August 6, 1999 – Friday – 8:30 p.m.

I’m at a rest area in Vermont.  This is an insanely beautiful state, but now I long to be home.  In fact, during a nine mile hike in the White Mountain National Forest, I decided to not head into Canada, but to turn around and head south.  I think it was something about all the land and all the new faces.  There was something in the voice of the beautiful girl who couldn’t find the napkins at McDonald’s in St. Jonesbury, VT… she just seemed like a human worth knowing, and I grew overwhelmed by the fact that I knew no one in the whole state.  Yet, much further south, there were tons of wonderful people I did know.

On the way down I-91 in Vermont, the sky and the mountains and the light were doing amazing things.  I began to cry thanks to the vastness of God’s beauty and holiness.  He created so many other people.  I had forgotten what a miracle it was to simply know another person.

I think that’s why God called me up here, to remind me of that simple fact.

Oh to be safe in my home.  I’m so tired after such a long hike, but can’t afford another hotel.  I think I’ll just sleep in my car in this rest area.

Protect me oh Lord.

 

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May 11, 1999 – Tuesday – 1:15 p.m.

My four days in Banner Elk were wonderful.  Friday, after we picked up Kerstin in Johnson City, we ate at Applebees.  There we met our waitress Celina, whom we ended up praying with before we left.  We went hiking that afternoon with Jessica and Curtis’ new girlfriend Megan.  It was so beautiful out there on the back side of Grandfather Mountain.

Megan is so delightful.  We became instant friends just like how everyone became instant friends with Kerstin!

We saw Sunny that night in Boone with Abigail, Dan, Grayson, Josh, his dad, and I think that’s about it.

Sarah had a lead in the show and did so well; she looked absolutely beautiful.  I ran up to her after the show and embraced her so tightly.  I spent time with her on graduation Sunday as well.  Our relationship has been healed.  Love has intervened.  Time has surrounded us.  We are great now!

I took Kerstin back Saturday morning.  It was so lovely to see her outside of Regent.  She so beautiful and so much fun!

On Saturday I hung out with everybody I could.  That night I slept in Lindy’s room.  We just talked and talked until we drifted off to sleep.

Church seemed the same as always at Heaton.  It was great, but no longer for me.  All the kids have grown up.  It was weird being there.

And then graduation came.  What a wondrous day.  Tons of hugs.  Tons of pictures.  Tons of smiles.  I loved seeing Ashley, I forgot how much she makes me laugh.  A perfect day…and I had to drive away from it all at 4:30 p.m.

I don’t think any of us realized what truly took place on that day.  Dan, Vince, Jaime, Tracey, Lindy, Allen, and Curtis graduated.  Justin is transferring.  Abigail, Jessica, Anne-Marie, Ashley, and Josh remain.  What will become of our futures?

As I drove back seven hours toward the east coast, I found comfort in my home here.  Voicemail messages from Kimberly greeted me when I arrived.  David took me out to eat.  I was only gone four days, but I was missed.  Now summer classes have begun.  I have homework to do.

It’s already May 11th

Hmmm.

Must mean I’m having fun.

May 7, 1999 – Friday – 8:02 a.m.

I am now at Sharon’s home in Newland, NC.

Wednesday night was the opening night of the Regent University Film Festival.  The films were actually pretty good, especially The Window, which I bought a copy of.

On Tuesday I took Kerstin to the airport.  She is going to Johnson City, TN, so we decided to meet up while I’m here in the mountains.

I’m going backwards now…on Monday night the Lord really ministered to me at my home group about my relationship with my dad.  Then Wednesday night after the film festival I left for Banner Elk.  I left at one in the morning, drove through the whole night, and arrived at 7:30 in the morning.  I woke everybody up and basically just visited with everyone the whole day.  Everybody is doing great!  I came over to Sharon’s after lunch.  When little Hannah arrived home from school, we just swing danced the whole afternoon together.  Then most of the gang came over here last night and we just hung out the whole time.

It’s so great to be here.  Sharon is the best.  Hannah and Laura are the greatest girls on the planet right now.  This feels more like home than any place I know.  This is where I am from.

Vince and Curtis are on their way over here right now.  They are going with me to pick up Kerstin.  Then tonight we are going to see Sunny at Blue Ridge Community Theater.  Sarah has one of the leads in that show.

Thank you God for these few days here.  I love you.

January 14, 1998 – Wednesday – 3:00 p.m.

I just got back from ice-skating on Beech Mountain.  It was something Sarah suggested I do with a new transfer student named Geana.  She is 22 and beautiful and we had a good time.  I had never ice-skated before, but I didn’t fall once!

This girl really seemed to open up to me.  She is a Christian and seems to have experienced a lot in her relatively short life.

My life is so weird.

But I missed Sarah the whole time.  I miss her still.

Give us time God.  Stop the clock for us.  Please.

 

November 26, 1997 – Wednesday – 10:50 p.m.

I am amazingly happy right now.  It is the day before Thanksgiving.  Sarah and I, plus Sherlive, Vince, and Curtis went to see George of the Jungle.  It was so funny.

