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The Middle

The Middle

Today I set out to run 7 miles. I know. Why? Just keep reading…
I started out strong, feeling good and moving quickly. I remember thinking very seriously, “I was born to do this.” (ha!) Just a couple miles into the run, I no longer believed that “I was born to do this.” It was more like, “I will die, if I keep doing this!”

It seems that there are lots of things we tackle in life by starting off strong, like: starting a business, having kids, and yes, even deciding to run a half marathon. When we start something new, it’s usually with great enthusiasm and excitement. We begin with confidence and courage knowing that we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing and that we’ll succeed.

But before we know it, the middle begins. During the middle, we begin to wonder whether what we’re doing is even remotely close to what we’re supposed to doing. We start to doubt whether or not we can actually succeed. We start to tear ourselves down.

In the middle of a run, instead of focusing on putting one foot in front of the other, I often start looking for any (and every) reason to quit: “It’s too windy today.” “I am not a runner….who am I kidding?” “There is too much traffic. I’ll have to stop at all the lights. What’s the point in that?” and so on and so on. My heart knows that I can reach my goal, but my mind and my body start to work against my heart to sabotage it with doubt.

I’ve seen dozens of people do the same thing when they find themselves in the middle of their business. They start to think to themselves, “I don’t deserve this.” “I’m not good enough to make it to the top.” “I don’t have the time or energy to keep this up.”

The middle is also a place where we often allow comparisons to beat us down. Today as I was running, I saw an African American male running towards me with extreme confidence and power. And you know what I did?! I let my mind start comparing!? I starting thinking, “Look at him. He’s got an amazing pace.” “He looks so comfortable.” “I could hardly hear him breathing when he ran by!” Are you kidding me?!

What I should have been thinking was, “He obviously didn’t birth 2 kids.” “I’m sure he doesn’t run a successful business, and cook dinner and do the laundry and run his kids all around town.” But I wasn’t thinking that! I was comparing my running ability to the running ability of an 20 something African American Male. I mean really?! If we want to talk about athletic ability, he surely had me beat! Why do we do that to ourselves?

We do the same thing with our parenting skills. I think we all start with this super human confidence. Baby number 1…easy. Baby number 2….not quite so easy. Baby number 3….I can only imagine. We get in the middle of parenting, and we start comparing ourselves.

There are far too many times that I have been at McDonald’s in the playplace and yelled at (I mean gently disciplined) one of my children, and not 2 seconds later I’m looking around at all the other “perfect” moms with their “perfect” kids. They didn’t have to discipline their kids in front of God and everyone at McDonald’s. But we know they don’t have perfect kids, and we know they aren’t perfect moms, yet we can’t help but compare ourselves.

One thing I do know about the middle is that you will be tested over and over again while you’re there. You’ve got to be doing what you’re doing for the right reasons. And the best way to get through the middle is slow and steady.

Most things worth doing are not easy. Most things worth doing are challenging both mentally and physically. And most things worth doing simply take putting one foot in front of the other over and over again until you reach the end where your hard work and determination will pay off. Whether it’s in your business, as a parent, or on the road, step by step is often the best way to get to the end where you are sure to be reminded of why you started in the first place.

4 Years Ago Tonight

4 Years Ago Tonight

Today was Addison’s 4th birthday, and as I put her to bed I couldn’t help but think about how incredibly blessed I am because of one little girl. For people who don’t have children, it is so hard to explain what happens to your life the minute they come into it.

Children teach us how to be selfless, how to love unconditionally, and how to laugh at our mistakes. I honestly hardly remember who I was before she was in my life. I don’t remember what I did with my free time or what I was passionate about.

It’s interesting that if you asked anyone with children (at least most normal people), what it is that makes them move and work and press on day after day, they would say it’s their kids or their family. Our children give us a reason to love more, to do more, and to be more.

I cried tonight when I kissed her good night because I know that so much of who I am is because of her and Luke. They have given me a reason to work, a reason to press on, a reason to never settle, and a reason to work for the life that most people only dream about. And no matter how chaotic a day can become in an instant when a child is involved, as moms, we would never trade it for the world. We look into their eyes and see hope and love and trust and understanding, and even faith, and we can’t help but challenge ourselves to be more than we are in their honor.

So tonight, it’s all about my baby girl and the woman she has made me; the person I have become for her. She was my reason to try, my reason to figure out who I was and what I was supposed to do. And now there are 2 of them. And I have been challenged by them daily not just as a mom but also as a business woman.  Almost exactly 2 years after Addy’s birthday, Luke was born 3 1/2 weeks early. He came into our life and flipped it upside down just like she did when she was born, and we still would not trade a day of it.

So tonight, I challenge you to take a moment and look at your life. Challenge yourself to look back at why you’ve made the good choices you’ve made and why you’ve worked when it was hard, and why you’ve pressed on when no one else did. At the heart of it all, I bet you’ll find your babies. Remember why you are who you are and why you do what you do. You don’t have to be a slave to your children, but you should never forget that they have made you who you are.

Let Manic Monday Begin

Let Manic Monday Begin

It seems like all my Mondays are crazy! But the Monday during Spring Break is sure to be even more crazy than usual.

