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Growing Wings

Growing Wings offers a creative and gentle experience of a child’s journey through loss and gain in life. Losing a pet, family member, or friend is a traumatic experience for anyone and especially for a child. There are no perfect words to describe the feelings attached to loss and certainly no concrete rules of how to help a child cope with losing someone or something they love.   As a Hospital Chaplain, Kim Crawford witnessed many situations in a level one trauma hospital, where adults told children how to feel in difficult circumstances. Sometimes children were told not to cry, not to express, and to sit still and be quiet. She encourages adults to invite children to talk about how they feel, share their memories of the loved one, and normalize the child’s emotions.

Kim Crawford’s, Growing Wings, beautifully, yet simply, expresses through words and illustrations the excitement a child feels when making a new friend, and the pain and disappointment when this loved one leaves for any reason.

Available on Amazon, or from the author: Kim Crawford: psalm40.123@gmail.com.

https://www.amazon.com/Growing-Wings-Kim-Crawford/dp/1974087220/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1502829138&sr=8-2&keywords=growing+wings

See page from Growing Wings below…

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Yes, There is a Santa Chaplain

Yes there is a Santa Clause….Chaplain.

This character is different from many you will know,

Often there is a light, I would further say a glow.

Energy abounds as the day begins,

Sometimes fatigue does enter as grief is found again.

This Clause is not always jolly but tries to spread some joy,

And certainly may be in the form of girl and also boy.

As the calling to this title is not one decided on a whim,

But instead a prayerful process, and many in talks with Him.

You see this Clause realizes there is more to life than gifts,

That circumstances and situations certainly come in shifts.

People need this Clause to listen when they mourn and cry,

To be there to allow the tears until they naturally dry.

To pray and ask for help, from their spiritual Hope,

To be there to tie a knot when they may feel at the end of their rope.

To provide music for comfort, song, celebration and praise,

To hold a hand in fear, or reach out to one that’s raised.

To bless the babies as they enter life,

To stand in silence with those in strife.

To be a presence when words aren’t there,

To accomplish the main goal of showing care.

This Clause is not around one day per year,

Yes, Dear Friends, Santa Chaplain is always near.

Merry Christmas my fellow Santa Chaplains this day,

Many blessings to you this Christmas and always!

kimdcrawford 12.23.16

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Heavenly Peace

Driving home tonight I spoke the words of Silent Night softly. Christmas comes at the perfect time of the year. No matter what we have been through all year we end with twinkling lights, colorful decorations, presents wrapped in shiny paper, fellowship with those we love, and celebration of Jesus Christ.

Life is like this when we have Jesus in our lives. We will have villians and valleys in our life stories. When God is in our story we have a King to rule over and conquer the villians, and He will ride up on His white horse and pull us up out of every valley. When God is in our story there is always a happily ever after. In the end He wins. No matter what in the end we will say “All is calm, all is bright” and we will “Sleep in Heavenly peace”.

Take a moment this Christmas to speak the words of Silent Night ever so softly. The lyrics will whisper peace, joy, and love to your soul.

After speaking the words to Silent Night, I looked up the history and found out it was originally written as a poem.

Silent Night!
The origin of the Christmas carol we know as Silent Night was a poem that was written in 1816 by an Austrian priest called Joseph Mohr. On Christmas Eve in 1818 in the small alpine village called Oberndorf it is reputed that the organ at St. Nicholas Church had broken. Joseph Mohr gave the poem of Silent Night (Stille Nacht) to his friend Franz Xavier Gruber and the melody for Silent Night was composed with this in mind. The music to Silent Night was therefore intended for a guitar and the simple score was finished in time for Midnight Mass. Silent Night is the most famous Christmas carol of all time!

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ, the Saviour is born
Christ, the Saviour is born

Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth ”

kim crawford 12/14/2009

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Twas’ the Night Before…Chaplains Save…Christmas

Twas the Night Before…Chaplains Save…Christmas

 

