This past Sunday on our way to lunch from church, Ross asked me a question we all ask ourselves this time of year. "So do you have a New Year's Resolution this year, Mom?" You know, I had been so busy with all that had just happened, I had not yet sat down long enough to even think of what I may specifically hope to accomplish this year. But immediately my mind was quickened to this thought and so I answered..."Ross, for right now, I want to seek the Lord with my whole heart this year, always striving to know and love Him more this year in comparison with last."
As I looked back on last year one morning this week in my quiet time with the Lord, this Scripture really stuck with me: "I will bless The Lord who has counseled me; indeed, my mind instructs me in the night. I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken." Psalm 16:7-8. Because He has been faithful in the past, to meet me with the perfect grace only found in Him to face each trial and opportunity that came in 2012, I am certain that His grace will again do the same in 2013. My job is to bless Him, no matter what comes...knowing that as I have set Him before me and seek Him with my whole heart, I will not be shaken. 2013 has some very exciting opportunities ahead, where it seems the Lord is broadening the borders of this ministry, and I am excited about what is to come.
On the Home Front:
December was a crazy, busy month! I can hardly put into words all that we took in as I write it out to you! My sister-in-law Caroline (Jordan) Bryan and her husband Casey welcomed their firstborn son unexpectedly early on December 8th! Birkes Casey Bryan is doing well, and Hannah & I are looking forward to having mommy and son over for brunch tomorrow morning (Friday) before Hannah has to head back to Clemson on Sunday. I am a first time aunt and am delighted to have sung a personalized lullaby just for this new little one. My college roommate, Julie Caldwell came for a visit on Christmas Eve, and it is always good to laugh with my crazy friend! Hannah, her boyfriend Clayton, Ross and I made a day trip to NC to celebrate Christmas with my brother Robert, his girlfriend and her son, and had a great time with them after Christmas.
Our day started at 4:00 a.m. on December 18th as Hannah, Ross and I headed to the big Apple for me to do the interview with Paula Zahn for the upcoming episode that will air sometime in March (we will let you know the specifics once we are notified) for "On the Case With Paula Zahn." Paula is one of the kindest, most compassionate, gracious journalists I have ever been privileged to have interviewed with. As soon as we arrived at our hotel, I was immediately called to meet the videographer for some B-roll footage, and then headedstraight to the 2-hour interview with Paula. I felt it could not have gone better. From the producer, Kristin Illigan who was a delight from the beginning, to the cameramen, and the rest of the crew, they were so kind and considerate toward me. I felt the Lord's Presence in that studio as I recounted my family's story. The next day the producer met my brother in SC and interviewed him, as well. This will be the first time my brother, Robert, has spoken publicly about our story, and I am so proud of him and am looking forward to you getting to hear from him, as well when the show airs.
Once my interview wrapped @ 4:00 p.m. that afternoon, it was time for my family to take in the city, so we hit the ground running. In 1 1/2 days, we packed it in...we saw The Empire State Building (from the top we were able to also see The Statue of Liberty) Times Square, Herald Square, Macy's, Kleinfeld (Hannah's request, the bridal shop of "Say Yes to the Dress"), Central Park, Bryant Park, NBC Studios, Radio City Music Hall, The Metropolitan Opera, Julliard, The Plaza (where "Home Alone" was filmed, one of Ross's requests), our friend Dan Debenport secured us 3 complimentary tickets to the the New York City Ballet's "The Nutcracker" (where we also saw Sarah Jessica Parker in the lobby with her daughters), and to top it off..."Wicked" on Broadway, one of mine and Hannah's dreams come true! What an AMAZING trip it was! I had only been to New York City one other time years ago while promoting the movie "Nightmare in Columbia County" that aired back in 1991 based on my family's story. But to see the city at Christmastime, I will never forget getting to share that with my children. We came home completely exhausted, I had completely lost my voice from the bronchitis I had developed the day before we left, but so very thankful for such an amazing opportunity. As we watched the ball drop on New Year's Eve, it was thrilling to see the very place we had just been the week before!
Last month in Ministry:
December was another busy traveling month for me with my trip to New York, but also a trip to Georgia to share at Milford Baptist Church, and to Easley, SC to give a concert at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church. In addition, I sang in four performances of the 25th anniversary of our annual Christmas Pageant at Columbia's First Baptist Church (singing "Bethlehem Morning" with my precious friends, Silent Sounds) and coordinated a recital at a retirement home for my precious piano and voice students.
This month in Ministry:
This month I am looking forward to heading to the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove for a church retreat with Concord Baptist Church from Anderson, SC on the 11th and 12th. Sunday the 13th I will be returning to Mount Zion Baptist Church in Hudson, NC to share in their morning service and then head to Gateway Baptist Church in Newton, NC for the evening service. On the 20th I will be sharing at Winnsboro, SC's 1st Church of the Nazarene during their morning service also. If you are in the area, please join me for any of these events. More information is available on my website or you can contact the churches directly for times and directions etc.
As we begin this New Year, with all that lies before us, may we strive together to set the Lord before us continually. If we do so, I know we will not be shaken and will find His Grace to be more than enough for anything that may come our way.
Many blessings to each of you!
Spotlight of the Month
Dawn Smith Jordan's project, "Timeless Hymns" was released last month and is ready for order online. Here is a sneak preview of "Softly and Tenderly." She is even more excited to share this project with you because for the first time her son, Ross Jordan, played electric guitar on 2 of the tracks: Power in the Blood and There is a Fountain/Jesus Paid it All. This is also the first time Dawn has ever played piano on any of her projects.
The song list includes:
1. Grace Flows Down/Grace Greater Than Our Sin 2. Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee 3. Nothing But the Blood/Power in the Blood 4. Softly and Tenderly 5. Turn your Eyes Upon Jesus/Open Our Eyes, Lord 6. I Need Thee Every Hour/My Jesus, I Love Thee 7. There is a Fountain/Jesus Paid it All 8. Jesus, I am Resting 9. His Eye is on the Sparrow 10. I Surrender All 11. Amazing Grace.
Concord Baptist Church (Anderson, SC)
Conference at The Billy Graham Training Center/The Cove
Black Mountain, NC
Mount Zion Baptist Church
Gateway Baptist Church
1st Church of the Nazarene
Follow Dawn on Facebook and Twitter where we post regular updates and prayer requests.
Little Dale Tales (Stories from the home of my schedule coordinator, Jennifer Dale)
Recently my middle-child J-J was working on a project for school on Abraham Lincoln. While she was doing her homework, she turned to me and asked: "Mom, what's the address?" Confused I asked her to clarify what she meant. She replied: "You know, the address! I thought that in the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln explained to people how to get to Gettysburg!"