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 22, 1997 – Thursday – 4:13 p.m.

I got my hair cut yesterday, but not by much.  I also went by Lowe’s Food and talked to Scott.  I haven’t seen him in a year and a half.  He’s very different.

After church last night, Marcus and I went to visit Christi and Patti.  Both of their arms were covered in bandages.  Half of Christi’s face was a crusty brown.  They were both doped up on pain medication.

It kills me to know they had to go through that.

I rented The Spitfire Grill and I discovered another favorite movie.  It was so beautiful and simple and redeeming.  I watched it twice in a row.

Marcus and I are going to see The Lost World tomorrow.  I hope is scares me.

I go back to Banner Elk on Saturday.

One last summer.

One last year.

May it go slowly Lord.

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 10, 1997 – Saturday – 2:00 p.m.

I’m in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida.  We are here in Ryan’s new studio apartment.  She is unpacking.

I spent Friday driving Kevin around.  We visited Danny and Peter again and then drove to the airport in the evening.  My flight was nice.  I  saw all the city lights below.  Man, I love to fly.

Curtis and Ryan met me at the Atlanta airport.  We drove to his house and then we drove down here to Florida in the morning.  I saw the place where Marcus and I broke down nearly two years ago.

We also drove through Crestview.

I have called Emily.  She is at FSU for the weekend.  She’ll be back on Monday.

Carla is also looking forward to seeing me back in Atlanta.

My collection is stretching all over the globe.

January 6, 1997 – Monday – 10:01 a.m.

Marcus and I drove up here to Banner Elk on the 4th.  We met Timothy and it was a fun trip.  We stopped in Boone so I could buy a new Bible.  It’s awesome.  We moved into our rooms.  Marcus and I watched Philadelphia and then went over to Sharon’s and Vince showed up right after we did.  We all stayed there until midnight.  It was great, so so great to be home.

Yesterday, the service at Heaton was awesome.  It’s clear to me now that that place is my church, that’s where I belong.  Allen and Marcus and I ate lunch with Charlie’s family.  It was nice to spend some time with him.  Charlie let me borrow A Time to Kill, and Marcus and Timothy and I watched it.  Great movie!

We had an RA meeting that night and then met the new students for the semester.  One beautiful girl introduced herself to me and then said, “Wow, you have the most beautiful eyes.”  I felt great for the rest of the evening.

Allen and Vince and I stayed up until two in the morning, just talking.

I am blessed.

I love this place and these people.

I love you God.

January 3, 1997 – Friday – 1:20 p.m.

Life has slowed down way too much!  It seems as if tomorrow is never going to arrive.

I was talking to Marcus a while back and he told me that he has no social life.  Kevin and I are off at school.  Everybody who he was close to at Abundant Life Christian Center has either changed or left; he is basically alone.

I told him this while we were driving home from church a couple of weeks ago:  “Marcus, I got to hand it to you…up at school there is a huge group, a big family of about 20 Christians all around the same age.  We all help each other grow.  We are there for each other.  We’re serving the Lord together and it makes it so much easier.  I mean for you, you’re trying to serve the Lord alone and…”

At this point Marcus brought his car to a stop in the middle of the road.

“Why did you stop the car?”

“Finish your sentence,” he said.

“Well, it must be really hard.”

Then he leaned into my face and looked at me with with such seriousness.  “Very hard,” he said and then started the car up again.

Smiles, words, compliments, they can all help so much.  Vince, Dan, Allen, Curtis, Abigail, Ann-Marie, Jeni, Tracey, Derek, Jessica, Shawna, Josh, Timothy, Rachel, Paul, Ellen, Kate, and those are just the ones on campus.  Then there are all the families from church, not to mention Charlie.

Marcus told me once that he prayed, “Father, I wish I had what Jacob has.  Can you give me what Jacob has, please?”

Why are you so good to me God?  I am nothing, yet you give me all this.

Love’s sweet name is Jesus.

 

September 13, 1996 – Friday – 7:45 p.m.

September 12th passed by and I didn’t even realize it.

Four years ago.

My Winter Dream has melted away.

It is Friday night and I lie alone in my room. Curtis has gone to Atlanta.  Dan and Allen are out.  Vince is with Laura.

I’m listening to Les Miserables.

I tried to call Marcus.  No answer.  I tried to call Christi.  No answer.

Sharon called me earlier today.  She brought a smile to my face.

I went for a walk and found that a duck had fallen off the waterfall at Elk River.  It was dead.  I took a picture.

I think I’ll try to call Emily.

. . .

I just got off the phone with Emily.  She was blow drying her hair and getting ready to go to a football game.  We had a fun talk.  She made me smile.  I miss her.  She sounded so beautiful.

She turns 18 in November.  As does Laura.

I can’t believe I’m 20.