Under His Wings ~ Hymn

Mom's services 095

Under His Wings

Under His wings I am safely abiding,
Though the night deepens and tempests are wild,
Still I can trust Him; I know He will keep me,
He has redeemed me, and I am His child.

Refrain

Under His wings, under His wings,
Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings my soul shall abide,
Safely abide forever.

Under His wings, what a refuge in sorrow!
How the heart yearningly turns to His rest!
Often when earth has no balm for my healing,
There I find comfort, and there I am blessed.

Refrain

Under His wings, oh, what precious enjoyment!
There will I hide till life’s trials are o’er;
Sheltered, protected, no evil can harm me,
Resting in Jesus, I’m safe evermore.

Refrain

Words: William O. Cushing, 1896.

Connected…

It was wonderful to see so many dear souls that we have been connected to over the years at my mom’s services.

I didn’t get photos of many of the people who honored us with their presence and their words. It wasn’t easy to relax with my camera in these circumstances.

Mom's services 015Hope and I were coordinated in our outfits and had to have a photo together.

Mom's services 150After attending this little guys baby shower before he was born it was nice to finally meet him in person with his mommy.

Mom's services 151…and with his grandmother, my good friend from Bethany Russian Baptist church.

Mom's services 152Katie with Nikki and her Auntie Christina. Christina is Dear’s SIL.

Mom's services 154Here’s Dear with his only brother, Terry.

Mom's services 155My cousin Vera (from my father’s side), cousin’s cousin Shirley (on my mother’s side), my cousin Jim (on my father’s side), and Shirley’s sister Betty (on my mother’s side).

Mom's services 156More dear friends from our Bethany Baptist Days in Los Angeles.  Diane, Manya (Shirley, Bobbi and Betty’s oldest sister) Alex and Jaydee with Shirley between them.

Mom's services 157Jeanie,(married to my cousin Jim) My cousin Jim, My cousin Vera (Jim’s sister) George (who is Jim, Vera and Katrina’s 1st cousin) and my cousin Katrina (Jim and Vera’s youngest sister).

Mom's services 163My first cousin, Vera, from my dad’s side of the family. The rest of this group are all 1st cousins with each other on my mother’s side of the family. My first cousins are on the right end of this group. Valia and Tanya on the right end with my cousin Walter’s wife standing behind them. Bobbi and Shirley are first cousins to Valia and Tania.

Mom's services 161Our son Dan with our SIL Letty’s son Derek and wife Amy.

Mom's services 158Caleb and Joshua making plans to spy out the Promised Land…Strong and Courageous!

Mom's services 159Niece Melissa bonding with our latest grand nephew Thomas.

Mom's services 172My Pop with his grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Mom's services 166Our kids (missing Andrew) with my pop. Andrew has arrived in Afghanistan with his unit so your prayers for him are appreciated.

Mom's services 176Pop with his sons.

Mom's services 180Sons and daughters…

Mom's services 184Daughters

A very special thank you to the ladies from Whittier Area Community Church and Olive Grove Church  who contributed salads and desserts for our meal together. You blessed us abundantly and we are grateful! Everything turned out so well. We were so pleased to be able to spend time with people we have been connected to over the years. Old friends and new friends supporting each other. It’s a beautiful picture of community…

I’ll close my post with the quote my Brother in law Nick read at the graveside…

“There is nothing that can replace
the absence of someone dear to us,
and one should not even attempt to do so.

One must simply hold out and endure it.

At first that sounds very hard,
but at the same time it is also a great comfort.

For to the extent the emptiness truly remains unfilled
one remains connected to the other person through it.

It is wrong to say that God fills the emptiness.
God in no way fills it but much more
leaves it precisely unfilled
and thus helps us preserve — even in pain —
the authentic relationship.

Further more,
the more beautiful and full the remembrances,
the more difficult the separation.

But gratitude transforms
the torment of memory into silent joy.
One bears what was lovely in the past
not as a thorn but as a precious gift deep within,
a hidden treasure
of which one can always be certain.

— Dietrich Bonhoeffer”

Goodbyes and Reunions…

Thank you, thank you, to all of you who have prayed for my family during this time in our lives. I really appreciate your kind words of comfort and encouragement and I have felt your prayers. Blessings on you for sharing in our sorrow and rejoicing in our joy that our mom is with our Lord.

There were many times during my mom’s services and burial that the comment was made amongst old friends that it was too bad that it seems the only time we see each other these days is at a funeral. The older we get the stronger this reality.

I want to warn you ahead of time that we had an old world burial and if you get squeamish around caskets and viewings this post probably isn’t for you.

2013-09-28 Mom's servicesThursday night viewing at Rose Hills Chapel. Many old friends came to share in our sorrow and rejoice in our hope. My brother Steve gave a message that made me consider God’s hand on the story of my life on this earth.

2013-09-28 Mom's services2Friday morning we had a memorial service at my sister’s church in Whittier, California. It was a time of remembering who my mom was and a time of thanking God for who He is in my mom’s life and ours. Brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews and great grand children participated in speaking, singing, reciting Psalms 23 and praying. Our nephew Caleb opened the service with greetings and prayer. Our sister Kathy and our BIL Len sang a duet in Russian of a song my mom requested.  Our niece Hope and Great nephew Jackson read the 23rd Psalm. Our son Josh and my nephew, David shared memories of their Baba that they gathered from their cousins. Our niece Michelle sang the first verse of “It is well with my soul” (Baba’s request) and the congregation joined in on the rest of the song. Our BIL Len led us all in singing with great enthusiasm. Our brother Leonard shared my mom’s eulogy with tears and laughter in Russian and English. Our family and friends from Bethany Baptist Russian church joined together for an impromptu singing of “Bless Thou the Lord”. My brother Steve gave the short and insightful message challenging us to see heaven as the place where we will see God and our Savior face to face as our reward. My nephews Levi and Joe led us in “Because He Lives” as the finale to our time.

2013-09-28 Mom's services3Eight of my mom’s grandsons were the pallbearers.

2013-09-28 Mom's services1We gathered around our Pop, Dzeda to comfort him and support him throughout the services.

2013-09-28 Mom's services4We met at the graveside and participated in my mom’s burial.

Mom's services 074

2013-09-28 Mom's services5My mom’s daughter’s, granddaughters, great granddaughter, and nieces placed a long stemmed pink rose on her casket before it was lowered into the grave.

Mom's services 095

Mom's services 114In the old world tradition starting with my father and my siblings we all took a clump of earth and threw it in the grave upon the coffin.

2013-09-28 Mom's services6We sang in Russian and English while the son’s, grandson’s, nephews and old friends of my mom’s used shovels to fill the grave with dirt.

2013-09-28 Mom's services8

2013-09-28 Mom's services9We find this tradition of participating in the burial to be comforting and honoring and we leave knowing that we did this act in love.

Mom's services 128Our son Dan with Dear.

Mom's services 138Josh and Laura

Mom's services 137My cousins on my father’s side of the family with their spouses.

Mom's services 110The newest member of our extended family.

Mom's services 142It was now time to head back to the church for our meal together. Friday was a very clear day in Southern California standards at Rose Hills. We could see all the way to Downtown Los Angeles. Rose Hills Memorial Park is the largest cemetery in the United States and is located in Whittier, California.

In my next post I’ll continue with the good times around the tables over our meal enjoying doing a little catch up with friends from our childhood.

It’s good to be home again. We are still trying to get our bodies on our West Coast clock instead of our British clock. I think a nice full week at home will do the trick. We left a very sunny Southern California and arrived to a rainy blustery Northwest. Hope all is well in your neck of the woods.