Thursday, October 10, 2019

Uncle George

George Francis Sines 
Aug. 23, 1936 - Oct. 19, 2017

Uncle George holding me.

(I was asked to speak at his funeral service on October 23, 2017. These are the words I spoke to honor him.)

My name is Connie Jean. George's wife, my Aunt Benny (known as Brenda by most) is the baby sister of my father, Carl. 

I am so fortunate to be just one of the many nieces and nephews of George Sines. I'm sure we all have our own personal experiences and memories with him, and I'd like to share just a few of mine. 

After my father died when I was just 2 1/2 years old, my Uncle George became a father figure to me and throughout the years he has been the example I've looked to for the qualities found in a "good" man...a man of faith, integrity, honesty, who is down-to-earth, humble and kind, one who cares, one who is devoted to his wife and family and willing to quietly be there when they and others need help, one who has a good sense of humor and enjoys life and simple pleasures.

I believe that he and my Aunt Brenda truly cared for me, and they showed it by spending time with me, taking me to church beginning at a very young age, teaching me about Jesus and his love, showing me how to love others, encouraging me and supporting me throughout my school years. Aunt Benny, who is a bit of a worrier, pays attention to details, and wants things done right, was also the disciplinarian, and she would be doing things like fussing with curling or brushing my hair, wiping dirt from my face or making sure my shoes were clean and that I didn't put them on the furniture...I can still hear Uncle George saying something like "Geez, Brenda, let her be a kid!" I jokingly say I was their practice kid before they had their beloved Patty Kay! I watched how excited they were when they finally became proud parents of the child they had waited so long for and I was so happy for them...and I love Patty like a sister.

My love of music and singing hymns and gospel music especially, came from Uncle George and from attending the Irona church where he would play guitar and he and Aunt Benny would sing songs that she had printed in spiral notebooks. Going to Sunday School, church, and revivals with them, watching and hearing them pray, going from playing in the floor, to sitting in a seat, to standing on the platform in front, to kneeling at the altar...all gave me a firm foundation in Christ, leading up to my baptism In Wolf Creek as a teenager by an evangelist who was preaching during a revival. 

Along with church, our many conversations, and singing songs, I have fond memories of such things as our picnics, leisurely drives, and learning how to ride a motor bike while he was sitting behind me giving instructions. Who would have thought that a policeman would just happen to be on Blazer Road at the same time! Well, we were stopped and I was a little scared, but Uncle George calmly answered questions honestly, telling the officer, "... no, she doesn't have a license to operate" (after all, I was only 12 years old!), that he was teaching me and was in control of the motorbike and, "...yes sir, we will turn around and I'll get on the front and drive us right back to the house. And you have good day, too, sir!"  That worked!

Uncle George was a simple man who was content to live modestly, work for everything he had, take care of his family, eat simple country meals, mind his own business, serve the Lord, sing and play guitar and other stringed instruments by himself or with friends. 

He was a frugal man...he didn't throw money away, but he also wasn't afraid to spend it on his family or on a vehicle he liked...and he has owned many nice ones through the years. Over the last several years, one of his favorite things to watch on tv was The Price is Right...and even though he liked to guess the price on the items, prize packages, and really made him happy when folks would win and be excited, happy, and smiling...and he would be happy for them. 

He believed in justice, fairness, and treating all people the same. You didn't have to wonder what He thought...He disliked liars, thieves, freeloaders, lazy or mean people. And if you wanted to start a conversation with him, just mention politics, politicians, and the government! He definitely had opinions on those things. 

I hated it when his health began to deteriorate and it was difficult to watch him when he was in pain, had difficulty breathing, and was unable to do the things he loved. He would become frustrated and discouraged and wonder how a loving God could allow the things he was having to endure. I don't know why, and the doctors didn't have many answers, but I believe that Uncle George has now learned those answers and the answers to the rest of his questions. I believe that Uncle George would tell you all...God is still a loving God, Jesus loves us and willingly paid the price for all our sins, Heaven is indescribably beautiful, and all our suffering and troubles and trials here will be worth it all when we get to Heaven by trusting, believing in, and serving our Lord and Savior. No matter how your life on earth has been, even if you think you've got it made, you didn't get it all on your own...and nothing compares to Heaven. 

Uncle George, I love you, I thank you, and I'll miss you...until we meet again.  I want to remember and see those twinkling blue eyes and ready smile, hear that slightly ornery laugh, and the beautiful singing voice with no struggling for air and no pain.  Until then, keep smiling and singing and enjoying your Heavenly home!

(Copyright by C.J. Taylor.  Please do not copy or share without permission.)

Monday, July 4, 2016

July 4th - Independence Day

If you are fortunate enough to be spending this special day with your family and friends, remember why this is a "holiday" and the fact that freedom is NOT free. Many have fought and defended this great nation against tyranny and oppression. The constitutional liberties we still enjoy and take for granted were gained and maintained by heartbreaking sacrifice.
If you watch the fireworks today, remember what they represent - many battles when brave Americans went forth and defended liberty for all generations to follow.  As you watch the beautiful colors and hear the loud booms, teach the children that those “bombs bursting in air” actually represent the blood, sweat, and tears of those who gave their all so we could live "free".
If you are enjoying your picnics and barbecues, take a moment to stop and thank God for his mercy and grace and for allowing you to live in this great country; and ask Him to continue to guide, bless, and protect our nation.
Do not forget where this nation came from, what it really stands for...and don't ever stand idly by and allow any force of evil to take away our liberties, our culture, and our freedom to worship God as we please. I pray that I don't see a "last" Independence Day, when we forget what America and its flag stand for, and we allow freedom to perish.

