Life as a Fan Is TOUGH!

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Life as a fan is a bittersweet thing.

For one, you’re not the one on the field/ice/court taking the hit/shot/pass at the last second. Nope. You’re on your couch in your living room watching (and possibly imagining being in that situation yourself…OBVIOUSLY doing a better job…) and hoping for a win, while anticipating a loss.

Secondly, if you’re a big fan and people know it, when your team loses…your enemies will let you know it every time. For example: imagine cheering for a team like the Montreal Canadians in a city like Toronto…not fun when a loss takes place.

Lastly, if you’re a real fan, when your team (notice how we called them OUR team as if we’re partial owners?) loses can ruin your day (or night) and shake you up more than the actual players. Like, imagine being a fan of the Red Sox of Boston before they FINALLY won the world series. The people in Beantown would react to playoff loses like there was a death in the family. I remember when my favourite basketball team lost a championship game (worth the watch). I sat at the edge of my bed and sulked like a small child without a toy. I don’t have any ownership, any stake in them but MAN, I was rocked.

Now I know that we shouldn’t get caught up in things as these, as those who don’t have any cares for sports would say, but man I do. Each year. Hoping for wins, expecting some loses and looking forward to the next season.

Why talk about this? March Madness? Nope. Here’s why?

I am a fan of people! I work with students who I believe in whole heartedly and I can’t say that there haven’t been a few nights where I have sat on the edge of my bed heartbroken at a decision that a few have made. And while I have been heartbroken, I have been hopeful for “next season“, the next opportunity where they could do it right. And as a husband, there have been moments where I have led someone to sit on the edge of the bed, disappointed in me, hoping for the “next season.” Whether we know it or not, we’re all fans of someone…hopeful misfits, believing in a last second shot that’ll change the tide of someone’s existence.

Also: A real fan doesn’t jump off the bandwagon when their team loses year after year (or decision after decision). Instead, they keep on believing, risking their hearts, investing their time (and coin) and energy to hope, to dream and to one day celebrate in one of those championship parades.

And with everyone I have in my life, I hope to be able to do the same thing.

I am your BIGGEST fan!

P.S. Go Lakers, Canadians, Blue Jays (and since I no longer have the Expos…I guess the Nationals), 49ers (and sadly the Cowboys), Wolverines and Man City.

Question: Who are you believing in? Who is believing in you? How does this affect how we should live?

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A Love-filled Fool (An Ode to ResonateAPC)

Plaid Night @ #InsideOut13 with Resonate (Agincourt Pent. Church's Post-High Group

I have just returned from a great time away with 30+ of the funnest, funniest, truest people I have the privilege of knowing. While tired in my body and weak in my mind, I have stopped many times to think over the blessing each of them are to me and to each other.

You see, this group is a family. Not in the way of how people say “I love coming to __________ because we’re like a family.” They are a family in that they don’t have to say it but people know it. They are all unique persons but they’re united in the main things (for starters, a deep rooted faith in God, through Jesus Christ, revealed by the Holy Spirit and grown in healthy community…sorry…HAD to preach there!!), which keeps them (and me to them/them to me) constantly connected. We laugh, cry, grow, learn, agree, disagree and serve together. And we’re all better for it.

And we’re a family that takes risks together.

For example…one night during our retreat, while taking a group picture, an idea was sprung up by one of younger brothers that then RESONATED through everyone. I, being the eldest, wasn’t the most excited for said idea. But I truly love these ones, and so I added my two cents to our creative potluck. The results are now being slowly viewed by friends of friends through various social media outlets, but what was captured in the room, can’t be defined by a 30 second clip.

In that room, a few hours prior, was laughter due to games, stories and pictures. Later on, tears, support, songs and prayers. And then following THAT?  A fun dance party. None were exclusive from each other but rather like a real family, they bled one into the next, a beautiful mosaic of stories, lives and excitement. And while I didn’t shed tears, I was moved. And here on my couch, retelling the stories to Wifey, looking a vast array of pictures, I still am.

And so, like the song Endless Love says, not only would I “…be a fool…” for them for dumb things (and for smart meaningful things too), I can’t think of a better group of people I’d be a love-filled fool for. I do love them a lot.

