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).



that bites

so as devoted followers of Jesus, we’re to teach our lil ones to respond as he did, to injustice…and at the same time manage a healthy level of self-respect, right? easier said than done. case in point: earlier this week braylon was standing in the cafeteria line w/a crispy bill in hand, about to order some highly anticipated ice cream. classmate, christopher sees the dollar & snatches it right out of bray’s hand. what’s bray’s 1st response? not to tell a teacher or nearby assist. principal, not to even ask for it back. no, he decided that the best way to get chris to let go of the dollar would naturally be, to bite the boy’s forearm as hard as he could.

sure, it shows he’s not gonna let anyone take advantage of him (thanks 4 that positive spin, gramma!) but is that what i’m after? how should i teach him to respond to the injustice in his life? Jesus had no issues w/self -respect, yet some would say he let people walk all over him. he never retaliated physically. he retaliated with the spoken word…and sometimes even silence. he basically told judas, ‘do what you gotta do’. he turned his other cheek. he stood, shaking & dripping in blood that good friday, while soldiers whipped him until he looked un-human. oh, he had plenty of power to ‘stand up for himself’ & retaliate, but his power was harnessed w/love & restraint. eugene peterson paraphrased it this way:

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.

how do we respond to the injustice in our lives? guess the answers are right there ~ study & reflect Christ, speak the truth in love, trust the Father to deal w/anyone who mistreats u & never lose sight of the joy & place of honor set before you. you’ll get that ice cream.

listening on a back road

one early misty morning in the fall of 2001, i was driving to work. it was a route that at first i dreaded because we’d just moved 20 miles further away, but as time went on, i realized i could use it to think, listen to good music and pray each morning. you, know, get my head on straight before the day had a chance to ware me down. if it wasn’t overcast, the sky would show me brilliant colors as the sun would slowly creep up the horizon.


i specifically remember one familiar back road as it wound first through the orchard. the sign that read “end of speed limit”. the steep downhill slope and valley. the fields on either side. and on the right about 200 yards in, the tree. a beauty-stricken lonely tree like you’d see in a “purpose driven life” calendar. i remember clearly its warm colors…and later its stark, creepy branches.

well, that early morning i was praying for the people i cared about. probably those i worked with and my family. i just plead with him, “show them your love today. let them feel your love.” and it was like i knew he was listening and he cared, but he cut me off in my habitual prayer and spoke directly to me like a clear voice in my mind, “i love you” he said, “do you not see it? chelan, my daughter, i love you so much.”

…and my prayer just turned to sobbing as i felt my spirit melt. i was steering the wheel, wiping the tears away, as well as my newly applied mascara, i’m sure. and i reveled in the knowledge that i am his child and it’s not always about who i can pray for – what i can get out to him in my 30-minute commute. it’s also about stopping – for even 10 minutes – breathing him in, letting your jaw drop in admiration of nature, opening your arms to him in quietness and to what he has to say, because he has so much to say.

if only i could learn to turn down the noise of the world & of my own agenda.

oh, speak to me like that again. cause now that i know i can hear you, i’m listening.