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$49.95+Tax: The Diva Turns 50(Ouch!)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"The age of a woman doesn't mean a thing. The best tunes are played on the oldest fiddles." *-* Sigmund Z. Engel

On Thursday April 28th, the LadyPhoenix, the Diva, the Grand Empress, Moi will be 50 years old. I suppose it's a blessing, I should be and am thankful I've reached this milestone. In the first half(1961-2011) I lived from day to day as I pleased in childhood, then adjusted to being a responsible adult without giving thought to being 50 but now as I stand on the hilltop and prepare for the journey down I have to wonder: What's in store? I know what I'd like to do but what does the Creator have in mind? Can't question that though can I?

When I was 20 I thought of being 50 as ancient, just totally OLD! But now that I'm here, I don't feel OLD. I'm curious about this number 50 so I turned to my teammates at the All My Children Fans team and I am amused, comforted and inspired by what they had to say:

"Sure you'll probably slow down just a little and realize you can't do things as fast as you used to...face 50 without fear! You're awesome now and always!" BEEJAY49

"Age ain't nothing but a number" CYNDIEMOORE

" 50 was a breeze, 60 has me with aches and pains but like the energizer bunny I keep going!" "BONBON561

...aren't you glad you're coming of age now?! 50 is the new 30! We are all only as old as we allow ourselves to be... JAXMOMMY

I can always count on the Pine Valley Posse(that's what I call my girls) to make me smile, giggle or laugh my considerable tuchus off! Thanks ladies!

"Forty is the old age of youth; fifty is the youth of old age."

That unattributed quote holds much truth. On Sunday, I had a conversation with our church's oldest member Ms. Ruth and told her I'd be 50 on Thursday to which she replied, "Child, you still a baby! Hee hee hee" I guess I would be to a 96 year old. The thing is inside I still feel as I did at 25 and sometimes the little girl in me rears up to make me feel as I did at 10 but then hotflashes and lower back pain remind me I'm not 25 any more and I'm definitely not 10!

Why is turning 50 having this effect on me? When I turned 21 I partied like it was 1999, I was too busy to notice 30, I thought 40 would be no problem but 50 so far 50 is a head game...

"The only adivce I can give on turning 50 is what my grandfather told me: 'Don't ever get old: It's an SOB!' The thing is HE'S RIGHT!" ANGELFINDER

There are things I like about seguing into old age: 1) I'm no longer expected to breed. 2)I can get discounts from my AARP memebership. 3)I don't worry about fitting in any more. I just do what feels right to me. But then the things that irk me: 1)Being ma'am'd by litle kids and teenagers, 2) being expected to dress AC(age correct). I still have a platform shoes, halter top and short skirt state of mind; and 3) being let down when I think a younger man is hitting on me and then he starts ma'am'ing me. I think I still look pretty good, I lost the weight, I work out, I'm mentally sharp so it's possible some 30something could be interested. Not that I'd want to date him but it's just the thought that counts.

More quotes on life after 50:
"Grow old with me, the best is yet to come." ~Robert Browning
"A woman is always younger than a man of equal years." ~~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

"I'm aiming by the time I'm 50 to stop being an adolescent!" Wendy Cope

"Old age isnt' so bad when you consder the alternative." *** Maurice Chevalier

"LIfe begins at 40-but so do fallen arches, rheumatism, faulty eyesight and the tendency to tell a story to the same person 3 or 4 times." ~William Feather

"Youth is a gift of nature but age is a work of art." ~~Garson Kanin

"Just remember, once you're over the hill you begin to pick up speed." ***Charles M. Shultz

"I will never give in to old age until I become old. And I'm not old yet!" ~~~Tina Turner

"I'm at the age where food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." ````````Rodney Dangerfield

"If I knew I was going to live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself." ~~~~Mickey Mantle

Well said Mr. Mantle which brings me to this question: Have any of you noticed the people who spend more time in the gym are 40 or older? It's not all about aesthetics its' about living a healthier, longer life. And like Tina Turner we should give in to to old age, whe don't have to! I intend to go through this second half of my century with strength, courage, grace, dignity and beauty. I've got a mental Bucket List of things I want to do. Hopefully I'll tackle it one of these days and that includes seeing West Africa, getting a tattoo, getting something other than my ears pierced and learning to water ski. Oh, to be as fearless as JAXMOMMY!

