Balancing Boldness

Posted by on Oct 5, 2015 in BOLD BELIEVER | Christian Living, The Blog | 0 comments

In third grade I was already pretty bold. My “little” sister (20 months my junior) was having some trouble with her first grade teacher. I decided that I’d intercede. In hindsight, that might not have been the wisest choice.

I found Miss McKensey (a young, cute, new teacher) in her empty classroom during recess. I went in and told her that my sis was having a hard time and basically to back off. She didn’t take it as I had hoped.

I was sent home with a note to my parents, who had to go sit down and listen to this woman’s complaints about my perfectly reasonable request. Needless to say, my mom and dad were not pleased.

Years later I had countless experiences in which my daughter boldly shared her opinion with teachers, school nurses, coaches and doctors. I don’t believe in Karma but somehow God was trying to teach me a lesson. Each new occurrence required an embarrassing conversation for me and another opportunity for my daughter to apologize and learn lessons I still stumble over.

Some people simply won’t stand up for themselves. They meekly accept whatever life (and human beings) throw at them. Those folks don’t necessarily have to be taught humility and boundaries of speaking their minds.

This is not the case with my daughter and me. We both have logical minds and expect others to follow our way of seeing things. When they don’t, we want to help them “get it.” So we go about enlightening them.

I have learned that there are many varied ways of viewing the world and that most often, it’s not my job to assist people in their perspectives. I’ve also learned that I have to respect boundaries and authority. My daughter is an adult and she has caught on to this much faster than I did, thankfully.

What neither of us will hopefully forget is the ability and timing of encountering problems and disagreements with people in a bold, direct, respectful way. Balance is hugely important when it comes to being bold. If you tip too far to either side you fall off the rails.

Jesus perfected the balancing boldness  act. If you open your mouth too fast or too often and need a reminder- look to His example. If you allow people to walk all over you- His experiences will model how to change.

Where do you fall on the boldness scale?


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Back to School; What will You Learn this Year?

Posted by on Sep 28, 2015 in The Blog | 0 comments

The store shelves are beginning to run low on the vast array of bright notebooks, lined paper, colored pencils and backpacks. After a long, relaxing(?) summer, the kids are back in school.

They’ve already broken in their new clothes and are over the jitters of being in the next grade, deciding if their new teacher is nice and finding out that the kid they didn’t like last year could be their new best friend. They are also stepping into new education territory. By June, they will be familiar with more math concepts and will hopefully be better at spelling, writing and other stuff school offers.

For many people, graduation (from high school or university) marks the end of their learning era. Ah, back to school no more!

But, without some external requirement (continuing ed hours, profession-specific seminars and workshops) a lot of people put the brakes on learning anything new.

Learning, by its very nature, is not easy. Some people pick things up at lightning speed while others have to turtle through it. For those slow-pokes, hanging up their number 2 pencil seems like a blue whale has been lifted off their shoulders.

Here are a few reasons to remain intentional about learning:

  • There is nothing like that moment of discovery and the feeling of success when you’ve “gotten it.”
  • Studies have shown that our mental faculties are best protected when we use them.
  • Prevents boredom.
  • Builds self-esteem.
  • Adds depth and richness to your life.
  • Makes you more interesting to others.


The most successful and the happiest people in the world (not necessarily the same thing!) never stop their quest to learn.

What will you learn this year? Is there a club you’d like to join (Toast Masters); a sport you’d like to master (rodeo); a community class you’d like to take (cake decorating) or a person who has offered to teach you a specific skill?

Make a list of your long-forgotten interests or create a new list and start tackling ways to initiate some action. Will you be back to school for the rest of your life?

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Do You Know Your False Self?

Posted by on Sep 21, 2015 in Identity, The Blog | 3 comments

This guest post by author Sharon Brown is so honest and humble. I can relate all too well with wanting people to approve of me and affirm me. If you aren’t familiar with her Sensible Shoes series, this is a sample of her writing. She’s a master! Don’t forget to comment to win a copy of Two Steps Forward.

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 

Do You Know Your False Self? 

by Sharon Brown

I still remember waiting in line for a lollipop after a music class when I was four or five. While the other children clamored and jockeyed for position, I waited for all of them to go ahead of me—not because I was being polite, but because I wanted the teacher to notice and praise me for being polite. My strategy worked. Not only did the teacher commend me in front of everyone else for being such a patient, sweet, and thoughtful girl, but she rewarded me with an extra lollipop.

The praise of the teacher was a far sweeter reward than the candy. I remember the joy of being singled out, of being recognized for being special. That childhood moment encapsulates a lifetime of craving the sweetness of other people’s good opinions. From early on, praise and affirmation became my socially acceptable addictions, and I invested decades into calculating how best to earn and keep the esteem and admiration of others, no matter what mask that might require.

