A Generous Character

Posted by on Mar 20, 2015 in BOLD BELIEVER | Christian Living, Identity, The Blog | 0 comments

The cashier smiled as he started to total up my purchases and said, “The people who just left said to give the next person their remaining Kohl’s Cash, so you get an extra $2.36 off.” He was so pleased to give me this gift and I didn’t mind the couple bucks going back in my wallet. It wasn’t the amount of money, it was the gesture that mattered.

Generosity always sends a message: Grace. You may not be deserving, you may not have earned the little extra, but I’m giving it to you anyway.

Being generous isn’t just about giving away money or “stuff.” It’s a character trait. It is an overall description of those who live it out daily. I can’t think of too many things I’d rather hear from someone describing me than, “She’s really generous.”

The opposite of generous isn’t greedy, it’s self-focused. It’s when you matter more than the people you’re with or serving.

My husband helped a 93-year-old man (total stranger) in the men’s room at a restaurant recently. He assisted him getting in and out of the stall with his walker and then had a lengthy conversation on the way (it was slow-going) back to the tables. My husband described it as a truly meaningful moment and encounter. He was moved and impressed by the man’s humility and kindness as well as some life experiences he shared. If my husband had been in a hurry to get back to the table or felt annoyed by having to help, he would have missed a precious conversation. He also would have missed the chance to bless and blessed.

When I’m speaking to an audience, I try to be generous. I want to take plenty of time to learn about the group and its needs before I begin preparing. I take a pulse often and change things up if it seems that the faces staring back at me aren’t gaining anything. I engage and compliment people who interact.

Whether in your everyday life, in business or ministry, generosity is not optional if you want to do it well and with the biggest impact. I encourage you to seek out ways to be generous as you start and go through each day. The opportunities will be plentiful and the rewards even more.

If you have thoughts and stories about generous moments, please share in a comment below. If you’d like to chat with me about speaking for your group, you can fill out the contact form on my website. I promise to be generous with my time.

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This Old House: Childhood Experiences Shape Our Identity

Posted by on Mar 16, 2015 in Identity, The Blog | 0 comments

Seeing the couple of old houses I grew up in brings back so many jolts of memory from my childhood that have receded slowly over time. What did that dog next door look like? What was the name of that boy that was always following me around? Where was our playhouse in the yard? Experiences fade, but yet they make us who we are. As you ponder who you are, what memories from your past jump out and wave a flag? Even if you aren’t from the South, you’ll surely love Sophie Hudson’s shared experience below excepted from her new book.

Bold Living airs on stations in various cities and for easy on-demand access, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes (search Diane Markins) from my website.  Diane Markins 

This Old House (excerpted from Home is Where My People Are)

by Sophie Hudson

When I type in Mama and Daddy’s old address on “the Google,” as Mama calls it, the street view puts me smack-dab in the middle of an intersection about a mile from the house itself. I’ve traveled through that intersection thousands of times—to the point that I have all of its options memorized.

 …I guess I expected that clicking my way down Pine Tree Road on Google Maps—and clicking to see the house where I grew up—would fill me with all sorts of nostalgia. I thought that it would prompt me to think back on all the funny and hard and awkward moments that I associate with my childhood home. I imagined I’d get to the point where the house was front and center on my computer screen, and I’d reflect long and hard about The Mistakes I Made, The Drama I Created, The Times I Cried, The Lessons I Learned.

I thought that, given our history, the house and I would have ourselves a moment. Courtesy of Google and Apple and the worldwide interweb.

But the house and I didn’t really have a moment at all. Oh, the house was special—no doubt. It was special because it was ours. It was special because I grew up there. I can see so many lessons just from the way Mama and Daddy took care of those twelve acres; over the course of our time there, they remodeled, they added on, they reroofed, they painted. They raked, they mowed, they tended, they watered, they pruned, and they weeded. They figured out what was broken. They fixed it.

And Lord knows that they planted and they sowed.

But the Google Maps, as it turned out, taught me something that I wasn’t really expecting.

The house is significant, yes. But really, it’s only part of the story.

Because what flat-out captivates me is the road.

 

 

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What’s Your Addiction?

Posted by on Mar 9, 2015 in Healthy Choices, Identity, The Blog | 0 comments

From cocaine to chimichangas, marijuana to Mercedes, heroin to Hermes, we all have addictions of sorts. Things we really like. A lot… and don’t want to do without. Some may be perfectly fine, but some may need to be left in the dust.

In order to write this I have to be really honest and humble because it may not be pretty. After doing a little soul-searching (for some people that would be spelled sole-searching), I’ve come up with a list of the things I’d rather not give up. Here’s some “addiction affliction conviction.” (I couldn’t help myself.)

Given that a big part of my purpose and platform (another shoe double entendre) is helping people discover Who they are, your identity must be ground zero for uncovering your addictions.

As a woman who likes to be clean, I’d have a hard time giving up my shower and toilet. I’ve been camping and those things aren’t optional. I’ve also visited a tribal community in Zimbabwe where the “facilities” was four aluminum walls, about 5’ high with a hole in the ground. It made me really appreciate not having to pop a squat.

