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The Dalkes at the Masters: Monday’s practice round

The Dalkes at the Masters: Monday’s practice round

I never imagined I would be at the Masters. I’m a golf fan…..sort of. But I’m a HUGE family fan, and when you’ve got a pretty incredible golfer in your family, you become a golf fan. I may screw up the other players names, but it’s no biggie, I came to watch one kid play, and I know his name.

My baby brother-brother-in law, Brad Dalke, will play in the Masters this week as the youngest player in this year’s field at only 19 years old. A sophomore at the University of Oklahoma, Brad is one of five amateurs playing in this years’ Masters tournament.

This is a (possibly, hopefully not) once in a a lifetime opportunity of our family, and we’re all here cheering him on. We’ve rented a large family home just outside of Augusta where we’re all spending the week together…minus Brad of course, who will be staying in the iconic and legendary Crow’s Nest at Augusta National reserved specifically for the Masters’ amateurs.

After our first day at the Masters, we’re officially calling it Disney World for adults. From the moment you approach the grounds of Augusta National, you feel welcomed with Southern hospitality. Security guards, ticket scanners, restroom attendants….everyone working or volunteering at the course is welcoming and accommodating.

Brian and I walked onto the course with hundreds of fans on a day that was fairly certain to be accompanied by rain, but it didn’t stop the fans from showing up.

As soon as we were on the course, we grabbed a list of the players and the course ettiqute, and there he was….”Brad Dalke” in print listed with the best golfers in the world.

Brad, Bubba Watson, and Steve Stricker teed off at 8:30 from the 1st tee box. I’ll be a woman of a few words from here on out and let the pictures do the talking….

Dalke with his caddy, Chris Beckner

the iconic Masters food…pimento cheese sandwiches, moon pies, and beer in a green cup. Prices have never changed in the history of the tournament so we bought all that goodness (plus one more sandwich) for $9!

Cirque du Soleil’s O

Cirque du Soleil’s O

O! What a night it was! After being in Vegas last year and getting to see Cirque’s KA, I knew I wanted to see O. Plus, I knew Brian would like it too.

For some background (and since I wouldn’t be able to tell you about it, since I couldn’t follow the plot….turns out because there wasn’t one!), here is what I read about the basis of O:

“Cirque du Soleil weaves an aquatic tapestry of artistry, surrealism and theatrical romance in the timeless production, “O”. Inspired by the concept of infinity and the elegance of water’s pure form, “O” pays tribute to the beauty of the theatre – from the simplest street performance to the most lavish of operas – where anything is possible and where the drama of life plays itself out before our very eyes. World-class acrobats, synchronized swimmers, divers and characters perform in, on, and above water to create a breathtaking experience.”

If you ever have the opportunity to see O, do it! And be on time. You don’t want to miss the clowns, the unexpected beginning, or this lady dropping from the middle of the O theater to get everyone’s attention.

You are hooked and truly entertained from the moment the quirky clowns step on the stage until the closing curtain when you still want more. There were numerous times that Brian and I looked at each other in amazement at the talent and strength of these artists.

The stage and theater aside from the performers was something to see. There were times when the stage was a pool of water and other times when it was simply a stage. But nothing about O can be described as simple. It was a tapestry of colors, emotions, and talent in one huge pool. Literally.

From flying boats and floating horses to 2 clowns who were funny while at the same time often melancholy as they floated on the roof of their sunken house between acts, this was one diverse and mesmerizing show.

The synchronized swimmers were unbelievable! The athletic ability mixed with art created a beautiful image for everyone blessed to see them.

My favorites though, were the divers! For a cool video of one of my favorite parts, check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvF99dbFs40

All around it was a fabulous show that is well worth every dime!

I hope you enjoyed a little piece of Vegas from your own living room.

{Originally posted at http://allisondalke.blogspot.com/2011/03/cirque-du-soleils-o.html}

The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon

 Oh the Grand Canyon! I have never seen it from the ground, but I have now seen it from the sky! Here we are on our way, and our Swedish friends were nice enough to add a little to the picture for fun times.