Twas the night before Christmas, from rooftop to basement

Not a creature was stirring, not even a patient

The call lights were quiet, yet nurses ready to care

But hoping no codes would blast through the air

The patients were nestled all snug in their beds

While visions of jello danced in their heads

And chaplains were home in their night caps

Just settled down for a long winters nap

When all of their pagers went off with a clatter

They each one called to see what was the matter

Away to the hospital they flew like a flash

Tore out their badges and parked with a crash

The lights from the ambulances had quite a glow

Adding to the urgency to walk fast and not slow

When what to their wondering eyes should appear

But a waiting room full of people and no one with cheer

They saw a nurse running, so lively and quick

They knew in a moment someone was sick

More rapid than eagles the chaplains they came

Barry whistled, and shouted and called them by name

Now Phil, Drew, David, Ann Carol, Sonya & Ted

On Kim, Kevin, Fr George, Clay, Ira, & David

To the top of 7 Main to the One South ICU

Go find him, the patient that’s needing you

As fast as the elevators go floor to floor

The chaplains they scurried like mice coming in the door

They checked in with nurses, secretaries and pcas

They talked to security and ran down stairways

And then in a twinkling they heard overhead

A code exit, to look for a man all clad in red

As they entered the lobby and turned toward the sound

It looked like St Nicholas was hangin’ round

He was dressed in a hospital gown open in the back

They politely stood in front to avoid seeing his crack

He said he appreciated the care he received

But now you must listen, for it’s Christmas Eve

His eyes how they twinkled! Pupils dilated a bit

His IV fluids glistened and continued to drip

The chaplains held a meeting in conference room A

And tried to think of a My Learning to show them the way

They decided to ask him some open-ended questions

They asked him to tell them more to see if he suffered depression

A wink of his eye and expression of emotions

Told the chaplains he had quite a Christmas devotion

Enough of the chatter he said with a bellow

Now get some pants from the clothes closet for this fellow

They gave one another a nod, and found him a robe

Prayed for his safety and trip round the globe

They talked to house sup to get Santa discharged

And cleared the code exit regarding a man at large

He sprung to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle

But they heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight

St Vincent’s had the best chaplains, and the good Lord knows I’m right!

Chaplain Kim Crawford-Meeks, copyright 12.06.18

 

 

 

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Agape Weddings

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Sweet Granny

I have heard it said that no one remembers what one said or what one did, but more than anything what we remember is how someone made us feel.  I don’t believe there is anyone here that knew Dora Mae Garrett and can say she ever made them feel anything but loved.

Garrett chose perfectly when he named our grandmother, “Sweet Granny”.   She was the essence of sweetness and a very interesting person.

She was the sister of 14 siblings, and the only child in her family to graduate from high school. She laughingly remembered asking her parents if they would attend her graduation, and was a little relieved when they said no because she was a bit embarrassed by her father’s mustache.

She was on the girl’s basketball team in high school and was nicknamed Doorbell, she took French, had artistic skills, and was in her senior play in high school as a juror, where she first became interested in fellow juror, and her future husband, Herbert Oscar Garrett.

She told the story of the first time she was disciplined when her brother, Noah, suggested they should plant some of the peas in the garden and put the others in a tree stump or throw them in the woods.

She had two cows growing up, named Flower and Rose, and thought Flower gave buttermilk and Rose gave sweet milk. 

Another fun memory from childhood she shared was her dishwashing assignment with sister, Dovie.  They were supposed to take turns washing and drying the dishes. Granny had 2 nickels given to her by Mama Cato.  Granny told Aunt Dovie she would give her a nickel each time she washed the dishes on her turn and would place Dovie’s nickel in a dish on top of the kitchen cabinet.  After some time, Dovie decided to count her nickels and realized Granny had been paying her with the same 2 nickels over and over.

She married, Herbert Garrett, and when she told her father of her engagement his reply was, “He sure is a straight shooter.”  The wedding was performed by Rev. William Buttram, father of Pat Buttram, the sidekick of cowboy star, Gene Autrey. 

Sweet Granny became the mother of two beautiful daughters: Shelba Jean and Glenda Rae.

Her sister-in-laws invited her to Liberty Baptist Church and she attended even though her husband did not at that time.  She gave her life to Christ, here at Liberty Baptist at the age of 23.  She continued to take her daughters to church and eventually Papa joined them and became a Baptist minister.  She was the guiding light leading all of her family to Christ.

Galatians 5:22 states, “but the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”  Sweet Granny’s Christianity was not a secret as she allowed the Holy Spirit to live through her and demonstrate all of the Fruits of the Spirit so beautifully.

She was the prime example of love in her devoted love to all of us.  She would pat us on the cheek and never said II love you” but rather “we love you” as she thought of herself united as one with Papa even years after he went to Heaven.  She loved us without condition, even when we were not very loveable.

