I love your baby…

If you’re a parent, especially if you a new one, you’ve probably walked though a mall/restaurant/church/school/anywhere where there are people and heard these words:

‘Oh my goodness, I love your baby! He/She is sooo adorable. Oh it’s a he/she? They are perfect!’

For some you hear much more embelished words of praise and beauty. Other have heard short awwwhhs, meaning…well, I’ll leave that to your own interpretation ūüôā Either way, it’s nice to hear something nice, right? Especially if it’s about the ‘fruit of your loins’ (I’ve always wanted to type that!).¬† Becca and I are always taken aback by the kind words used about Eliana (pronounced EL-EEE-AHhh-Nah) whereever we go, but especially where we attend and serve at church.

Church people, especially older ladies, don’t only say that a baby is cute/lovely/handsome/pretty, etc. They also take time to talk about the child’s future, some even stopping you in the middle of the hallway to pray over them. It’s sweet and awkward all at the same time :). When I was born, people said, “He looks like he’s going to be a handful’…that was it. No prayers,¬† no encouragement, nothing. I wonder if that’s why I got into what I got into growing up. I mean, I’m not trying to read into that crap but words have some…effect (?) on us, no matter how old we are. So if that’s the case, i’m excited to see how Eliana turns out because everything has been about being awesome, being great and being a good woman…no rebels, here:)

My thoughts are there because a while I go, I was reading my Bible (I DO do that sometimes) and I came across the story in Luke 2 where Joseph and Mary bring Jesus to the temple to be dedicated. While there, two seniors, Simeon and Anna are there. One is a widow who fasted and prayed there all the time and the other was told that he wouldn’t die until his eyes saw the Messiah. Well, on that faithful day, they did and boy did they ever get excited! And listen to some of the words used by both Simeon and Anna:

‘…my eyes have seen your salvation…a light, a revelation…a glory…’

‘this child is destined…the hearts of many will be revealed…’

That’s big stuff. I know what it’s like to be me hearing people say nice things about my daughter but imagine being Mary and Joseph hearing about how their little guy was going to save the world. That must have been huge and scary for them. Before his 9th day on earth, people were hearing about their child. Before twitter and skype and junk, people knew…imagine what was going through their heads and hearts? If you’re a parent/soon-to-be parent or something to that effect, you want the best for your kid(s), right? Take time to speak over them. Not in a mystic sort of way and not in a name it and claim it way either. Just speak encouragment and blessing, hope and faith over them and smile hard when the next person want to talk about how cute their hair clip is.

It’s not in every blog that I’ll go all scriptury on people but I thought that out of Christmas, this one played well.

Happy new year everyone!

I’m Looking Through You

I’m sitting here in my old house in Montreal in my old room. I haven’t lived here in a long time, since before I was married. There are lots of memories here.

I remember staying up late to watch Phil Hartman and Mike Myers on Saturday Night Live, but in fear of my father knowing I was up late, had the volume so low that watching it made no sense. Yet the feat was something to brag about some 15 years later or so.

I remember rushing home after school to open up my new copy of NBA Jam for SNES. My mom bought it and left it for me before going to work and I played it all weekend…I was¬† ‘on fire’, while openly neglecting my school work.

I remember reading long novels in my early high school life before I knew about that thing called being cool and having a social persona. Grade 7 and 8 was about getting home from school and the library with a Stephen King or Michael Crichton book and reading it until bed time.

I remember trying to be a suave dude and playing RnB tunes on my 70’s stereo while talking to girls on the phone…oh the days of being 14 with a peach fuzz mustache.

I remember praying a lot…spending moments learning about God…about myself, about my future. All in this peach – coloured¬†(yes, peach…I was 9 when we moved so i didn’t have a say on colour…even the carpet was, and still is peach…), overly packed space called my old room.

