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What’s In A Name??? 11/20/2017

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So, as I continue this idea of going home… I thought I would tell you my deepest secret. There are very few people in the world who knows this about me… Karen, my kids and a handful of family members… There might even be a friend or two… but not many… and to be honest, I’m not sure which ones do know, but I can say that they have done an excellent job of keeping my secret through the years.

I have been called many things in my life… When I was in elementary school I went by Jimmy…  (I’m not sure how I even feel about that one) and somewhere around Junior High… I thought Jim would be a little more appropriate and as I left home and moved out into the world… James seemed to be what I was called the most… probably because it was what I used when I filled out forms for school and legal purposes.

For many years I went by Doctor Jim… and now I am most commonly called Pastor Jim. When I am asked what I prefer to be called, I usually say that my Mom called me Jim and my best friend calls me James… so feel free to pick whichever you would like.

So here is the secret… my name is James H. Higdon…

Wait… Everybody knows that… you might say.

But… what does the “H” stand for???


For some odd and unexplained reason… I have always despised my middle name. Don’t ask me why… I just do. I mean, I have known a lot of people through the years who really didn’t especially like their name… But I don’t know very many people who have spent their lifetime hiding it like I have. I know… it’s kinda strange. It’s a perfectly good name, it’s not very common anymore, but it has been in the past.

It’s Biblical, there are towns with my name, there is a college with my name… but for some reason, I just cringe every time I hear it.

I will also tell you… that it was my Grandpa’s name.  I never knew any of my grand parents. My Grandpa Crow (Mom’s Dad) died eight years before I was born, and my Grandma died shortly before I was born and I remember my Mom telling me with pride that I was named for her Dad… my Grandpa.

Now when I think back… I was so cruel and insensitive, Mom knew exactly what I thought of my name… I never hid my feelings, but to her, it was a tribute to her father who she loved dearly and with my grandma dying right before I was born… it weighed especially heavy on her heart.

Something else that I didn’t find out until many years later was that Grandpa Crow had died from a self inflicted gunshot wound which must have magnified her pain a thousand fold.

So this evening, I was doing a little family ancestry research and there it was… a picture of my Grandma’s and Grandpa’s headstone… One more click and  there was a list of all of my Mom’s brothers and sisters… all eleven of them… all of them are now gone.

Our heritage is a strange thing… We don’t get to choose who our parents are or who our family is… we see old pictures and are struck by family resemblances… we look across the Thanksgiving table and see miniature versions of ourselves… and then we laugh when we realize that they will be having the same thoughts in 30 years.

So this evening I give Thanks for my Grandpa and Grandma Crow… who gave me the best Mom a boy could have and I thank Mom for giving me a name that I can be proud of… even if I still don’t like it…


PS: Oh you thought I was going to tell you what my middle name is??? Naaaaaaa 🙂

Hiram Crow



Time to Come Home…. 11/17/2017

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I’ve been thinking a lot about home… Maybe it’s the time of year, maybe it’s just that time of life, maybe it is all of those Hallmark Christmas movies that Karen makes me watch… but I spend a fair amount of time reflecting on what has been, where I have come from and where I am going. I listened to a speaker once who said that there will be two certainties on your death bed… You won’t be concerned with your checkbook balance and you wont say… “I wish I had spent more time at work.”

My friends… it is never too late to change your priorities, it is never too late to make the phone call that you have intended to do a hundred times… it is never too late to make things right, it is never too late to mend broken relationships and it is never too late to begin a personal relationship with Jesus Christ…. that is… until it is too late!!

There used to be a hand painted sign just North of Seymour, Indiana on I-65 that said… “You have a expiration date” (I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to hop the fence and change the “a” to “an”) But the sign was true… we all have an expiration date and then… it will be too late.

The family in this video learned a valuable lesson about expiration dates and those we love.  In the week ahead as we remember the many things that we are thankful for… let us also put our thoughts into action and make those phone calls, spend time with the ones we love and mend the relationships that have been broken far too long. Perhaps it is time to come home…


You Are My All In All… 11/16/2017

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When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
 I Corinthians 13:11

I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is only one week from today. I am very much looking forward to being together with my family and especially enjoying all of those wonderful things to eat. One of my all time favorites that will definitely be on the menu this year is Chicken and Noodles.

