June 8, 2001 – Friday – 2:17 p.m.

Much time has passed since I’ve written. Come tomorrow, Anna and I will have been married for two weeks. The wedding was beautiful. Everyone said the communion portion of the ceremony made them cry. Abigail sang two perfect songs, Tracey played the piano, and Vince, Lindy, and Dan stood by my side.

A perfect moment.

Danny, Peter, Marcus, and my brother were there as well.

Two weeks ago this night was one of the most magical evenings I’ve ever known. We had our rehearsal dinner party at a professional banjo player’s house. He had a swimming pool that was in the shape of a banjo, and after a while they brought out their guitars. It was a might of amazing music in which everyone participated. The music went on for hours. My single life came to an end with all my friends by my side, live music in the air, and my bride-to-be constantly glancing at each other and smiling.

That evening we all walked down to the beach, only to discover a swarm of sea turtles covering the sand as they dropped their eggs in freshly dug holes. I’d never seen anything like it before. To be with all my friends and to experience something so pure and magical, wow, that evening will always be with me.

I cried after the reception because I had to say goodbye to Vince. I’m probably the first guy to cry on the way to his honeymoon.

After spending the evening in a nice hotel in downtown Jacksonville, FL, Anna and I spent a perfect week of campfire building, hot tub soaking, and endless love-making in the mountains of North Carolina, not too far from Deep Creek.

For once, I didn’t take the time to look over my timeless ledge outside of the Pizza Hut. That was my way of letting go of the land and sealing up that beautiful corner of my history with my honeymoon.

On Tuesday I met with Vince and Tim at Forefront and quit my job at Forefront. I am totally unemployed. I’m working on sending Dang! out to festivals, and we are waiting to hear where we might go next. I’ve applied for Resident Director positions in several states all across America. I even applied to be a video editor at a production company in South Dakota. We may stay here, we may leave within a month. We are both open to whatever God wants.

So this is the end. I’m sure I’ll keep journaling in some form or fashion, but I know it will change. Another story is beginning. This collection of days was about finishing high school, four years at Lees-McRae, and three years at Regent University.

I am no longer a student. I am no longer single.

I thought about writing some amazing words of wisdom, but, when it comes down to it, I don’t know a thing, and I’m very aware of that. Instead, I’ll wrap this story up with a single image, and thank my God for every good thing I’ve ever known.

May 24, 2001 – Thursday – 10:30 a.m.

Two days left. Holy cow. I’m in Florida. Vince, Allen, Jessica, Lindy, Natalie, and Tracey are here. Dan, Abigail, Chris, Ashley, and Ellen are on their way.

Vince is pretty overwhelmed. I’m glad I had my time with him on the drive up from Miami.

It’s hard to know what to write. Anna’s world just combined with Banner Elk, so this is a huge moment. Everyone just left for the beach, but I’m waiting for Anna. She is the one I love.

There is much I don’t have in this world, but I do have good friends. How could I ask for more?

I am a free man. I’m marrying a beautiful woman I love. Jesus has saved my soul, and I have good friends. Keep us all safe Lord, and may we grow old together and share the gift of life with each other for as long as we can.

I love you God.

April 10, 2001 – Tuesday – 4:00 p.m.

I just got off the phone with Lindy, easily one of the best friends I’ll ever have. I feel like my insides are going to explode. Everything is coming to the most amazing ending, and an entire universe is beginning.

The week of the wedding is going to be full of complete emotional ecstasy. There is much history and so many stories that will collide together for the moment Anna and I join our lives together. I will pick Vince up from the Miami airport, then we will drive up the coast for four hours after not seeing each other for over a year. Nearly all of Lees-McRae and Banner Elk, NC is dying to see him, and he will be there in when they all arrive on Thursday for the wedding on Saturday. Over 15 Lees-McRae friends are making the 11 hour trip south. Marcus is coming, as well as Danny and Peter, they are all bringing friends along.

Abigail is going to sing. Tracey is going to play piano. Vince, Lindy, and Dan will be standing next to me. I’ll share the weekend with all my friends, then drive away with Anna.

Anna just showed up. Gotta go!

March 17, 2001 – Saturday – 3:09 p.m.

So much has happened. I don’t even know where to begin. I’ve never known faster days.

Anna and I went to Florida over our spring break. Even that seems like forever ago. We had a wonderful time, and I met many amazing people who influenced Anna’s life.

We visited Tallahassee, Melbourne, West Palm Beach, and all the places in between. We solidified many of our wedding plans with her home church there. We will marry ten weeks from today!

This past week I’ve tried to catch up on film and video work. Anna and I also tried to square away our studio apartment; you know, buying bookshelves and stuff. I’m slowing moving my stuff over there.

