Tasha and I joined Marena and Sara on their Power Of Love trip to Traverse City. We stayed at the wonderful Great Wolf Lodge. The kids had fun at the water park – Tasha and I did, too!

We drove and walked out to Mission Point in the Grand Traverse Bay. Pastor Anderson led an excellent devotional that begins to wrap up the season for the kids. I like these kinds of trips. There is an adventure to traveling 4 hours from home. There were about 35 kids from all different types of backgrounds. Several of the kids wouldn’t leave Coldwater if it wasn’t for trips like this and the peninsula heading out to the bay had some beautiful vistas. Then on Sunday they performed at the Windward Church operating out of the Traverse City Junior High in Traverse City, MI.

I’m glad that Marena and Sara were a part of this program. They got to travel to different churches and they had fun and fellowship with other youth trying to become more mature followers of Christ. Enjoy the pic and this link to the group making it on local news at 11 O’clock (once you are there, choose the play video link).

My boys track team finished 3rd at the Olivet Relays and brought home an award. In my second season as Head Coach, I’m applying a lot of what I learned from mistakes in my first year. The biggest lesson – expect more from the athletes. There are boys carrying guns in Iraq not much older than these kids. We live a safe existence in Coldwater, Michigan. But what I believe coaching is all about is helping the athlete realize their full potential. It is about having fun, but that’s not all it’s about otherwise we wouldn’t use watches and keep score and offer 3rd place trophies! So, this year, no whining. No complaints. Do your best, every day, that’s all you have to do!

I’m proud of the adjustments my team has made this year. I was a lot tougher coach and I let them know at our first meeting that I was going to be that way. The choice whether or not to participate was theirs. But for me, I was going to expect the best and not accept anything less! We have a couple of kids that should qualify for state this year. I’m hopeful I can help the younger kids see their potential. And I’m praying that God, experience, and camaraderie will help me prepare their bodies and their minds!

Dear God, thank you for the opportunity to be a positive influence in these kids’ lives. Please help me to make them the best that they can be. When that happens, my efforts and theirs glorify You. Amen.

Apr 162009

Tasha and I were married in 1994. Between 1994 and 2003 Tasha consistently told me the things I did (or didn’t do) that “bothered” her. My father mysteriously found out about some of those items in 2003, too. So with enough encouragement from people I cared about, I picked a couple of the easier items and decided to improve things around the house for Tasha. One of those items was making the dirty clothes actually reach the hamper.

Since 2003 I’ve been proud of my efforts. With a nearly 100% completion rate my dirty laundry made it to the hamper. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t making extra work for anyone. There were other areas of improvement, too. But this is the one I’m blogging about and now you’ll see why.

In January of 2009, in the middle of a petty fight that sometimes happens in marriage, Tasha became angry that I NEVER take care of my dirty clothes. Never! Are you kidding! So from that day forward I digressed to the fresh out of college 20-something mentality to dirty laundry that I had long ago forgotten.

The point, during a rather nice evening around the house together, Tasha smiled at me and said, “I think I liked it better the way you used to get the clothes to the hamper.” She was acting all naïve and coy. But I knew. At that moment, I was rewarded for the hard work over those 6 years. The strike is over and I promise to start being a good boy again. Also, that is the last time I air my dirty laundry on this blog. :)


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Apr 122009

It is one of the most significant events to a follower of Jesus Christ. It is a mystery. It can’t be proven. The resurrection of Jesus Christ requires a leap of faith.

I remember an intro to philosophy class and intro to world religions class at Southwestern Michigan College when I was 19 years old. At the time I was estranged (like so many) from the Catholic faith. After 15 years, a couple of things stick out about those classes.

Most of the philosophers that we studied, regardless of their theorem, were reported to make some kind of leap of faith as they were approaching their death. It was so compelling for those intelligent, successful, rational minds to take that leap of faith before they passed. They succumbed to something inside of them. I remember a very devoted Christian woman in her 40s tear up. She was devout but not able to admit the resurrection of her savior was in fact a mystery. It is. It requires a leap of faith. It isn’t a flaw, it’s a fact. The belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God is a leap of faith beyond our understanding.

The intro to world religions class explained the similar leaps of faith required in other religions. That class taught me about the similar Love that is often present in other religions. It can be a stepping stone to the one true faith that I believe is in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I still have the textbook of that class on my bookshelf. When Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism, etc., come up in the news, I know where to look for the history of their faith. I realize that those people are lost and looking – and I want to show to them that I care enough to understand them.

Dear God, thank You for making it so clear to me which leap of faith I should choose. Thank You for being a loving and caring God, though You are a mystery, You are not hard to understand. Please help me be a beacon for Your eternal salvation. Amen.

Why do I blog?

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Apr 092009

A gentleman left a comment to say he enjoyed reading my blog and asked why I decided to start one. Hmmmm.

Each week at the church where I work, hundreds of people pass through. It is impossible to get to know them all though I try very hard. Tasha teaches hundreds of teens driver education each year at our business, Phil’s Driving School, LLC. There are hundreds of people that I have the potential to come into contact with as a coach of cross-country and track at CHS. The list could go on… Out of all of those hundreds, I wanted to make it simple for people to get to know me. I doubt there are a lot of people that are going to take much time at www.russhickey.com, but it is available to those that look for it. On top of the opportunities for others to get to know me, for friends and family it is an easy way to get caught up on the happenings within my family. Last, sometimes I like to apply Scripture and offer public prayer and commentary on a variety of topics that interest me.

So, I pray that this blog represents the best part of the person I have become. Please help me to have integrity in all things. Help me to take the high road and help me to keep my priorities in order; 1.God, 2.Marriage, 3.Kids/Family. Check out Psalms 119:1-8.

Safety First!

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Apr 082009

Now here’s a sight you won’t see too often. I’m a Christian, pacifist, and anal accountant type so what am I doing with this group of gun-slingers? That’s right, having a blast (get it :) ).

Kip has been a hunter/gun guy his whole life. He was nice enough to spend a couple hours on a cool sunny day with David Bragg and me. The arsenal included several .12 guage guns, a .22, a .410, a .357, black powder gun, and a 9mm. I hope I named them all. I had never been skeet shooting before and was really shocked that I could hit them at all – but I did! It was an excellent day and I’m glad to say a very safe day, too.

So how can the experience around the guns today have a Christian life application? That is how I’ve spent the last hour – searching the Bible on a variety of subjects. In the Bible there are lots of references to weapons and how they were used both for evil and for good. But today most of my time was spent in the book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah used an arsenal of sorts to keep Samarians and Ammonites from interferring with the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem. Nehemiah uses prayer, encouragement, and armed guards to complete the task and carry out the will of God. To see the opposition that Nehemiah was up against, check out Nehemiah chapter 4 – the whole thing!

Dear God, thank you for a fun time today in the cool sun with friends. Thank you for the opportunity for us to fellowship and get to know one another a little better. It is nearly impossible for me to understand why there are people in the world today that are forced to carry guns for purposes other than putting food on a plate. I pray those people can hear Your word and feel Your presence even in those impossible situations.

Marena had the pins out today that have been holding her finger together for the last 6 weeks. She has been cleared to begin running and playing soccer. Her finger is straightened and now she has to regain the mobility and relearn basic tasks with her left hand. She is on the path to recovery.

Dear God, please help Marena on this path of recovery. Please help her to have better function in her left hand than she had before the surgery. Help her to feel comfort in the decisions that she and her parents have made.

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

The picture is of Marena and me at the Rain Forest Café in Chicago after the appointment.

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