I also have much to look forward too: getting my psychology degree, moving into my new home and spoiling my grandchildren that I'm hoping to have one day. Mostly though, I'm just looking forward to living!

I thank and praise The Creator for placing me on the threshold of the 2nd half of my century.
I'm #49.95+tax y'all!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LADYPHOENIX61 4/28/2011 11:17AM

    My dear friends and sistahs, thank you so much for your kind words and wishes. I am so blessed to be here and enjoy Sparkpeople! So glad I've met the most wonderful women(and a few men) on the planet!

Barbara, welcome to Spark and may your lifestyle change journey be as pleasant as mine has been. You'll really need these people to survive the journey.

Melissa, I'm taking the whole dang Posse with me to West Africa!LOL Can you imagine the mischief we'd get into? You can teach us all the dances so we'll be "down" when we get there. Somehow, I knew you'd try water skiing! It was the creator who brought us together and Spark people gave us a common goal in getting healthy. Thanks for inspiring the awe.

BTW, my cousin is selling her pole dancing equipment. Wanna buy it?LOL

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BAKERBARBARA 4/27/2011 10:42PM

    I just loved reading all those quotes!!!! They made me laugh and you know, a good sense of humour will keep you feeling young!!! I am 56 and believe me it doesn't hurt to be 50. You'll be fine!! Congrats on all the weight you lost. I'm just starting out...slowly. Good luck on your bucket list, too.


Have a very Happy Birthday!!!!

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LINDAGRAVEL 4/27/2011 9:52PM

    Happy Birthday,Enjoy your day tomorrow

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JAXMOMMY 4/27/2011 9:47PM

    No one could've said it better my friend! I think how Tina turner looked her best at age 50! I loved her quote you used! I want to go to West Afrrica with you! I've been trying the dances! Water skiing is a breeze and that psych degree is just around the corner! Happy Birthday!! I'm so thankful that the creator, or at least Spark Guy, saw fit that our paths cross and we make friends with the youngest, bangingest, most caring possy in the world!! Happy Birthday and many, many more!

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SOFEDUPP 4/27/2011 6:12PM

    Renee, you are as only as old as you feel. That is why the Posse is as young as we are!!!

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LESSOFMOORE 4/27/2011 2:31PM

    May the rest of your years be the best of your years!

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FRISKYGRANDMA 4/26/2011 7:55PM

    Happy Birthday!!!!! Enjoy the day and set out to dream about what the future will bring. God is big and God can do anything...I am sure your best is yet to be. emoticon

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The Reformation of a Worm Killer

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I, like most of my gender find worms disgusting, slimy, yucky things. I usually show them the bottom of my shoes when they cross my path. Lately though, I've had a new reason to respect them. I've come to realize that the inchworm measuring the marigolds and I have something in common: METAMORPHOSIS. St. Paul the Apostle says: "All things work together for the good of those that love the Lord." The things that have been most troubling in our lives can be the catalyst for our greatest growth. Like the inchworm, humans have goals and destinations too. However, the species go about reaching them in different ways. The inchworm knows what his destination and purpose from birth; humans go through life trying to find theirs. The worm is born feeding off whatever surrounds him, trying to stay out of sight from birds and other animals that think of him as snacks and trying to avoid the dreaded shoe bottom. Assuming he makes it that far, he's ready to move on to his next stage and finds a good spot to spin his cocoon and head off to sleep. While sleeping he makes his greatest change. When he awakens, VOILA! He's a beautiful butterfly! Goal and mission accomplished!
Humans are a bit more confounded on their goals and missions. How many people(self included) do you know that can honestly say "I'm doing what I was born to do and I'm happy with it? I've only known of one person and He was the Son of God. Daddy had his future already planned before He was born and He was a good, obedient Son who submissive to God's will. The rest of us ask at some point: "What's my purpose in life? Why was I put on this earth?" I've known people who've spent years and good money on law school and medical school only to find they're happiest running a mom&pop hardware store of coffee shop. Oh, to be like the lowly inchworm!

