December 7, 1997 – Sunday – 11:00 a.m.

I am on duty, so I couldn’t go to church this morning.  I slept in on this morning and basically just abided in the Lord’s presence and thought about Him and my life.

My how things have changed.

Over the past five years my thoughts have changed from Veronica to Ryan to Christi to Jenna to Tenielle to Jeni to Christi to Syndi to Laura to Abigail to Jessica to Sherlive to Abigail and now to Sarah.

I called Marcus yesterday.  We had a great talk and I told him about Sarah.  He was amazed.

Sarah and I were at the basketball game together yesterday.  We talked about some pretty deep stuff last night.  She has so many stories inside her.  Some sad, some happy, some romantic, some hilarious.  And she is slowly telling all of them to me.

Our relationship is not a “boyfriend/girlfriend” relationship.  It is a “God has allowed us to share our existence together for a short while” relationship.

I am happy and very content.

I don’t see the other girls as much these days.  But like I said, “things change.”

Dan, Allen, Vince, Curtis, and Justin are the greatest guys in the world.  I’m living a wonderful life, and I’m living it for God.  Thank you for my salvation Lord!  Thank you for my life in you!  You are all that matters.

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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.

July 11, 1997 – Friday – 8:00 a.m.

We leave today at 2:00 p.m. to spend 24 hours at Deep Creek near Bryson City, NC.  I just read about my last Deep Creek trip two years ago with Syndi.  We sure knew how to have fun.  I was her “hubby” for that trip.  Each time I visit, I stand above that never-changing scene next to the Pizza Hut in town.  And there I seem to let everything go.  I say goodbye to the previous year and I feel good about leaving it behind in my Book of Days.

Three years ago on this date I was arrived in Deep Creek.  I thought I was there to say goodbye and I did in a way, but I said goodbye to the Deep Creek of the past.  Now I go with a different group of people and with different friends.

Because, I am different.

Lees-McRae and Banner Elk are now a part of me and they have changed me.  This is who I am.  And I have to let it go at the small cliff near Pizza Hut, cause I have to move away in less than 10 months.

I fear my youth is leaving me.  I watched Citizen Kane yesterday.  His childhood was stolen from him.

“Deep Creek” may very well be my “Rosebud.”

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.

February 27, 1997 – Thursday – 10:00 a.m.

Today is Curtis’ 21st birthday!

On Tuesday, Jessica and I went for a long hike to the top of a nearby mountain.  We had a good time.  She’s so delightful to spend time with and has such a bright future ahead of her.

Last night, or rather all of yesterday, Abigail…well she…she has become a very dear friend.  We continue to grow closer.  Last night Jeni and she and I prayed again together.  Abigail rested her head on my knee and ran her thumb up and down my fingers as she held my hand.

She has me.

I wonder if she knows it.

Four years ago, I was questioning love.  Veronica was on my mind.  And in reality, I had no idea.

Four years.

Veronica, Ryan, Christi, Jenna, Tenielle, Jeni, Emily, Syndi, Laura, Abigail…

These are the girls who have taught me the most.

Not only have I touched her face, but she tells me that I have touched her heart.  She is not another Ryan or Christi, she is simply my Abigail.  This list will continue to grow and no name will ever disappear.  I want our goodbye to be painful.  I want this to hurt.  I need this to hurt.

I need to share my heart.

February 7, 1997 – Friday – 10:30 a.m.

How different things are here at Lees-McRae than when I first arrived.  Charlie was over at Canon Cottage and I went to visit him after rehearsal last night.  I’ve known him for two and a half years now.  I think for Spring Break we’ll just go to Kate’s house in Florida again.

This place is so important to me.  Some have come and gone: Jason, Jeff, Michael, Syndi.  And others are going: Curtis and Jeni.

Life is so funny, but absolutely enjoyable.

Children of a Lesser God has become so close to me.  Dawn has become so important to me.  Or perhaps it is her character, Sarah Norman, whom I’ve grown to love.  When I am on the stage, I am in love with her.  She is so amazing.  She has this smell and I look forward to smelling it every evening.

All of the other roles I’ve played were supporting characters.  Now I am playing the leading man.  Other characters are supporting me and I’m growing dependent on them.  It will be very sad when this ends on the 16th.  It will be like losing a lover.

Mark, my director, has meant a lot to me these past few days.  He sees my growth and says people will never look at me the same after they see me in this show.

Thank you so much for this Lord.  Thank you for everything here at Lees-McRae.  I’ve never felt like I truly belonged some place until you brought me here.

My dad might come, as well as Kevin, Mom, Henry, and Nate.

I don’t deserve this love.

Fifteen months remain until the new storm blows me away.

Please don’t let it come too quickly Lord.

If I am to move to Virginia Beach, then please prepare that place for me.

I give you my life Lord.

I give you everything.

December 13, 1996 – Friday – 5:00 p.m.

Now that the Fall semester of my Junior year has been over for a couple of days, I shall reflect upon it and write down my most favorite moments from it.

First, the moment on August 25th when Laura stood near the edge of the pew, waiting for me to slide down so she could sit next to me.

Second, September 2nd, Labor Day, as little Hannah was falling asleep in my lap and Sharon was driving “our” pickup truck towards home.

Third, when Newsboys began playing on September 21st at Carowinds and Ann-Marie, Sharon, Tracey, Laura, Hannah, and Bob were all around me.

Fourth, October 13th, when we rode wave-runners in the Gulf of Mexico.  I was flying just a few feet above the water.

Fifth, that same night when I took a walk with the Lord after seeing That Thing You Do with Syndi.

Sixth, the 4th of November, when Abigail, my beautiful spirit-filled friend, laid her head on my chest to keep warm.

And finally, the moments when Vince and I played Myst all evening and then talked in the hot tub over Thanksgiving break.