for the place where thou standest is holy ground."
Acts 7:33 KJV

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


  Jackson Jeffrey - 5                                          Sophia Dawn - 3                                    Carolyn Kate - 8 months

The arrival of a grandchild is a life-changing event.
Their presence in the world makes life special.

Just got home from the post office sending another package to our grandchildren in Thailand.  Today is a rainy day here in NC and it seems days like this just make me a little more melancholy than usual.  Getting together special things that will make them think of their Nan and Papaw is always a fun thing to do... but then it makes me wish that I could watch their faces as they open the box and hear their squeals and giggles.  

Our grandson Jack will soon turn 5... thus the occasion for the box.  I couldn't help but reminisce about the days they each were born.

        When you were born lots of people got excited:  your daddy and mommy, of course, and other family members and friends.  But the people who got most excited was me and Papaw.  This is because you are "big stuff" in your Nanny and Papaw's life, the child of our child, which makes you doubly precious.  You each gave our life new meaning.  You are the olden days made new, reviving the memories of your mom and Uncle Jun Jun when they were little like you.  You are hugs and laughter and old board games and toys brought out of the closet and dusted off.  To talk to you on the phone makes us smile, and to spend time with you makes our day (even though it has been since February).  Your presence in our life is the consolation for getting old and our reminder of why it's good to be alive.  You make life fun.  There is not a day that we don't talk about how we wish you were here and what we would do if you were.  Even the other evening when a storm came up and we were sitting on the back porch... we talked of how we would love to be snuggling each of you close and watching the rain fall from the sky.  Just know that even though we can't hold you in our arms everyday... that we hold you in our hearts and pray for you.  Our arms may be empty but our hearts are full because of the precious gift that God gave us when each of you were born.

  "Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward."  (Psalm 127:3) 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

"The Set of the Sail"

"But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself..."  (Daniel 1:8)
"Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."  (Proverbs 4:23)

But to every mind there openeth,
A way, and way, and away,
A high soul climbs the highway,
And the low soul gropes the low,
And in between on the misty flats,
The rest drift to and fro.

But to every man there openeth,
A high way and a low,
And every mind decideth,
The way his soul shall go.

One ship sails East,
And another West,
By the self-same winds that blow,
'Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales,
That tells the way we go.

Like the winds of the sea
Are the waves of time, 

As we journey along through life,
  'Tis the set of the soul,
  That determines the goal,
                                                                                               And not the calm or the strife. 
                                                                                                                     by:  Ella Wheeler Wilcox

You don't have to be a seasoned seaman to understand a fundamental law of a successful voyage:  It's the set of the sail, not the force of the gale, that determines the way we go.  

This poem has always been special to me and I feel that contained in it's words is a very strong "life lesson".  The heavy winds of pressure to do what others want us to do (peer pressure) will continue to blow hard through all the years of our life.  But that won't decide what we do.  No, it will be the set of our sail, preset before God, before the choice arises.  It is not the wind that rules, it's the set of our sail --- or the set of our mind, our heart, our will.... that will determine the way we go!

And thus we sat in darkness, Each one busy in his prayer;
"We are lost!" the captain shouted, As he staggered down the stair.
But the little daughter whispered, As she took his icy hand,
"Isn't God upon the ocean, Just the same as on the land?"
~ Eugene Field 

When testing and trials come, we do not have to be a victim to sin.  God has given all of His children the will and the power to resist Satan, and to live lives that are victorious, while sailing upon life's sea.

 "That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro , and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness , whereby they lie in wait to deceive;(Ephesians 4:14)

Friday, September 24, 2010

"I LOVE FALL" Fun Stuff (Roasted Pumpkin Seeds)

O, it sets my heart a-clickin'
like the tickin' of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin
and the fodder's in the shock.
~James Whitcomb Riley 

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
2 c. seeds
1 Tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp. salt
Rinse pumpkin seeds and dry on paper towel.  Toss with oil and place on cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, tossing every 5-7 minutes, until golden.  Remove from oven, salt and enjoy! 
(And for anonymous below.... don't toss all the way out of the pan - just shuffle around in the pan... LOL!) 

