Thursday, October 31, 2019


Ever heard of Sylvester Marsh?
Me either.
I learned about him while visiting the Cog Railway in New Hampshire.
There's a saying about all journeys begin with a single step. Sylvester Marsh did exactly that when he and a friend hiked up Mt Washington. He had no idea just how difficult that climb would be.

It was dark. They were freezing. It hailed, and they got lost. Basically, the two almost died.
Never the less, it was worth the dramatic sunrise.
What a view.
So, Sylvester decided to build a way for future generations to get to the top a little bit easier.

Enter Cog Railway. 
People deemed him crazy. It wasn't easy, but he succeeded in doing something many thought he couldn't do.
Sylvester was given five years to build the railroad.
Workers found ways to have fun ...YIKES!
Umm...NO. Just, NO!
As close as I will ever get!

At one point, the mountaintop was a place for many to stay on holiday. There was a grand hotel, a post office, and a weather observatory.
There was even a newspaper publication called Among The Clouds. I likely would have worked there!

All was fabulous until a fire burnt everything to the ground. SIGH.
Automobiles came on the scene, and then there was that stock market crash. Not many wanted to take a ride to the top anymore.

So many factors happened to get to where The Cog Railroad is today. Basically, Boston and Maine gets out of the railroad business, Henry Teague then ran the railroad as an attraction, a 1930s hurricane ripped the tracks, Henry dies.
New owner. A derailment causes a death. Weather, which by the way, there is about 42 feet of snow a year! On and on the tension builds.

The whole story is fascinating. A tale of conflict and perseverance in the midst of incredible heartbreak.
"I think I can, I think I can..."
Had to take a photo! Yep...there it was flapping in the breeze, winking at me!
If you ever get to New Hampshire, take a ride on the Cog. You won't regret it.

Monday, October 28, 2019


One of the things I had to be so careful about while inside The Kilns was taking photos.

Many items are copyrighted. So, needless to say, all photos I took inside will have to stay private for my memories only. SIGH.

Bummer. I would love to show you his desk, the kitchen, bedroom, Eagle and Child sign, his marriage license...the list is endless. Put this tour on your bucket list. You'll be so glad you did.

As we entered, we were ushered into the living room area where I got my first glimpse of  THE DESK. The one where CS Lewis sat in the early morning hours with his cup of tea and wrote.

A discipline I'm trying to emulate.

I imagined him sitting there obeying the call to write. I bet he would be so surprised by all those who dub him their favorite author.

Did you know CS Lewis served in WWI? It's where he met Paddy Moore. The two became fast friends. Each made a pact with one another that should either one die, the survivor would take care of their family.
Paddy Moore did indeed pass, and CS Lewis spent the rest of his life keeping that promise.
He took care of Paddy's mother, Jane. Not an easy feat. Paddy also had a sister named Maureen. Both came to live with CS Lewis and his brother Warnie at The Kilns. There's so much I could say here about that relationship...perhaps in a future blog!

One of many fun facts I learned while visiting...CS Lewis never learned how to type. He always wrote with a dipped pen! Can you imagine?
Here I am in the garden at the Kilns writing in my journal. "I am sitting here on the bench in the garden unable to take it all in. Oh the conversations that must have gone on here..."

After the tour, I wanted to spend some time at his grave site. CS Lewis is buried in the Holy Trinity Church cemetery. There's something personal about standing at the grave of someone who lived such an incredibly rich life. It begs the question. How am I living mine?

CS Lewis was a humble man. He died the same day JFK was assassinated. I think Lewis would say he liked the fact his death went relatively unnoticed. Someone a bit more famous had died, shadowing the famous author's passing.

I've read not more than 30 people attended his funeral. Peanuts compared to what the numbers likely would be if he would have died in this generation.

I think that's why I love him so much. So humble. He simply did the next thing without even thinking the generations after him would keep him on the best selling list continuously. He had no idea his writings would influence so many people. He just simply obeyed his calling and wrote. He did the work of waking in the wee morning hours, brewed a cup of tea, and wrote.

I can only follow his example and write simply because that is what I feel called to do.
Thank you favorite author, for your humble example to persevere in doing the day to day habit of doing the next thing.

Thursday, October 24, 2019


We made it to the highest peak in the Northeast....Mt. Washington.
WOW. What an experience.
We didn't hike up the mountain. That really would have been an adventure. However, many do.

The Appalachian Trail crosses through these parts. Did you know it takes 2160 to hike the whole trail? It would take you from Georgia to Maine. What a hike! I've pondered the possibility of finishing such a feat.

So if we didn't hike to the top, how'd we get there?
Here's a hint.

