Life as a Fan Is TOUGH!

pg2_a_dejecmetsfan_576

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?

Advertisements

Under Pressure

8840276-stress-magnifying-glass-over-background-with-different-association-terms-vector-illustration

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:

Getting Better All The Time – The Gym Episodes

…Lately I’ve been reevaluating my life and where I’d like to make improvements. I’m of the school of thought that we’re never perfect or fully mature. Instead, we become more self-aware and make adjustments to our lives enabling us to be a help to our homes & communities. These changes are brought about through our faith, our family who know our short comings better than us at times, close friends and other fringe elements.

Anyhow, like I was saying, I’ve been looking to add to my life things that will make me better. Here’s what I’m looking at so far:

Finances: I’d like to get a better handle on financial planning and saving.
Reading: I haven’t read a in while and so I’ve been binging out on reading anything and everything.
Spiritually: It’s been great to get back to reading my Bible and praying for my own growth first. I really neglected that for some time, honestly. Shoutouts to the #2aday crew!

And lastly, getting back in shape. There was a time when I would hit the gym up, eat right (or eat at all), play ball for hours, ride bikes, etc. Now…well…no gym, lots of fruit loops, what’s a ball and I don’t have a bike…so I am horendously out of shape. Then there was my P90X summer, where everything was working…until I went to camp for a week (then, BOOM, downhill!). I do feel under weight and undersized, especially when I work with HS students who could outplay me on PS3 whereas my thumbs would get tired. I could say, “well, I’m a person of the cloth and the most important thing is that my spiritual muscles are big and strong!”

People who say that are dumb. Period. Quote me on that.

It is annoying to walk to the park with Ellie and need to take breaks. Or roll around with Liam and then pull away because I’m out of breath. It really is. The same power I put to my brain muscles (school) and spirit muscles and emotional muscles (prayer, community, etc), I should put to my body. Not to sculpt it but to be healthy!

Here’s what i have to work with in 2012:

I am older now. When I was a teen, i could play ball for hours, no water, no snacks…now?! Gatorade!
I have a bad right knee. Not sure how or why but I do.
Bad left toe. It’s my Shaq problem.
I have a family now. It’s harder to plan things out with Wifey and two kids. Back when it was just Wifey and I, we’d go to the gym together, come home, rest up…now…much harder.

But regardless of these factors, I really feel like this is something, along with the list above that I have to do. Here are the benefits:

A better outlook on life. People who are in shape actively have a better spirit about them (especially when the heart/soul/mind are growing too). Working out gets the juices flowing, especially in the mornings. Check out this blog by Michael Hyatt to get his take on this.
An appreciation for outdoors. This is if I get to running or biking.
More stamina. I’d like to play with my kids longer, hang with the HS kids when the basketballs come out and do 10 to 15K one day.
Longer Drive. Yup, it’s exactly what you think. Healthier body, healthier bedroom, yo.

And plus, Wifey has really put a fire under my butt about this lately. No more pop, just water. Working out every day after the kids are in bed. She’s going for it and now, I gots to too. So my next immediate goals are the following:

Water and more water. I’ve started drinking it more and drinking coffee less among other things. I have an addiction to Coke and I’m working that out of my system.
Going to the doctor. I need to get my knee checked out so I can get proper running and basketball shoes. I’d like get a proper knee brace as well so I can handle sports and long distance running. It doesn’t help that have the inherited Chase flat feet with a side of wide. Sorry kids…that’s a part of your legacy:)
Getting a gym membership of some sort. This is harder because it requires both money and time. But I’d like to at some point. It’s an investment that I’d have to cash in on at LEAST 3 to 4 days a week for an hour at a time.

AND get an accountability partner. So I have this for my spiritual life (Shout outs to my three amigos. You know who you are, gents!) but I’d need someone with the same drive as me to either be at the gym with me or to call me and say ‘Hey, go to the gym today you skinny puke!” This is big, because it’ll easily fall apart if I ain’t got nobody. Or it’ll be going for a while then trail off, like many things in life. Interesting, eh?

So here we go…I’ll keep you posted on what this looks like for me. How about you? What are some things you want to improve or add to your life (and no answers of “I just want to be closer to Jesus”…I took that one. Find another!)? What kind of help do you need?

Let’s get it!!!

Chase

________________

PS. How does one graduate to Christian maturity? I’ve always found that to be a conundrum for me. Is it quoting scripture? Worship? Love your thoughts here!

PPS. How important is being in shape for you?

Things Everyone Should Think And Do. Yes, that means YOU too!

Hey friend,

Here’s more things that have been clogging my brain lately. Hope it causes you to laugh, think, get mad, question my sanity and whatever else. To have an idea of what I’m doing and how I’m writing, check out last week’s post. Please note: For the next 4 weeks, I won’t be responding to comments found here so don’t be offended if you don’t hear back from me. I will do so in four weeks

This is also the last week that I will be promoting this blog on Twitter or Facebook. So to be updated, subscribing might be a good idea.

* Footnotes are still a problem (I don’t know how to work code, so please have patience. I might also move to Tumblr (easier footnote interface) so please weight in and let me know what you think!

