Ricky, Public Speaker Extraordinaire  

This week my Ricky was asked to speak on Sunday to singles at church, on Wednesday to his largest crowd yet (close to 300?) to current students, faculty and alum at our old High School, Westside Christian, as an “Honorary Alum”, and then on Friday to 22 murderers at the Oregon State Correctional Institution. What a range!

He also got word of a Wash.Co. Drug Court participant who wrote a paper on HIS book, PCS & PHD, quoting parts of it that meant a lot to him in his journey toward sobriety and rehabilitation and success in life. Seems like he even quoted Proverbs from each chapter of Rickys book without even realizing that they were from The Bible. Hope is Hope and when God anoints it, it changes hearts. So much hope being released in Jesus’ Name. So, so proud of my husband.



The email from Ricky about the Drug Court participant is as follows:

 First, know I’m not tooting my horn 🙂
Everyone in Drug Court has to write a short paper on something they’ve learned in Drug Court before they can Phase to the next level (5 Phases total). 
This guy chose to write his paper on my PCS&PHD book. He’s not a Christian but he loves my book and shares it with people. I’m not sure he knows the “quote references” in my book are from Proverbs but he’s still getting the Word! 
There are so many different ways we can mentor/disciple people. Don’t underestimate yourself!!! 🙂
Read below for the letter he submitted to the court to move to Phase 3:
503-505-0995 • http://www.rickyrussjr.com
Begin forwarded message:
From: Stephen M

Date: December 21, 2015 at 10:01:21 AM PST

To: “abcruss@gmail.com” <abcruss@gmail.com>

The book I chose to read and relate to my life is PCS & PHD written by Ricky Russ
Each chapter in this book I’ve already used and can use in the future to help me in my recovery and lead me to positive choices and outcomes in my everyday life.
Chapter 1. Yesterday

Ive never liked to focus on what can’t be done, rather what can be accomplished. Not to say being realistic isn’t important in recovery it is. However when taking advice, especially from someone in a mentor role I seem to get much more out of a positive approach, rather then someone telling me I can’t do A,B or C because of my past. I realize I have to be responsible for my past and the the things I’ve done but the longer I let that dictate my future the longer it takes to get back to where I belong.”Fear based decisions have a shelf life. Their results are short term,whereas hope-based decisions bring life”. I’ve been given some tools to deal with the things I’ve done and put people through in my past. I’ve learned that as long as I remain true to myself and make that next right choice good things will come. “The wicked are edgy with guilt, ready to run off even when no one’s after them; Honest people are relaxed with confidence bold as lions(28.1). “There will always be those who mistake your confidence for attitude. Stay humbly bold. The author also mentions “Transparency” in this chapter something that is encouraged in drug court. I feel me being an addict this is so important. I need to be open and honest with myself and the people in my support group in order to remain on even ground.
Chapter 2. Today

What I take out of this chapter is that I have to surround Myself with positive influences. My environment is essential in continuing to grow and form positive relationships. “If your serious about discovering all thats inside you, you’ll find a place to do so. Find people and places that strengthen your plans”. I also take out of this chapter the importance in time management and being prepared. If I want to be successful and be able to deal with the problems in my life that will come up, and they will, I have to be willing to go the extra mile even in the things I sometimes don’t want to do. “Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; hurry and scurry puts you farther behind.”(14.24). 
Chapter 3. Tomorrow

I take out of this chapter that while technology is great, and should be used, theres a lot to be said for good old fashion do it yourself education. I should learn from my elders, take advice from those who have, been there, done that. I should listen more and not be afraid to ask for help.”The wise accumulate knowledge-a true treasure; know-it-alls-talk too much-a sheer waste (10.14).
Chapter 4. Haters

This chapter is Important for me and my recovery. I use to take things personal, and ill admit i still do ,this is something I continue to work on daily. However its up to me how I react and their opinion doesn’t change who I am or where I’m going . “The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that(29.25). This part of the book also helped me realize how important discipline is.”Discipline produces something that cant be bought”. I have to be disciplined in my everyday choices to stay on the path of remaining clean and sober. 

Chapter 5. Advice
I learned that advice comes in all forms. I don’t have to like what advice is being given or the person giving it ,however I shouldn’t disregard it I should always consider it and try and use it to better myself. ”Although spite isn’t the best motive for not doing wrong it can work. If you choose to put “spite” in the passenger seat, be sure to let respect and honor ride in the back seat as well”. Im working on listening to any advice that comes my way because my ego and closed mind has caused me to miss out on a lot of good advice I should of taken. ”Simpletons only learn the hard way, but the wise learn by listening”(21.11).



