Sleep Observations

Nope, this isn’t about spiritual sleep or decay… it’s about the actual, physical  zzzz-stuff!

One of many things that isn’t accented all that much in most surgeries is how one’s stomach will react afterwards.

I say this not from personal experience but via sharing that of my wife who just underwent a hip replacement and must do another and at least one knee replacement all due to extreme arthritis.

So what does this have to do with sleep?

Read on…

You likely recall that when young, you were probably not all that interested in naptime. As in “Honey I Blew Up the Baby”: “NOOO Nap”!

Yet as one hits their late 20’s and beyond, naps at least sometimes, seem quite the gift.

I went through days, even weeks in my 20’s when naps were just not an option, and at that point I still didn’t really want nor think I needed them. As I aged I not only appreciated them but welcomed them.

Sleep is mentioned in scripture from several angles:

“Do not love sleep” as well as “The Lord gives His beloved sleep” (or “rest”).

On the one hand being a slacker or slug about responsible living and work is not God’s plan for anyone. On the other, He understands human limitation and need and in His love brings rest and sleep to us to meet such need (major example, the Sabbath).

During Wendi’s rehab due to both pain, a sane schedule of medication-taking as well as stomach issues and toilet needs we found ourselves only able to sleep somewhere between an hour or so and perhaps 3 hours at a time.

Being a musician (!) all my life I’m often asked “How do you feel?” and my standard response is often “I’m starting to wake up a little bit” even if it’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon… and I’m not always joking.

Musicians are often not all that lucid until about that time as we end up getting to sleep for the night quite late (or early depending on your perspective), therefore sleeping later in the morning or even early afternoon.

So you can imagine how my body was responding to waking up (not really Waking Up) every couple of hours for several weeks in a row.

I’m not supposed to love sleep… but I sure do sometimes!

As we age or due to circumstances of sporadic workloads, illness, etc., there will be those times throughout life when sleep is such a desired gift, such a solace and hug that you just can’t wait to get some.

Aging often brings insomnia and both I and plenty peeps I know in their sixties and older wake up in the middle of the night or an hour or two before dawn and for no apparent reason cannot get back to sleep.

I find praying a great deal, listening to (or reading on the Web) news and sometimes writing are all helpful and even edifying things to do in such times.

Through making good changes in diet, exercise and such one can help ease transitions and burdens to get a better night’s rest. Changing to a different mattress, etc., can all help- yet all of these and more are not fail-safe adjustments toward regular sleep habits for life often has its twists and turns.

As Wendi and I raised our children and currently with grandchildren close, various sickness, etc. means sleep gets interrupted no matter what your plan may be to get enough.

Lastly, from both ministering to hurting people with mental/emotional/physical issues, even very wise, balanced folks who have lost a loved one, sleep cycles can change-up without warning. Sometimes sleep becomes a drug of choice used to escape whatever ails one.

I found myself really desiring more sleep in part to find peace in nights when Wendi was in real pain during those moments there seemed nothing we could do to fix it.

Depression is both brought on by lack of restful sleep and also at times part of what may help cure depression and other anxiety or disorders.

I’m certainly no professional nor anywhere near an expert, but these are some of my own observations… while at least partially awake.

All of this to say that sleep is something worth considering as it’s such a large, needful part of life and indeed affects each of us as well as those around us both in terms of their relationships as well as our own ability to function and even cope with life’s ups and downs.

The longer I live the more I appreciate this gift from God! The truth is- I still don’t always want to stop for naps but sure do like ’em from time to time!

Well… it’s now 3:44 a.m. so I’m going back to bed.

Thanks for stopping by 🙂 -Glenn

GK Blues @ ABATE, WI Weekend Report

Spent the weekend with a good group of friends, a number of new ones and several older ones up in the Greenwood, Wisconsin area at the WI State ABATE campgrounds.20140621_18570820140621_185457It was ABATE’s Summer Hummer state-wide gathering featuring several bands and all sorts of activities for bikers who care about representation, safety and of course, hanging out with other bikers. There were quite a few families as well as singles and various clubs involved.

