Thursday, September 28, 2006

one small step for man

Had a breakthrough event today. It may seem like nothing to most, but it's huge for me.

After jumping through about 400 legal hoops, sending and receiving documents via fax and overnight express, getting notarized signatures from distant uncles, and wine-n-dining step brothers we never knew...

My dad and I finally got the title transferred for the Star Destroyer.

This is huge. I mean...when this thing entered my life almost 3 months ago I thought it was going to be a financial rescue for me. Yet I couldn't sell it because the title wasn't in my name. We assumed it was in my late grandfather's name. Then we discovered that the title was not only in the name of one dead person but in two. And the second name (my late grandfather's late wife) isn't even a relative of mine. So getting her estate to sign over this car seemed damn near impossible.

This whole ordeal was a mere picture of how most everything in my life seems to have gone in recent months: impossible.

I am claiming this title transfer as the first miracle of many to come. Thank you CEO.


In other interview this morning went well. Don't know if/when I'll find out anything. But I'm real confident about it.

It's for a government (state) job, so the interview was pretty cut-n-dry and to the point.

It's out of my hands now. If it's meant to be, it'll be.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Gone fishing #004

Nothing really new to report. Still throwing nets out. Still fighting off depression. Still questioning self worth, yet knowing the truth of who I am. But just questioning it since all looks impossible from where I stand these days.

The Handy man gig appears to have been a temp deal. Bill could call me again if he has a big enough job, etc.

I forgot to mention that the organization founded by legendary agents William & Catherine Boothe sent me an official letter two weeks ago letting me know "thanks, but no thanks". Not that I didn't already know that. But they were decent enough to mail me and state so.

I have a job interview this Thursday with the state. It's a potentially good paying gig with actual benefits, etc. But it involves being in the vicinity of hundreds of convicts. Should be interesting.

Just throwing out nets and spitting on demons. That's all I can do now.

Multi thanks for everyone's encouragement during these dark and confusing times.

Friday, September 22, 2006

on the pulse (an ode to Mr. Berry)

The fair mother city lost one of it's better citizens to a tragic train accident yesterday.

Mr. Berry (who's first name rhymes with his last) was killed by a passing train though town yesterday afternoon. Police released his name this morning and I'm shocked.

Not to get sidetracked on the suspicious subject of this being the fourth train/pedestrian death since May which coincides with the train speed through town being raised from 30 mph to freaking 70 mph...

Mr. Berry was infamous in the fair mother city for wearing super high, tight denim shorts...year round. Along with his trade-mark shorts, he sported knee-high tube socks, smooth & tanned legs, and mirrored "cop" sunglasses.

He brought a touch of Austin, or even a flair of the California Bay area to West Texas. We need more like him.

Mr Berry could be seen walking along the N1st and S1st corridor most afternoons.

Just last Saturday my dad and I were waiting for a food order at a N1st restaurant and I spotted Mr. Berry across the street and realized I haven't seen him in months.

I've watched Mr. Berry for almost 10 years from a distance, starting back when he daily walked in front of the music store I once worked at. I never had a chance to meet him, but I've waived while I drove by. He once stated in a newspaper article spotlighting him that these drive-by greetings made him feel like a movie star.

An acquaintance at my former church said that Mr. Berry started attending services a few months back and even got saved. But I think he left because they started giving him flack about his dress. Go figure.

Mr. Berry & I have more in common than I knew...

I always dreamed that he'd come hang out at The Table. And since he had his thumb firmly planted on the pulse of the fair mother city, we could have learned a lot from him.

Mr will be sincerely missed by me. The streets of the fair mother city will not be the same.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Agent reports of late have pretty much been downers. That's understandable I suppose. These last three or four weeks have really sucked. I've really tried to make the best of it though.

I've been going through a panic of sorts...trying to find money to live on because it seems that the CEO ain't delivering though any subversive avenues these days.

Times like these can really jack with your head and emotions. Yet I still trust the CEO and believe in his promises. Some would ask why, yet I wouldn't know how to answer them...with actual words.

So it goes.

