our team.

And tonight, when I got home, Christin called me up to say thank you for tonight and that I was very special to her.

Then David called and we talked about the evening.  He said the most amazing thing.  He said that he was concerned about Tammie and Jose leaving because they were a couple and that Tammie helped nature the girls.  He said he was in his office, praying, asking God to bring him some women to help in the youth group.

“Bring me another Tammie, God,” he prayed.

And he told that when he was walking down the hall in church one day, he passed me by, and God said to him, “There’s your Tammie.”

Isn’t that amazing!?

It all makes since now.  God called me here for this season to help be a spiritual mentor to these girls.  Veronica, Jenna, Tenielle, Christi, Rya, Amy, Cheryl, Jeni, Tracey, Abigail, Ann-Marie, Lindy, Hannah, Laura, Sarah, they were all to help bring me here and prepare me for this time of ministry.  God has been teaching me.

He knew what he was doing all along.

You are so perfect God!

October 10, 1998 – Saturday – 12:30 a.m.

It’s past midnight.  Memories haunt me.  Faces, smells, and touches.  I am missing Lees-McRae.

Hard to believe it has already come and gone.

I talked to Tracey tonight.  And for the first time since she has returned to Lees-McRae, I tried to call Sarah.  I woke up her roommate instead and Sarah wasn’t there.  Elizabeth said she would have her call me.  It is Homecoming weekend there.  I’m afraid tonight I may lie awake waiting for her to call, but I know she never will, just like she never did so many nights that I waited in McAllister Dorm.

I fear God has created me to just drop me into a place for a season, then I’m off to somewhere else.

We live to communicate, but most of that is just us asking questions.

I can’t get to sleep right now.  I’m wondering what God is up to.

Why is he so good to me?  Why does he like to blow the wind through my hair?  Why am I constantly studying the shapes, angles, and beauty of every girl’s eyebrows?

Look where I am now.  This is one heck of a ride, but the ending is all that matters.

Words are losing their value.

All except these three:

Jesus loves me.

September 20, 1998 – Sunday – 8:28 p.m.

My life has gone on a crazy ride recently.  To begin, my Communication Theory class blew my mind.  God is definitely using this class to deal with the way I think and see the world.  Perhaps I’ll go into detail with that later.

I worked Wednesday afternoon and that night we had drama practice.  It went okay, but these kids really have no idea of how to do this thing, but I guess it’s my job to teach them.  Nevertheless, we all had fun.

Sometimes at Regent I feel like I just don’t fit in.  There is a Law School and a Theology School and I feel like some of those students in their suits walk by and judge me and my duck-taped sandals.

I worked all day Friday, it was a bit rough.  I just wasn’t happy with all that was around me.  But once I got off work, all that changed.

Dawn, a coworker, needed a ride home.  She’s insanely beautiful and a lot of fun, she actually reminds me Emily.  Well, I was taking her home and she wanted to stop and get some pepperoni rolls at a nearby bakery, so we did.  We ate there together and talked and it was just simple fun.  I shared a meal with an insanely beautiful girl and sometimes that is all a man needs to make it through the week.  We drove to her house, and I was just being me, you know the one that often feels like he doesn’t fit in at Regent, and she was just cracking up a storm, telling me I was the funniest thing in the world.

Thank you Dawn!  You saved my life that day.

Then, I went back to Regent to watch some of the student films that were being screened.  I saw three and they were all pretty good.  Then I left to go watch One True Thing at the Regal Cinemas.  That movie changed my whole perspective.

One day, my own mom is going to start dying.  I love her so much and that day is many years away, but still, we will all die one day.  And the movie taught me that I have so much here in Virginia Beach to love and care about.

I haven’t been doing that well enough.

I cried the entire way home from the movie.  I just a big baby in the car.  I didn’t like who I was and I wanted to change.  I asked God to forgive me.

I arrived home, slept, and got up early yesterday morning and left with some members of the youth group to go to King’s Dominion.  I spent most of the day with our leaders Tammy and Jose, as well as Kimberly and Lauren.  Kim is 15 and Laura is 13 and we eventually split off and it was just Kimberly and Lauren and me.  And I had the best day with those two.

I just loved whatever was around me.  Kim and Lauren and I talked the entire day.  I was a 22-year-old graduate student who got to feel 14 again.  God was giving me a gift and I was reminded of who I was and what I’m called to.  God knows me better than I know myself.

Kimberley reminded me a lot of Ryan, my first crush, and Kimberley said I make everything so much fun that she wants to do everything with me now, even shopping.  Lauren was an absolute sweetheart and I now have two dear new friends.

What a lovely thing that is, a friend.

One True Thing revealed to me how I had needlessly complicated my life.  I’d forgotten about the simple sounds, simply joys, simple tastes, and simple smiles of the good life.

On Saturday, September 19, 1998, I became young again.

August 26, 1998 – Wednesday – 4:21 p.m.

Hurricane Bonnie is on her way.  I am not afraid.

My encounter with Rachel was a good one.  We talked about 30 minutes.  She knows I’m at Parkway and she knows some kids out there.  She said she might come out on Friday nights.

There was a bombing in Cape Town yesterday.  It seems like the world is about to explode.

I awoke this morning to a note from Matt on my bathroom mirror saying he had to leave in the middle of the night to go on a secret mission.  He won’t be back until Sunday night. I’ve decided I think Matt is a little weird.

Last night I called Tracey, Lindy, Abigail, Ann-Marie, Dan, Vince, and Ashley from Lees-McRae.  They started their classes today.  How strange it is that I am not there.  I miss them all so much.

God please be with me here.  Let me grow and prosper.  Bring people to me that I can minister to and bring me to people who can minister to me.

I love you God.

I need you.