I was thinking today while driving with Becca and Ellie about how I wouldn’t recognize that guy if I saw him. I mean it’d be me but it wouldn’t. It wasn’t all great and ‘peachy’, pun horrendously¬†intended. I was and came across¬†to many as proud. I was very angry and needy for attention…among many other things (I can’t help but think that someone has read that rap¬†sheet and thought one of two things, 1) Oh he has no idea how bad he was or 2) you also forgot ___________ and ___________, Chase!). Now I don’t mention that for pity sake at all. You just can’t help but feel somewhat nostalgic, good and bad, when you’re in an older familiar setting, I guess. Many of those things that¬†I¬†lived with¬†have been traded¬†for other things, which is irony at its finest.¬†Instead of pride, esteem fluctuates like the US stock market and instead of anger, it’s laziness. And attention…eek…I don’t mind it but close friends know how much has to be put on at times. No, I don’t think I’d recognize him but at the same time, I don’t think he’d know who I was…or maybe he’d be disappointed.

He wouldn’t be disappointed in the wifey or the baby. I’d get high fives for that. He’d be thankful for the position of service that I’m in. But he say these things…’you didn’t deal with that?’ ‘What happened to the passion, man?’ ‘So…no more rapping??’ ‘so you traded this sin for that one…nice, idiot:)’. ‘When did I become so…lazy??’

He look right through me and see…I don’t know…he’d see me, but not see ME…which is weird because as I sit here beside Becca, who is killing her iPod Touch Christmas gift, in my old room, I don’t recognize me…which tells me two things.

1) To quote John Mayer, ‘I can’t keep running after yesterday’. Who I was and who I am were meant to evolve and change with time, experience, trials, growth and God’s help. There are some things that I shouldn’t have lost BUT at the same time, I shouldn’t try to recreate what was into what is…that’s on some Marty McFly – Back to The Future¬†stuff that is fun in the movies. I need to be accountable for me before I can challenge anyone else in that field.

2) Laziness is the opening to everything else…so don’t be lazy. I can complain about stuff, hate on people and whatever but if I’m not willing to do work, I will fail…and look bad at wasted time. What I pursue shows who I really am…eek…that hits me in the face like a punch to the face.

I don’t know why this is so…melancholy. It wasn’t supposed to be, but alas, this is what came out ūüôā¬† A few weeks ago, I asked the question – are you what you thought you’d be when you were a kid. For me it’s¬† a double-sided answer…I did but I didn’t think I’d look like this…at least not today…what about you?

…and to think, this all stemmed from a song we heard by The Beatles on the way into Quebec…take a listen below (it’s another YouTube vid, friends), ¬†leave a comment and live your life as God intended…full of promise and potential. Worry about the rest when it comes up ūüôā

Iron Man 2 Trailer

Hey friends,

One of my favorite movies of the 2000s was a small, indie flick called ‘Iron Man’. You may have heard of it and even seen it.

Well, I just found the OFFICIAL trailer for Iron Man 2. It’s a teaser one so it doesn’t really give away the plot, which is crucial to building buzz. So here it is!

Enjoy.

Look back sometime this weekend for another blog posting.

When I Grow Up…

Dreams start small

The other day, I was on Rainn Wilson’s site, Soul Pancake, where I saw this question:

Are you disappointed that you are not what you wanted to be when you were little?’

I remember being a kid and my mom telling me that I was going to be a doctor. And for a long time, I believed her. I didn’t really know why I did but I knew that’s what she wanted. Then there was the time that I wanted to be an entertainer/rapper/dancer. Stupid Kriss Kross¬†dreams. Then I wanted to be a basketball player…then I realized that my skills were good but not great. But I never really knew what I wanted to be job-wise. I did know a couple of things though: I wanted to be a good family man. I wanted to make my family proud. That was it. The job thing was all over the place because I changed my mind all the time. I didn’t want to be a doctor after I sucked at science and math (more so¬†I didn’t apply myself). I’m not THAT entertaining and at this point in my life, I don’t like having to be ON, if you know what I mean. Basketball? I can barely run down the stairs without feeling queezy.