Exactly Two years ago I went through the exact same panic season. And I hammered through town looking for full time employment. One such opportunitiy was a sales gig at a cell phone company. I jumped through multiple application and interview hurdles all to receive a one sentence email stating "we regret to inform you..."

So it goes.

The funny thing about that deal was...during my initial phone interview (which was with some guy in Chicago late one Sunday night...I loved interviewing for a job wearing nothing but boxers) the guy asked about my current "employment". So I told him about the izzy group ministry and how it lost all funding and I really didn't want to leave it at all, but I needed an income.

He paused. Then he said, (knowing full and well that our interview was being recorded for his superior to hear) "Well Agent B...I am a christian. And I will pray that you won't have to take this job so you can continue ministering".

That was funny.

I didn't get the job, and I picked up odd jobs and weird provision along the way.

Thanks for your prayer, interview guy...where ever you are.


I'm not usually a big fan of laments. Yet I recognize that I'm in a lament season, and the happy, clappy, joy, joy jesus and prosperity message from my charismatic background is now bullshit.

I have happiness & joy in places. Ie: My wife and kids are the greatest. But I've long identified with Isaiah in the 6th chapter: "Whoa to me, for I am fucking ruined. I have hung out with the dirty people of society and therefore I have seen the CEO"

So I'm in a lament phase with a take no prisoners bent. I'm tired of coming across so self-absorbed on these reports. Forgive me. This phase will pass someday. I promise.

I am a big fan of Fletch's (the construction guy) post on Psalm 121 and a recent church experience and his wrestling with the CEO. I think it's healthy to question and bitch about the CEO on occasion. That generally shows you acknowledge his existence and plan to grow towards him and refuse to be complacent.

Some in the agent network have said I'm a "prophet". That's really funny. I'd never call myself that. Just like if I called someone an asshole doesn't mean they are one. Just means I think they're one.

My coc upbringing doesn't even acknowledge the existence of prophets. And in my charismatic background, prophets were weird ass older people from out of town that pulled people from out of the crowd and said "a word" over them, usually something santa claus-like.

Agent X says something about my life is living out a "proph-o-drama". I now understand what he means, but I'm still digesting it. That sounds different than the santa word gig, therefore I can probably buy it.

And Jack tells me that prophets are rarely happy. That is, rarely happy with the church and the way things are going. I think I can buy that too.

...and with recent observations like my handy man boss Bill and his view of the poverty class ("he can just go down to the christian service center and get clothes and food instead of smoke them cigarettes")...

I don't know. Lamenting away...


I would be on the verge of prophetic meltdown. But yesterday some dear friends of ours, who happen to be the sister and spanish-speaking mother of my across-the-street neighbor Juan Valdez, came over to pray with us and give a word to me.

Normally I'd be cautious about that. But this timid, sweet, Mexican woman has no agenda in life other than to minister to the CEO. And I trust her. Even though I can't speak spanish.

And ever since yesterday when I woke up, I've carried an unexplainable peace with me.

I've just felt better than I've felt in a long time. Thank you CEO.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Of handy-men and con-men

Had a slight peculiar situation today on the handy man gig. Sort of a brief blending of my true calling and my current occupation, I guess.

My "boss", Bill and I are closing in a garage. Before we started Monday, it was a garage that was half closed in. Basically, a former two car garage that was a one car garage with a game room. So now we're making it into a giant game room. We took down the interior wall separating the two. I removed the old garage door and Bill and his son installed an exterior door and framed in all in the first day. Today we're tape-n-bedding and sheetrocking, etc.

So we're going in and out of a garage/driveway area a lot.

The neighborhood we're working in is real blue-collar. I mean, it's teetering on the brink of being the hood. It may already be the hood. I don't know. But we're there most of the day and everybody seems to be at work or something, so it can't be 100% hood yet. But getting there.

It's located about a block or two from the freeway. So I suppose some cool characters would make their way through this neighborhood on occasion.

Like this war veteran in a wheelchair.

Bill & I stepped outside to get something at the truck when this guy in the street on a wheelchair yells at us, "Hey, come here. I gotta ask you something".