And as we move towards the #nextadventure we take together, like Max from “Where The Wild Things Are” proclaimed:

Let the wild rumpus start!

#plaidtobepentecostal

Under Pressure

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Dum dum dum da da dum dum
Dum dum dum da da dum dum
Dum dum dum da da dum dum
Dum dum dum da da dum dum

In 1981, this baseline opened up the classic Under Pressure, written and performed by David Bowie and Queen, fronted by virtuoso vocalist Freddy Mercury (it was later on sampled and used in 1991 by Rob Van Winkle, better known as Vanilla Ice. If you don’t know what song I am referring to…that makes me sad…).

The opening lyrics to the song are:
Pressure pushing down on me
Pressing down on you no man ask for
Under pressure that burns a building down
Splits a family in two
Puts people on streets”

We can all relate to that sort of feeling. Well at least I can. Even the coolest cucumber among your tribe of friends feels some sort of pressure, a downward sense of “I don’t know what to do here.” Pressure comes from multiple sources. Here are mine (see if you have any that are similar):

Family – being present when present (which I am currently contradicting by writing these thoughts while Ellie and Liam play at my feet), being a leader in my home, serving my family through my actions.
Work – helping people reach new levels of potential, menial tasks that still matter in the long run, long term planning and short term actions.
Financial – paying off debt, saving, investing
Physical – resting, working out, staying groomed (though #beardwatch continues, suckas!!!)
Spiritual – Growing in my faith intake, making moments for faith outputs
…And more and more and more…

I’ve learned that pressure comes from inside (we know what we NEED to be doing and we want to get there) and outside (those who watch us either place on us expectations OR we, out of insecurities, try to impress others through living for them) but its born out of a need to make ends meet and make due. When we are kids, it’s the pressure for grades and accomplishments planned out by parents and coaches. When we are older, it’s bosses, spouses and other achievers. It is always there. And those pressures, when left alone or added to can kill a job opportunity, kill a family and ultimately, kill a person.

This fall, I felt that sort of pressure in a way I never had before. Some staff changes had me move into interim roles that added to my workload, left me with less home time and pulled me way beyond my regular threshold. So to keep myself ALIVE, here are some things I have tried to incorporate into my life, especially as this fall turned into a winter with more responsibilities on my plate (knowing that all of these things start with a heart to live out Mark 12:29-31 as my launchpad).

Parent Blog: Don’t You Forget About Me…

“Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. What we did WAS wrong, but we think you’re crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us… In the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is … a brain…and an athlete…and a basket case…a princess…and a criminal…Does that answer your question? Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club.”

This quote from one of the greatest movies of the 20th Century which then cues up one of the most recognized songs of the 80s, titled “Don’t You (Forget About Me). The scene, where the song is introduced, is punctuated by one character (seen above) pumping his fist in the air in a classic freeze frame shot (man wouldn’t that be awesome to do, eh?!). Truly unforgetable.

This scene, along with the song has been on my mind as of late because of my daughter. While she can’t write legibly yet, she left me a letter of sorts the other day. I was preparing to go to work after playing with her in the AM when she ran to me and give me two pieces of her puzzle and said “Daddy, don’t forget about me, okay? This is so you don’t forget!”

A purple star and green circle.

She’s 3.

As I drove to my Siri-led destination, my brain moved overtime:

  • Am I too distracted with her when I am with her to give off the impression that I’m not really with her?
  • Am I not home enough?
  • Why would she say that? Who does she think she is?

You see, with adults and ESPECIALLY with spouses, we graduate from talking directly to passive agressive conversations when we’re upset. Example:

Person 1: Hey, I’m leaving now…

Spouse: Okay…well have fun. I’ll be here. (subtext: You get to be out and I’m with the kids all day…with no car.)*

Person 1: I could stay a bit later. Do you want me to stay? (Subtext: I’m sure I did SOMETHING…can’t figure it…)

Spouse: No. It’s fine. (subtext: I shouldn’t TELL you to stay. You should just stay, dummy!)

But kids, just come out and say it: “I want you to stay with me and play and laugh and make a mess and have snacks and (big breath……) tickle me and play hide and seek and giggle and watch the Lorax right now, okay?”