Monday, October 21, 2019

All roads lead to Oxford.

Off we go again.  I can't believe I had time to snap a picture of us merging on to a round about. Eeek! I winced on my side of the passenger seat. Just reminding you the struggle was real to hide my fear of getting hit!
Today's destination was really important to me. I had scheduled it months in advance. Being late was not an option. If we didn't make it, there was no plan B. To say the least, I was a bit anxious to get to Oxford.
We arrived 45 minutes early. I was ecstatic.
Heart palpitations ensued as I read the sign. "I'm here. I'm here," I kept saying over and over. I'm not a bit ashamed to say I cried happy tears too.
The speed limit was 10 mph. I made hubby drive about 5. I rolled the window down and breathed the air of this magical place.
"There it is," I gasped. My first glimpse of The Kilns peeking through the leaves of the trees. I was looking at the private home of C S Lewis. 
So thankful hubby was driving. I likely would have crashed!
Hubby parked the car. "What do you want to do? We're way too early."

"What do I want to do?" Silly question. I jumped out of the car and peered over the hedge. Goosebumps, I tell you. Goosebumps. Have you ever yearned to arrive somewhere that was so very important to you? How did it feel when you got there?

I ambled down to the reserve located close to The Kilns.
Turns out this was quite the serendipitous moment for me. One I will never forget. While at the pond, I see an elderly couple with a little girl. 
I say hello to grandparents who are helping their grand-daughter Matilda feed the ducks. 
"Are you having a tour?" The woman asks. 

"Yes, yes I am," I reply.

She turns to me and matter-of-fact states, "I knew him, you know."

I looked at her, stunned. I was speechless. There in front of me stood a woman who actually knew C S Lewis. What do you say? In my case...nothing!

When I stopped staring, I asked her a strange question. "Can I touch you?" She chuckled. "Of course!" She waved me over and hugged me. "I was eight. I don't remember him well."

We went on to have quite the discussion. 

On an ordinary day, I met a woman who actually knew my favorite author. "A rare privilege" I wrote in my journal. I continue to be overwhelmed by that unexpected joy.
I'm going in!



Thursday, October 17, 2019


After enduring long lines at the airport, we buckled our food encrusted seat belts (I wish I was kidding) and settled in.  It was a full flight with a few screaming kids seated near the back of the plane. Lucky for us, we sat closer to the front.

No, we didn't have a seat in First Class. I wish. Once in my life I'm going to fly First Class. This was not that flight. The flight attendant disappeared behind the curtain and pulled it shut. Might as well have shouted, "Stay out." Yep. We were that close.

We sat on the tarmac and waited for a few straggler passengers who decided to take their time getting on the plane. Still trying to figure out how a full plane of people managed to get to the gate in plenty of time and somehow, two, yes two people persuaded the flight crew to wait at least another ten minutes for them to board. I wish I had that much clout.

The door closed, the engines revved, and we were airborne. Soon we were gifted pop and pretzels. I opened my tray table only to gag over a mysterious yellow colored substance smeared in the upper right corner. I stowed it back in place and never touched it again. I couldn't wait to get off the germ infested tube. Don't you wonder if planes are ever deep cleaned? Gives me the willies just thinking about it.

We landed at Logan Airport in Boston. Hubby talked me into only a carry on, so we didn't have to wait for bags. I loved traveling light. Turns out nobody really cares if I wear mascara or not.

I was so happy to be on the road breathing fresh air.
We stopped a bit along the way to take in the color. It was spectacular.
So much fun stopping at no chain restaurants. YUM! Best chai tea I had the entire trip!
The fun is just beginning.

Monday, October 14, 2019


Taking a break from my England holiday Monday posts to show you this.
I took this photo while I was at Althorp and then commissioned my friend Toni to paint it for me.
It's the landscape around the Estate where Princess Diana grew up. Wouldn't you love to have lived there? 
I love this painting. I can't stop looking at it. I think I love the sheep the most. They remind me of me and how I need a shepherd. They lack nothing because sheep know they are taken care of. Their shepherd will come find them if they get lost.

Did you know sheep listen to their shepherd's voice and will only follow that voice?

And did you know sheep will only drink from still waters? They won't drink from water if it is moving too fast. Incredible, isn't it?

The shepherd counts his sheep as they come into the gate and will leave the flock and go out and search for the one lost sheep. That one sheep is valued. Just like you and me.

I love the 23rd Psalm.
I realize it is the go to Psalm for funerals, but I like to think of it as my confidence in knowing that the Lord truly is my shepherd and he will lead me in the way I should go. That gives me great comfort. I hope the same for you.