While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.  (Genesis 8:22)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:  A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;  A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;  A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;  A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;  A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;  A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;  A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.  (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

Out of the four seasons... Spring and Fall are my very favorite.  Fall in the flat lands of North Carolina is an incredible site - but nothing to compare to my childhood home in the mountains of West Virginia.  Fall colors seem much more intense there!  Multicolored leaves illuminate the trees with splashes of crimson, fiery red, burgundy, rust, ruddy orange, brown, and gold, as if to give their final farewells before retiring for winter, and a sense of solitude is in the air. Each deciduous tree, each bush, strutting its own autumn wardrobe.  When it's quiet and lovely like this, it really makes me reflect.  Fall has its unique events and sights, sounds and smells.  Here is a potpourri of my "fall" reflections:

Sun lower in the sky, shorter days, cooler temperatures, less humidity, warm winds from the south, chilly winds from the north, nippy mornings on the porch with steaming hot flavored coffee, warm afternoons.  Sitting around a fire at night, roasting marshmallows and drinking hot chocolate.  Visiting with friends over a cup of mulled cider.

Roasting Turkey, family gatherings, candied sweet potatoes, hot apple pie.  Momma making applebutter.  Candy corn, gummy orange slices, Halloween candy,  caramel apples on a stick.  

Mulching, pruning, planting bulbs.  The last mowing of the lawn.  Dry cornstalks rustling in the wind and black birds feasting on their bounty.  Leaves falling and the smell of burning leaves.  Mums, scare crows, fodder, pumpkins, and haystacks.  Kids running through and playing in crispy fallen leaves. Combines in the fields.

First day of school, Friday night High School football games, popcorn, and hot dogs.  Country County Fairs, State Fair, funnel cakes topped with powered sugar and chocolate.  Exhibit blue ribbons, livestock, and horse shows.  

Packing up the summer clothes and bringing out warmer ones.  Longer sleeves, sweaters, light jackets, flannel sheets.  

Geese honking their goodbyes as they fly off in the "V" formation.  Flocks of birds... numbering in the hundreds headed south.  Snakes and frogs looking for a hole for slumber.  The groundhog burrowing a little deeper.

I hope such joy and beauty, such stability and changeability, such surprises and routines, thrills your soul as it does mine.  God's blessings to you as you enter this "SEASON" of your life. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"The MAZE of Life"

"Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."  (Psalm 16:11)

As I look out my kitchen window, beyond the screen on the porch, beyond the stately pecan tree, beyond the Nellie Stevens holly bushes, fields stand tall with drying, sun-parched cornstalks.  The sea of fodder stretches over 15 acres.  What fun it would be to devise and design a MAZE through the jungle laden with hanging silk tassels.  

Imagine being plummeted into a field with cornstalks towering 10-12 feet high.  Everywhere you turn, it's a mass of green and golden hues... downright "corn-fusing" it would be! ... (corny pun... LOL)

Life... oft times, appears unto us as a jumbled MAZE.  There are countless opportunities presented and multiple paths we can take - yet, we have only a very vague idea of where we are trying to get to.  We begin with elated anticipation only to find ourselves quickly at a dead-end, a roadblock, or even more challenging are the crossroads where there are several paths to choose from.  Do we have the knowledge and maturity to know which is the right way to go?  Another lingering problem present... we can't see over the stalks to examine the trail ahead - to view the exit - or to admire the final prize.  There are times it is necessary to backtrack to the location where seemingly we lost our way.  Forward motion is a must or we will find ourselves defeated and hopeless... wandering aimlessly.

"Spiritual walk" is a forward motion.  We should not look back over obstacles conquered or valleys crossed - but always looking ahead or looking up.  We gain strength from our Heavenly Father and follow Him to new depths and places on this journey through the MAZE --- many times allowing God to totally change our course.  Repentance in our life may demand a U-turn.  God will be our light in the midst of darkness and when we're disoriented and can't find our way --- His voice will guide us.