And so, as a father aiming to be a better one, I HAVE TO reevaluate how I do my time spending. I have to let her words sink into my soul and reform my way of being, because if she said it, she feels it. And if she feels it, I have to work on fixing it. Here’s what I think so far:

So You Call Yourself Pro-Life…?

Let me ask you a question.

When you hear the words “Pro-Life“, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?

I’m guessing that the only thing that did was being anti-abortion. We tend to loop the two together all the time, don’t we? Whether believer or not (though most pro-lifers tend to be believers of some kind), pro-life tends to mean one who believes that life begins at conception and not at 3/4/7/8 months, that the life made between a man and woman is made in the image of a Creator and as a life made by said Creator, cannot be killed by man’s choice (hence the pro-choice stance, which is more about the carrier of said child than the child him/herself). In today’s overtly political climate, one question that riles the conservative/republican/right/Christian-type up (when it’s not about gay marriage) is the issue of abortion.

Now, don’t please mistake my intro to think that I am for abortion. I am not just a card carrying Christian. I am a father of two who watched my children grow in the belly of my wife their mother. Who felt their kicks, heard their heartbeats and cut their embelical cords when they came out. Not for second did I think “They’re not alive.” I knew they were miracles the moment I learn of their existence, that I and Wifey partnered with God in their creation. Their birth alone put me on the other side of the argument.

That being said…I don’t think most people who say they’re pro-life are actually pro-life. I think that instead they’re more simply…Anti-Abortion. The more I think about it, pro-life is so much deeper and fuller than simply being anti the abortion of the unborn. For we abort the older too all the time.

Let me explain in point form with actual canadian statistics found on stats canada:

#beardwatch update – 2 months

I never thought this would happen but I have something in common with women.

Ladies, you know that point where you wanna grow your hair out just a bit to have it at that style you want? But that in-between time is the worst? Cause your hair isn’t what you want it to be just yet? And so you ponytail it? Or wear weird beanie hats? Or get hair extensions?

Yup. I’m there. Except it’s not my hair, it’s my beard hair(?) and if I try to pony tail my beard it wouldn’t be pretty.

Yes, it’s been two months since my weird project of growing my beard out for the sake of growing my beard out. At home, it’s simply become a part of what we do so much that we don’t really mention it unless Liam grabs at it for fun. My sister came into town and when she saw me she said, “You look like James Harden“, which as you know is the inspiration for this project, and I simply smiled and said, “yup.” Don’t get me wrong, I still love it and can’t wait to see how it turns out, but the in-between time is…well, boring. At least it was, until I attended Catalyst in Atlanta, a Christian church leadership conference that houses 13,000+ people. Pretty cray.

Now why would Catalyst inspire my #beardwatch non-vanity project (cause a beard ain’t vain, y’all!), you ask? Simply put: there were SO MANY COOL BEARDS THERE!!! I mean it was amazing. It was so crazy, I started going up to random dudes and asking to take their picture so I could add it to this blog. My line would go like this:

“Hey, I love you beard! Can I get a picture with it? My wife thinks growing a beard is stupid and this will show her that it’s not!” 

And they would. And it was awesome. I had 15+ pics. My APC friends and I would, by the end of the day, look for people and judge their beards on whether they were blog worthy. I even met a guy who was growing his beard for missions (He’d cut it when he raised a certain amount of money for a worthy cause…made me rethink my efforts. More to come on that thought). It was so much fun. Until I lost my phone. With all the pictures.

Now it sucks for two reasons: 1) Now I look like a creeper who just wanted weird beard pics (I told them about my Flickr account AND my blog. Oops!) and 2)…no, I think the first one covers it all. But just seeing those beards on white and black men alike helped me in a great way. The in-between stage is the time between the valley and the mountain and its the journey that makes the story, not the destination.

And now, I can appreciate the journey. And the loads of grey hairs I’m finding in this thing. Crazy.

