“Follow your Heart”…detail of a collage.  I love turtles, of any kind or size.  I have an odd collection of various turtles (not the real kind), some I have found while shopping, others have been given to me by one of my children.  I started my obsession with turtles when my kids were little.  There was even a time when I created a series of stories for a kids newsletter at church in which the main character was a turtle named Trusty D. Turtle.  Someday I will gather those stories together and see if I can adapt them into a children’s book.  I’m not sure what it is about turtles that I identify with so much.  I’m pretty much an introvert so admiring a creature that carries her protection with her everywhere she goes has a definite appeal.  I also admire how turtles take life one little step at a time and though it seems they don’t get very far very fast, they seem to make steady progress to me.

At this moment in time I am relating once again to the symbol of the turtle.  Four days ago I had surgery to replace a ruptured disc in my neck and I am definitely spending a great deal of time in my shell recuperating slowly but surely.  My neck issue has been a chronic problem for over ten years and I have learned to deal with it with anti-inflammatory medicines, bedrest, and avoiding activities that aggravate it.  But I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, so when the neurosurgeon recommended surgery after a recent MRI, I agreed.  When I heard that same recommendation many years ago, I didn’t give it a second thought because there was no way I was going to have surgery!  It took me awhile to get my gumption up and move past my fears, just like a turtle.

I still have a ways to go until I discover a “new normal” for me, one that will hopefully be pain-free and allow me to follow my heart in new directions.  Like the sea turtle making her way back to the ocean after laying her eggs in the sand, she knows which way to go and though her steps are slow and small, she WILL get there one day!  

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“The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon Him, to all that call upon Him in truth.”

Psalm 145:18

“I sought the Lord, and He heard me and delivered me from all my fears.”

Psalm 34:4

“Be Thou O Rock of Ages, nigh!

So shall each murmuring thought be gone;

And grief and fear and care shall fly,

As clouds before the mid-day sun.”       C. Wesley

“Take courage and turn your troubles, which are without remedy, into material or spiritual progress.  Often turn to our Lord, who is watching you, poor frail little being as you are, amid your labours and distractions.  He sends you help, and blesses your affliction.  This thought should enable you to bear your troubles patiently and gently, for love of Him who only allows you to be tried for your own good.  Raise your heart continually to God, seek His aid, and let the foundation stone of your consolation be your happiness in being His.  All vexations and annoyances will be comparatively unimportant while you know that you have such a Friend, such a Stay, such a Refuge.  May God be ever in your heart.

Francis De Sales

…from my favorite devotional, Daily Strength for Daily Needs by Mary W. Tileston

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