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…

Getting to Know You…

I enjoyed reading Eileen’s Getting to Know Me and Mildred’s, too, so I’m answering the 25 questions.
1. What is your middle name?: 
I do not have a middle name on my birth certificate. In my Russian culture I would be introduced as Ellen, Moisi’s (daughter) Bagdanov. Everyone would then know that I was Moisi’s daughter not Ivan’s daughter.
That’s my maiden last name in Russian on my paternal grandparents’ gravestone.
2. What was your favorite subject at school?:
Any class where the teacher made me feel like they appreciated having me as a student especially my English teachers in high school. I enjoyed Home Economics and ended up majoring in Home Economics.
Mrs. Nicolaus was my favorite primary teacher.
3. What is your favorite drink?:
Morning: coffee  Cocktail: Gin and Tonic
4. What is your favorite song at the moment?:
Adore by Chris Tomlin
5. What is your favorite food?:
It’s hard to beat a good Ribeye steak or Osso Bucco or Prime Rib. I can’t narrow it down to one. My easy go to comfort food is probably Mexican food but I love finding good Persian restaurants that take me back to my food roots. I’m going to say my favorite food is food!
6. What is the last thing you bought?:
A large angel at Homegoods today.
7. Favorite book of all time?:
Yikes! Another hard one to narrow down. Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter Series.
8. Favorite Color?:
Blue
9. Do you have any pets?:
No
10. Favorite perfume?:
I don’t wear perfume and if you do please spray lightly. Thank you. 🙂
11. Favorite holiday?:
Easter is my favorite.
12. Are you married?:
Yes, this month we’ll celebrate 44 years!
13. Have you ever been out of the country?:
Yes. Great Britain seven times, Italy (Milan) once, Mexico once, Canada too many times to count.
14. Do you speak any other language?:
I can speak Russian poorly. I understand it better than I can speak it.
15. How many siblings do you have?:
Eight, 4 brothers and 3 sisters.
This photo is from my sister Kathy’s wedding. The groom and best man that are flanking Kathy aren’t part of the my 7 siblings and Dear is standing next to me. All the rest are my brothers and sisters who are now 44 years older! Kathy, Vera, Fred, Ellen, Tim, Steve, Lana and Leonard. The last two are twins.
16. What is your favorite shop?:
Homegoods
17. Favorite restaurant?:
For a nice hunk of meat, Metropolitan Grill. My all time favorite places to eat are Pubs in Great Britain.
18. When was the last time you cried?:
Last week. I cry easily during worship services.
19. Favorite Blog?:
I like a variety of blogs and especially enjoy visiting blogs that don’t bombard me with ads. I’m sad that a few of my favorites aren’t up and running at present.
20. Favorite Movie?:
The older Pride and Prejudice series with Colin Firth. Does that qualify as a movie?
21. Favorite TV shows?:
Great British Baking Show, Alone, Top Chef, Project Runway, Live PD, Survivor, NCIS, just to name a few.
22. PC or Mac?:
PC
23. What phone do you have?:
Samsung 4 or 5 , probably time to upgrade.
24. How tall are you?:
5′ 4-1/2″
25. Can you cook?:
Yes I can and I’m part of the Mennonite Girls Can Cook. My mother was a great Russian cook. Her love language was to cook for others and to feed them. She loved to listen to cooking shows on the radio and try to write down the recipes. Since she didn’t know how to write in English this was a challenge for her. She enjoyed trying new things and inspired all of her kids to cook. The photo above is from our humble home in Montebello at a dinner prepared for the cheer squad by my mom, Borsch, Meat and Potato filled Perishky and Blintzes. My parents modeled hospitality even though they always struggled financially while we were growing up.
Thanks for visiting today. We are hoping our counters will be able to be cut and installed on Monday!

Happy Fall Y’all!

On Saturday we went to a Sign Making Party and this is the sign I made. It’s fun for me because you use stencils and all you have to do is pick the wood you want and the colors. Addy May and all her grandmothers, her great grandmother and aunties were there.

