Thanksgiving Thoughts (U.S.) 2014

You may have experienced years with more gentleness, kindness, provision, health, “apparent” grace (or so it might seem). But for whom and what can you be truly thankful? IS there anything to be thankful for?

Here is a short list that pertains to me. Might you recognize some of these in your own life?

1. My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Nothing good comes to me without His hand of love and compassion. Does all “feel” like good? No. We live in a a fallen world.

2. My incredible wife Wendi. No words to adequately express the continual gift, inspiration and encouragement toward God, love and kindness, strength and perseverence in my life that she brings to me, that she -is- to me.

3. My friends, many very near and many spread out over the world. Just amazing gifts to me. Their prayers, kindness… whew.

4. My health- God for His grace as sickness and physical issues are certainly part of this life and aging, etc.. Lots of grace as no matter the issues, they could be -far- worse, far more multi-layered and pain-filled. My continuing abilities to hear, see, taste, smell, feel.

5. My flawed but actual ability to hear/sense/respond rightly to what God says in His Word, via prayer and in my heart as well as via others speaking into my life. Grace from the Holy Spirit in all this!

I AM SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO THANKFUL for each and all of these!

How about you? And THANKS for stopping by! -Glenn

Holiday Special

A sweet friend and her kids had a recent discussion about what they wanted for Christmas. The answer was to bring food and hot drinks to homeless folks under the bridge 3 blocks from our house.

One of many reasons I love our community/church.

So a small group of peeps including the kids collected hats, scarves, blankets, etc., got the food and treats together, a couple coolers of hot drinks and completely surprised a growing group under a cold Lakeshore Drive bridge the other night. One bro. brought his guitar and music to the folks.

I mentioned that if Wendi was doing well enough after hip surgery that next time (they plan to go again next month as the temps drop further) I’d bring a cigarbox guitar and bring ’em some gospel blues, Christmas carols and such. I think I’ll gift the guitar to one of them just before we return home.

I’d have gone the other night but my poor Wendi was in need of me.

So Thanksgiving takes on yet another level of meaning for me this season- thanking God for warm-hearted followers of Jesus on cold Chicago nights.

Some would think it crazy the homeless wouldn’t come into shelters and take other services offered them. Some of these folks have a history of being banned from a shelter, or are mentally ill, or drug dependent or just so socially messed up they refuse to come in from the cold.

Poverty alone puts some in the street, while so many other issues (sin and non-sin debilitating issues) land them there.

Jesus said “The poor you shall have with you always, and you can do good to them whenever you want to”.
When will we “want to”?

I’m truly thankful for those who do -and put His love in action via their serving such people.

Thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Joliet Thanksgiving Gig

20141122_132854So the set with my friend Joe Filisko was a treat. The dinner was great, the people and the staff at Hands of Hope were excellent and a -LOT- of peeps came for dinner, free eye exams/glasses, clothes of all sorts and cool music sets as well as… Circus Boy!

He was a trip, doing all sorts of cool circus stunts, acrobatics and comedy. All loved him and the kids were truly into it.

Enjoyed hanging with Joe and Michelle20141122_132918 -and finding out about this very needed outreach to poor folk in and around Will County, Illinois which serves from their main location as well as doing mobile teams out in the boonies south and west of Chicago.
20141122_132858
Kudos for an amazing event. SO glad Joe invited me to be part of it.

http://handsofhope4u.weebly.com/joliet-hope-center.html

As always, thanks for stopping and visiting my blog 🙂 -Glenn

Sweetest Doe Ever

If finding what you’re hunting for isn’t your cup of tea, stop reading now 🙂

Today makes only the second year in many, many years I was not sitting under a large oak in the woods intently watching for… well… venison. Yep. Free-range, nature and corn/beans/farm-fed venison.

Wendi’s 2nd hip replacement happened and I’m the main care-giver so nada this season.

