When Hannah and Ross were little, I used to read a funny little book to them that they loved. It was entitled Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. There were those days, like we all have, where we, too, felt just like Alexander. We could so relate. But as we read the book, we could laugh, especially when he would say he was just going to move to Australia. Sometimes that is the only thing we can think of to do, just run away from home! And yet, it is in those times that we have to choose where our focus is going to be.
Hebrews 12:2 says, "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfector of our faith." Fixing our gaze means literally choosing to not get side-tracked, looking to the right or left, but choosing to look straight ahead, eyes fixed on the most important thing. Jesus.
The second weekend in October I was looking so forward to making a trip up to the NC mountains to stay with Robert, Elizabeth and James Michael. I was going to attend his fall advertising sale at Trackside Auction, take James Michael, my nephew on a "date," and then we were going to drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway and see the beauty of my favorite season of all, fall, the leaves and the elk that only come out this time of year.
I went to bed Thursday night feeling like I had a sore throat and cough coming on, and woke up on Friday morning freezing, coughing, body aches, and ended up in the doctor's office. Diagnoses: upper respiratory infection and bronchitis. My temperature was 101. I was feeling a bit like Alexander by that point, coming to terms with the fact that I would not be able to make the trip, not only because I was so sick, but because I couldn't risk spreading it with my brother and his family. Friday and Saturday I found myself unable to get off the couch, weak, dizzy, feverish, coughing uncontrollably at times, just feeling pretty terrible, horrible, no good, very bad.
This was also the weekend that Hurricane Matthew came through our state, and Hannah and Clayton had to evacuate from their home in Charleston. I was so delighted to have them and the grand dogs come into town on Wednesday night to stay with me through Thursday, before heading to spend the rest of the weekend with her dad and step-mom, after their original plans to spend a weekend in Edisto had to also be canceled due to the storm. As Clayton's mom, Carolyn and I were texting back and forth, me sick here, she and her family sick there with the stomach bug, we were pretty miserable. We talked about how it seems the only things people post on social media are their perfect lives, their perfect pictures, when sometimes, Alexander is real! There are going to be those times when nothing seems to work out, and we are stuck alone, sick, on a couch all weekend while everyone else is out having fun. And yet, as I tried to focus on the good, it wasn't that hard. I was safe, my house was fine, I had electricity, when so many were literally losing everything they owned as a result of the hurricane that devastated so much of our beloved state.
Hannah and Clayton were finally able to return home on that following Monday, and of course everything they had in their refrigerator and freezer had to be thrown out. For a newlywed couple, that is no small loss. And yet, they were blessed, as was I. Because just a year ago, I found myself with a huge oak tree on top of my roof as a result of the 1,000 year flood, with much devastation to my home. What a reminder to me that as devastating as it was to have that mess, my house in disrepair for months, and the stress of insurance companies, claims adjusters, roofers, repairmen, and the process that took much longer than I could've every imagined, my house is back together. All is well.
And so it is in this season of life that I am always learning, growing, and seeing things with a fresh, new perspective. When we begin to feel like Alexander, we have to remind ourselves that it won't always be like this. We have to look ahead of the mess, ahead of the sickness, ahead of the devastation, and know that it is all going to be ok. In God's time. Not ours. Sure, I was disappointed that I didn't get to go to the mountains that weekend, but it certainly wasn't the end of the world. I rested, took my meds, and I got well. And the best part? The Lord was with me that weekend, in the quiet of a weekend on my couch, watching Hallmark movies, eating chicken noodle soup, and simply resting in Him. He is the Author and the Perfector. I don't think I will be moving to Australia after all.
As we face another Presidential election this month, and so many are so distressed over the what-ifs, I choose to keep my eyes focused on the One Who sits on His throne, is Sovereign, and rest. In Him. He is. So let's fix our eyes on Him, brothers and sisters.
Ministry at a Glance:
The month of October was a little calmer on the ministry front, which is sometimes the little refresher and rest time that is good for body and soul. The month started out on October 2nd at Washington Street Baptist Church in Winnsboro, SC celebrating their homecoming. It was a delight to be with their church for this wonderful occasion, then partaking in a covered dish dinner afterward, and enjoying getting to visit with Pastor De Witt Atkerson, his wife Helen and their family. Though I was scheduled to be at Zion Southern United Methodist Church in Mullins, SC on Sunday, October 16th, Hurricane Matthew left them without electricity for most of the previous week. As a result, they decided it would be best to reschedule their homecoming for the next Sunday I had open, which was November 6th. Towards the end of the month on the weekend of October 22nd and 23rd I traveled to Indian Trail, NC to be with Ebenezer Baptist Church. On Saturday afternoon I was delighted to minister at their ladies event, sharing a message “Pressing On in the Midst of Whatever We Are in the Midst Of.” Then that evening, I had a wonderful time of fellowship over dinner with the ladies of the Encouragers Sunday School class, who sponsored the ministry event that day and certainly lived up to their name. It was especially sweet to reconnect with their dear pastor’s wife Gail Rogers and their women’s ministry leader Beth Pressley. The next morning I spoke and sang for their combined Sunday School hour, and then shared a mini-concert during their morning worship service, and enjoyed lunch with Pastor Tim Rogers, Gail and their daughter Rebekah. It is always fun meeting hometown girls, and friends of friends. I met this lovely other Dawn while there as well, and we took a selfie and sent it to our mutual friend Joyce Wagster. On Sunday, October 30th I traveled to Gaston, SC to be with Christian Fellowship Baptist Church to minister through concert for their morning 5th Sunday singing service.
