New Year Same as Always?

Thinking about another “new year”.

All humans are made up of past, present and indeed, future. Some live in the past -whether horrid/tragic or “the good old days” of what was simple, fun and when maybe one had more of some measure of control. Perhaps they recall joyous and sometimes miraculous things the Lord did in their life.

This can be honest and authentic or a grovelling thread of misery one wallows in.

It can be escapist due to present struggles and real or imagined hardship/s.

It can be seeking to live on spiritual “mountaintop experiences”.

It may be an excellent reminder of God’s provision and grace. Back to that in a moment…

Some live in the present -perhaps dealing with all I’ve listed just here above.

Some make plans for a future they’ll never experience because they won’t be around, perhaps not even in the presence of God and His people. Sometimes over-focus on one’s future can also be a desire to forget and escape past sin, fear of not being forgiven, or excuse to neglect personal responsibilities in the present.

Some may seek balance between all three elements of thought- memory, current events and future expectations all with wise caution. Seems to me that’s the best path for a New Year and indeed a life of sanity and perspective worth attaining and maintaining.

Why? And more important, how?!

“For I the LORD do not change…” -Malachi 3.6a

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” -James 1.17

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” -Hebrews 13.8

Paul accents “faith, hope and love” and my God (Father, Son, Spirit) reminds and helps me through the transitions of life. It isn’t all pleasant- personal crosses, sin, (mine and others) having to deal with messed-up people on earth, illness, natural disasters and disappointments are all part of our journey.

But we don’t have to go it alone!! I walk with God moment-by-moment and this is Who and Why and the How I believe faith, hope and love come from: we can experience Him and them and make it through regardless. It’s finally about WHO we “do life” WITH.

Consider that this most important of all relationships is eternal. In Jesus we experience Eternal. Life.

So here’s to the new year with a Lord and King Who loves us like nobody else has or can. Relationship YES!

Past, present and future are His and I am His in the process.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Lil’ BOXing Day Diddley Bow

Been wanting to try this for some years now… and my middle name is Harold 🙂

All found object stuff but for the git string. Tuned to an E.

She’s 23 1/2 inches tip-to-tip. Scale is 19 3/8 inches “bridge” to “nut” and as you can see there’s really neither cuz it’s’ all about two L brackets, string tied off up top and around the wingnut at bottom. I would’ve used a mini turnbuckle for tuning but had none around so found the combo you see at the bottom to do the work of a tuner -which as it’s set up here, amazingly simple and works great!

Tone is cool and even a bit more volume than I expected.

Also had and chopped to shorten white-headed nails, pounded ’em in for position markers. A little “off” but that goes along with me and most of my quick builds. Haaaaaarrrrrryyyyyyy’s!

For that close, clean (cheap) shave… and who knows what may come of this re. songwriting?

Reminds me of a friend’s cigarbox git history and build book “One Man’s Trash”, another friend’s “Making Poor Man’s Guitars” and yet another friend’s “Obsessed With Cigar Box Guitars” -all on Amazon and no, I get no credit nor loot, just all great fun and instructional as well as historical gems from friends of mine.

So ya never know what you can make from stuff just sitting around someplace. MUSIC! Yep.

Wishing you a Happy New Year, and as always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Christmas 2019!

I must first mention that for several of my good friends this is a time of mourning and sadness at the loss or soon-to-be loss of loved ones. For some it is either the first Christmas or some years have passed as the memories flood in of holiday joy with one or more loved ones now gone -at least until joining together again in worship before the throne of God.

Then I want to say something that struck me in writing what became this year’s free Christmas download tune from GrrrRecords.Com. The title is Nine-Six -re. Isaiah 9.6 which inspired the following chorus lyric:

“Peace!
Come on peace!
We need peace!
In the love of the Lion and the Lamb”

As John the Baptist was baptizing people in the Jordan River he saw and then pointed to Jesus and said “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” -John 1.29

Scripture tells us in both spiritual and practical terms “the life is in the blood”. God commanded sacrifice of a perfect, spotless lamb for the sins (missing the mark, wrongdoing, injustices) of His people Israel. Jesus- the promised Messiah -is that Lamb of God.

