Friday, February 5, 2010

Unbelievable

Not to insult my yesterday's self, but what in the world was that post? I doubt anyone has ever blogged so little about so many things going on in life. And it didn't even make sense! So for all one or two of you who have happened to cross today's blog, I hope to fill you in some more.

Over the last several months, I have lost my wedding ring, our laptop (with tax info as well as our finances in Quicken) died, before Christmas, I lost my coat (which has been found and is now hanging comfortably in my closet), my car's transmission went kaput, bought a Ford Escape, told my landlord we're not renewing our lease so we can move in with my parents, and have to pay a couple medical bills.

I did, however, save $400 by switching from Geico to Progressive. And the whole goal of living with my parents is to save money. See, a couple big things are coming- first, our Baby #2 is due July 4th. And every day Danielle is on maternity leave is a day with no income. Additionally, our school loans will come due in August and those monthly payments are double what you can get a mortgage for here in Point Place.

Needless to say, we are pinching pennies (if only we could have two of them to rub together we might not need our furnace!). And this sin I have confessed to Danielle: I went to Taco Bell this week. I bought a chicken soft taco and a bean burrito. $1.88. Oh did it taste good. But I digress. I have to get a job, most likely serving at a restaurant- good money for the hours. Applied to Red Lobster, Outback Steakhouse, Chili's, Elephant Bar Restaurant, J. Alexander's, and a couple others I cannot recall. Only Chili's gave me an interview (I lie- J. Alexander's sat down with me, looked at my availability, and said "this won't work" in 20 seconds). But that interview went well so I have a second i-view today with the General Manager. Here's prayin'!


And in case you were wondering, the Senior Center gig went very well. I started on time (for a musician) and did manage to get feedback in the speaker so any saint who did hear now cannot. Sang songs anyways- Old Rugged Cross, Amazing Grace, Eye is on the Sparrow, and even a love song I wrote for Danielle for awhile back. They didn't want to leave and since I was still there, I played and sang for an extra 45 minutes. Brother LeRoy Smith brought the Word and a good time was had by all.

Between watching Caleb, interviews, and church work, I'm packing up our place. Recently purchased the vacuum bags to condense what we have to store in a storage unit. Who knew packing would be so fun and awesome?

Speaking of awesome, Psych, Burn Notice, House and NCIS. Need I say more.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A New Post from an Old Man

So it's the 4th of February; I only know that because I looked at the calendar. I thought it was the 3rd. Sheesh.

Of course there is lots to say but I don't know what to say. I can tell you this: I LOVE watching my baby Caleb. He is so crazy and cute! Like right now, he knows not to climb the stairs, so he's creeping up looking at me, laughing and nodding his head, hoping that will convince me to let him climb. No, child, no.

Today I'm heading over to the Point Place Senior Citizens Center. Never been there before but I'm going to perform some music. Actually, I need to be there in about a half hour. I wonder what songs I'll be doing... Brother LeRoy will bring the Word and I might even play the trumpet. Who knows.

Having said that, I should probably get ready. Alright, child. Let's get dressed!

Monday, July 6, 2009

I know you thought it was dead...

...but I've got a new page on MySpace! I've recently been able to record some music on my home computer and upload it to the Information Superhighway (as they promised us it would be called when I was in high school). I'm working with Cakewalk's Music Creator 4 and so far it's been pretty easy to use. Check me out at www.myspace.com/bendelong. Other videos can be viewed at www.myspace.com/shout4god.

Ciao for now,
Ben

Monday, June 22, 2009

Busy vs. Distracted

I'm reading a book by John Ortberg called God is Closer Than You Think. I'm about 1/3 through the book and I plan on finishing it at Lakeside next week (OH MAN- LAKESIDE!).


Right now he's talking about the story of Jesus visiting Martha and Mary and Martha complains to Jesus that Mary isn't helping. Jesus does not share her frustration but rather chides Martha for being too distracted and confirms Mary's choice to sit at His feet as the better choice.

