Tag Archives: family

Becoming Last to a Sickie

My kid is sick. Check that. My kid is the whiny, snotty, fussy, irrational, needy, but can never be fulfilled sick.

I’m not complaining. Just giving some perspective.

Today was going to be my morning “off”. I had plans to write, to pray, and to read. More than anything, I wanted to work on the blog. But my child was sick and that meant he got to stay home with dad.

Enter my selfish, it’s all about me attitude.

I laid him down to sleep, but it was as if the crib was his personal kryptonite. He constantly stood up and just screamed. My patience quickly exhausted, I started letting it get to me. I went from laying him down by singing to him, talking calmly to him to just laying him down and leaving and then finally to lecturing him about how he should know better (not that he could understand a word I said).

Nevermind the fact that he is sick, he should know I’m working on my blog about Becoming Last! He’s ruining my morning!

Wait…

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”   – Apostle Paul

Doh.

My baby was sick. He felt miserable. And all I could think about was how my expectations were not being met. I realized I had a choice. I could love him unconditionally or I could assert my own interests above his.

I quickly went into get him. He smiled at me over the edge of his crib (at least he’s a forgiving baby). I turned off his fan and brought him out to play. For about an hour, we played, I held him, we played some more, and he was a genuinely happy baby. Soon, I fed him, changed him, and laid him back down.

I could hear him start to move around and his cough was coming back. All I could think to do was pray so I grabbed my other son (he’s 3) and we said a quick prayer for his baby brother. His prayer was, “God, please help him feel better. Your turn dad.” I smiled and  prayed (longer, but no more effective).

No kidding. Within a minute, the little guy was asleep. God answered the prayers of a 3 year old and a selfish dad who runs a blog called Becoming Last (oh, the irony).

Thankful he was asleep, I whipped out my computer ready to pound out some writing.

“Dad, now that he’s asleep, will you play Go Fish with me?”

“Yes, buddy. I’d love to play Go Fish with you.” I’d learned my lesson.

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Filed under christian, Realizations, selflessness, Serving Others, Uncategorized

Redeeming Time

We all wish we could add time to our day. The reality is…we can’t. It’s just not possible.

But, what we can do is make intentional efforts to make the most of the time we have. This is part 4 in thinking through time management. You can find the first three parts here, here, and here.

Today’s post is an easy read. Here’s a simple list of things you could do to free up time to show people God’s love.

  1. One Minute Email Rule: My email is a complete fail. I have thousands of emails just taking up space in my inbox. I can’t remember where I read this rule, but I love it and I’m going to give it a shot. Open your email and do one of three things. First, if it’s trash, delete it. Second, if you can respond in under a minute, do it and put it in a “processed” folder. Don’t put it off. Third, if it requires more attention, then put it on your list of things to do. The reality is most email requires a minute or under to respond. Simply clearing out those emails will make you vastly more efficient and disciplining yourself to respond immediately means less people go unanswered.
  2. Schedule Time to Serve: Most of us have good intentions. We want to serve, but our week is packed. BUT, most of us have no idea what we’ll be doing June 5 (pick any random day in the future). Sign up for Habitat for Humanity, volunteer at a soup kitchen, or whatever. Just put it on the calendar. Make it part of your schedule and that will give you time to find a babysitter or get other work accomplished. Make serving a priority by intentionally scheduling.
  3. Make the Most of Meals: A common refrain I hear from pastors and leaders is that they have no time. But we eat don’t we? You’ve got three meals a day. Make the most of that meal by not going it alone. Invite someone to lunch. Meet someone for breakfast. Welcome another family into your home for dinner. Some of the best conversations people have are around meals. It’s a chance to listen to people, learn who they are, and you may learn of a need you could meet.
  4. Serve as a Family: Many times, especially at churches, we separate our families. One night, dad will go somewhere. The other night, mom…and so on. Seek out, discover, and invent ways to serve and volunteer together. I recently heard a friend of mine whose family sponsored a cookout to raise money for people in Haiti. That’s a great way to not only serve, but also to invest in your family. Time well spent.

Those are just four simple ways to start getting the most out of your time. There are a million more out there on the internet, but those hit home with me.

Got any time management tips that you think are essential? Don’t be bashful, share them!

Have a great day and don’t forget to ask yourself the question:

How can I Become Last today?

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Filed under Time, Uncategorized

Tick Tock, Tick Tock

Apologies to Dave Ramsey if I grossly misquote him, but he is known for saying something like, “You need to own your money, before it owns you.” Part of this idea is naming where each bill goes. If you don’t tell it where it’s going, it disappears before you realize it.

I’m finding the same can be said for your time. I’ve never been an extremely scheduled person. It doesn’t come easy and so I normally fly by the seat of my pants. However, I think it’s time for a change. I don’t own my time anymore. It owns me. I often look back on weeks and wonder where in the world they went and what opportunities I missed!  I’m by no means the busiest person I know, but if you add up 2 jobs, grad school, family, and other responsibilities and hobbies you can see why I feel a bit pressed!

Wish you could stop time?