It’s easy to think of the Babe in the manger as a lamb. But He is that and more.

But that’s not all He is nor the only sense of Spirit in which He comes (“Advent” means “coming”). He is both Lion and Lamb. We may wish He were one or the other but He is both.

Revelations 5.5 and elsewhere Jesus is referred to as the Lion of Judah. [You might consider Isa. 11.10, Rom. 15.12 and much more in both Testaments that speak to elements of this]

Consider that Jesus asked his disciples: “Who do you say I am?”

God asked Adam after his disobedience, “Where are you?”

The Person of Jesus Christ is the eternally living fulcrum upon which, Whom, all will give account.  Who He IS in my life and yours is the crucial issue after we consider the Babe in the manger at Christmastime.

He is both Lion and Lamb.

He is my Lord and Savior. May you trust Him above yourself and all others now and forever!

Regardless of anything else you’d care to mention, Christmas and eternity must and in the end shall find it’s deepest focus on the Creator and His Son, the Lion and Lamb: Christ Jesus.

As always, thanks for stopping by- and 🙂 I sincerely wish you a Blessed, even eternal Christmas! -Glenn

A Few Mins. = CANJO :)

The puck stops here! Well, the neck came from a broken, tossed hockey stick. Basic tin can, eyebolt for tuner, acoustic E (wound) guitar string, no bridge needed and the “nut” is a screw-in little eye to also guide the string to the “tuner”.

Look close and you’ll see the neck was a fail , would’ve been a 3 stringer, sat in stack for years and today I re-found that little can and thought “Yup, let’s!”

ChristmasJunkerCanjo001

She’s 18 1/4 inches tip-to-tip, scale from bottom of can to “nut” is 14 5/8 inches and at the moment tuned to a C. Seems to like it. A bit tinny sounding (no joke, most of ’em are!!) but I like it.

CANJO BLUES  -glenn kaiser

Got a, tin can an’ a hockey stick
A guitar string an’ a eye-bolt too
Made a pick from a credit card
Glass slide from a hot salt tube

Ain’t what you got, it’s what you do
Somedays I play the canjo blues

Go on laugh but the poor ain’t gone
Close your eyes an’ jus’ move along
But the point is simple -ain’t got to be rude
Creator love gonna see ’em through

Ain’t what you got, it’s what you do
Somedays I play the canjo blues

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

ChristmasJunkerCanjo002

 

Gift-Giving 101

And no, this is not a pitch to go buy my merch!! If you’re like me and most folks, certainly in the Western world, you’re doing some scampering about trying to decide, then make, find or purchase gifts for loved ones as Christmas approaches.

Some hate it, some love it, some are sort of indifferent but the reality of it all is that we do best when we mimic those wise dudes who showed up to marvel at and worship Jesus.

The absoluely most incredible Gift given us is Jesus Himself. Redemption (been thinking a lot about that term again) and eternal LIFE just cannot be topped and these came and come via the resurrected Jesus Christ.

I recently did a set of tunes at a holiday show where I included In The Bleak Midwinter. That dear English poem was put to music years ago and a lot of peeps have recorded and played it in concert since. After pointing directly to the Best Gift EVER, the consideration of what can be given in return by the poor person is pondered.

“O, what can I give him, Poor, as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man, I would do my part,
What I can I give Him- I will give my heart.”

Many years ago on a dark country road I was alone but for the Lord. I had once again given myself to addictions but in that unexpected moment had a deep sense of His presence. Long story short I began naming off every sin I could think of and asked forgiveness. After that long list it seemed there was still something else He wanted. I asked Him what it could be as I was literally crying and repenting of every last messed-up issue. In my mind, clear as could be He said “You. Glenn, I want YOU. All of you!”