Over and Beard,

Chase

PS. The conference itself was amazing. I tried to do a full on recap blog but my brain is still trying to work through all the info. Here’s what I know: God is good, a lot of people want to serve him and share him with others, Tripp and Tyler are one funny comedy duo, I have a new found love for Kid President and Michael W. Smith, I liked the labs more than the arena conference (and the Arena part was amazing…at full one hunned, son, so that is saying A LOT!) AND Americans REALLY love doing the Cupid Shuffle.

And now so do I…and my daughter.

PPS. I did email Becca ONE picture while I was away at Catalyst to show you what dudes were carrying. His was a year old. A year.

#beardwatch continues – Little Wiskers

It’s almost two weeks since I’ve decided to go the hippy/hipster route and grow my beard out. This past sunday after handling the teaching aspect of our service, one of our junior high’s said to me “From far you look like James Harden!” Well, I did what any good man would do: I promoted the heck out of my blog! And my Flickr account, which is documenting each day through the art of narcissistic photography (I mean is there anything more annoying than someone taking a pic of themselves? Oh wait, you do that all the time? Oh…nevermind then…)

Now that I’m actually going through with this, I’ve noticed how there are three camps of people. In the first camp there are the non-believers, those who are not only disgusted by my endeavor but who make it a point to discourage me from pursuing this passion project (ooh…deep…real deep, Chase)! From them I get a lot of “Gross” and “Yuck” and “WHYYYYYYYY?“. Then I have the second camp, filled with people who are confused but supportive. They themselves would never do such a task but they’ll holla at a brother while he gets his beard on. They also send examples of what my beard could end up looking like. Then in third camp is my friend Drew, who is doing this with me. Shout outs to you Drew Oliphant. My Beard will still be better than yours. It should be noted that the first camp is all women, led of course by my wifey (Ellie doesn’t seem to care either way) and that the second camp is all gents. I’m a fan of the second camp, as you can imagine!

Challenges of week 2:

1 – I remember WAY back when I grew my hair out for braiding purposes. Yes, I got my Lil Bow Bow on and rocked Cornrows, Singles and the like when they were the IN thing (I look at braids now like I view wearing doo-rags out of the house: nostalgic and high maintenance.). Anyhow, there was that long stretch before the hair was fully braidable when it was just a gross fro. Combing it out was a hassle, patting it down was a hassle, trimming it to keep even…everything was a hassle…and that was 4-6 months. I’m starting to feel that with the beard. Before it gets to epic state, it’s just gonna be there, slowly taking over my face. Yes, it’s fun to conditioner and moisterize it but still I’ll be into December or January before I get to that, “Dude this is awesome” point. So keeping motivated is key.

2 – I keep on losing my picks. I have 4 of them: 2 at home, one at the office and one roamer. Yet I keep on misplacing them all the time. This past Saturday I had to teach at our Saturday night service without a combed beard. WITHOUT. My mom would be furious (at least I think she would…she got mad when I didn’t comb my hair, so I’m guessing it just translates.)

3 – I have found the moustache hairs annoying though. It’s like a constant itch up my nose.

Pluses

1 – I’m still kissable, according to Wifey…at least for now. Yup, the bearded one has STILL got it. Ohhhh yeahhhhh (self hi-five)

2 – This movement is giving me some cool t-shirt ideas.

And lastly, tweets of the week! This is where I will post tweets sent by my friends concerning my beard (if there are any). If you’re following me, click on their links to see the pics they attach (My buddy Bombay put one up of the guy from TV on the Radio. I will keep mine cleaner than that BUT his beard girth is something to behold!!!). There are lots so I’m putting up a few at a time. Don’t be offended if yours isn’t here. There are still 300+ days to go!!

 

 

 

 

Thanks Matt Joy and Matt Bombay for some good pics that I’ve added into this blog and Brendan Witton for promoting this blog to your many followers. The more supporters the better. And if you’re thinking about growing your beard out or promoting the blog, use the #beardwatch hashtag!

I continue to beard for the beardless!

Chase

________________

PS. Along with this, I’m also reading a lot. Here’s my current read list: The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler, Liston and Ali by Bob Mee, Soul Print by Mark Batterson, The Book of Negros by Lawrence Hill and Eyes Wide Open by Mark Romanoski.

PPS. I also hope to get a next blog up that is not related to my beard on getting back in shape. It’s coming along…like my beard…see what I did there?!