These are the four generations on Jamie’s side of the family. I’m sure my mom would have gotten a kick out of our little Addy May. One thing for sure this little one does not lack for love and attention.

We are still busy busy here in northeastern Washington and enjoying some fine weather that is about to change. Hunting expeditions have been successful. Next up is wood gathering for the winter. Hope you are enjoying fall where you are.

Berry Pickin Hodgepodge

 
1.  Have you ever spent time on a farm?
Yes.
Tell us a little bit about it.
When I was young my family stayed with Russian farming friends in Central California. I did not enjoy the fresh milk from their cow. My family would also drive to different farms in southern California to pick fruit for my mom’s canning endeavors. The black and white above is of the whole family picking something, maybe berries of some kind. I can also remember picking sour cherries, about 40 pounds total when we were done. She would cook and can the cherries for a sweetener for tea. A favorite with my Russian relatives. As an adult when we were in England we enjoyed an afternoon on a farm picking raspberries, picture below.
This was in 1973 or 1974. In 2006 we stayed on a sheep farm in England (bed and breakfast) for a couple nights. We enjoyed the farm noises and the walks along the Derwent River that the farm was adjacent to.
Since being part of the Mennonite Girls Can Cook I’ve enjoyed times on a couple farms and at Farm markets in Abbotsford, B.C.
Have you ever grown your own pumpkin? Been on a hayride? Driven a tractor? Milked a cow?
no, yes, no, no…
I’m pretty sure I’ve been on a hayride somewhere but I can’t pull up the time and place.
2. What’s something younger you would like about you now?
 That I’m still smiling even though I don’t look like I did in that Berry picking photo with those cool shades.

3. What are three things you’d like to do more often? Three things you’d like to do less often?

Walk, read, and pray more often. Eat, b***h, jump to conclusions less often.

4. What’s on your nachos?

When I have them which isn’t very often, cheese, jalapenos, and diced Anaheim peppers.

5. What’s the most random thing in your purse or wallet? Does it need to stay there?

A tape measure might be the most random thing and it doesn’t need to stay there but it comes in handy when shopping for certain items that need to fit in defined or tight spaces.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Too cute not to share! She’s 6-1/2 months and this is her trusty furry friend Rayna.

Linking up to Hodgepodge Wednesday with Joyce From This Side of the Pond. She comes up with the questions and we answer them.

We are resuming our small group at our home on Wednesday night. It will be fun to see who shows up. Hope you all are having a good week.

There She Goes Hodgepodge

1. Growing up, were you close to your grandparents? My maternal grandfather died in Persia before my babushka immigrated to the U.S.A. I was closer to my little maternal babushka. We visited my paternal grandparents regularly and honored them but never were as close to them as to my little babushka.

Tell us one or two specific things you remember about them.

Me and my little babushka on my wedding day. She was a believer and prayed for me all her days and tried to teach me to embroider. She embroidered with one hand because she lost one hand up to her elbow when she was young.

My paternal grandparents loved us as they could. We enjoyed a Russian Banya (Steam bath/sauna) at their home regularly growing up.

2. What’s an item you were attached to as a child? What happened to it?

I have not one item from my childhood that I’m attached to, in fact I have not one item from my childhood.

3. When you look out your window, do you see the forest or the trees (literally and figuratively)? Explain.

Out my current windows I see trees but no forest. I see houses no big views.

4. Do you like sour candies?
I enjoy Mike and Ikes.
Which of the ‘sour’ foods listed below would you say is your favorite?
grapefruit, Greek yogurt, tart cherries, lemons, limes, sauerkraut, buttermilk, or kumquats
limes
Have you ever eaten a kumquat?
Yes, I have. Growing up in Southern California our relatives had kumquat trees and we’d enjoy them fresh off the tree. It’s fun getting past the sour skin to the inner sweetness.

What’s your favorite dish containing one of the sour foods on the list?
I like the effect and taste that limes add to pica de gallo and I enjoy lime in my gin and tonics.