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So Indianhead (which that area of the state is called) Bikers For Christ invited me up to bring a sort of Sunday morning service-kinda-concert from the stage as they served a great free breakfast to peeps before most of them would be leaving for home later that day.

Pastor Fred Z, BFC Pres. and I are longtime friends and it’s been my pleasure to visit (and gig) with him and his Full Throttle Band. As BFC has chapters world-wide it’s very cool to get to know more of them- and the Indianhead bros. and sisters are gems indeed.

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Local BFC Pres. Corky and his sweet wife Jen were just so cool, genuine and fun to meet and work  with!20140621_182127

Corky won the barstool race (see the seat on his lawnmower-powered ride!). They set up a racing circle with cones, do the race flags and etc., and of course some folks smack into one another or wipe out. It requires a barstool for a seat (regs. are 32 inches high) so the sense of balance is a huge factor. Corky’s machine does 30mph… quite a trip with a wheely bar no less!

It was interesting to see bikers who stalled out reach down to pull a lawnmower cord and jerk it to get their “bike” up and back in the race! Really fun stuff.

Saturday night we broke out guitars and harp and played a little blues along with a cookout (nice smoked bird!) and then off to bed.

The breakfast and set/service was very kindly received and we had many great chats with people afterwards.

I SO enjoy working with such kind folks who have a such a heart to serve- Corky, Jen and crew are the real deal. And yep, they know how to have (legal) fun as well 🙂

There were many colorful peeps and rides, so I had to include a few of ’em here.

Now where is an old lawnmower I can convert… hah!!

My longtime friend and REZ, GKB bassman Roy Montroy as always, was a gift. He’s a co-conspirator, driver, amazing sound-tech and more who sometimes joins me in these solo adventures.

It was a good weekend.

AND, my Wendi’s finally beginning to feel a bit better in her stomach re. the post-hip replacement opp. meds… so thanks for the many prayers and kind words!

Hope you’re having a great summer and hope to see some of you at AudioFeed Festival (see earlier post) next week.

Thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

GK @ Wilson Abbey Chicago- CigarBoxGuitar Workshop and Show

Yep!

If you’re anywhere near Chicago, I’ve been invited to put on (with help from a number of good friends) an a.m.-to-p.m. Cigar Box Guitar and bass-building workshop, then feature these guitars and music on ’em for an evening show.

It looks like overnight accommodations and a continental breakfast will also be available for those wishing to stay over on the Sat. night.

Soon as all options and details are finalized I’ll post them- but the date is Saturday, August 9th, 2014 at Wilson Abbey, Chicago.

So where and what is Wilson Abbey- and what else is happening there besides the amazing fair trade Everybody’s Coffee shop?

Have a look 🙂

Home

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

GKB @ AudioFeed Festival

Glenn Kaiser Band
Blues/Rock @ AudioFeed Festival
Thursday, July 3
Champaign, Illinois
Arkansas Stage 8:25pm

GKB Live? Well- here’s a clip at a Norwegian Festival several years ago 🙂

Plenty of other Grrr Records artists are booked at AudioFeed, plz see the link below for details, location and all Fest info.:

http://www.audiofeedfestival.com

Hope you have a rockin’ summer and thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

GK Summer Touring / New Music Plans

OttoGKelTrain
*photo by Otto Jensen

BOOKING THIS SUMMER

Friends,

I’ve received a number of requests and “please let us know if you’re in the area, do a show with us!” invites for this summer. Here’s the situation:

Wendi’s hip replacement has gone well but the rehab is just beginning. She deals with constant stomach pains and nausea due to pain meds. along with pain in the other hip which along with the knee on that side as well as likely the other knee all need replacement and shall be over the next couple years…). Major arthritis folks.

We’ve been SO blessed by the prayers and encouragement of many, many friends world-wide. No other way to get through spurts of 2-hour naps interspersed with food, toilet, rehab, shopping, house cleaning, laundry, dishes and the regular stuff of life. We have several AMAZING, EXCELLENT friends who are helping with some of these, but just getting enough sleep is a major deal at this point.

