On the Dark Path

In the spring of 1996, the two of us started hiking down a trail to a place we’d never seen. It seemed a comforting, intriguing natural wonder, this “Bagby Warm Springs”. We realized a half hour in, though, that we had not planned sufficiently for this hike as we noticed the sky turning dim. He walked on. So I kept trekking the path by his side; it was too late to turn back. 1 1/2 miles seems a breeze! It can’t take that long to walk, right? “Adventure awaits!”, he convinced me. He had no idea how right he was.
Under the right (and bright) conditions, this journey would have proven simple, even beautiful. But as dusk shrouded the sky, the thought of us getting abandoned to a bleak fate clawed at my mind. Every minute that passed, a shade darker. Until I placed my hand 5 inches before my face and could not determine even its outline. I was guessing we were half way there. At least once we arrived, I thought, we could sink into some hot water and soak there until well past the raisin-fingertip stage. At least we had the comfort of our fingers interlocking, and a well-defined pathway that we could feel with our shoes, if not see with our eyes.
He was a smoker at the time, and it dawned on him that he had a light source in his pocket. A lighter. A stick. A T-shirt. Ingredients for a torch. YESSS! We were madcap gamblers, opportunists at large! And off we went…until the wind stole our thunder. He pulled his brother’s old Texas Longhorns sweatshirt out of his backpack, wrapped it around the stick and Torch #2 was lit…for another 5 minutes. We walked on, with vision and determination, and an old Amy Grant song came to my mind and out my lips, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. And nothing will I fear, as long as you are near. You are near me to the end…”
But where was the end?
We sat down and tried to create a fire with moss, sticks and lighter fluid. It was too damp to burn. So we just sat there in the middle of the path, surrounded by the fated darkness. The sounds of harmless animals, breaking twigs and wind sent chills down my spine that would only be comforted by his kiss and the fiercest of side-hugs. I would not let him let go of me. I began to cry.
And then a prayer and perhaps an hour later, we heard noises that were not from animals or wind. They were the fast footsteps of college kids who were heading our way with flashlights in tow. The one item we regretted forgetting most. These kids were definitely on “speed”, but they were also on a mission. And it was all we could do to gather our things and call out for permission to follow, before they’d pass us by. So without their permission, we were on their tail. A slow run and just ten minutes more led us to those hot springs. We couldn’t believe it. How could a 1 1/2 mile hike take us half the night? Just like that. We sunk and we soaked in a huge barrel filled with water from the depths of the earth…until well past raisin-fingertip stage.
We resisted sleep, but we knew the light of dawn would lead us back. We planned to take turns sleeping in the car as we drove home. And with each passing minute, the sky was a shade lighter. Our journey a shade brighter. Our love for each other a shade stronger.

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Why We’re Moving Back to Oregon

First, a little history about why we moved south: In the late summer of ’07, we were in Medford, praying for employment. Ricky had begun his journey into the world of small home business in web design, but his skills were still developing, and Southern Oregon wasn’t the premier spot to gain steady clientele (or a 9-5 job) at the time. So we just prayed for another means of provision… Continue reading

Birthday wishes for me and my boy

Today’s the birthday of  my favorite 7 yr old, Mr. Braylon Emmanuel Russ! After just returning from Oregon & lettin’ both sides of the fam dote on him w/2july 09 039 parties, we caved & let him have one here w/his 4 closest friends ~ Abigail Llanas (who lives behind/right of us), Andre’ (who lives 3 houses down & across Orgain St. from us), Chaney & Brady (who he met in Kinder. @ Nadine Johnson Elementary & never lost touch with). A strange bunch, but I love them all.

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This mornin’ I got lots of party goodies @ the Dollar Tree and then came home and baked a strawberry cake, frosted and decorated it. Cut some watermelon, put up streamers & a few helium balloons – let’s p-a-r-t-…why? because who said you can’t have three stinkin’ birthday parties in 8 days?! Right now, they’re at the theater watching “Aliens in the Attic” w/Ricky. After they come home, it’s pizza, cake, & presents – speaking of which, Bray is really into spy stuff this year – and tricking people (so a lil birdie told me Chaney got him some fake poop!) He also got an Mp3 player w/$ from Aunt Kim & Uncle Jeremy, and “Horton Hears a Who” from Papa Rick & Granny. There was more, but let’s keep this post simple, yeah?

Update: After gifts, there was one more thing ~ a little competition &  a lot of good, clean fun for just $1.89: the egg toss / egg launch (where we all threw eggs as high as we could throw eggs into the sky and still have them land in our yard). Too bad I was busy officiating & didn’t catch it on film. At bedtime, Ricky asked B. what his favorite part of the day was…and this was it. It doesn’t take much for a 7 yr old!

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(Above is the moment when Ricky presented our gift to him, an artist’s easel, to which he was exclaiming with full force, “YES!!!!”)

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(Princess Angel stuffing her pizza hole)

Even though we have to move out cause our home’s owner wants to sell this place vacant, we are only moving about a mile away (if that)! We just want Bray to feel secure and familiar with his surroundings…not to mention still close to those 4 crazy friends of his.  For 2nd grade, it looks like he may get to return to NJES where he spent Kinder.

God has given us wisdom, steady income, great health and a close-knit family, even the ability to fly to Oregon now & then. He has been so faithful.

I’m sure Bray could come up with a list of things he wishes for today, but as for me, I’m good. I’m trusting God to provide every lil need & not afraid to throw in some wants.  I hope & believe that my trust in him will stay strong when life throws us a curve…cause it will.  But until it does, I’m dancin’ in his unmerited favor…and I’m making the most of this time I get to spend with my babies. It’s been a long Saturday. I’m going to bed now.

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classic cars ~ close up

just somethin’ to look at when you stop by my site. somethin’ super fun! no, …wicked cool, mouth-watering, confusing and mesmerizing.

below are a few of my fave photos taken at a cruise-in (held by haggen’s in tualtin, oregon) by this amazing artist i heard about, bruce bebb. here’s a website displaying more of his artwork: cruise-in-fusion.com. only these shots are fused w/some funky filter-photoshop action (courtesy of ricky russ). this creative duo will leave you wondering what the heck you’re even viewing…in a good way. bruce is not just a wonder at photography, but dang good at writing posts about his excursions. WORTH a checkin’ out.