Within the movement of the events in life, is the "Designer of the MAZE" - who plans and arranges the directions and seasons of our very being.  Oh, how thankful I am that "behind the MAZE is the MASTER!"

"The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand."  (Psalm 37:23-24)

"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."  (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Just this past week I had the wonderful privilege of having a very dear friend of over 20 years come from the Charlotte area for a visit.  Lunch out - visiting and catching up over blackberry tea for a couple of hours - then the rest of the evening till late - up the next morning hardly ceasing to take a break - continuing the heart-to-heart chatter.  So much to talk about... so little time!

I couldn't help but ponder the thought of the distinct contrast between the "friendships of women" and those of men.  Even as you watch children interacting on a playground you see the dissimilarity between girls and boys.  Little girls will whisper, hold hands, hug, and babble incessantly.  Little boys will play together usually never touching, and talking only about the toys they are playing with, or the instructions on how to build a better road for their matchbox cars, or the best way to make them go faster.

I will never forget when my children were old enough to go on school or church trips, you could plan on putting Jessica in a room with 3 - 5 other girls, sharing 2 beds and that was fine.  Not so for the boys!  Stephen Jr. would be willing to sleep in the bathtub or on the floor, rather than to share a motel bed with another boy.

In traveling to "ladies retreats" over the years, we could always plan 4 ladies to a room and before the sun went down... you may have 8 ladies (or more) in that room, piled on the two beds, sharing personal experiences and stories till the wee hours of the morning.  Again, not so on a "men's retreat"!  Most of the men prefer a private room but may be willing to share a room with one other man --- if you would guarantee him there were 2 beds in the room.

When Steve & I go out for the evening with another couple who are dear friends; if I or the other lady get up to go to the restroom to powder our nose or freshen our lipstick --- we usually will invite the other to come along.  Considering this, I can't help but chuckle at the thought of one of the guys getting up to go to the restroom and asking; "Hey Donnie, I'm gonna go pee... do you want to come along"???? I can hear the reply now:  "UUUUU... I think I'm good - you go ahead" (said with eyebrows raised and a hint of shock in the voice)!

The friendships of women seem to be on a much deeper intimate level.  For me, there is nothing more enjoyable than a day with a special friend.  I have often commented that I think a good girlfriend is as therapeutic as "Prozac!"  There are friends in our lives who I truly feel are "precious gifts, given to us by God."  You often hear the expression "bosom buddy" used... I wonder if whomever coined that phrase felt... you had to have a "bosom" to experience friendship to it's fullest potential?


Tuesday, September 14, 2010


She awoke early this morning after a restless nights sleep.  It wasn't that she hadn't tried, she had even gone to bed early.  She knew she would need every ounce of strength she could gather for the anticipated days activities.  Again and again in her mind during the wee hours of the morning, she had rehearsed the stories she had been told:  how HE had healed the centurion's servant of palsy... how HE had cooled the high fever of Peter's mother-in-law... how HE had even calmed the fierce storm... how the paralyzed man got up from his bed and walked because of HIM.  Oh but her favorite story of all, was that of HIM touching the leper and making him whole.  Others had scoffed at the very contemplation of anyone touching a leper - but not her... she believed with all of her heart.  She drew such comfort at the thought because when others knew of her illness or saw the blood, they didn't want to be near her... much less TOUCH her.  Twelve years she had lived with this tormenting condition.  But today there was a glimmer of hope - the sun seemed to shine a little brighter - today HE was to pass through her village.  She didn't need to have his undivided attention... she just needed HIS touch. 
(Matthew 9:20-22;  Mark 5:25-34;  Luke 8:43-48)

"For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole."  (Matthew 9:21)

When I woke up this morning to begin my normal routine of packing Steve's lunch and seeing him off to work, my heart had this overwhelming desire for a "touch from the Lord" today.  I sat down in the cozy recliner, in the corner of the living room, Bible on my lap, a pen and notepad, and in my spirit uttered those words to the Lord.  Immediately He brought the story of this woman to mind and I turned to read the account once more.  My heart was heavy not only for needs and hurts in my own life, but also for the burdens in the lives of those that I care so deeply for.  I am so thankful when I need HIS TOUCH or I need to TOUCH HIM - I can go to HIS WORD - HE meets me there - and fills my need.