May God bless you all...and may God Bless the U.S.A! 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Caress...Memories Triggered

It has been said that the sense of smell is probably the greatest tool for storing and triggering memories. I believe it. I have experienced the power of it many times, and this morning was no exception.
As I was preparing to shower, I flipped up the cap on the bottle of body wash and its fragrance transported me immediately back several my grandmother and the house where I had spent many of my childhood and teen years. She didn't have body wash in her bathroom, but she had that favorite curved pink bar of soap with the same name and distinct delicate fragrance..."Caress"...its aroma filling the air and lingering on the skin that was washed with it.
That bathroom was a big deal and blessing to us. I recall how excited we all were when we finally had running cold and hot water...and we got an inside bathroom, complete with a tub and shower, installed In the house...when I was in junior high school. The gas furnace and a gas cook stove were installed around the same time...the prior source of heat being a large coal stove in the living room...and our food had previously been prepared on the wood stove in the kitchen. Also, for years our source of water was from a fresh spring that ran into a block holding tank under the house and was brought up through a pitcher pump at the kitchen sink. Bathing was done in a large round aluminum wash tub that sat in the pantry and was concealed by homemade curtains over the door. Water had to be heated on the old stove then carried to the tub. You just hoped to be one of the first kids to get in to bathe and not the last! lol
Now I am not that old. We were way behind most families in the area when it came to "modern conveniences" and, by many standards, we were poor or impoverished...but the loving care and discipline, along with the "caress" of my grandmother, more than made up for the material things and modern conveniences that we had lacked for so many years.
I find it amazing that now such a simple thing as the fragrance of soap or body wash can make her seem so near again and it brings tears of sadness, joy, and appreciation for simple things that many take for granted... ~C.J.
(Post copyright by C.J.  Please do not share, copy, or use without permission.)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Someone's "Santa"...

A few days ago, I was on my way into a thrift store and, before I turned the corner to go in through the door, I heard a man's deep voice, speaking very softly and kindly.  When I made the turn, I noticed five or six folks standing just outside the door, including the owner of that voice...a tall, chunky older man who was dressed in a green camouflage shirt and pants, with shoulder-length white hair, white beard, and gold glasses.  Yes, I was somewhat taken aback by his appearance as I took a quick breath in and stopped to watch the interaction.  He was with an older lady who stood just to the side and slightly behind him, smiling.  He was leaning over, and the person he was speaking to was a little boy about a year old who was sitting in a shopping cart whose handle was being held by his momma.  The boy was sitting very still, smiling, unblinking, looking at and listening intently to the older gentleman.  

Then I saw a young woman coming out of the store holding the hand of a little girl who appeared to be about four years old.  The girl was humming, walking and looking down at her own feet.  When she heard the man's voice, even before seeing him, she stopped abruptly, then looking up and seeing the man, her eyes got real big, she tugged on her mother's hand and said quietly but excitedly, "Mommy, Mommy...look!  I think he's a real Santa Claus!  Her mother smiled, and looking at the man, she said, "Yes, honey...I think you're right!"  Everyone in that little group was smiling.  

As I went on into the shop, I thought to myself, "Wouldn't it be great if more people were like that wonderful gentleman?  The world needs that every day, not just around Christmas time!".  Then immediately I realized that we all can be!  Most of the time, when we make the choice, each one of us can be a SANTA, just like that gentleman...because what he gave was not a fancy or expensive gift...he gave just a little of his time, personal attention, gentleness, and kindness...not just to his own family and personal friends, but to total strangers.  

Will you be a SANTA to someone today?  You might be the only one they see.  And you just might leave a positive and lasting impression on that person, just like that camo-clad gentleman did on me.

    (Ornament from zazzle)

(Post by C.J. - please do not copy or share without permission)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Morning Thought..."Church"

We have moved so far away from the New Testament meaning of "church". It's not the denomination, the building, a business, a political arena, a social club, a prideful elitist clique that excludes others, a group that feels superior to everyone else, you or all your earthly accomplishments, etc. The "church" is people...people who have recognized, acknowledged, and accepted Christ as the sinless Son of God, their Savior, Redeemer of all their sins, and Lord of their lives; those who have been filled with the Holy Spirit, who teaches, guides, comforts, convicts and chastises them; whose hearts, thoughts, words, actions, and lives have been changed and who show evidence of that change; who work individually and collectively to spread the Gospel and the love of God, being His eyes, ears, mouth, hands, and feet on Earth; who study the Holy Bible; who pray, worship in Spirit and in Truth, praise, and sing, humbly giving all honor to Him, recognizing and testifying of His glory, majesty, and glorious works; who strive daily to become more Christ-like; who willingly serve rather than feel they are to be served by others.

(Post and photo by C.J. - please do not use or copy without permission. Thanks!)