Sunday, December 05, 2010

Jesus Christ the Apple Tree

I know that many of you may have already seen this text on my Facebook account, but I was really impacted by this song as I sang it with St. John's Episcopal Church Choir recently. Please notice with envy the age of the composer. Here is the piece as sung by the St. Olaf Choir, along with the text (if you're on Google Reader or other RSS feed, go to the actual blog at

Jesus Christ the Apple Tree
pub. 2009, Stanford Scriven (b. 1988)

The tree of life my soul hath seen,
Laden with fruit, and always green:
The trees of nature fruitless be
Compared with Christ the appletree.

His beauty doth all things excel:
By faith I know, but ne'er can tell,
The glory which I now can see
In Jesus Christ the appletree.

For happiness I long have sought,
And pleasure dearly I have bought:
I missed of all; but now I see
'Tis found in Christ the appletree.

This fruit doth make my soul to thrive,
It keeps my dying faith alive;
Which makes my soul in haste to be
With Jesus Christ the appletree.

I'm weary with my former toil,
Here I will sit and rest awhile.
Under the shadow I will be,
Of Jesus Christ the appletree.


Words: Anonymous; from Divine Hymns or Spiritual Songs
Compiled by Joshua Smith, New Hampshire, 1784

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Thanksgiving was awesome this year! I know I haven't posted in a while, but I'm not going to apologize and try to recap. Instead, I'm going to post the things that I really feel grateful for. This is not an exhaustive list by any stretch of the imagination; I just feel the need to express my appreciation for the things in my life that really matter. :-)

  • A family that loves to be together
  • Numerous houses and homes where we can congregate (I mean, we live all over the place)
  • Family members that open up their homes to all of us
  • My grandma Loretta's yams (Oh. My. Gosh.)
  • Pets, that remind us to take care of something all the time
  • Asa, who reminds us of what's most important in life
  • Siblings who are not afraid to slap me when I say something remarkably stupid (or just stupid)
  • Three beautiful sisters
  • An extremely handsome identical twin brother (is that self-serving?? ;-) )
  • A father who's a doctor
  • All of us being in good health (these two don't really go together...)
  • Financial means to attend school
  • Understanding and approachable professors (SO important)
  • Tallahassee Singles' Ward and Institute
  • All of my friends in Tally (including a new best one)
  • The many talents I enjoy
  • The many NON talents that remind me what humility is
  • The love and support of friends far away
  • Contacts. Because I hate wearing glasses.
  • My trooper of a Civic, Cindy, who has put up with me from coast to coast and 12k feet to sea level
  • The situations I've been in that have required me/given me the chance to travel to so many different places
  • The many life experiences I've been blessed to have
  • Facebook. Just think about it.
  • The love my parents have for each other and their family
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the community it entails
  • The Book of Mormon - it is an anchor to my soul and the foundation of my testimony
  • The Gift of the Holy Ghost, which has saved me on numerous occasions and giving me so much direction in life
  • The love of God, without which I would not be here (not to be melodramatic...)
I had to stop a bit before I thought I would, because I could feel the beginnings of emotion coming on (you know, those emotions). I'm just so thankful for all the blessings that I have and have had - they've all led me to where I am today. :-)

Update: FSU beating UF soundly. Life is good.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A quick post...

If any of you follow my sister's blog, you would have seen this a-dorable photo of my nephew putting his entire rattle in his mouth.

Well. Like uncle, like nephew.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

First week of classes!

Hello everyone. Sorry for the extreme nostalgia last week...but that kind of stuff happens every now and then. Oh - and thanks, Becca, for unwittingly allowing me to borrow (aka steal) that picture of us three. ;-)

I'm finally taking classes here at BYU! My schedule is no simple one, despite the fun I'm sure I'll be having. I have German 102, Beginning Ballroom Dance, Martial Arts (Jiu-Jitsu), Beginning Weight Training, and Flexibility. I'm hoping to be in much better shape at the end of this summer than at the beginning! Just in time to destroy the hard work on my body with a semester's worth of books and singing at FSU.

By the way, if you're the really creepy kind of sneaky person who likes to try to recreate people's school schedules from clues given in blogs, be warned - I could kill you with my pinky.

I can because I'm in a bunch of athletic classes. (Honestly, don't you read??)

So my first week of classes went by really well! It was incredibly good because I was able to learn all about myself. After all, what good is education if it can't teach you about you? So here are the eight big things I've learned this week:
1. I am woefully underprepared for my 2nd semester German class.
2. I have the tenacity to stick to a subject I'm not prepared for.
3. I'm not as good a dancer as I had previously thought.
4. I look like a ninja in my Jiu-Jitsu gi (uniform).
5. I turn very red while doing Jiu-Jitsu in the heavy, very warm gi.
6. My upper body is weaker than even I originally thought.
7. Having incredibly sore abs feels a lot like having a bad stomachache.
8. I fail at Flexibility. (Literally. I failed the pre-course test.)

My favorite class so far has to be Jiu-Jitsu. It's called Martial Arts in the BYU Catalog and on the Course Schedule, but the coach told as at the beginning that it's all Jiu-Jitsu. For those of you who don't know - and I didn't until we began the course - Jiu-Jitsu is pretty much all grappling. Grappling is like wrestling, except that the fight isn't over when someone is on their back. Rather, that's when the real fighting begins.

