Singing My Heart Out…

When we can’t see her in person and are 6 hours away my eyes light up when I see the little green light on my phone saying you’ve got a message. Our daughter-in-law is good at sending us photo updates of little Addy May. Thank you dear Jamie!

Our two girls from across the state staying warm in their icy cold conditions.

Here she is just chillin in the kitchen while mama gets something done. Dan and Jamie are going to have to make a more secure play area for her since just this week she’s learned to use her play toys to climb up onto the couch and be able to escape her cordoned off play area.

What does all of this have to do with singing?

I’ve been singing all my life and it’s an important part of my life. My love for singing started in church. In my father’s Molokan church growing up into my teens singing was acapella. There were no instruments in the church and the songs were mostly from the Psalms in the Old Testament portion of the Bible. My father was a “songleader” in this church. For Easter and Christmas we would visit my maternal grandmother’s Russian Baptist Church where we enjoyed singing with piano and organ. In junior high school choir was one of my classes and I was introduced to notes and music. After my father attended the Billy Graham Crusade in Los Angles in 1963 he started a new life of following Christ as his Savior and we eventually left the Molokan Church. We started attending my maternal grandmother’s church. At the Baptist church my sisters and I were part of the youth choir which eventually worked on recording tapes of Russian hymns for Far East Broadcasting and Slavic Gospel Association to be broadcast into the Soviet Union over radio waves. During my high school years our youth choir went out every Christmas Eve to carol in Russian and English at old folks homes. We’d choose the homes where folks from the Russian churches were housed. There was one apartment building a couple doors down from Bethany Baptist Church in Los Angeles where several of our widowed grandmothers lived in separate apartments next door to each other. We’d always start our caroling there. I have to add that in my junior high and high school years I memorized and sang along with the Beatles and Leslie Gore and with whatever other group was popular. I was a “songleader” in high school. We were part of the cheer squad at sporting events and mostly yelled chants while performing routines with pom poms. “Push em back, push em back, waaaaay back. LOL!

In my college years our Los Angeles Russian Choir added some Russian voices from around the state of California and we recorded an album in a professional studio. During this time we met a studio musician who directed a Christian singing ensemble that toured the states and Great Britain. My best friend at the time auditioned for his group. She was added and toured England with them in the summer of 1972. I met the members of Tom Keene and the Contemporaries before they left for England and when they returned an alto left and I auditioned and joined the group in fall of 1972. Dear, his brother and sister in law were part of the Contemporaries. Dear and I started dating. We performed most every Sunday evening at a different church in the greater Los Angles area singing and giving our testimonies. We had weekly practices. Dear and my relationship grew and we got married after our second tour of Great Britain.

This was a newspaper article from a British paper about our group touring and singing in local schools.

Chalk church in Gravesend

All this talk about singing was inspired by the fact that today Laura bought tickets for me, my sister Lana and Katie to attend The Sound of Music sing along at the 5th Avenue in Seattle. The four of us are meeting for lunch and then popping into the theater for what I’m sure will be a fun time of singing our hearts out! Have you ever attended one of these sing along events?

Looking forward to spending a few hours with these girls. Wish our girls from across the mountains could be with us.

My semi professional singing days are well over and now my favorite times to sing are still in church and to little Addy May. I sing nursery rhymes and other songs to her. She doesn’t care that my voice cracks and I don’t stay on key or…if I make up the words! Looking forward to when she can sing along with me!

Till next time, The hills are alive…


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”