We just celebrated our 42nd anniversary and I couldn’t have been more gifted than by my Wendi, that’s just fact!:)

I am her main 24 x 7 caregiver.

So you’ll understand why I’m very, very careful about what potential gigs to say YES! to this summer. We just have to see how things go with her health issues at this point.

There are a number of shows booked and as we near each one I’ll be sure they’re posted in my blog, Facebook, Twitter and via Grrr Records, etc.. They are all pretty close to Chicago.

For those of you asking for summer dates or waiting for my response re. the possibilities, my sweet girl is my first priority so -maybe next summer, Lord willing!

If you’ve read this far, thanks!davick2014-cbguitar-36
*photo by Colleen Davick

NEW MUSIC and RECORDING

Our pro studio (Tone Zone here in Chicago) will eventually move entirely into Wilson Abbey (see the link here near the others in my blog page). You might imagine that’s a HUGE job with a small staff of folks all involved in many things. When the studio is ready for recording with all the bugs out and our calendars can sync, I’ll record a fresh project. Truth is, I have about 3 record’s worth but little by little…

Meanwhile I may just toss a song out now and then via this or that website, do a writing project and continue to rehearse cigarbox guitar and one-man-band tunes. I’ve learned quite a few covers from Delta and other blues peeps, and along with many I’ve written I’m very excited to get that music out, live and via recordings… but all in good time. Wendi comes first!

And of course I’ll continue to post here in my blog at WordPress, in Twitter and Facebook when I think I’ve something to say or pass on that would be helpful or encouraging.

Thanks SOOO much for your many kind words and offering opportunities to gig, come rest at your place, etc., etc.. I truly appreciate them, as does Wendi for your continued prayer as we share the journey together with Jesus and our extended family in the Lord.

Wishing you grace- and thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

“33 Ways to Stay Creative”- Part 3

So here’s that list for reference again and my final thoughts on it.

25. It is not automatically selfish to do things that bring you happiness. I am an older, holiness and rather serious Christian who nevertheless is not stoic about life and creativity! I am in fact happy to be writing this blog even as I type 🙂 Yes.

26. See my comments for number 1, There have been days in the studio when I and others with me knew the inspiration just wasn’t happening. So we left and did other stuff, came back the next day and rocked! Yes.

27. Words can inspire and I use dictionaries and other word-sources often for broadening my own sense of thought in the English language. I purposely stay away from what I might call “university” or “theological seminary” speak… because “the common people heard Him (Jesus) gladly” and I would rather be heard and the point considered than impressive with my command of the vernacular… but you get the point:) Jazz drummers who play rock or blues with passion are often the best drummers imho. They have “chops” far beyond what they may use and that can indeed help them do amazing things as they jump to a fresh style.

28. Here (“framework”) is like saying “you’re used to using paper and pencil… try canvas and a brush and paint”. Or moving in closer, “Decide your subject boundaries, then work within them”. For me, solo, duo or 3 piece is a framework that forces me to think, write, play and sing differently than if I worked in a 9-piece band…. which I’ve also done but you understand my meaning. Again, it’s helpful to narrow your “frame” of reference and then begin to create with that in mind. Some boundaries are better than none most of the time.

29. Boy do we work to impress this or that person and condemn ourselves to hell on earth when we “miss” our target! Absolutely. We can stress ourselves right out of creativity trying to perform up to this or that person’s standard. In the early years of REZ Band I often had issues communicating with grace and kindness what it was I was trying to get us to do as a band for a particular song. Very young and foolish, I would often get impatient trying to verbalize a point so I’d simply ask for the person’s instrument and play it (as I play several instruments). As time went on I realized that what I needed to be was a great deal more flexible, not accepting just -anything- as good enough, but also allowing the other musicians to learn, grow,come into their own musical “voice” and to take my core idea and re-work it where they were more happy and at peace about it. Thus we became a band, not “GLENN KAISER and posse”. The reverse is driving yourself crazy to do it EXACTLY as another creative person demands you do it. Sometimes you can’t, sometimes your idea may actually be better… not always of course, but there must be some give-and-take and a willingness to be friends, not merely co-creators who grow farther apart and may even hate one another later! Neither of you were, are or ever shall be perfect on this planet!

