This is a documentary video that was produced a few months back (Easter) about my friend, Andy Armendariz, who was/is the inspiration for my Austin Public Television series, "Texas Tales from a Lone Star." I founded the concept and have been totally responsible for the execution of the ideas since 2014. My 12 years in Orlando, following the period of my life I write about that I call "The Chapelgate Adventure Series" introduced me to Classic Rock musicians and bands. Chapelgate was solely Contemporary Christian Music recording artist friends and songwriter friends. My "Texas Tales" period of the last 9 years has been old school and Outlaw Country music. My early life, living close to Nashville and going to church, was Country Music and church hymns.
I've had overlapping but different influences with several music genres: Early years: Church Hymns/60's to 70's Folk, Pop and Country; 1980's Contemporary Christian/Gospel; 1990's Black; 2000's Classic Rock/Outlaw Country Music.
In the 1980's, at Chapelgate, I vowed to God I would not watch/listen to Rock music. This was because I was drawn to it naturally and I could sense that it contained elements harmful to my faith in God. So I sacrificed it. For the entire 80's decade every single time the radio or television would play the music of any rock band or star I would change the channel. I was especially drawn to the long hair of the musicians because I've always thought of Jesus as having long hair. So I recognized I was attracted to something that would harm my love for God and I sacrificed it.
Around 1998 my faith had advanced to the point where I was seeing concepts in the Bible, in particular in the ancient Hebrew of the Old Testament, that I was understanding and that were different from what I had learned as a fundamental Christian from birth. So, I packed up my 3 of 4 children (my oldest was already in Abilene Christian University, our family college we had helped found) and without telling anyone what I was doing I moved us all to Orlando. I had rented an apartment online, sight-unseen. I had asked myself, "If you could choose to live anywhere in the world where would it be?" I picked Florida. My plan was to spend a year in Orlando and a year in Daytona Beach. I love the ocean but I was afraid of hurricanes. So I thought I'd start where it was safer and see what they were actually like.
I moved us into a beautiful 2 bedroom apartment in the heart of Orlando with only what I could fit in my van. I had put everything else into storage in Texas. We made blanket beds on the floor to get started. I set up my work space, my computer, printer, books, a coffee cup and all my theology books in what the apartment website called our "Imagination Room." It wasn't big enough for a bedroom so you just imagined what it could be. I imagined it was the center where I would work, at home, raising my kids and focusing solely on figuring out what I was seeing when I translated the ancient Biblical Hebrew comparing it to the King James Bible.
I had finished my first Master's in Religion at Lipscomb but I had not yet begun my Master of Divinity. So I had all the tools I needed. The scriptures combined with my passion for following God blended into my ability to hear him more clearly. How this would happen is that whatever I was word by word translating from the King James Bible and the ancient Hebrew text of the King James Bible, called the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, would match my day to day life.
I had advanced to the point where God was teaching me personally by using the events in my normal life and the choices I was making. I had, from birth, been taught to respect the Bible above all else and to obey God. I had. I had to the point where I incorporated every single thing I was taught by my parents and church into my own actions and choices. This was overall a devotion to the golden rule, "Do unto Others as you would have Others do unto you." Many years later I would understand that there are two basic paths in life people can choose from. I call this Self/Others. Most people choose to walk the Self path first. Jesus and the Bible had given me the concept of choosing to walk the Others path first. "Seek ye FIRST the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you." I had written a song with those lyrics way back in 1988, a decade earlier, at Chapelgate.
So I was way beyond understanding and using the Others path. It is the Others path, not the Self path, that leads to the ability to grasp what the ancient Biblical Hebrew is actually saying, underlying our translated English Bible. God was teaching me that what had been translated into English was close but not the same as the concepts in the ancient Biblical Hebrew.
I moved to Orlando to focus on figuring out exactly what was going on, God had started talking to me in 1998. How that happens is that you get an overpowering feeling in your personal spirit that God wants you to understand something, and in my case, that feeling always matched up to whatever I was retranslating in the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, the King James Bible, and my personal life based on a history of life choices that obeyed the English Bible and our church/family teachings about God.
So the PATH was already established in my life for decades by the time I began retranslating. I retranslated in Texas for a few months before making the decision to completely immerse myself in a new environment solely to 1. take care of my children and 2. retranslate the Bible letter by letter, word by word. I write more deeply about this in my book, "Chapelgate, a Spiritual Memoir." So I did this for 2-3 years as a widow focused on raising my children and God. It became SO interesting I just stayed in Orlando (for the next 12 years) instead of moving to the beach and we would just take daytrips to the beautiful Daytona beaches and other Florida outings.