Here I am sitting next to the pilot. They deemed me the most likely candidate to be able to land the helicopter in the unlikely event that our pilot killed over……

 Totally kidding….sitting arrangements have to do with weight not potential flying ability.  I look excited don’t I?!
 And here is Brian commentating the event.
The Hoover Dam on a cloudy day, I might add. But still very impressive, clouds and all.
The Colorado River

As we flew from Boulder City, Nevada, over the Colorado River (which acts as the border between Arizona and Nevada) and towards the Grand Canyon, I couldn’t help but be impressed with God’s ability to show off. The scenery was beautiful, majestic, even. And seeing it all from the sky was an amazing experience.

This is about the best picture we captured of the true majestic quality of the Grand Canyon. It’s been coined one of the 7 natural wonders of the world, and very rightfully so. Unfortunately my pictures do it no justice, but at least you’ll get the idea of our experience.

On the way back!

The trip was about an hour long. And I will say that being in a helicopter flying over the world and being able to see it all, was pretty cool. It was yet another experience in my life that left me without doubt that a true artist created all of this for us. The splendor and the beauty was all made by His hand. And although the Grand Canyon has changed and evolved and will continue to over the coming years, He had all of that in mind.

After our flight over a very small section of the Grand Canyon, I can’t wait to see it from the top of the canyon itself. What an amazing work of God.

Originally posted at { http://allisondalke.blogspot.com/2011/03/grand-canyon-for-saturday-march-19th.html}
Celine Dion

Celine Dion

 So I have to give my husband a million thank yous for

  1. finding such great Celine tickets and
  2. for going with me!

If you ask him, he will tell you he enjoyed it. It would have been impossible for any human being in the room to not be in absolute awe of this woman. There are very few people who have the God given talent that she does.

I won’t even be able to put into words what it’s like to see her live. She’s simply incredible. She opens her mouth and beautiful music comes out so effortlessly. And on top of her talent, she’s passionate. I laughed and cried and danced and cried some more in that hour and a half.

I’m actually tearing up just thinking about it. One of the most emotional moments for me was before she ever even came on stage. The show opened with a video of her closing her last show in Vegas and her world tour which ended in 2009. After the last show of her world tour, there was a video of her and husband and her little boy getting into the car and driving away. Celine was obviously very choked up. Her little boy asked her, ” Mom, when will you do another show?” and she replies with obvious tears, ” It’ll be at least year and 1/2.”

Her son sits in the back very quite. And Celine asks him, ” Is that okay?” and you can hear him begin to hold back sniffles too. She then says to her son, ” We’re going to do lots of things together, just us. Will that be okay?” and you can hear him say “Okay.”.

I cried like a baby. It was such a powerful moment. From that moment on, it was so blatantly obvious that her being on stage is exactly what she was made to do. Even her children know it! Her entire family is a part of it. They go everywhere with her. She is a wonderful mom. She sang a lullaby for her twin babies and let us all experience home videos of her family, which also made every woman in the room cry.

I wish you could have been there. To see someone living out exactly what they were put on this earth to do is one of the most inspiring things you can witness.

I left feeling alive, but also feeling that I wanted exactly what she had. I don’t want to be famous or be a head liner in Vegas. I have no desire for that kind of fame, and I know that’s not what God had in mind for my life, but I do want other people to be able to look at me and my life and know that I am living in the will of God. That I am here doing exactly what I, and only I, was made to do.

We were each put here for a unique purpose. And our ultimate job is to figure out what our purpose is and then be audacious enough to live it out.

I can’t help but think about the guts that woman has. To say, I’m going to tour the world. I’m going to sing for everyone who will hear. I’m going to have chart topping songs. And I’m going to head line in Vegas, not once, but at least twice in my life while raising my family and being a mom. Now that is having audacious faith. That is living the life that you, and only you, were intended to live.

Do you ever think that a life like that is only for some? Maybe you’re right. But what if you’re wrong? What if we were all supposed to live lives of true purpose. Lives that lived out the fulfillment of what God had in mind for us when He created us?

I think most of the time, the life we are supposed to live is scarier than we are willing to think about and more than we are willing to risk. But the one thing I do know is that each of us was uniquely created for a specific purpose. It may not be singing to thousands on a stage in Vegas, but seeing Celine in person, reminded me that we all have what she has. We all have the ability to live like she does. We just have to find our purpose and be willing to do what it takes to live it out to the fullest.