30. As per my comments above re. number 2.

31. Yes, there are times clutter clutters one’s mind and creative juices right out to the netherworld due to mess, confusion and the distracting factors of these.

32. If there is only work and no fun, no happy, no pleasure in creative work you are likely going to find a great deal of life rather distressing. Yes. God and His mature peeps are not about being “fun cops”. Play. There is a very real measure of play in creativity. He wired us that way!

33. I found it interesting that the last point was “finish”. Get it?! And this right after “fun”! So the balance of fun and almost seeming to be irresponsible bangs up against the other side of the balance and what is sometimes a tension in life and certainly in creativity: finishing! In any creation there comes a Sabbath. A time to rest from your labor. And there is such a thing as procrastination on the one hand or the other extreme, namely obsessing over the perfecting of one’s work. There is a time to let the kid go, for her to walk (or be sort of pushed) out into the big world at which point they take on a life of their own. All creative work is eventually “cast on the waters” and will sink or swim both on its own merits or lack of them… or the judgment and personal assessment BROUGHT BY OTHERS to the creative work in question. In other words, like it or not, it’s not only your creativity but other’s views which may have nothing to do with what you’ve created… as they judge the quality and value or lack of it in your offering. I find this a truth no matter what area of art or creativity one wishes to consider. And there is really nothing you can do but finish and let it go! At best we have a 50 percent chance of folks loving or at least liking OR finding the work useful, engaging, maybe even brilliant. THEY bring the other 50 percent to your creative work.

If you’ve read this far you need thera… I mean, a medal, HA! Let’s create, let’s do all we do to the glory of God. It’s how He made us!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

“33 Ways to Stay Creative”- Part 2

For clarity, here’s the list again:

13. If you can enjoy sharing decisions in the creative project with others you can find a Deep well of inspiration by hanging around and exchanging ideas with other creative peeps. I also think cross-pollination with others who even work in art modes other than yours can inspire you greatly. This happens to me all the time.

14. Allowing others to critique your creative ideas is a pain and a pleasure. You find new friends and if you’re not (both of you) careful, you may even lose old ones or alienate potentially new ones. My experience. And let’s face it, humility is core for us to hear how what we’re creating might be (or may have been) better. See point 13 for more of the “guts” of this sense of “community” creativity. I benefit from it all the time- but do not always love it 🙂

15. See 13 and 14. Yep. Nobody is an island unless they want to be alone and miserable. Not very creative, that.

16. Sometimes giving up is EXACTly what you need to do. Sometimes it’s not. For myself, right back to The Bible and godly friends who aren’t enamored with everything I do but also give helpful input so that what I do might be better or cast in a better light. But if God calls you, truly calls you, then don’t whine when folks think you’re crazy and reject your offerings and possibly even reject YOU. IF IF IF you’ve reasonable confirmation you’re doing what He placed you on earth to do creatively, go for it. If not, let go and seek Him and His people in trying to discover over time what it is you really should Never give up on regarding creativity. Life is too short and hard enough than to waste months and years fighting for what we think against what God thinks we ought to be doing with our time.

17. HA! I love building prototypes, you know, mock-ups of this or that BEFORE doing “the real thing”. I also hate going over and over the same song. I’d rather record it once or maybe 3 times and move on. But this takes preparation, thought, prayer, discussion ahead of recording it “for real”. I’m not a fan of practice, but practice indeed can free one to just fly if you get my meaning. As an artist you can then forget musical scales and just express freely which is, in my case, when the good stuff happens. So it starts with practice, like it or not. Under that, it really starts with inspiration… or all the practice and technique in the world begins to sound mechanical rather than human and emotive. I think these are principles that apply to all art and creative forms, not only to music.