It was blaringly obvious what this was going to be. This guy was going to ask for something like money. And like a natural reaction I snapped in engagement mode while Bill went back into the garage.

The wheelchair dude gave some classic spiel about being in Viet Nam and just coming back from the VA hospital in Big Spring and having nothing and wanted a buck or 2 for some food. It was a con game. 90% of these things are. But I rarely care. If someone asks for a whopping buck and I've got one or two, what do I care if they use it to wipe their butt with. It ain't mine anymore.

Except I didn't have any money with me. Agent Wife took the last of my cash last night. I was penniless.

This guy was definately a con. He was belligerent about not getting anything from me. Like I was lying or something. It was funny. He told me to go in and ask Bill if he had something. He was trying to turn me into the begger! Eventually, the wheelchair guy rolled off rambling some crazy talk: telling me how if I'd ever ask him for anything that he'd leave me lying in the gutter.

I'd swear this was Momo's brother.

I thought the whole thing was kind of funny. And I was actually hoping for an Acts 3 kind of event: (sliver and gold have I none...but get out of that wheelchair, dammit, and walk). But wheelchair guy was determined to get a buck that I didn't have. So no miraculous Agent B healings today.

What was more eye-opening was Bill's take on it as well as his view of the poverty culture. His take on it is what I'd expect from someone in his age group (50's?) and his walk in life (church going, middle class, hard-working American). It's good to get this perspective again after my seven years as a secret agent of sorts.

Can't say I agree with Bill one bit but I'm never in a mood to debate. Especially with an employer.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Agent Handy Man (deja vu)

Thanks to our friend Jack in the agent network, I've got a small paying handy man apprentice gig. I love doing these things. It just sucks that I have no formal skills in this arena that is an easy and eternal money-maker for many.

In some ways I may be way out of my element. I can feel pretty clumsy with pros. But I'm doing all right.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

mission: dignified treatment

Attention all you nay-sayers and critics of my faith outlet(s).

I went to a church this morning.

No, it's not the seventh sign of the apocalypse. My dad is in town and as a family courtesy, I joined him in church attendance this rainy Sunday morning.

So, dad and I attend the coc mega church that several within the agent network have ties to. And I like going there because it's so big that I can slip in and out of the back and nobody notices. Except I always run into someone from my college days 15 years ago.
There was a guest speaker this morning from Atlanta. And although his message was nothing eye-opening, it was amazing to hear it from a church building. Plus...this guy just put it in simple words that I've never thought of before.

The gist of his entire message (that was within a series called "The church has left the building"...which sounds great, but I somehow still doubt that's true) was this:

In reference on bringing truth to the lost...'s not about how do we REACH them.

It should be about how do we TREAT them.

Oh baby. Yeah!

This verbiage (reach vs. treat) completely dismantles the us vs. them mentality of believers and non-believers. It humbles the believer and elevates the non-believer.

I love it. How do we TREAT them?

Friday, September 15, 2006

daily bread

OK, so the fact is...every little thing that comes our way these days is a miracle.

"Thing" as in anything. Joy, friendship, materials, sustinance, whatever.

But more specifically materials. And maybe more specifically sustinance, you know, like food.

I mean it's weird. I have no effing job. And I'm actually trying. Because I don't know what else to do anymore.

OK, so maybe I'm not trying that hard. I haven't applied at say McDonalds. Nor have I taken a job that was basically being handed to me: an $8 an hour early morning shift work wiping the butts of mentally handicapped people.

And god bless the fast food folks and especially the early morning butt wipers. Because you are the ones that make this world operate. And I truly mean that.

But somehow, me and my family have made it on faith this far. So, if we're going to step outside the faith realm and back into the real-life working world...then dammit, I want to have a halfway decent schedule that will allow me to see my wife and kids at normal times of the day. Not the shifting nurse's late night/early morning schedule like I had when I worked in TV broadcasting. Am I being too picky?

And $8 an hour wouldn't even cover our ass. We've done better living on faith. Go figure.

Maybe I can't afford to be picky. But I've made it this far in life trusting this wacky litmus test of mine I call my "gut". When I follow my gut, I never go wrong. And my gut says "stay away from the shift work gig".

