As I am writing this to you, it is Wednesday before I head to a week's vacation on the beautiful coast of South Carolina on Monday. For the first time in several years, the Lord has provided a full week's get-away for my family and me. Due to the constraints of conflicting schedules with both children having summer jobs, my ministry schedule, and finances, we have been able to take only a few days here or there for the past few summers. But this year I KNEW I needed to make a real vacation a priority. So through the generosity of some wonderful fellow believers, we will be blessed to be in Myrtle Beach May 26-June 1, Monday-Sunday. I started packing last weekend! I am excited that Robert, Elizabeth and James Michael will be joining me Monday-Friday. My friend Julie Caldwell will spend the day with us on Thursday on her way home from being there earlier in the week. For the first time, neither of my children will be able to join me/us on this trip, as Ross has a new job and is working to head to the beach with his friends the first week of June after his high school graduation, and Hannah is in summer school at Clemson and also working. Because the complimentary accommodations had to be before or after prime rental season, I took advantage of it. We will be looking for another opportunity to do something together as a family for a shorter vacation in August (Hannah has requested Disney World! Anybody know of any deals?) once summer school is out.
As I think about having 2 full days on the beach, by myself, I have to say this is a first for me. I have never been "on vacation" without my children. But I am beginning to grasp that this is a new season in life, and I have to make the changes necessary in my expectations to adjust to the "new normal." I am learning that different is not bad, it is just a part of life. We raise our children to grow up, move away, and begin lives of their own, while we ourselves have to learn once again how to do life on our own, like we did before they came into our world. I am looking forward to sitting in my chair, salty air, ocean breezes blowing, sun overhead, my toes in the sand, with a good book, soaking in some much-needed rest, relaxation, and restoration, so I can then come back and get busy about the business God has at hand for me. I see it as a true "get-away" time that the Father has provided for me.
I think about Matthew 14, verses 22-23, where it says that even Jesus got away. "Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone." In John 6:15 it says that Jesus "withdrew again to a mountain by Himself."
These are just a few of the references that show us even Jesus Himself had to get away from it all. And He didn't have telephones, mail, cell phones, text messages, facebook, email, twitter or instagram! Today our social media keeps us so available 24/7 that we never "get away" from it all because we are so accessible at any moment night or day.
So I have made a decision that for just that one week, I am taking a complete social media break. The Lord has prompted me to do so, and I am actually looking forward to it. Jennifer will be available by email and phone to run the ministry quite capably, and I will rest knowing she is taking care of anything that comes up. For someone in a ministry like mine, with a story like mine, the facebook messages, emails, voicemails, tweets, requests are daily...7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Precious people writing about heartbreak in their own lives, asking for prayer, for advice, for direction, or for me to write a special note in a book or a personal letter for someone special to them...or how did I get started in my ministry, how can they do the same thing, how do you write/publish a book, asking me to listen to songs they have written and consider recording them or helping them get "discovered"...or just simply the myriads of questions regarding if and when I am going to be in their area in concert, specific information about events I am currently scheduled for, where they can purchase my books or cd's, to what skin care products or make-up I use, and even what the number of my alternations lady is! On top of that you add a music studio of 22 students, and there are those emails, phone calls, etc. On and on the list goes...and like Jesus, I am very much feeling the need to "dismiss the crowd" to get away with My Father, listen to His voice, and enjoy His presence, uninterrupted. Quiet. Peace. That is what He is calling me to. Then I trust that He will give me what I need to come back and be the woman, Christian, mother, sister, daughter, and friend that He has called me to be.
What about you? Do you have a time that you are going to be able to get away from the hustle and bustle demands of life? It is vital to our not just surviving, but thriving in this life. Just this morning my devotional was about Mary and Martha, and Mary choosing to sit at Jesus' feet while Martha scurried. Mary found it is more important to listen to Jesus than to do for Jesus. Oh how I am seeking to be a Mary in a Martha world. Time spent at Jesus' feet before focusing on our to-do lists enables us to have Christ live in and through us.
Summer Love-Offering Concert Dates Available:
This past year I began inviting the hosting church's choir or worship team to join me in concert, featuring songs from my latest CD "Timeless Hymns" as well as my worship project "Everyday Praise." I also incorporate a special song just for the children that I sing for them as they join me up onstage. The concert also includes a beautiful PowerPoint presentation that invites the whole congregation to join me in an evening of corporate worship that the entire family can participate in.
