Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Another Car Wash...

Ok Peeps---
You still have one last chance to come let us make your car sparkle...for a G-R-E-A-T cause!!!! :) Last Saturday, we were at Tennessee Bank and Trust from 9-1 pm and washed about 12 cars. This Saturday (July 3rd), we are going to be there again...and we want to wash 100 cars!!!! :) Really, we've had tons of friends say they wanted to come out, but didn't make we're giving you another chance! Our team of EXPERT car-washers will do a great job...and it will also be your last chance to score one of Teri's t-shirts! If you think you might want to help be an expert car-washer (the term "expert" can be defined in many ways...) WE NEED YOUR HELP! Or...if you're particularly skilled at holding signs and yelling enthusiastically at passer-bys with dirty automobiles...WE NEED YOU, too!
Seriously, it's a lot of fun...and it will be our last fundraiser for our Ethiopia trip. We leave TWO WEEKS from TODAY...and we are excited beyond words!!!!

Thanks for all of your prayers and support!!!!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Our Weekend In Pictures

A wonderful weekend...

Started Friday as all my Mom's sisters came to Sonya's to do the final deep clean after she moved out...true FAMILY.

Friday night at the Calmus' Jade and her bestest bud Cate Ryan happily shared some Craisins! Some of the guys went fishing that day and so it was supposed to be a "fishfry" where they were going to cook their catch. After we'd eaten our fill and talked them up on their fishing, they admitted that they let ALL of their fish go, and BOUGHT the fresh catfish at our local fishmarket. Already cleaned and filleted. Clever boys. He he.

Saturday was spent with this group- our biggest Ethiopia supporters...helping Teri and I do a car wash to raise money for our trip! It was fun. Hot... but fun! Thanks to any of you who came out and helped, to those of you who let us make your car sparkle for this great cause, and to TN Bank and Trust for letting us have it there. It was a great success! We may do it again next weekend, so for those of you who couldn't make it out, you might get another chance! Stay posted...

My wonderful husband (who LIVES for the World Cup!) actually sacrificed watching the big USA game on Saturday to help me with the car that evening we went to Jesse and Amanda's who had DVRed it. Technology is amazing! Sad loss...but we were classic watching "old news" as though it were LIVE.

...and when the kiddos got tired of soccer, we stuck them in the bathtub! Always a good trick!

And today was another sad loss...Rich's homeland lost their game today, England is also out of the World Cup. The only thing that could cheer up my Englishman was a sonic drink (which Jadybug and I are always up for!)...and some "us" time at our farm. Watching this girl and horses could cheer anyone up...she stood on this HUGE fallen tree and called them forever...

Hope your weekend was as peaceful as ours...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

like mother, like daughter...

From the very first minute she was born, Shaelyn Jade amazed us all by just how much she looks like her Daddy! If I had a nickle for every time, just in her one short year of life, I have had someone say, "Wow! She looks just like Rich" or "She doesn't look anything like you, Dana" or "I have never seen a baby girl look so much like a grown man"...I'd be one rich Mama! But while my little lady may not look one bit like me, it warms my heart to be able to see how much she IS like me. It's amazing how God "knit" her together as a perfect combination of me and Rich...and this is just one little way that she IS her mother alright...

SONIC ICE!!! Anyone who knows me at all knows that I'd rather be chomping on ice than just about anything (I did say just about, people...don't tempt me with a McDonald's french fry!)...and SONIC has perfected the ice cube. Just ask me and Jadybug who, on any really hot day, can be found at our favorite drive in getting a calorie-free treat! For $0.55 you can make us two of the happiest girls in the world! And there is absolutely nothing that can beat the sound of her little voice from the backseat as she waits for the carhop..."Mama...I-y-th!" That's right, we have the cutest lisp E-V-E-R on our hands, and I'd give all the sonic ice in the world just to hear it one more time! My, my I love this girl.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Big God

Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. ~Malachi 3:10

God is so faithful to confirm His Word in my life. I got some news tonight from a sweet friend that just blows my mind...such a confirmation of what God WILL do with a WILLing heart. I read this verse earlier today, prior to seeing her (definitely God preparing me for tonight---not like I read MALACHI every day! :)) and was so happy to be able to share it with her tonight. God promises to BLESS those who do not hold back from all. I will share all of the awesome details of her journey soon... but tonight I lay down with a thankful heart, again, at how God surpasses even our highest human expectations! To God be the glory...GREAT things He has done...and IS DOING!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Talking With God

