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 Real Talk: Feeling Sucky

If you’re a parent, you’ll understand this feeling: inadequacy.

This isn’t what we’d project on Facebook with our fun family pics or on Twitter with our happy 140 character notes, but more often than not, behind the front door of our homes, we sometimes feel this way. Especially when it comes to how we raise our kids.

The other night, Ellie was taken by SOMETHING. She was kicking her brother, crumpling her face while crossing her arms, cry screaming (which is a mixture of both crying and screaming) and just not listening to us at all. The night ended up with her in bed crying at 7:00 with no snack, me standing outside her room angry that I yelled at her (there is a difference between being stern for her sake and simply yelling because I lost my cool) and Liam picking his nose.

That night I felt like…I wasn’t a good dad. I know I am but there are days where I just feel…inadequate.

Question for Parents: Ever known that feeling? What seems to trigger that for you?

It’s worse when you’re out somewhere and you kids seems to…dare I say “embarrass” you. You know those times when they are the only kid who throws themselves into a foam-at-the-mouth, roll-in-the-dew (#seewhatIdidthere, Cobourg Camp peeps?), punch-kick-claw-yell-cry state while other parents look on with that face? You know the face…that smug look that says, “If that was my kid that would NEVER happen!” And it is so embarrassing, isn’t it? I know it is for me.

The real talk truth is that every kid has moments like that, whether we want people around us to know it or not. If a kid doesn’t:

– Sleep long enough or sleep too little
– Eat enough or sleep too little
– Play enough or play too little
– Feel the sun or to the moon
– Find out there is no Santa or some fictional character
– Suffer from first world problems like “Sorry no McDonald’s, kiddo” or “No Ellie, we’re not getting Starbucks banana bread (told you…first world yuppie problems)”

…They will freak out. And the younger they are, the harder it is to explain to them why they can’t have what they want and why they shouldn’t respond they way they do. So there are only a few things I can do.

1. Pray a lot. Becca and I picked up a cool booklet by Mark Batterson called “Praying Circles Around Your Children“, based on his book “The Circle Maker.” Without giving away too much of the book, the main gist is to help give parents direction on HOW to pray for their kids on a regular basis. The other night, I made a list of things I will speak over my children. For Ellie, kindness and honesty (among other things). For Liam, humility and love.

2. Apologize. I lose my cool sometimes. If you’re a parent, you know what that’s like. There’s nothing more embarrassing than having to say sorry to a three-year-old who would rather play than listen at the time but if I live a life of apology, maybe when they are older, they’ll learn that being wrong and admitting it is okay.

3. Say “I love you” a lot. Today Ellie asked me, “Daddy, do you still love me when I do bad acts?” I told her that I could never NOT love her no matter what she did. Out of that, on her own, my three-year-old said, “Daddy, I’m sorry for hitting and yelling…”. She apologized for something she did the last week. Love brought out honesty from her, not my yelling.

4. Still discipline. Sometimes my kids are going to need to be disciplined and as a good dad I have to do that. But I have to talk afterwards.

5. Not compare myself to other parents. Hey other parents: I know you have sucky days when you get mad at someone else because you had a bad day at work or something. Because I know that, that face don’t mean nuthin! People without kids, know this: Your kid will mess up. Your kid will do dumb things. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent. It just means you’re like every other parent, whether they say so or not:)

6. Remember that kids remember. Today I saw a tweet from Mark Driscoll that made me pause (Thanks Taigan Bombay for retweeting him). It said, “Men, we need to be the kind of men we want our sons to become and our daughters to marry…because they will.” I think that goes for all parents. Our kids will be like us no matter what, so let’s all aim to be the best we can be.

…Tonight when I got home, Becca and I had to have a long talk with Ellie about her recent behavior. It was crazy to see Ellie embarrassed and saddened by her actions. She even tried to hide, reminiscent to two people who tried to hide from their own discipline so many years ago. Yet when all was done, we had a dance party.

Thankfully when things are done right, the ending is always sweet and filled with awkward attempts at dance moves meant for teenagers and NOT 30 year olds.

Parents: Please pass this along to other parents to hear their thoughts! How have you dealt with your own feelings of inadequacy?

If you have a similar story, I’d love to have some dialogue with you on it. Leave a comment OR email me at cchase101@gmail.com. We’ve all got a story, so let’s share them. Also, feel free to subscribe to this blog by clicking the “subscribe me” button. Thanks – Chase

Sent From Above…What a Gift!

It’s not what you think.

This is not a heartfelt blog about someone/something that has been a blessing to my life. This is not a God-blog. You know what I mean, right? The ones about how “heaven is close & the kingdom is near“? Yeah, not that type of blog. Not that I don’t like ’em or even can’t write em. But this ain’t one.