But anyway...for over a year this agent blog report has written files and files on living outside the rat-race. I mean...we're missionaries. I guess.

But the CEO of the universe has always provided somehow. Even though it's getting ridiculous now as I feel like I'm becoming more of an embarassment to my parents as opposed to a blessing. Not that I've ever let parents dictate my hearing the CEO. Even Jesus advised us to leave our mother and father. Maybe even hate them. I don't know.

But I'm becoming more of a burden to them instead of a blessing. And I don't like that.

But all this to say...

Somehow or another, for the last month or so we have managed to keep receiving bread for free.

Bread. Literally.

Jack and his family gave us a home-made loaf recently.

Uncle Kurt would bring some by our place every other night for a few weeks. I never knew why he brought bread. We never asked him for it.

Frieda Sanford, the most resourceful person in the poverty culture of the fair mother city, has always managed to find bread and other food items and share them.

Like today.

She had a freaking garage full of bread. The food bank was having a one-day-only mass bread give-away. And, of course, Frieda was there. She always knows about these things.

So she loaded he little car with tons of bread products and is giving them out to her friends and family all over town. Including us. She would have got more bread if her car was bigger. She actually left her daughter's friend at the food bank to find her own ride home so she could have room for the bread.

I know we westerners have a culture of hording and storing up things indefinately. And The Book mentions several examples (mostly old testiment) involving storing and preparing for the future.

But why is daily bread such a hard concept for me?

Thank you CEO.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Gone fishing #003 (bait-n-switch)

Still trying to make sense of it all.

Still fighting depression. Fighting fairly well, but it's an uphill battle or so it seems.

Still refusing to believe that the miracles in the last 2-3 years in my life is a lead-up into all dreams of mine being disolved. Thus...

Still expecting something big. However...

Still trying to find moderate income as we're broke. Somehow. Somewhere.

Now for: "Fun with Pimping*: Looking for work in all the wrong places"

1) The organization that I applied with mentioned here is a no go, as far as I'm concerned.

I've been vague about them until now. But I'll just say, they are the largest non-prof ministry to the poor in the entire world, have a 140 year history, their founders are 2 of my personal heroes, their goofy military schtick is actually effective...even though I can't hold back from laughing when I see their leaders in public all decked out in uniform, and...last but not least...I have NEVER heard a positive word about the local branch of this organization from the mouths of the homeless.


None the less, I'm desperate so I applied since I was told by an inside source that I was well qualified for the position of "case worker". And I specifically asked if a social work degree was needed for this job, since they usually expect that for any case worker. I was told no, the degree was not needed. Street smarts and experience trumped a social work degree.

So I applied.

And I waded through their unprofessional nonsense mentioned here.

And when the interview finally happened monday morning...BAIT-N-SWITCH, baby!

THE GENERAL: "Well a social work degree IS needed for this position. But we have something that would fit you just fine!"

Read: something much lower paying, more dirty work, and crappy hours. They might need someone to operate their homeless shelter hours. Might.

I haven't heard back if that position is surely open. But bait-n-switch is one of my biggest red flags in life. If they weren't honest with me at first, why should I trust them to be my employer.

2) Meanwhile, I've been applying and pimping all over the place:

-a state job as a clerk in the human resources office of a prison (I might get killed during a riot, but I'll be paid well in the process)
-a Denver based company that outsources human services for the government (don't know exactly what the hell that is, but sounds like good pimping to me)
-a sales rep for the phone/internet company I use at home (maybe there's employee discounts)
-plus potential handy-man and odd job gigs (which I love, but have little experience)
-and...whatever else may float my way...

But, we're damn near broke and a few bills due on the horizon. The CEO has delivered many times before.

I still dream of The Table daily. Especially the live music aspect of it, as I've suddenly found myself a former musician who hasn't played any good gigs in over 3 years. That really hurts my soul...

And sometimes I feel that I'm wrestling with idealism versus realism. Or maybe it's faith versus faithlessness. Or intellegence versus nonsense. Maybe it's none of these at all.