Around 2000 the scriptures that were matching my day to day life started telling me to find and choose a boyfriend. So I went out and sampled about 5 different personalities one at a time, not committing to anyone but just dating. Then it told me, "Ok, now pick one." I picked a Classic Rock musician bass player I had met in Orlando. I had gone to Sam Ash Music store and read the notices on their local billboard. I had found an open mic and I had taken my guitar and songs about God to Ruby Tuesday's restaurant's open mic. From there I had located another place on the billboard, a bar named Tracy's, and I had done the same.
I was very used to playing open mics from my Nashville, Chapelgate days. I had sacrificed bars, however, from an early age. So this was a new world for me and I met a boyfriend from a different world than me. I chose him because of his musical expertise, he was the best musician I had ever met, and because of his insight. He wrote the deepest, most beautiful song lyrics I had ever heard, on a level with my own. So I chose him.
When I did that it was like God used my previously honored vow, my sacrifice of not listening to a single instance of Rock music, as a base to train me further. My boyfriend frequently exclaimed, "YOU are the ONLY person I've ever met who COMPLETELY MISSED the 1980's/Rock music." He had to teach me even the basics like who Guns N' Roses are.
So in our spiritual journey acts of obedience lead to the ability to hear God and understand his Bible better than you could before. It always works like this. That's why I get so aggravated at the Christian ideas that we don't have to obey God. We do. We have to obey the Bible teachings that lead to the path of placing Others above ourselves and to picking the best righteous ideas and actions we are capable of. This is the Moses/Old Testament concept of the moveable tent in the wilderness. God leads you step by step from idea to idea as you apply what you know up to that point in time. He does it personally so you know it is him. It matches his Word, the Bible, at whatever level you are on. If you understand on a kindergarten level he teaches you to advance to grade 1. If you understand on a 8th grade level, he takes you into High School.
In my case, I had been trained from birth. This week I was recording my parents talking about our family history. They both said, "You were born on the Abilene Christian University campus (not literally). Your dad still had 2 years of college to go for his degree. We took you all over that campus (where God and the Bible are held in the highest regard, blended with education). Your dad would lay on the bed with his books to study and do his homework. You'd lay right beside him with your books and study too."
So it is a path that when begun at birth, advances year by year by year. I had been born on that path. I had been raised for the first 18 years of my life going to church 3 times per week and basically living (not literally) at church. Then I had gone back to Abilene Christian at the age of 18 and begun my BA in Mass Communications: Radio/TV/Film. By the Orlando years I had gone non-stop year by year studying, following God, through my Chapelgate experience I documented in my book, "Chapelgate, a Spiritual Memoir." I had walked with God through the prosperity period wherein my late husband and I founded a corporation and bought Evins Mill/Chapelgate, and THEN through the suffering/loss period. I call it "following God through the Daytime and following God through the Nighttime." God walked with me through the loss of my beloved husband, and through sacrificing every single thing I loved, including Chapelgate and my husband's life work in the Oil Industry (described in my book). He taught me along the way, because I held on for dear life obeying and walking with him based on the King James Bible & fundamental, conservative Church teachings.
I had moved to Orlando just after finishing my M.A.R. Masters in Religious Studies in 1998. I didn't date, I just raised my children, and studied the Bible. Around 2000 I felt God leading me into the decision that "OK, now, since you kept your vow of purity to me regarding Rock Music, I am NOW going to train you using the very thing you sacrificed for me." I met my boyfriend, Bax, (a Classic Rock musician/songwriter) two years after I had started retranslating the ancient text of our Bible. He was my polar opposite in our beliefs. He had walked the Self path to perfection and it was where HIS insight came from. This is how God began to teach me he has a design going on in the world, two paths: SELF/OTHERS. It is a design that is expressed by the Yin/Yang concept. You don't hear about that in our English King James Bible. But it exists in the texts that our Bible was translated from and that was what I was then studying and living.
It is like magic. The signs from God were hourly. I studied 15,000 hours and through an additional Masters of Divinity M.Div. in this way. Day by day by day, choosing whatever level I understood in the Bible in my day to day decisions and persisting, never stopping until today. I never dreamed of stopping because it was so fascinating.