What is true for everyone and anyone? “Whosoever will, let them come!” Relationship to Him is the core gift He gives us -God the Son- our connection to our heavenly Father and filling with God the Holy Spirit! Our response to Him is the best gift we can give to Him in return.

I wish you His peace this Christmas and beyond!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

“I’m Sorry, I Can’t :(“

Full confession- for many of us and in particular if a lot of folks know you these can be really- TRULY difficult words to say.

Three quick stories from today in a moment here…

Wendi often tells me I care too deeply about what people may think of me, and she may be correct (usually is) but my main concern in my own thoughts is that I want to be the best reflection of my Savior as possible. In part that’s why it’s hard for me to either not answer (social media) or tell folks “No” to a request. Sometimes it’s the sheer amount of requests. But I’m NOT saying I don’t want to hear and consider folk’s requests!!

The sheer amount of people who are in need, sometimes just want, who ask for this or that (and I don’t want them to stop as such!) can be overwhelming.

I admit to being in the middle of several hard-to-do-correctly projects for others, but of course at some point they will be finished and those pressures will be gone. This of course happens repeatedly in life to all of us and that really is reality.

So one of several peeps sent an incredibly long bit of writ and asked a number of questions that to be fully answered would take more like a book to do. I did my best to keep it short but thought it best to read and answer all best as I could.

Another asked (rightly and with excellent purpose) for help raising money for a mutual friend -which I hope to do in the new year. To do that justice will take a great deal of thought, planning and care, likely involving one or more people and that’s where things get thick re. their schedules, families, etc., etc.. But I’m going to try, and maybe just do a sort of on-the-cheap “dog-leg” version of how that project might be done, a sort of plan B if necessary although they are certainly worth plan A to me!

Between my own sense of priorities, family, local fellowship, jail and prison work/music sets, all the recording/touring and writing stuff and then just day-to-day household, driving/shopping and etc., duties, and of course growing older -I get a bit tired at times and so have learned to take 15 to 30 minute breaks.

Every now and then I head to the woods, the slow-down and quiet of nature and turning off the mobile phone in my pocket for a half-day or more really helps me air out my head.

And this “lotta folks know ya” re. a life full of recordings, interviews, social media and of course touring means lots of folks in real need contact me for various input, help and/or that I might connect them to folks or organizations that might meet the need. I’m BLESSED to be able to do so, but of course some emails get overlooked, either a family or close friend or church person or event pops up and suddenly a fair sized chunk of the day and my schedule is re-arranged.

Today while driving Wendi to several stores (routine shopping) a poor and not-dressed-for-the-weather bro came up asking for change. We gave him all we had which wasn’t much, told him about our shelter 2 blocks away where he could get kindness, a full, hot meal, coffee and warm place to be.

This isn’t unusual in any larger city in the U.S. and we often give food, money and directions to people, So many are homeless, often veterans, mentally challenged and such so there’s no way we’re just going to ignore them.

As we got to the car I was kicking around an idea for a possible lyric but… ummm… well, “Snot-faced Angel” -only God knows who some of these folks are and how difficult it is for them in this cold and often self-centered world. There’s a new world coming and I surely hope to see them there, help them GET there. But first- here and now!!!

My deepest desire is “YES!” but alas, sometimes I just cannot do it all and that’s difficult to live with. This is where I must do my best to surrender to the Lord Himself, entrust Him with my time, give the best I can in the moment or time frame and leave the rest with Him.

Such a needy world, so many voices calling for love which indeed equals time and service. I will continue to give until I’m home with the Lord.

Meanwhile though I wish it were not so, there are days I must say “No… I’m sorry, I can’t” to some -mostly because I’m saying “Yes” to many others.

I’m certain plenty of you reading this experience much of the same.

Well, it’s one day at a time.

2 Corinthians 9.6-11 speaks to all this as well. Grateful to have so I can give!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Last Diddley Bow Pre-Christmas!