In fact, I’m here in the apartment right now. She’s off on a film shoot.

I talked to Vince over the phone, and he is coming for the wedding. He will arrive in Miami a week before. I believe all of our Banner Elk friends will be there to spend the week with him.

Today, on this St. Patrick’s Day, I took the time to walk around West Ghent here in Norfolk, VA. Everything I saw became instantly beautiful. This is my neighborhood now. I’ve never lived in such an urban area before.

February 19, 2001 – Monday – 2:09 p.m.

Yesterday proved interesting. Sarah called me, yes, my old Sarah. I thought for sure she knew I was engaged, but she had no idea. Her boyfriend dumped her three weeks ago. She was calling me to get back in touch, to see if anything remained from our previous relationship, but when she heard me tell her of my lovely Anna, she instantly started crying.

What a moment. We talked a bit, but eventually said our goodbyes.

As I move closer to my wedding date, I find it harder and harder to write in my journal. Perhaps because I give my heart and soul to a beautiful woman now, and I no longer put it down on paper for all to read.

Perhaps the only thing left to say is “Thank you God for your mercy and grace.”

February 6, 2001 – Tuesday – 7:58 a.m.

One hundred nine days remain.

Spring want so desperately to begin here in Virginia, but winter is standing firm. It is going to be a busy spring. I’ve got two films to finish, wrap up my thesis, graduate from graduate school, get married, go on my honeymoon, and those are just the big events. There are so many little videos I need to complete between now and then, plus I’m still working in the bookstore and planning the wedding.

Life is fun.

Anna and I spend most of our time discussing our future together. We’ve talked of moving to so many places, everywhere from North Carolina to Montana. Who knows where we will end up, but I sure like discussing my future with her.

I’m so excited to marry her. I love her more than I thought possible. In 109 days I will die and be reborn. She is not my savior, but God will change me on that day.

Vince is trying his best to come up from Bolivia. I miss all my Lees-McRae friends. I’m so thankful for that season of my life.

Four year there, ’94-’98, and nearly three years here, ’98-01.

In 11 days I will be 24 and a half years old.

January 30, 2001 – Tuesday – 8:00 p.m.

I know that I have hardly written anything this entire month of January, and now it is over. This has been my first full month of engagement to Anna and it’s been a busy one. I remember when I used to write in my journal twice a day. Is this what marriage means? I have less time to just be me?

One hundred and sixteen days remain.

Life has been full of video work, bookstore work, and wedding work. Anna continues to grow more interesting to me each day. She is the love of my life.

I’ve been working on my invitation list. After 24 years of life, I do supposed I’ve made some good friends along the way. Some sad news has happened with them however. Megan has left Curtis. It is a long story, but it’s all Megan. She used Chris to just get away from her parents and then she left him. And, Lindy fear she might be manic-depressive since that has run through her family.

Among other things Anna and I will take a trip to Florida in one month, and I also believe we will attend an Engagement Encounter weekend in Asheville, NC in April.

I’ve only really known Anna for three months now. It’s only four months until we get married.

Seven months.

Then a lifetime.

Thank you for this adventure God.

January 13, 2001 – Saturday – 4:00 p.m.

Has it already been a week since I last wrote? I talked to Danny this morning for the first time in three years. He is going to come to the wedding, as his Peter. How exciting! Danny really seems to have changed, but we all do, he’s been a great friend since I was six, so it’ll be so nice to have him at the wedding. He is living the ‘young professional’ life as a computer engineer in Silicon Valley. I’m proud of him.

Anna and I have been engaged for two weeks now. Only nineteen weeks remain.

We are together, and all else seems to be fading away.

January 6, 2001 – Saturday – 10:00 a.m.

It has been a week since I asked Anna to marry me. What a beautiful week; people have been freaking out. Everyone is blessing us like crazy and are so happy for us. Some are super surprised, for they didn’t even know we knew each other.

We are planning our wedding together and I’m planning the honeymoon. It will be beautiful. We decided May 26th in her hometown would be a bit easier than July 7th. That’s four and a half months away.

Anna is going to have her good friend Steve in her bridal party and I’m going to have Lindy as one of my “groomsmen.” How cool! Hopefully, Vince will be able to come up from Bolivia and be my best man.

I just love this stuff. I love planning my life with Anna. She is perfection. God saved the best for last.

So, I will be a husband before I turn 25-years-old. All these years, her name was always Anna. It was never Veronica, never Ryan, never Jeni, never Emily, never Sarah, never Marie, nor any other girl. It was always Anna, and she turns 23 in 19 days.