Mar 262009

The CHS Boys’ Track & Field Team have their first meet of the season at Hillsdale College’s indoor arena tonight. They are fired up and ready to go and so am I! Fire up!

Tonight is also a critical night for braket mania. Memphis and Nova are must-wins for me to stay on top of the leaderboard between Caleb and me! And guess what, they are the late games so I might even see the endings. If not, you better believe I’ll be getting the cell phone updates.

I can remember first taking an interest in bracket mania as far back as 7th grade (Mar-88). So I’ve probably never missed a year since. I don’t bet on the bracket in the office pools anymore like I used to. However, this year I have a friendly competition between one of my best friends, Caleb Mason, and me. The loser drives their family to the winner’s house and cooks the winner’s family dinner.

I’ve been playing brackets for 21 years but one year sticks out, Y2K! I was living and working in Knoxville, Tennessee, at the time. So there were lots of S.E.C. boys down there and almost no one picked MSU all of the way and instead picked their local favorite. I lucked out that year when I predicted my alma mater, MSU, would go all of the way – and they did (check out the link)! I took my pats on the back and lotsa congratulations all of the way to the bank!

Check out the link below to see updates on the bracket picks of Caleb and myself.
Picks And Scores For Caleb And Russ

I was in the unique position today to have the weight of the world thrust upon my shoulders! I was torn between that opening line and the tag phrase – Visionary:RussHickey.

Thanks to photographer Connie Howard for helping me have a little fun on the way to the dumpster with this old prop!

Between lunch on March 13th and dinner on March 14th, 2009, no food was eaten by the FBC high school Sunday school class that my wife, Tasha, teaches. Her class experienced a 30-Hour Famine. The kids understand better now what it’s like to be hungry, really hungry. People die every day because they can’t get food. The reasons are a combination of political, economic, and biological factors. But because the kids raised over $1100, 3 children will live for another year.

The class celebrated their accomplishment with a dinner at Craig’s Cruisers in G.R. On the bus ride home they talked about their experience. They are more grateful now for the food they enjoy so easily. It is food enjoyed because they aren’t desperate for it. The kids can turn to God for strength. They can turn to each other for comfort.

Dear God, thank you for the opportunities these kids had to safely experience a small portion of the hunger that people around the world live through every day. Please help these kids to have compassion in their hearts for others and help them to become more like Christ as they grow and mature in their faith.

Mrs. Merkle suggested me as a parent that might be interested in partnering with Max Larsen School and Junior Achievement. Each week for 5 weeks I spend about an hour of preparation for a 45 minute teaching session in Mrs. Merkle’s class. I love it!

The kids are attentive, well-mannered, energetic, and I could go on and on. The hands fly up in the air from the first question I pose to the last. The ‘community’ is the theme for the elementary school grades. Our City is the title of the 3rd grade curriculum. We learn about City Planners, Zones, Construction, Restaurant Operation, the Function Of The Checkbook, etc.

In one of the pictures I’m holding up an actual blueprint of First Baptist Church — ooooohhhhhh…. The kids loved it. I told them to imagine that in 1965 a pair of REAL human eyes looked at the blue print so they, like the students of today, could follow the directions for building a church!

Dear God, I pray for each of these faces! I say a prayer of thanksgiving for wonderful teachers like Mrs. Merkle. I pray for the administrators and others that had the foresight to bring local businesspeople and leaders in to the schools through Junior Achievement.

Mar 052009

Some people have asked me some questions about the White House and St. Petersburg Times PolitiFact links on my blog. The story is this, during the ‘08 campaign, I found out how little I had paid attention to the timeline of events in the White House. I tried to jump into the game late and take a more critical eye at exactly what the former President Bush had done in his time in office. I came across 8 years worth of material and realized how impossible it was going to be to play catch-up.

I’ve been a loyal E.R. fan since my freshman year of college in 1994. Year-in, year-out my wife and I return to the series. We love “24.” I’ve been hooked on M*A*S*H reruns, Seainfeld, Friends, etc. I know the White House isn’t going to be nearly as fun, but I just don’t want to end up so out of touch the next time the election season rolls around. I’m not saying I didn’t have a basic understanding of what was happening, but I didn’t have it from the former President’s perspective and I think these two websites, checked about once a week/month, may round-out the news services that I read, too.

I pray for our nation, leaders, military service people, and all people in government. Jobs in the public eye are very challenging and yet, like it or not, there will always be some level of government in order for there to be peace and prosperity. I pray for patriotism, determination, compassion, foresight, and strength to be bestowed upon our country’s leaders. The U.S.A. is an awesome place to live! I’ve traveled the world on the internet and I’ve yet to see a place where an “average” guy like me can live as well as I do. Thank you, God, for the U.S.A!

Now this is a cool program! Check out this website and watch the faces that flash on the screen. The program isn’t free…but the volunteers we have in Coldwater make it clear that taking an extra few “empties” to the store are well worth it!

I’m a running coach year-round at CHS. But I’m a dad, too. I remember running with Marena around an apartment complex when she was 5 years old. Running hasn’t come easy to Marena, but I understand. Now Sara is getting ready to try her ability at Girls On The Run. What a cool idea that Sara has a group of friends to prepare along side her! To be honest, I wish I’d have had that opportunity!

I pray that Sara will catch the bug. The bug that fires her up to do her very best. A bug that brings her satisfaction when she reaches goals she has set for herself. For me, it was breaking a 5:00 minute mile. Then 4:50 and so on. Sara Can….. Marena Can….. The girls CAN do anything. I want my girls to realize they can do whatever they want….if they work for it! This is for you, Sara. I’m proud of you for starting something new that you have no idea how difficult and satisfying it will be! Congrats for taking a chance!

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