Friday, September 25, 2009

Favorite Restaurants

When I sat down to write this post, my first inclination was to list four-star restaurants (in a lame attempt to appear much “finer” in my dining preferences).
But then I had to just get real with myself. While it may be perfectly true to say that The Palm and Truluck's are my favorites – those just aren't really places we frequent.

My Favorite Restaurants are (drum roll):

Baker’s Street Pub - this is a great place to just eat dinner and hang out with friends. It’s a mega-smoky atmosphere, though…..but otherwise – awesome food and great martinis. My favorite thing to order is just the plain ol’ cheeseburger. They are delicious!

BJ’s Brewhouse – 6 times out of 10, when Larry and I have a Friday evening alone, we’ll choose BJ’s. It’s just a random thing that the top two restaurants on this list have names that include “pub” and “brew house”. A beer enthusiast I am not. Our reason for loving BJ’s is pure and simple: BJ’s Favorite Pizza. Yum. Delicious. Unprecedented.

Cafe Adobe – To say that I love Mexican food is an understatement. CafĂ© Adobe is certainly one of my best favorite places for chips and queso. Although one time several years ago, Larry and I ate there one Saturday night…..and I bit into a beer bottle cap in my salad. Needless to say, I love the place so much that the incident did not deter us from future visits. Sad (and gross), but true.

Luby’s – why, you ask? Because one day, when I am old and gray, this is where my husband and I will go on dates. Oh, wait….we just did that last Friday. And no, I’m not joking. We had to be the only people under 70, but we didn’t mind. We LOVE Luby’s. I love the salad, the fish, the okra, the mashed potatoes and gravy, the hamburger steak, the green beans….and the jello with cool whip topping. Luby’s reminds me of a restaurant that serves what I would cook for my family if I cooked for my family.

Perhaps it’s also nostalgia that endears this old person place to me. When I was younger, my family always went to the mall on Saturday (hence, my love and addiction to shopping??).

On those weekly trips, we ate every Saturday evening at either Furr’s (which is now Luby’s) or Wyatt’s (which, since we grew up and quit going there, is now out of business). I’m not sure why we never ventured to other dining establishments…..but I didn’t mind. I had the same thing every weekend: child’s plate hamburger steak, mashed potatoes, and green beans and a piece of pumpkin pie (even when it was not “in season”).

When my dad would come visit me in college, we almost always found a Luby’s for dinner. And even now, when he makes a trip to Houston by himself we still go to Luby’s. If Mom is with us, we won't go. Could it be that she got burned out after years of Saturday evenings spent eating cafeteria-style macaroni and cheese and chicken fried steak?

Honorable Mention:

LC's. You will not know of this place if you have never lived in or visited Poteau, Oklahoma. However, this is where my love of crab legs and hush puppies was born. On Friday nights, they had a seafood buffet to die for. Looking back, I'm not sure if it was really that good, or if that was just the only option. The place had cracked wallpaper peeling from the ceiling and ketchup in those vintage plastic bottles - -but the food was greasy-delicious. LC died a few years ago, and I'm not even sure it's open anymore. But good stuff, I tell you. Good stuff.

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Click on the link Friday Fave’s button on the sidebar to link over to Missy’s site…..
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Monday, September 21, 2009

The Dreams of a Mother

When Luke was little more than a heartbeat with skin, I signed up for a newsletter that sends me weekly updates on his progress.

Throughout my pregnancy, I read these with scrutiny, looking for every small bit of information on how he was growing within me. Now that he is quickly approaching 4 years old, I often find myself hitting delete before reading them. (Because really, I can see the kid now and I don’t need any child expert to tell me that at his age, his imagination is growing and he might be scared of monsters. Hello. Crawling in my bed at 3:00 am might be some indication of this.) But then again, I’m no expert.


I got this in my inbox this morning:

Hello, Amy!

Around this age, you'll start noticing that some kids are more naturally athletic than others. You might know a 3-year-old who can catch a football or kick a ball with precision while another may fumble around.


“Yes! Yes!” I proclaim as I picture Luke’s perfect spiral soar across the living room. That’s Luke!

Okay, the Dalke’s are die-hard OU Sooner fans….not to mention that Luke’s uncle Bill (Larry’s brother) played for OU on national championship teams in the late 70’s. We are also over-the-top competitive, and both of us are athletes. So naturally, this is what I read when I saw this email:

Hello Amy!

Your son, Luke, is far beyond his age in terms of natural athletic ability. We have scouted him as he plays catch with his father in your living room and front yard, and we can tell he has a college uniform in his future. Although he has not even hit the small tike football field yet, he is destined to throw that ball at Memorial Stadium.

Over the next few years, you should prepare to be that annoying mother who the camera pans to in the stadium during championship games. We expect that you have this covered already.