So, I didn't intend to write all that, sometimes you start writing in one direction and the memories just fit in so well you have to take a side road to get back to explaining what you wanted to say. I was going to say that Gabriel helped me Produce "Texas Tales from a Lone Star." My stories are in my book, "Chapelgate, a Spiritual Memoir." They include my boyfriend searching for a drummer for his original songs and band which led to him finding Gabriel. Gabriel was the best drummer in Central Florida, in our opinion.
For the first 6 years I sacrificed Gabriel to God in the same way I have described I sacrificed Rock music. Gabe had a personality and reputation that I did not want influencing my boyfriend or myself. So I sacrificed him (fought my boyfriend's decision of working with him). I was highly attracted to Gabriel and his long hair and music, just like before. So I said, "No." I did that for 6 years. I write about how God then led me the same way, "OK, you sacrificed and kept your vow. Now I will teach you more." God led me back to what I had sacrificed.
Gabriel and I became such good friends that I would fly him from Orlando to Austin to help me explore what I had seen, through my boyfriend's musical expertise, to be the highest level of musicianship in the private, local setting of Austin, Texas, the "Live Music Capital of the World." Gabe and I explored that together and I created my television episodes for "Texas Tales from a Lone Star." I also supported Gabe by text, phone, and action through 3 tours through 17 countries in Europe. His band at the time was called, "Resurrection." We became like family and I helped him.
I had also met an Outlaw Cowboy musician, Andy, and gotten the idea in the first place because I had discovered the local Austin Public Television station and had gone through all the steps to become a Producer there. It all happened at the same time, overlapping, and continuous. I began creating episodes about Andy's Country Music world, around Austin. I'd fly Gabe in, we'd do Classic Rock. I'd fly Gabe home, I'd focus on Andy's Luckenbach world of Country Music. That was the early years of "Texas Tales from a Lone Star." Oh, I had brought my boyfriend with me from Orlando and he had opened up all the knowledge of the local Classic Rock music scene to me as we had explored it together. Eventually he and I broke up but I kept bringing Gabriel, who had been my friend, since 2000, skip 6 years, 2006. We had all been involved in the local Central Florida Classic Rock underworld till 2010. In 2010 my youngest daughter, and my boyfriend bass player and I moved back to Austin, Texas. By 2012 I had started flying Gabe in. In 2014 I met Andy and became a Producer at Austin Public Television and documented both Country and Classic Rock around Central Texas.
SO, Gabe helped me produce "Texas Tales from a Lone Star." He did that by going with me to music venues. His international underground fame and his sheer skill with drums and knowledge of music opened doors to me that wouldn't have opened without him. We were able to network with the top local musicians in Austin. Andy did the same for me with Outlaw Country Music. Andy was my inspiration and center of my concept. "Texas Tales from a Lone Star" was approved by the City of Austin, as a show I produced on the local level. Their viewership is 500,000 families plus 15,000 through their internet distribution.
Later, 2017, I would meet my friend, Mark DeAlessandro, Sylvester Stallone's body double/stunt double for 23 years. I would meet him because of God. I would meet him the same way I have been describing, the moveable tent in the wilderness. I would wind up connected to the highest level of media, and to the Christians making the films. Mark was connected to the "God is Not Dead" producers and many of the same calibre. Mark is in the Hollywood Stuntman Hall of Fame. He has been in over 170 blockbuster feature films such as "Titanic," "Star Trek," "Rocky," "Rambo," "Pirates of the Caribbean," the list goes on and on like the stars in the sky. So do the connections. God. Mark also started training my little granddaughter, Laileigh. He taught her her first stunt when she was 4 months old. I was interviewing him about his work with David Wilkerson's "Teen Challenge." I was interviewing him about how he influenced Sylvester Stallone to include scenes of Rocky praying in his films.
Now, back to where I started...
THIS is a documentary about Andy, that was produced by a contact he had through a family member, this past Easter. I was not involved except I was there, with Laileigh, filming the filming. I've filmed everything Andy has done since 2014 that I've personally been present for, dozens and dozens of events. They are ALL tucked away waiting in my personal folders.
I put this link here on my page today to show what this world is like. A few days ago Andy called me again and asked me to go ahead and start creating his personal story. It is an idea he and I have discussed since we met in 2014. It is what you see me starting to do this week on my page. Our first "new" event was his Texas Cowboy Camp. More to come! xo
Copyright 2023 Angel Isaacs All Rights Reserved
Written June 5, 2023 at 10:49 pm