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Note to self: Becca’s feet are always cold and she will always put her feet on yours at night. Be smart. Wear socks. She hates the feeling of socks. Ha ha…you win, Chase.

Whoever said two kids are easier than one deserves a swift kid to the midsection. Then wet willied.[1]

I need to keep my video camera fully charged…I sense a TRIPLE rainbow coming.

Kanye was right. Bey’s video was better. He should have just tweeted it. [2]

Laziness promotes your dumbest decisions. Stay up and alert.

Annoying pet peeve: Soccer moms who use the word “swag”. [3]

Note to self: No matter what anyone says, you look good in skinny red jeans.[4]

There was a time in the history of mankind…when the Black Eyed Peas were a credible musical group. That was never the case for Nickelback. Ever.

Things that the church don’t speak about in public, get struggled with in private and then get blown up in public. Something to be learned here…

This may sound mean but: Sometimes my daughter smells. I love her but it’s true. It’s not all the time…more like 8% to 15% of the time. But I’ll cuddle with her anyhow, smells and all.

Speaking of smells: When Liam poops it smells like old Kraft macaroni and cheese. That’s a bad sign for Kraft if that’s the comparison I have.

We have Big Poppa and Lil’ Wayne. We need a M.I.D. (Mad Issues Dude) Uncle Frank. Any takers?[5]

If you haven’t seen the video of the pastor calling a little kid a midget, you haven’t truly laughed. At all. In life.[6]

If you don’t like waffles, we can never be friends. Period.

If God be for us, who can be against us. I love that the answer is no one.

It’s never too late to return something at a store. Just keep your receipt, go into the store and start crying. The louder you get, the quicker the return/exchange.

Christian or not: If you hear the instrumental or song “Jump Around”, you go nuts.


[1] For some people it is…good for you. Want a medal?!
[2] And it would have been the best tweet of all time…of ALL time. I wish we still had College Dropout Kanye…
[3] Sit around a Chapters in a day and you’ll hear it 10 times before they all get in their Volvo SUVs.
[4] It’s your last attempt at being young. After that, it’s Cosby sweaters.
[5] Other rap names: Short Felix, Tall Dezrin, Dwarf Freddy.
[6] Wait till you hear the sigh at the end. Oh man!!

D.N.A. of a Man of God…What Does it Even Mean??

That guy is a man of God!

Lately I’ve been thinking about that statement and its significance. What does it mean to be a man of God?

What defines someone as a man of God? It is an Old Testament term used often to describe someone who represented God’s voice to his people. Here’s how I’ve heard people describe it along my travels in life today:

  • Someone who preaches well.
  • Someone who leads well during adversity.
  • Someone who knows their Bible and prays a lot.
  • Someone who acts with integrity.
  • Someone who “looks” like Jesus.
Now I don’t have a PROBLEM with these definitions per se but I wonder if our definition is more “cultural” than “biblical”. I mean…
  • I know people who preach REALLY well on a variety of subjects but are really mean once they are off the pulpit. Is that man of God-ish?
  • I know people who lead well in front of people but can’t lead their bank books. Is that man of God-ish?
  • I know men who can quote scripture and seek the face of God daily but in their reading and seeking, they justify their prejudices and hurtful actions. That is definitely NOT man of God-ish, right?
  • I know men who look like Jesus but don’t act like him…is acting man of God-ish?
I’ve also noticed that much (not ALL but a lot) that has to do with being a man of God has to do with LEADING or something that many others can see. What about the guy who isn’t an upfront person but is never late when they are needed to serve? Or the dad who spends time teaching their kid a hobby or skill? Or the man who quietly opens doors for someone or buys someone’s lunch just because? Or the man who is able to successfully manage his checkbook, taking care of their tithing and bills with precision? Is that man of God material or is it only leading someone to Jesus over coffee? What of the man who cares for his wife or lives right until his wife comes? Or who is a good friend?
If you had to build a man of God template or a book of ‘skills towards man of God-ism’, what would be in it? Ladies, if you were building a man of God, what would he carry? What would he be like? Is it enough for him to be a man of God outside of the home but not kind inside? Or vise-versa? I’m rambling here now…
The reason I’m writing this is because at some point, my Ellie (and quite possibly my second daughter if Becca’s prediction of a boy is wrong) is going to bring a boy home and he might ask for her hand in marriage. Before all of that though, she’ll ask me (and her mom) what kind of guy she should be looking for…eek. And even MORE scary is that he might be a bit like ME…
So then, what should a man of God look like in our current culture? What’s top on YOUR list? What’s not so important? Please comment, share and ponder with me.
P.S. – I’ve also noticed that my generation (and younger) throw around terms that we heard growing up (like man of God) without really knowing what they mean. Like it says in Rococo by Arcade Fire states, we’re “using great big words that we don’t understand…”
P.P.S. – My fellow men, don’t worry about being crowned a ‘man of God’ by someone. Just serve…Micah 6:8, yo. Last
P.P.P.S – Maybe I’m just venting because I’m tired of seeing guys think that if they read a few verses, they are good. Without purposeful intergration of what one reads but way of action, it’s words. And I’m TIRED of seeing people put their families on the back burner for ministry things, cool tweets quotes and the like.