As I am writing this, it has rained all day long. But I don't mind, I love rainy days. I spent the afternoon/evening making my mom's homemade pimento cheese, deviled eggs, sweet tea, cinnamon streusel cake, and mom's famous "secret" chocolate chip cookie dough (a.k.a. Nestle Toll House Cookie recipe) in preparation for Robert, Elizabeth, James Michael, Hannah, Blue, Clayton, and Ross arriving starting tomorrow for the Thanksgiving holiday. Tomorrow Hannah and I will tackle the macaroni and cheese, brown rice, begin the turkey, dressing, and roast for our family Thanksgiving Day meal. So grateful to have another woman in the family this year bringing her own delicious recipes to contribute to the big meal. Friday we will go over to my aunt's house and do it all over again! I love the holidays. This is hands down my favorite time of year.
As I sit here in my flannel pj's, the rain still pouring down outside, my Christmas tree up and lit (ornament-less, though, so Hannah, Ross and I can decorate it together), Christmas decorations up in the living room and den, the dining room table decorated for Thanksgiving, I am writing this article before the holiday officially starts tomorrow so we can be ready to send it out to you first thing on Monday morning.
A sweet friend of mine sent an email tonight that got me thinking as I was busy cooking. She wrote about her husband's aunt who had just passed away. The way she described her made me feel like she would have been someone I would have liked to have known, "She would get excited about little things or get tickled and laugh out loud as only she could or clap really quickly and say "YAY!" Joanie had Downs Syndrome and lived to be 63! We attribute that to the great love and care she received from so many who instantly loved her." Then she closed her email with these words, "As you gather with family this week, praying that you are able to make sweet precious memories that will last a lifetime!"
Those were timely words, Beth Tolar, and I thank you for sharing them with me. Every day we are making memories...either good ones that we will be glad our loved ones will remember, or memories that we regret making, wishing they would forget them, but never will. I am so grateful for sweet precious memories that are lasting a lifetime...as both my mother and my sister have been in heaven for years now. Every year I am deeply grateful for the memories that still make me smile and warm my heart. As I am now the one that hosts our family in my home, I consider it such a joy, a privilege, to be in the kitchen, like my Mama was, cooking everyone's favorite dishes. Mom made the holidays so great, so warm, inviting, happy. Our family always enjoyed Christmas together, going to the Christmas Eve service at church, opening gifts, just being together, enjoying the happy times. Dad always would get his car keys and go outside of our bedroom windows and jingle them, and then come in and ask if we heard Santa's sleigh. I loved Christmas Eve with Shari and Robert as we would wake up while it was still dark, creeping downstairs to find all the wonderful gifts Santa had left for us around the Christmas tree. This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for the gift of those memories, praying now as my family is coming "home" tomorrow, that I am creating an environment that is welcoming, inviting, nurturing, filled with fun and laughter, and full of love...one in which precious memories are made.
Psalm 90:10 & 12 says, "As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years, yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; for soon it is gone and we fly away. So teach us to number our days, that we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom."
Tonight as I was finishing up the kitchen clean-up, Ross and a friend of his came by, "starving" 17-year-old boys, and an impromptu visit with the pleasure of watching them wolf down the pimento cheese sandwiches I had just made, along with bbq sandwiches, cinnamon streusel cake AND cookie dough (heated up in the microwave and eaten with a spoon, our family's favorite) with a glass of cold milk made this mama's night.
So tonight, I am grateful. Grateful for all the good. Grateful for the gift of precious memories of family members dearly loved and greatly missed, but also grateful for family that is here, now...the ones the Father has called me to love, care for, cook for, and simply treasure. And then prayerfully one day after I, too, have come and gone, they will be sitting in front of their own Christmas trees, remembering those memories with hearts full of gratitude and a smile on their faces.
Last month at a Glance
It was a sad day this week as we had to say goodbye to Robert's and Elizabeth's sweet dog, Baily, who was a part of our family for 14 years. We will miss that precious girl.
Amy Rostance is such a wonderful addition to the Jordan Ministries as her beautiful powerpoints have added a whole new dimension to my concerts. I am especially excited about having a Christmas powerpoint presentation for the first time in my ministry history as I go into this Christmas season.