Ever have one of those days where you just feel like the entire day is a continual conversation with God? Well, honestly, that is rare for me. I kinda stuggle with being a "good prayer" most of the time...but today was one of those blessed days for me. As my Ethiopia trip draws nearer, I find myself thinking lots about it. I just remember how much my first mission trip changed me. So much of who I am today was "born" on that trip. And I can't help but realize that this trip will be the same way...that in a few short weeks I will, no doubt, be different than I am today. Rich and I have started talking a lot about the things I will see---the children I will meet...and the things that God may call me to as a result of these things. On Saturday night we sat on our back patio and talked about how our responsibility to ACT changes once we have actually SEEN the way things are in other places. Until you actually GO, you can only imagine...and the imagination does not give justice to the injustices of poverty and hunger and AIDS and orphans. But once you have been there...once you have those little faces seared into your mind's eye, you can't go back to just imagining. You KNOW those faces. So today, as I cleaned my bathrooms, God and I talked a lot about this trip. It was so peaceful and easy, and I know it was Him. He is preparing me. And I prayed (and would appreciate if you'd pray, as well) that He would show me the things He wants me to see...and then show me how He is calling me to ACT upon these things. And I told him today that my "yes" is on the table already(as my sweet friend, Diane, always says)...and I mean it! As I look back over the past couple years, it is so clear that God has been pruning me and peeling layers away so that I am now ready to follow wherever He Ethiopia...and beyond. The people that will change me are somewhere out there, already, tonight...and I do not yet know them. That thought is kinda crazy to me. But God is orchestrating the lives of 24 of us to go to those people and HELP them. I am one of them. He called me. I am so thankful.

Rich read me a very challenging quote on Saturday night, from this book, that I can't quite shake...
"Sometimes I would like to ask God why he allows poverty, suffering, and injustice when He could do something about it."
"Well, why don't you ask Him?"
"Because I'm afraid He would ask me the same question."

Sunday, June 20, 2010


"To her the name of father was another name for love."

I found this quote years ago and it has always meant so much to me because I understand it. I am that girl. I have been blessed with the most loving father I have ever known- who always demonstrated love to us by affection, by always telling us he loved us, by letting us see him love our mother, by spending time with letting us see our Heavenly Father's love so evident in his life. He is love to me...and I had this quote embroidered on the handkerchief I gave to him on my wedding day. I didn't fully know, that day, that the man I married is so much like my father...but I do believe that some part of me was drawn to him because of it. He, too, has become love for me. Rich is the kindest husband, the sweetest son, the truest friend, and the most loving father, also, to our Jade. And I was so happy this year when I found this quote again...

...this time, for him, on his 2nd Father's Day...on his card from Shaelyn Jade.

She and I spent our day with our fathers...

...I am so thankful that the legacy of love is being passed from my father to me, and her father to her. Happy Father's Day...we LOVE you both!!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Goodbye Neighbors...

For almost 3 years now we have had the most wonderful experience of living directly across the street from some of our closest friends in the world (who also happen to be family :))Our address is 1033 and theirs is 1032, so I mean DIRECT-LY across the street. It has been a dream having them so close. But as all good things must come to an end...tonight was spent packing these friends up.

...And the moving crew...

We sat out tonight on the back of the U-Haul and reminisced all of the times that we have needed each other- it's crazy just how dependent you can become on neighbors sometimes. Like the time that I left the oven on and called Drason to come turn it off...or the time I ordered pizza and it beat me home...and I had to have Drason come pay the guy for me. Then the the Valentine's Day that me and Sonya came home and the boys were at their house making homeade sushi for us...with all the trimmings. Or Drason's 30th birthday where Sonya had all our friends meet at our house at 6 am so we could all storm in to his bedroom and wake the sleeping birthday boy (try that for a surprise!!)...

...Or the night that we kidnapped Livi, changed her clothes and returned her home with a surprise message for Son and Dra...our new baby!

