Howdy! Chelan here, great to meet ya!
I first started journaling online, in October 2007 just after moving to TX, to get my future memories documented & keep everyone I know who still lives in the beautiful Northwest, up to date.
It’s my goal to become more selfless & eternally minded, and less focused on material things & instant gratification. I hope my posts reflect that. I post on all kinds of things: lessons I’m learning in trusting God as I become a thriving musician/artist, mommy & wife… silly or thought-provoking quotes from my kids…random confessions… family recipes, stories of my love life w/Ricky since ’95…and pictures, pictures, pictures. I love taking them and as long as they continue to tell a thousand words, I will share them.
On a Personal Note: I’m from the Pacific Northwest (Portland, Oregon area), and grew up in a sweet lil family of four: Bruce and Marda and big sis, Charity. We were “PK’s” or pastor’s kids for about 14 yrs. I lived in the same home from age 2-21 in Tualatin, and then it was time I transitioned from college life at PCC-Sylvania to married life with my 2-yr sweetheart.
Enter: Ricky G. Russ, Jr. – this guy was a playa w/an ego from the day we met that fall of 1990. An oh, so sweet, totally rebellious kid, also born of a pastor. I like to think I knocked some sense into him (after dating his brother for over a year). We fell in love instantly on June 29th 1995 & we watched the world around us turn to a dull gray & brilliant burst of color all at once. We could not go a day without the sight of each other for almost two years, but by God’s grace and a convicting message from Donnie Moore in ’96, we managed to keep sex at bay til we were hitched June 14th, 1997. That’s not to say we were pure by any means. But God helped us every day, especially the last 9 months of our engagement to keep our eyes focused on Him and the joy of our wedding day.
Singing has been a passion of mine since I joined Priority Youth Choir in 1990 – practiced and toured with them under the direction of Ron Cochran for 6 yrs. I learned so much, and my voice gradually turned from alto to tenor because I had to keep moving sections due to the lack of tenors every year. I’ve sung pretty steadily on worship teams from 1997 or so, on a women’s prison ministry team for 18 months, & in 3 bands…jammin’ @ coffee shops, benefits & backyard BBQ’s. I love to sing.
After reading ‘The Dream Giver’ in ’05, I discovered that God has placed a lot more potential in me than I thought – so since then, I have been writing my own songs & playing a shiny black acoustic guitar – a birthday gift from my hubby in ’06. It’s been slow learning guitar, but I’ll never give it up. Blues & acoustic folk have been a heavy influence on my style. Harry Connic Jr., Jonny Lang, Marc Broussard, Shane & Shane, Nichole Nordeman – are a few of my inflences. But at the end of the day or the week, I always return to the worship songs – both new & old. Without creative worship music, life’s meaning & passion can just drain out of me. So I say, regardless of how you feel, any day, praise on.
In the fall of ’07 when work & God moved us to the lone star state near Austin, after a month of being sick emotionally & physically from the nerves of moving far away, I started getting used to my new life in the south. We found a good Bible-preachin’ church (first Calvary Austin – then The Bridge – both in Pflugerville), I got a part time job teaching pre-schoolers, & I also found some very talented musicians like guitarist, Renee Ramos, with which I collaborated to form the Christmas music band, illuminate. We’d practice Sept-Nov for the next three years and we’d book December full of gigs in coffeehouses, nursing homes, restaurants, rehabs, even a thrift shop! It was my prayer that God would use me to my fullest potential & that we be selfless, positive influences for Christ. In 2010, a way was made for us to return to the Northwest and we’ve been so grateful – so grateful! Ever since. I began volunteer work in fighting sex trafficking organizing events to raise awareness, money and my voice on behalf of vulnerable kids enslaved or at great risk of being sexually exploited. I’ve learned so much. And have only had the chance to work directly with one survivor, but I know God has so much more for me to learn, to give and to pass on …which both excites me to no end and scares me. But I always return to the fact that He is faithful to complete that which he’s started in my life and when I don’t think I have enough, I’m probably right. But His grace covers every crack in this vessel from which I’m pouring.
I pray that my blog or, online journal, like my music and the photos I share will be an ongoing witness to that one thing: His faithfulness…continually giving Him glory, because He is worthy!
The Russ Family also includes…
Ricky (a fabulously handsome, determined graphic artist & man of God. a.k.a. Babe),
Braylon (born 8/8/02: a caring, brave, & adorable, creative & energetic ‘mini-me’ of Ricky. A.K.A. Dude, Bro, Dooner, Braylonious or Bud)
Angel (born 12/4/06: our sweet-pea. Our giggly mop-head who loves to give hugs & kisses, and dance. A.K.A. Bubbies, Troubies, Scrubbies or Scrub-pie)