That encounter with the music teacher is the first memory I have of my false self emerging and being reinforced. What do I mean by “false self?” Simply put, a false self is an identity rooted in secondary things. A false self is fed by the impulse to find worth and significance in what we accomplish, what we possess, or what other people think of us. When we find our worth and significance apart from God and apart from the identity we have been given as beloved children of God, then we’re living out of a “false self.” Sadly, many of us have spent lifetimes constructing personas and images, hiding our true selves behind masks and fronts.

God invites us to come out from hiding, confess our sins of idolatry, and live out of the true self God has given us in Jesus Christ. “I have been crucified with Christ,” Paul writes to the Galatians, “and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

Like my characters in the Sensible Shoes series, I’m on a journey toward learning how to be at rest in the love of God, how to root my sense of security, significance, and worth in the One who has loved me and given himself for me.

And that’s the sweetest reward of all.

*Post a comment to be entered to win a copy of Two Steps Forward.

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Advice for Your Younger Self

Posted by on Sep 14, 2015 in Identity, The Blog | 1 comment

“Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.” ― Henry David Thoreau

What advice would you give your 17-year-old self?

Whether you are 29 or 89 you have a past… experiences to look back on and ponder. It’s impossible to not play the “what if” game once in a while. What if I’d waited a year to start college and travel the world? What if I’d said yes to that job offer? What if I’d said no to that marriage proposal?

It’s a silly, useless game, but sometimes we all wonder where life would have taken us if we’d made one or two different choices.

My husband asked me last night, “If you could go back and tell your 17-year-old self a couple of things, based on what you know now, what would it be?” (He gets very profound late at night watching TV.)

Without a moment’s thought I threw out a few things I’d offer my younger self. Then he told me what his best input would be to himself.

Oddly (this might be strictly a gender thing?) mine were pretty much relationship-focused while his dealt mostly with financial decisions.

The good news is that neither of us went in directions that would have kept us from getting, and staying married. I tend to believe that God made us for one another and no matter what choices we’d have made, he and I would have come together.

I’m really interested in hearing from you on this one. What are one or two things you would tell your 17-year-old self if you had that opportunity? How would that have changed the course of your life? Please take the time to share in a comment below and tag your friends to chime in as well.

It will be revealing and interesting to see how people respond and if there is a marked difference in response according to gender or age!


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Labor Day and Entitlement Checks

Posted by on Sep 6, 2015 in Restoration, Respect and Recovery, The Blog | 2 comments

Labor Day in the United States is a holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It is a celebration of the American labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of their country. (Wikipedia)

This holiday was established in 1887 in a country whose citizens valued jobs and took pride in their work. A lot has changed in the last century.

Entitlement spending takes up about two-thirds of the federal budget, the highest in history. (Welfare- 11%, Social Security- 24%, Medicare, Medicaid and other health care programs- 25%)

When most of these programs were implemented, they were intended to meet the needs of those who were truly unable to take care of themselves, and often only for a short time until they could, “get back on their feet.”

Do you really believe that there is a higher percent of needy people or disabled citizens than ever before? Not so. The biggest difference now is the vast number of people who claim to have “chronic pain.” Headaches and back pain are almost impossible to prove or disprove so hundreds of thousands of questionable conditions allow people to collect a check without lifting a finger.

I’m not saying everyone who is getting a disability benefit due to chronic pain is being untruthful… in fact I know several people who would trade a day of hard work for the pain they endure in a New York minute. But there are many who realize this is their ticket to a free meal and housing, so they ride the gravy train.

There is a subculture in our society that celebrates gaming the system. Where there used to be a bit of shame at having to “accept charity” there is now pride in getting one over on the government. Very little thought is given to improving the strength, prosperity, and well-being of the country.

How can we help turn this mindset around? What can be done to re-instill a good work ethic in future generations? I don’t have the answers in the big picture, but I do know that what kids see modeled is what they become. It has to start with adults recognizing that an entitlement check might be free, but it does come at a cost and there is no freedom when you remain in poverty.

For those who are working, I salute you and celebrate this well- deserved day off with you. For those who are duping the system and taking money you shouldn’t get, I hope you’ll begin to realize that good work is to be admired and so is integrity.

Happy Labor Day.


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Rest Up! Tips for Better Sleep

Posted by on Aug 31, 2015 in Healthy Choices, The Blog | 0 comments

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 48% of Americans report insomnia occasionally, while 22% experience insomnia every, or almost every night.

That’s a lot of people staring at the ceiling or watching infomercials at 2 AM. And lack of sleep is no joke. Just a few of the effects of sleep loss include:

  • Weight gain and inability to lose weight
  • Impairs cognitive processes (makes you dumber)
  • Reduces sex drive (well that should get your attention)
  • Contributes to mood disorders (I know I’m no prize when I’m tired, but we’re talking about clinical depression and anxiety)
  • Causes poor judgement (drinking Monster at midnight is awesome!)
  • Accelerates the aging process (and it shows!)
  • Leads to serious health problems (think heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes)

The Bible talks about sleep and rest hundreds of times. It is impossible to fulfill your daily to-do list, let alone your divine calling if your body and mind aren’t fully charged. Just like a low battery, you tend to run out of juice and perform poorly. Who can rely on anything (or anyone) with a faulty battery?