It’s funny… when I was young, the only kind of noodles I would eat came from a can marked Campbell’s.  I still remember Mom making homemade Noodles… but I pretty much said “Uhhhh no thank-you.” I’m sure that Mom must have thought I was crazy.

As I have grown older, my tastes have certainly changed and now I can say beyond a doubt… that if I were stranded on a deserted Island and could only have one food to eat the rest of my life… It would be chicken and noodles… but definitely not the kind that comes from a can. I’m getting hungry just thinking about them.

Every year that passes, I realize that there are things that I think differently about than I did as a child. Music is certainly one of those things. For instance… if I were stranded on that island with my home made chicken and noodles and could only listen to one song… as a child I’m sure the choice would have been “Downtown” by Petula Clark, but now I think that Pachelbel’s Canon in D would be high on that list. For many years that song has haunted me with it’s beautiful repetitive melody… Maybe that’s why Christmas Canon by  Trans-Siberian Orchestra is one of my favorite Christmas songs. (More about that in a couple of weeks)

So I wanted to share with you this beautiful hymn, which weaves together the hymn “You Are My All In All” and Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” performed by the Gaither Vocal Band. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


Give Me Jesus… 11/13/2017

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give me jesus

One of my fondest memories of High School was singing in Concert Choir, and I wouldn’t be bragging if I said that Moline Senior High School had one of the finest High School Choirs in the country. In my senior year, we were selected to perform at the  Music Educators National Conference in Kansas City, Missouri. We spent the entire year preparing for that one, 30 minute concert.

I will never forget the pressure and the nerves prior to that concert. I had been a part of choirs from the time I was in 3rd grade. I had performed in hundreds of concerts all around the world, sang in front of heads of state and  in governor’s offices, but nothing came close to this. Performing one concert, for 30 minutes in front of the most critical musical ears in the country… a point that our director, Calvin B. Hedegaard, lifted up to us pretty much on a daily basis.

When the moment arrived, we walked onto the stage, joined hands and began the most beautiful and technically difficult concert any of us had ever attempted before. On our most difficult song, Thou O Lord by Knut Nystedt Something went horribly wrong (I’m pretty sure it was the tenor’s fault) LOL Anyway, we kept going, not sure what to do, the expression on Mr. Hedegaard’s face was one of sheer panic. Would he have to stop us and restart? How humiliating!!! Suddenly out of nowhere, the women came in and pulled us back together… how could they possibly have found the right note in all of that mess? I had no idea how they did it … But they had!!! Disaster averted!!

Our last song was “Give Me Jesus” by L.L. Fleming. Our last song… It truly was our last song… In a few weeks the seniors would be graduating, never to sing together again, some, we would never see again. I think the magnitude of the moment swept across us all about the same time. Looking down and around at all of these dear friends who had been singing together for the past three years.. there wasn’t a dry eye in the group.

I actually still have a recording of that concert… and I can’t listen to “Give Me Jesus” without a tear in my eye. I have always considered it the most beautiful song I have ever heard. Take a moment and enjoy the Wartburg Choir (NOT My High School Choir) singing Give Me Jesus and when the music reaches it’s climax at 3:54… I dare you not to have a tear in your eye as well.



People Need The Lord… 11/08/2017

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Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)

This morning in Bible study, we were having a conversation about this passage from Philippians. “Do not be anxious about anything…” I don’t know about you, but I would say that our world is pretty much anxious about everything. Bitterness and hatred are rampant on our streets, in our news and on social media.

We pass by people everyday  who are hurting and suffering… living lives of quiet desperation to paraphrase Thoreau.

Next time you get a chance… share with them words of hope, words of encouragement and  words of peace. Share with them “the words of life that only we can share.” For if they don’t hear them from us… perhaps they may never hear them at all.

People need the Lord!

