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Inspiring Story of the Week: TWINKLE TWINKLE by Wendy Russell-Sheppard 

Inspiring Story of the Week


by Wendy Russell-Sheppard 

Debilitating side effects are the new normal for Wendy after another of her atrial fibrillation events. Her devoted family and friends enfold her through years of emergencies. A neurosurgeon advises her about the three places in her brain that continue to bleed. This crisis resolves, but mind-numbing helplessness persists. She once felt powerful, but now diminished. “Is this the rest of my life?” she wonders. “What now? Is it time to give up?” We just can’t let that happen in an inspiring story such as this.

With a desperate last gasp, Wendy drags herself to a pot luck supper, and meets Judy. As their eyes lock, Judy’s smile slices through Wendy’s fog. “You need to join my line dancing class: no experience necessary. I’ll see you next Wednesday.”

And now for the Inspiring Part of the Story

The idea is so preposterous that Wendy stands there, mouth agape, silent. But the next week she forces herself out of the car and into the dance studio for the first time. She falters, then hears a cheery voice calling out, “Welcome, welcome! I’m Judy. I’m so happy to see you.” Wendy can’t help but notice, Judy walks with a slight limp. Her dazzling, rhinestone-studded buckles emphasize the fact that one shoe is larger than the other.

Judy nudges us along. “Flow with the music. Listen to your body. Take as many breaks as you need,” she reminds them, “Don’t be discouraged. It takes time. I can’t dance the way I used to, but here I am! If my feet were the same size, I wouldn’t stumble so often.”

Her support never waivers. Every person there is limping, but limping valiantly, toward acceptance of a chronic condition, embracing new limitations, filling new gaps with newer joy. Judy takes them all to her happy place. “Focus on the ‘twinkle'”, she says. “Isn’t that a lovely name for a dance step?”

Wendy surrenders to her new normal, and the remarkable happens. Judy’s enthusiasm is contagious. She takes Wendy out of herself and, with new-found wings, her heart soars.

“No matter what, just keep dancing!”

Inspiring story, Twinkle, Twinkle

In this inspiring story, slowly, very slowly, thanks to a dazzling, rhinestone-studded role model, Wendy learns how to pursue new passions, even in the shadow of chronic illness. Judy has shown her the way, one twinkle at a time.


And then the phone rings. It’s Judy on the other line. And this time it’s Wendy’s turn to lead.

This inspiring story is now published in

Tales2Inspire ~ The Opal Collection

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