At all.

Unless God was sending me a sign.

Here…let me explain.

Last week, I did something  I rarely do. I went downtown. Now this is not because I hate downtown or anything but moreso because I have no reason to ever go downtown, plus I ain’t got no extra coin to spend on downtown swag (except for the NEW ERA hat store…that is a piece of heaven, for real.). Anyhow, as part of my new responsibilities with my alma mater Master’s College and Seminary (I’m co-teaching a class on Pop Culture and Media. It’s cool. Cool cool cool.), we went downtown for a pop culture tour to see a TIFF movie, a taping of George Strombo (on whom I now have a slight man crush on *blushes*), a taping of Much Music’s New Music Live (60 mins, 2 videos…TWO.) and a red carpet entrance (no stars…).

At the start of the morning, I was feeling excited and nervous at the same time. See, I’m a 31-year-old going to spend a day with a bunch of 20 somethings whom I don’t know well and I never do well in those situations. I’m the “try-too-hard-to-be-funny-only-to-come-off-awkward-type of guy”. I work with a bunch of 20 somethings  every week who are like family to me so they get the awkward guy part and accept me for who I beeez, which is awesome. But in a new setting, it can be off-putting…which is even worse when you know it! So I get dressed (tried to hard to be hip…Wifey thought I looked…how do you say “less manly” without offending someone who accidentally googles ‘Chris Chase Girly Man’?), get on a school bus, memorize 24 names and get over my internal fear of embarrassing myself.

When we get downtown, I connected with some of the students who I already knew over The Office and Simpsons references (it IS a pop culture class…) while waiting in line for Great Expectations. Around high buildings.

Filled with birds.

And as we walk into the theatre, my body feels several droplets of what I thought was water on my chest and arms.

And my face.

Then I heard gasps and some laughs. And I smelt what I can only describe as Liam after eating prunes.

Yup…from above I was crapped on. By a bird.

I imagine it had been following us from Ajax, waiting to hurt one of us with its deadly dangers of poop. And it struck me with such force that I smelled bad. And was terribly embarrassed.

Yet, the poop was a great ice breaker for me…I didn’t have to worry about being cool, because I was crapped on. I didn’t have to worry about what I was wearing, because I was crapped on. I could be me. With no worries. AND it missed the beard by this much!

What a gift. What a crappy “crappy” gift!

#seewhatIdidthere?

If you have a similar story, I’d love to have some dialogue with you on it. Leave a comment OR email me at cchase101@gmail.com. We’ve all got a story, so let’s share them. Also, feel free to subscribe to this blog by clicking the “subscribe me” button. Thanks – Chase

#Beardwatch Gangnam Style

Hey friends,

It’s week three of #beardwatch and I have my first real dilema approaching. One that is making me question my resolve to go one year, YES one year with a full neck scarf, that will double as an ascot on Sunday mornings. It is…staff portraits.

Now it should be known that I’m not a fan of these things. I didn’t like school pics (shout outs to Jostens, yo!! ) because my smile never worked or I was looking away like an old prospector, or I work overalls (Stupid grade 5 pic). So at work, though I am in my 30s, I’m always the guy who makes the big stink about doing this sort of thing or who rebels by either:

1) Ice Grillin’ the Camera (trans: not smiling. Just straight mean muggin like I’m from the streets…even though I only drink Disani water, Starbucks Coffee and the like…yup, I’m a yuppie.).

2) Rocking a Fitted (trans. wearing a baseball cap…but in my defence, it was Christmas and it was a RED cap so Ho Ho Ho, dude.)

3) Sporting Hipster Jeans (trans. red jeans. Again, it was Christmas…)

4) All of the above

Anyhow my first picture, all the way back in ’05, was me in a dress shirt looking all serious and I was miserable…in a grown man way. Not outright but more in the “I’ll just sulk through this till it be done“-type deal. And  now, I have them coming up on Tuesday and I am rocking a hardcore beard. And I’m thinking, “should I keep it? Is this what it is? It’s not even a 4 month beard yet?” Plus, that affect what I should wear too…

Now you and I know I won’t cut it but this mid-beard crisis shows me that this will be a bit harder than I thought, especially when it gets long and caught in my winter coat zipper in January or when it’s hot and we’re at Cobourg beach in July…not to mention the sand. Maybe I bit off more than I could beard here…Lord, beard me strength.