Her joy shone through, when on life’s mountain tops and through the valleys of life’s journey.  She loved to laugh and have fun. She played Rook, dominoes, checkers, word games, party games, and served as Kolby’s soccer goalie up until her 80th birthday.  One of her favorite past-times was going to the flea market with Papa, where she always got the best deal.  She lovingly cooked for all of us.  We all adored her peas, okra, and corn, salmon patties and biscuits and gravy, remember her pancakes, hot cake out of the oven without icing, ice milk ice cream with Hershey’s chocolate syrup from a can, and peanut butter and jelly on saltine crackers that would squeeze through the holes.

Peace and Patience were her garments as she chose to put them on each day.  She hummed peacefully as she worked in the house or in the garden, and demonstrated great patience as wife to our precious, and Big Papa Bear grandfather.  She patiently took his food to his recliner and picked up the tray he left beside his chair without ever complaining.

Kindness and Goodness were attributes that came easily for Sweet Granny.  She always had a kind word and something good to say about everyone. I said to her not long ago, “Granny, I have never heard you act out in anger, lose your temper, or say a bad thing about anyone.”  She replied, “That’s right.”  She set forth in life to imitate Jesus, and she did.

She was faithful to her Baptist minister husband, her family, and her Lord.  She always went to church and we all have fond memories of going to church with them. 

Self-control never seemed to be a problem for her as she set goals, exercised every day, and as much as she loved sweets she had the self-control to know her limits.

Lastly, Sweet Granny demonstrated gentleness.  1 Peter 3:4 speaks of the “imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.” Everyone that knows her speaks of her gentle spirit. 

In the last few years Granny loved making potholders, sing hymns, and reading fairy tales. On her last Monday night, Terri, Granny and I shared our last fairy tale.  We assigned each person a role and Granny’s part in the story was Little Red Riding Hood’s Granny.  Her line was “Open the door and come in, my dear” and she said it beautifully.  I believe if she could talk to us today she would ask each of us, if Jesus is at the door of your heart, “open the door and tell Him to come in, my dear.”  In the last few months , at times I would think she slept through stories, yet at the end of the story she always said with me, “and they lived happily ever after” and we know that she lives happily ever after now.

 

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Me as of 2015

Autobiography of Kim Crawford as of 2015

My Proof:

Hold your breath for 11 minutes.  It is impossible of course.  I did not breathe for 11 minutes when I was born, perhaps it was meant for me to be a deep sea diver or a frog?  I do look pretty good in green.  Back to my birth…my mother thought I was dead, and the doctors told her I would have severe brain damage, but I never lost oxygen to my brain.  Throughout my life, I have always believed God provided that oxygen for me to offer confirmation of a plan for my life. I, Kim Denise Crawford, was meant to be, and I have proof.

 My People:

            In order to know Kim Crawford, I feel it is important to know my family dynamic, those who formed many of my thought processes, and the influences I had to be who I am and stop being who I am not. May I introduce, my people…

Father

My father is Garland Monroe Crawford.  He and his brothers slept piled on a mattress, ate out of the same bowl like puppy dogs, and his house was a shack with newspapers on the walls.  The state of AL found these 5 boys in terrible conditions and took them to the Mercy Home (an orphanage). The boys were separated and lived in and out of the Mercy Home, with foster families, and with an abusive uncle. As much as my father desired love, he was not capable of receiving or giving it in a healthy manner. He developed a gambling addiction and was quite abusive to us until their divorce when I was 14 years of age. My father went through self-reflection and change, he contributed to salvation, and was a different man the last few years of his life. I knew the father who was quite a monster and the compassionate sorrowful man who was a wonderful grandfather to my children. His abuse has proven challenging to me as I struggled with self-esteem for many years, developed many fears, and lacked the stability of a loving father. To the surprise of several others in my life, I never connected my father and God, the Father, but instead always believed the two completely separate. What I lacked in an earthly father, I accepted from my Heavenly Father and God filled that void.

 Mother

Glenda Rae Garrett is my mother, and has been my rock and has given me the best unconditional love a human can offer.  She was very involved with church and made sure my brother and I were also.  Our church was a place of refuge, family, security, and a training ground for leadership skills for my brother (who became a Colonel in the Air Force) and me. The mistakes my mother did make were never with ill intent, and she has since realized her own challenges and has changed in many ways over the past 20 years.  She is now married to a man she is happy with and lives on a farm.