Wednesday morning, Brian and I will head to Las Vegas to speak at a Scentsy training being held by the fabulous Becca Levie. I can’t wait! But that means that my intentional planning has to be kicked into high gear tonight and tomorrow! I have to plan out all my to do’s for the 2 days before we leave, make a schedule for the kiddos for while we’re gone, stock up at the grocery store, go to the bank and the car wash, have coffee with a team member, and the list could literally go on and on.

Plus, tomorrow is Addison’s 4th birthday! I can’t believe my baby is going to be 4. We had an amazing birthday party on Saturday that was a ton of fun for everyone. (pics and all the details to come soon!) And tonight we celebrated our birthday weekend (Luke turned 2 on Friday) with dinner at Shiki! My kids love the hibachi grill…it’s entertainment with great food….who could ask for more?!

Oh, and did I mention that the reason my Mondays are usually busy without planning a trip to Vegas? I only do laundry on Mondays! Intentionally. I know it sounds crazy, but it has made my life so much easier throughout the week! I do have to start on Sunday night with a couple loads, but all the rest gets done on Mondays. So we’re going to add laundry on  top of the never ending list of to-dos above, and hope for a good Monday!

I only tell you about the craziness of my life because I’m pretty sure that there are many days out of a week when many of us are surrounded by craziness. If you have children and a husband, you don’t have a choice, you almost have to live in craziness.

I do think you have the ability to control the crazy. So follow me…..
If you admit that there are going to be things you are not going to have control over, and you decide before they ever happen, that are are going to react in a positive way, you will be amazed at what your outlook on “craziness” will be.

Often times are lives are crazy only because we allow the craziness to control us. We allow other people and other events to alter our outlook and perspective on the day. If you start to make yourself conscious of the way you react to the “crazy” happenings throughout your day, you will see that you can control the crazy. You can be proactive about your reactions.

So with Manic Monday approaching soon, I am sending you off, hoping that you will control the crazy! Remember: We were meant to thrive, not merely survive.

originally posted at {http://allisondalke.blogspot.com/2011/03/let-manic-monday-begin.html }

Thankful

Tonight I’m thankful for a wonderful company that brought my family so close together and for the amazing women that I love and have amazing relationships with.

I got to spend tonight with 3 of my sister-in-laws who I love as much as my own flesh and blood sister because of Scentsy. I have to wonder if we would ever have had the relationship we have without our association with Scentsy.

I don’t think I could love Jacquelyn, Kristi, and Kathleen more even if we had grown up together. They are 3 of my best friends and always will be. I look up to them, respect them, and am so proud of each of them.

I’m also thankful that Scentsy has brought my mom and I closer. I never would have imagined the relationship we would grow from being able to “work” together.

I’m just thankful tonight for the amazingly strong and influential women in my life. Sometimes we all need to stop and recognize those we love, and spend some much needed time with them which is exactly what we’re doing!

Until there’s more,
Allison

originally posted at { http://allisondalke.blogspot.com/2011/03/thankful.html }

Don’t Break the Chain

Don’t Break the Chain

I recently read that Jerry Seinfeld is such a great comedian because he refused to “break the chain.” When asked how he was so successful as a writer, he said that he never “broke the chain.”

Jerry Seinfeld made it a point to write everyday, and everyday that he wrote he would make an “x” on his calendar. The x’s began to make a chain. If he didn’t write, he didn’t get to make an x on the calendar, and therefore, his chain would be broken.

There are things that are worth doing everyday through discipline. Sometimes the things that are hard to do everyday are actually worth doing, like working out, cooking, writing, etc.

“A Post a Day in March, April, and May” has challenged me. I’m getting in my post for Friday, March 11th after a very interesting day. It was Luke’s 2nd birthday; we had an extra (5 month old) baby today; and in the middle of writing this post, Addison puked.

And yet, there are things worth doing everyday.

Don’t break the chain.

Fear

Fear

 So tonight I found fear slowly creeping back into my mind.

I start thinking things like:
“Everyone else is sick; it’s got to be our turn soon.”
“It would be our luck that one of our kids would be sick on their birthday. (Luke’s birthday is tomorrow)”
And on and on….

But here is what I do know.
1. The devil uses every little insecurity we have to get into our minds.
2. He uses all our past experiences against us.
3. We don’t have to give into him!

So tonight I will not live in fear. I will sleep soundly, knowing that my children are safe and well. I will thank God for the health of my babies and my family. I will thank Him for my faith and my relationship with Him, because it’s through knowing Him that I can tell the devil to go right back where he came from and break down someone who might actually break because I won’t fall for his tricks any more. Because my God is greater.

My friends, I go to sleep soundly praying that you find peace from fear through the God who loves you.

We’ve got too many other important things to do than to worry about things that may or may not happen.

I am not afraid. I was born to do this.

By the way, I just bought my necklace. Thanks to my friend Vera for showing me this beautiful jewelry. You can find it at http://www.shop.tinasteinberg.com/main.sc

May you find intentional peace tonight…

originally posted at { http://allisondalke.blogspot.com/2011/03/fear.html }