Feed him well, keep him in good training programs, and we’ll see you in the stands!

OU Recruiting

So maybe that is a daydream of mine. If my husband were to read this, he would totally be rolling his eyes. I’m just wondering, is this where the competitive stage mom is born? Yikes!

Dear Luke,

I love you, and I won’t love you any more or any less if you don a football uniform, carry a tennis racket, or a golf club. You can be on the math drill team for all I care.

I pray that my dreams for you would never surpass your own. Whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God……and if that involves me singing Boomer Sooner after you throw a touchdown pass…….that will just be the icing on the cake!!
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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wake up little Amy - it's NOT about you!

So I picked up Louis Giglio’s I Am Not, but I Know I AM at the airport a couple of weeks ago. I have been a Louis fan since my Passion days in college. I chose this particular book because I thought my in-flight reading may be more productive if I fed my mind with God-things instead of reading my People magazines or the latest from Danielle Steel.

Little did I know…

Oh my word! This book was awesome.

“The story already has a star, and the star is not you or me.” -page 13

What a blow to my ego! And my ego so needed to be blown.

I realized that for the past YEAR (or more, if I’m being generous), I have not allowed myself to look outside of me and my own little world. Sure, I know God is God, and I know He is much bigger than creation and so on and so forth. BUT, do I live like I truly believe this?

By the second page, I was already humbled by the reality of God’s MUCH-BIGNESS. My eyes were opened to my own MEGA-small-ness.

I will never comprehend the true greatness of our God until I sit with Him in heaven, but Mr. Giglio’s words shot straight to my heart by reminding this poor soul that it’s not all about me.

This amazing God created galaxies that are light years away……and yet I dare to doubt that He can handle my tiny issues. The shame! And yet, He knows these issues are right in front of my face and He cares!! Oh how He cares!

There are no words for the impact this book has had on my perspective. The most I can utter is “….whoa!” I’m NOT the star of this show….nor will I ever be. So why do I try so hard to gain attention? Why am I so bent on being the #1 all the time?
Hello, Amy! Humble yourself before the Mighty God….the One and Only King of kings who created things your eyes cannot even see!!

I’m just saying….

If you need a dramatic change in your perspective, you ought to pick up this book. I pray that it will knock you off your feet like it knocked me off my high horse!

And all I can say is…..”….whoa!”
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Monday, September 14, 2009

What do Diet Coke, Classic Rock and a Swimming Toddler Have in Common?

I am sitting in the backyard on this fine Monday evening in Houston, Texas. My sweet Luke is swimming (asking me every 30 seconds for a band-aid....because apparently it's urgent). Yes, sure it is. But regardless, he will ask obsessively until something else captures his attention.

Larry is lounging on a chair playing Word Warp on my iPhone. This game is our new addiction, but I don't fear that he'll beat my high score so I let him play to his heart's content.

And I, on this bearable summer evening in Houston, am enjoying the calm atmosphere. Even our dog, Ranger, is not hyperactive. How I needed this night! It seems that for the past nine months, I have been in a tizzy over one thing or another (just a hint: my personality is totally Type-A-Obsessive Compulsive-must-always-be-panicked-over-something). From writing conferences to drama at my office to Scentsy parties to birthday parties and church mission outreaches, I have not slowed down. Peace has been like a pipe dream since the clock rolled to January 1, 2009.

So tonight, I don't want to run this quiet family time with many bloggy words. From now until Luke's head hits the pillow 8:30 (ish), my plan is to drink Diet Coke, give my husband helpful hints for Word Warp (yes, p-a-l-l-i-d is a word), and listen to classic rock on the radio. Classic rock is so not my choice, but in order to keep the unselfish atmosphere going, I'll endure.

And just in case you're worried, Jesus and I are dealing with this peace-thing. He is the Prince of since He loves me so much - He's constantly working on me. :)
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Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Faves.....Blessed Assurance and Chuck E. Cheese (oh not really!!)

My favorite old hymns and modern praise songs…..a stupendous topic for this list of Friday Faves.

Keep in mind, these favorites I have listed for my hymns are based solely on the first, second and fourth verses of each song. I have no clue what the third verse in any hymn is…..I think it was against the Southern Baptist Convention to include the third verse in your song service. Either that – or it was just known across the Baptist faith that skipping this verse got you out of church a few minutes earlier.

The answer to that mystery will elude me until I get to heaven I suppose. But I digress.

I truly have too many favorite hymns to list in a brief Friday post. I am a sucker for the old Baptist hymnal. Be still my heart.

When I was six or seven years old and we would visit my Grandma McGehee, there was always a Sunday morning church involved. I loved sitting next to her during the song service because she didn’t even need a hymnal. She knew every word to every song, and I remember thinking that was so cool. Ever since then, when a hymn is sung in church, I find myself trying to sing it from memory instead of looking at the words on the screen. Oh how silly that is, I know. But who doesn’t want to be just like grandma? Well, of course without the smell of Oil of Olay and White Diamonds perfume. I’ll pass on that part.