I’m Ready

I’m ready. Want to come along? Settin’ out on a long trip to that place called Compassion.

Come along, to that place of passion with me. Leave all that intentionality.

Reroute from your nod and shoulder-shrug to a highway, no – a FREEway to tangible Love.

Complacency, have no place in me! Stop trying to invade my destiny.

You seep into the everyday. Like acid, slowly eat away at empathy and sacrifice,

God empty me of this crafty vice

That saps the oxygen from lungs, and soaks up light inside my eyes

Absorbs the voice inside my mouth and robs me of what love’s about

Til all I’m left with at the end of a day, The end of that year, the end of my life

Is me and my shallow thoughts of me, MY stuff, MY job, MY family

Compassion land is calling now and these seats are filling fast

Complacency, have no place in me; too many await me to act

I’m ready.

Want to come along?

Investing in Someone Else’s Dream

Today I ran into my old boss, friend and musician in the worship team I was a part of years ago; his name is Jerry. As I think back to my 3 years working for him as a dispatcher for a commercial miniblind and drape company,  I recall one main event. Continue reading

Child Trafficking – a bigger issue than you think.


In the last month or two, I’ve been moved and stirred up and curious about the issue of child trafficking. It started after Ricky & I watched Taken, then we saw a video about the reality of the crime in the US, while we attending a concert in downtown Austin. Then I read a blog post about it entitled “God of Justice…Or Is He?“, by Brad Ruggles.

FINALLY, I was invited to a Tea Party where the founder of Stop Child Trafficking Now, Lynette Lewis, along with an Austin PD specialist in this field &stop.child.trafficking 2 other activists spoke out against this crime & with ways to help stop it.

I’ve learned so much…like how children are lured & taken & held against their will, for years. I learned how this industry is growing fast in the US and that  25-30% of all US cases are in Texas.  All I’ve learned & more can be found at SCTNow.org.

Why should I care?

I care because I love children. Many people say that their innocence & childhood is being taken from them, but I believe they’re still innocent – they are not suddenly guilty. And they’re still experiencing childhood, only filled with fear, abuse and manipulation. They’ve been tricked & not cannot escape. I care because God cares. He has unbelievable, impacting potential for every single person, and if a person’s life – her dreams, self-esteem, purpose, body image, emotional & physical health, etc. – can be sabotaged at youth,  that amazing potential is never reached!!  The way these children now see themselves,  the world and their Creator is perverted. That intended potential will never be reached. This grieves me deeply.

I want to do something, even if it seems small to others, to help children remain safe from anyone who aims to sexually abuse & exploit them for profit. I want to…and I will.

Would you like to join me? If so, click here to help me reach $150, or here to register to Walk.

A Shout-Out to my Sis, a True Artist and Entrepreneur

I just have to say a quick “Hallelujia & YOU GO, GIRL!” to my sister, Charity, for kickin’ some bootay today at her 1st official art show!

Char, you encourage & inspire me to step out further into what it is I’m called to do, & do it to the best of my ability. You’re proving that when a hard-workin’ woman goes for something & doesn’t let people discourage her because of her age, gender, etc…truly amazing things can happen. I mean, you’re not only beginning to realize the tip of your creative potential, you’re making hundreds of dollars at your 1st show…and hundreds more in orders?! Come ON, woman! I just wanna cry with joy over you!

p.s. ~ I’ve officially fallen in love w/your “Coffee is my Friend” mosaic.

Anyway, enuf w/all that ~ if you are reading this, and don’t know my beautiful sister Charity, or what her artwork is all about, you must at least click on her site…&/or place an order…(or 3).



And… one more photo from today’s show, w/links so you can give some love by visiting her corner of the www.


“Momma Mosaics”

“Momma Mosaics Etsy Shop”


Stepping out in Faith, toward my Potential, & away from Distractions

God is always teaching me,  if I’m willing to listen; willing to learn. Willing to put down the lesser important things and soak it up. DANG IT ALL if I don’t constantly find myself having to re-prioritize! But my inspiring husband brought me to tears in a good way, today. He was encouraging me to listen to the Lord’s voice, to remember his calling, ponder his purpose, & spend my energy (not in part, but all of it) to seek to be used by him to reach the lost, by way of my voice (and my hands). Oh, and drop everything that encumbers or weighs me down. This is key. This will be hard for me, because many things i enjoy for fun – are (if I’m being honest with myself) actually weighing me down – slowing me – distracting me – from attaining the very goals that my God has for me.

