#Beardwatch: Shot to the BEARD & You’re to blame…

                         It’s been 4 months since I first decided to grow my beard for a full year and this last month has been the best one yet. Why? Christmas jokes! I’m hearing a lot of “You should be Santa Claus/Black Santa” comments and while the majority of them aren’t creative, they are still quite funny. My barber has never worked on a beard before of this magnitude (pop POP!) before so he’s quite ‘jazzed‘ by this challenge and my now 1-year-old son takes to my beard like rope to pull himself up from whatever mess he has made in our home.

There are still some beard haters, though…the ‘You should look clean-shaved‘ people.’ Example:

          But to quote the quotable Sean ‘Puffy/Puff/Puff Daddy/P-Diddy/Diddy’ Combs, “Can’t nobody beard me down/Oh no/I gotta keep on moving!” Haters will beardhate© (copyright pending) all day, so you know what I say? Hate the Haters…With love. Boom. I just bearded your mind. Even Wifey*is warming up to the beard life.

(*Okay, she’s not but she’s much better now that she was at the beginning.)

Things I need to do more of in the meantime:

  • More Flickr pics. I think I overshot doing it all the time everyday, as I started to, then fizzled out. My friend Steffan advised on that I should have listened. There you go, Watson. You were right. And if the Spurs win the NBA Finals, you’ll hear me say that again.
  • More #beardwatch tweets. Quotes, thoughts, beard stats…I have to keep the #beard alive.
  • Start working out. That has nothing to do with #beardwatch. But I start at the gym tomorrow. Please pray.
  • Buy some lumberjack shirts. And a thermos. And become more outdoors-y. I know I look like a hipster wannabe, but inside me is a person who wants to camp, cut down trees and who am I kidding, I’m writing this while waiting for a Gingerbread Latte.

All to say, the beard life is a good life. It IS weird though to grow a beard  during Movember. Movember is a great cause to raise awareness (and funds) towards research for prostate cancer and male mental health initiatives where men of different races, ages and stages of puberty look like creeps by growing moustaches for the month of November. And so because I have a beard, many people ask “Are you doing Movember?”, to which I have to reply “No”, which signifies I’m sure: “Yes, I love facial hair. Yes, I am a narcissist. No, I do not care about Movember’s mission…I just look like a hobo because I WANT too.” (And for the record, I am a major fan of Movember and why it exists. Check out my latest blog on mental illness and it’s affects on our family here.)

But the thought of growing my beard FOR something other than my own resolve has struck a chord in me since attending Catalyst in October (I can’t shave it now…I made WAY too much of a deal when I started!). And so my second quest, apart from the beard, is to find an organization to support with my #beardwatch. Because I think there’s something cool about using everything about you to be able to help someone else.

Even your beard.

So send your suggestions here!

Chris

Question: what part of you life have seen as unusable to help others? How can you start making those areas available?

PS: Here are some cool beard sites and links provided by great #beardwatch supporters. Check them out!

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Marriage Blog: It’s Not Her Fault

prefix: Becca and I have been overwhelmed in a loving way at those who have read and commented on our posts dealing with our journey through Becca’ postpartum depression. We’ve both talked about how we don’t want to write to “capitalize” on that readership (hence my monday blog was this) but at the same time, we’ll open up a bit more from our story with Becca writing from her experience and I from a naive husband’s perspective. That being said, I will still talk about my amazing beard too, among other things that I like to talk about. But today, the postpartum story continues. And do look out for Becca’s blogpost as they come.

I have often heard that it is wrong to kick someone when they are down. I know this to be true but for a number of months I didn’t practice this in my own home. During my wife’s pregnancy and especially during after Liam’s birth, i did this. It’s hard to admit but I did. How? But quietly getting angry at Wifey without knowing what was going on in her. And I didn’t realize that in my actions that i was making things worse.