Looking forward to November, my schedule is filling up and I am excited to start celebrating the Christmas season. The first weekend in November will be quite busy with 4 events to kick off the month. On November 3rd, I will be in Florence, SC as the keynote speaker for the She Magazine’s 3rd Annual Extraordinary Women 2016 Event. In October I had the privilege of writing a feature article in the magazine’s debut issue for She Magazine of the Midlands, and I am honored to have been asked to be a speaker for their event. To get your copy of the magazine online, go to www.shemagazine.com. Saturday, November 5th I will be at Trinity United Methodist Church in Conway, SC to speak/sing for their Women’s Ministry Holiday Event. On Sunday, November 6th I will be in concert for both morning and evening services. For the morning service I will be at Zion Southern Methodist Church in Mullins, SC as a part of their church homecoming. With the recent hurricane affecting their church and church families I am praying the Lord will use our time together to refresh and encourage them. On the evening of the 6th I will be with Beulah FWB Church in Pamplico, SC sharing through a concert. On Thursday, November 10th I will be with Boiling Springs First Baptist Church in Boiling Springs, SC for their Ladies’ Holiday Celebration. Sunday, November 13th I will be with Broadacres Baptist Church in Cayce, SC for their Ladies Day. If you are near any of the wonderful events I would love for you to join me! And as always, thank you for your prayers as I minister the Gospel, that Jesus would be lifted up, and people drawn to Him.
*There are still a few open Sundays for this year/holiday/Christmas season, and I would love to come to your church. Nov. 13th p.m., 20th a.m. & p.m., 27th p.m., Dec. 4th p.m., and 18tha.m. are available. Email Allison at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (803) 772-7747.
Nov. 13th– available p.m. I am in Cayce, SC a.m.
November 20th a.m. and p.m. available.
November 27th p.m. available.
Dec. 4th– available p.m. I am in Florence, SC a.m. (No travel expenses for Florence area churches.)
Dec. 18th– available a.m. I am in Cool Branch, SC p.m.
**And if your church is planning a special service, holiday event, Christmas concert, or women's conference or retreat, I'd love to come.** (We are scheduling well into the fall of 2017.) For more information, please visit my website. http://dawnsmithjordan.com/schedule.php
On The Home Front:
With my love language being "quality time," I have always been one to cherish time spent with family and friends. I was delighted to have my favorite Zumba teacher Leigh Ann Barnes Bristow and her newborn baby boy Isaac over for brunch. What a cutie he is, and what a precious mama she is to her firstborn. Then of course I was tickled when Hannah texted me that they were coming to stay due to having to evacuate their Charleston home with the hurricane coming. I love a full house...3 adults, 3 dogs and 1 cat. Perfect! It's hard to believe that the newlyweds will already be celebrating 6 months of married bliss on the 15th of this month.
The SC State Fair came to town, and I was delighted when my Aunt Sue texted that she was thinking about going for lunch on opening day, asking if I would like to join her. Traditionally my dear friend Sharon and I are each other's "fair dates" and have been for years. With so much delicious fair food on my list of must-haves, I had no problem going twice. There were corn dogs, Fiske fries, fried mushrooms, Netterfield's lemon-ade, elephant ears AND funnel cakes. Sharon and I also took in the Alabama concert, which was absolutely fantastic. We facetimed Ross and Brianna from the fair, and it was fun to share a little bit of the fun with them.
It was so good to see my sweet "other" daughter Bree Boyce at her bridal shower in celebration of her upcoming wedding in January.
I continue to enjoy teaching my delightful piano/voice students each Monday-Thursday, as we are now enjoying Christmas music in preparation for our upcoming Christmas recital in December. Megan Zelling, who had a brain tumor and cyst removed last month, is back and doing amazingly well. Zoey and Cookie were delighted to have her back too.
Looking forward to November, I am excited to be heading to NC for Robert's Advertising Sale on the 12th. Hannah and Clayton will be home for the Thanksgiving holidays, and I am so excited that their whole little family will be staying a few days with me. Though we will certainly miss having Ross and Brianna home with us, I am so glad Brianna's mom and 2 of her siblings are flying out to Denver to spend Thanksgiving with them. That warms this mama's heart. I am still so thankful to have had them home in September for a week. A very happy birthday to my beloved son-in-law Clayton on the 11th!