All I ask above a love-offering would be that my travel expenses in mileage be reimbursed. I have several dates open still for the summer that I would love to fill:
June 8 & 15
June 29 (am only - pm in Walterboro, SC)
July 13 (pm only - in Darlington, SC in the morning)
I do have Sundays open in August, as well, and my concert calendar is always up-to-date here on my website: http://www.dawnsmithjordan.com/schedule.php
*2014 "Piggy-Back Dates" Available: I have several weekends where I am scheduled for women's events on a Friday and Saturday, and would love to stay over for a Sunday while in the area. Here they are:
- September 11-14 - Indian Trail & Belmont, NC - Available September 14 pm
- September 20 - Duffield, VA - available September 21
- September 27 - McDonough, GA - Available September 28
- October 4-5 - Chesnee, SC - Available October 5 pm
- October 17-19 - St. Simon's Island, GA - Available October 19 pm
- November 7-8 - Pigeon Forge, TN - Available November 9
- December 6-7 - Odessa, TX - Available December 7 pm
- December 21 - Mocksville, NC - Available December 21 pm
Ministry At a Glance:
May was such a wonderful month of ministry. The first Sunday I was blessed to sing at Overbrook Baptist Church in Greenville, SC, joined by their wonderful choir under the direction of their equally gifted Minister of Music and Worship, Kyle Batson. Kyle had led the group of singers from Berea, SC years earlier who had actually recorded the choir parts on my song "Keep Believing" on the album I released back in 1990. What an incredible job his current choir did on the song that morning, as well as many others they joined me on. I especially loved seeing one of the sweetest ladies I know who lives in Greenville and came that morning to surprise me, Betty Ann Phillips. She has been a family friend for years. In Rock Hill, SC I was delighted to see one of my brother's classmates from Lexington High School, Lisa Howard Pilcher, and catch up with her. It was extra special being a part of several women's/ mother/daughter events, as well as a senior adult event in Fort Mill, SC.
Also in May was my music studio's end-of-the-year recital, and oh how proud I am of each of my voice and piano students for the beautiful job they did. We began holding our Christmas and May recitals at The Heritage at Lowman Home's beautiful chapel a few years ago, and how grateful we are to them for hosting us for these. It has proven to not only be the perfect setting for us, but also a great way for these students to give back something to the community, and not just to each other and their families. It has been an extra rewarding year as I have witnessed so many of my students growing and branching out as musicians. Currently several are serving in their church's student ministries' worship bands, one in her school's worship team, some participating in their school's talent show, some in their school bands, some are in musical theater even as I am writing this, one is in a band that already has several "gigs," and others are auditioning for upcoming music theater productions. It is one of the most rewarding things I have been a part of to see these young people come into my studio not knowing the first thing about music, and then becoming true musicians, actually using their talents and gifts outside of their lessons. I am grateful to be a part of their lives.
I was incredibly proud of each and every one of my remarkable students. It truly was our best recital to date. For those of you on Facebook, I have shared several videos of the night's performances, so feel free to see them on my Facebook wall. The highlight of the evening came when Lizzie Bird, who has been out for the past year plus with a very serious case of Rumination Syndrome, had agreed to come and play guitar and sing a song by Shane and Shane, "Though You Slay Me", taken straight out of Job 13:15, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him." As she played guitar more beautifully than I have ever heard her, and began to sing, tears started spilling over my eyes, hers, and every person's in the chapel. As she broke down and said she couldn't continue, every person in the audience of at least 100+ immediately stood to their feet, all crying, cheering her on to finish. She did finish, to a second standing ovation. Even as I write this, tears are flowing freely again this morning. Here is a picture of her mother, Melissa, who is also a precious friend of mine, her daughter Anna-Bradley, who also suffered a serious brain injury this past year but played with absolute perfection last night in her piano piece. Today I am humbled, grateful, and mostly in awe of our great God. Out of great suffering has come deep worship, and He revealed Himself to all of us in a very special way last night. We will never be the same because of it.
What a special time it was with the women of St. Andrews Church of God in Camden, SC to close out the month of May. After my music students' recital on Thursday night, all day that Friday I felt God putting a new message on my heart to share on Saturday. If He can turn a simple piano/voice recital into an evening of worship, He can surely take whatever season we are in and give us a song of worship. So grateful to have been a part of the work and worship that took place on Saturday. I am forever changed.
In the summer I teach "Summer Session" that also includes new students each summer, trying music out to see if it is something they have interest in pursuing further. I love being a part of sharing the love of music that I have with the next generation.