Each year somewhere around the end of September as the weather cools and leaves begin to turn my heart and eyes look to the sky, the fields and the woods. I absolutely LOVE being out in whatever weather with the proper arm (gun, bow, whatever) in hand listening, watching, praying, just observing. I take lots of pictures (love these digital phones) and remember hunts long ago in various places, old friends, some now passed on.

Oh I rarely came/come home without getting what I came for, but the fact is that being in such a different place (on every level) is a tonic, a stress-reliever and a gift as much as the game is.

The glory of God in nature, seeing the varied flora and fauna, the change of seasons, experiencing the wide range of weather patterns and all the rest is just a kiss of life to me and many others who’ve shared such experiences.

But I have to say due to love and call, this year as last has been o.k.. Not the most fun in every respect, but cool. Because over 41 years ago I was blessed with the finest doe on the planet. Her name is Wendi.

wendigit

As the Cub fans in Chicago often say, “Maybe next year’!

Just sayin’ 🙂

Thanks for stopping by!

-Glenn

Pre-Thanksgiving Gig and Thoughts

So my friend and harmonica master Joe Filikso invited me to join him for a set at a Joliet fellowship serving the poor, homeless and otherwise folks in need of a hot meal and encouragement.

It’s blues/worship time!

I always (unlike the bird) look forward to Thanksgiving and especially around these holidays know there are those who volunteer to help serve the poor, a paying back or paying forward in the best sense. Great stuff!

Last night it hit 9 degrees in Chicago, wind chill making it worse.

As you and I enjoy a warm bed, soft blankets and likely, tangible love- there are plenty who live in deep and pure survival mode. In the bitter cold it only gets more difficult.

I bring a bit of music and point up, some of you might bring the same. Some reading this might make time to help cook and/or serve a meal, donate blankets, warm clothes or other items to a shelter, soup kitchen or church or ministry providing such in your area.

Go for it, please!

Too many are so focused on themselves and a dinner. Love God, love neighbor is the call to all of us.

May you and I give Thanks… and more.

And thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Surgical Pain Paths

ExclaimRegarding Wendi’s recent second hip replacement-

To say it’s been an easy, pain-free, everyone’s giving one another grace each moment time would be a lie.

What I am about to write is not uncommon to many who’ve had surgery, regardless of the money. It’s simply what’s up currently, and details as to my and Wendi’s BIG and MAJOR thanks to all of you who have prayed for she and I through our issues. If anyone ever asks me why I play blues music again… well… heh?!!

First the positive and general matters:

We love God, one another and through two close girlfriends of Wendi’s several family, close friends and a lot of prayer from our church/community we’re making it through. It could all be MUCH worse and is for several close friends. God is good, gracious and kind. This fallen world (and ourselves) not always so. So we get that. We are THANKFUL, but whew, it’s been a ride!

To think she may be able to walk again and get around (even our little room) to do things, perhaps garden and move about without pain will be near heaven. Really, truly, Alleluia and praise to God for such grace and medical science!

Excellent surgeon, doctors, nurses. The hip opp went perfectly, her next two days of recovery and rehab were truly a breeze.

As per last surgery we realized her anti nausea and pain meds would likely need re-adjustment, might not work when the initial meds ended via i.v.. We also understood re. our insurance (thanks Prez Obama) would be the only way we could get Wendi home with a wheelchair lift van due to her opp. and (needing a knee replacement on that side next…) knee, so…

The “rough sledding” stuff:

Then came her life-long issues with muscle cramps, some right at the incision spot. She has asthma and that kicked in some, partly due to the weather changes.

Pain kicked in worse, intestinal issues I won’t name here and after actual discharge sixteen (yep) hours with about 5 false starts for the right van to show up and get her home which is 20 mins. from the hospital (I won’t detail this nightmare either but it has nothing to do with Obamacare, that’s a fact).

She’s getting stronger at home, dealing with missing the homecare nurse due to getting home so late, now it’s the weekend… then there is the issue of two key pain meds being prescribed and (no exaggeration) phone calls to our pharmacy (“We can get those in about five days from now”) and her nausea, pain and cramps going nuts.