I do hope everyday though, that I’m a good hubby and dad (though I KNOW i¬†STILL need more work) and that my fam is proud of me and what I’ve accomplished with my years. That’s a cool feeling. Could I have been a doctor? Maybe, but I think that what I’m doing now would have still happened. It would have still came about somehow. It’s funny how even with our own plans, there is One who has the who chess game figured out. And when you get to the spot that was destined for you, you’re never ever disappointed.¬†You may be¬†frustrated at times, lonely at others but you’re never disappointed. To me, disappointment is a complete letdown, like a movie that looked ‘preview good’ but then ended up being a waste of time. I’ve never felt that with what I do. It’s exactly what I am and who I am and while at times it can be predictable, it’s far from disappointing. It’s easy to get disappoinTED in things (wasted potential in others, financial difficulties, lack of visible ‘successes’, etc.) but if you love what you do and know that you were made for it, even those things aren’t really disappoinTING. They’re more reminders that life isn’t always fair or easy, like¬†¬†the days when you were dreaming about what you’d be when you grew up while in your footie¬†pjs. Life is work but I think that when you find what works, it becomes an adventure. An adventure that I dare not trade for anything. Would be it cool to be a ball player or rapper or doctor? I’m sure it would be (I’d have no student loans that’s for sure!) but I wouldn’t have my family and that trumps every jump shot, music vid and surgery. I’m thankful that there is One who knows what’s best:)

Crazy…I wonder how many jobs Eliana will dream but before she walks into her OWN destiny…?

What about you? Are you disappointed that you’re not who you thought you’d be as a kid? Is where you are now at stop on the tour or does it feel like the end destination? What did you want to be when you were little? Is it still possible? Think on it.

We all need someone sometimes…

I hate asking for help.

Call me prideful or shy or dumb or whatever but when I am in a jam I hate admitting my need for someone else. Most people are like that. No one likes to put all their dependance on someone else who. We all have a desire to take care of things ourselves…and if you say that you’re not that type, then I think you’re a liar:)

This week has been one of those weeks where I had to swallow my pride and reach out to others. Crazy thing happened when I did: People wanted to help. In fact, they went way beyond what I thought they’d be willing to do. Should I explain? Okay, I will.

So in Toronto this past Tuesday, it finally snowed. EXCEPT that it wasn’t that nice ‘Silver Bells/White Christmas/Stick your tongue out to catch a flake-type snow fall, where you stay home and look our your back window with a sigh of ‘This is beautiful’ while holding your spouse in one arm and your hot cocoa in the other hand. No. This snow looked like crap. It was slushy, wet and tough to drive through. While I was driving, my alternator belt (or something to that effect. I know that if you put key in ignition, car moves…that’s about it.) broke and my car broke down 10 mins from the church. I tried to turn my car over but then our alarm system kicked in…and I didn’t have my remote with me. So much fun. I cry for 10 seconds (I let the fear and sadness in for only that long…I am SO Jack Shepherd from LOST season 1.) and then get out and walk to a tow truck and pay 50 bucks to get the car towed for three blocks to the church. Sad.

Here’s where the kindness comes in. I get to the church, not really saying much (As loud and as talkative as I am, I try not to say too much if that makes sense) about what happened but people being to come to my office to offer their help. Now there are two types of people in the world and you’re either one or the other: 1) You say you’ll help but you’re hoping the person in need won’t call your bluff (‘dude, call me if you need anything…please don’t call) and then 2) there are people who genuinely will help no matter what. I met a lot of 2s! People offering their cars (one of our APC pastors cars in sitting in my driveway until mine is ready…), rides for food, to the garage, etc. Even my boss called his own personal mechanic to have him look at my car so that I wouldn’t get screwed over at a Canadian Tire-type deal. It was so nice. I remember sitting in my office thinking…I have no choice…I gotta ask around. And I’m thankful I did. If not, I don’t know how I would have gotten home, explained to my wife why I had to sleep at work…all downhill stuff:(

Then yesterday I got my car towed to the mechanic (another stupid 60 bucks) and spent 10 mins driving with a guy who decided to tell me his entire life’s story. He had been twice married, get compensation cheques from the government due to a back injury he received on the job in 1981, couldn’t¬†walk for 3 years due to said back injury, had a falling out with his business partner, used to own a bunch of trucks and pay drivers to tow but fired them and kept his own and he hates his job. He told me all that in 10 mins. And he didn’t talk fast. I guess he likes talking or maybe, just maybe, he needed someone to talk to for a while…he needed to know that someone was willing to listen to his story and for those 10 mins, i was.

I guess this blog entry has two points (and I’m not one of those teaching blog people…this will not happen often):

1) I can’t be afraid of admitting I need assistance at times and if you’re like me, neither can you. The value of letting someone in is huge. Not just for receiving help but also to learn more about someone and to see real care. And while there are limits to asking, if you need help, just ask.

