September 6, 1998 – Sunday – 9:39 a.m.

It’s been three years now since Syndi and I went to Deep Creek.  That night with her, just sitting and talk in her car, still remains one of the most amazing conversations of my life.  I can in no way remember what was said, but only that it made an impression upon my soul.

Friday night’s youth service went really well, and we are having our first drama meeting on Wednesday night.  These kids are amazing.  I can’t believe God gave me this beautiful family so early after arriving to a new land.

Yesterday, Nicole and a girl named Patricia and I went up to my Grandparent’s house for lunch and to do some filming for a video project we have due.  We had such a good time. My grandparents were great hosts.

Last night I went over to Mary Jo’s and April’s since they were having a get-together.  I met some new people and we laughed the whole night.

The God that I love today is the same God who loved me and watched over me in my youth.  Even then, he knew.

I talked with Josh and Jessica over the weekend.  Josh was such an inspiration to me.  He also seemed lonely.  He misses me and I miss him.  He said things are different at Lees-McRae.  He said I was able to join all the people together and he can tell a difference now that I’m not there.  I told him that he should make the effort to bring people together.  We prayed and he admitted that perhaps it was him and not the others.  He says he feels really insecure and he’s not sure the others want to be his friend.

I do miss Lees-McRae, but I know that is not where I supposed to be right now.  I know without a doubt that is was where God wanted me for the days between August 28, 1994 and May 10, 1998.

And he has set these days here at Regent aside for me now.

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February 7, 1998 – Saturday – 6:10 p.m.

Oh man! The beginning hours of February 7, 1998 were so amazing.

Sarah and I began a phone conversation at one in the morning and we didn’t hang up until four o’clock.  We had the best time!  I told her things about me that not many people know.  I told her about two Florida girls, Syndi and my pen pal Emily.

I just read my May 8, 1995 entry, the one about Syndi and I under the waterfall, and because I was so young and so scared, I didn’t even reveal the full events of that evening to the pages of my journal.  That entry is missing a great deal.  Maybe it’s just retrospect, the me of now looking back on the me of then, that was needed for the truth of that night to be revealed to me.

Either way, early this morning, I told Sarah, my girlfriend, the story of Syndi and the story of why I broke up with Jeni.  The truth is I had begun to hate how physical my relationship with Jeni had become.  We never had sex, but I just felt like a dirty slimy dog of a pervert because I began to care more about where I could touch her with my hands than I did the quality of our conversations.

I then told Sarah how I had only known Syndi for two weeks prior to our May 7th, 1995 escapade and how wild it was for me to be around her because, well…because Syndi had (and I’m sure she still has) beautiful, large, firm, gravity-defying breasts that simply demanded male eye-contact.  It was wild to be with her because I was used to Jeni, who was relatively flat-chested.  So, for me to be lying under a blanket of stars, beneath a beautiful waterfall, next to the most well-endowed girl I had even known, who kept saying she was cold, well…I began to pray.  If I felt like a slimy dog with flat-chested Jeni, how would I be if I was holding the insanely curvy Syndi?  I feared I wouldn’t be able to control my hands or my whole self.

And, of course, I went on to tell Sarah about how after I offered to hold Syndi to keep her warm, she began talking about sex.  Now I left this part out of my 1995 entry, but Syndi talked for a while about sex with her ex-boyfriend, and then she eventually said with a whisper, “Jacob, are you going to wait until you are married to have sex?”

With her breasts against my chest, I said, half giving up and half begging for mercy, “Well, that’s the way I had planned it.”

And I don’t know how much time had passed.  It could have been a second.  It could have been a minute.  But eventually Syndi said, “Well, I guess we better go then.”

I have since concluded that God used that night, that beautiful girl, and that cleansing waterfall to purify me, and show me that I was not a slimy dirty dog, but a man who loved and respected women.

Sarah and I had a good laugh, mainly because I’m somewhat of a Christian leader on campus and not viewed as one who would talk so openly about my love of breasts to my own girlfriend.  When trying to explain the shape of Syndi’s body to Sarah, I said, “Well, let’s just say, she’s is closer to your neck of the woods.”  Sarah laughed forever.

It was then I told my girlfriend that I greatly enjoy her.  I love to look at her.  I love to hold her.  I think she has a beautiful body, an amazing face, and I find her very sexy and pleasing to look at.  Our physical relationship is not a very big one, but I enjoy it greatly.

She thanked me for telling her that.

We continued talking and she told me some of her stories.  I also gave her a brief summary of Emily and I and even read some of Emily’s old letters to her.

She then told me that for the first time in a relationship, she was not jealous of the other girls in her man’s life.  Then she started crying.  And she said it felt so good not to have that burden.

I told her she has no reason to be jealous of the girls of yesterday, for they have helped make me who I am today, the me that loves her.  I owe them so much for that.

Sarah is in the picture below; it was taken during a performance of the Christmas Concert.

Can you find her?  She is the beautiful one.

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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.

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.