Andi Cumbo - Writer, Editor, Online Writing Courses, Classes & Lessons

My Dream for God’s Whisper Farm

| 30 Comments

It’s a small crowd, maybe 50 people, gathered on an October day to hear a singer-songwriter play, hike on the mountain, eat a potluck spread of good food.  Some of those who attend will stay the night, camping on the mountain or crashing on the floor of the barn.  Others will drive in for the evening and then go home.  Everyone is here for the same things – good music, good food, good community, and good work.

Meander, the God’s Whisper Mascot and Model for What I Hope Folks Feel Here

This is my dream for God’s Whisper farm. 

I want this to be a place where people come to rest – writers and musicians for long weekends or week-long/month-long retreats, other folks for afternoons or weekends where they will hear a reading or listen to some great music. I want this to be a place where the arts are appreciated, where nature is respected, where community is found.  Think Levon Helm’s glorious rambles on a smaller, less famous scale.

I also want this to be a place where the community that gathers here works for change in our world. I want this place to serve. So somehow, all of these activities will help financially support non-profits working to alleviate poverty, ease suffering, and give a voice to the voiceless.  I imagine that each concert or reading will be include a talk by someone from a nonprofit and that (ideally) all of the proceeds from these evenings will go toward a specific project of that organization.

I have no idea how I will do this, but I know I can’t do this alone.I need help.  I need folks who will come help clear trails and build an outdoor amphitheater. I need financiers and folks who will help promote. I need musicians and writers who will come to stay and to share.  I need all these things, eventually.

But just now, I need you to dream with me. I need people to stand beside me as I work to make this real. I need cheerleaders and champions.

What I don’t need, at this moment, is naysayers. I don’t need folks who want to point out the cost of this kind of endeavor or the logistical challenges of getting people to such a remote place.  All of that wisdom will come and be needed later.  Right now, I just need dreamers.

I have such big ideas – of yurts and cabins where people can “hermit out” for a few days. Of trails that wind by the spring house and up to the ridgeline. Or goats and alpacas tame enough for children to pet and play with. Of great food kicked in a brick oven and on grills and over fires. Of concerts that leave us breathless and readings that make our souls flip. Of people coming here to gather, to rest, to tie ourselves together a little tighter in a world that so often feels like it’s coming apart. Of hope brought to people whose days seem worse than hopeless.  Such big ideas . . . and I am beyond excited.

So will you dream with me? Will you share what images come to your mind as you hear this idea? Will you tell me that, maybe, someday, you’d come help or come listen or come stay?

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Author: Andi

I am a writer, editor, and writing teacher whose most recent book, The Slaves Have Names, tells the story of the people who were enslaved on the plantation where I was raised. When I'm not working, my husband and I are working to make our small farm - God's Whisper Farm - a retreat here at the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

  • http://rebootingworship.com Jamie Kocur

    One of my big, I have no idea what to do with this dreams is to somehow use my music to help people. Don’t know exactly how to help or in what way my music could, but there it is.

    I’ll be glad to dream along with you.
    Jamie Kocur recently posted…Sloppy worship is better than prideful worshipMy Profile

  • http://www.michellewoodman.com Michelle W.

    Andi, your dream makes my heart happy and my soul start to sing. I can just see the people, the buildings, the *joy*.

    Be strong and very courageous as you work and walk this out with God — His dreams are scary-big, but breathtakingly awesome all at the same time.
    Michelle W. recently posted…A Weekend Writing BreakMy Profile

  • LarryTheDeuce

    I’m not entirely sure what a yurt is, but I will dream this dream with you.

    • http://www.andilit.com Andi

      Well, when you come visit, Larry, the yurt is all yours. . . (it’s a round tent-like structure. :) )
      Andi recently posted…Why I Read Hard ThingsMy Profile

  • http://unknownjim.com Jim

    Dreaming with you! The music sounds sweet and the food fantastic. A place of rest and comfort surrounded by scenic beauty.
    Jim recently posted…Less is More.My Profile

  • http://www.leighkramer.com HopefulLeigh

    What an amazing idea, Andi! If you built a cabin out back, I would surely come out to write for a few days. This idea says grace and peace to me.
    HopefulLeigh recently posted…I’m In DenialMy Profile

    • http://www.andilit.com Andi

      Oh thank you, Leigh. You are always welcome, pre-cabin even . . . and thanks for that. Grace and peace – a soft sigh.
      Andi recently posted…My Mom’s Remedy for FearMy Profile

  • http://www.riverofthoughts.com Christine Niles

    I want to throw my tent in the car and head your way right now! I’m dreaming with you and praying for you, and I can’t wait to pet the alpacas!
    Christine Niles recently posted…HomeMy Profile

  • http://KatieAxelson.com Katie Axelson

    What a neat dream!

