Friday, September 10, 2010

LET'S CHAT FRIDAY with DIANE MARKINS

How can I begin today? Just by saying, "Wow!" My special guest today is Diane Markins. When I began doing, "Let's Chat Friday", I had no idea just how awesome it would be. Just by asking fourteen simple questions it gets to the heart of people. When we get to the heart we see the real person and that is what you get with Diane. She is as real as they come and one with wisdom to share beyond her years. I would love to sit and have a cup of coffee with her and just listen to her stories. She is one of those girls you would love to have for a sister, one to share and confide in. I am honored to have Diane visit. Here is our chat. Enjoy!

(Robin) Diane, tell me a little about yourself
(Diane) I’m a native Arizona girl but love the ocean so I spend a lot of the summer in San Diego. I have a close extended family, and every one of them loves God. I’m very proud of my son and daughter-in-law and adore their new baby. My daughter is probably my best girlfriend. I lost my mom in 2004 and miss her dearly. My husband holds my world together. We work together in our business, play together on our boat and sand rail and travel when we can. I love animals, travel, adventure, old friends and meeting new ones. Jesus is the matrix for all that I do.

(Robin) Since you have walked with the Lord has there been a time you struggled in your faith? If so, would you please share?
(Diane) When my kids were teenagers they both went through a time of clinical depression and anxiety disorder. It was devastating to watch this happen and not be able to fix it. I got them to doctors and counselors and they were active in youth group at church but I was helpless to make this go away. I remember at one severely low point for my son, crying out to God in frustration. I never doubted that He was there, but was feeling so disappointed, hurt and angry that He wasn’t doing anything. I was in my car, actually fearing for my son’s life, and began screaming at God as the tears streamed down my face. "Do something NOW because only YOU can…I give up…I can’t fix this but you can! Do something now!" Within seconds things began to happen and we actually got on a path that helped him survive and thrive. This is a very condensed, over-simplified version of a long and painful journey. Bottom line: God came through.


(Robin) Has there been an "aha" moment in your life that has changed your perspective?
(Diane) I grew up going to church and hearing about Jesus but it seemed like something to do on Sundays and to believe privately but not a life-style or identity… it also seemed really dull and "churchy" to be a Christian. In high school I went to a Young Life camp and saw Jesus and His followers in a whole new light. They were having fun and very cool. From that time on I was loud and proud to be a Christian.

(Robin) Do you have a favorite bible story, verse, song or hymn that gives encouragement when struggles come?
(Diane) One of my favorites is Esther. She was minding her own business and got swept up at the center of world-changing events. She remained steadfast and faithful as she obeyed God and he used her mightily. A verse that I really cling to when things are difficult is 2 Chronicles 20:17 "You will not have to fight this battle. Take your positions. Stand firm. You will see how I will save you. Judah and Jerusalem, do not be afraid. Do not lose hope. Go out and face them tomorrow. I will be with you."

(Robin) What is one thing you look for in a close friend and what is one quality you hope others see in you?
(Diane) The people I’m closest to have one thing in common; they’re authentic. Truth and transparency are requirements to get into my friendship club. I have acquaintances who are caught up in their image, but I’d never really think of them as friends. It goes without saying that I always try to be real with people but I’d say another quality I aspire to is loyalty. Friends know they can count on me.

(Robin) What are a few of your favorite books you have in your collection you would share with a friend?
(Diane) My all-time favorite devotional is Streams in the Desert. I read that when I’m facing difficult circumstances or feeling sad. ~ I have lots of good study and reference books like Systematic Theology and some favorite authors like C. S. Lewis. ~ I also read fiction. One of my top novelists is James Patterson. I love his Alex Cross stories. ~ I’m not a fan of romance novels. I think they set women up for disappointment in the reality of their own lives. I marveled at my 25-year-old daughter last night as she told me that was one of the reasons she refused to read or see the Twilight movies. ~ I just read a magnificent book by Jim Fergus called The Wild Girl about race issues between Mexicans, Caucasians and Native Americans in the early 1900s. I’m currently reading a sweet Christian novel set in South Africa, also about racism called No Greater Love.