Writing and communicating are a part of my DNA. Using a yellow pad and a number 2 pencil would work, but just not the same as my computer. I pound on my keyboard without giving any thought to what my hands are doing. Don’t make me go back to the dark ages of journalism.

And while we’re on it, I’d have a tough time saying adios to my cell phone. It saves me tons of time and effort to be in contact with people. I’d rather not have to stash my quarters and search for pay phones… wait, do they still make those?

While I value a good session at the gym, I usually look for a close parking spot so I don’t have to walk very far to get inside. (Oh, stop it! I can feel your eye rolls.) I confess, I really really really enjoy driving a comfortable vehicle. I often say a prayer of thanks when I think of the pioneers who traveled to the sweltering desert I live in via covered wagon. I also say prayers for (and hand out water bottles to) those who aren’t blessed with the same means of transportation as me.

Air conditioning in my house is also high on my list. Temperatures can reach 120 degrees and a person can only sweat so much. In Phoenix, AC is not luxury, it’s a must-have.

If I were to create a much longer list, you might see TV shows like Nashville and Modern Family or foods like dark chocolate and enchiladas. I can live without those but I sure do enjoy them.

If we’re honest, we all have addictions. For the most part, mine aren’t too unhealthy, but still, they are things- material objections that I’m pretty attached to. Maybe we all need to do a little inventory of our addictions and make sure we aren’t being defined by them. Even more importantly, that no material thing becomes an idol. It could be time to step away if so. When things begin to enslave you, even the most wonderful of them will rob your freedom.

Are you willing to give it up here and share your guilty pleasures or addictions?

 

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Does Your Interior Match Your Exterior?

Posted by on Mar 2, 2015 in Deliberate Design (Purposeful Living and Pursuits), The Blog | 6 comments

Joan Rivers could make people laugh. She was witty and snarky and made fun of herself most of all. Her “act” was all most of us knew of her personality. It was her mask. The other mask she wore literally covered her face. As she frequently mentioned, she had a tremendous amount of “work” done on her face.

“I wish I had a twin so I could know what I’d look like without plastic surgery,” Rivers quipped. One thing is certain: the true age (inside her body) did not match what the world saw on the outside.

For an entertainer the old saying, “all the world’s a stage” may be true, but for the rest of us, hiding behind a false exterior is of little value. It’s true that people are always watching us, but for the most part, they are looking to see if we’re real. Do we say one thing and do another… They aren’t nearly as interested in how “good” we think we look.

There is a house on my street that appears ok from the outside, but I had a chance to look inside once and it was like something out of Hoarders. There wasn’t a single bare surface. Even the floors were piled high with- well, I’m not sure what all that was. No one would have imagined that this dilapidated structure was behind those average walls in this nice little suburb.

In their desire to look good, some school districts have been found to be cheating on standardized tests and falsifying records. Everyone (parents, students and teachers) are pleased with the published results, but those kids will suffer because their glowing grades don’t reflect their education.

How about you? If you’ve spent time discovering your true identity, are your life, words and actions in harmony with who you are or want to be? If anything doesn’t line up, maybe it’s time to make some adjustments toward consistent authenticity.

If you learn to be transparent your peace and confidence will skyrocket. No glorious exterior can compare to a person who is honest, genuine and sincere inside and out. This is equally true of personal and business relationships. People of this nature attract more admiration than even the most “beautiful” faces in Hollywood.

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Dr. Ben Carson Talks about God

Posted by on Feb 23, 2015 in I AM (Actually, He Is!) Revealing God's Character, PARENTING | Never Ending Story, The Blog | 1 comment

When I was asked if I’d like to schedule an interview with Dr. Ben Carson to talk about his new book I wanted to cry because I’m not currently producing new shows (maybe he’d just let me ask him questions for my personal enjoyment? Nah). I was sent the book and they chose the following excerpt to share. If you aren’t familiar with Dr. Carson… don’t waste another second. He is -hands down- the most brilliant man I know of and uses his astounding brain for many wonderful purposes. I know you’ll want his latest book, especially if you have kids. Be sure to post a comment below and share this very direct post with your friends who think that only uninformed idiots believe in God (and be sure they read his bio!).

Bold Living radio show airs on stations in various cities and for easy on-demand access, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes (search Diane Markins) from my website.  Diane Markins 

“God” (Excerpted from You Have a Brain: A Teen’s Guide to T.H.I.N.K. B.I.G)

by Dr. Ben Carson

When I was a child, I imagined God as an old, old man with a long, white beard who lived in the clouds with a powerful telescope that could see through walls. He was always peering down to see what you did wrong and making sure you got punished for it.

My early image of him was that he was distant, uncaring, and harsh, investing most of his time and energy ensuring no riffraff got into heaven. I clung to some of that concept as I grew up. This is why I found myself in early adulthood being extremely conservative about everything — to the point of being puritanical. I was judgmental of others’ actions and attitudes, and I didn’t always enjoy life.