5. July 1st marked the mid point of 2017. In fifteen words or less, tell us how it’s going so far.

Becoming grandparents and watching our granddaughter grow makes 2017 a stand out year.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Summer is great but it’s not my favorite season.

Linking up to Wednesday Hodgepodge at From This Side of the Pond. Joyce asks the questions and we answer them.

Hume Lake Christian Camps

In my 66th year I continue my reflections on my life with a very significant year, 1963, my twelfth year on this earth. A year with a decision that has shaped the rest of my life.

Nestled close to  Kings Canyon National Park in California’s Sierra Nevada is the Youth Camp that I was able to attend in 1963, 1965 and 1967. I was 12, 14, and 16 during these wilderness adventures.

I was raised in a family who attended church regularly and often, very religious. The church I was raised in gave me the impression that because I was Russian and a member of their church that I had an exclusive connection with God. What I learned at Bible Camp was that the only exclusive connection I could have to God was through Jesus Christ and what He did for me on the cross. Being Russian and being a part of my father’s religion did not give me a direct link to God. In 1963 at Hume Lake while listening to a speaker talk about Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross to save sinners I was moved to step out and become a follower of Jesus. God’s plan of salvation was exclusively through his perfect son Jesus, who is fully God and came to earth to live a perfect life among us and be the perfect sacrifice for our sins. I knew I was one of those sinners and I needed a Savior. This decision began a journey of ups and downs, highs and lows, but a journey forward with my God and Savior. When I began my new life following Jesus I was clothed with His righteousness and reconciled to God. I continue on this walk, never perfectly but with God’s grace I carry on. He will be teaching me by His Holy Spirit all the days of my life. My God and Savior is and will be faithful to see me through all of my life on this earth and I look forward with the Hope of seeing Him face to face in heaven. During this same year, 1963, my father began his journey of following Jesus after hearing Billy Graham at the Los Angeles Coliseum share the truth of Jesus Christ and why He came to earth over 2000 years ago. 1963 was an epic year for me and my family. For my father and me we became part of God’s movement of love and grace through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My mother was a follower of Jesus when she married my father. My two older sisters had started following Jesus before my father and me.

I’ll share this verse that Billy Graham proclaims in every interview I’ve ever heard him give. John 14:6 (ESV) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

High School scanned4HUME LAKE CHRISTIAN CAMP 1967

Reflections of my story from age 18 onward of my life will continue in another post.

Presently we are still waiting for that phone call. We are happy for it coming later than sooner since baby Addy is enjoying the womb and continues her growth in that comfort. We have a bag partially packed so we don’t have to wonder about something we forgot. We keep the car gassed up and ready to go. We are still in a very rainy pattern here in the Pacific Northwest. Plants should flourish well here this Spring. How goes it where you live?

Just Because…

…today marks my sixty sixth year on this earth, I reflect.

I was the fifth child born to my Russian immigrant parents.

I arrived on the scene just four years after my parents settled in East Los Angeles from Tehran, Iran.

Our first sister died before she turned two in Iran and that’s why you only see four of the five of us born to my parents here.

Our mom always made sure we had new clothes for going to church on Easter and Christmas.

After 7 years of being the baby of the family my brother Tim arrived. We were still in the black and white photograph era. In the fourth grade I memorized these verses from the Bible in the King James Version and these verses are still among my favorite from God’s Word. I was on a journey that would lead me to a significant event in my life when I was twelve. I’ll share that in a later post.

John 14: 1-3 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

After Tim and moving on to the color film era three more siblings were added to our family, the last two being twins. Oops, my older brother Fred is absent from the photo above. These reflections are from my first eighteen years.

I will add more reflections on my sixty six years in the days to come. For now the most significant change that will come to me in my sixty sixth year is that I will be able to hold my first grand baby, Addy, for the first time.

That will be a very nice gift for my sixty sixth year as I move on to the Baba/Grandmother stage of my life. More to come. I’m headed out on a little birthday adventure with Dear today. I am blessed. I’ll check in later to see your posts.

Linking up to ABC Wednesday for J is for Just because…thank you jubilant hosts.