    Katie

  • Donna

    Andi,
    I am not a writer or a performing musician but your dream sounds like an ideal place for a lover of writing and music to come and retreat for a week or two. My ideal is a place in the country with books and music and nature. A small cabin for such a retreat would be perfect! Having it available would provide a source of income to help fund your dream……and a gift to those of us who’s soul seeks this environment.

    Your market is also those who want to be surrounded by such a milieu for even longer than a weekend.

    • http://www.andilit.com Andi

      Thank you so much for that, Donna. You are so right. And please come anytime. I don’t have a cabin yet, but the couch is all yours. :)
      Andi recently posted…Productive Writers Say NoMy Profile

  • http://denisedilley.blogspot.com Denise Dilley (@denisedilley)

    Your dream sounds amazing, Andi! I would love to come and stay in one of your yurts, listen to inspirational musicians and artists and writers. :)

  • http://www.universeocean.com Tim

    Hey, if you need anyone to scout out trails or chill like Meander (ok, the dog’s got the market cornered on that one), let me know!

    Sounds like a slice of paradise, Andi. And that is always a dream worth dreaming. :)

    • http://www.andilit.com Andi

      Tim, Meander is kind of short to scout human trails. I’m sure she could use an assistant.

  • http://caroldublin.com/ Carol Dublin

    Sounds lovely, and I’m definitely dreaming and praying with you. Just wish you were closer to Tennessee!
    Carol Dublin recently posted…Keeping up when you’re in front of the fire hoseMy Profile

    • http://www.andilit.com Andi

      Not that far, Carol. A day’s drive . . . come on over. :)

  • Rachel Kain

    This dream is amazing and I would love to help and love to visit someday! What a wonderful idea to create your own retreat. And in those gorgeous mountains, no less.

    • Rachel Kain

      Oh, and I would love to teach yoga and hooping there. :)

  • http://culturalsavage.com Aaron Smith

    Big yes to your dream! I want to go there… and I want to help build it. This is dreaming of a better Christianity, which I’m all about.

    I dream of leading a small group of people on a spiritual/writing retreat there, teaching about theology and true myth and how our words about Jesus need to be laced and frosted with poetry not just academia. Or may becoming up there to get back my song writer groove, and record an album that I could offer for free with any donations going to a group the farm supports. Or maybe I can just camp out for a while and learn to be ok with my self as a writer.

    So ya, dreaming with you for sure. What else can I do for this right now?
    Aaron Smith recently posted…Righteous GivingMy Profile

    • http://www.andilit.com Andi

      Thank you so much, Aaron. I would love for you to come and offer retreats here. . . or come write songs or find respite for yourself. As for how you can help, you can just share my dream and my writing services . . . and if you need a crocheted animal, I’m your girl. Thanks, Aaron.

  • Philip

    Andi, I love it. I have to help you in anyway I can. Sure, you have a dream to do something huge in a small place but don’t forget about Camp Jeep, people came from all 50 states and even over seas to attend… Just sayin, some Jeep trails, hiking trails on your farm and Google… Lovingston is connected millions of times to “Jeep” and “trail” when googled. They still have annual trail rides at Oak Ridge estate. I’m all in for helping you, doesn’t have to include Jeeps, there are other ways… BTW, I want to steal Meander, awesome photo!

    • http://www.andilit.com Andi

      Philip – okay, you can borrow Meander, if you want, but I need my puppy snuggles, you know? And I love the idea of connecting to the Jeep community – maybe not with trails here, but maybe for Jeep-oriented concerts or some such. And yesterday, someone else mentioned the rides at Oak Ridge. . . maybe I’ll have to check it out. Now, if only I knew someone with a jeep . . . ;)