Or one of my favorites that I was so glad they were here for was when my water broke- late night---and my Aunt Sis ran across the street as I stood in a puddle. We cried together and she told me it was gonna be ok...and got us loaded up to go to the hospital. Yeah, that was one of my favorite times she was my neighbor.
There have been lots of cups of sugar and eggs...gas for the lawn mower (and we've pretty much "shared" the actual lawn mowers themselves as they don't seem to both work at the same time E-V-E-R). We have had more pot luck dinners together (at least a couple every single week)...several yardsales... Our kids definitely bathe together at one of our houses...almost weekly.

Rich and Drason have spent so many hours keeping the neighborhood awake with their loud jam sessions in our garage...Sonya and I have spent so many hours sitting on our porches just talking. Seems like we never run out of things to say- even after 28 years.
We've just done a lot of life with these two. REAL the kind where you don't care if they come over even when your house is a wreck. Like the kind where you don't care if they hear you have a fight with your spouse. Like the kind where you can just be Y-O-U every day, for all the good and all the bad...and you know the will still be there...across the street...tomorrow.

Except that's about to change. Our best friends are leaving our street. But the memories will stay forever.

...Oh, and before I get too sad...let me remind myself that we do own adjoining property still that we will hopefully build our dream homes on someday...and our kids will again bathe together, but probably more in the creek than the bathtub...and we may have to share a tractor instead of a lawnmower. Some things change...some things always stay the same...but here's to memories for a lifetime!

The group...minus Jadybug (in my belly)...and Bane...possibly conceived on this trip...:) He he.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Every 4 years...

If there is one thing I have come to live with since becoming an "Andrews"'s the fact that every four years a very life-stopping event takes places that our household MUST be tuned in to! Yep, my England-born husband has that soccer-mania blood that most Englishmen have. So, needless to say, he has been "preparing" for the World Cup 2010 Opening since...well, the last game of the 2006 World Cup! As New Year's Day dawned this year, it wasn't a kiss from me that was his FIRST was--- "THIS IS THE YEAR OF THE WORLD CUP AGAIN FINALLY!!"...and trust me, we have heard about it ever since. I am just happy it has begun! :)

Honestly, I LOVE that Rich LOVES soccer. I mean, he truly does, in a way that I have rarely seen people love a sport in my life. He loves to watch it, play it, talk about...everthing! He was SO excited now that he is a dad...and it is the year of another World Cup, to make sure his little lady was appropriately dressed for these games, so his birthday gift to her was the complete, authentic England World Cup Jersey. He says she will be wearing for every England game. And while he took the USA-England tie to be a loss, really (what an awful goalie goof!!!), he sure had fun talking smack to Jesse and all of our other USA friends! Shaelyn Jade and I crashed the boy party for a minute to drop off our England flag and let Rich show her off in her duds. Will Pilkinton thought she was so cute! :)

Even though I am American, I swore to my sweet husband long ago that I'd be right beside him cheering on his homeland from now on, sooooo----"God Save The Queen" their song says! We hope they make it to the finals! :)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Ethiopia Bound!

Friends and Family,

Lots of you probably already know, but for those of you who don't...I want to share with you what God's been doing in my life prepare me for His plans in Ethiopia. If you'd asked me a year ago if I could see myself going on a mission trip this summer...ABSOLUTELY NOT! I had JUST had my sweet baby girl, and quite honestly could never have seen myself being able to leave her for 10 minutes, much less 10 days! Still, I have had a deep heart for orphans since my first mission trip to Vinnitsa, Ukraine...and I have always known in the back of my mind that "someday" I wanted to go again...that "someday" I wanted to possibly adopt one of those precious orphans...that "someday" I'd be ready...I just had no idea "that day" to GO was so close. During my pregnancy, my burden for babies without mommies became all the more real to me, and I can remember sitting and sobbing over emails and videos from friends on mission trips...not really able to see how or where this crisis could "fit" into my life, but my heart truly breaking for the children who were victims to the demons of poverty and hunger and sickness, without even a mom or dad to ease their pain. One night, my sweet Rich said, "Dana, your burden for these children is extraordinary. They touch you in a way that I don't think everyone is touched... and I believe God has put it in your heart because He wants to use YOU to make a difference. We need to start praying NOW that He will start opening doors and directing your path!" And we did. And let me tell you God started answering, FAST!