And John is comparing busyness and distraction. I'm not really as busy as I used to be working at a restaurant and teaching 30 piano students, though working at home and raising a 9 month old isn't the laziest of jobs! But I can certainly tell you that I am just as distracted as I ever have been, if not more so.

Have you ever been greatly distracted? I don't necessarily mean driving down the road and something other than driving catches your eye. I mean really, REALLY distracted! I was. Am. Like yesterday, I was getting ready for the day upstairs when I realized my toothbrush was in the downstairs bathroom. So I hustled downstairs so I wouldn't be late for church. Only to pass by the computer when I remembered I was making a special CD for the prelude music on Father's Day. I spent some time on the compy and then remembered how hungry I was. I then went to the kitchen to make breakfast and put a skillet on the stove to heat my Chicken in a Basket (yummmm!). Oh no! I forgot to do something with my hair. Back up stairs to fix the hair. And what do I see still missing from the bathroom? My toothbrush. A little gel on the head and I'm back down to get my toothbrush. Hmmm- the computer didn't burn my CD yet. Let me figure out why... As I'm working on the CD I smell this faint burning scent- oh yeah- the stove! I forgot the stupid skillet! Throw the bread and egg on the skillet quickly so I can get back to the computer and try to burn that darn disc again. Oh crap! I have to flip the bread!! Breakfast is ready so I munch munch munch while I'm concentrating on the computer. Poop- look at the time: I'm late! I was going to stop by the store, too, and get one more thing for Dad's Father's Day gift. Put the plate in the sink, say bye to the wife and kid and head out for church. With breakfast in my belly. Without the CD. And, a little ashamed to admit this, without brushing my teeth.

And that was just yesterday. I could tell you about this morning and how long my Golden Grahams spent in milk on the outdoor table waiting for me to eat them and to read my Ortberg book. I'm not busy, though I may have many things to do; I'm distracted. And distractions keep us from our priorities. And our 1st priority is Jesus and spending time with Him.

Although I love that you're reading this blog, I'm guessing it is a tool to distract you from other work or pleasure. Do me, yourself, and all of us a favor and STOP BEING DISTRACTED! You spent, what, 5 minutes reading this story? I dare you to reorganize your priorities and spend the next 5 minutes reading a Psalm or praying. Man, 5 minutes seems long then, right? But it's time that is spent better.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lakeside: the Chautauqua on Lake Erie

I Love Lakeside.

The compound itself is still there along with all the beloved sights and sounds. I was able to take a day trip to our favorite location this side of Antarctica and was able to share this experience with a noob. Not only was it his first time to Lakeside, but a first time for many things! I will share with you our experiences:

Before even entering the compound, we had an Allen sighting! What a way to start off the day!!

Since it is before June 20, and the fact that it was the Western Ohio U.M. Conference, there were NO GATE FEES.

Oh, and no parking fees along with the no gate fees. Of course, there were no parking spots due to the 5,000 laymen and clergy wandering our streets.

Taught him how to play Shuffleboard. The fact that I won 79 - 13 shows nothing of the amazing shots he made! He cleared my St. Pete block, knocked out my high 8 and his disc landed in the 10 in one shot. Unfortunately for him I had the hammer.


We then dined at Sloopy's with a most excellent pizza. Since there was a shortage of tables, we invited an elderly couple to sit with us at our 4-top. What an experience! I'll tell you more of that in person if you ask...

After Sloopy's we grabbed our fishing poles and headed back to the dock. My friend caught absolutely nothing and I didn't do much better. Over the past 4 years at Lakeside, I have not caught ANYTHING. Well, this time I caught a 2 inch Goby, a couple 4 inch Gobys

and a 16.5 inch sheephead. So, I guess you could say that I, too, didn't catch anything! :)


After an hour of fishing, I took my friend on a Sunfish for about a half hour. This was his first time on a sailboat and he thoroughly enjoyed himself. We did not tip.