People Need The Lord by Steve Green

Everyday they pass me by, I can see it in their eye
Empty people filled with care, headed who knows where
On they go through private pain, living fear to fear
Laughter hides their silent cries, only Jesus hears

People need the Lord, people need the Lord
At the end of broken dreams, He’s the open door
People need the Lord, people need the Lord
When will we realize people need the Lord?

We are called to take His light to a world where wrong seems right
What would be too great a cost for sharing life with one who’s lost?
Through His love our hearts can feel, all the grief they bear
They must hear the words of life only we can share

People need the Lord, people need the Lord
At the end of broken dreams, He’s the open door
People need the Lord, people need the Lord
When will we realize that we must give our lives?
For people need the Lord, people need the Lord


My National Park… The Smokies 11/07/2017

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2015-01-19 13.13.31

I was watching an episode of Ken Burns “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea”  and it was talking about the many families across our nation who consider one of the National Parks to be THEIR National Park, and for my family, that park is Smoky Mountain National Park.

2014-10-10 18.13.30

I remember the first time that I traveled to the park. I was in 7th grade and it was a part of our sweeping family trip across the south. My stay in the Smokies included going trout fishing for the first time… eating Chef Boyardee Ravioli for the first time (the two are related), sleeping in a pup tent for the first time… and learning what happens when it rains and you have pitched your tent in a dry creek bed.  I never loved a place more.

As I grew older and had a family of my own, we began going to the Smokies as often as we could. Sometimes, as many as five times per year. We took our kids hiking, backpacking, shopping, ice skating, putt putt golfing and go cart racing. Once during a Lazer Tag Game, our family was pitted against a far less experienced family and after five minuets of outscoring our competitors 100-0 the referees stopped the game and reorganized the teams into something a little more competitive. My family is ruthless if you put a Lazer Tag gun in their hands.

Our kids have now grown up and have children of their own (they are still pretty wicked at Lazer Tag) and it has been one of our greatest joys to introduce our grand kids to our favorite place in the world… The Smoky Mountains. Mary and Andrew have enjoyed many of the things that their Dad enjoyed as a child, along with many  new discoveries that we wouldn’t let our kids do when they were young, but hey.. that’s why you have grand kids.

One of those great discoveries was taking the kids swimming in the cold mountain streams. Well… technically it actually started as wading… but once you fall in… you might as well just enjoy it.

2015-01-19 13.46.56

As I am writing… Karen is on her way back from the mountains with our daughter Terri and her children Alex and Ellie. This has been Ellie’s first trip to the mountains and it won’t be her last. (I wonder if she will be as good at Lazer Tag as her Mom?)

2014-07-15 11.22.58

My parents took me to the mountains… We took our children to the mountains… Our children have now taken their children… and one day, they will take their children.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)


The Prayer… 11/06/2017

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July 4th 2013…… It has been four years and four months since I have written a blog post. My sister had died and although I wrote a few more posts beyond that… my heart was broken and I had lost all desire to write.

Over the past few months, I have been feeling led to write again… but what? What can I share? Would it make a difference to anyone? Would anyone even care? I’m not sure that I have an answer to any of those questions… but just maybe I can do one thing… Perhaps I can help you to know that you are not alone.

I spoke to someone the other day who felt totally abandoned and alone. A few months ago she had buried her son and now she was feeling completely lost. When she turned to the church for comfort and support… she was told that her son was in hell…

My dear friends… God has given us a promise that He would never leave us, abandon us or forsake us. We live in a broken world… but our God is never farther away than a prayer…

The Prayer Lyrics

I pray you’ll be our eyes and watch us where we go.
And help us to be wise in times when we don’t know
Let this be our prayer when we lose our way
Lead us to the place guide us with your grace
To a place where we’ll be safe
La luce che tu hai

(I pray we’ll find your light)
Nel cuore resterà
(And hold it in our hearts.)
A ricordarci che
(When stars go out each night,)
Eterna stella sei
Nella mia preghiera
(Let this be our prayer)
Quanta fede see’è
(When shadows fill our day)

