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Ben Neal

Ben Neal

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  • Higher Love

    Posted by Benjamin Neal on 1/30/2012 04:50:56 PM

    [For full blog reading experience, please play Higher Love by Steve Winwood (the original) or by James Vincent McMorrow (a great cover)] 

    Hello again!  Welcome back.  As I finally returned to school after Snowpocalypse last week I noticed how close I am to graduating.  I have the rest of this quarter (about 7 weeks) and then one more quarter.  I will be done in June. 




    My post grad plans so far involve me moving back home to Beaverton and regrouping to figure out my plans from there.  Many of my friends are applying to graduate school and post-grad service but I personally felt a need to take some time to figure out what I want to do.  As I discern, which we do a lot at Jesuit schools, I feel the desire to go to graduate school.  This is actually a pretty big deal since I usually struggle with making decisions and choosing what to do.  Although I do not know exactly where I would go to school or what specific program I would be in, I do know that it would be something I would be passionate about.  It’s an exciting feeling to start to realize this whole new path that you could be going down.  I’ll figure it out as I go along! 

    Discernment involves looking within yourself to find your own joys, passions and more. Only you can decide what brings you joy.  My Ignatian Spirituality class is discussing discernment right now which is very fitting for this time in my life.  It involves using clues from your whole self and looking inside yourself. 

    This relates to my participation in SEEL this year which has been one of the best experiences I have had at SU.  SEEL stands for Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life and is based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.  We commit to daily prayer and meet up for group meetings twice a month in addition to our own personal meetings with a spiritual director.  I love my spiritual director.  She has been so supportive and open in this process.  I am not Catholic so I was a little hesitant at first but SEEL is so adaptable to each person and focuses on finding God (whatever that may be to you) in your everyday life.  Ignatian Spirituality is a spirituality for busy people and fits in really with my busy college life. 

    For some reason, Higher Love has been a song on my mind as of late.  Both versions I have posted offer different things to me.  One is very upbeat while the other a little more haunting and contemplative.  I think we all have a higher love that is a part of us and it is up to us to discern and find what that is.  

    Yours truly,

    Ben Neal


    The School Week That Never Was

    Posted by Benjamin Neal on 1/23/2012 05:29:19 PM

    [For full blog reading experience, trap yourself in your house/apartment for three days.  Also drink hot chocolate.]

    So much has happened in the last week!  Remember in my last post when I said that I doubt we were going to miss any school?  Well we did miss some school.  WE MISSED THREE FULL DAYS.  PLUS WE ALREADY HAD THE PREVIOUS MONDAY OFF.  IT WAS CRAZY. 

    Snowpocalypse started on Tuesday evening and lasted until Friday afternoon when it started to warm up.  Snowmageddon consisted of freezing rain, ice, snow and more.  It was cold.  Wednesday consisted of playing in the snow (see picture of Tim, Signe and Bridget playing in the snow) and sledding down many Seattle hills.  It was awesome!...until I started to run out of food and a trip to the grocery store became quite the ordeal due to walking through ice and having to put on 5 layers.  On Thursday the snow became icier and was no longer very fun to play in and I ended up not leaving my apartment all day.  Luckily friends came to visit me and it was always fun to hangout with friends.

        Snow Dayyy

    Then on Friday, school was again cancelled because everything froze overnight and didn’t warm up until the afternoon when rain came to wash everything away.  As the snow started to leave, my family came for the weekend with my two dogs!  (see picture of Rudy and Mickey in the snow)  My sister is two years older and we had a lot of fun going out with friends throughout the weekend and spending time with my parents.  On Saturday evening we went to The Kingfish Café on 19th.  It is SO GOOD.  If you are ever in Seattle and want a good dinner, GO THERE.  The Red Velvet cake was incredible as are the chicken wings and red beans and rice. 

    Snow Dogs 

    Here is a picture of my sister and I this weekend:


    With all that being said, I hadn’t had class in almost a week because of Winter Break Part 2.  I have homework and stuff to catch up on so this week is going to be a little crazy!  At least I am not trapped in my apartment.  Silver lining. 