Sarah and I seem to say more in our silent glances than we do through spoken words.  She is from God.  I know it because all good things come from the Lord.

Marisa came up today!  She hugged me so tight.  I took Vince to the airport in his car, then went to see The Rainmaker.  I love going to the movies alone.  I get there early, sit on the front row, stare up at the blank screen, and just dream.

It was an awesome, awesome movie!  I just praised the Lord the whole way home.  I love good movies and can’t wait to make my own.

I drove through the darkness of the mountains that make up my beautiful home and just felt completely wonderful.  I still feel wonderful.

I have friends, mountains, movies, a church that feels like family, and now there is a girl who looks at me in a way that melts me to the core.

I know nothing about the world.

I just know I am loved.

And I love my God who freely gives all this to me.

September 7, 1997 – Sunday – 12:49 p.m.

Around four o’clock Friday afternoon I made my departure from the grand state of North Carolina in Sherlive’s red Nissan.  I sat alone in the back.  We drove into Tennessee while Anna, a freshman from New York, sat in the passenger’s seat.

Sherlive has quite an interesting family.  Her mother looks like her eyes are always closed.  She is constantly taking pictures and rambling.  But she is very loving.  Sherlive’s father, with his super deep voice, always begins each sentence with “when I was a boy.”  He cooked enough food for an army, but lives in yesterday.  Then, Mikayla, Sherlive’s 3-year-old adopted sister, clung to me like her long lost brother.  She’s a wonderful little girl and a great new friend.

After dinner on Friday night, we went to an Elizabethton High School football game.  Sherlive wanted to see some old friends and see the high school band, one she used to be a part of.  The game was okay, I was just kinda amazed by the whole high school scene.  I feel old.

Sherlive, Anna, and myself got into some deep conversations about life, love, and relationships.  After halftime we ended up at a coffee shop in Johnson City.  Anna is this cute little 100% Greek girl who feels more like someone’s grandmother instead of an 18-year-old, but I mean that in a cool way.

Dan met us Saturday morning to go hiking with us.  He ate breakfast with us too; a huge amount of food made by Sherlive’s dad.  We went to Blue Hold and then to Red Fork Falls, at least I think that’s what it was called.  They were really pretty places.  I took some pictures.

Sherlive is such a funny little nutcase.  She goes rock climbing in her bare feet and Dan says “Hey is Blue Hole cool?”

“No, it’s cold.” she says.

Dan looks at me funny.  “Okay, well, is it rad?”

“No, it’s blue!”

Dan and I burst out laughing.  Then, after Sherlive has been stuck on the side of the cliff for about 30 minutes, Dan just jumps up and runs towards it and scurries up it like a squirrel.  He reaches the top that Sherlive has been trying to climb to in two seconds.  Oh, Sherlive was so mad, she just screamed bloody murder.

In the middle of all the beautiful scenery, Dan and I just broke free, ran around, and laughed our butts off everywhere we went.  We stuck our heads out the window whenever we were in the car and just hooted and hollered the whole day.  If I wrote down every funny thing we said, oh, this book would be full.

Linda visited me last night.  We sort of got caught up on our Box Office talk.  And Marisa called me last night.  She said she just wanted to hear my voice.

Church was amazing this morning.  I cried.  Heaven is a guarantee.

Abigail and Ann-Marie both come to Heaton now.  Our college age group is so huge.

Friends.  What an amazing concept.  I would do anything for these people.

I would live.

I would die.

July 11, 1997 – Friday – 11:55 p.m.

I’m at Deep Creek.  Charlie got a call earlier today from Jason.  He was here the first semester of my Freshman year.  Well, he only lives 30 minutes down the road, so he met up with us and is going camping with us.

We set up camp, then drove to Cherokee and did some Go-Kart racing and played miniature golf.  We also drove on the Blue Ridge Parkway and told scary stories.

But on the way back, Allen bought some little cigars and he and Vince have been smoking.  Well, I guess they say they are only puffing on them, but I’m not sure of the difference.  Perhaps I’m weird, but it makes me uncomfortable.  I left and went on a walk.  When I came back, they wanted to go for a walk.  I was angry with them because of the cigars and for the fact that they peed on the ground and not in the restroom.  I’ve been coming here for several years and I know beautiful young girls like Emily walk around on this holy ground in their bare feet.  I couldn’t believe they would pee on the ground a few feet from the restroom.  Who does that?

While on my walk, I was flooded with memories.  Although it’s only been four years since I came here with Danny, Peter, Marcus, and Kevin, they are the ones who fit this place the best.  My dear friends I’m with now don’t know the unspoken rules of this place.  They don’t know how it’s supposed to work or how it’s supposed to feel.

While walking, I remembered precious moments with Syndi and Emily.  I even remembered the days with Brandon and all he did was flirt with every girl he saw.  Jonathan came with me once.  Then all the family reunions I’ve had here.

But I think I had the most fun with Syndi.  This land will always be tied to those precious days of us walking hand in hand in these woods.

These guys here now simply don’t belong.  They have no idea.  They don’t know what each mountain tree and rock means to me.  This place is my home; as much as any other place in the world.