Looking back at my 48 years of life, I think of the pain and horror of abuse, sorrows and disappointment that have come and gone. My abusers are no longer in my life and I've vowed to never let myself be treated that way again. I know disappointment and sorrow will come and go throughout life but I'm getting the strength, support and love I need to endure those trials. Like the inchworm, my progress has been slow moving at times but I persevere until I reach my destination. At times I've had to(and still do) nurture and protect myself because no one else has. At middle age I'm finally in my "cocoon stage" but I'm not sleeping!
I've earned a living and made a name and reputation for myself as a good musician but Meniere's Disease has robbed me of most of my hearing so the music's no longer possible. The piano's still there and I tinker from time to time. I'll always be grateful to God for the talent and allowing me to bring happiness to someone through music. He also allowed me to inspire and motivate others by teaching them to play piano, violin and singing. Some of my students were adults who just wanted to learn to play the piano. Others were young people, some of whom have gone on to become church musicians and music teachers themselves so concerning the goal of a music teacher, mission accomplished. I learned recently that God annoints(blesses) us to do certain things but the annointing doesn't last forever. When it's gone, don't dawdle move on until the next annointment comes. I didn't know that until I read it and I dawdled. I (figuratively speaking) donned a sackcloth, shaved my head and sat down in sackcloth and ashes greiving my loss and asking the magic question: "What's next?" I knew I was still good for something, but what? A Spark friend blew me away with his community outreach. He teaches reading to illerates, works in a soup kitchen and does countless other good deeds to help and share with others. He inspired me to work in a thrift shop and help in a soup kitchen too. He's also going to school.
Another Spark friend is a therapist and teacher who doesn't let her blindness hold her back. She's into swimming, belly dancing and exercises faithfully although we're both constantly in search of the good macaroni and cheese.
Then there's my therapist Jane who's compassion for this pitiful, confused and frustrated blogger has been a wonderful blessing. You see, Jane has more than a psychology degree, she's a woman of God with a psychology degree.
Then there's the Pine Valley Posse who won't let me give up! On that team, I've got my Big Sis, My Cuzin Dee, my Yiddish mama and my partners in crime who'll vouch for my wearabouts in case I get in trouble.
All those people mentioned above try to make me act right. I feel sorry for them!LOL
Meanwhile, the worm is turning...
The support of my family, my beautiful daughter, Jane and my spark friends all helped to bring me to this place. As I go through my day, I see others who are carrying more weight than they should and I wonder how many of them are dealing with emotional eating, having nightmares because of past pains and want to have better lives but just can't figure out what to do? My heart goes out to them because I know those feelings of frustration, despair, depression and misery. I want to help them because others have helped me. I've got 2 stubborn pounds to lose to reach my goal and I WILL reach my goal. I've also decided I want to return to school in the fall of '10 to pursue a double major in psychology and religion. I've no doubts I can do it; it's making the cheering squad I'm not sure about. Just kidding! I'm not the peppy type even on a Lexapro-caffeine combo.
So you see, maybe all my troubles, trials and struggles were my inchworm phase. The dormant, cocoon stage is for my current growth and change. When I awaken, I'll be a brand new, beautifully blessed butterfly! You can just call me "Air 'Nee Nee"!
The next time you see a slimy, disgusting worm inching along, think of me-well my blog, your own journey and our missions, goals and destinations. You don't want anyone to step on you and that worm doesn't want to be stepped on either. Show some kindness and let him live. I know I'll never kill another worm.

