June 21, 1997 – Saturday – 12:10 p.m.

People change.

Life is strange.

Tracey has become a rude and hurtful individual, especially to Jeni and myself.  The people who occupy this summer theater residence hall are talented, but my heart goes out to them.  They simply don’t know truth, and it doesn’t seem they want to.

As an example there is Mariesa from Florida, near Miami, and her brother Mason, soon to be a student at LMC, plus their mother Dana.  To them, church is a place to catch up on sleep.  I spent some time with Mariesa in the computer lab.  She’s funny and pretty on the outside, but totally lost.

They have a condo up on Sugar Mountain and I went up there with Jeni and Tracey and a few others.  I found joy by playing with their camcorder and walking alone on the ski slope.  But as we were leaving, Jeni backed her car off the road.  It took all of us, plus an hours worth of time, to push it back on.

I am not appreciated by many people here.  I am looked over.  And that is good.

Allen, Vince, Dan, Curtis, Jeni, Jessica, and Sharon and her family are the ones I share my life with.

I called Regent University in Virginia Beach.  They are sending me an application and information on their film school.

I do not know what the summer of ’98 will bring, but by the beginning of September I will be creating a new home.  God is preparing me to leave Lees-McRae College, Banner Elk, and Avery County.  My time here will always be treasured, but I must move on.  These friends here will last forever, but I must move ahead.

I give this life to my Holy Father.  I don’t want to live it on my own.  There is so much I don’t understand, but I know he does.

Here I am.  That’s all I know how to say.  Here I am.

June 8, 1997 – Sunday – 5:23 p.m.

Yeah baby!  The weekend was so great!  I am a Promise Keeper!!  A stadium of 60,000 Christian men singing praises to one God!  A night spent in a beautiful Victorian Bed & Breakfast!  Charlie, Vince, and Allen right next to me, plus new friends I made from the trip!  Whew, walls were torn down.

Redemption!  I am free at last!

I will live in purity.  I will read, pray, and fellowship!  I am alive in Christ!!

When I returned home I read chapter 17 from Max Lucado’s God Came NearEternal Instants.  You know, the moments so perfect that the whole universe stands still to notice.  I can think of many right now, and I’ve only been alive for a little over 20 years.

Sitting in the treehouse on Hemlock Hill on a snowy night listening to Braveheart.

Crystal rubbing my neck at the drive-in in Tennessee.

Talking to Emily under the boardwalk in Ft. Walton Beach.

Touching Abigail’s face in McAlister room 206 on Lees-McRae’s campus.

Kissing Jeni in Cincinnati, Ohio while listening to The Wedding Song by Kenny G.

Playing underneath the full moon with Dan and Allen on the back side of Grandfather Mountain.

Holding a curled up Tenielle on her bathroom floor.

Performing “The Mask Skit” at Abundant Life Christian Center.

Eating Wheat Thins and slowly falling asleep next to Jessica under God’s open starry sky.

Playing water guns with Jonathan, Mike, Marcus, and Kevin.

Tubing down Deep Creek with Danny and Peter.

Holding Syndi under the waterfall.

Passing a car in the turning lane with Jonathan.

Helping a lost boy find his mother at Fishnet.

Playing Myst with Vince in New York.

Helping Ryan in and out of the corner tree.

Standing next to the Grand Canyon with Brandon.

Graduating high school and seeing Renee smile at me.

Signing my way through Children of A Lesser God.

Singing with 60,000 men in Knoxville.

And that eternal instant right before I fall asleep each night, when I reflect on the beauty of each amazing day!

Oh wait, and how could I forget, perhaps the most perfect moment of all, riding back from Tennessee with Sharon as Hannah fell asleep in my lap.

May 28, 1997 – Wednesday – 10:45 p.m.

I watched Ben-Hur today.  I cried so hard.  Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!  I love you more now Jesus.

I also worked a little in the summer theater box office, getting it ready, etc.  Church was nice tonight.  Hannah has become a wonderful little friend.  She is 11-years-old now, the age Veronica used to be.  Oh, how young I must have been when I was 16.

We went out to eat after the service and I tried to pay for my meal, but Sharon wouldn’t have it.  That family has taken such good care of me these page three years.

It’s hard to know what to write these days.  Vince and Allen and I are the only ones on campus.  We have this whole place to ourselves it feels.  Dan will arrive in a little over a month.  Curtis may never return.

Charlie and Kate are still together and seem to be doing well.

I have been at Heaton long enough to watch people grow up and grow older.  And people there say that I am still getting taller.

Josh is in pain from his surgery and frequent doctor visits.  How I wish I could comfort him.

The view outside my window is not the same.  I now have six windows instead of one.  Three closets instead of one.  Two sofas and a chair instead of zero.  My own bathroom where my toothbrush is now kept, instead of in my closet.  I have keys that will let me into every room on campus.  I have been given power and responsibility.  It doesn’t feel like I’ve changed, but I know I’m not the same person I was when I first began keeping this journal.

There are no girls here to think about.  If I do think of one, it is Jessica, out in Colorado.  What a wonderful friend!

I need to shave.  My wisdom teeth don’t hurt as much.  Of course, they aren’t there anymore, but you know what I mean.  My teddy bear is still with me.  I didn’t get to see Jenna over the break, but I did see Emily oddly enough.

It’s funny how moments grow in value, the older and rarer they become.

