Category Archives: In the News

Do Not Mess With the Elderly!

On the lighter side of Becoming Last…

This video is making its way around the internet. You’ll see a gang of thieves attempting to smash and grab some jewelry. She comes flying in out of nowhere and starts wailing on them with her purse. Seeing they are no match for her, they promptly flee.

Out of curiosity…

Have any of you ever seen a crime being committed? What did you do?

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Filed under Examples of Sacrifice, In the News

Hero of the Day

Let’s be honest. Professional sports has its share of problems. For the most part, the athletes are young, rich, and human. That is a lethal mix.

We rarely go a week without reading or hearing of some star’s extramarital affair, dui, or drug charge. However, there is a brighter side to that world. Athletes spend a great deal of time doing charity work. Some may argue for it’s for PR, but my question to those folks is, “what are you doing?”

Well, here’s a story that I think is pretty fantastic. The Toronto Star published an article on Sunday¬†about an NBA player going out of his way to help a complete stranger.

Last week, Lucita Charles, a single mother of a 7-year-old son with cerebral palsy, was murdered. Enter Jamaal Magloire. He heard the story and his heart went out to the boy. Knowing he had the means to help, Jamaal paid for the funeral and is in the process of setting up a trust fund to provide for the boy’s welfare.

Money can never soothe the pain the little boy feels over the loss of his mother, but it must provide some relief to know someone is taking care of you.

It’s great to hear a story like that come out. The guy wasn’t doing it for publicity. He apparently was upset people even found out. You got to give the guy all the credit in the world for taking the necessary steps to help the young boy out.

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Filed under Examples of Sacrifice, Heroes, In the News, making a difference, Uncategorized

15 and Gone – Why?

Tragedy.

It’s the only word that can describe a 15 year old’s death.

After months of bullying and harrasment, on Jan. 14, Phoebe Prince chose to end her life.

Heartbreaking.

There are so many questions. Why? What made her feel as if there was no hope? Could it have been prevented?

I don’t know if we’ll ever have all the answers. All we know is that at some point she was pushed to the edge by the constant torment of kids who chose her as the target of their derision.

In 2006, there were 33,000 suicides in the United States. 594,000 others were treated for self-afflicted injuries.

Many of these people may have friends and family who stood steadfastly beside them through thick and thin, but many don’t.

Every suicide can’t be prevented, but I just wonder what statistical change would happen if we as “the church” took to intentionally noticing and loving people who are being pushed to the edge. Too often, our friends consist of people who look and sound an awful lot like us. I admit. That describes me in a lot of ways.

Jesus stood with the downtrodden. He healed the sick. He found himself confronted with a lot of messy situations. But he looked neither left nor right. He refused to overlook, ignore, or forget about them. Instead, he graciously provided for their phsyical and spiritual needs.

Now, we’re no Jesus. But we can love people. The question is: Are we willing to?

Phoebe’s death is a sad, tragic reminder that our world is broken. Please pray for her family as they cope with the loss of their daughter.

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Filed under In the News, making a difference

Would You Vacation in Haiti?

They have now confirmed over 150,000 deaths in Haiti. The massive earthquake injured and/or displaced thousands more. Families are still looking for lost loved ones, food and water are scarce, and many people sleep without shelter. The situation in Haiti is heartbreaking.

It’s hard to believe that less than 100 miles away is a tropical paradise. Labadee, Haiti is one port of call for the Royal Caribbean International cruise line. Kayaking, scuba diving, lounging on the beach, endless buffets, etc. Truly, a remarkable place. My question is:

In light of the devastating earthquake, would you continue on your vacation to Labadee? Or, pretend your Royal Caribbean, do you still use that port?

Here are some questions to consider:

  • Does proximity matter? Many argue that it’s wrong for vacationers to be partying only miles from the devastation. That seems valid. We wouldn’t go have a party near a funeral. On the other hand, what’s the difference between someone sipping champagne in Labadee than in Michigan? Life has “gone on” in other places so at what point is it viable to use Labadee? How far do you have to be away to begin normal life? 100 miles? 200 miles?
  • Is tourism helpful? Royal Caribbean is donating $1 million in aid plus the revenue generated from Labadee. Each ship is also packed with relief supplies. Vacationers are also encouraged to buy from the local shops. That seems helpful. On the other hand, could the money just be donated aside from vacationing?
  • How much time? Some argue the port should not be reopened until the country is out of rescue mode and into recovery. But the question here is: What about those in other parts of the country who are still trying to run their businesses to keep Haiti afloat? Is Labadee and the money it provides crucial to holding the country together? If the ship doesn’t go to Labadee it will go elsewhere. Is it better to just go to Labadee?
  • Does the size of the disaster matter? Haiti has been devastated. No question. But what about other parts of the world? People are hungry, thirsty, sick, and without shelter everyday. Yet, we vacation as normal. Where’s the line?

The issue is more in depth than is possible to cover. There is no easy answer to any of these questions. I’ve read several stories where people have decided to go on the cruise. They said when the boat stops in Labadee they’ll just get off and spend some money and get back on the ship. I’m not sure what I would do.

Is it right to vacation in Haiti right now? Does it help more than hurt?