Dear CEO: What gives? What exactly is the path you are taking me down? How does this lead me to my hopes and dreams? I still trust and worship you. I just request relief and joy in my life now. Thank you.

*a slight nod to agent G13

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Obi-Wan Tour

I've had this idea of taking Obi-Wan out for a drive through town and seeing all the places he's lived, worked at and hung around during his 53 years in the fair mother city. It finally happened today and was a smash hit.

I had no idea that he'd enjoy this outing as much as he did. He even wanted to celebrate with hamburgers from GW's (excellent burger joint in the fair mother city).

I learned a little more about his life in addition to some historical data on Abilene from a 89 year old black man's perspective.

a few highlights:

(Obi-Wan worked exclusively as a service station attendant from the time he arrived in 1953 until his retirement around 1986...)

1) The site of Homer Mann's Gulf Station still stands at N. 1st & Grape. Obi-Wan worked here in the late 1950's.

I got him to sit and have his photo taken in the exact spot of the photo from this previous post. Also noteworthy...this is the site of the huge explosion where Obi-Wan was serverly burned. I wrote about it here.

I think he spent many weeks at the hospital due to that explosion...back in the 1950's when Hendrick had a "special" wing just for black people. How thoughtful of them.

I'm still hoping to find an old newspaper article on the explostion at the library on microfish. But he doesn't remember the year or date.

2) This station at N. 13th & Treadway was another work site of his in the late 1960's.

This is Obi-Wan with his boss R.E (Polly) Pollard.

This station is still in operation as a mechanic garage. But I don't think they sell gas anymore.

3) Shortly after his arrival in 1953, Obi-Wan lived on the NW corner of N. 6th and Mesquite. Currently, a credit union sits on that property. Only one house still stands on this block of Mesquite that's mostly city government buildings and businesses.

Across the street from where his house once stood is city hall..."which use to be a feed store and a cotton gin".

It was a fun outing. And we had no idea he'd enjoy it that much, even though the city's changed so much since the last time he's seen many of these places.

Goofing off at his N. 6th & Mesquite residence...

Obi-Wan with a mentally handicapped girl he and his wife raised at their N. 6th & Mesquite home...

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Gone fishing #002

It's just getting funny.

And I mean ha ha funny. I'm laughing. In a good way.

This morning I call up one of the places I've applied at recently. I knew they were interviewing this week and I had not heard from them. So I thought I'd call and ask if I had a shot at an interview. At least I'd know if this door was closed or not.

"Yeah Agent B, you have an interview. I left you a message".

"" (Yeah, right. Not according to my answering machine and caller ID).

"Yes. Or...maybe you're phone was busy". (Yeah...maybe. OK, that's believable. Agent Wife & I abhor call waiting so our phone doesn't have it. We believe in first come, first serve.)

"OK. So when is this interview scheduled?"

"Today at 3:30".

Well, hot damn. I'm glad I called. Sure hate to be a no-show for a job interview...that I didn't KNOW about.

So, I pretty much plan my afternoon around the 3:30 event. I had some outdoor, manual labor tasks that I had planned on doing, but I put them off since this 3:30 gig fell right in the middle of them.

So I show up on time. Plenty early actually. I was told to wait in the hallway on a bench for 5-10 minute because the boss had left temporarily.

Then the woman asks me if they could reschedule the interview for Monday morning.

I'm still laughing.

For those of you not familiar with the fair mother city...THIS is a prime example of the level of professionalism around here. Yup. Everything is pretty much just a mon-n-pop good ole boy club within most every industry. So it goes.

But the only word the CEO shared with me about this season of my life is WAIT.

I've been waiting for everything. Now...this interview.

Amazingly enough, this kind of thing would have shot me through the roof by now.

But I currently have more peace in life right now than I've had in the past two weeks. It's supernatural. I can't explain it. So, I'm expecting the CEO to deliver something huge in my life and in a big way.

...still laughing.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

desert ramblings

Funny how it is in our culture: your identity is usually wrapped up in what you do to make money.

How did we get there?

This local agent recently wrote on the subject of identity. So I'll refrain because I probably can't put it any better than she did.

And now for true confession time...