I wonder who is thinking of me tonight.  Jessica has a new window to stare out of, new mountains all around her, but I simply moved to the other side of campus.

Eleven months and one week now.

Time.

We’re just measuring the first part of eternity.  Like one yard stick compared to the entire globe and beyond.  Similar to my holiness when compared to God’s holiness.  I hate to leave this place, but I know I must.  I need to go out and create new things.  To challenge.  To change.  To set free.  To teach others how to fly.

If I try to stay here in this perfect place, I know God will put sharp objects in the nest, painfully forcing me out.

What can be beyond here?

I’ll soon have new names to write in these pages.  New faces.  New stories who will join in with mine.  New paths.  Perhaps other red lights.  Perhaps…Her.

Prepare me God.

Prepare the place where I will land.  I give my life to the work of your hands.  Mold me.  Shape me.  Make me.

Thirty minutes until the 29th of May.

Nine years until I’m 29.

Seven minutes have passed since I lifted my pen from the number nine.

I can’t seem to think of an exit line.

Good night.

May 28, 1997 – Wednesday – 9:00 a.m.

Yesterday I borrowed Vince’s car while he was working at the Sugar Mountain Tennis Pro Shop; I went to feed a dog in Newland and took him for a walk.  It was a favor for Vince.  We cooked dinner for Sharon, Laura, Hannah and Bob last night.  Then us guys went to see Scream at the dollar theater; I didn’t like it.

Sharon and I had a great talk today.  We talked about love and marriage.  She is so wise.  God’s grace and forgiveness is so huge.  I still don’t understand all the mysteries of this life and I’m never going to; at least not until heaven.

But I’m sure that’s not too far away; it feels like its right over these perfect mountains.

May 26, 1997 – Monday – 11:50 p.m.

After last night I went over to Crystal and Clifton’s and we watched Tommy Boy and hung out a bit.  Molly, Caroline, Dan, Charlie and others were over there.  Crystal wasn’t there though.  Her mom said she wasn’t doing to well spiritually.  She got her tongue pierced.  Ouch!  God help her.

This morning, Vince came by.  He and I plus Allen and his mom went to the Emporium in Blowing Rock.  I ordered a sweet and sour spud; absolutely delicious.

Vince and I visited Sharon and family this evening.  I worked on their computer a little.  We visited with some relatives of theirs down the road a ways.  Then we made a campfire and had smores.

There is such innocence and purity in these mountains.  Life is very simple and sweet these days.  I breathe, I eat, I laugh, I smile.  I stop and look at the beautiful green mountains and give thanks.  I pray, I sleep with my teddy bear, and I go for long walks in God’s creation.

I love Him.

I love Him.

I love Him.

May 20, 1997 – Tuesday – 3:00 p.m.

Please, take a moment and close this book.  Walk outside and breathe in the air of your own lifetime.  Take a minute just to say thanks to God.

Why have you taken the time to read about my life?  Thanks for reading, but please do yourself a favor and write about your own.  I often thought I was writing to some future strangers or to my future self, but no, this is all for me; for me right now.  These notebooks simply help me see the magic, pain, and beauty all around me.

Tenielle came to church on Sunday night.  It was nice to see her, but she is different.  She pierced her bellybutton; doesn’t surprise me.  Marcus was there as well as Megan.  Megan is engaged to Brad, a guy I graduated with.  I told Megan and Marcus how good it was to see someone here from the original group.  They both agreed.

We had a little fellowship for a newly wed couple named Dorothy and Vernon.  I sat next to little Anita, an 11-year-old girl I’ve seen grow up from the age of 3.  Marcus and I drove home together.

I got my wisdom teeth pulled out on Monday.  I slept all afternoon, so I was unable to sleep last night.  I listened to the radio all night.  The female DJ invited anyone who wanted to call at 4:00 a.m. to feel free.  I did, simply to let her know that I was wide awake and had been listening to her all night long.  So, I was on the radio earlier this morning; cool, I guess.

I’m writing some Vacation Bible School skits for Heaton Christian Church this morning.  I called the church to get some information.  Jaime told me that the doctors found a tumor in Josh’s skull near a gland.  They believe this is what has stunted his growth all these years.  He had surgery yesterday to get it removed.  The surgery took 7-8 hours.  They said he was okay and Charlie went down to be with him.  I wonder if this means he’ll finally go through puberty.

Oh man, puberty around college girls?  That’s a recipe for disaster.

May 12, 1997 – Monday – 1:30 p.m.

Here I am.

Alone with a cat named Panda in a studio apartment in Fort Walton Beach, FL.  Curtis and Ryan are out.  I stayed behind.

Thirty miles to the north of me in the town of Crestview is a high school girl; a tall senior with blonde hair sitting in a classroom.  I wonder if she is thinking of the tall blonde college senior that is 30 miles below her.

We met nearly three years and 11 months ago.

June 13, 1993.

May 12, 1997.

I will attempt to call her this afternoon.

Who is she to me God?

What did you give her to me for?  Is she just another name in my collection or is she more?  Did you know this would happen?  You had two red lights meet.  Now it seems we can’t say goodbye or let go.

If we see each other, today or tomorrow or whenever, please be with us God.  Let your Holy Spirit guide us.  Let me know what to say and what to do.  Lead me God.  You did this.  Please continue to have your hand on this matter.

Thank you and I love you.