January 31, Week 4 Assignment
1/31/2021 7:00:00 AM by: Cindy Sproles

Week 4 - Assignments!

This week your assignment is all about bringing your characters to life. Making them real. Learning to use emotion. Eddie and I teach frequently that to bring the necessary emotion into a work, a writer has to find their scab and scratch it until it bleeds. I know, seems kinda gross but it's the truth. Andrea Merrell will help you learn to notice some of the qualities and traits necessary to give life to your characters. Slip over to our blog a and take advantage of this new lesson of the week.

News - News - News
Last week we talked about where the in-person conference would happen. That will be inside the Billy Graham Training Center. So now, let's talk about what time to arrive on Friday and what time video streaming will happen.  WE DON'T KNOW!  Baughhahahah. I'm messing with you, though it is important to know that things can change. It is a covid year. Sigh.

You may start to arrive on campus at the Cove around 11 a.m. on Friday. NOW PAY ATTENTION. You cannot check into your room, so don't drag your bags outta the car. Leave them there. You'll go to the first hotel Pilgrims Inn, pull in and park. Go inside the Inn and there you will be welcomed by some of our staff. You'll get your name tag and your conference mask, and a schedule. Your temp will be taken a second time (for our liability insurance). You will sign a liability release and fill out a covid form. Sorry team, this is just part of the covid mess we all must deal with. A reminder, if you are feeling bad, DON'T COME. You'll be sent home immediately if you have a fever. So save yourself the embarrassment and just let me know. We'll fix you up with live streaming. Now you can go upstairs and relax in the chairs at the Inn or you can visit the Chapel (It's really pretty), or you can visit the Training Center. 

Our appointments, mentoring, and bookstore are on the lower level. Down the steps and to your right. EASY PEASY.  The main auditorium is on the main level (Pass the big fireplace and to your right.) Edie's mammoth class begins at 1. You cannot enter the Training Center without your nametag. So go to Pilgrims Inn first. Let's recap:
*Arrive as early as 11 a.m.
*Go directly to Pilgrims Inn for your name tag 
*Visit the chapel or mill around campus 
*The first workshop is at 1 p.m.

Here's the question that throws everyone for a loop and it shouldn't. If I'm staying off-campus where do I go when I arrive? YOU GO TO PILGRIMS INN AND GET YOUR NAME TAG. That isn't hard but trust me, it throws people every year.

Now you're gonna see this big hill up to the Training Center. Don't panic, the Cove runs busses every 5-10 minutes and they'll get you up to the Training Center without a hitch. So park your car and leave it parked. Take the busses. If you are staying off-campus you can get your name tag and drive up to the Training Center and park. Then after things are done, you have your car waiting on you. If you are staying on-campus. Park at Pilgrims Inn and leave it. Take the bus. It's a 2-minute drive.

After the two afternoon sessions, you can make your way back to Pilgrims Inn and see the ladies at the desk to check into your room. You'll have time between the last session before supper to get settled in your room. Supper (that's what we call it in the mountains) is at 5. City slickers like Bob Hostetler, call it dinner. Sheesh - there's one in every crowd. :)

HOUSEKEEPING for conferees will be held after the evening session. So don't skip out when Edie is done with her speech. We'll give you Teri who will tell you about appointments, we'll go over the bookstore, the Bob Box, and any other details you might need to know. This will allow our streaming conferees to exit without having to worry about details that don't apply to them.

REMEMBER, masks are required. So don't forget. You'll have to return to your room and get it.

Our Worship Will Be Different This Year - We have chosen to pull from an idea at another conference. There will be some uplifting songs playing for you when you enter the auditorium. Please enter quietly. Don't talk. Find your seat and spend some reflective time in prayer. We will have a short devotion before things begin. I know it's hard to be quiet, but honestly, this offers you an opportunity to set your heart right and give what is due to the Lord. You're going to hear some lovely touching songs from Rich Mullins and also Andrew Petersen. Though Rich has been gone for 25 years, his songs still reach the world by the millions. His depth of love for God soars in every word. Andrew, follows in Rich's footsteps giving us thought provoking and worshipful songs to praise God with.  Take this few minutes to immerse yourself in the Lord.

MP3s - Yes, we will sell the conference MP3s for $35. These can be download and you'll have them forever. So we encourage you to get these so you can listen on your phone or in your car. Those can be purchased in the conference bookstore.

ABOUT OUR BOOKSTORE - Yes, we will have a bookstore. Not to be confused with the Cove's bookstore (which you should visit). However, the only books you will find in our bookstore are faculty books. This is simple. There's only one of me and I am really no good at researching state tax laws. Therefore, I cannot manage every conferee who has a book, in the world of tax reporting on our 501c3. Having said that, do visit our bookstore because I can only afford to pay peanuts to our faculty. When you buy a book you add some gravy to their biscuit. As you become published, you'll understand what it means to do these table sales.
Our bookstore will have faculty books, pre-registration for 2022, and MP3 sales, as well as verification for email addresses for the videos. Everyone should pass through there to verify that email address.