18. Unless you allow yourself (and others with you!) to make MISTAKES you’ll be driving both yourself and others crazy. NOBODY does anything brilliantly all the time. Breathe. We don’t need “Pharisees R Us”!

19. I find new places, new people and new and different art forms all help me think around things, see and considering things from a different angle is always helpful and even different geography (say, if you’re a “townie” head to the forest or vice-versa… reading and asking questions, both on the Web and in actual travel all help inspire me.

20. Films, music, landscapes, etc.. If I could only scream at Americans (in general, not all) to “get” about 5 things, this would be in that list! We really gain so much by checking out other folk’s view of life, culture and just ways of living and creating. I think we are only “land-locked” when we are culturally locked into believing the myth that our own comfort is directly linked to doing X, Y or Z EXACTLY as we’ve always done it. Other tribes, nations and cultures bring a fresh perspective to us that frankly, sometimes we’re too arrogant, insecure or intelligent enough to appreciate. You don’t grow up by cementing yourself into provincialism. Ditto regarding creativity.

21. Does depression help in the creative process? Is there no morning, only night? As a blues musician and a guy who talks a great deal about the importance and meaning of biblical lament, I can tell you that this is an age-old issue. Creativity’s fountain isn’t unleashed ONLY by negative, painful and/or horrid events or feelings in creative types. Late last night and more this morning prior to reading these 33 again (I’d seen this list a few months ago) I began to thank God that I can see, hear (at least some!) and stand on two feet, for my incredible wife and family, church and few other people/things that are HUGE blessings in my life. Let’s face the pain and deal with our own in this fallen world, but don’t forget that love brings healing. Christ’s love brings ETERNAL healing and joy.

22. Rest? Rest you say? You’ve likely seen the reports on how many if not most Americans are sleep-deprived. Yes. Enough good sleep and (in my case) trying to get at least one sleep-until-I-wake-up day per week is not something to avoid or be ashamed of. Our ability to think clearly, be kind, take a moment before reacting and certainly creativity all come in part from a life with hard work but equally hard sleep. Breaks during the day are a large part of my personal sanity.

23. Trying something different, doing something you’ve never done or in a fresh way can often spur great bursts of imagination and creativity. Yes.

24. While number 23 is true, it is likewise true that sometimes “rules are meant to be broken” and in the area of creativity, sometimes they NEED to be set aside. Stretching out of our self-build boxes is an issue as much as pressing the horizons others call us to work within. I don’t think I’m always right but imagination is as much about play as it is work, boundary-breaking as wall-building. And I assume you noticed the writer of this list (nobody knows for certain who as I write this…) put 23. to the left of the nice, tidy line of points? Nice.

Thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

“33 Ways to Stay Creative” -And My Comments (1 of 3)

This is a cool list that most of us would agree with and likely benefit from with regard to being creative. As one of the sites that posted it says, this list keeps popping up online every so often.

So have a look- and only cuz I’m thinking out loud, if you like, you can read my personal take on each point. Mind you, this is a looooonnnnggggg list. Not saying all this reading will be beneficial but… Maybe if you come back over 3 or 4 days you can make use of some of the following? 🙂

The link: http://www.todayandtomorrow.net/2011/06/05/33-ways-to-stay-creative/

The points: So here’s my nickel on each point. Well, it’s a long list so I understand if you want to pass on this! Due to its length, I’ll post in 3 parts.

1. I do keep lists, but they pile high also. I mean REALLY high. As most of my points here are, this gets personal and your mileage may vary a LOT… When it comes to creating, about 1 percent of the time sheer discipline to sit down (or get up) and DO X, Y or Z has proved fruitful. This is just me, but if I’m not inspired, no list hits the “muse” button for me. I find inspiration comes like rain… off and on, sometimes heavy, sometimes in waves and sometimes with a trickle.