Blessed Assurance – you just have to give your self a blessing today and click on this link. Even though the site does not seem to be technologically into the year 2009, it takes me back to my childhood, sitting in the pews of Double Branch Baptist Church.
And oh the JOY of knowing that Jesus is mine!

Victory in Jesus –

I heard an old, old story,
How a Savior came from glory,
How He gave His life on Calvary
To save a wretch like me;
I heard about His groaning,
Of His precious blood's atoning,
Then I repented of my sins;
And won the victory.
O victory in Jesus,
My Savior, forever.
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood;
He loved me ere I knew Him,
And all my love is due Him,
He plunged me to victory,
Beneath the cleansing flood.
I heard about His healing,
Of His cleansing power revealing.
How He made the lame to walk again
And caused the blind to see;
And then I cried, "Dear Jesus,
Come and heal my broken spirit,"
And somehow Jesus came and brought
To me the victory.
I heard about a mansion
He has built for me in glory.
And I heard about the streets of gold
Beyond the crystal sea;
About the angels singing,
And the old redemption story,
And some sweet day I'll sing up there
The song of victory.

As I sang this song throughout my childhood, I had no idea the impact it would have on me later in life. When I hear this song now, my heart leaps at the truth of its words. How precious is our victory over sin! How amazing is the death Jesus suffered so that WE could live in daily victory. I don’t know about you, but I just want shout, “Hallejuah!” when I sing about his plunging me to victory beneath the cleansing flood. I need a cleansing flood to soak me every morning before my feet hit the floor!

Having grown up a staunch Baptist, I am now a living-breathing Methodist (much to my daddy’s chagrin). Speaking of my father’s chagrin, I am now a conservative republican, which goes against my democratic-fish-fry-political-rally upbringing. But that is another story for another time. It would actually bore you anyway, because politics is just not a blog topic for someone who would rather talk about shoes and purses and toddlers and faith (in no particular order).

Which is just a beautiful segue into the topic of my favorite modern worship songs (or not).

Only a God Like You – this youtube link is of me singing. No, I’m kidding.

Revelation Song – on any given day, you could spot me driving my car and belting this song at the top of my lungs. It just gets me going like no other. However, when we sing it in church, I tone it down a bit. Otherwise, I would sound like a bad American Idol audition.

That’s it for my Friday Faves – head over to It’s Almost Naptime for more links.

I’m off to a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese this afternoon. I can’t say that adventure gets me as excited as reading about everyone’s favorite hymns. Although I am trying, for Luke’s sake, to have a good attitude about eating dry pizza and listening to a bunch of maniacal toddlers screaming as they play on dirty equipment. The germ-a-phobe mother I am not, but I will tote a large bottle of hand sanitizer in my purse. He will bathe in it as soon as we head to the car (which hopefully is within two hours after our arrival.)

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Monday, September 7, 2009

The Fear of Monsters and What If's

Luke is afraid of monsters that live in his closet.

Every night before he gets into bed, we check the closet to see if there are monsters; and we remind him that 1) monsters are not real and 2) mommy and daddy will always keep him safe.

Last Monday night, Luke crept down to our bedroom at 4 o'clock a.m. and claimed that a monster was using the potty in his bathroom.

This was a very real scenario to him, so even though mommy and daddy knew the monsters were not, in fact, using his potty, we let him snuggle up between us in our bed.

Although his little 3 year old fears seem so silly to his 31 year old mother, I have to ask myself about my own scaredy-cat fears.

I am bombarded at times by fears:

