June 8, 2001 – Friday – 2:17 p.m.

Much time has passed since I’ve written. Come tomorrow, Anna and I will have been married for two weeks. The wedding was beautiful. Everyone said the communion portion of the ceremony made them cry. Abigail sang two perfect songs, Tracey played the piano, and Vince, Lindy, and Dan stood by my side.

A perfect moment.

Danny, Peter, Marcus, and my brother were there as well.

Two weeks ago this night was one of the most magical evenings I’ve ever known. We had our rehearsal dinner party at a professional banjo player’s house. He had a swimming pool that was in the shape of a banjo, and after a while they brought out their guitars. It was a might of amazing music in which everyone participated. The music went on for hours. My single life came to an end with all my friends by my side, live music in the air, and my bride-to-be constantly glancing at each other and smiling.

That evening we all walked down to the beach, only to discover a swarm of sea turtles covering the sand as they dropped their eggs in freshly dug holes. I’d never seen anything like it before. To be with all my friends and to experience something so pure and magical, wow, that evening will always be with me.

I cried after the reception because I had to say goodbye to Vince. I’m probably the first guy to cry on the way to his honeymoon.

After spending the evening in a nice hotel in downtown Jacksonville, FL, Anna and I spent a perfect week of campfire building, hot tub soaking, and endless love-making in the mountains of North Carolina, not too far from Deep Creek.

For once, I didn’t take the time to look over my timeless ledge outside of the Pizza Hut. That was my way of letting go of the land and sealing up that beautiful corner of my history with my honeymoon.

On Tuesday I met with Vince and Tim at Forefront and quit my job at Forefront. I am totally unemployed. I’m working on sending Dang! out to festivals, and we are waiting to hear where we might go next. I’ve applied for Resident Director positions in several states all across America. I even applied to be a video editor at a production company in South Dakota. We may stay here, we may leave within a month. We are both open to whatever God wants.

So this is the end. I’m sure I’ll keep journaling in some form or fashion, but I know it will change. Another story is beginning. This collection of days was about finishing high school, four years at Lees-McRae, and three years at Regent University.

I am no longer a student. I am no longer single.

I thought about writing some amazing words of wisdom, but, when it comes down to it, I don’t know a thing, and I’m very aware of that. Instead, I’ll wrap this story up with a single image, and thank my God for every good thing I’ve ever known.

May 19, 2001 – Saturday – 4:42 p.m.

I no longer live in Virginia Beach. All my stuff has been moved out of my apartment and into Anna’s studio apartment in downtown Norfolk. We leave tonight for Florida, and we’ll be man and wife seven days from now.

When did all this happen?

I feel as though the current stage of my journaling is coming to a final conclusion. These books have covered roughly ages 16 to 24, that time in everyone’s life when they discover what all this is truly about.

Did you go on that journey with me? I don’t even know who I am asking. Will anyone but me every read these words on paper?

Here is what I have learned. Everything changes except the love of God.

That’s it, that’s the bottom line.

Coming here to the Hampton Roads corner of Virginia was a rough transition, but I met my wife and I made a good movie. Through this entire journey, through all the smiles, the looks, the glances, the beauty; through Veronica, Jeni, Sarah, Marie, and all the crushes I have dreamed about, I want to marry and live the rest of my life with Anna.

The friends I made at Lees-McRae will most likely remain my best friends for the rest of my life. I feel I will be close to them no matter how far apart we actually are in life.

The next two weeks hold a true ending to the story of my life as a single young man. It will be difficult for me to find the time to write, but I will do my best to bring closure to everything. I’m sure I’ll continue journaling in some format, but it too will change and be different in nature. For one thing, there will be no more girls to write about, there will only be Anna.

So, I thank whoever took the time to read these journals. I wrote these past several years simply to help me realize the manner in which I was growing and changing.

And in this moment of self-reflection, here is another truth I’ve learned. My perfect moment in this world, my finest hour, the time when the thin line between heaven and earth disappeared and all stood still to be the most beautiful thing I’ve ever known was when the snow was falling on my warm body in that abandoned tree house on top of Hemlock Hill with The Secret Wedding playing softly in my ears.

I truly doubt it’ll ever get any better than that.

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.

April 30, 2001 – Monday – 3:50 p.m.

It is the last day of April. All the trees are full of green. I forgot how beautiful that was.

Tomorrow begins a month of complete and total change. Part of me will die. Part of me will be reborn.

The last half of this month contained some highs and lows. The weekend in Banner Elk with Anna was delightful. Everyone really seemed to enjoy her! On the other side, things have really turned sour at Forefront, and I am ready and eager to no longer work there. Anna and I feel spiritually dried up, for each sermon seems to focus more about being a cool and hip message on simply needing God. We just need something deeper.

I am applying for Resident Director jobs all over the country since I have some experience in that area. I pray something happens soon. I just want to run away with Anna and start over again in a brand new place.

I’ve been here for three very long years.

I was in Banner Elk for four extremely short years.

April 10, 2001 – Tuesday – 4:00 p.m.

