"Welcome to my blog space. I believe that God has carefully placed gems in our paths to fill our days with joy. The challenge for us is to take the time to notice them. My desire is to share the gems in my life so that, hopefully, you will see the ones He's placed in yours. I hope what you read here will be worth your time and you'll want to return often." - Cathy

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Writer's Advance! Boot Camp 2013

               I spent February 1, 2 and 3, 2013, at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville, NC. I am now an official graduate of Writers Advance! Boot Camp 2013, a military- themed weekend which trains and encourages Christian writers. The conference is an arm of the ministry of Christian Devotions.
            The Cove offers a gorgeous, spiritually charged setting for meeting with God and His people. As you pass through the gate, the atmosphere changes and you feel like you have stepped out of the world and into a replica of heaven.
            The conference started on Friday afternoon with two early-bird classes. “Writing Big in a Little Space (copywriting)” and “Stressed Out? Chillax! Preparing Your Day to Build a Platform to Speak Out (the value of meeting God early in the day)” held our attention until supper.
            The scrumptious supper, prepared by a gourmet chef, and the conversation over the meal was more than satisfying. Each table of eight was hosted by a Cove volunteer, mostly older women with a touch of Southern hospitality and graciousness in meeting the needs of their guests.
            Cindy Sproles’ welcome included a charge to be like Johnny Appleseed, and spread the seeds of our talents wherever God places us. Delightful author and keynote speaker, Yvonne Leyman, shared the ups and downs of her career, illustrating the times she couldn’t see God’s light shining in her life by turning the lights off and turning the light down in a lantern on the podium. God’s light didn’t stay dark long before He showed up bright again and moved her along her path to success.
            The day ended with snacks and an opportunity to meet other attendees, many gathering around the massive fireplace in the great room.
            Saturday started out early and finished late. Each time slot offered two classes, one Infantry level (beginner) and one Officer level (advanced). When the day was over each person had taken seven classes, taught by award winning, published authors. We studied social media, blogging, writing for magazines, time management, platforms, publishing houses, point of view, scripting books for films, agents and publishers, genres, writing devotions, style, editing, and pacing a novel. Whew! Most of us were exhausted by evening’s end.

Vonda Skelton
            Vonda Skelton’s keynote address on Saturday night, filled with transparency, highlighted the blunders she had made along the way to becoming a successful writer and speaker. The audience was rolling with laughter as she allowed us to laugh with her and learn from her mistakes.
            Sunday started with praise and worship, a State of the Ministry update by Eddie Jones, and brunch. While eating, God blessed me with a lovely wintery display as snow fell,bringing cleansing and peace to my heart as I prepared to come down off the mountain both physically and spiritually.
My Roomies
He put me in places to hear stories about His goodness as we visited throughout the weekend. One woman, whose finances wouldn’t support the cost of the conference, had given up on coming. With the registration deadline looming, God dropped some money into her budget from an unexpected source and she was able to come. Another financially strapped young writer was notified that someone had paid her way. A young man brought some devotionals he had written and blessed people by giving them away.
 Over and over, I heard how God had blessed this one or that one, and I saw how they blessed others in return. My heart is filled with joy at the goodness of God.
Going out with joy because God is good-


  1. Cathy, it truly was a great weekend. The highlight for me though was when my "mom" won that contest.

    1. I'm so tickled about Nan winning the contract for her book, "The Perils of a Pastor's Wife." God knows when we need a boost and this one was for Nan. Blessings to you, Jamie!

    2. Priceless memory. Heart felt joy from that happy moment..continues to grow.

  2. Cathy,
    I am so glad you all had a wonderful time. I missed not being there this year but it was just not meant to be. If I had gone I would have missed my oldest daughter's call announcing her engagement and hearing her lovely proposal story! If I had gone I would have missed an incredible opportunity to witness to a friend and I would have missed ministering to a 20-yr.-old single mom struggling with cancer. So glad God had us all where we needed to be this weekend! I do want to hear all about it though. Maybe lunch one day?

    1. Oh, Sally, God had other places He needed you this weekend. Can't wait to hear about your daughter's engagement. We ordered the CD's of the classes so if there are some you'd like to hear, you'll feel like you were there. Blessings on your ministry, dear Lady. Let me know when you can do lunch.

  3. I'm glad you got to go. It sounds like it was a worthwhile weekend.

    1. It was a great weekend. I learned a lot about the craft of writing, met some amazing people, ate unbelievable food, stayed up later than I should have and loved every minute of it. Thanks for stopping by. Sending blessings your way!

  4. I love the Cove, and I can just picture the weekend with your descriptive words. I wish I had been there too! Thanks for sharing Cathy!

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  6. Thanks for sharing your post. I haven't had the privilege of going to a writer's boot camp yet, but after reading your post I look forward to it. It sounds like you received a lot spiritually, mentally, and physically.
    Deborah H. Bateman-Author

    1. I hope you get a chance to go in 2014. The dates have been set. You'll enjoy mingling with other writers, gourmet food, comfortable accomodations and an amazing atmosphere. I hope to see you there!