Big Papa & Sweet Granny

My mother’s parents shared a driveway with us, and I visited them almost every day. My grandmother, “Sweet Granny”, accepted Christ and went to church against her husband’s will.  Her choice served as a turning point for our family to become Christians and for our women to begin a slow process of personal identity.  My grandfather, “Big Papa”, became a Baptist minister and was my pastor for many years. In Sweet Granny’s 90s, she lived in my mother’s basement apartment and fell backwards down the stairs. She had brain damage and they told us she would die if we took her home.  We insisted on taking her home and she was placed in hospice.  Eventually she was released from hospice and lived another 4 years.  We tried everything we could think of to entertain her after the accident.  I finally realized I should read her the fairy tales we read to one another when I was a child. She loved it and told the other family members no one could read to her like me.  We spent many days reading stories and singing hymns in her last 4 years.  March 10, 2013 she died at 99 years of age.  The last thing we did was read the story of Little Red Riding Hood.  I was Red, my cousin was the Wolf, and Granny was…well, Granny of course.  Her part was to say “Open the door and come in my dear.”  She said it beautifully.  At her funeral I told everyone this story, and that I know she is in Heaven saying, “If Jesus is at the door of your heart, open the door and come in my dear.”  She was the example of humility and love to all of us and served as a teacher for me in assessing the needs of another, providing support and presence, and taught me coping skills to get through the turmoil of this world.

 Loss of People

In a period of about 4 years I lost 9 men in my life to death. During this time, I also experienced the loss of 3 men through broken relationships in various situations including divorce to my Baptist minister husband.  Twelve men gone within 4 years.  In order to process such loss, I spent time alone with God, went to counseling, and participated in a support group called BE – Beginning Experience. I found that with each loss there is a new beginning. It is not that the slate is wiped clean, but rather that I become a new person with each new experience…pieces of the same with new pieces woven in to continue to write more of my story.

Gain of People

I have a son, Kolby, and a daughter, Makenzi, and a 2 year old granddaughter, Lily. To see myself in each of them is one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. We have a strong bond, and I am their mother and their friend. There are many stories I could tell about each of them but due to length of this paper but I will simply, yet profoundly, state they are each my heart walking outside of my body.

My Provision:

God provided Scripture, tools, safe-havens, leaders, and gifts for me to overcome struggles throughout my journey and create who I am.  The church my grandfather built held a week long revival when I was eight years old.  At this Missionary Baptist Church, I accepted salvation during a stanza of Just as I Am.  My grandfather stayed home sick that night, and when I arrived home I jumped from the car and ran to tell him my good news.  When I walked in the door he said “I already know.”  God provided a family for me that taught me to love and serve Him, and an opportunity to accept Christ as my Savior at a young age.  My relationship with Jesus Christ lifted me from the pit of destruction many times and enabled me to stand on solid ground (Ps. 40).  I loved church from the time I was a little girl and cried when I had to miss.  I began church leadership through teaching Sunday School at age 14 and have served as Children’s Minister, Youth Minister, Drama Leader, and in camp and activities since. Theater has been an arena for self-expression, creativity, and enjoyment throughout my life. As Jack rolled down the hill and hit his head on the pew, I thought “That’s good theater” (or something like that).  I was Jill of the Jack and Jill couple, and the hit of the Bradford Methodist Church Kindergarten Graduation.  From that moment on, I was in love with the stage.  I was asked to join a travelling mystery dinner theater called Ragamuffins and travelled all over North AL performing almost every Saturday for 2 years.  My theatrical claim to fame is Penny.  Her name is Henrietta Uma Garrett, and her initials are HUG. She loves hugs and loves love.  When she was little everyone called her Henny Penny, but she dropped the Henny and kept the Penny.  She is not a chicken but instead a puppet you see.  Penny is the main puppet I use in children’s ministry and has served as an incredible creative outlet.

God has also provided wonderful opportunities for me to gain experience and wisdom about people.  I worked in the funeral home just out of high school, and then was asked to return and I did.  I have been a child care director, adult day care activities coordinator, event planner for a periodontist and office manager for an orthodontist.  These various positions allowed me the opportunity to learn about life from birth through death and everything in between.  No matter where I have worked, whether church or secular positions, it has been my heart to create a ministry.