Somebody STOP ME!! Ha, no worries, I have far too much to do before the big day and right through the holidays, but all of these boxes been sitting here in my office and today I had 30 mins. to spare so this is what came of it.

She’s a take-down diddley bow, perfect for backpacking, travel of any sort and so forth. No pickup but I’m working on a new (to me) suction cup pickup that will pop on and off this or any git I’d choose to use. That’s another thing, maybe after the first of the year I’ll play with that idea.

Inspiration rolls like this, sometimes I don’t build anything for a couple or more months and it’s the same with songwriting, always has been. Then, booooom. So anyway, all and I mean all of this was found in a trash can but the string and box and they were both given me some time ago by friends.

It’s playable totally dis-attached from the body but when played like that this one really loves a (found object) piece of pvc conduit -or- an empty ghost-pepper infused sea salt tube (glass) for a slide. It’s rare when these aren’t sounding right to me with metal but this one simply favors those two materials for slidin’ w/o the box. Fully attached she likes any slide and is amazingly LOUD with great natural tone

Specs: Neck ONLY- 18 1/4 inches long, 1 5/8 inches wide including eye-bolt tuner she’s 2 inches deep, scale bridge [post really] to nut is 15 1/2 inches.

Neck Only
Body Attached

WITH the solid wooden Regius box attached via bolt/wingnut (takes about a minute) she’s 22 1/2 inches total length, 7 1/2 wide and 2 1/4 thick.

Not at all heavy and she sports a light but wound acoustic G (I think) and is tuned to a G.

Very full sound for the size. Easy to take down for truly portable travel!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Advent and Captives

The four Sundays preceding Christmas Day and the coming/arrival (the meaning of Advent) focus on Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. Some light a fifth candle which symbolizes the concept of Light.

John writes in his Gospel re. Jesus: 1.4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 1.5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

Paul writes, “For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4.6)

The darkness of jail and prison cell to persecuted Christians as well as those innocent or simply too poor to pay a fine -as well as those guilty of any number of crimes- is not impossible for God to penetrate. Jesus told us “God is Spirit” therefore no walls, bars or judgments of people can keep Him out of our mind, heart, soul or life. His light can and does penetrate all barriers -IF and as we surrender to Him in faith.

For those in solitary confinement or on death row (two things I and many believe are immoral, inhumane and must be abolished in the United States) exist very real horrors -yet no human authority has the ability to shut God out and away from those held there.

The Spirit of God, Jesus Christ, God the Father cannot be literally locked out and away from the captives. Note the following pertaining to both to Jesus and these  matters: “18. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19. to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4) Jesus is quoting from Isaiah here and clearly states He has come to fulfill these things.

In Matthew 25 Jesus speaks of sheep and goats and a separation of them in the end. One amazing statement of His relates to how we treated “captives”: “I was in prison and you came to me.” (v.36b)

The United States has an appx. incarceration rate of 693 (Prisoners per 100,000 population), Finland 55, Sweden 55, Norway 70, Iceland 45, Denmark 61 (-Quora) Another of a slew of solid sources to face up to real-life captives in “civilized” nations: https://www.prisonpolicy.org/global/2018.htm

There are of course, several arguments as to why our nation locks so many behind bars, and believe me when I say I agree that many need to be locked up at least for a time re. actual offenses and public safety. At the same time there is so much wrong with many of the policies, politicians and people who consider our justice system truly just in capturing and incarcerating people you’d have to study the matter to understand the what and why I say these things.

In my experience as pastor and chaplain far too many professing Christians are massively ignorant on these issues and therefore are themselves captive to attitudes and darkness to the extent even the idea of them serving incarcerated people on some level is out of sight-out of mind if not fully repugnant, a matter of disgust and a simple “They’re getting what they deserve!” as if any of us deserves anything less than hell.

“As you DID IT to the least of these” are Jesus’ words.