2. Paper notebooks (or d.i.y. leather-bound) with pen or better yet, pencil are cool and retro. But they ain’t backlit. My old eyes prefer -and I use- my digital devices like air, often traveling with 2 or 3 of ’em. I find them helpful tools for writing, sketching, talking and creating notes, media and etc.. Mobile phones, netbooks and tablets allow me to file in several places, share or just keep to myself as a record of my thoughts from that moment. Same for paper but I find it a tad cumbersome, easier to lose and less environmentally friendly. The point is excellent though: write, speak, draw, somehow record it and return to it later. Don’t leave home without it.

3. This is an idea that can be fun, but for me it yields more fun than something worth saving. But fun isn’t a bad thing!!

4. IF the web distracts, go offline or to a place you don’t have wifi 🙂 Works for me. Focus is a huge part of art and creativity and you must care enough to focus regardless. Yes, sometimes going off alone for a bit is the ticket to removing distractions.

5. I’m a Christ-follower, Spirit-filled, love transcendence and believe He speaks to and through me as He does most everyone. I think I pass the test on this one by (new) nature and practice of listening.

6. I get this and after realizing I wasn’t “special” or somehow “God’s gift to the world” on the one hand AS WELL AS realizing sometimes some of what I bring to the table is worth at least a sniff and a bite or two, I simply pray, dream and create as I think best. It’s a matter of faith, not personal projections to either impress others nor even impress myself. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust- this goes for every creative work any of us will ever bring to daylight. So, go for it but know there is only One worthy of value judgment on your creative work and in the end, that’s the issue, not whether you “got the love” or felt better about yourself in the process of creating.

7. YES! Sometimes creatives are really obsessive, no?!! Get away from “The ARTISTE is ***IN***” and just get out and do other things and certainly focus on other people. Breathe life. Art is -not- life itself. Your or my ability to create is NOT life… rather, it’s a part, an expression, a sharing part of what we do in our lifetime on the planet. You are more than an artist, not less. Live life in 3 or 16 dimensions, not 1! Yes. We need breaks.

8. Ha, yes, it doesn’t matter if anyone ever hears or sees or mentions your creative work. There are times we just need to let it out- and at very least this in balance is a healthy thing for artists. I do think whether or not we realize it, often we are practicing for further work later when we “sing in the shower” or “draw on the sidewalk”. Then again, sidewalk artists are AMAZING and cool 🙂

9. I drink a lot more tea in the autumn… seems artistic or maybe sentimental… dunno… but I LOVE coffee and drink gallons year-round. Yes. Sit and ponder. Imagine over a cup. Then at the right moment, create.

10. I do believe knowing and at times returning to your (life in general or) artistic roots (artistic) can be helpful to inspire fresh but familiar creative work.

11. Indeed, new and old music (even if you’re working in a totally different art or creative craft). Break up the routine for fresh ideas and angles on the creative work you’re engaged with.

12. Being open doesn’t mean to wallow in whatever floats down your stream… but being closed like a dungeon will suffocate your ability to think outside your own (yep, we all have ’em!) box. I LOVE Linux and Android operating systems- in part because I’m open, creative and really dislike various things about the other os’s… BUT I still use them off and on. Open is better than closed for creativity and growth.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

42, 13-14

Today was a special day!

42 years ago my wife Wendi and I exchanged vows in marriage 🙂 Here we are by the love and grace of God! She still lights my life like -nobody- else. After Jesus, Wendi is my absolutely Best Gift.

The 13-14 relates to this:20140601_195452

Above our dinner line tonight was the usual art letting us know what was for supper as well a the note reminding everyone of our Project 12 Bible/Discipleship school graduation celebration.

After the formal graduation/certificate time during church service at Wilson Abbey this a.m., tonight’s meeting included our tradition of encouragement, family visiting, Scripture and gifts relating to each grad, prayers for all, food and hugs all around.

We have an amazing, gifted director, staff and another very cool group of students, what a great time of sharing!20140601_191912

For more info. on P12 see: http://project12.us/ or find us in Facebook.

Thanks for stopping by! -Glenn