I just got off the phone with Lindy, easily one of the best friends I’ll ever have. I feel like my insides are going to explode. Everything is coming to the most amazing ending, and an entire universe is beginning.

The week of the wedding is going to be full of complete emotional ecstasy. There is much history and so many stories that will collide together for the moment Anna and I join our lives together. I will pick Vince up from the Miami airport, then we will drive up the coast for four hours after not seeing each other for over a year. Nearly all of Lees-McRae and Banner Elk, NC is dying to see him, and he will be there in when they all arrive on Thursday for the wedding on Saturday. Over 15 Lees-McRae friends are making the 11 hour trip south. Marcus is coming, as well as Danny and Peter, they are all bringing friends along.

Abigail is going to sing. Tracey is going to play piano. Vince, Lindy, and Dan will be standing next to me. I’ll share the weekend with all my friends, then drive away with Anna.

Anna just showed up. Gotta go!

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.

October 23, 2000 – Monday – 8:13 p.m.

Amazing how some days can be so simple and pleasant; days when I notice every tiny, beautiful thing.

I believe this October 23rd was such a day. I watched people today. I saw how old we all are, how in need of a Savior.

I’ve been writing more these days as well. I think my latest script is coming along nicely.

I often wonder on what my mind dwells on these days. I do not believe it is girls, and I do not think I dwell on my career. I think I’m in a time of acceptance and wonder. I often reflect on how amazing it is that I am right here; right now doing this very thing.

Growing more distant from Lees-McRae has placed depth into my perception on life. I see how we are all very much on a different walk towards the same destination. I find a beautiful comfort in that thought.

I am simply entertained by God’s everyday divineness. A divineness which to me seems so random and uncontrolled. But He is putting everything in place. I am doing okay.

So this is where I am now. I’m in Virginia Beach, Virginia. My roommate is from Canada, and I wonder who my true friends are here. I believe the Sterling’s family is a true friends to me. I can be quiet around them, and all feels okay.

I believe Dan is a true friend as well.

I miss Chris. He was a good friend too, but he’s graduated and moved on.

Trey, Mike, and Kristen are becoming good filmmaking buddies. Every now and then Trey and I will talk about life issues instead of just movies.

Things are a bit too early at Forefront, but I like all the staff members, especially Vince, Mark, and Chris; I’ve probably spent the most time with them.

I enjoy my work, and I enjoy my ministry. My small group on Wednesday nights is growing tighter. We are planning a weekend getaway together. My Thursday night group meets for the second time this week. I pray God binds us together.

And from my life before this one, there is really no-one from Siler City that I am in touch with. I did see Marcus in September. I don’t know about Tenielle and Jena, or the other girls like Ryan, Amy, Christi, and Cheryl. Every now and then I may hear something through my mom, but even she has lost contact with that world.

From Lees-McRae, Vince and I email. I’m very proud of all he is doing in Bolivia. Every now and then I call the other guys and speak to their wives as well.

Lindy doesn’t call or write anymore. She seemed upset with me at Abigail’s wedding, and I could never figure out why.

Sarah and I are supposedly keeping in better touch, but I’ve written her two letters and she hasn’t written me back yet.

I have no plans to return to Banner Elk, and part of me hopes it isn’t for a long while.

So, the stories I write in these pages must come from this world of Virginia Beach. How weird it is that I am here, but I know it is exactly where God wants me. I like this different flat land. If you are in a good place, the sunsets are fantastic!

August 18, 2000 – Friday – 7:20 a.m.

Jonathan, if he is still alive, turns 24 today.  Which made yesterday my 24th birthday.  I ate lunch at Applebee’s with some of my co-workers.  It was nice of them to buy lunch for me.

Today we are having a pizza party for lunch, and tonight my Forefront small group is going out for seafood in Pungo.

Tomorrow my Regent small group is having a beach party up on the Eastern Shore.

Many great things are happening.  I’m enjoying work a bit more, for my boss is giving me more responsibility.

It will soon be September.  There is something special in the air when September arrives.  The slightest morning chill gives me so much hope that nothing will ever stay the same.  It reminds me to appreciate what I have, for it will soon fade away.

April 12, 2000 – Wednesday – 11:00 a.m.

It’s nearly the middle of April.  In a little over a month’s time, I will embark out across the country and be back in Virginia Beach exactly two months from today.

It is nice not having to work for a season.  But I’m also looking forward to that time in the near future when God will allow me to serve the community and actually make some money.

Trey and I completed our first rough cut of Dang! last night.  We’re going to go tweak it tonight.  I can’t wait!

Marie is doing fine.  We have only a week and a half of classes left.  Life is moving too fast.

God is molding her and I into mates for life.  I love and adore how he is changing me.

The Accuser is having problems when it comes to locations.  Please provide for us God.  I’m waiting on you.

So, it is the fourth month of the year 2000.  Nineteen years of nonstop education is ending for me.  My life is changing and has changed.  I want to be a husband, father, and lover.  I want to help set people free and encourage them to be themselves.  I want to delight in my creator’s eye.

Here we go…