Does Your Interior Match Your Exterior?

Posted by on Mar 2, 2015 in Deliberate Design (Purposeful Living and Pursuits), The Blog | 5 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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Happiness: The Prize, Not the Goal

Posted by on Feb 9, 2015 in Deliberate Design (Purposeful Living and Pursuits), The Blog | 1 comment

When asked about achieving satisfaction in life, many people believe that striving for happiness will land them in the winner’s column. From my perspective, they’ve got it backwards. Doing meaningful things makes you happy. Happiness alone is not meaningful.

No one wants to be unhappy, but those days will come. That’s when we rely on joy to fill us up and comfort us.

Theopedia.com defines joy as: “A state of mind and an orientation of the heart. It is a settled state of contentment, confidence and hope.”

Happiness can be much less constant, relying on externals such as mood, circumstances and other people.

When we practice accessing and experiencing joy every day, happiness is much less erratic. The stuff of life won’t bring us down quite so easily.

Being intentional about joy, happiness and contentment requires us to honestly evaluate how we are investing our time, finances and talent. If too much is being squandered on meaningless things, there is likely to be a deficit in our happiness account.

It’s easy to take a look at your daily life investments. List categories of what you spend your money on such as: Living Expenses, Entertainment, Clothing, Gifts, Beauty, Charity. Do the same for time: Career, Family, Friendship, Home Chores, Recreation, Service. And for your skills and talents: Administration, Teaching Others, Hospitality, Leadership, Organizing, Encouragement.

If there is a lack of balance, it should send a loud alarm in your spirit that clangs like a washing machine with an uneven load. You can’t ignore it or something will get broken. In this case, your serenity, peace and yes- even happiness- are at risk.

Valorie Burton’s book Happy Women Live Better offers chapters full of ways to “trigger your happiness.” Some of those triggers include anticipation, relaxation, play, financial savvy, gratitude and purpose. Every one of those can be the catalyst you need for a little lift in the moment and for the long haul.

As you set down those binoculars and stop searching for happiness, and instead begin investing in a life that brings comfort, hope and joy to others, happiness will surely find you.

I would be happy if you’d share this post as well as a thought on what makes you happy. It’s ok to say chocolate!

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It’s Now or Never

Posted by on Feb 2, 2015 in BOLD BELIEVER | Christian Living, The Blog | 2 comments

Someday I’d like to… finish that sentence. Is there a race you want to run, a career you’d like to try, a contest you might enter? What are you waiting for?

I’ve heard so many people talk about those plans for later on, down-the-road. They put a long list of conditions on actually doing them so that sometimes it never happens. “We’ll get married when we are both established in our careers.” “We’ll have a baby when we own a home.” “I’ll go back to school when my kids are older.” “I’ll change careers when I have plenty of money in savings.” “I’ll repair that relationship when I’m not so upset.”

There is nothing wrong with making wise choices and getting things in place before launching into something new or difficult. Unfortunately, many people will never take that final step. The result is regret.

I talk to many would-be writers. They have a message or story they want to share. They love the idea of writing, but they also have a gazillion reasons why they don’t actually write.

Fitness is another big example. There are lots of people in the US who are over-weight and out of shape. I think most of them would say that they plan to start losing weight soon. They don’t believe they will remain in this unhealthy condition for the rest of their lives. Sadly, most do.

Change and trying something new are never easy. It takes discipline, desire and determination. If you are reading this and thinking about something you’ve been putting on the back burner of your life, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is this important to me? Why? How will it make me feel if I actually get this done? (Desire)
  2. What changes will I have to make or what will have to be added/eliminated? Is it worth the sacrifice? (Discipline)
  3. How can I ensure my ongoing commitment? Recruit a partner? Set small goals/rewards? Publicly proclaim a deadline? (Determination)

In her book Why Wait to be Great?, author Terry Hawkins says, “All we have is now. In each moment we are given the choice of how to interpret and react to each situation. Unfortunately, many of us are completely unaware that we hold the key to our own happiness…”

You know that thing you’ve been procrastinating on. It’s screaming at you right now. Don’t allow fear, shame, anger or pride to hold you hostage any longer. Get to it or don’t do it, but stop deceiving yourself or making excuses. There is something very freeing that happens when a deep desire moves from hovering over your head like a dark cloud to in front of your eyes like a brilliant rainbow.

What are you going to tackle next? What’s taken you this long? Share your thoughts, questions and encouragement below.

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Ridiculously Big Plans

Posted by on Jan 27, 2015 in Deliberate Design (Purposeful Living and Pursuits), The Blog | 2 comments

Planning is the easy part of any task or project. You see what needs to be done to reach the goal and start creating a check list of action items. Done!

Ha! It is rarely as easy as that, right? There are always disruptions, complications and challenges to slow you down. We can only plan based upon what we know, but our knowledge expands as the plans move forward and evolve.

Have you heard it said that, “men plan and God laughs?” That’s because He knows all those little problems that will arise and also knows how it will cause our limited plans to falter. We are working at a disadvantage and that’s fine. God wants us to see that we can’t do things in our own power and repeatedly check back in with Him to help correct our course.

But an even better idea is to check with Him in the first place to see if this is a goal you should even have on your agenda. If you believe it is, invite the Lord to direct you as you work out the path to accomplish it.

There is nothing too big or difficult for the Creator of the Universe. However, if we pursue things He hasn’t sanctioned, there are many things that will be impossible to finish.

The truly wonderful thing about all this is that God wants us to make BIG plans. When He gives you the green light, He wants you to pray, plan and work toward things that appear utterly out of reach.

Architect and visionary Daniel Burnham said, “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood.” (From The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson)

Recall any immense goal you’ve accomplished and how (if you’ve been in step with God) your faith soared in the wake of success. That’s because God has shown you in a deeply personal way, who He is and a tiny bit of what He’s capable of… through YOU.

If you’ve got a desire or passion to do something new and meaningful, pray until you’re assured of God’s thumbs-up response. When that happens, don’t tip-toe forward. Take a massive leap by creating a plan that only God could get done.

Your luke-warm beliefs will boil over. It will also inspire faith paired with action in others.

Anyone can plan. Anyone can take baby steps. Anyone can do little things within their reach, by their own ability. Only those who are transformed and fueled by God will have the courage to make enormous plans and boldly stay the course.

What plans are you working on? Are they big enough for Him to get the glory? Share your thoughts in a comment.

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