For someplace to start: check out chazown.com

Better Late than Never…Las Vegas

Better Late than Never…Las Vegas

Okay, so I made a commitment to make a post a day in March, April, and May, and this week, I fell behind on that commitment. But right now, I’m catching up!

As I write this, Brian and I are on a plane on our way home from Las Vegas a.k.a. “Sin City.” Being in Vegas over Spring Break and St. Patrick’s day made it very obvious why it’s been coined Sin City. But more on that later, let me first make my excuses as to why I didn’t write for 3 days.

As you may have read, we spent the first night in Vegas seeing the legendary Celine Dion. It was the experience of a lifetime. So much of an experience that it deserves its own post to follow very soon.

Before Celine though, we spent the day hanging out around town.

We rented a jeep and rode over to downtown Vegas to check out the sites and then headed back to the strip for lunch.

We had a delicious lunch at Maggiano’s in Fashion Show.

We then headed over to the Wynn to check out the sites there. It was awesome! I love the Wynn and I’ve heard that the best spa in Vegas is at it’s twin Encore, which the owner of the Wynn built in honor of his wife. So sweet!

Day 2:
My husband decided to buy us tickets to fly over the Grand Canyon in a helicopter! I know! Its so “the Bachelor”! And it was one of the coolest experiences of my life: so there’s more to come on that soon.

After the helicopter ride, we headed over to Mandalay Bay where we had a great dinner with live Johnny Cash music at the House of Blues. It made me feel right at home! Plus all of Mandalay Bay smells like coconut suntan lotion instead of smoke like the other casinos, so I love it! You know I love anything that smells good.

Delicious Chicken Fried Chicken and Mashed potatoes!

That night, we decided to go see a traditional Vegas showgirls show. All I can say is that it was awkward and uncomfortable. Plus the acting was cheesy and the humor was out of place. Maybe it’s our continuously growing faith that made us uncomfortable (I actually hope so) but we didn’t even stay until the end. It just was not what I thought it would be.

After the show, we ventured to the Bellagio, which is a beautiful hotel! One of my favorites. Brian ended up at a blackjack table with the Abc sportscaster from Dallas. We had a ton of fun, and Brian won some money, but we stayed out far too late! So day 1 of not posting was due to having too much late night fun in Vegas.

Brian with his Bellagio black jack winnings 😉

Day 3 in Vegas:
The next morning, was the 1st day of fellow SuperStar Director, Becca Levie’s leadership retreat that we were asked to speak at. Unfortunately, I woke up with flu like symptoms. I haven’t been sick in over 9 years, and here I am in Vegas on the day I’m supposed to speak, and I can’t get out of bed.

Thankfully, my husband is not only a great husband, but also a great nurse. He waited on me hand and foot and represented for both of us a the leadership retreat until I was well enough to come down.

I eventually made it to the retreat to contribute to round table discussions and give my presentation on “Connecting with your team more effectively through ustream.tv” thanks to my friends the Stewarts who introduced us to ustream in the first place. I was not up to my normal speaking ability, but everyone was excited about having a new way to connect with their teams.

After speaking, we retreated back to the room where I managed to sleep from 5:00 pm to noon the next day. I turned down food and wine and even the chance to go see Cirque du Soleil- KA. I was definitely sick. I felt like I had been hit by a bus. There lies the reason that I missed a 2nd day of posting.

Day 4 in Vegas:
Unfortunately I have no good reason for not posting on the 3rd day except that I was healthy, enjoying the leadership retreat, and having a great time with my husband.

Once I woke up on Saturday and managed to eat something, I got to sit in on the remainder of the retreat. Becca Levie always manages to inspire me and make me want  to be a better leader. She is a truly phenomenal woman.

After the retreat, we slipped away to enjoy one last night together in Vegas. Our plans included dinner, shopping, and one final show: Cirq Du Soil’s O at the Bellagio. More to come on that night soon too.

So in conclusion, this is really one long excuse paper as to way I’m behind on posting. Pease excuse my lateness, but also enjoy the following posts with more details of all the fun we had in Vegas. And remember that sometimes there is a lot of meaning to the saying, “better late than never.”

  originally posted at { http://allisondalke.blogspot.com/2011/03/better-late-than-never-for-thursday.html }