This blog is dedicated to:
The Father, Son and Holy Spirit who keep making a way for me.
My beautiful daughter who loves her nutty as a fruitcake, drama queen mama and who's made the last 27 years of my life much happier.
Jane, you've helped me to come so far in such a short amount of time. Blessings and peace to you always. We've still got a Snickers Cake to bake!
Melissa, who's just an awe-inspiring Belle
Greg who's shown me that not all men named Greg are the bad guy.
And finally, the Pine Valley Posse, my partners in crime who won't let me give up and die. Thanks for the laughs, love and encouragement.
Much love, Cassandra

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

1BEACHWALKER 12/17/2010 1:16AM

    Very nice blog! You should write a book-you have a way with words. Keep up the good work! Congrats on your weight loss! emoticon

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PRESHA911 5/3/2010 9:11PM

    Such a wonderful, insightful blog. Keep it up!

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BIGDAD1211 2/11/2010 1:48AM

    I loved it Sis! Who is that Greg you are talking about! Sounds like a heck of a guy!
I love you Sis, you truly are God Butterfly!
In Jesus Name
Your Bro
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DEEDAYE 12/31/2009 8:52PM

    You are a strong, gifted, inspiring, kind, faith-filled, loving, beautiful, funny, magnificient woman. Like that buttefly you are a rare beautiful creature and your mere presence makes this world a more beautiful place. I thank God for placing you in my life. I have just one more thing to say.....That's my Cuz!!! emoticon

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SOFEDUPP 12/29/2009 7:53PM

    Renee, That was beautiful. You have a way with words.

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LESSOFMOORE 12/29/2009 7:24PM

    Baby Sis,

What a beautiful blog (in every way)!


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Free Your Mind and Leave the Rest Behind

Thursday, August 20, 2009

How many of us are natural born worriers? I believe I am, but I'm not sure. I'll try not to let it worry me;-). My daughter says I worry if I can't find something to worry about. Last week I learned of an anxiety disorder called Generalized Anxiety Disorder(GAD) which is a condition marked by a perpetual state of worry about most aspects of life. While we all fret about careers, money, family and health people with GAD are constantly stressed and worried about everything and anything! I don't think I'm that bad so I'm probably just average.

The problems of daily life can sometimes be so overwhelming we can't sleep and find ourselves seeking solace and solutions through behavior detrimental to our health. A chain of reaction: Company profits go down...lay off...questions: how will I: pay bills, feed family, maintain my home...stress and worry kick in...look for comfort in: food, drinks, drugs. Face it we live in tough economic times. I didn't know how tough until I read that a man was beaten and robbed for a bologna sandwich! On white bread with mayo! Yuck! Probably wasn't even Oscar Mayer! Not even a slice of cheese!

Until today I didn't realize I take on responsibilities that I shouldn't. For instance I took on trying to care for 2 adults. One couldn't care for self and the other wasn't trying and they were both abusive. My daughter also says I'm a nurturer which is sometimes it's not such a good quality because while you're giving love, care and concern the objects of those actions are doing nothing more than taking advantage of you. When you realize this, it's time to cut them loose and move on!

I have made it a goal to live as stress and worry free as I can. I try not to get anxious any more and I start my day with prayer and this:
"Dear God, I give you control as I begin this day. Help me to remember that nothing can come along that You and I can't handle together as long as You're in charge. I give you the keys and I'll sit back and enjoy the ride and the view!"

Something else: rid yourself of clutter. We clean out the basement, storage room, attic, garage, desk, closet, car trunks, even that little what-not drawer in the kitchen. How about your mind? Joyce Meyer has this to say in "Starting Your Day Right":

"Sometimes we complicate our life by taking on things that God has not told us to do. We add stress, confusion and clutter with the unnecessary things we take on and hold on to. We need to use our faith to let go of whatever clutters our mind and keeps us from peace.
Ask God to show you ways to simplify your life.
Take an inventory today, and start throwing out whatever is filling your life with unproductive distractions. God wants you to enjoy your day, so get rid of whatever He shows you to give up."