I came up with this whole Agent B gimmick so I could have an identity. You know..."So what kind of work do you do?"

"I work undercover. I'm with the department of injustice"

Yep. That shuts them up real fast.

I'm tempted to say "I don't know who I am anymore". But really I do. It's just a tough season right now.

These days I don't sleep much. And I hardly eat. Like I need that. I'm already too thin...never could break that 150 lb barrier. Maybe someday.

Today, at an undisclosed location in the fair mother city, crying (yes, like a call me a wus), the CEO reminded me of all the times I cried out to him over the years:
Healing my manic depression - 1995.
Wife - 1998.
Wanting to get out of retail sales and into something I couldn't even helping people and having a free schedule - 1999.
Moving out of an efficiency and into a house - 2003.

And I listed all the great things I'm thankful for. There's many.

The CEO is good.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

casting nets

"...They went out and got in the boat. They caught nothing that night. When the sun came up, Jesus was standing on the beach, but they didn't recognize him.

Jesus spoke to them: "Good morning! Did you catch anything for breakfast?'

They answered, 'No.'

He said, 'Throw the net off the right side of the boat and see what happens.'

They did what he said. All of a sudden there were so many fish in it, they weren't strong enough to pull it in."


I am pretty down-n-out these days. Depression toys with me. I am highly displeased at where I'm at in life these days and I feel a season of change is upon me. I don't know how or what, but something's got to happen. Something's got to give way. So, yesterday I cut off my hair and began pounding the pavement...again. This is in addition to the opportunity vaguely mentioned here, where upon I'm told interviews may start this week.

I don't know what the hell I'm doing anymore. I'm just throwing nets out.

Two years ago at this time The Bossman handed me my last guaranteed pay with the izzy group and more or less said "you're on your own". This was 6 weeks before the birth of Agent Offspring #1.

The next day I pounded the pavement hard looking for a new paying gig in life. During that time the CEO spoke very quiet and subtly to me that he would take care of us. And he has.

And the CEO has a 22 month track record doing so for me. These last two months have been a different story.

Part of it could be the sobering fact that I now have TWO kids instead of one. And part could be that so little (if any) provision has come before us in the way of CASH to pay our bills, etc.

Although agent assignments still seem to be handed to me daily, they don't seem to consume my every waking moment. They never did. So...guess I should join the workforce again after 7 years of ministering however I wanted.

I've greatly appreciated my time with the izzy group. But in some ways, I feel it's made me become unemployable. Most good paying employers don't care to hire former ministers, or so it seems. But secondly, it's hard to imagine not having this incredible freedom I've had these years.

Yes I know. I'm spoiled. I'm working on that. Honest.

I use to pray (still do) for open doors and opportunities to earn income. Such as odd jobs, painting, etc. Even those have dried up long ago.

The Table seems more like a pipe dream now than ever before. I won't give up on it though. Maybe just shelve it for a season, if necessary.

I'm very confused now. And yes, I understand that confusion is not a personality of the CEO. He doesn't operate that way to my knowledge.

I am confused because I figured that the CEO would have given me a clear warning or instruction in advance about my finances. Something like "Times are about to get tough. Start looking for work and prepare."

But nothing.

The only words I have received this year...muttered quietly by the "wait" and "I trust you".


You trust me? With WHAT? To get a job...when I'm broke with a new born, and desperate?!?

Often Agent Wife and I will have a communication exchange that will begin with one person thinking about something very detailed, then asking a very vague question. It's assumed that one should read the other's mind. For example, Agent Wife will look at me intently and ask, "Do you remember that...breakfast?"

To which I cautiously reply, "...more information please..."

I need more info, CEO.

"Wait?" You trust ME?

Yeah, I've read Job about a couple a hundred times. And yes, my life isn't even on the scale of misery that Job suffered. But I understand the the CEO can operate any ole way he pleases and I wasn't around when he made the universe, etc, etc.

I just need more information. And provision. I refuse to believe that you had us move to Undercover Lane three and a half years ago just to burn up in the desert and die. Please speak to me, open a door, or show me the way.

Calling all agents: I covet your prayers on this matter. Thank you.