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."  (Psalm 119:105)

Monday, September 13, 2010

"Sometimes I Hear Voices"

"I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.  (Psalm 139:14)

It seems that early in my life I became clutched in the emotional trap of "people pleasing" and always "worrying about what other people think."  Many get caught in this same trap - some escape it quickly unscathed... others of us (ME) seem to have to "chew off our leg"... for release.

Maybe we have experienced some type of abuse, criticism, or rejection from an oblivious, insensitive person at a vulnerable stage in our lives.  This causing us to become our own worst critique.  Why do we buy into such a cheapened version of ourselves, hook, line, and sinker?

I hear voices that say "I am not acceptable" because of how I look or how much I weigh.  I hear voices that say "I am not valuable" because of talents and skills that I lack, or things I have or have not done.  I hear voices that say "I am not lovable"simply because of who I am not.  I hear voices that say "I am not enough" or I'll never measure up.  

Who gives anyone else the power to be our "label gods?"  WE DO!  We are the one who gives into the temptation to sell ourselves short, shut down on the inside, and settle for the crumbs under the table.

God in His word tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.  Why can't we just as easily accept the fact that... JUST AS WE ARE:  we are lovable - valuable - and acceptable to God and that is what matters.  We must let the voice that we hear loudest be, that still small voice (1 Kings 19:12) of our Heavenly Father telling us:
  • "I have loved thee with an everlasting love;" (Jeremiah 31:3)  
  • "... chosen of God and precious." (1 Peter 2:4)  
  • "To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved." (Ephesians 1:6)  
"And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:" (Colossians 2:10)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


God has placed some amazing women in my life.  Although I am only 52... I have several friends who are beyond the age of 70.  A few months back, one of these special friends had to have hip replacement surgery.  She was in a rehab facility nearly an hour away.  This dear lady is 81 (a widowed Pastor's Wife) and just full of spunk and spirit... determination like you would not believe.  Weekly, me and two other friends visited as she progressed.  At home now and continuing her physical therapy... I still try to visit with her as I have for months.  The other day, this was our conversation:

Friend:     Hello
Sylvia:      Hi Mrs. Bobbie - this is Sylvia.  Sorry I haven't gotten to see you this week but I'm free tomorrow and was wondering if you were going to be at home and wanted some company?
Friend:     Yes, I'll be here - I have no plans.
Sylvia:      OK, would morning or afternoon be better? 
Friend:     Well, I was thinking about lunch out.
Sylvia:      That sounds wonderful, if you think that you are up to an outing.  Did you have some particular place in mind?
Friend:     I want to go to that "Texas Saloon" place.  They make a good salad.
Sylvia:      (holding back a burst of laughter)  Do you mean the Texas Steakhouse?
Friend:     I don't know... I just know I thought that it was called the "Texas Saloon."
Sylvia:      Mrs. Bobbie... If you want to go to the "Texas Saloon" I'll for sure take you there!  Be at your house around 11:15 tomorrow.  Love you, Good-bye.

When I hung up the phone, I couldn't hold back the laughter.  This dear lady has a dry wit about her and is such a joy to my heart.  I read the book "When I Am Old - I Shall Wear Purple" and loved it - but I must say:   
When I am old... I will drink prune juice from a stemmed crystal goblet... wear knee highs with my dresses so pantyhose won't pinch my belly... walk barefoot in the rain... wear gaudy jewelry... comfy shoes... elastic waistlines... bold lipstick... expensive perfume even if I'm not going anywhere... dance when there is no music... laugh loudly... sleep in satin nighties - and keep them on until noon if I wish... carry real hankies... be more concerned about people and less about cobwebs and dust... I'll eat chocolate and not feel guilty... forget about calorie counting lists... give tons of hugs and kisses to my friends and family... say I love you often... and eat salad at a "Texas Saloon!"  Some who know me, may say I've already begun... LOL!