OK, SparkPeople...LET'S CLEAN HOUSE!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHARLIESANGEL10 12/1/2009 8:49PM

    Great blog! So many, like me, can totally relate. I love Joyce!

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NEWMOMOVER40 8/26/2009 11:12PM

    Hi Renee,
I love this blog post! Witty, and true. Thanks!

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DRADISCH 8/25/2009 10:51PM

    Love it Renee, I sure needed this tonight. You always have amazing insights. Thanks.. I am cleaning out what little mind I have left.LOL

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BVICTORIOUS 8/25/2009 10:16PM

    That is so true - I love going to scripture to reassure me that there is nothing to worry about, as long as I am looking UP to Him.

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DEEDAYE 8/20/2009 6:41PM

    Amen!!! I ' m a worrier too! I got it from my mother, God rest her soul! She worried about everything & everyone. I think that gores hand in had with be a care giver or a nurturing person. Were sometimes seen as being co-dependent or an enabler because in our effort to help other we really enable them not to face and deal with their own problems.

Like you, a strong faith in God helps me deal with my anxiety & fear.

I also have a need o be in control in general.

I highly recommend the book, Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World. by Joanna Weaver. One example, she says, worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair. It gives you something to do with your energy, but you don't get anywhere! It puts a lot of things in perspective.

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COLEMANSR 8/20/2009 4:27PM

    AWESOME BLOG! emoticon emoticon

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What's Your Vision?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Yesterday I had my eyes checked and like most people my age, the eyes are starting to get a little fuzzy. I squint, hold things at a distance and usually have to find somebody to thread needles for me. But that's OK. I'm thankful to be growing older.

That's one kind of vision. The one I'm more interested in is where do you see yourself 3 months, 6 months a year, 5 years, 10 years from now? Every morning I read "The Encouraging Word" which is a devotional from Dr. Don Wilton, pastor of First Baptist Church of Spartanburg. He's a dynamic speaker and a great motivator too. Today's devotional is "What"s Your Vision?" It really made me think. I've been trying to workout a way to use my journey to help others who may be in the same predicament. I want to show them how I overcame abuse, depression, stress and obesity and let them know they don't have to stay in their current lifestyle. That's my vision. What's yours? Here's what Dr. Wilton has to say about having visions:

What?s your vision?


When problems arise, our vision is often the first thing to hit the chopping block. That?s because we don?t see life the way it is, we see life the way we are. The Bible says: ?Where there is no vision the people perish? [live unharnessed and undirected]. When God gives you a vision for your life, you begin to see things as He sees them. Moses ?saw? the Promised Land when everybody around him saw only wilderness, wanted to give up and return to Egypt (See Heb 11:27). And He understood that he?d get there on God?s schedule, according to God?s plan, one step at a time. Many tasks seem overwhelming when you look only at their size. But when you break them down into small steps and visualize yourself taking the first step, you?re amazed at your progress. You can do something for a day you wouldn?t commit to doing for a month; ask any recovering addict!

One Christian leader says: ?Vision, like courage and discipline, is a trait that can be developed by anyone willing to work hard at making it part of their every day life.? The poet wrote: ?Two men looked through prison bars, one saw mud, the other stars.? What do you ?see? in your future? Do you think God?s just going to drop success into your lap? No, you must energize your vision through faith and give it momentum through hard work! The Scripture, ?We have the mind of Christ? (1Co 2:16), suggests that God thinks His thoughts through us. What an advantage! Jesus told His disciples, ?Launch out into the deep? (Lk 5:4); as God?s child, the world?s limitations don?t control your supply! So, what?s your vision?