Now let me back up just a bit...for a couple years, my sister-in-law, Courtney, had been telling me about her blog...and right about 6 months or so before all this praying started happening at our house, she'd been telling me about this organization she'd found and helped out on a couple projects that she just knew I'd love. But I wasn't really at a place where I could get into blogging back then (for "bored" mothers only, right??? :)), so I never checked it out. Now here I am 6 months later, praying for God to direct my path...and at church one Wednesday night, just right on the spur of the moment, the pastor called a couple down to the front to testify (yes, the good ole fashioned testifying happens at Bethel on Wednesday nights! :))I honestly don't remember all of what they said. What I did catch was that this woman and her husband had recently adopted a little boy from Ethiopia...and that they had started a nonprofit organization (I didn't even hear "Ordinary Hero" mentioned, if it was) to help more kids, and that deep place in my heart was touched by the Holy Spirit again. We got in the car that night and I cried, again, as I talked to Rich about "being like them" and just wanting to "follow God." I had NO IDEA that God was movin' and shakin' RIGHT THEN! The next day was busy and I'd planned that night to meet my two best friends to walk in downtown Franklin...but that afternoon, my sister-in-law, Courtney, called me. She asked me if I'd ever checked out that website on her blog (no!)...and said she was actually going to go to a meeting that night at the lady's house who started it...and for some reason, she just felt like she was "supposed" to call and see if I wanted to go. So random. So unplanned. So God. My thoughts immediately were that I'd been praying for God to open doors to serve...maybe this was it. And even though I'd made other plans that night, I believed it was GOD who told Court to call me. I started sharing with her how much we'd been praying lately for God to show me where He wants to use me...and how a woman at church the night before had really spoken to my heart about being ready to be used...and somehow through the course of our conversation we figured out that that woman at my church the night before was the founder of THIS organization that Courtney was calling me about!!!! People it was CRAZY I tell ya!!!Honestly, I got big chills all over and KNEW God was answering my prayers!!! Isn't it so refreshing when you just KNOW that God is AT WORK??? So 24 hours after the Holy Spirit touched my heart at church, I was sitting in Kelly Putty's living room with about 10 other women- the first few people she'd enlisted to help her get this God-movement off the ground---in total awe that He'd called ME to be a part! It was that night that Kelly told us about this mission trip she was planning to Ethiopia. At the time, I had a 4 or 5 month old...and I can only tell you that the mommy in me fought what I knew was God's call! I didn't commit for several months...but I prayed that God would calm my anxieties if I was supposed to go. And He did...

Our team will be leaving on July 14---and though I must be honest and say my belly jumps at the thought of being away from Shaelyn Jade so long, wild horses could not keep me from this mission that I know is of God!

Now, I know that we all gets TONS of letters this time of year requesting support...and yes, I am here to ask for MORE! :) I read them myself and honestly, I usually just write the check...and forget that GOD DOESN'T NEED MY MONEY TO ACCOMPLISH HIS PURPOSES. What He WANTS is for His saints to gather together and call out to HIM with one heart. I am asking you, right now, to bind your heart with mine, for His great purpose in Ethiopia. I am not going to lie and say I don't need the money---'cause people, I do! :)...but I am fully confident that I am called to this trip, and I know the money will come. What I am most concerned about is that His purpose for me going will become evident and that I will be open to anything He wants to put on my heart. I NEED your prayers, most of all. Please pray:
1) I will be free from anxiety and fear- of all kinds. Sometimes I struggle with that, and Satan knows I need prayer warriors helping me ward off his fiery darts!
2) Please pray that God will use this time in Ethiopia to confirm His calling on my life. I know a deep place in my heart beats for this mission, and I just want God to use this time to show me where He is leading.
3) Pray that I will have the courage to follow. All of the "frills" of life can sometimes get in the way of me seeing HIS big picture, and I just want my heart to be pure and open.
4) Pray that I am filled with compassion that oozes out---so that I can just LOVE LOVE LOVE every child I come into contact with! Pray that I will have energy and health and safety. Also, I will be helping to organize the "art" portion of the trip where we will do all kinds of crafts with the kids. I am praying that God will give me creative ideas that the kids there will really love!
5) Pray for the unity of our team. We have members on this trip from all over the country, so some of us will not meet until we leave. I just pray that God will immediately BIND OUR HEARTS to accomplish our common purpose.