As a divorced person in the Southern Baptist world, you almost have to wear a scarlet D on your chest.  Shame, judgment, and not allowing God to pilot my lift caused my plane to land in the miry bog.  I joined a group called BE – Beginning Experience, which includes support groups and retreats for those who have lost a spouse due to death or divorce.  BE taught me how to experience closure, to forgive myself and others, and that I am not alone in my pain.  I found a counselor who helped me stand up for what is right for my life and discard what is wrong.  She taught me to reflect on myself and how to grow from that reflection.  I spent a year alone and worked on my relationship with God.  I did not date or go out with friends.  My kids were teens; therefore they were not around too much.  It was a time of quiet to hear my own thoughts and feelings and to hear the whispers of God. After that year, I joined a singles group, and in this group we studied the Bible and issues of single adults, and also had so much fun together.  Finally, I went to a pain management class for 6 weeks to learn how to manage the pain of Fibromyalgia and had the best success rate the clinic ever had.  I also had surgeries to correct sleep apnea.  I tried everything I could to grow and become a healthier Kim, emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally.

I delightfully feel God designs certain things in nature just for me.  Of course, I think His handiwork is for all of us, but when I see a butterfly on a rose or a dolphin in the ocean I assume God allowed me to see that as my specific blessing.  Parasailing over the ocean, kayaking in the Prince William sound, nature trails, canyons, rainbows, sunsets, butterflies…all provide a sense of God’s presence and the peace that I find with Him.  I am strengthened in these peaceful moments.  Many times, I have gone to the beach alone for a time of self-reflection and to feel the presence of God.

 My Purpose:

After graduating High School, I married, had children, worked, stayed home, worked, etc. Throughout those years I never lost the desire to go to college.  I felt God had a purpose for me beyond my family and the places I had served.  At 30 years old, I was accepted at Birmingham Southern College.

I thought about majoring in teaching and then later considered nursing.  One day in Anatomy class I realized “Little Piggy” was the only name for my toe I need and certainly never wanted to run a catheter.  I withdrew from school and spent time in prayer.  I felt lead one day to look at the Southeastern Bible College website.  I realized the moment I looked at it that God had a plan.  All of my undergrad work thus far transferred, and I became a student of Leadership Ministries.  I had no idea what this female, Baptist, divorced girl would do with a Bible degree, but knew God had a purpose.

While waiting on Makenzi to go to surgery after her motorcycle accident, a chaplain walked in our room and asked if she could pray.  A light went on for me, and I realized at that moment my purpose was to become a chaplain.  My manager at the funeral home had told me to work with hospice, and I have always had a heart for the sick and grieving. I called Carol Green, the CPE Supervisor at UAB Hospital and asked what I needed to do to become a chaplain.  After graduating from Southeastern Bible College with a Bachelor’s in Leadership Ministries, I enrolled at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. I was the first female to graduate from college in my family. I graduated from Liberty with a Master’s of Divinity in May of 2012, entered CPE Internship at UAB September of 2012, began CPE Residency at UAB in August of 2013, and was on staff as a Chaplain with St. Vincent’s Hospital September 2014.

His Presence:

Tornado number 5 of 10 hit our home at 150 mph, it was 800 yards wide, Monday, January 23, 2012…My friend sent a text asking if we were awake and then apologized for waking me, because she thought only our coworkers who lived in another town needed the warning.  Soon after we got under the stairwell, the electricity went out, and we could tell there was a circular wind. The house shook like a giant picked it up and slammed it on the ground, and it crumbled like crackers on top of us.  It took only seconds for our house to turn to rubble. My prayer during the tornado was “Lord, I believe you will protect us no matter what”. I realized during the storm that our chances to walk out of this were slim, but felt peace. My own faith worked during my crisis. After we crawled out, I raised my hands and praised God for His protection out in the pouring rain.  I said to my daughter “We have lost nothing.  We have our family and we have Jesus!”  We found an unbroken egg under our rose bushes after the storm.  It wasn’t our egg, because our eggs were also unbroken and in the fridge rolled down the hill. This unbroken egg came through the tornado from someone else’s fridge.  For me, this was God saying, “I’m with you.  I have a plan.  I have you in my hands!”

My Pilgrimage:

I praise God for my life story.  The heartaches and horrors, miracles and magic are all part of who I am.  My faith has provided ability to cope, process, express, and continue. As a Chaplain, I am there to honor the faith and beliefs in others in order to support them as they cope and process their own obstacles and blessings. In my belief system, God tells me the greatest commandment is to love. I love others and show them by standing with them in the tension and walking beside them on their journeys. It is my pilgrimage. I was born without breath and I will die when that breath runs out.  But until…

Kim Crawford-Meeks

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Growing Wings in Hoover

Thank you so much Justin, Librarian at the Hoover Library for placing my book, Growing Wings, on your shelf! Being at the Hoover Libraryjust makes you feel good!!