February 14, 2000 – Monday – 1:28 p.m.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Marie and I spent yesterday afternoon with a young married couple (younger than us) named Lori and Ben from Avalon Hills.  They are wonderful.  That evening after church Marie and I spoke practically of marriage.  My insides were going crazy.

In a year and a half we are both leaving this place together.  Perhaps we’ll be married in New Jersey.  I would like that.

Marie can work off some of her school loans by working as a teacher in a teacher-shortage area like Arizona or Wyoming.  How exciting!

I’m ready for anything.

This is your life God!

. . .

I’ve just been sitting here thinking.  My insides are pondering.  I’ve worked myself into an awkward corner.  My entire life has pointed in the direction of being a storyteller, of working in theater and film.  Did I put that desire there in my heart, or did God?

I do not believe that I could have come this far if God did not do this.  How this is going to happen, I do not know.  Perhaps it is best if I don’t even really try and just let go.  I must do what the Lord said so long ago, just show up every day.  Of course, now, showing up means loving Marie.  And it means sharing life with someone.  I see now why God makes men single for a while.  He must prepare their hearts.

I don’t want to just direct movies and theater productions, I want to also be alive.  And it grows clearer and clearer with each passing day that I will only be alive for a very short while.  I want to be alive with Marie.

So, I made Dang! and that might be the only one.  I had some great acting moments on a few different stages and there may not be any more moments.  I just want to love God, love the woman I marry, love our children, and never let my heart grow cold.  I just want to breathe in this beautiful creation with every new day.

Take me Lord, wherever you want, I’ll go.

February 11, 2000 – Friday – 9:24 p.m.

Marie and I celebrated our Valentine’s Day today because our Monday will be very busy.  We went to Seashore State Park, had breakfast and lunch together, and exchanged gifts.  She gave me a beautiful picture of herself as a little girl, similar to the one I gave her of me at Christmas.  She is so adorable.  We had our own little private dance here in my room.

She is at her apartment writing now.  Last Friday we had a wonderful time walking back and forth to Lake Drummond out at the Dismal Swamp.  It was a 10 mile hike.

Our relationship grows more and more beautiful every day.  So much time is spent with her, and sharing with her, and writing in our book together, that I hardly spend time writing here in my own journal.

My The Tape That Binds script was chosen to be produced by the university.  Grant is directing it.  I have a rewrite due on Monday.

Rehearsals for In the Flesh and Pilate are coming along okay.  Pilate opens in a month.

Mr. Quicke, a professor here, has asked to meet with me about the possibility of directing a feature-length film this summer.  That’s exciting!

Marie and I are planning a trip to Banner Elk and her hometown in New Jersey over spring break.  She’ll get to meet the whole college gang, and I’ll get to see where she grew up!

February 16, 1998 – Monday – 1:19 a.m.

Sarah and I had a wonderful Valentine’s Day lunch, and then we had a super long rehearsal together that night.

Valentine’s Day is actually a great day when you have a special girl to share it with.

But as of right now, I just got back from the hospital, for Sarah got kicked in the head during rehearsal tonight.  It was really bad, but she should be okay.  I’ve been there with her for the past two hours.

I’m so sleepy.  Hard to write right now.

All I know is that I love Sarah.

And I love Jesus.

 

February 14, 1998 – Saturday – 12:08 p.m.

All of my boys were just in here: Vince, Curtis, Dan, Allen, Josh, Justin, and Alex.  We had a hugging party for Valentine’s Day.  And then they all left to go to lunch, but I stayed behind since I’m taking Sarah out to eat for the special day.

February is half over.  The days are vanishing, but I know I am alive in each one.  God is with me in each step I take, I have wonderful guy friends, wonderful gal friends, and one very special girlfriend.

How could I ask for more?

February 13, 1998 – Friday – 6:00 p.m.

I got a call from Elinor at Regent University yesterday.  I’ve been accepted!  Thank you God!

I bought Sarah a funny Valentine’s Day card, plus three roses, and I put them in her room tonight while she was at a Highlanders’ Performance.  I hope she likes it.

The past couple of days have been relaxing and peaceful.  Rehearsals have been easy and last night we had our costume parade.  I had to stand in front of the whole cast and crew, under the bright stage lights, with nothing but a sheet around my waist.

After the rehearsal I went to Sarah’s room, and she just looked at me from across the room.

“What?” I asked.

“Well…you have a nice body, skinny boy.”  And she looked at me in such a way, and gave me a grin in such a way, that said, “Why didn’t you tell me you were so sexy underneath your clothes.”

I was obviously surprised.  I just view myself as a tall, skinny, lanky, awkward dude.

“Really?” I offered back.  “No one’s ever told me that before.”

And then I kissed her.

Our relationship has grown so much.  Thank you Jesus.  Thank you God.  Thank you Holy Spirit.

Elizabeth has become a really awesome friend.  We’ve begun to share our hearts with one another.  Thank you for her too Lord.

