November 12, 1998 – Thursday – 10:57 p.m.

Things are moving faster now.

My greatest fear is that I will lose the time to remember.

My closest friends here are the age of my little brother.

Look at what I have become.

A role model, simple as that.

But the ones I am an example for…

I want to be their age again.

I don’t want to grow up.

But I do want to live.

The storm is already brewing again.

Even now I remind those I love here that I will be leaving.

What can be beyond here?

When will life let me catch my breath?

When can I share this lily pad?

When can I be a role model to my own blood?

When will the others become alive?

When will Emily forgive and forget?

When will my father live in God’s will?

When will Sarah let God in?

When will I have kept all my promises, and drive away into my memories?

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November 9, 1998 – Monday – 5:30 p.m.

I don’t have much time to write, but I feel like talking to myself, and to God.

I love the weather this time of year.  I love the chill the tide brings in.  I’m enjoying this place.  It has become a home.  One like my old one on Foust Road.  One like my old one in McAlister Hall and even Tennessee Dorm.  One like my bed in Johannesburg, South Africa.

But God’s presence is where I will always be more comfortable.

I’m going over to Kimberly’s house tomorrow to study sign language for our show, and to also have dinner.  I pray it’s not too awkward.

I constantly miss Sharon’s home.

The Rebecca St. James concert is less than two weeks away.  Thanksgiving break with Allen, Vince, and Tracey is right after that.

And then the last month of this fantastic year!

November 8, 1998 – Sunday – 9:00 a.m.

“You have one wing, I have another, seeking shelter like sister and brother

Through the winter and through the summer, like one angel, we’ll fly…far away.”

This is the chorus of Burlap to Cashmere’s second song.  It has become my new prayer for Emily and me.  This is basically our story.

This album is blessing me unlike any other.  I am saved by grace.  I am free from sin.

I have no worries.

I am weak, but God grants me strength.  The year is winding down.  It is nearing mid November, which is when I began keeping a journal in 1992.  It seems to come sooner with each passing year.

1998 contained so much change.

And its not even over.

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 28, 1998 – Wednesday – 8:00 a.m.

I got up before the sun did this morning.  I prayed and I read.  The men’s meeting at church was such a blessing last night.  It is great being a guy.

I look forward to the Holidays and visiting the people I haven’t seen in a while.  I look forward to classes next year.

David is now the youth pastor at Parkway.  He will be quitting his bookstore job in two weeks.  More things are changing, but God is Lord of them all.

Life is good.

Time is flying by.  I will moving on in no time at all.

I can’t wait to hold Emily.  I also just want to snuggle up and read a book of my own choosing.  I wish the adventure so easily found in the mountains was closer by.

I’m glad God understands me even when I do not.

October 22, 1998 – Thursday – 10:00 p.m.

I talked with Sharon tonight. Snow was in the air over Avery County this morning.  I wasn’t there to see it. October 27th was the first snowfall of my last LMC winter.  I didn’t realize how true that statement was when I wrote it nearly a year ago.

I’ve realized when I write these words in these spiral-bound books that they will never go away.  All 13 books are in my sight at this moment.  They sit on a shelf in my closet in front of me.  They are a record of nearly the past six years of my life.

I put Christmas lights up in my room this evening, and it caused me to miss the wintery feel of Banner Elk so much.  So, another day is closing.  One of the final ones for Tammie and Jose in this land.

I turned in four copies of the first draft of “Eyebrows” to the school’s team of producers yesterday.  They said I was the first of the final four to turn it in.  They seemed pleased and impressed.

And so God moves me on.  My memories fight with the present moment every day.  My heart questions why we can’t go back, but it also longs to see what is ahead.

I have no one to really talk to here.  I miss Vince and our deep talks to Counting Crows’ “August and Everything After.”  We had a ritual.  We would start with track four, “Perfect Blue Buildings,” and play it through to the end.  We would turn off the lights and stare up at his glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling, most of which were placed there by Laura, and we’d talk of God, love, and beauty until the midnight hour.

I miss Dan and I pondering over the questions of life while playing “Tetris 2” on the Super Nintendo.

I miss riding in Curtis’ car and staring out the window in deep thought.  He’s always ask me what was on my mind.  I’d always tell him.  I felt listened to.

I miss Allen disagreeing with my way of thinking.  He’d ask my advice and then go do the opposite.  But somehow it still made me feel loved by him.

And I miss Charlie, the one I’ve known the longest.

But God needs me elsewhere.  His breath is blowing me forward.  So, I continue and I do this not for me, for all I want is heaven, but God asks me to wait and spend more time with his creation first.

I cannot argue with that.  So that is what I will do.

But how can I live in today when I long for the past?  How can I make new friends when all I want are my old ones?  How can I help save others from a world I can’t admit I’m in?

Why did you make me this way God?  To find comfort in asking questions and not needing the answers.  Is that what faith is?  I don’t need the answers Lord, I just need to know you are listening.

I miss you.  I miss the eyes I’ve never seen.  You comfort me more than my memories and my Teddy Bear from Tenielle.  I want to hold you instead as I fall asleep.  Be with me tonight sweet Jesus, and take me to be with you.  I want to awake in heaven, but if I’m here tomorrow, I will laugh and play in your love.

Heaven feels closer tonight.

How perfect your grace is.