FUN STUFF

I must say, I do enjoy how my chin is growing. I look like a billy goat. I now have a car comb, just for red lights and traffic. Seniors always get a kick out off seeing me with a comb in my beard on the road. And by kick, they call me disrespectful to the flag, or something. I’m just waiting for my jawline hairs to be a straight as my chin. Then, my friend, it is oooooooo-ver!

I’m also in competition with my buddy Drew who sent a pic of his beard to me the other day. I must say, after careful inspection…mine is much better. Joking! White people hair grows differently from my own so I’m not judging anything until we’re at the halfway mark.

BEST COMMENTs OF THE WEEK:

“I really don’t see anything good coming from you doing this.” – Kent Andrews

“I’d support it if you were doing it FOR something.” – Adriana “DJ” Myland

“Yelck (w/eye roll)” – Wifey

TWEET OF THE WEEK (EVEN THOUGH IT WAS LAST WEEK)

Next week is one month. Don’t forget to send tweet love through#beardwatch and I’ll add you to my blog comments!

Thanks for the love y’all!

Over and beardout,

Chase

Back to Blogging With More Footnotes & Hating on WordPress.

So it’s been quite some time since my last post…

In fact it’s been quite some time since I really blogged out…and by that I mean have at LEAST a post a week. A couple of factors speak to that:

1 – I felt for a time that I lost my voice. Did I want to be a serious blogger? A God blogger[1]?A Seinfeldian Observational Blogger? I’m still figuring it out.

2 – I got busy. New little kid, taller older kid, prego/then non-prego but recovering/then back to fun normal wifey, laundry, friends, calling, hating on LeBron, 31, TDKR, iPad, Jack & Jones, distractions and other things that kept me occupied.

3 – Ideas never came out on wax. I had a great blog about buying a girl’s shirt from old navy[2], but I just never sat down to write it out…I knew the format (letter). I knew the tone (obvious sarcasm). I  alsoknew the result (Old Navy apologizes, I go on Ellen, I then star on a reality tv show as the Black Christian Guy with a chip on his shoulder but a heart of gold in the end…see what I missed out on?).

4 – I stopped reading. Reading, i think, inspires writing. And I stopped. Partially because what I would have read would have convicted my current life state and I didn’t want to deal with that. Partially because reading at home with 2 kids and a wife is tough during NFL/NBA season. Partially because I was too lazy to make time to watch something of substance. And partially because Becca makes fun of my books. I still love her though!

5 – I hate WordPress. That came out wrong. What I meant to say is…I hate the WordPress state. I want to use footnotes like my FAVORITE website grantland.com, edited by The Book of Basketball’s Bill Simmons[3]. I really want to have cool footnotes so I can ramble on justifiably without feeling like I am boring you, the faithful reader. But the way it works on WordPress, you need to be a stinking programer to know how and it’s stupid and dumb and should be easier, WordPress. If I could find a better blog site, I would be on it today.

So those are my reasons for not blogging lately. That being said, the last two blogs I’ve written have been nicely received…that being said, when sex is a topic, it’ll get readers, i guess. So I’m going to try to do this right. Here’s where I’ll need your help. Keep me accountable. When I haven’t written in a while, email/write/call/tweet me. This writing thing is like a muscle and if it’s not used, it goes into atrophy, which is where I feel it’s been for the better part of a year.

So the rebuilding begins (major statement that requires follow through)! Here are some of the topics I plan to write about:

– My beard’s growth and how much it will annoy Becca while inspiring millions to grow their facial hair for no real good reason.
– Mark 12:29-32 (How I hope to improve my life in the heart/mind/soul/strength/neighbour sense.)
– My fear that LeBron is as good as I always feared.
– Life with wifey and the kids.
– Trying to go the gym.
– My angry letter to Old Navy (which is the ugly cousin to the preppy Banana Republic, btw.)
– The greatest cartoon heroes, specifically from the 1980’s, which is in my opinion the golden age of cartoons.
– Lines from books I like because I am against putting lines from books on twitter or facebook.
– Teaching Liam to appreciate manly things and creating Ellie to be an olympian.
– More epic fails.

…Those are some of them. So it’ll be fun times. Or an mitigated disaster. And if there is one thing we know about our pop cultured/reality tv’ed society, nothing is better than the underdog doing something cool. Like a blog.

To di world!

Chase

PS – Sign up via email to get these blog posts mailed to ya! It’ll be worth is!!


[1] And man there are enough of those “here’s what  He showed me/Here’s what you need to know/Here’s the new revelation/What’s wrong with the church…yadda yadda yadda blogs. Not dissing them. Just saying.

[2] Which I have hereby boycotted along with Canadian Tire for no real good reason

[3] Bill’s book, after the Bible, is my favorite piece of literature. I know others have CS Lewis, Warren or Augustine, Rowling or Meyer or that Fifty Shades Chick…I have Simmons.