Though Allison and I work "together," most of our togetherness consists of email and phone calls. Between her busy life as a wife, mother of two little girls, and being my Administrative Assistant/Schedule Coordinator, and my travel/ministry/teaching schedule, we rarely see each other in person. But we were finally able to nail down an evening to meet at our favorite sushi restaurant, Inakaya here in Columbia. Usually we see each other in Zumba or Dance Jam class, or in passing as she drops off things, etc. We were having such a good time, and enjoying the delicious food so much that neither of us remembered to take a picture together! It is rare that both of us are in make-up and dressed up, so I guess we will just have to do it again this month! She got to hear the baby's heartbeat this month, and we are getting very excited about this new little blessing that is on his or her way.
*Two special prayer requests:
Would you pray for a precious friend and her husband as they head to Greenville this Wednesday, the 2nd for him to have surgery to remove cancer? We are asking that the surgeons get it all, that there are no complications, and that he is completely healed and cancer-free, and set free from the burden of this diagnosis.
Would you pray for my brother Robert and Elizabeth as they travel to Maryland for him to have hernia surgery on the 30th? He has lived with this pain for far too long, and your prayers for safe travels, successful surgery and no complications is greatly appreciated.
Thank you so much for lifting up both of these to our faithful Father. As i think about Thanksgiving, I am so thankful for you. I know you are busy. I know you have your own families, lives, prayer requests, and I'm grateful that you take the time to allow me to come into your home and hearts every month. I would love to hear from you, and am always glad to pray for you as well.
"I thank my God every time I remember you." (Phil. 1:3)
Blessed Thanksgiving to you and your family,
Funnies From the Road:
Seems Zoey has figured out that when the suitcase is out I'm leaving again. Every single time she tries to sneak in there, her little eyes pleading, "See, Mom, I can fit. Please?" I just have to laugh. It's that season of more nights away, so I guess she will just keep trying.
Looking for stocking stuffers for your friends, family and co-workers? Order Dawn's Christmas CD's, on which she is joined by seven-string guitarist Jerry Sims. 2 CD's for only $20! You may purchase your CD set here
Your Presence For Christmas Song list:
1. Let it Snow!
2. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
3. Jesus, What a Wonderful Child
4. Your Presence for Christmas
5. Winter Wonderland
6. Put a Little Holiday in Your Heart
7. Christmas Time is Here
8. Mr. Santa
9. Grown-Up Christmas List
10. I Bought You a Plastic Star
11. Frosty the Snowman-Santa Claus is Comin' to Town (guitar solo)
12. Silent Night
13. Bethlehem Morning
Christmas With You Song list:
1. Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!
2. Mr. Santa
3. (There's No Place Like) Home for the Holidays (guitar solo)
4. Winter Wonderland
5. Merry Christmas, Darling
Dawn's Blog Amazing Grace Notes
My new blog is entitled "Amazing Grace Notes," and I would love to invite you to join me at http://dawnsmithjordan.blogspot.com/
for regular updates.
As you are prayerfully considering becoming a monthly partner, or sending a one time gift to Jordan Ministries remember all gifts are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated, Jordan Ministries is a 501c3 non-profit organization. Make your donation to Jordan Ministries, and mail them to P.O. Box 2846, Irmo, SC 29063. Thank you for partnering with us through your financial gifts and prayers.
Follow me on my DAWN SMITH JORDAN Musician/Band Facebook page to be eligible for the monthly prize give-away trivia contest!
Thursday, November 3
Extraordinary Women Award Event
Saturday, November 5
Trinity United Methodist Church
Women's Ministry Holiday Event
9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, November 6
Zion Southern Methodist Church
Sunday, November 6
Beulah FWB Church
Thursday, November 10
Boiling Springs First Baptist Church
Boiling Springs, SC
Ladies' Night Out
Sunday, November 13
Broadacres Baptist Church
Follow Dawn on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram where we post regular updates and prayer requests.
A Note from Allison
The fall, and heading into winter is busy for most people, but especially for our family. To start, fall (actually late summer) in the Hodge house means hunting season and college football! Then we have fall festivals and trunk or treats, Abby's birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hannah's birthday, and of course Christmas. All this during Randy's busiest season at work (hello retail). So with all that staring back at me on the calendar I started to feel a little overwhelmed. Then as I tried to schedule and plan out every fall festival I could find and when to fit in Boo at the Zoo, I suddenly had this sweet release of the pressure to do it all. I stood in my bathroom thanking God for His peace and for providing only a relief that He can provide. It doesn't change the things on the calendar out of my control (holidays, birthdays, work schedules) but it does allow me to enjoy those moments by not feeling the pressure to fill all the space in between them. So as we all enter this holiday season I challenge you, and myself, to slow down. To be present where we are and not feel pressured to just "make an appearance" or do something because we're just supposed to. I want to remember the things we do, rather than look back and wonder where the past 3 months went.