It is January and winter has come to the mountains and crept into our little town.  The parking lots of the whitewater rafting companies are mostly empty and the French Broad is free to rush along unencumbered by rafts, canoes, kayaks and people.

As the months have changed from July to January, I’ve noticed I live in my house in a different way.  The back deck, my favorite place in the summer, is rarely visited now as the couch in front of the blazing fire calls to me.

I like the ever changing cycle of seasons.  It reminds me to appreciate the present because it, too, will pass and another season will come.  They each have their beauty and their purpose.

Winter gives us a reason to go inside, inside our houses and inside ourselves.  It’s a time to eat soup and read books.  A time perhaps to think more, do less.  To ponder things in our hearts instead of searching for answers on Google.

Laughing Heart Lodge is hosting a contemplative retreat March 8-10.  We will offer a quiet space, both inside the Lodge and inside ourselves, for pondering, for thinking, for sharing with others if we wish.  March is also on the cusp of spring, a time to let a Season go and look forward to the coming one. 

Consider joining us.  We would love to have you.

Karen Moore ~ January 15, 2013

The end of October, and the first snow has come and gone.  Some of the maples still have a scattering of their brilliant leaves, and the first snow has come and gone.  My winter coats and scarves and gloves are still in plastic bins stored in the garage, and the first snow has come and gone.

This seems to be the story of my life.  I was just settling into young adulthood when motherhood came careening around the corner.  I was loving active motherhood when I looked up and they were driving off to college.  I was adjusting to the first half of life quite well I thought, when I realized people do not often live to be 125 and I had crossed the swinging bridge into the second half of life.

What have I learned about being on a journey, through the seasons of the year or the seasons of a life?

I recently heard a story that created a visual in my mind.  A Bedouin is crossing the desert on his camel.  His is a large camel and he is dressed in full Bedouin regalia.  Behind him, on a smaller camel, is his wife.  Following behind her in single file are three yet smaller camels carrying three young children.  The Bedouin is turned in his saddle, directing his attention to the three young ones at the end of the line, saying “Stop asking me when we are going to get there.  We’re nomads for God’s sake!”

I must remind myself that this is a journey I am on.  I am a pilgrim on a pilgrimage.  I am a nomad on my way across the desert.  I must remember that a pilgrimage is not a 10K race and a camel is not a Corvette.  And if I ever think I have reached the destination, it just means I have fallen off the camel.

So I try to hold the seasons lightly, both the seasons of the year and the seasons of my life.  Remembering always that this too shall pass, both the good times and the hard times, both the summers and the winters.

The end of October, and the first snow has come and gone.

Karen Moore ~ November 1, 2012

We had a terrific turn-out for our Opening Celebration on Saturday, August 25, with lots of community folks and friends and family.  Thank you, Hot Springs and surrounding communities, for supporting this wonderful project.  Fun times with Eliza Lynn at Laughing Heart Lodge's Opening CelebrationEveryone commented on how beautiful the lodge is, and how pleased they are to see this historic property renovated.  We heard many stories from folks who went to school here, lived here, or stayed here in years past.   Do you have a story regarding this beautiful property?  We would love to share it on our website.

Tigger – August 27, 2012


Karen Nagle and daughters Dana and Jenna welcomed the workers and their families

On Wednesday, August 22, Pete and Karen Nagle of Laughing Heart Lodge honored all who worked on the renovation project. The group of workers and their families enjoyed a fabulous chicken dinner and homemade peach cobbler and coconut cake, after the Nagles’ heart-warming and heart-felt thanks were offered. Jenna Nagle, the inspiration for the entire project, was touched when her mom and dad honored her as well. She is, as her father Pete lovingly declared, an encouragement to all of us, with her ever-present smile, a cheery greeting for everyone, her fun personality, and her positive attitude.

Tigger, August 24, 2012

Check out our Facebook photo gallery!  You will also find these photos throughout our website.  Check back soon for updates!

~August 14, 2012

I sit in the chaos of construction.  I sit remembering the Jesuit House of Prayer, which is no longer, and I sit in anticipation as a child waits for summer, the coming of Laughing Heart Lodge.  The coming of the Lodge has been a long time coming for me.

I first found Hot Springs, N.C. and the Jesuit House of Prayer over 20 years ago when my friend and pastor, Charlie Summers, suggested it to me as a place to come for retreat and rest.  I found it to be that and even more.

In the intervening 20 years much has happened in my life and in the life of this beautiful sacred space at the foot of Deer Park Mountain overlooking the town.  The Jesuit House sat empty for 5 years waiting, I believe, for the stars to align, for all thoughts and desires of the necessary people and entities to converge.  Doesn’t it seem so very right that the alignment and convergence would happen at the end of the season of Advent, the season of waiting?

And now here we are, pregnant with possibility, waiting for the birth of this child which we have named Laughing Heart Lodge.

We will soon be opening our doors to welcome all guests, pilgrims, and nomads on a journey.  Please come whenever you can for retreat, rest, and renewal of body, mind, and spirit.

Check back here often.  I will be updating frequently, From The Heart.

Karen Moore ~ July 12, 2012

Laughing Heart Lodge

A Place for Lodging, Retreats and Healing