What are your thoughts? Would you go? Should Royal Caribbean still be offering trips to Labadee? Are there other questions to think about? I’d like to hear your thoughts.

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Filed under In the News, poverty

Making Music

I thought I’d start the week off with a little inspiration. Enter Andy Mackie. At 71 years young, he’s chosen to spend the remainder of his life inspiring kids with music. CBS News recently did a story on him. Here are the highlights:

After his ninth heart surgery, Mackie’s doctors had him on 15 different medicines. But the side effects made his life miserable. So one day he quit taking all 15 and decided to spend his final days doing something he always wanted to do. He used the money he would have spent on prescriptions to give away 300 harmonicas, with lessons. When he didn’t die the next month, he bought a few hundred more.

Forget a wickedly awesome vacation. Nope. Just spending the remaining days of his life giving away hope in the form of harmonicas and music lessons. For all he knew, he might have lived a few more weeks, but…

It is now 11 years and 16,000 harmonicas later.

To keep the kids interested in music as they get older, Mackie now spends the bulk of his social security check making what he calls “strumsticks.” He’s given away thousands of these, too. He also buys store made instruments for the kids that show special interest and provides free lessons to everyone by getting the older kids to teach the younger ones.

What a selfless man. It’s people like him that humble me completely. The fact that he even thought of doing what he did is amazing, let alone actually doing it! I hope his story encourages you as it did me.

Got a story of someone putting themselves last? Think it would make a great “in the news” post? Leave a comment or email me at becominglast@hotmail.com.

Andy gave up his medicines. What can you give up to use the money for someone else?


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Filed under Examples of Sacrifice, In the News, making a difference, purpose, selflessness, Serving Others, Uncategorized

Kudos to Mack Brown

Mack Brown may not have won the National Championship, but you’ve got to give it to him. The man loves his wife and wants to make sure she and everyone knows it.¬† Read this short little article Rick Reilly wrote for ESPN. What a great way to serve his wife by going to great lengths to avoid even the appearance of anything sketchy!

If you’re in Pasadena right now and want to take a picture with Texas football coach Mack Brown, you might find it a peculiar experience.

Brown has some very specific rules for taking pictures with fans. He knows that today’s sports celebrities live in an age when one misunderstood iPhone snap can suddenly have you back managing an Applebee’s. So if you want a shot with Brown, who tries for his second national title Thursday night in the BCS Championship Game, you’ve got to follow his three rules:

1) He never takes a picture with a female without a “Hook ’em Horns” sign up. That way everybody knows where his hands are and what they’re doing.

2) If he’s with his wife, Miss Sally — and he usually is — she takes the pictures. Nobody else. That way nobody can come up behind him and make him look stupid, or salacious, or drunk. Nobody can pretend their hand is his and put it somewhere that isn’t Vatican-approved. Nobody can flip anybody off, nobody can set him up. Miss Sally won’t cotton to that kind of behavior. “Sally knows her way around every camera, cell phone, video camera, you name it,” says Brown, 58. “If it’s out there, she knows how to work it.” (Wish there were somebody like that at Best Buy.)

3) He never takes a picture with only one female. “Always two or more,” he says. “It just looks better.”

via Rick Reilly’s Go Fish – ESPN The Magazine.

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Filed under Examples of Sacrifice, In the News, selflessness

Little Man, Huge Results!

Apparently little guys can do big things! According to MSNBC, Jonathon Slack, a seven-year old boy from the Chicago area, raised four TRUCKLOADS of food and toys for a Chicago shelter. Put simply: WOW.

You can read the story on the news site. I don’t want to steal their words and just rehash it. Instead, I just want to offer some thoughts I took away from reading about our young hero.

First, what he did was hard difficult impossible easy. I’m big, bad Becoming Last guy and this kid just did what I have started and gotten side-tracked doing twice! He saw a need, printed some flyers, gave them out, and bam! Four truckloads! I get caught up in making the flyer perfect, getting all my ducks in a row, and he just stepped out and did it. There’s something to be said for planning, but there’s also something to be said for just doing it. What he did was something we could all do.

Second, it got personal. Jonathon’s mom said he had never shown empathy for this type of thing before. It all developed after seeing a homeless woman outside of Macy’s. It got personal for him. I think we all have up these layers of protection from things like this. We’ve built thick skins from seeing impoverished people on TV, in magazines, and homeless people on the street. Poverty and hurting people are just a category that is out there. It’s part of life. But when an issue hits you personally, it changes you.

Third, start small. Yes, he got four truckloads. But he only took ten days! 10 days = 4 truckloads! I think we sometimes feel a little overwhelmed when we think about serving or giving. Don’t feel like you have to end poverty or hunger or homelessness or whatever your cause. Just start small. He made flyers. He gave people 10 days. Look what happened.

Fourth, just do it! Yeah, so I robbed Nike’s old slogan and that’s lame, but I’m serious. If you have an idea, do it. Pursue it. Get a few friends together. Hold a family meeting. You don’t have to get your church’s backing or the backing of an organization. Sure, they can help and that could come later, but don’t be paralyzed by the mindset of, “I can’t do this” or “I can’t lead.” Just start small. Whatever it is you are passionate about, it is you that has the passion and just like Jonathon, you can make a difference.

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Filed under hunger, In the News, selflessness, Uncategorized