Everyone has a vision. That's why we're all here at Spark-we have visions of ourselves healthier, slimmer, fit and happier. It's one thing to say "I want to do this" but are you ready to do what's necessary? Take your vision and start walking towards it! It may take months even years but it will happen, just don't give up!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHARLIESANGEL10 12/1/2009 8:53PM

    Wonderful blog! You are certainly accomplishing your vision of helping others thru the wisdom in your blogs. Thanks---I'm going in the deep too! You know what Joyce Meyer says, "Once you get in over your head, it doesn't matter how deep you go." That perspective helped me so much years ago & as you see, it's never left my mind.

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DRADISCH 8/11/2009 9:05PM

    That was so Motivating and Inspiring my friend.
Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful thought.
emoticon and Many Blessings are sent to you. emoticon

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LESSOFMOORE 8/11/2009 7:54PM

    A very inspirational blog!

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COLEMANSR 8/11/2009 6:13PM

    Great blog. Love it.

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SOFEDUPP 8/11/2009 6:01PM

    Thank you Renee, that was very inspirational on so many levels.

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IF-SO-GIRL 8/11/2009 5:22PM

    I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks for sharing it Renee. Gives me lots to think about.

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BEEJAY49 8/11/2009 4:42PM

    Thank you so much for sharing this! HUGS!

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A Dove Set Free

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I'm in a bad place right now and felt the need to vent. I'm saddened, shocked and heartbroken by the death of my longtime friend, Sue. We were the same age(I'm not telling!) and had known each other since junior high and although I'm only 5'3 I was "tall" around her since she stood at only 5'. I've gotta tell you though, she was tall in every other way!
Have you ever encountered anyone in your life who has a positive and endearing touch that affects everyone they meet? Sue was one of those people. I recall the first time I met her, I was a naive, innocent(if that was ever possible) and she had "been around". She wasn't a "garden tool" but she'd seen something we were still trying to figure out. As conversations between adolescent girls went in the early '70s, we were talking about how babies were born. When her mom gave birth at home, she got to see the whole thing happen and she gave us the blow by blow! That made her the most popular girl in our science class! After that first day, we became fast friends all the way through high school.

After high school, I went to college and she started working as a sales clerk at Kmart. She found out she was good at it, the customers liked her and her circle of friends expanded. Eventually, she became department manager and that took her to otherlevels of mangement with another chain. I was happy she had found her niche and was good at what she was doing and happy with it.

She never married or had kids of her own so her nieces and nephews became her children and she loved them to death! Life was good, she was happy, in love and just being the same, old sweet Sue. About 6 months ago, she developed a cough that wouldn't go away but because she was so busy with life, she wouldn't take the time to see a doctor. When blood started coming up that's when she knew she had to. They found she was anemic to the point where she lost the ability to walk. They gave her transfusions but they didn't seem to help and after tests revealed a brain tumor and a cantaloupe sized tumor in her uterus, they realized it was too late. She stayed in the hospital for 6 weeks before she died on Wednesday. I may as well tell it-she was 47.

I was reading her online obit earlier and all the comments people made concerning her. She touched so many lives and some comments came from customers who remembered her from as far back as Kmart. I'll always remember being silly girls and the fun times we had even as adults.

I'm imagining Sue's soul taking flight in the form of a free flying dove. She's free from pain, sickness and misery. Soar high, my old friend! I hope you enjoy the flight and the sights you'll see! Don't look back at this world you've left behind, you're bound for a far better place! consider yourself...SET FREE

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

COLEMANSR 6/18/2009 8:05PM

    Oh, how beautiful to remember a friend this way. Everytime I see a Dove it will remind of you and your friend.
Also, thanks for putting out there as a warning to others, do not let symptoms pass by with out checking them out.
My Sister passed from a Brain Tumor.
Anytime you want to talk, I'm here.
If you want to call, I'll give you my number.. emoticon

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DRADISCH 6/18/2009 6:31PM

    My deepest and sincerest sympathies. What a beautiful tribute you just paid Sue. May she rest in the arms of Our Lord in Peace and Bathe in His Love.
You have a beautiful and Special angel my friend.
We are all here for you. emoticon

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