Following our sailing trip, we headed out for home but not before we drove past the Marblehead Lighthouse.

All of Lakeside in a day! The weather was 79 degrees and sunny. Not a drop of rain!

Final report: all of Lakeside is prepared for our invasion in less than 3 weeks! :) I warned the Shuffleboard hut and Sloopy's to be prepared...

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Angels Unaware

Hebrews 13:2
"Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it."

Did I entertain an angel this week?

I was driving in my regular hurried fashion, not following the speed limit by any means, when I noticed a car to the side of the road. My first instinct is always the same: inspect the tires to see if they have a flat...

(Once I was driving from Point A to Point B and I ran out of gas. Not thinking I had actually run out of gas and in an attempt to start my car, I ran the battery dead. This was at 7 pm. I called people for help, three police cars passed and still I was on my own. By 1 AM, I was at Point B sans car. I then vowed to help anyone on the side of the road. I've picked up hitchhikers, changed tires, and given a jump to many a person. And if you can't tell, I'm still alive.)

...and the car did, in fact, have a flat. Additionally, the gray hair of the elderly gentleman (he was AT LEAST 59...) :) suggested that he could use a spare set of hands as well as a a spare tire. Minor dilemma: I was heading north and he in the southbound direction. With a cement wall as the median. I took the next exit hoping to find a quick turn around- which, if you ever REALLY need one you can NEVER find- and I found a loop ushering me southbound immediately. Of course, I maneuvered a beautiful triple lane change.

I don't know what it is about people these days, always wary of other people, but when I arrived at the man's car, he was just getting his jack out- you know, the kind that comes with the car...

(As a freshman, I was changing my brakes in the Lawlor parking lot at Cedarville. I had removed the front left tire and not having any car stands, I was relying on my 1990 Buick LeSabre's stock jack from the trunk. You could fit a whole lot more than a standard jack in that baby's trunk! So as I was lying on my back inspecting the rotor, I heard this faint creeaak and said to myself, "Self, I don't like that noise..." so I picked my head off the ground preparing to move out from under the car when the jack folded in half and the rotor grazed the right side of my head and found its resting place more than an inch into the pavement. Fortunately, I slipped out from under the car without actually getting hurt. My next stop was to purchase a real jack, jack stands, and made sure that there were working jumper cables in my trunk.)

...and we all know how I don't trust those jack, I offered my help. To my chagrin, he refused my help. I even asked if he just wanted an extra set of hands, which he declined. I also noted that he had a nice set of golf clubs in the back seat (so maybe he wasn't an angel after all?).

But what if the point of this exercise was not to demonstrate my superior skills in changing a tire? What if it was a test to see my availability? What if I was entertaining an angel unaware? Perhaps it was a test of my busy life versus helping another's life. And what if he was just a normal elderly man who didn't want the help of a stranger? And the thought that kept permeating my days of late: what if his jack folded on him? I certainly couldn't have just sat there in my car on a busy highway during rush hour. I trust the Lord kept this kind old man safe. Or I trust that this angel returned the message that I went out of my way to help a stranger in need. Either way, I was glad I could help.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Life: God's Miracle

My sister-in-law was expecting her baby girl on June 14. Imagine my surprise when I got a text from Danielle on May 28 that Sophie Corinne Abate was born at 7:12 that morning! Our family of three packed up a suitcase for the weekend and went to see this miracle. Even though she weighed a little more than my Caleb, she looked so itty-bitty! Probably because out of Cabe's 20 inches, 4 or 5 inches of his measurement was the caboose of a conehead from camping out in the birthing canal for 3 days. Yeah, I know you wanted to hear that.

Sophie has lots of black hair, dark eyes, and a little more fair a skin color than her big sister, Emma. Sophie was breech so sis-in-law had a c-section and mother, baby, sister, and father are all doing well. Sophie had a TON of visitors and that's simply because she is loved so much.

Welcome to the world, baby girl!


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