2) Be willing to help someone else…who knows how their day is brightened because of your desire to be a ‘blessing’ of sorts. I was glad to help that guy out by simply listening…at least I hope I was. If not, then that was a long ride and I want my 60 bucks back.

Come and See How Good I Look…

Last night on my way home from picking up wings, I was reminded of a line from my favorite comedy ‘Anchorman’. It’s right at the beginning of the opening credits (before the ‘unique new york’ and human torch stuff) when he says these lines:

‘Oh, I look guuuuuudddd…Everybody! Come and see how good I look!’

The line is funny in retrospect because the character is solely dependent on his looks and status because he isn’t that talented. I mean, he’s really not, which makes the movie insanely funny!
The reason I thought of the scene was because people do this all the time. It may not be because they are or aren’t talented in a common field BUT the majority of people care greatly about what they look like to others as opposed to simply being comfortable in their own skin.

You’ve seen it. There’s the teen who acts like they’ve never done wrong in front of their parents but who are really sucky people when they aren’t around.

The spouse who quickly takes their partners hand in church or another public place to show the ‘joys of loves’ but spends more time at work or on the computer (or golf course).

The person who is broke but buys new clothes to remain IN the group.

The pastor who preaching from memory of scriptures gone by but and shares rules and ideas that they don’t even live out.

The business associate who buys so much to look like a major player but who really isn’t.
That’s my favorite…they use weird language and pull out their blackberry at odd times just to remind themselves ‘this is what we do to look cool.’ Just this morning before leaving the house I saw on facebook one of my former students openly use choice language towards another but when they come home from university this Christmas, they will act like they just met with Jesus on the train (stop judging, Chase, you say. To you I say stop reading;)).

My ‘look’ is the over-competent dad when I’m at my church. Now I know I’m a good dad. A really good one. But when I’m at the church, I feel like I gotta put it on. Which is funny because I’m not like that for worship or prayer times when I know I’m being watched. So I often take Eliana to the nursery to be changed, brag about her accomplishments (she just started standing on her own, saying ‘mama’ and more and she just turned 8 months, since you asked) and show that I’m a man who can do all that stuff. I know I shouldn’t but I do. And not all the time, but sometimes:)

Sadly, there are people who judge others based on how they look, which pushes people to work hard and fixing their outer shell. Becca and I were talking last night about how people may not get the respect they deserve in certain jobs or platforms because they don’t look the part in the eyes of others. Which sucks because there are many great people who are talented and ‘don’t look the part’ or whatever the crap that means (I mean seriously, what’s ‘the PART’). I think that’s why God uses the foolish things of the world to spin the way we do things on its head. I mean for the good looking David character, there’s bald Elisha, possible stocky Paul and more.

It’s easy to say ‘who cares about appearance’ but if I said that, I’d be a hypocrite (I am currently at a Starbucks with a giant hat on because I am ashamed of my bad black guy hair that needs to be cut). I’m not saying don’t look good ever. But instead, do it for you, not for people who may or may not even care about your genuine well-being. Besides, those same people who you’ve set on a pedestal are stuck having to impress you forever, so when they fall, they fall hard and break your heart and confidence along with their own (that’s why we take it so hard when our favorite celebrity/pastor falls).
Funny. As you’re trying to impress them, they are trying just as hard to impress you or someone over them…
And it hits all of us, so be careful. That’s why we change our clothes four to five times before leaving, buy certain cds and movies, etc. To fit in. We all do it. Now how do we undo it…

While I was typing this, an employee here at starbucks told me a story that fits in here. While at a wedding with her family, there was an expensive brunch the next day in which they were invited. While others jumped at the invite, her family was more hesitant based on the cost and their own financial spot. Yet her father shrugged and brought them despite the cost saying these words: ‘Well, we gotta keep up appearances…’

We all do it, right? Any stories to relate? How do you work at simply being you? Do you have people you work hard to impress? Do you look for people to impress you?

Let’s work hard and being honest, knowing who we are and our limitations and living within those walls, while inviting people around us who will accept us for who we are while challenging us to be better for God, ourselves and those we care for.

Scary. I just realized I have to do this too. And my daughter will one day learn this herself.

Dang.