I saw her sadness and thought, “why can’t you snap out of it!?“. I saw her fatigue and thought, “maybe we (but really meaning her to be honest) should eat better…” and I saw her frustration and thought, “Life is good, why complain?” At the time, Becca was driving long hours to work and the drive was killing her. It always had but at this junction in our lives, it was worse. Her sighs were louder, her sadness more pronounced. Truth be told, she loved who she worked with but didn’t love her job and it was really getting to her. And at home She wasn’t able to play with Ellie. And after his  birth, she was always mad at Liam. He didn’t feed like Ellie or sleep like Ellie, or cry like Ellie…and she would let him know that. And I saw this…

And I kept it in. And grew in anger towards my wife.

*Let that sink in, Chris. 

I remember Becca mentioning on night, “I think you should read about postpartum depression…” and getting defensive. I mean, I KNEW about it. I read books, studied it for classes…but much of what people know in theory means nothing if it’s not practiced out when the time comes. And at that moment when healing should have taken place, my anger push her away…deeper into her depression. And there is nothing worse that being alone when you already feel alone.

My worst moment came during an extended family situation where the end result was me kicking a piece of furniture in front of my wife and daughter. Everything boiled over: my sadness, my feelings of failure as a husband, my naiveté, my embarrassment…

…There is no worse feeling than the ones you love seeing you at your worst. Nothing like embarrassing yourself because your own pride was wounded. And there is no bigger bittersweet moment then when you have to say, “I was wrong, I am sorry, what can I do to help?”

It took me a lot of time, counsel and tough talks with Becca to realize something that all husbands need to know:

It wasn’t her fault. My wife didn’t ask God for the test of depression to prove his glory. She didn’t get herself tangled into darkness to then find herself bound by something. No. Her body failed her (As ALL our bodies will in some form at some point) and she hadn’t received the medicine and counsel to be her again. She was unable to love us as she wanted to, not unwilling. And there is a big difference there.

So what did I do when this revelation came about:

Epic Fail Blog Entry: Meet the Parent, Chase (Guest blogger Becca Chase)

This is a first for cchase101.

My wife, Becca Chase (@rebajune on twitter) suggested that she add an entry to my blog, specifically an Epic fail one.

Now if you’re a regular reader, then you know what these are. They are stories where I overreach and make a fool of myself in some way, shape or form. They aren’t my crowning achievements, let’s put it that way.

Well this specific story (yah, that’s what I’ll call it) as interpreted by her takes place on out dating stomping ground at Bible College and the day I unceremoniously met my future dad-in-law, Don Brown. I’ll let her take it from here…and I will make some “comments” at the end ( look for the “*“!)

It was the fall semester of our second year of Bible College. Chris and I had just made that *AWKWARD transition from friends to ‘couple’. All semester I had been having regular phone chats with both my mom and sister who were being kept up-to-the-minute on the Chris-and-Becca details.  But one very important person was left in the dark- my dad.  I couldn’t talk to my dad about boys.  So when my dad came to the school to pick me up and take me home for Reading Break, the first impression he had of Chris Chase was not the greatest.

 I went to my room to finish packing.  Dad waited in the lounge.  Chris thought he’d use this time to work his charm.  Now, in his defense, he was under the impression that I had told my dad all about him.  I had not.  *I may not have even mentioned him at all…. :\

 So this *very loud, very outgoing young black man walks up to my dad and starts chatting away.  My dad, being polite, asked him where he was from. An ongoing joke in our bible college was that Chris was a honourary Newfie*.  So Chris jokingly tells my dad he was from Cornerbrook, NFLD. Then he threw up the ‘W’ symbol with his hand and followed it up by saying ‘Wesssst Siiiide’. Very smooth*.

 On the car ride home, my dad, again very politely, asked ‘Who was that boy? He was very…. friendly.’ I did eventually fill him in…. although I think it was a good six months later when I realized that he really did think Chris was from Newfoundland.

I take only a small portion of responsibility for this epic fail. 