Gotta Get Ya Outta My Mind – Weekly Musings

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 2 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 two weeks.

* 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!

Cheers,

Chase

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The song upon entering Hell isn’t “Highway to Hell” by AC/DC or “My Way” by Frank. It’s any song by Nickelback…followed by every song Rebecca Black made AFTER friday that we haven’t heard yet.[1]

More people should be excited about the winter solstice.

I wonder if Lady Gaga had a BBQ after wearing that meat dress. If not, she was born to be a “waster”.[2]

I’m sure God loves the begrudging giver too…not saying you SHOULD be begrudging when you give, but still…

The world would be a happier place if more people played hop scotch. Try it.

Did Peter Piper really pick a pack of pickled peppers? I mean who really knows if he did? Did YOU see him?

Last week I played tea party with Ellie and had to wear a tiara and my wife’s wedding dress to fit in. I gotta say this…kinda liked the tiara. The dress didn’t suit my character.[3]

Everybody’s not working for the weekend (a la song by Loverboy). They’re working for their bosses and their families. Weekends have no hiring or firing power. Except for in Angola.

I wonder if I can pull off bang…I’d just have to grow my hair, straighten it…yup, worth it.

Liam is a great kid. That being said, he farts a lot. Like A LOT! Like a grown man.

Sometimes I doubt. You do too. Sometimes I sin. You do too. Sometimes I fear. You do too. I’m fed up by that. You?

I can’t hear the song “Fix You” and not get goosebumps. I can’t hear the song “Rockstar” by Nickelback and wish for sweet death.[4]

Soothers are more for the parents than they are for their kids.[5]

Cool quote: “Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words because they become actions. Watch your actions because they become habits. Watch your habits because they become your character. Watch your character because it becomes your destiny.”[6]

If I had money to blow, I’d give my Becca the wedding she wanted rather than the one we could afford. She deserves a lot and that’s one thing on my bucket list.

Yup, it’s true… I DID get it from my mama.


[1] If that doesn’t push someone towards salvation…

[2] Saw what I did there? Yup…pretty clever I knowJ

[3] And no, there aren’t any pictures. But trust me it happened.

[4] It’s an exaggeration but man they are the wrost (spelling done purposely).

[5] So are nap times, play rooms and play dates at other people’s homes.

[6] I read that and had to pause and rethink many of my thoughts. Thank God for undeserved second chances.

More Thoughts, Deeper Musings, Dumber Ideas…

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.

Here’s a glimpse of what my brain chugs out, along with FOOTNOTES* (I am so excited about footnotes) to explain a bit more of where I am coming from. I’ve written out a bunch and will post a new one every week or so. Some are smart, snappy and yes spiritual in word form. Others are random but no less spiritual. Read on if you like…

…also, after next week’s post, I will no longer 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!

Cheers.

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Quoting Anchorman is something everyone appreciates. [1]

After a while, the Dora theme song becomes you and your wife’s “mood” song. Weird but it works.[2]

Question: Why don’t bad guys shoot Batman in the face?

What’s Adele going to sing about when she actually finds someone? Her misery is our musical joy.

Fun word: Candelabra. It’s like a rainbow and a party once it leaves your lips.

If not for the grace and sovereignty of God ________________________. Each day you can fill that line with something else.

No one will think you are weird if you use the actual word “hashtag” in sentences. [3]

If you don’t know who you are, you’ll always be faking something.

The grass that seems greener on the other side will require more work than you know. Not worth the trouble.[4]

That’s not John Mayer’s real singing voice.

My pa-pa-pa-poker face is 2 Kings-2 Aces-7 clubs.

I talking with the man in the mirror…and I’m asking him “Where are my keys?[5]”

More people should be excited about the winter solstice.

People who like Nickelback have issues of hearing.[6]

Because He lives I can also say goodbye to yesterday.

If at first you talk yourself into a hole, keep talking. THAT’LL get you out of it.[7]

You DO know that “Pumped Up Kicks” is a catchy Columbine-type track, right?

I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts…there they are just standing in a row…

Note to self: Be thankful your kids look like you. And not ugly.


[1] “I’m in a glass case of emotion!!!!!” “News team, assemble!!!” “I love lamp!”

[2] After you hear it so much…what can I say…J

[3] Example: I am so tired today. Then aloud say, hashtag (ie #) truth, hashtag so beat. Everyone will love you,

[4] Hashtag for realz!

[5] Michael Jackson reference. Too soooooooon??

[6] Just so you know, this will be an on going theme in these posts.

[7] Bold italics mean sarcasm.