I have slowly matured and have experienced God’s help in many crises. I have come to realize that God does not want to punish us; rather, he wants to fulfill our lives. God created us, loves us, and wants to help us to realize our potential so that we can be useful to others. Gradually over the years, by regularly reading, studying, and depending on the advice in God’s Word, I gained a more accurate picture of God. As a doctor and a scientist, the more I learn about creation and especially the human brain, the more impressed I am with how incredibly smart our Creator must be.

I look through my operating microscope and marvel at the intricate complexities of creation inside a baby’s brain. Or I stand under the stars on a summer night, looking up at a universe made with such precision that you can set clocks by it. I see evidence everywhere of a brilliant and logical God who is unbelievably loving. What else could possibly explain why the all-powerful Creator of the universe humbled himself and came to earth to be spat upon, cursed, even beaten with a whip, before he was crucified and died on a cross for the very same people who did that to him?

A God that loving, instead of being quick to judge and anxious to condemn us for every little sin, is really an almost unimaginably forgiving God. I finally realize that God’s first concern is not about whether we abide by his rules or deserve his grace and forgiveness. His priority is right relationships. This personal relationship is all God has wanted from us since the beginning of time. It is what we were created for.

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Hiding from Pain

Posted by on Feb 16, 2015 in BOLD BELIEVER | Christian Living, The Blog | 3 comments

Difficulties can cause us to run and hide, but sometimes hiding can be more dangerous than facing the pain. In truth, all of us deals with painful situations on occasion, but not everyone handles it the same way.

When my back and hip flexors get tight, the last thing I want to do is stretch… because it hurts. Why would anybody do something intentionally that will cause them discomfort? You already know the answer. Because it will help fix the problem and, over time, the pain will lessen.

When a co-worker, friend or loved one crushes you with words that feel mean-spirited, the auto-response is to strike back or run away and avoid the person or at least the topic forever and ever.

When you get a lousy grade or work review or worse, lose your job, crawling under a blanket is the natural place to go.

Failure, rejection and disappointment simply can’t be ignored no matter how much you want to. Wherever you go to hide, you’re still there. You can’t hide from the cause of the trouble you’re enduring because your mind has an endless loop tape of the experience to remind you.

Some of the ways we hide from pain are through:

  • Busyness- just keep moving and focused and you won’t have to think about it.
  • Self-medicating- alcohol, drugs, even food can bring temporary relief.
  • Distractions- hobbies, sports, and unhealthy relationships can all take your mind off the pain.
  • Denial- “I didn’t do anything wrong” or “He didn’t really mean it.”
  • Over-spending- new things are a short-term diversion.

In the photo above you see a little girl hiding (this was staged, we don’t let kids play under our vehicles). I thought it was a tremendous illustration for this post. Often the place we go (from the list above) seems like a great place to avoid the pain, but in fact it’s only a temporary refuge and may prove to be much more risky and painful than what we’re hiding from.

If you’re going through a painful experience or season of life, I encourage you to face it head-on. Maybe you can only grieve or process it for a few minutes at a time before moving your brain and heart to a less hurtful spot, and that’s ok. Soon you’ll build up your ability to deal with it and eventually the pain will recede.

And if you do need to spend a bit of time hiding, God says He is your hiding place, so hang out with Him.

I’d love to hear about a time you tried to hide in a bad spot from pain… or hid with the Lord so He could help you through it.

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Happy Valentine’s Day…Well, Sort of

Posted by on Feb 12, 2015 in FRIENDSHIP Done Well, The Blog | 0 comments

Growing up, like all little girls, I loved Valentine’s Day..or the promise of having a grown up valentine of my own one day. Red roses, shiny jewelry, heart-shaped boxes covered in pink satin and filled with decadent treats. What’s not to love?

Maybe being married for so long to such a practical guy has rubbed off on me, but I came to the conclusion a long time ago that Valentine’s Day is the most offensive, insincere excuse for a holiday there ever was. (Hold your applause… or the rock you’re about to hurl!) Card companies, jewelry stores, fancy restaurants and florists aside, who is really benefiting from this tradition?

Romance is delightful and every effort should be made to keep it alive and well in marriage every day. If you need a special day on the calendar to spice things up or show a little extra sweetness to the one you love, maybe that money would be better spent on counseling or a good book on improving your marriage.

My husband and I don’t exactly boycott V Day, but we sort of ignore it. We both think it’s dumb. Early in our marriage he said to me, “I’d rather not send you flowers on Valentine’s Day because it feels like I’m fulfilling an obligation rather than fulfilling an impulse to demonstrate my feelings for you.” Fortunately he sends flowers and does lots of sweet, impulsive, romantic things throughout the year. I’d hate to be a woman that just can’t wait for that one special day each year when her husband steps up and makes a romantic gesture simply because it’s expected. Marriage can’t possibly be sustained by romance. It’s all about the F words: forgiveness, faith and fortitude.

While it is a secular holiday, the sentiment surrounding it is love. God is love, so why not take that day to show love to those in your life who don’t have a “Valentine” to remind them they are special throughout the year. Single friends will enjoy being remembered and included on this day; at least you can put a positive twist on an otherwise cheesy holiday. Hope I didn’t burst your big heart-shaped bubble!

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