Thursday, February 27, 2014

Writing Retreat at The Cove

Have you ever returned from a weekend adventure and you were full, but it had nothing to do with the food? That was my experience this past weekend.

I spent three glorious days at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove. I've never left that mountain without leaving a part of me behind. My soul, however, was full to the brim.

There is something special when you drive through the gates just after you get off I-40 in Asheville, North Carolina. Wildlife such as deer and turkey are there to greet you from the edge of the forest. The nearby creeks and grassy areas are perfect places for hungry animals to graze, and be right at home in their natural habitat.

Beautiful hardwoods and evergreens line the forest as you snake your way up the mountain. Simply breathtaking. Signs point to Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Pilgrim's Inn, Shepherd's Inn and the Training Center. Cedar and stone lodges await you at your destination.

What sets this facility apart from any other place I've been though, are the people and their attitude.

I've been there with my church, and this weekend, I was attending a writers' conference. The multiple times I've passed through the gate and made my way up the mountain, it never changes; the people are outstanding…from the shuttle bus drivers to the wait staff to the door greeters to the desk clerks. They are there to serve.

They make you feel as if they've welcomed you into their home for an overnight stay while they offer you all the comforts of home. Smiles and hugs are shared, yet they're not intrusive.

Katy and Mrs. June
I was having coffee with my meal on Saturday evening and the table hostess, June, said, "Can I fill your cup from the main pot? That coffee is hotter than the coffee on the table." She didn't have to do that for me.

She's been working at The Cove for many years. I've seen her every time I've been...always smiling. Our conversations are peppered with our love of family, The Lord, and ministry.

She isn't the only one. All the staff has the attitude of June.

Can you imagine what our world would be like if we all had the servant's heart she and her fellow workers have? How different all our work places would be. What if we thought of others more highly than ourselves?

Oswald Chambers says, "If our devotion is to the cause of humanity, we will be quickly defeated and broken-hearted, since we will often be confronted with a great deal of ingratitude from other people. But if we are motivated by our love for God, no amount of ingratitude will be able to hinder us from serving one another."

And so, while The Cove is a beautiful place to go, it's the people that make it special. The Presence of God is felt and experienced while there. He is there in the midst of His people. He is on their every cup of coffee they fill, every bus they drive, every story they share about bears…He lives on that mountain because He lives in the hearts of the people who work for Him through The Cove.

Where can you plant yourself? What mountain can you invest your life in that will transform the lives of people through the God you serve? Whose cup can you fill today?

Blessings from My Little Corner,

P.S. Oh yeah, I was at a writing conference this past weekend and we learned a few nuggets about writing. That was good too! Made some great contacts and received good feedback on my book.


  1. Is this writing conference only once a year, Cindy? I might like to do it sometime.

  2. Jo Ann, Writers' Advance Boot Camp is held once a year in February. I think you'd enjoy it. The keynote speakers are great and inspiring, the food is delicious and of course, as you read my post, it's at The Cove. Enough said. ;)

  3. Oh how exciting this is! I am so looking forward to your book Cindy! And hopefully, attending this conference next year. It sounds like a beautiful, encouraging, inspiring place to be.

  4. Janee, I think you would love it! The setting is beautiful and it's much smaller than She Speaks. It's a little slower pace with more one on one time with professionals. So glad you are moving closer!!

  5. Cindy, thank you for sharing your sweet experience at The Cove. We look forward to having you back again. Blessings!

  6. You're very welcome. I look forward to returning many more times to one of my favorite places!