Now, about the money.... :) The total cost of this trip is $3000---which includes the flight, lodging, food, everything...and a little bit that will go toward the orphanages we visit. I know money is tight for us all right now, but every little bit helps---and it all goes to the most worthy cause! If you feel led to give, there are several ways you can:

1) For direct donations to my trip, go to the Visiting Orphans website (this is the group organizing our trip) @ There is a DONATE button. You can find the Ethiopia trip July 14-24 with Ordinary Hero/Shane and Kelly Putty...and just be sure you designate that your funds are for ME.
2)COOL T SHIRTS!!!! My friend, Teri, is also going on this trip. Her brother has designed THIS very cool shirt for our trip!

We are selling them for $25 ($10 is the COST of the shirt...$15 will go toward my trip!) They are American Apparel brand--so super'll love it! We need to sell as many of these as we can, so HELP ME GET THE WORD OUT!!!! If you'd like to buy one, leave me a COMMENT on this blog w/ your email address and I will contact you.
3) We will be having a CAR WASH towards the end of the month...more details to follow. Come let us make your car sparkle---for a good cause!
4) We are also selling soccer jerseys that you can purchase for a child that we will meet in Ethiopia! You will get to write a message to "your child" on the jersey and take a picture of yourself with the jersey that we can take to the child. Over there, they will be THRILLED with a soccer jersey from you...and we will also get a picture of "your child" for you. What a wonderful way to connect with a child in need, personally...and be blessed yourself! These jerseys are $50 and 100% of that money will go toward my mission trip! (Also COMMENT if you'd like to participate in this fundraiser.)

There are no words for how excited I am about this trip. Please visit the Ordinary Hero website ( and click on the link for the Kicking and Dreaming Ethiopia 2010 Team to find out more details on our trip. I just KNOW that God is doing big things, and I am so thankful I get to be a part. Thank you, in advance, for your "ground" support--- you, too, are a part of accomplishing HIS purposes!


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Thought For Thursday...

"The family is the corner stone of our society...

...More than any other force it shapes the attitude, the hopes, the ambitions, and the values of the child...

...And when the family collapses it is the children that are usually damaged...

...When it happens on a massive scale the community itself is crippled...

...So, unless we work to strengthen the family...

... to create conditions under which parents will stay together...

... all the rest... will never be enough.

- Lyndon Baines Johnson

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Just couldn't go!

Well the rest of the gang left this morning...but Rich and I decided we just couldn't go...and decided to keep our little family of three on vacation for one more day! And what a day it has been. We LOVE LOVE LOVE spending time with my big crazy family, but we LOVE LOVE LOVE spending time with just the 3 of us, too! We went swimming (actually Shaelyn Jade mostly crawls around on the pavement and finds all sorts of treats like old band-aids or chewed gum or dead bugs or soggy, old food!)...

...and later we napped and read and sat on the back porch and dreamed about someday when we will build a house on our land...and talked...and napped again...
Talk about one more vacation WAS! Tonight we headed back into the little city of Greenville which, apparently, is the best kept secret in South Carolina! It has the cutest stores and every restaurant you could think of...and beautiful architecture...and monuments and historical bits all over! And right in the middle of this city with tall hotels and business buildings all around, the Reedy River just runs right through with huge rocks and a really cool bridge (that shakes when you walk across it!!!)...and the BEST ice cream shop called Spill The Beans- with the nicest folks working there- just on the other side! That's really what we came back for...:) If Rich said it once he must have said it a hundred times, that that was THE BEST ice cream he has EVER had in his ENTIRE life!!! Now that's a pretty bold claim, I tell ya!
Anyways, I am still having to snap pics on my cell phone until I can get home and download my camera pics to my it's a little fuzzy...

...but this was us on the shaky bridge tonight...just after a messy but delicious dinner at Sticky Fingers (one of Rich's Charleston faves)!

Perfect ending to a perfect day...perfect week!

More to come...!