I was thrilled to be joined by Ridge Baptist Church in Summerville, SC's choir for the first full "Timeless Hymns" concert. What a joy to sing and worship with them, directed by their wonderful Minister of Music, Don Albertson.
I attended my first Clemson game since 1986 with my college roommate/friend Julie Caldwell, her husband Clif and son Hudson, along with Hannah and Clayton. What fun!
Then on Sunday I was able to go hear Hannah sing lead for the first time at Newspring Church Anderson's East campus. What a thrill for this mama to be there to hear her.
I am very proud of Ross for receiving a Certificate of Nomination for Award for Excellence this year, while also making all A's and B's on his report card.
Tonight my wonderful piano/voice students will be presenting a Christmas recital for their family, friends, and the residents at The Heritage at Lowman Home. It is now one of my favorite highlights of the holiday season, seeing my students take great delight in bringing Christmas cheer to those that welcome us so sweetly each Christmas and spring.
After 5 days of a houseful of family, it is always bittersweet when it is just back down to me, Cookie (our dog) and Skunk (our cat.) But I know that I am never alone, and neither are you. "Thanks be to God for His unspeakable (indescribable) gift," 2 Corinthians 9:15. I am most grateful for the gift of Immanuel, "God with us." The turkey and dressing are all gone, the Christmas decorations are now up in their full display, and His presence is very real to me in this very moment as I saw Hannah and Blue off once again on their way back to Clemson. I wish you and your family a Christ-filled, joyous Christmas.
Blessed Christmas to you and yours,
SPECIAL CHRISTMAS SALE
For the month of December only, all CDs, books, and Dawn's movie, are at a special low price of $10.00 or less.
For more information and to purchase these CDs please be sure to visit Dawn's website.
Dawn's Concert Calendar
Hi everyone - this is Jennifer updating you on Dawn's current concert calendar. Dawn is getting bookings well into 2014, 2015 and even into 2016! It's time to get your event on the calendar as well! We would love to hear from you if your church is booking a spring women's conference or retreat or a church wide concert. Dawn's Timeless Hymns Concert that she shares in combination with church choirs has been extremely well received and she would love to have your choir join her in sharing her favorite hymns!
End of Year Giving At this time of year many folks are looking for a ministry or charity to which to contribute. If you are prayerfully considering a year-end donation, please remember that all gifts to Jordan Ministries are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated as we continue to share the good news of the Gospel. Jordan Ministries is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization.
The Mailing Address is: Dawn Smith Jordan Ministries, 736-D St. Andrews Rd. #179, Columbia, SC 29210.
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Women in Rural Electrification (WIRE)
Sandy Creek Baptist Association
Pastors and Spouses Appreciation Dinner
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Little Dale Tales (Stories from the home of my schedule coordinator, Jennifer Dale)
Merry Christmas from Snowy Colorado! Our family is so excited to be traveling to Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina for Christmas this year and getting to see friends and family members we haven't seen in several years! Many of them have not yet met Lillian and we are excited to introduce her to everyone. We can hardly believe it's been three years since we moved to Colorado! Dawn reminded me of a letter Julie-Joy wrote to Santa Clause a number of years ago, that had all of us laughing out loud. It reads: "Dear Santa, I haven't been good but I don't care. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes. I made cookies for you. I'd like to come visit you but it's cold at the North Pole. Love, Julie-Joy." The funny part is that we always told our kids that Santa was just a fun story and that Christmas is about Jesus. I guess because of this Julie-Joy did not feel the need to impress Santa in any way. Aren't you glad that we cannot impress God in any way either? He already knows we "haven't been good all year" - and sent Jesus to be our Savior because we will never be able to impress Him. What Grace! We often have so many expectations of what we hope Christmas will be like and sometimes are hugely disappointed when it doesn't turn out as wonderful as we hoped it would. Usually it's because of unresolved conflict with family members or because we miss loved ones who are far away or no longer with us. I'm so thankful that no matter what, we can celebrate the fact that because of Jesus we can have a relationship with God that will never disappoint us! May you have a truly joyful Christmas!!