This is a gi. A Jiu-Jitsu gi. A Jiu-Jitsu gi that's very warm. It's a shame you can't feel it through the screen (how awesome would that be!! Could you imagine?! Just reaching through the laptop or monitor and -- woops, sorry, back on track--) If you could, you'd realize how thick and stiff the top is. I can practically hold it horizontal and it will keep it's shape. I know, I know, that's one Hefty piece of fabric.

Most of us in the class are brand new. That being said, we tend to hurt each other on accident often, mostly through trying the different moves a little too zealously.
Just to show you what I mean, I got a pretty sweet bruise on my inner arm this week! It's a shame you can't go back in time and see it the day after it happened (but oh my gosh, wouldn't that be insane?? Just imagine if--woops, sorry again--) It was a beautiful conflagration of greens, purples, reds, and yellows. It was like I had a Great Red Spot on my arm...only smaller...and seen through a weird color filter...

So that's my Martial Arts/Jiu-Jitsu class. A barrel of laughs!

The other interesting thing this week was my German class. I took the first test on Friday, and that was one of the first tests that I've ever taken that I was not prepared for. Usually I can just wing something that I haven't really studied for and do pretty well (good test-taking talent), but this was something else. Not exactly like my (Hel)LSAT experience, but even worse in a weird way. A weird, horrible way. I mean, I had actually studied and prepared for this test! And what did it profit me?

Shame. That's what it profited me. Shame. I seriously felt like drooling on my keyboard in the computer testing lab that day, then maybe mumbling to myself while shooting furtive glances around me. After all, people wouldn't blame a weird crazy person who drooled on technology. They would pity him and wonder why he was subjecting himself to something obviously beyond his menial and limited abilities.

In short: the test was way over my head.

And for your viewing pleasure, here are my instruments of self-esteem-malevolence in all their glory. Feast your eyes well, for they are expensive to obtain.

2 Editions. 1134 pages. Priceless? Nope: $300.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Some Sunday Nostalgia

I know it's been a long while since anything has popped up here. I think I'm going to be letting people know a bit more about what is going on in my life...but right now I'm a wee bit tired, school starts tomorrow morning at 8, and I just had a brick named Nostalgia hit me between the eyes when this song came on iTunes.

This Marriage - Eric Whitacre, sung by BYU Singers

(If you're using Google Reader, you might not be able to see the player)

That was recorded in the BYU Museum of Art, part of a recording project that lasted a few nights. Just like the rest of my years in BYU Singers, that was an experience that I'll always cherish and never forget.

Recording Session

Skinnier version of me, weird smile...

Thank you, BYU, for all the friends and memories. I'm glad to be back for the Summer!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

It's been a long while.

I was reflecting on my lack of postings on this blog the other day (like I do many days), and I realized that the last post was about a sickness that I couldn't exactly shake off. I suddenly thought that, not having posted here for months, people might think I'm dead!!

But then I realized that all y'all that check my blog also see me online on Facebook and Gmail and all those other social networking I-know-you're-alive websites. Or we talk on the phone. You know how it is.

So here I am now, sitting in the Allen Music Library at FSU with plenty of time on my hands. This is a perfect time to throw a post at my oft-neglected blog. There is an issue, however: I don't know what to say.

Oh no! What's the world coming to? Ben doesn't know what to say!!

I'm glad that many of you would appreciate that sarcasm.

Things have been very up and down the last few months. Thanksgiving was awesome at my grandpa's place in Alabama, Christmas and New Year's were fantastic at home in TX, and Valentine's looks to be fun here in FL (without a valentine, but fun nonetheless). In more recent news, my little sister just had her first baby last week - and if you don't yet, you should know that little Asa is adorable.

In fact, you can see for yourself...

So there you go. The most adorable nephew that's ever entered the world. :-D

As for the down parts of the last few months...well, thinking about what I've just written and about Asa has pretty much shown me that all the crap I felt was hitting me really isn't crap at all. Instead of monkeys throwing their poo at me, this is more like monkeys blowing dandelions in my face. Just annoying little things: like realizing my classes are going to take more time and effort than I thought they would. Like the opera taking up more of my time than I expected (what was I thinking? Of course it would take up all my time). Like having my debit card info stolen and used to buy $250 worth of junk online and in my name.

But honestly, that stuff isn't really that bad. The school stuff just means that I'm actually having to study and learn this stuff, the opera is teaching me what I really have to do to stay afloat in such a career, and I'm getting all the money back from the unauthorized use of my card. Life isn't bad at all...but occasionally I truly believe that God has a sense of humor that is far above what we mere mortals can understand.

So, despite my incredible lack of any kind of life exhibited on this blog, know that I'm alive and well. I've just been getting really busy...and my passion for writing on this blog has been waning. But now that I've been seeing other friends upping their posts on their own blogs - well, I feel guilty that I know so much about their lives while selfishly hiding my own in the ground.

Here's to having a post much more often. Even if it's as boring as this one!