I know- you’re thinking, “I’ve heard all this and don’t like watching blender commercials at 3 AM, but what can I do? I’ve tried everything.”

I doubt it. Just as with other health concerns, people don’t want to make lasting changes to their lives. They try something a time or two and revert to the same old habits.

Here are a few simple tips:

  • Walk it off. (Or run, dance, swim…) Make sure your body is as tired as your mind.
  • Limit the uppers and downers. A cup of coffee in the morning may be fine but not afternoon. It might seem like booze will make you drowsy but it can really disrupt your sleep.
  • Shut off your devices. While they charge up, so will you.
  • Pray. Turn your overactive thoughts and worries into a conversation with God.
  • Don’t nap so your body begins to really need sleep at night.
  • Use good scents. Essential oils are truly helpful. Rub on a little lavender or diffuse some Peace and Calming to unwind. If you (or the person next to you) snores, peppermint oil on the schnoz is often extremely effective.
  • When you can’t sleep, get out of bed and read (Bible is always a good choice) or bake or something that will keep you engaged (besides TV and social media interaction) for 30 minutes, then back in the sack for 30 minutes. Repeat until you fall asleep. It’s useless to stay in bed longing for sleep for more than 30 minutes. After a few nights of this (remember no naps!) you are probably going to be sleep-deprived enough to nod off during an episode of Homeland. This method can really reset your sleep pattern!

God wouldn’t include “sleep” and “rest” in so much of His book if it wasn’t important. Take it seriously and make the changes necessary to honor the sacred temple your body is meant to be.

Have you dealt with sleep problems? Do you have any stories or tips you could share?

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Forgive, Let Go, and Live

Posted by on Aug 24, 2015 in GRACE for More (Faith, Hope, Empowerment), The Blog | 1 comment

While some opportunities may be in short supply, the chance to practice forgiveness is never-ending. Holding on to offenses and hurts causes physical, emotional and spiritual harm. Read below to see the experiences and advice shared by Deborah Smith Pegues, a woman who knows all about forgiveness.

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 

Forgive, Let Go, and Live

by Deborah Smith Pegues

“Even as a little girl, when kids would cross me in any way, I never let them back into my good graces.”

My mom’s words echoed in my spirit and found rest there for many years of my life. Similarly, my father never forgot a single offense that anybody committed against him. He and my mom argued frequently about things that happened or were said in the far distant past. Although they served faithfully and sacrificially inside and outside the walls of the church, unforgiveness plagued them. Near the end of both their lives, God’s redeeming grace prevailed and they finally released the pain of holding onto the hot coals of unforgiveness.

With such a heritage, I knew unforgiveness was poised to become a stronghold in my life. The pattern had already developed. If people offended me, I never viewed them the same. Depending on the nature of the relationship, I would either keep my emotional distance or make a mental note never to trust, favor, or include them again in my dealings. My most common tactic was to hide behind being “too busy” to interact with them—ever. They finally got the message: Once you offended me, you were out. No three strikes policy here!

It was not until I saw how one of my beloved spiritual mentors modeled true forgiveness that I began to make headway in conquering this emotional giant. She frequently proclaimed, “I release everybody who has hurt me.” Unforgiveness had wreaked havoc in my life long enough. It had caused me to write off several relatives, friends, coworkers, and others. I spent way too much time in my head rehearsing the wrongs people perpetrated against me and imagining the awful things I could have said or done to retaliate if I weren’t a Christian. In my heart, I wanted to please God. As I delved into His word, I realized two truths that were hard pills to swallow:

  • God had foreknowledge of every single offense ever perpetrated against me; yet, in His infinite wisdom, He chose not to prevent it. His Divine purpose was obviously greater than my comfort or convenience. Therefore, I embraced the truth that every hurt will ultimately work together for my good because I love God and He has a purpose for every thing that comes my way (Romans 8:28). Perhaps this was the truth that caused the victims’ families to forgive Dylann Roof after he murdered nine people in a June 17 shooting at a Charleston, Carolina church.
  • My decision to forgive–or not–has a direct bearing on whether God forgives my transgressions (Mark 11:25). Simply put, if I don’t forgive others, He isn’t going to forgive me. I don’t want to suffer such dire spiritual consequences.

Life has presented many opportunities for me to practice the forgiveness principles found in the Word. Unforgiveness is a giant I could never conquer in my own strength. Thank goodness my Heavenly Father gives me “the desire and the power to do what pleases him” (Philippians 2:13 NLT). Therefore, from my childhood molester to the Ponzi scheme crook who duped me out of thousands of dollars to the doctor who botched my foot surgery, I’ve released them all. I’m free. I’m on a mission to forgive, let go, and live.


Bestselling author of 30 Days to Taming Your Tongue

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