But here’s the thing. No one can serve and love others effectively if they are maxed out. Sacrifice is one thing. It implies an intentional giving up of something. We should sacrifice our time. But foolishly using our time and being burnt out is another thing altogether. I firmly believe I could use my time better and that would benefit my family, my work, my education, people I want to serve, and myself.

We all could use some lessons in time management. If we are to be effective stewards of the time God has given us on this Earth, we shouldn’t want to waste a single moment!

So, drum roll please….

This week is time management week at Becoming Last. We’re going to discover together principles we could all apply to make better use of our time.

Three promises:

  1. You will be challenged. I’m convinced we have a wealth of time and yet we squander it.
  2. You will be better off. Making better use of our time leads to less stress and more freedom.
  3. You will discover something new. Guaranteed. You will learn something new or have one of those “light bulb over the head” moments.

Look forward to seeing you around. I’m determined to make the most of these precious moments we have on this great Earth. Will you join me?

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Filed under Challenges, General Update, Time

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

Better Than a Fruitcake

I forgot to write about this a few days ago and even though Christmas is gone, I can’t let it pass. I want to give some Becoming Last props (that’s less prestigious than a Dundee on The Office) to my niece. You see, for many people Christmas and all the gift giving can become very stressful. Just type in “christmas stress” in Google and you’ll find studies, helpful advice, and even a Christmas Stress Relief Game.

It seems most people want the holidays to be perfect, but budgets are tight and the mandatory gift giving can make things a bit stressful. Enter my niece Jennifer.  She has one of the most generous hearts I know. She saves and saves year-round to be charitable for things like Operation Christmas Child and Christmas. And hands down, she gives the best gifts.

Not your ideal gift!

Take this year for example. Her sister Kim has gone off to college so they aren’t as close as they used to be. I remember them growing up and they were inseparable. But now, their lives are just different.

And Jennifer really has every right to just buy something lame for everyone. She doesn’t have a ton of money and no one expects her to go all out. But, she’s a giver, she loves to make people happy, and she’s creative.

This year, she searched, dug, and rummaged through my mom’s house to find all the old pictures of her and her sister together. Once she found them all, she put them together in this HUGE collage Kim could hang in her new apartment. It didn’t cost much, but it was priceless judging by Kim’s reaction.

I’m very proud of my niece. She takes the time to think through what people would love. She gives the very best gift she can giver her limited resources. She gave Starbucks to my wife because my wife loves the stuff. She gave something (shows you how observant I am, can’t remember…) to my mom, which she loved, because it was something Jennifer had noticed and bought knowing it would speak love to her grandmother.

So if you have to buy presents for someone’s birthday or you’re already looking toward Christmas 2010, remember…

Be creative. Don’t be afraid to make something. Study the other person. What would they love? What makes them happy?

It doesn’t have to break your bank or cause a mental breakdown to give a great gift. Just some time, some thought, and a tender heart. Thanks Jennifer for that great lesson.

How can you Become Last today?

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Lessons From a Party – Part 1 – Learning to be Open

I recently celebrated another birthday. Let’s just say I’m approaching 30…yikes. 🙂 We celebrate birthdays in my family by having a dinner over at my dad’s house. We really use any excuse we can find to fire up the grill and make a big meal.

The party was great, but the best part was the two lessons I learned while I was there. You see, I’m starting to have “Becoming Last” vision. Have you ever been passionate about something to where you start seeing it everywhere? For example, when you are engaged, you find any way to work your fiance into the conversation. I guess politics would be a good example too. If you are really passionate about a certain position, you tend to listen and see things through that lens. Well, I’m starting to see things through the Becoming Last lens. I love catching people in the act of Becoming Last and learning new ideas from them.

That night, I was taught two very important lessons. I’ll share the first one now and the second one later today or tomorrow.

Even now, I’m not even sure how to phrase the first lesson I learned. We’ll call it: Learning to be Open. Most of us probably imagine ourselves as rather friendly people, but I’ll be the first to admit that my schedule does not leave much wiggle room for letting others into my family’s world. As fast paced and as busy as our lives are these days, unless you make an intentional effort to build relationships with people it is unlikely to happen. So as we seek to love people the way God loves them we should not wait for some mystical, magical moment, but we should make the practical step of sharing our time and our family with them.

My dad and my step-mom Dee are exceptional at this. They constantly invite new people to join our family events. And these are not “important” people as the world would see them. They aren’t inviting people over to gain an edge or get ahead. Over the past few years, I’ve seen them befriend people who have just moved to America, just moved in their neighborhood, or are going through a significantly difficult time in their lives.

At the party, they had invited their new neighbor over for dinner. She was so appreciative and even brought over some gifts to show her appreciation! It was the neighbor who actually taught me the second lesson, but you’ll have to wait for that!

So I’m going to challenge us to learn to be open. Can we share a family dinner with someone this week? Could we plan ahead and invite someone next week? Who are the new, hurting, lonely, or needy that we could befriend?

I know this will take building some margin into my life, but I believe God wants my life to be more of a blank slate than what it is currently. What if I stopped planning so much and gave God the opportunity to create the story he wants with my family?

Thanks dad and Dee for teaching us to be open. Who can you be open toward this week?

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