Heart-Healthy Exercise

Since moving to Georgia, one of my favorite things to do is hike on the various trail systems they have running through the foothills of the Appalachian mountains.  Some park trails are steep and wild, others are meek and mild.

When I need some time of personal reflection, I like to wander around a quiet wooded walking trail that’s near my home. I find comfort and solace among the shadows and gentle winds that whisper among the leaves.  heart1

Though I have walked this path at various times of the day, my favorite time to head to this spot is in the early evening, when little-leaguers warm up for practice nearby, and Frisbee-golf players show up for some relaxation after a hard day at work.  There’s something joyous and celebratory about hearing their various cries of “Atta boy!” and “You’ve almost got it!”.

As I turn deeper into the woods, it becomes more quiet.  I hear the whir from a dove’s wings as she works her way into the dense woods behind me. Squeaks near my feet tell me that I’ve disturbed a chipmunk’s peek-a-boo hideout.  A mockingbird settles into a leafy bough above my head, then belts out every bird call he knows.  He’s like an aviary version of an iPod on permanent shuffle.  

I grab my camera out of it’s bag and aim at whatever captures my fancy. I especially like the play of light and shadows filtering between the branches, and the variegated hues of green.


Even though I’m not shooting at anything in particular, I keep my camera at the ready, just in case something special catches my eye.   I remember hearing Luci Swindoll speak about why it was important to always have your camera handy and ready to shoot.  She said you’ll never know when you’re gonna catch those spectacular moments that can happen at a moment’s notice and then just as quickly…disappear.

Then she showed us pictures that she took on her trip to Alaska. We were mesmerized by picture after picture of killer whales leaping out of ice blue glacier waters .  She said she never would have caught these phenomenal scenes if she didn’t have her camera ready at just that right moment. 

That convinced me.  I try to always have my little camera by my side, ready for whatever the day holds. Like whales breaching.  Only I don’t live in Alaska.  And I don’t think there are any whales in the Appalachian woods.

But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be on my toes.  ;)

Still, I don’t think I’ll capture anything spectacular today.

Maybe I should be more intentional about looking for something to take a picture of though, I ponder.  My friend Jennifer Lee at Getting Down With Jesus uses every opportunity to look for “Y”s whether it be in a tree branch or a wind turbine – a way to remember the holy name of Yahweh.

“When the world says no way, we say Yahweh.” ~ Bob Lenz
From the post “"How To Answer Every Why" by Jennifer Lee

Maybe instead of waiting for the amazing to appear, maybe I should just focus on the simple.  Like finding a “Y” and documenting it with my camera.  Too many times I chase after the sensational, and miss the beautiful, simple gifts of grace in front of me.  As I think about that, I think of what  Ann Voskamp says in her book “One Thousand Gifts

  “Simplicity is ultimately a matter of focus.”

Maybe, I should look for Y’s in my own way, I ponder as  I crunch gravel under my feet. It sounds like a good idea. But why does this not make my heart sing?

I find myself embarrassed as I realize that I wanted something different.  Something unique between God and I that reminds me of His love.

You know what I love about our God?  He’s a creative God.  He knows how to sing to my soul.

At first I didn’t see it.

I snapped a few more pictures, but then went back and looked at this one.  Is that…is that…a heart?

Okay, that’s just my imagination.  After all, I took this shot and it was happenstance.

But then I round the bend on the path and look up.


I can’t help it.  I laugh out loud.  Now He’s writing it in the sky…


…and He etched it into a tree…just like lovers do, when they want to proclaim their love for each other to the world.

Saying the same thing over and over again.

I love you. I love you. I love you.

It’s incredible and exquisite.

Guess I captured something spectacular after all.  Especially that cloud.  Here for a moment and then gone.

I guess Justin Beiber isn’t the only one who does this:


Health experts are right.  Walking IS good for the heart.

And in my case…my soul. <3


Jennifer @ GettingDownWithJesus.com said...

Oh my! Gasping with joy and delight here, Holly. You are definitely a woman after God's own heart. Much love to you.

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Feel free to comment, and God bless you! ~ Holly

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