Beta Mode and 10,000 Hours

Be an Alpha, the counselor advised the young students—go out and conquer all you see. But it was the Betas that actually made the most progress over time.
Michael Hyatt knows all about success—now he spends his time showing business leaders the secrets. 
It begins in Beta Mode—you keep going even if the results aren’t perfect. Success comes from a process of continually improving. 
We see it in athletes as they work to get better. Beta Mode keeps us in a place where we see room for improvement and then work at it.

Time matters too. Malcolm Gladwell says in his book, Outliers, that what sets us on the road to success is the 10,000-Hour Rule. 
Gladwell’s argument is that besides having an aptitude for your endeavor, the biggest factor in success is the amount of time invested. It will take at least 10,000 hours. 
That equates to nearly five years of full-time work. 

In our world of instant access, it’s easy to think our success will come just as quickly. Not so. There’s a reason college degree…

The Hospitality Gene

I’m the worst hostess. I kid you not, one time I invited a couple of friends over for an evening “meal” and I served popcorn. 
My mom loved to entertain. She’d plan elaborate meals, invite friends over, and the laughter would flow. Clearly, I didn’t inherit her hospitality gene. It skipped a generation. 
My daughter routinely invites friends over for things like Taco Tuesdays and Waffle Wednesdays. My son has proven to be way more capable in the kitchen and a delightful host. 
I’m undone. I just freeze up when it comes to hospitality. Oh sure, I can host holiday meals—but that’s family. Totally different.

My husband is doubly blessed. He inherited the Southern Charm gene—which in combination with the Hospitality gene has an infectious allure. 

One time, while I was traveling, he invited our son’s friend and his dad over for a meal. He made spaghetti. 

From what I learned later, the spaghetti was a congealed glob of pasta, but once topped with a jar of spaghetti sauce, no one seemed to care.…

Follow the Money

In our polarized, turbulent culture we’re advised to “Follow the Money” to see where protest groups get their cash. 
Someone is behind their efforts to purchase slick sloganized signs, banners, and provide protestors with transportation and lodging. 
Recently, a self-proclaimed left-leaning Wall Street Journal writer, Asra Nomani, decided to do just that. 
Nomani followed the money during the Kavanaugh protests and noted the fine print on the bottom of the professionally printed protest signs—names of the sponsors, such as Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Center for Popular Democracy, and George Soros’s Open Society Foundation, provides millions of dollars in grants to these organizations and others. 
Rethink Media, another Soros grantee, was at the center of many of the unlawful disruptions during the Kavanaugh hearings. 

To be fair, the Republicans have their own groups and the Koch brothers are some key funders.
Ms. Nomani “sympathizes with the liberal causes …

Made in China

I was re-organizing the storage bins in my garage. Every plastic bin I used was made in China. Much of what I stored inside was too. 
Many of my office supplies, electronics, even my toothpicks are from China.
So when I read about a September “showdown” between our navy and China’s in the international waters of the South China Sea, it gave Made in China new meaning. 

Experts agree that China will be the dominating naval force by 2030. China is aggressively seeking global economic and cyber superiority.
Should America try and maintain military and economic superiority?  I grew up thinking so.

Recently, a college professor posed a hypothetical scenario to his students: 

China sends a flotilla of troops, a destroyer, and an aircraft carrier into our Pacific waters....undetected because of their superior technology. 
China doesn’t want war, only occupation. China will rule the United States from Beijing. Further, China will offer free internet, provide for our country, and give us state-of-the-…

Motherhood 2.0

As a young mom, I used to wear out the knees of my jeans playing with the kids on the floor.  My jeans will soon be showing signs of wear again—my granddaughter just started crawling. 
I watch her explore her world and wonder about the challenges she’ll face as she grows. While I may not be equipped to handle the life my grandkids face, I know the One who can equip them. Being a grandma for almost 14 years has taken me to my knees often—for prayer. Babyhood is only the beginning of the prayers. 
Teen-hood needs exponential prayer. My grandson’s middle school world is daunting. In my 1970’s junior high days, the distractions didn’t come from screens. Arguably, we were in the computer dark ages back then. Now kids juggle screen time with higher academic expectations than I ever faced.

Then there’s modern parenthood. Parents face their own challenges to keep their family clothed, fed, housed, and educated for a changing world. 
Somehow mom and dad use the same 24 hour day and divvy it up so …

Sincere Line of Questioning

The high school debate team was a great place for me to channel my argumentative tendencies. 
I knew everything I needed to know to beat the competition because I’d just returned from a week-long research and debate seminar. 
I bounded down the stairs to the dinner table after spending a couple hours preparing for the next debate. I wanted to practice, and since my grandparents were visiting, I had an expanded panel of opponents. 
With dinner plates brimming with chicken and vegetables, I decided to dish out my opening statement—The government is never going to solve America’s poverty. They’ve been trying and failing for years. Poverty will only be solved by getting more able-bodied people to work. 
I looked around the table to see if they’d take my bait. My dad seemed enamored with cutting his chicken into small pieces. Mom took a sip of wine. Grandpa gave an audible scoff.
Grandma smiled and said I needed to take a seat on Miss Primrose’s porch. I gave her a blank look. Who was Miss Prim…

Cabin Talk

If homes could talk, what would they say?
There’s a special kind of quiet in the forest. When there’s no human noise, I can hear leaves falling and rain dripping from the tree branches. It’s autumn. 

The trees have grown up around me as we’ve grown older together. It’s my birthday—a special birthday, because I’m turning 40. 

Now, you don’t have to say how young I look, for I know I’m showing my age. But that’s okay, because age means I have stories to tell—and there are so many I’ve lived through. 

It began with Morley and all of her energy and enthusiasm. I was just a hand drawn rectangle on a piece of paper before she brought me to life. 
Morley and her dad worked with a volunteer crew to place one log on top of another until I was as tall as I am today. On my first Christmas, Morley decorated a small tree and we sat together and admired my shiny logs. 
She had dreams for me—a wood floor and a rock fireplace, but she wasn’t given enough time. Her hospital bed was placed in my small living…