(Robin) When life seems to go crazy, what is one thing you do to bring comfort and peace?
(Diane) It may sound pious or saintly but it’s true…I praise God. I’ve learned this as a discipline. The Word says "God inhabits the praises of His people." I can always know that God has promised to be next to me, especially when I’m praising Him. Sometimes when I feel least like praising, that’s the only thing to do. (A bonus is to find a close friend and praise together!) Peace seems to prevail.

(Robin)What is one thing about yourself you admire?
(Diane) God created me with a bold personality and it has served me well. I’m the "go to girl" because I’m fearless when it comes to helping the people I love. In my humanness I was less aware of whose feelings I trampled as I pursued goals. I began to recognize this in my 30s and asked God to soften the sharp edges and teach me when to slow down or back off. I’m still learning.

(Robin) What are a few of the things you love surrounding you?
(Diane) First and foremost, people I love. My husband, kids and brand new grandson fill my heart with joy. There is no distinction between my in-laws and my blood family… we’re all really close and spend lots of time together. I’m also edified by my wonderful friends. Other than people, I like things that please my senses: lavender oil, the sounds of the ocean or laughter, a cool breeze on my skin, a view of the outdoors (non-negotiable) and dark chocolate. Flowers are nice too. My two dogs lie on the floor and my cat sleeps on my desk while I’m writing. (Even when I’m alone, I’m not alone!)

(Robin) What are your deepest passions?
(Diane) I care about helping people view life through God’s eyes. I know we have limited vision because His ways are higher than our ways, but the Bible gives us access to a great deal. I know from personal experience that re-directing our thoughts in this way is simply a better way to live. As far as personal "causes" go, I have deep concerns for orphans in and outside our country. I’ve traveled to places in Africa where many people didn’t have shoes and have seen those who sit by the roadside begging for change because they don’t have legs in Mexico. I believe less in preaching to these desperate souls and more in showing them God’s love through helping meet their needs. He will reveal Himself to them in that way. I’m also a patriot and know that our country is struggling…that’s why I write for the Presidential Prayer Team.

(Robin) What is the best advice ever given to you?
(Diane) From my mom: Stand up straight. (I was always taller than most other girls and she helped me realize that slouching didn’t make me shorter, or fit it better, it just made me look slouchy!) This gave me confidence.
From my dad: Learn the hard way first. (I had to learn to ride bareback before I was allowed to use a saddle and had to learn to drive using a manual stick shift before I could drive an automatic.)
From my father-in-law: There are no bad days (only challenging moments.)
From my mother-in-law: Love people without conditions or expectations.
From my husband: You can go as far as you want to.

(Robin) In the legacy you leave, what is one thing you hope out shines before all others?
(Diane) I hope my legacy will be love…that I was patient and kind and did not envy or boast, was not proud, rude, self-seeking or easily angered. That I kept no record of wrongs and didn’t delight in evil but rejoiced with the truth…always protected, trusted, hoped, and persevered.
(Robin) What are you currently working on?
(Diane) I write a weekly post on my blog Words In High Def and write an opinion column for our local newspaper. I write devotions for CBN and opinion pieces for the Presidential Prayer Team. I have a women’s devotional book proposal in consideration and hope to get that published within the next year. I speak at conferences and am working with a few radio stations around the country who’ve expressed an interest in having me host a show based on my very eclectic blog.
(Robin) How do you define success?
(Diane) Success is defined by how well we understand the gifts with which we’ve been blessed and what we’ve done to cultivate them--then use them fully in a way that brings glory to the Lord.

Are Friday's just getting better and better or what? I am enjoying this day of the week more and more. It is a treat, a blessing, an honor to have such dedicated and God fearing women come by my Nest. I am learning so much. Each week I carry away a nugget of more value than gold. This week I love the advice Diane shares. (There are no bad days, only challenging moments!) I think as a mother I can relate to her struggle and cry out to the Lord to fix things! As mother's we love our children so much and only want the best for them. When they hurt, we hurt. Diane, your children are truly blessed to have such a wonderful mother. You have a passion and jest for life. Thank you for opening your heart and sharing with us. Blessings to you sweet lady.

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