Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight, Cynthia Bryan
February 2019
by Robin McKinley
Cynthia Bryan originally hails from Tahoka, Texas where she was born, raised, married and raised her children. Her father managed a service station, and in his later years worked for Lyntegar Electric Coop. Her mother worked for the drug store and was also a talented seamstress. She could see a dress in a store and make a perfect copy. She has an older sister, Kay, who lives in Paris, Texas. Kay is a lung transplant survivor as a result of a genetic lung conditions. Both her parents, and Cindy herself, have the lung condition. Cindy had a hard time with her health this past fall, but is finally feeling better.

Cindy married Joe, and they have two children, five grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren. Her son, Kurt, lives in Abilene. Kurt has 2 stepdaughters, Bethany and Jordan, and a son, Parker. Cindy of course considers them all to be her grandchildren. Her daughter, Kerri, and her husband, Eric, live in Round Rock with their children Grant and Clare.

Joe was a disabled vet who worked in construction after his service, and Cindy worked as a bookkeeper in Lynn County.  Tahoka is the country seat of Lynn County. She was elected the country treasurer for two terms. She loved the people she worked with in the courthouse, and the county commissioners were great – until they were elected and then all good sense went out the window. For the sake of her blood pressure, she decided not to run for a third term.

In 1999, Cindy and Joe decided enough of working, and they sold everything they owned in Tahoka and got an RV and began to travel around the United States. They got to see a lot of the country, and worked at RV parks in the valley of Texas.  The valley hosts lots of people who came south for the winter, lovingly called “snow birds”. Cindy says this is the most fun she ever had. She enjoyed getting to know the snow birds and they played games, and made up games, and generally had a lot of fun.

If money were no object, she would travel all the time. She has so many places she would like to visit, and says there are lots of places still in Texas that she would love to go visit but hasn’t ever been, such as Marfa. She is used to flat land and no trees, and when there are too many trees, she gets claustrophobic, but that still leaves a lot of Texas left to see.

While Cindy and Joe were travelling, they considered Abilene to be their home base. When they moved to Abilene, Joe and Cindy began to look for a church. They had been lifelong Baptists but they visited different churches of different denominations and were moved to join Aldersgate UMC because the congregation was so welcoming and friendly.

Joe passed away in 2012, and Cindy decided to move closer to her daughter and grandchildren. She chose Taylor, and moved here in late July 2018.

She joined Taylor FUMC in September, and she has found this church to be welcoming and friendly like their church in Abilene. She says the entire church is friendly and that Marsha Beckermann, Evelyn Farnham and Vesta Ryan were particularly welcoming to her. She likes being made to feel as if she is part of a family here at the church. 

Her favorite hymns are a result of the two most influential people in her life: her mother and her grandmother. She loves Amazing Grace, even though it is hard for her to sing because it was her mother’s favorite hymn and was sung at her funeral.  Her grandmother’s favorite hymn was Rock of Ages and so that is Cindy’s other favorite hymn.

Cindy’s friends describe her as funny. One said, “Listen to her talk! She says the funniest things.” Cindy admits she is puzzled about what she said that was funny. Her friends say she is loving, trustworthy, caring and giving. Cindy says she has a hard time being trusting. Perhaps that challenge led to her to expend extra effort to be trustworthy and her friends do appreciate that about her.

Her hidden talents include knitting (she says she knits well), crocheting (she says she crochets not so well), and making baby blankets. She makes crib size baby blankets, and sometimes bigger. The one she made for her grandson is so big he can wrap up in it.

In Abilene, Cindy started a ministry for parents who had stillborn premature babies or babies who died shortly after birth. Three sad occurrences led Cindy to begin this work. Cindy lost a baby at five months, and her son lost a baby as well. When her granddaughter lost twins, she knew it was important for the babies to have gowns for their burial as a comfort to the family. But all the preemie size baby clothes were far too big. She asked a lady to make gowns the size of a Barbie doll, but what that lady made was still too big. Using a doll clothes pattern, Cindy kept cutting the gowns smaller until they finally were the right size.

This experience inspired her to make more tiny clothes and donate them to the Tears Foundation, which is an organization that the hospital calls when a family loses a premature infant.  Cindy made preemie gowns, caps and blankets for up to three-pound babies. She hopes to continue that ministry here as well. 

We are so lucky to have Cindy as a part of our church, with all her talents and caring. Make sure you take the time to have a chat with her!