Lead us to a place, guide us with your grace
Give us faith so we’ll be safe
Sogniamo un mondo senza più violenza
Un mondo di giustizia e di speranza
Ognuno lo dia la mano al suo vicino
Simbolo di pace, di fraternità
La forza che ci dà

(We ask that life be kind)
È il desiderio che
(And watch us from above)
Ognuno trovi amor
(We hope each soul will find)
Intorno e dentro sé
(Another soul to love)

Let this be our prayer (Let this be our prayer),
Just like every child
Need to find a place, guide us with your grace
Give us faith so we’ll be safe
È la fede che
Hai acceso in noi,
Sento che ci salverà

The Prayer lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.


America, The Golden Dream 07/04/2013

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Yesterday I shared with you how freedom may be an “Impossible Dream,” but a dream which we must continue to pursue no matter the cost. Today on this 4th of July, I want to share with you that this great experiment in democracy, this “Golden Dream” has been a part of our DNA from the very beginning.

Happy Birthday America!!! Keep on flying high…


America, spread your golden wings
Sail on freedom’s wind, across the sky.
Great bird, with your golden dreams
flying high, flying high.

Restless one in a world of change,
keeping dreams aloft in the rain.
Spirit free, soaring through the clouds
of time, of time.

America, you must keep dreaming now
Dreaming the promised vow of your pioneers
America, keep on flying now.
Keep your spirit free.
Facing new frontiers.

America, spread your golden wings
Sail on freedom’s wind across the sky.
Great bird with your golden dreams,
Flying high, flying high,
Flying high, flying high!

I hope that you enjoy this song which has been part of our family since our first trip to Epcot over 20 years!!!

The Impossible Dream 07/03/2013

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As I pause this evening for a few minutes of quiet contemplation before the excitement of the family gatherings, picnics, and fireworks extravaganzas kick into high gear. I wanted to take a moment to share with you what our nation, this extraordinary experiment in democracy, this shining beacon of freedom around the world, means to me.

I remember as a young boy singing the song, “The Impossible Dream,” not realizing, at the time, that I had no idea what those words really meant.

To dream … the impossible dream …
To fight … the unbeatable foe …
To bear … with unbearable sorrow …
To run … where the brave dare not go …
To right … the unrightable wrong …
To love … pure and chaste from afar …
To try … when your arms are too weary …
To reach … the unreachable star …

This is my quest, to follow that star …
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far …
To fight for the right, without question or pause …
To be willing to march into Hell, for a Heavenly cause …

And I know if I’ll only be true, to this glorious quest,
That my heart will lie will lie peaceful and calm,
when I’m laid to my rest …
And the world will be better for this:
That one man, scorned and covered with scars,
Still strove, with his last ounce of courage,
To reach … the unreachable star …


As I have gotten older, I am just now beginning to understand the significance of those words. My friends, freedom can be an impossible dream. Freedom sometimes means fighting against all odds against an unbeatable foe, but being willing to fight anyway,

 It sometimes means bearing unbearable sorrows when we consider what freedom really costs us in the lives of our brightest and best

It sometimes means being willing to run into harm’s way when everyone else is running away

It sometimes means being willing to fight for what’s right even when public opinion is against you.

 It sometimes means standing up for something and loving so deeply that you are willing to sacrifice your own life for a cause greater than yourself.

It means doing what’s right even when no one is watching, and never giving up no matter how tired and weary you become,

It may even mean being willing to march into hell for a purpose much higher and greater than yourself.

As I pray for our nation on this 4th of July, I pray that we will each continue to strive with our last ounce of courage to reach… the unreachable… star!

Enjoy what I believe is the most beautiful arrangement of this song ever performed!


I’m Doing Fine! 04/14/2013

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happy face

Ok, I think that I need to clarify something, despite how my my last blog post my have appeared, I am not back in the hospital, or having additional health issues. I was just trying to bring everyone up to speed on what happened, how I ended up in the hospital to begin with and what has been happening since then.  So, for those of you who have called, sent cards and have been worried about me, I am doing fine and continue to improve.  But it is nice to know that people care:)