    On a sad note, our beloved office fish passed away this afternoon.  I was working when we noticed that he was not moving and was floating on the bottom of the bowl.  I have been with him since he came here in 2010 and it will be sad to not see his little bowl on our desk.  His name was D1 and he was a beautiful scarlet beta fish.  He will be missed. 



    Yours truly,

    Ben Neal


    Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind

    Posted by Benjamin Neal on 1/17/2012 10:22:40 AM

    [For full blog reading experience, prepare a warm cup of chamomile tea]

    It's cold.  That's for sure.  I woke up Sunday morning with a white blanket covering everything outside my window.  We get all types of weather here in the Pacific Northwest.  Since I am from Oregon, it's something I am fairly accustomed to. In the Winter, we do get snow sometimes and when we do it is very exciting.  I walked downtown on Sunday to attend a volunteer training but when I got there, I was informed that they had rescheduled due to the snow for next week.  I probably should have called first.  Oh well.  At least I got to have a nice walk in the snow!  

    Everything looks so much more peaceful in the snow.  My normal walk to campus is now accompanied by flurries of white and an occasional slip on the ground.  The snow is supposed to melt within the next day or so.  I wish it could stay around for a little longer.  Last year some school got cancelled due to snow.  It doesn't look like that will happen this year.  

    So as I sit here writing this blog, under layers of blankets in my apartment, listening to Iron & Wine, drinking tea, I look out the window at the snow covering the rooftops and trees around me.  It's been such a good three day weekend.  I put off all my school work for today and need to go to campus to review shark anatomy for a quiz tomorrow.  But the snow comforts me and I don't feel stressed.  Winter quarter is full of surprises!  

    Also, here is a picture from my window overlooking the street 


    Yours truly,

    Ben Neal


    This is a New Year

    Posted by Benjamin Neal on 1/9/2012 04:02:35 PM



    [For full blog reading experience, please play this song.  The song is called Rivers and Roads by The Head and the Heart.]  


    This is a new year indeed.  2012  The year of happiness.  The year of my graduation.  The year of my 22nd birthday.  The year of many possibilities. 

    I feel hopeful about this year.  So many thoughts are rushing through my head and bubbling within me is a blend of fear yet so much excitement.  I have two quarters left at this place that I have made a home and I want to truly enjoy the upcoming months.  I want to have fun, be a senior, try new things and learn about myself.  I feel like I am in a good place.  I am making some New Year resolutions, such as starting to take yoga classes, while also making sure to stick with what I commit to this year.

    The classes I am taking this quarter are as follows:  Ethics, Ignatian Spirituality and Comparative Anatomy of the Vertebrates.  I am not the best philosopher so Ethics may be a struggle for me but interesting nonetheless.  I am really excited for Ignatian Spirituality so I can learn about the awesome founder of the Jesuits himself, St. Ignatius of Loyola. (Did you know that the Loyola Coat of Arms is two wolves around a cauldron?  It is one of the pictures on the Seattle University Seal which in the past I thought was two squirrels.)  Lastly, I am taking Comparative Anatomy of the Vertebrates which I am actually really looking forward.  I think it will be difficult in that there will be a lot to memorize about the anatomy of vertebrates, but I think it will be a fun process to learn it all.  We get to dissect a Dogfish Shark and a Cat!  Who wouldn’t be excited for that?       

    As we enter our first full week of Winter Quarter, I can’t help but to look forward to all that is to come.  Even though I am a person who tends to focus on the past/ present and don’t have too much foresight, I have a good feeling about everything. 

    I hope you also are feeling good about all that is to come.  The future can definitely be scary but for all of you who are applying to college, it will work out.  Enjoy the rest of your High School experience.  Live in the moment and love all that is around you.  College will come soon enough, don’t worry.  In the meantime, listen to Forever Young by Rod Stewart. 

    Yours truly,

     Ben Neal