What happens if I don't meet my producton goals at work this year?
What happens if I don't make Partner?
Just how financially secure are we?
What if my husband were to lose his job?
What happens if I don't close another deal for the rest of the year?
All of these fears (though huge in my mind) must seem ludicrous to my faithful heavenly Father. They are simple-minded compared to the provision of a Mighty God. I do know this in my head, but how do I move this knowledge to my heart?
I have created a little project for myself (by the prompting of a certain Holy Spirit). This "project" came from my quiet time on Saturday morning....after asking God how to put the feet of my revelations to the pavement of my life.
I was studying Psalms 34, and though I couldn't come up with a cutesy way to structure it (i.e. the Five F's to Freedom from Fear), I did come up with three steps that I will take when tempted to cling to my fears. Finding three steps really made me proud because I felt like my Baptist preacher father, who gives a 3-point sermon no less than 52 weeks a year.
When a fear bounces into the my thought closet, I will:
1) PRAISE the LORD - because when I am praising Him, there is no room for fears.
"My soul will boast in the Lord;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me;
let us exalt His name together."
Psalm 34:2-3
I will praise the Lord for His deliverance from anxiety. For His great love that saves me from the pit of despairing worry. For His blood that has purchased my pardon. I will lift up the Name that is above all names.....because my fears are unfounded when I rest in the shadow of His wings. The God who engineered the rotational axis of planet Earth can most assuredly handle my little life.
"I sought the Lord and He answered me;
He delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to Him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame."
Psalm 34:45
Instead of looking all around me to figure out my own method of deliverance (which, really, how many times have my anxiety-driven solutions worked?), I will look up into the face of the One who has faithfully delivered in the past. Is my Father not the God who parted the Red Sea on behalf of my spiritual ancestors? Is He not the One who raised Jesus from the dead? How small my own fears are in light of the true dangers in this world. And although I am tempted to stop this post right now as I think about the poverty across the world (and how silly my own petty fears are in comparison), I am still typing because I know God cares. Looking up instead of around is necessary if we want to give our fears to Someone capable of giving us peace in exchange.
3) REST in the promise of His deliverance.
"A righteous man may have many troubles,
but the Lord delivers him from them all."
Psalm 34:19
I will have trials and troubles as long as I live on this earth, but I can use my fears as an opportunity to seek the Lord.
Luke knows where he can run in the middle of the night if he hears monsters in his closet.
......and I know where I can run when those monster-like fears show up in my mind's closet.....
To the safety and comfort and salvation of the One who is bigger than all boogey-men.

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Friday, September 4, 2009

Mommy's Favorite Songs

Mommy’s favorite songs to sing to Luke:

I grew up singing so many Jesus-praising VBS/Sunday school songs, and I hope that a few of them will stick in Luke’s heart as ones that “mommy always sang…..”

Of course, Jesus Loves Me is the standard. We sing this at night after saying our prayers. Luke and his daddy really get into the line – “God is strong.” They put a major emphasis on this, saying it in a loud, fierce, better-watch-out-devil voice.

My absolute favorite song is If I were a Butterfly. I don’t sing this to Luke often, but I have made a mental note to put this into our repertoire.
I remember loving to shout out this song when I was probably five or six years old. The words have been written on my heart ever since. I want Luke to grow up with the truth implanted in his mind that God has made him an original, one-of-a-kind special person. He doesn’t have to measure up to the strengths of others…..but he just has to be who God made him to be.
And just in case you have been unfortunate enough to never hear this song, it goes like this:

If I were a butterfly
I’d thank you Lord for giving me wings
If I were a robin in a tree
I’d thank you Lord that I could sing
If I were a fish in the sea
I’d wiggle my tail and I’d giggle with glee
But I just thank you Father for making me, me

For you gave me a heart and you gave me a smile
You gave me Jesus and you made me your child
And I just thank You Father for making me, me

And my other very favorite: He’s Still Working on Me

And that’s all she wrote….because the lyrics say it well enough. He is still working on Luke’s mommy, thank you Jesus.

Click on the Friday Faves link at the right to hop over to It's Almost Naptime and see other Friday Favorites!
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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Family Carpool

Luke’s first three days of preschool have been a blast. Now that he is going to preschool on the campus of “Daddy’s work,” we have a family car pool.
I love it because we all get to spend half an hour together to and from our respective day time destinations.

I’m not quite sure Larry is totally crazy about this set-up…..because of the bombarding questions he faces at the end of each day (that’s what a wife does, right?), but I am thoroughly enjoying it.

Luke’s little man personality is already starting to show up in so many ways, too. I was asking him all about his day at school on the way home yesterday, and after the eleventh (or so) question, he said, “Mommy, I told you already.”

Okay, I get it. You are a male, and you prefer to chill out after a busy day. I will try for your sanity and your father’s to be a little less inquisitive. As a guy, I know you will never understand that a girl likes details. As a girl, I would like to know who you played with, what you learned, what Sam was wearing, who you sat next to at lunch, etc.

Larry made fun of me on the ride home on Tuesday afternoon, and he started teaching Luke how to sing “Feelings”. The nerve of these two!

I am just bound and determined to make this “togetherness in the car time” meaningful. Next week I am going to bring Luke’s children’s devotional bible with us, and we will get the day started in God’s Word. I also have our Seeds Family Worship cd’s, which have been a hit with Luke. I have to manage this transition very gracefully, though, and make sure that Larry still gets a few minutes of his talk radio.
Hopefully Larry won’t throw up when he suddenly hears of his new drive-in-to-work routine. Maybe I won’t go so estrogen on him, and we’ll just slowly integrate new things.

Who knows? I will keep you posted on the Dalke Daily Drive. I’m sure that plenty of stories will come from it…..if I don’t go overboard talking about “feelings”. I may end up being kicked out of the carpool!
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