Life and love are all about giving.  It’s as simple as that.  Give all that you have.  Hold nothing for yourself.

When you live for yourself, you become lonely and cold.  Give your life away to everyone around you, and you will find yourself never lacking in joy and peace.

I guess this means I’ll have to give Lees-McRae away as well.

And in order to keep Sarah, I’ll have to give her away too.

 

February 13, 1995 – Monday – 11:35 p.m.

I got a Valentine from Jeni through the mail today.  It was a heart shaped card that said, “Winter Dreams can melt into Spring fantasies.”

She obviously believes we will still get back together.

I doubt we ever will very much.

I wrote her a poem back.  It was really just a combination of the lyrics from two Cindy Morgan songs.  I was just encouraging her to be my friend.

Tonight I went to the A Piece of My Heart rehearsal.  I was suppose to run sound, but now I’m running lights.  The show is great.  It’s coming along wonderfully.

Doing lights will tie me up for the next two weeks.  I won’t be able to go to any of the Heaton youth group stuff on Wednesday nights.

I can’t wait until the next time I go to church; or even over to Sharon’s house again.

If Ryan and Cheryl and them come up to see me this weekend, I will try to take them to meet Sharon and her family.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

It’s almost midnight.

February 7, 1995 – Tuesday – 8:00 p.m.

Tonight I have been trying to get in touch with some old friends.  The only people I talked to were Ryan and Amy.

I love them both.

Ryan says that she would like to go to Appalachian State University.  That would be awesome if she was there.

My Winter Dream would be so close to me.

She says she wants to come up and see me.  She has an uncle up here that works on Sugar Mountain.

Today I learned a valuable lesson.  What I tried to do on December 30, 1994 did not happen.  It could not happen and it will never happen.

My past is me.

Who I was then is who I am now.

And who I will be in the future will be the sum of me then and me now.

I will never forget.

I am unable to.

I know that sometimes in my Book of Days I contradict myself.  I think that one thing will last forever, but then soon I will not want it to last forever.

Not many things will stay constant.

Only one will.  Only my God.  He will never change.  He will always be there.

Things are changing though.

Look at Jason.  He was here, but not he is gone.

Jeni and I were forever, but now it is obvious to me that we are not.

At times I hear God telling me things.  But as I grow older, I’m beginning to understand the difference between his true voice and my own voice telling me things I want so badly that I falsely believe it’s God voice.

Jeni is in Boone now for some meeting.  Her mom made her a Valentine’s Day dress and she got it in the mail today.

I miss the way Jeni and I were, but I think it all goes back to what I said a long time ago.

Why have something special and romantic for a season, when you can be friends for a lifetime.

But is that reality?

The never-ending Canon in D.

Will it ever stop?

It may not, but it may, and I can say that I’m glad I do not know yet.

I don’t want to know.

There is no fun in knowing.

God, send me on an adventure; an adventure to do your will.  Fill it with excitement and please find joy in my smile, because it is you I am smiling at.

Only you.

Your love.

Your amazing greatness.

I don’t want to be here Lord if I can’t please you in the process.

I adore you Lord.

I want you more than anything and I need you more than anything.

You are what matters.

It’s your opinion I want to hear.

You know all the answers.

You are the greatest!

February 14, 1994 – Valentine’s Day – 10:19 p.m.

I’m at the boys house in Bonlee, you know, the ones I babysit.

The Olympics are on.

Since Sanford is not long distance here, I called Ryan.  We had a wonderful conversation.  She told me about stuff she had written and how school was going.  We talked about how things have changed.  She is still wonderful, but I fear the feelings I did have for her are fading.

She did tell me one thing that caught my attention.  She said that Christi told her that she liked the way I wear my hair now.

Christi mentioned me.

After I talked to Ryan I called Jenna.  She was sleeping.  She and Tenielle have been sick.  Puking sick.  I’ll pray for them.  Tenielle was up and we talked a bit.  Jenna got the letter I wrote her today.  It was a Valentine’s Day note with a poem and a drawing.  Tenielle said she really liked it.

What am I doing?

Do I even know?

Christi?

Jenna?

Somebody please tell me!!

Jenna already knows that I like her.  She likes me.

Christi is a wonderful friend who is now a girl who has practically been handed to me for a wonderful relationship.  I don’t know what I’m going to do.

I’ll just have to wait and see. 

February 13, 1994 – 11:30 p.m.

Oh my gosh!!!

This can’t be happening!  There is no way!  I must be dreaming.  Somebody pinch me.

First of all let me say that Jenna and Tenielle didn’t go to youth group Saturday night for the same reason I didn’t.  Jenna gave me a letter today in church.  It was sweet.  I wrote her a letter back but she wasn’t at church tonight so I didn’t give it to her.

Now let me tell you what I am excited about.  But before I do, go back and read a few entries of my Book of Days.  Read August 2, 1993, and August 11, 1993, and November 8, 1993, and December 1, 1993.  And then there’s December 23, 1993 and finally Feb. 8, 1994.