Okay…now let CLARIFY a couple of things here:

  • I was a lot less self-aware at 22-23 than I am now. And a lot less loud. Just saying…
  • *The transition WAS awkward indeed, but it worked, did it not? Boom, blew your mind! Your boy had moves back in the early 2000’s, man! Now, not so much…though every so often, I can pull a rabbit out of the hat. I’ll blog about the awkwardness one day.
  • * How you not gonna say, “and by the way, I gotta man, daddy.” Or at least TELL your boyfriend that your dad didn’t know. I was set up man. You know it’s true!
  • * I wasn’t THAT loud. On a scale of Becca to Jeff Hackett, I would have been a Kathy/Maria (all inside jokes here!)
  • * I AM an honorary Newfie. Got “screeched” in, kissed a fish, drank cod liver oil…the whole gambit. So take that!
  • * I do not remember the west side thing.Therefore, it never happened.

So there you have it. Thanks Becca for adding to my blog with another embarrassing story of my life. I love you very much.

Dealing With Boys (Letter to Ellie)

Boys Suck!!

Something that will bug me forever, Eliana, is that you will one day like boys. Even worse: boys will like you. A lot. You’re funny, pretty, smart, creative, confident (just today when mom asked you if you’re silly, you said, “No, I’m beautiful!”)…the list goes on. And while I will already hate the boy who marries you (kinda), I feel that it is my responsibility to give you the inside track on the majority of guys (there are some exceptions, but in many areas, we’re all the same) and what you need to watch out for.

Now I don’t worry about you ever having to stand up for yourself (the other day at day care, I saw you push a boy over when he tried to give you a hug. The fact that it was during bible story time, is besides the point.). But as you get older, a boy will take your attention and possibly break your heart. And it’ll suck. So before that happens, here are some things about boys you need to know.

1 – Boys Suck

Just right off the bat, they do. All of them.

2 – Boys are smelly

They all sweat a lot, some smell a lot worse than others but the all smell. Really bad.

3 – Boys live in a land of passive aggressiveness

You think you know what they are thinking or how they are feeling. You ask them for their opinion and they hem and haw at you. They get mad but mumble under their breath. They ignore you because they don’t know how to express themselves but desperately want your attention. Is he mad at you? At life? Just quiet? Is he a vampire? Rarely will you know how they feel and when you do, you’re sorry you found out. They know what, or who they want…it just takes them a while to know how to ask for it. (See Edward from Twilight…or so I’m told…).

4 – A lot of boys have dad issues

Boys will try to be just like or completely unlike their dad. A lot of what they are trying to find on the path to manhood has to do with figuring out how their dad feels about them (because THEIR dad never knew how their OWN dad felt about them…you see, men only do as they’ve experienced…). (When you’re old enough, see Good Will Hunting).

5 – A lot of boys are scared

They will never say it because men are to be heroes, leaders, soldiers and athletes (when’s the last time you saw a guys accountant or psychologist action figure?), but underneath it all, they fear. They fear failing, commitment, getting over their issues, never making it, being broke, doing life wrong, living in regret, growing up, zombies…you name it. When you meet “him” ask him what he’s scared of. If he says nothing, he’s a liar. If he says, “I don’t fear because_________”, he’s a liar. Now if he says, I fear this, but I bring that to God everyday, you’ve met someone who hopefully has a good sense of self-awareness. They’ll know that they can’t get over their stuff on their own. I should say, however, that because I am a cynic and because you are my daughter, I MIGHT not fully believe him so he and I might have our own coffee date to hash that out:). (When old enough see the movie Antoine Fisher)

6 – Boys suck at giving and reading signals

He won’t know if you like him and he’ll think you want him. Use words, not eye and ESPECIALLY NOT YOUR FACE!!!!! (Example: Every man who has ever lived. Period.).

7 – Boys want to be better

Even the really rough ones, when they are away from their crew, don’t want to be bad. Many of them want a better life for themselves and for ones they may bring into the world. Some are rotten apples who have been dealt a bad hand (whether they were spoiled or left alone). And if you confront them (and wade through the passive aggressiveness) and ask them about it, they’ll tell you. However, once they are back with their crew, it’ll be like it never happened (see The Simpsons episode where Nelson dates Lisa for an example).