We can argue all we like about how this all came to be or that per capita “We’re not that bad!” as compared to other nations and rulers… but the facts of daily life in our lock-ups is an education as to how we actually treat the “least of these” captives.

What does all this have to do with Hope, Peace, Joy, Love and Light regarding Advent 2019? Everything.

The Christ Child as God in the flesh arrived, Himself of course innocent, arrested, unjustly judged, imprisoned, treated brutally (to say the least…) and executed by the State -and religious leaders not only played the game with the Roman occupiers but demanded such for Him.

Most of the apostles were executed by the State via religious leaders who kept power in large part due to unholy alliances with Rome. Paul and others were imprisoned on their way.

Prior to all this John the Baptist was locked up and murdered in the same way -ultimately due to speaking truth to power.

What an amazing reality that Hope, Peace, Joy, Love and Light accompanied them through the pain and misery right through to finally seeing the Face of God and hearing “Well done you good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord!” The same will be true for many a prisoner while sadly a shock to hear otherwise from many a supposed “saint” who confused loyalty to the State as loving obedience to the LORD.

Jesus said “The one whom the Son sets free is free indeed!” (John 8.36) I have met countless incarcerated Christ-followers who manifest more of these five Advent characteristics than plenty of so-called “free” people in the churches.

The question then is “WHO are the captives”?

On this 3rd Sunday in Advent, these are things I ponder.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

2 Stringer Slide CBG

Yeah well it’s a disease. All these cigar boxes staring at me and so in very short order I found two of the most messed up, both with thick black paint on the lid.

I needed just a few more parts for a Christmas build that’s -not- this one, but a gift for a friend’s boss, an older gent who’s never played slide guitar. That one’s a quite pretty 3 stringer. Had to get a bit more gold hardware for that as the tuners I had on hand are gold plated metal, so prior to being able to hit the store up for that stuff I threw this one together in a couple hours.

This one was just crying for a quick build for myself so no worries on the look. But in my experience paint can often affect the sound resonating off the top and on a wooden box I prefer no paint at all, especially if I may not install a pickup, so the acoustic sound warms up a bit sans paint.

Hence to the table saw (carefully!) to shave just a bit off the top. Which took off a bit more than I wanted, so then with a dremel and little saw bit I took nearly a full half of the paper-thin side of this Arturo Fuente box and here we have something I’ve seen done but not yet tried myself- half open, half closed lid, latched shut. My mistake provided sound/look coolness -imho anyway. And oh, the open hole at the top of the neck is on purpose so if I want to put a cord through for a “strap”.

I decided to put a thick bass string on the bottom, a thinner but still wound string on the top and tune them in unison.

Simple chugger and she rocks a full tone, quite satisfied. I even like the look, semi-mutt which suits me well 🙂

Total Length- 23.25 inches   Body- 6.50 x 6.50 inches    Body thickness- 2.50 inches

Scale bridge to nut- 16 inches

She seems happy tuned to a Bb (B flat) so for now, that’s the vibe.

Well I think another song is brewing, ha!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Free Download GK 2019 Christmas Song

As posted earlier, here’s the tune. Kudos to Joe Filisko who helped inspire it 🙂

“NINE-SIX” by Glenn Kaiser – Please go to https://grrrrecords.com/   and scroll down there for actual download link!

NINEsixGrrrRecordsChristmas

NINE-SIX -by glenn kaiser

Child is born to us
A son’s been given
To bind up every wound
To help us in our livin’

CH.
Peace!
Come on peace!
We need peace!
In the love of the Lion and the Lamb

And the government
Gonna be on His shoulder
No beginning or end
Born to bring us over

And the government
Will be on His shoulder
No beginning or end
Died and rose to bring us over

Wonderful!
Counselor!
Mighty God!
Everlasting Father!
Wonderful!
Counselor!
Mighty God!
Prince of Peace!

—And MAJOR Thanks to ALL the Grrr Records staff, JPUSA Ev. Covenant and EC Church friends who support me in what I do.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn