Thursday, July 31, 2008

This is not a drill...

A phone call from my dear friend Sarah L. tonight has prompted some thoughts...we were talking about struggles that we have and how when we FINALLY get ready to wheel and deal with the Lord with specific things, how it is just SO difficult to let go. We talked about how we are in a war and when we are close to breakthrough how it seems the enemy of our souls 'steps it up'. When he realizes that his plans to steal from us, to kill whatever is good in our lives, to destroy us are not going to work, he has a hissy-fit. Sometimes it feels like every thing is breaking loose and our struggle is for nothing. Sometimes it feels like we are alone in our battle.

How wonderful to be part of the Body of important it is to NOT live by that feeling, to choose to see the Truth that we are not alone. To see the Truth that we are well-cared-for (especially when we humble ourselves and admit to our bros and sisters that we are needy!) How cool is it to admit to those we trust that we are struggling and receive grace from Jesus in our skirmishes.

When Sarah and I were finishing our freshman year in high school (we met in 8th grade...1975!), we went to Youth Camp at Tahquitz Pines in Idyllwild, CA. Tony Salerno was the speaker. That was the summer I got serious about knowing Jesus. Anyway, one night Tony taught on 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV):

"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."

He pointed out that usually lions hunt by stealth. Only the old, toothless, lame lion hunts by roaring, hoping to cause such a fright by his roaring that his prey freezes and allows itself to be literally scared to death. When we have Jesus, the Mighty Warrior, within we have nothing to fear from the enemy. I remember Pastor Tony saying that when Jesus is Lord, the devil is just a mouse with a megaphone!

I am convinced that Jesus' desire for us is that we allow Him to be Lord in every area as He directs...that as we give over more and more of ourselves to Him, that He breaks down the strongholds of sin that we have built around ourselves. My goal is to let Him continue breaking strongholds in my life until HE IS MY ONLY STRONGHOLD. Psalm 27:1b

The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?

We are in a WAR, people! This is not a rehearsal!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Friday, July 25, 2008


I am in BIG trouble...I just found a TON of foodie blogs. Oh, the bliss of reading about people's food adventures and foibles and experiments and successes! We have talked a lot in our family lately about limiting 'screen time' (any tv, computer, video game time)...I think I am going to need to heed my own preaching!

I have often said that if I could afford a housekeeper and just cook and bake all the time, I would! And I'd probably weigh quite a bit more...Well, if I could afford a housekeeper then I probably could afford a personal trainer too! =)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Pete and Molly


These are two of Bone's (my sister's) doggies. Petey is the big whitey and Molly is the little blackie. (Molly is now full grown.) I post this because this activity is what I did most of yesterday...

A Bug or Post-"Vay-cay"-Malaise?

Oi. I cannot seem to get going here since we returned home on Monday! Yesterday I truly felt I had taken a mega-dose of Benedryl or something! I took three naps and then proceed to go to sleep at 9:30 pm, sleeping (except for the brief awakening by our neighbors, the "McParties", in the middle of the night) until 7:43 am! Ridiculous. No one but dogs and newborns sleep this much.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Farewell, Nags Head

We will miss you!!!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The best day ever!

We are all sunburnt from yesterday's greatly enjoyable day on the shore and didn't want to spend time in the sun today. We lazed around a bit, shopped at some very fun artsy-craftsy shops on the strip, had a DELICIOUS dinner at "The Dunes" restaurant (I had crab, shrimp & scallops that did not need to be shipped 1500 miles before I consumed them...yum.) and THEN we headed out to the beach around 6:45 pm.

Earlier in the day there had been 'No Swimming' signs because of rip-tides. We were thankful the signage was gone. Don't worry, Grandma, we did not go in very deep. We had A BLAST body surfing & boogie boarding. Kristin (7)and Alison (5 1/2) sat on opposite sides of a large inner tube at the edge of the water and the waves gave them rides in and out of the shore. Diane got some good video of it that I cannot wait to see! They had some cool wipe-outs. Kristin caught some great waves boogie boarding too. The big kiddos were out in the water the WHOLE time, tumbling and swimming and yelling and cavorting. It was great fun watching them and then joining in the craziness.

When we'd been out there for an hour or so, the moon started coming up...Huge, orange and unbelievably gorgeous. We joked that we'd forgotten to put on our moonblock! Beautiful seems like such a lame word to describe it. It was breathtaking. (my camera was out of batteries...)

We came home and showered and ate peanutbutter pie (I'll post the recipe later...) and are now all readying to fall into beddy-bye. We had so much fun tonight that we are all going to try to pack our things tomorrow morning and get our beach house cleaned up quickly so that we can do some more shopping and then go down to the beach again tomorrow night. We are motivated! Only one more day in paradise! We head homeward on Saturday, hopefully arriving in Omaha on Monday evening.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Beach Shots 2

Dan: "I dare you to cross this line in the sand..."

Melancholy niece Alison.

Beach Shots 1

Elly rejoicing in her surroundings!

Kristin & Bree searching for shells...

David on the hunt for ghost crabs.

Monday, July 14, 2008

I almost missed it...

Since we have been on the road my skin has gotten REALLY bad...before we left, I knew I should have gone into the doc to get my quarterly dosage of steroids to keep my silly issues under control, but I kept hoping I could handle it myself with the topical meds I have. Last night I got really bad...or maybe I just realized that I was really bad. Sometimes I don't really let myself grasp that I am spiralling down until I am feeling desperate for help. Anyway, I decided that I needed to try to call my doc today and see if he would call me in a prescription. He is not one to give out meds willy-nilly (which I am thankful for...), so I didn't know if he would. I decided that if he wouldn't/couldn't I'd get online, find a preferred provider in the OBX area and try to get seen by someone here.

Well, may the Lord bless him, Dr. Greg consented to call CVS and I started taking the meds @ about 1 pm. It usually takes two doses for me to start feeling a bit better. Tonight I just took my third one and whew, what wonderful relief.

When I have a severe outbreak like this I look somewhat like some burn victims might look when they are healing: kind of vivid reddish-purple blotches that cover most of my face and usually only some of my neck. I get very self-conscious. People stare. I don't think most people mean to do it. Sometimes when people look 'different', you just can't help it. Sometimes, not too often, people comment..."what happened to you?" "isn't there anything you can do for that?" SO embarassing. Today when we went shopping (I did not want to go, but sometimes it is good to just press through and DO IT.), I wore my big floppy hat and sunglasses most of the time, even inside the stores. It is just easier knowing people cannot see my eyes...why is that, I wonder? Maybe I think that if they don't see that I know they are staring it is less difficult...if that makes any sense....

ANYWAY, after supper Jeff (bro-in-law: Diane's hubby) suggested we all go 'Ghost crabbing' on the beach at dusk. (more facinating info: ) I thought it was going to be like a 'snipe-hunt'....looking for something that does not exist or something we would never really find.

I was exhausted and at first said I would stay behind and go to bed early. Then I decided to go for a short time (I hate to miss a party!)...I was planning to walk with everyone to the beach and then take the short cut home by myself and still have the chance to turn in early. Thankfully, I changed my mind.

Good thing I did because we ended up finding about 25 or 30 crabs! You all who have hunted these little guys know...they are so well-camouflaged that when you see them running on the sand, you wonder if you are really seeing something or if it is your mind telling you that you are seeing something! They are FAST! And fun to catch. The kiddos were running everywhere (10 out of the 11 kiddos came with us, ages 18 down to 4 y/o!) and catching crabs ("I got one!") ("Gotcha!") ("Come back here, you little...!") and depositing them in a cooler we brought (that I thought we toted along just for show!). It was such a great time. Most of the crabs were an inch or two big, but some were 4 or 5"! The sun was setting and the clouds were glorious. We saw a double rainbow from our front deck as we left the house and then another rainbow on the beach just before the sun went to bed.

I had a solitary minute on the beach as everyone was running and exclaiming and rolling in the sand and capturing the unsuspecting little crustaceans! As I was alone, I thanked the Lord for a great time, for the beauty of this place and for our family being together. I felt as if He whispered to my heart, "Aren't you glad you came? I helped you through. I AM here. I AM with you." I wept. I was reminded of other special times at dusk on the beach (Beach Camp with First Family Church youth group at San Onofre, 3-Arch Bay adventures in high school with my dear friend Jerbi, Laguna Beach in 1986 when David proposed...) I wept some more.

It was pretty dark when we headed for home (probably a 10 minute walk). We did let the crabs go before we left! Elly even took a short video of their exodus to the sea! =) (Posted below!)