I think that is enough for this newsletter. Though next one, there will be as much. Remember, you can always check the newsletter page on the website to re-read these updates and prepare for your trip to Asheville. 

FINAL RESERVATION PAYMENTS ARE DUE NOW - If you have not paid your remaining reservation amounts you will see an invoice this week.  We are required to pay the Cove at this point and since I am not floating in $$$ I need you to do your part. Thank you in advance! I repeat. Please take care of this promptly.

Check the website for deadlines on mentoring and critiques. For our online conferees, we are offering the same appointments, critiques, and mentoring. Just know that it may happen via phone or zoom after the conference. So yes, you will have the same opportunity to participate as our in-person folks.

Just a note to remind you that we will have the BOB BOX set up at the conference. Our conference believes fully in giving back to the Lord's work so yearly we sponsor Bob Hostetler's cause with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. This year will also add our sweet Dee Dee Parker, who lost Mr. Jim on Christmas Day to Covid. Funds will help with funeral costs for Mr. Jim. And Edie Melson, who lost her sweet Daughter-In-Law, Katie to a terrible accident. Edie's son faces huge medical bills and he and Katie have a new baby boy. The funds we received are matched by the ministry of Christian Devotions and we'll divide the gifts evenly among these three needs. I pray that your generosity will run strong as God calls His church to care for those in need. For our on-line folks, if you would like to give to our BOB BOX we welcome your gifts. This money is matched and distributed to those above.
DONATE TO THE BOB BOX (you don't have to just be an on-line conferee. Anyone to donate to the Bob Box using this link.
You can donate by clicking here:

For our ONLINE folks, you will receive instructions in the near future for your access to the conference. It will be early February but you will get this information as soon as we have all the details nailed down. IMPORTANT, once you receive the email DON'T LOSE IT. You will only get the info once. We need to be sure you hold on to the information.
ON OUR SCHEDULE - on the site, you will see streaming times for your convenience. We will stream Sunday so you can go to church but we will record the keynote and you will have access to that after the conference.


Nothin's Simple Anymore

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. - Eph. 4:2 NIV

I chalk it up to growing older. I've found after I jumped the 60-mark, a lot of the simplicity of life just grew. . .irritating. Can I hear an amen or are y'all way younger? There was a time when a cold meant a runny nose and a cough. Now it's turned into a runny nose and a cough is a Covid symptom. Instead of just staying in a few days to beat the worst of a cold, now we "quarantine." Instead of being afraid of a 3-day virus, we tremble at the devastation of this nasty virus our nation faces, and will we be the next unsuspecting victim? 

 It seems that as I grow older, instead of things growing simpler, they get harder. Whether it be the changing world or the things we face today. Things back in the day weren't such a big deal, (I was one of those kids who played outside in the dirt, drank from a water hose, and climbed trees, and I didn't die.)

Though things are different these days, I have found great respect for humility and gentleness. I've seen what the lack of love has done to our country in the months past, and I pray endlessly for folks to take to heart, that the greatest of the three, FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE - love wins out.  I remember that things weren't easy for Jesus and they haven't been promised easy for us. Still, our God and Father is relentless to love us. Relentless to pursue us. Relentless to overcome with us.

I've looked at my novel in progress for the last month. I've hit the 1/2 way point and this is where I stop, hire a content editor, and make sure the story pulls together. I've stared at the suggestions from the editor and thought what great insight. The what-ifs slice through my mind as I look at the words of the novel. I could change this and make this happen. Or that and cause this to happen. What to do? Keeping in mind that for every action there is a reaction and if I doooo change this, what else has to change before the final reaction happens? It's not simple. It requires lots of thought, so when my beta readers start barking at me for more to read, it's hard for them to understand, changes are not as simple as you think.

Writing is something we have to just keep plugging along at. So where do humility and gentleness come into play? Bearing with one another in love? It comes to play in my attitude for you see, if my attitude is snippy and mean, frustrated or irritated, then it reflects not only in my writing but in the relationships around me. My written words would begin to grow gruff and hardened. At some point, that attitude would strike my family. Paul knew this to be true in every relationship he had, be it an armed guard, someone who tortured him, or someone who showed him kindness. Be humble and gentle even when others are not so to you. Love others, even when they do not love you. Ultimately, love changes it all. And that, friends, is simple.

In this gift of writing, we are given the most unique opportunity to change things. We can write characters that show kindness and humility. We can pen scenes that may be hard but through love, make a new ending. When you feel yourself growing frustrated, take in a deep breath and release it. Remember the ultimate love that saved you and the difficulty that came with it. Then, make a change.
It can be as simple as love.

I am looking forward to seeing you in a few weeks. 
Cindy Sproles 


PHYLLIS Qualls FREEM From Cleveland, TN At 2/3/2021 10:41:09 AM

Thanks Cindy for all the effort you put into these updates. It is this detail which gets us through the process. I know it isn't easy to do. I, for one, appreciate the detail. I am excited to learn more and so glad you still put your sanity on the line to do this for us. :) See you soon, Phyllis

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