8 – Boys often don’t know how to be the “starter“.

You won’t be sure if something should be happening or IS happening and he won’t say anything (see nos. 3, 5 &6). And so you’ll become the man to ask him what’s going on. That should never, ever be. If you have to go to him for that, you’ll have to do that for the rest of your life. And it’ll annoy the heck out of you. Think on that one.

9 – Boys will break your heart (knowingly and unknowingly)

At least some will do it knowingly. I will hunt them for sport. The guys who do it unknowingly…they are the worst. They led you on, didn’t know how to get out of it and they broke it off in an ugly manner. Urgh…boys really suck (Example: Scott Pilgrim Versus The World).

10 – Boys are territorial

They may not want to be with you but at the same time, they won’t want anyone else to be with you either. It’s really weird…and when you’re taken, they won’t know what to with themselves…watch out for guys who are naturally selfish. If they are selfish with stuff, they’ll also be so with you.

Bonus: Beware of the guy best friend. You may end up marrying him OR running after him like in “My Best Friend’s Wedding…”

Bonus 2: Boys suck. It’s true, kid. They do.

Bonus 3: Even the Christian ones can be sucky. That’s a whole other letter, kiddo.

There are so many more things I could say. And I’m no psychologist here. I just know a lot of guys, kiddo. And I was a boy too (and still am sometimes.). My prayer is that as you do life the right way, you’ll meet the right kid of guy who will take care of you and love you sacrificially and unconditionally. And something I have to remind myself of is that you will (i don’t know if it’s consciously or unconsciously) look for a guy who is either a lot like or the complete opposite of me. And so if I do life right (love my life, love your mom, you and your soon-to-be brother or sister), your standards will be set and you’ll be okay. And if I don’t, I’ll meet him and say (to myself, of course…maybe to your mom…), “You’re MY fault.”

And it will be.

I love you kiddo. And when a boy breaks your heart, we’ll sit on the couch, eat ice cream and plot our revenge.

I already have their graves dug out 🙂

P.S. This is not ALL guys, I know. Dudes, I got love for you. I just gotta give my kid the 411 on the bad ones! If you have a daughter, you know EXACTLY what I mean. None of you want a dummy son-in-law right?

Tough Talking Over Thursday Nite Tacos (Working on Honesty)

Ever have a day where everything just clicks?

Today was, to quote now has-been Charlie Sheen, winning.

From getting work done (Resonate), to laughing with friends (way too many to count), to chats on twitter (Special shout outs to Saj & Kathy! Felt like the three of us were in the same room all day!), this day has been awesome. Plus I got Bon Iver’s latest tunes. Such amazing songs (though his music is utterly depressing!).

But the best part was being home for two reasons. First, I was able to leverage my way into getting tacos for supper. Now unless you hate God’s green earth, you have a deep love for tacos, both hard AND soft shell. And me nah taaakin bout Taco BELL tacos. I taaakin bout some meen at hooommme tacos (saw what I did there? Got all west indian on the blog!). And boy were they good. Even Ellie had two full tacos on her own. I mean who doesn’t love TACOS!

The second reason was because Becca and I had a great convo. This happens often but not on the subject. Becca was talking about some research found in her job about people and their addictions and her discoveries led to a loving and honest conversation about ourselves as individuals and as a couple. What was cool about what remembering how much we know each other and our warning signs. Becca knows when she needs to get hold of my attention and vise versa. It was great to talk about where I am at and where I want to be and know that she understood and wasn’t condemning. It was also cool to be able to know that I could come honest in my short comings and know that even though she’d be upset or even hurt, she’d be understanding. It’s taken some time to get there but it’s nice to be here.

And all the while, Ellie just peacefully ate her tacos like a big girl.

And today she FINALLY wore her Jordans, too. Swagger on a HUNDRED, SON! And it rained and she still kept them things white.