I can write 782 more songs

I can sing for thousands

I can learn 23 more chords

I can play guitar and lead people into worship

I can teach 30 worship songs to my children

I can sing to children who are sick & bed-ridden in a hospital, or to women in prison

I can do all these things & a lot more through Christ who will give me strength, but I need to first get past any shame and regret of NOT doing these things yet, have faith that anything is possible with the God I serve, and in everything I do, step out & do it whole-heartedly, as if working for the Lord and not for men.

A big, big thing I learned from Dr. Myles Munroe in ’07, is that the richest places on earth are graveyards. Far too often people die without fulfilling their full potential. But I will, yet again, determine to keep these accomplishments from going to the grave, decaying with my body when I die. My hands and voice, unused to uplift the sick & oppressed; my songs unwritten, unsung, unplayed…these can do nothing for His glory!

God help me. Friends and family, help me. Please keep me accountable to doing all I can to reach my potential in Him.

planning to fail ~ learning an instrument takes some dedication

like a month ago i was complaining to my husband (not a rarity) about how little i actually play my guitar. there it stands in the corner, propped up, black & shiny with old tired strings, just beckoning me. yet i ignore it. ricky told me to be honest with myself. if i really wanted to play more, i’d make the time. every one of us makes the time to accomplish what we value the most. the more value something has to us, the higher it is on our list of priorities. i sat there desperately wanting to defend my desire – my dream to be this “singer/song-writer/guitar player” (which i still have) but could say nothing. when he’s right, i say nothing. i say i still have the dream. but it used to be a goal. but once again, a dream. no determination, no timeline, no plan of discipline or action (ya, ya, fail to plan, plan to fail)…kind of like the dream of a 128 lb., size 6 – me.

he said as an outsider lookin in, it seems i’ve replaced it with other things like scrap booking (doesn’t happen at all anymore) & blogging…(doesn’t happen much) and to which i might add i’m working part time now, focusing on singing in a Christmas band and writing more…i seem to spend a lot of time keeping the puppy trained, quiet & away from angel, & then there’s laundry, cooking, cleaning, playing with my fam…and i can’t forget to mention this beth moore study that’s kicking my butt.

they may all sound like excuses, but they’re just what i find myself doing lately…and there’s no denying it ~ what i choose to do with my every 24-hrs, is what i value the most.

i look at my guitar every day in my rock-n-roll inspired living room & it salutes me ever so patiently. i know my potential is far greater than i can imagine. i promise i will play you more one day, my friend.



so tell me, based on how you allocate your time, what do you value the most right now?

what would you change?

what do you think you should promote from dream to goal & then to reality?

music, song-writing, singing, guitar and the kitchen sink

i have this urge to write more songs, sing ’em, & learn chords to them on my black shiny 6-string. the urge to act on the art within won’t go away…not that i want it to. it fades from the front of my mind to the sides, & some days sinks to the bottom pleading with me all the while to let it out. what i struggle with is who i’m supposed to let it out to.

i’m writing, maybe posting it on my songs, poems or lyrics page. i’m singing it to my family (but usually to myself trying to perfect it in my mind – love those shower acoustics!). i may find chords to it, play it as best i can, & then wait. on what? i don’t know! i used to be able to bring a selection (cover or original) up to a song leader i knew & could collaborate with on it. i have no one like that here. i tried craigslist ads, but two ads that i responded to so far didn’t work out. i tried my church’s 2 bands, but one’s not open to recruiting & the other i’m meeting with in a few weeks…so we’ll see. i think they’re lookin’ to keep doing all covers w/the david crowder band pop worship theme & may need one more bgv (background vocalist).

my heart is open to whatever God wants. it really is. but it burns for outreach. i may try connecting w/other artists thru above grounds, but there are so many in austin, it can be overwhelming. it’s not that i need an audience. God has been my main audience for, goin’ on 3 yrs now. i just dont want to miss an opportunity to bless anyone he puts in my path…or to grow in my potential by working w/other talented artists.

for now… i’m waiting with as much patience as i can muster, i’m writng, i’m changing poopy diapers, i’m singing & dancing around the house, i’m doing dishes, i’m playing the same old chord progressions over & over while the laundry pile seems to reproduce before my eyes (ew, that was a strangely vulgar image), i’m making chicken spaghetti, i’m writing and singing lullabies. i’m running out of gas.

it makes my heart slow & my eyes fill when i think about it long. i so want to learn more, create more music & serve a lot more ~ with all i have. you’d think since he put ’em all in me, he’d show me how to get them out…these gifts he’s given. maybe someday soon.

i’m listening.