I also desire to have:  a zeal and craving for the Word of God like Mrs. Alice (72), to be an intercessory prayer warrior like Sister Mitchell (89), and possess a dry wit and joy of the Lord like Mrs. Bobbie (81).

"The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed."  (Titus 2:3-5) 


Saturday, September 4, 2010

"Friends with Skin"

(Proverbs 17:17a)  "A friend loveth at all times,..."
(Proverbs 18:24b)  "... and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother."

The storm clouds begin to roll in - the night sky blackens - thunder commences to rumble in the distance - flashes of lightning brighten the tiny dark room.  Little Susie had just been prayed with and tucked into the plush pink covers of her white French Provincial canopied bed.  As the storm outside escalates so does Susie's fear.  She calls out to her parents in the night.  They come to comfort and console her.  They assure her that she has no need to be afraid because God is always with her.  After repeating this same scenario another time, Susie's tearful response to her mother is this:  "It is good to know that God is here with me, but this one time ple-e-e-ease, I want and ne-e-e-ed a 'friend with skin' on."

Friends play such an important role in my life, and I consider each of them as personal blessings from God.  I have "fair-weather friends" that are there to make brighter my sunny days.  Oh, but then I am most blessed with a few "storm-chaser buddies" that are there when the clouds roll in - the sky blackens - thunder clashes - lightning flashes - and my ship begins to sink.  I am ever mindful and thankful of the fact that God is always with me as a "constant friend" - however, I am humbly filled with gratitude for my special "friends with skin."

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
by:  Joseph Scriven "What a Friend we have in Jesus" Lyrics

But when I feel my ship is sinking,
And life's turbulent seas are crashing in.
That's the times when I'm most thankful,
For the Blessing of "friends with skin."
by:  Sylvia Wolfe.... Heart Lyrics :-)

"Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth : but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you."  (John 15:15)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The House that Built "Steve"

Sylvia's Reflections from Monday, August 29th

The large moving truck is loaded with all the familiar items.  The rooms are now empty except for a few things that remain for the next occupant of this dwelling.  For more than 50 years my husband Steve has called this "Home."  From the age of one, until he left for college this is where he grew from "boy to man".

Steve and I walk from room to room for a final check.  As we enter the bedroom on the left, at the end of the hall, I see a quick sigh on his face.  This was "his room" - the room he grew up in.  The antiqued green dresser that matched the twin beds he and Edwin slept in remained.  An almost empty room to the naked eye, but viewed with the heart - full of memories:  brother tussles, learning moments, boyhood dreams. 

Up the hall into the living room it's as though you can see three young boys wrestling in the open area and then hear a shrill yelp as the first to receive the prick of the hatpin, untangles himself and bounds from the pile.  Then my mind shifts to a room ornamented with "Think Pink" signs - decorated by a mom of 3 boys, excited at the thought of the possibility of a first grandchild being a prissy little girl.

Those thoughts are then interrupted when out of the corner of my eye I catch a glimpse of the wood-grained table and tan leather chairs still ever present.  I envision it:  Extension in - red tablecloth adorned, place settings of sparkling Fostoria, surrounded by family and laughter.

I place my hand on the wood front door and utter a soft "good-bye."

As we get into our truck (packed full of memorabilia) and begin to drive away... I look back once again and remember:  croquet games on the side lot, apple butter makins with all sitting around waiting on their turn to stir the contents of the big copper kettle over the open fire, Stephen Jr's first fish caught in Kauff's pond.

I smile, touch Steve's shoulder, and ask if he's OK.  I see him glance in the rear-view mirror one more time - smile - and say yes.  Leaving the "House that Built Steve" behind... We begin our journey "HOME."

Dedicated to: The Wolfe Boys - Ed, Steve, & Dorian