We arrived home and were looking at the many photos we took of our Ghost crab excursion and Elly asked me how I was feeling. I told her that I'm much better and asked her if I looked any better (mirrors are not my friends when I get like this!). Jordan, our 11/y/o nephew, was listening and asked what we were talking about..he went on to say that he doesn't even notice my trouble much. That made me cry AGAIN.

I was reminded that David and others that love me (Dawn, Mom, Diane, and others) have told me that they hardly notice...and I was again undone by the fact that I really am loved for who I am and not what I look like. I need that reminder because I so easily buy into our society's appearance orientation (It is SUCH a Babylon mentality!). Looking good sometimes seems like it is SO important and because of my health it is not always possible to look good (from the world's standards). I was crying and all the kids were saying, "What's wrong with Auntie?" Lisa gave me a big, LONG hug and I bawled some more! I assured them that the tears were happy ones. My wonderful m-i-l, Karen, said that she rarely notices my skin troubles and reminded me that "man looks upon the outward appearance, but God looks upon the heart". She told me that I have a beautiful heart. I think I'll 'take that to the bank'. I end this amazing day with a full and thankful heart. Life is so hard, but our God is SO good.

Sea shore

From the left: half of David's dad: Doug Reno,

David's bro in green shirt and khaki shorts: Michael Reno,

in white shirt & black shorts, David's sis: Diane Cahill,

David's mom (in blue capris) Karen Reno,

Michael's wife (our sweet sis in the green shirt): Lisa.

And at the far right, half of my better half, David!

Footprint...(is that yours, Elly?)

The very lovely, newly-8-year-old Morgan Cahill (Happy Birthday, Schmo!), our niece & the oldest little gal of the Cahills six kiddos.

First sight of the Atlantic Shore

Dan at the Outer Banks. Our nephew, Jordan rejoicing at our arrival. Four-year-old Payton, amazed at the waves!

Pictures of plants as we proceed to our purpose:

Only in Kentucky would you see the Golden Arches replicated in a giant, green shrubbery salute.

A gorgeous show...the photo does not do justice to this tree's magenta blooms, which, incidentally, we saw as we took a 'necessary break' at yet another McD's, only this time in North Carolina.

North Carolina is SO welcoming. A great percentage of the on and off ramps of Interstate 40 are adorned with these gorgeous day lillies. The amateur gardener in me was amazed and blessed.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

On the road again...

Our travelling fam...

swimming to obx

Greetings from the highways of our great country! We are en route to the Outer Banks of North Carolina (OBX)! These pix are of El, Dan & Kristin and our nieces and nephews: Brandon, Jordan, Dylan, Morgan, Payton.

Saturday, July 5, 2008


I just have to share: our daughter Elly is AMAZING. She has an artistic eye that I admire so much. When I do a sewing project, I always feel more comfortable when El helps me pick colors...sometimes she picks fabrics that I would NEVER in a million years choose and her choices consistently look fabulous. How does she do that???? Her ability is a gift from the Lord and she uses it well.

Elly has a passion for photography. This needs to be the year that we get her a wonderful camera. She's been snapping away with our cheesey little Kodak Easy Share and getting results that are beautiful. The pictures above are hers. I've been telling her that when she gets famous for her photos, I expect her to support her dad and me!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Through the fire...

Daniel 3:19-27

Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. The king's command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.
Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, "Weren't there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?" They replied, "Certainly, O king."
He said, "Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods."
Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, "Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!" So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.

Okay, WOW...I am blown away by this passage. I've read it so many times and never noticed that the only thing that was burned in the fire: their bonds. Ropes? Chains? Message to me as I go through the fire : (Jn. 16:33 In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.") When the Lord is in the fire with me and I am with Him, the only thing that gets permanently burned is my bondage!

Notice that the account above does not say that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego saw the fourth man in the often it does not 'feel' like the Lord is with us when we are in the fire...but as we walk through the fire in faith, others see Jesus!

Thank you, Lord for your POWERFUL Word. You are amazing. May we receive grace from You to walk by faith that we may please you! You are worthy!

Wish I could take credit for this insight...I am studying Daniel with a GREAT bunch of godly ladies (Bree Reno, Diane Williams, Kristi Lambrecht, Pam Lutterman, Margaret Kaspar, Mary Anderson). We are using Beth Moore's study called 'Daniel, Lives of Integrity, Words of Prophesy'. I highly recommend it!