You feel that? I just blew your mind. Boom.

Some days, everything just clicks.

Gents, even when it sucks, be honest. If you’re not honest with the ones you care for, you’ll never be honest with yourself. As awkward as it is, even if you can’t make eye contact, do it. Then do each day one at a time.

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.

Epic Fail Blog – Getting Left Behind!!!!

This is one of my FAVORITE stories.

Yes, it details one of my MANY, MANY embarasing moments but the outcome was awesome!

Becca was preggers and Ellie, in her independent nature, was taking a while to come out…by a few days.

We did everything you’re supposed to do to get that kid out, including long walks, raspberry leaf tea and nothing was getting The Kid out of her warm home. It wasn’t stressful but thoughts go through your mind…

“Is she okay?” “We still haven’t pick a name…” “Maybe she needs another month…”

Either way on March 24th, we went for the walk, drank the tea (we finally got our own tea-pot) and went to bed to watch a movie. Now, Becca is normally the sleepy one but on that night, I fell asleep first while she watched the movie. I then was awaken to this:

“Baby…? I think my water broke…”

(Becca never talks with “!”s. It’s always quiet and call with room for more in the sentence. I always get in trouble because I think she’s saying more but her sentence was done. But I digress…”

So I jump out of bed (There’s no worse mental pain then literally jumping out of bed after a deep sleep. It’s not fair to anything or anyone.), help her get ready, run and grab our bags, get her in the car, lock the car and get to driving. Becca’s contractions are very close and very painful so I’m kinda freaking out (nothing like seeing your love in pain and being able to do nothing…) while driving. She can’t even sit on in the seat, so she kneels in the passenger side facing the back of the car so she can hold the seat for comfort. It’s a funny scene looking back on it but at the time, it was nuts. I’m tired, she’s in pain, our baby is coming and I keep on thinking to myself:

“I wonder if the hospital has wireless internet…”

Stupid, right? I’m a boy…what can I say? I wish I had that calm nature bit but I don’t sadly…

So we get to the hospital and here’s where the fail comes in: In my haste, stress and nervousness, I grabbed every bag, especially my laptop (for fear of theft at 1:00 AM) and ran into the hospital and forgot one thing…

BECCA!!!!!

Poor Becca had to struggle her way out through contractions and a messed up way of sitting on her own. By the time i noticed (along with EVERYONE else in the waiting room) I got the “contraction eyes of death“. I was in the dog house, as you can imagine. A fail of epic proportions. I left my pregnant wife in the car but made sure my APC-lent laptop was safe! Dummy.

Well as the story goes, after 12 hours of back labour pains, on March 25th our daughter Eliana Dorothy Chase (aka Coffee Bean) was born. Good news cancels out epic fails, i guess.

And fortunately, I’m a lot calmer NOW than I was then. I least I HOPE so.

I guess this November we’ll find out…

 Opperation “Cocoa Bean” is in full effect! And we can’t wait!!

 

P.S. If you enjoyed this post, do me a favor and spread the love by pressing one of the share buttons so more will tune it to read! Or better yet? Subscribe!!!! 

Thanks! 

New addition:

So I’m here in my office after a long, busy yet productive day. The best part of it was going to the doctor for our first ultrasound appointment. Becca and I had front row seats to see little Cocoa Bean jump up and down, spin about and show off their Chase DNA. We even heard a heart beat. A reall strong one! It was surreal. We’ve been there before but it was all new.

Over lunch, we looked at pictures of our Cocoa Bean and then pics of our 2 yr old on my iPad while thinking about how cool it’ll be to do this all again. Becca kept on saying “He’ll…” or “His…”. She really wants a boy! I’m not so sure yet. I guess I’m used to having a little girl around the house and since we already have so much girl stuff. I’m really cheap=). And knowing my extreme nature, I’ll play dodgeball with him at 2 months just to over compensate.

We still have a long way to go but we’re excited! Thanks so much for the love, dear readers!