June has me in concert June 1st at Cane Branch Baptist Church in Loris, SC, on my way home from the beach, joined by their choir as well as Joy Powell Jordan on harmony on a few songs (Julie's sister.) On June 22nd I am looking forward to being in concert at Horse Branch Free Will Baptist Church in Turbeville, SC and Summerton Baptist Church in Summerton, SC. June 24th-28th I'll be attending events at the Miss South Carolina Pageant here in Columbia, SC. On June 26th I will be with a women's event in Santee, SC, and then on the 29th, at Doctor's Creek Baptist Church in Walterboro, SC.
Both May and June have had me closer to home in my home state, and that is always a nice thing.
For my full schedule, feel free to check it out here: http://www.dawnsmithjordan.com/schedule.php. If I am in your neck of the woods, join us!
And while I am sharing this ministry update - Happy Birthday on June 1st to my wonderful ministry schedule coordinator and friend of 7 years now, Jennifer Dale!
On the Home Front:
May had some special happenings that included a surprise 3-day visit from my sweet Hannah. She and Blue came home for Mother's Day Sunday and stayed til Tuesday. For my Mother's Day gift she treated us both to a mani-pedi, an annual mother/daughter tradition every summer. What fun we had spending that day together shopping, getting Starbucks, getting our nails done, just being together. Time spent with the ones I love is the best gift of all. Robert, Elizabeth and James Michael also came on Mother's Day and we all enjoyed going to church and lunch together, and then took Cookie, Blue and their new puppy Beasley to the dog park on that beautiful afternoon. I am laughing once again as I look at our Mother's Day "selfie", as poor little James Michael is that tiny, barely visible little head to the right! What fun! It was a great day. I missed having Ross with us, but he had to work that day. However, the day before was his Dutch Fork High School Senior Prom, and I was able to see him and take pictures beforehand. He is quite the handsome young man, I'd say!
In June it will be back to business as usual for us all...concerts, teaching my Summer Session of piano and voice students on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Ross will graduate from high school on June 5th. Ross got voted as the "Tweetaholic" for his Senior Superlative, very appropriate! He will be working all summer at Liberty on the Lake in Irmo, SC, where he gets to enjoy a beautiful view of Lake Murray while serving. Hannah will be full steam ahead in her Accounting class at Clemson University, while also working at The Red Minnow Dinner Club in Central. Hannah will be leading worship again at Newspring Anderson Fuse on June 25th, so tune in live with me to watch her at http://newspring.cc/. Then there are the fun things like a baby shower for my cousin's wife, a special night honoring my Aunt Sue McLeese's deceased husband Ike at the Blowfish Stadium including fireworks (a baseball game AND fireworks with my aunt and cousins sounds like so much summer fun!).
The week of June 24-28 is the Miss South Carolina Pageant, for which I have been asked to perform, and it will also be televised for the first time in many years. (Check your local listings.) It will be held at The Township Auditorium in Columbia, SC. We former Miss South Carolinas have been invited to have lunch with Governor Nikki Hailey during pageant week that Friday, so that will be fun, as well.
In closing, thank you for allowing me to come into your life once a month. I always love hearing back from you as well. Seek out some time for yourself and for your family to get away. Happy summer!
Product Highlight With my summer concerts coming up I would like to highlight my newest recording - Timeless Hymns. It features the much-requested "Amazing Grace," as well as the favorites "His Eye is on the Sparrow" and "Softly and Tenderly." This is the first project on which I have played the piano in addition to lead and background vocals. You can order your copyhere.
Dawn's Concert Calendar
It's time to get your event on Dawn's Concert Calendar! We would love to hear from you if your church is booking a women's conference or retreat, a church wide summer concert or even a Christmas Holiday event. 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!
Tax-Deductible Gifts If the Lord would lay Jordan Ministries on your heart to support financially, know 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 NEW Mailing Address is:
Dawn Smith Jordan Ministries, PO Box 2846, Irmo, SC 29063
Follow me on my DAWN SMITH JORDAN Musician/Band Facebook page to be eligible for the monthly prize give-away trivia contest!
Cane Branch Baptist Church
Horse Branch Free Will Baptist Church
Summerton Baptist Church
Miss South Carolina Pageant
Santee Women in Rural Electrification
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) Our family is enjoying a few short camping trips this May as we went to the Great Sand Dunes National Park near Alamosa, CO and the Black Canyon near Gunnison, CO (standing at the northern rim of the Black Canyon was quite overwhelming, with only a metal barrier between us and a 2,700 ft drop off). School is out for the summer now and we hope to enjoy a few more short weekend camping trips closer to home over the next few months. Lillian is turning out to be a great little camper and we're so thankful for the opportunity to get out, spend time laughing, playing games, processing this past school year (and prayerfully making plans for the year ahead). Apart from having much needed family time, the best part is getting to enjoy the Lord's breathtaking creation. We serve an amazing God!