Did you read them all of them?

Now what do all of these entries have in common?  Sure, a few of them are just a few lines here and there, but all of them have only one person in common.

One girl.

Christi.

When the day began, I didn’t know it would end this way.

Mom let me drive to church.  Very shocking.  Scott asked us to go to McDonald’s with him.  We did.  But afterwards, for some odd reason, Marcus and I decided to go visit Christi.  We did exactly that.

Christi answered the door.  She hugged the two of us.  We went in; the Olympics were on.  I hugged everyone else.  It had been two months since I’d seen Christi.  But I did send Christi a Christmas card.  I can’t remember exactly what I wrote word for word, but I believe it went something like this:

Christi,

I’m wishing you a merry Christmas.  Everything is changing and nothing is like it used to be.  I don’t see you as much as I’d like to now, but things happen.  Christi, through everyone I’ve ever known you have always stood out.  I feel like I could trust you with anything.  And Christi, when I say this, I’m not asking you to marry me or anything, but I love you Christi.  And Jesus loves you too.  Merry Christmas.

Jacob

Tonight I had forgotten that I had written her this letter.  But we talked about stuff, about theatre, about music, about church, about the past, and then we had to leave.  It was getting late.  As I was leaving, Hank, Christi’s dad, pulled me off to the side.  This was our conversation:

“Jacob,” he said.  “Let’s talk man to man.  To this day, Christi has never dated a guy.  She has always gone out with her girlfriends.  And she knows that each guy that comes along has to answer to us.  But if you are willing, I will let you take Christi’s hand and you can go out with her with our permission.  Her mom and I will not say no.  I have never given my permission to a young man until now.  We feel we can trust you Jacob, so all you have to do is ask her.”

Needless to say, I laughed and my whole body got really hot.

“Jacob, this no laughing matter.  Her mom and I both agree.”

What he said did not hit me just then.  I told everyone goodbye and left.  Once Marcus and I got in the car, I couldn’t help myself, I just screamed as loud as I could!  That was when it hit me.  You would have to know Hank to know how amazing this is.

Christi.

I have her dad’s permission.

I didn’t even ask.

He gave it to me.

Oh my gosh!

CHRISTI!!!!

Christi and I have practically grown up together.  We have never had anything not to talk about.

I told Hank thank you and that I would think about it.  I mean, you just read how I used to feel, right?  On the way home, I just prayed and prayed.  My whole body was shaking and every fiber in my being, my soul, my spirit, my flesh, wanted to say yes.

Then I began thinking.  The first person to come to mind was Jenna.

Christi is 16.

Jenna is 13.  Then I thought about how everyone got into our business at the Skating Ranch on Monday night.

I compared that to Christi and I.

I don’t go to her church.  She doesn’t come to mine.  I don’t go to her school.  She doesn’t go to mine.  The only people she sees that perhaps I see is her family.

No one could get in the way.  Just me and her.

Guys, her dad practically asked me to!

DANG!!!

I don’t know what to do.

I don’t know what to say.

I don’t know what to think.

Dear God!  You always told me that I would never have to do anything.  It would just happen.

Lord, I didn’t even ask.  It just happened.

Seeing her tonight brought back so much.  I didn’t want to leave.

When I got home, I called Jason, her brother and my old youth pastor, now away at college.  I just called to say hi.  He is wonderful.  And he told me, “Jacob, when I was down for Christmas, you sent Christi a Christmas card.  And I want you to know that that really touched her.  She said that she felt like crying and it was so sweet.”

I never thought I would see her again.

For some reason I did not see it there before, but in time’s bitter garden there is one flower that did not fade away.  And still it stands, growing slowly while another begins to bloom.

February 3, 1994 – Thursday – 12:10 a.m.

It’s real early in the morning, or late at night, whatever.

Kenny came by today.  Marcus and Kenny and I went to church together.

Jenna and Tenielle were there.  I gave her the letter.  She has probably read it by now.  I wonder if she figured out the alphabet riddle.

After church, Kenny, Marcus, and I went to eat at Bojangles.  Kenny did his normal crazy stuff, pretending to be a Swede.

Yesterday in English, myself and a partner had to write a story with a moral in it.  Well, I wrote the whole thing and he just put a few words in there.  Maybe I’ll write it in my journal later.  But after Grant (my partner) read it out in class today, I got a lot of reactions.  Some “ohs” and “ahs”.  Some people asked for a copy.  And it’s going to be published in the Valentine’s issue of the school newspaper.

I haven’t written in Challenger’s Deep recently, but this gave me confidence again.  Maybe I can write.  Thank you Jesus for my talent.

The story is called The White Rose and it has melted every person’s heart who read it.

Mrs. Gray, my librarian was reading it and she said, “Jacob, you have just got to become a writer, it is just your thing!”

It is happening.

Life is not killing the dream I dream.