She had perhaps three or four hours of sleep the last 3 nights in hospital… so you can imagine. Book of Job comes to mind 🙂

We love and forgive one another daily. I blunder through trying to understand what she needs and how to best help her get it. She is tested with pain and patience, I am tested with understanding, kindness and sense as well as patience, and really how to best help.

Neither of us has gotten the sort of sleep one would wish.

Our ability to communicate (man-woman), doing so when a need is immediate and one is in pain and both lack sleep, added hearing loss (I have aids, she doesn’t just yet) all completes the “boot camp”, “lesson learning” scale from one to ten to about a sixteen!

So she heals slowly, is getting stronger, we are working through our pain, to be blunt, my own sense of selfishness/ineptitude, growing in patience (“love is patient, love is kind”), kindness, forgiveness and super appreciating all our friends near and far who pray.

My wife has a sense of innocence and grace in all this that is massively convicting to me. She is far more intelligent than I and her faith and child-like love for God is outstanding. I’ve been taxed emotionally to the breaking point plenty, but I deeply love Jesus and know He is present. We both sense His comfort often, but whew… this is a road-and-a-half to walk.

Meanwhile we’ve close friends whose entire family is laced with far worse medical issues, people are being daily tortured to death in this sick, sinful world, on and on it goes. Convicting when I want to complain or get really angry.

I know the scriptures on faith, healing, gifts and such fully (and believe, practice and apply them best I’m able). I also know “why” isn’t the issue, rather “what”.

I cold list several reasons that suffice in my own life re. both the why’s and what’s re. pain, sickness and God healing or not, etc.. In the end, it’s the emotional issues and personal peace in suffering that hit me hardest these past few years, and that not so much about my own health but of course, that of the one I love most on earth.

The “accuser” works to get us to blame God, others and ourselves, reminding us (in our “old nature”) to “fix it”, to somehow manipulate to get closure and get whatever it may be we want. We rationalize ourselves into and out of jams, but there are times such is just not possible and the emotions roll, if unchecked, the heart wanders, we are tempted to self-medicate and/or think and speak un-truths we ought not.

This has been a larger-than-desired part of the journey.

Obviously, it is part (or likely shall be) part of yours dear reader.

Here is where we truly stand: Phil. 4.13, 19, 20

Thanks so very much for your prayers as we move through this part of our life journey.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

-Glenn

Veteran’s Day (U.S.) 2014

Thanks to each veteran and active U.S. service person. As I have said many times, we don’t have to agree with every deployment to still rightly support them.

More after-service support is the extended issue for us all.

May God be gracious directly -and also through us!

Thank you.

-Glenn

Chicago CBG Fest Report

This past weekend’s 3rd Annual Chicago CigarBox Guitar Festival was in a word, sweet!20141108_193810

I couldn’t make it due to previous booking the first year, last year ended up with a double ear infection and did what I’ve only done a few times in my life, cancelled out. Finally made it this year and it was just sweet.

Met up with several old friends in the CBG movement, made a number of new ones and finally got to hear/see Rev. K.M. Williams, Johnny Lowbowe and others. Fun and crazy all in all.

Packed rooms (2 of ’em) and the showcase room along with some very talented vendors were putting on a display for sure!

Roots Riot (Tony, Brian and crew) did a great job and Brauerhouse in Lombard rocked it well. Sound was great, atmosphere friendly all night long. I did not get out there on Friday night but I heard good things about that as well.

Thanks to all the kind peeps who said nice things to me after my set.

And again, loved finally meeting K.M., had a great chat and dug his sets a lot. Real deal!

Been invited back next year and Lord willing I’ll be there too.

Here are some pics- sorry for the low lighting and green vibe but it is what it is on my phone 🙂
20141108_18595020141108_19121020141108_19352920141108_18574020141108_18582620141108_18581020141108_172056Viva!

Thanks for stopping by. -Glenn