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.

June 16, 1996 – Sunday – 1:10 p.m.

Today is Father’s Day.  I called my dad this morning.

This past Wednesday night, Sherry and Shannon came to church with me.  Sherry enjoyed herself.  I introduced her to Sharon.  Sherry was amazed by her love and kindness toward her.

After the service, Sherry and Shannon and I went to Boone to get a bite to eat and then we went to the park.  They are so much fun to be around.  I am noticing changes in Sherry.  Perhaps she longs to grow closer to the Lord.

They left around noon on Thursday to go and spend the weekend at Sherry’s home in Florida.

Allen came into town on Thursday night.  He is the summer studies RA in McAlister.  Good to see him.  He is excited about the Lord as always.

Vince has started working at the local Presbyterian camp, and he got in touch with me and said that he was coming over on Friday night.  He did show up, but with four other friends including Ellen.  It turns out they had planned a camping trip and wanted me to come along.  Craig offered to take duty, so I went.  So a total of six of us went:  Vince, Ellen, Wilks, Erin, and Marjorie.  They are all working at the camp this summer.  Wilks is from Nashville.  Erin is from Tampa.  And Marjorie is an insanely pretty girl from California, but she moved to Boone about a year ago.

We drove a very long distance up a steep gravel road to Table Rock.  It had been dark for over an hour before we got there, then we hike for another hour up to the top.  I got to know everyone a little better.  Such delightful people.

We got to the top and saw beautiful distant clouds far away.  Bolts of lightning illuminated the sky as the storm inched closer.  City lights hovered in the valley below.  Everything was so big and so wide.  God is so beautiful.

The three girls were getting scared, so we walked back down.  Vince and I talked about Sharon and Laura.  We talked about their beauty and their endless love and caring towards us and others.  Erin listened earnestly.  I believe she likes Vince, just like every other girl who has ever met him.  She better get in line.

We reached the car and, with our own flashlights, tried to find a place to put up a tent.  We had three tents, but one was too big for us to try and put up in the dark.  The other two that they had borrowed from the camp didn’t have the right poles packed with them.  So, we did our best and constructed the weirdest looking shelter known to man.  It was only a two-man tent though, but we weren’t going to dare and try to put up the other one.

So, three guys and three girls ventured into this temporary home and all six of us squeezed into this small space very uncomfortably.

I slept next to Marjorie.  Her skin was so cool and soft.  She made the perfect pillow.  Needless to say, we all got very little sleep, but we simply talked a whole lot and laughed even more.

It was so nice to feel a girl’s body next to me as I slowly fell asleep.

The storm we saw brought no rain and we woke up to a beautiful, sunny day.  We found the tent much easier to tear down than it was to put up, and we set off down the mountain to stop at Wiseman’s View over the Linville Gorge.

Vince took a shower here that morning.  Then we went shopping that afternoon.  We met up with Ellen, Erin, and Marjorie, and even went to see The Cable Guy.  It had a plot and a meaning, which is pretty unusual for a Jim Carrey movie.  I liked it.

After the movie, we got a pizza and walked to the mall.  The sunset was beautiful.

My bed felt nice compared to the rocky surface of the night before, but I awoke this morning with only my teddy bear next to me.  How I longed to be able to open my eyes and see the sunlight grace along the curves of a beautiful woman, but that will come in time.  I am content with where I am now.

The worship service at Heaton really touched me.  Jim spoke on holy families and how parents need to say the words “I love you” more than “wash the dishes, I’m tired.”

I cried.  Tears rolled down my face.  My mom loves me I know, but there were times when she wasn’t very affectionate towards me.  I noticed and it hurt.  However, every time Sharon sees me, she hugs me, looks deep into my soul, compliments me, and affirms who I am.  I surely notice and I love it.

I told Bob happy Father’s Day today.  A special grin filled his face.  He’s never had a son to say that to him, until now.