I’ve been devouring Rilla of Ingleside this past week, and my head feels heavy with the weight of the war in which the boys of Ingleside enlisted.

I keep the worn copy on my nightstand so that I can read a chapter before going to sleep, but lately, the pain and restlessness of the Glen St. Mary women has kept me in an anxious and depressed state.

But as Rilla matured from her vain, gigglesome girlhood, I found myself maturing (in mind, at least) along with her. Watching her brothers go to war and raising a war-baby certainly forced her to grow up fast.

Have you ever noticed that you hardly ever notice when you’re in the middle of growing up?

There are rare times when you realize it and smile secretly to yourself over the triumph of personal growth, but it really does not come into our notice often.

I only noticed how far we’d (me and Rilla) had matured when the other characters in the book started noticing the responsible way that Rilla attacked her Red Cross work, the expert movement of her hands as she looked after Jims, the seriousness of her beautiful, empty eyes.

I began to appreciate the families of soldiers and the hardships that came with war. In my lifetime thus far, I have been fortunate enough to avoid the shock and horror of the sort of wars that the Ingleside family had to endure.

But with that endurance came some of the greatest insights into the human soul – the love of a pale but brave mother, the drawing together of a family reduced in size by the war, the last conversations between boys in khaki and their loved ones.

Take a look at the Anne of Green Gables blog, especially Building the Devastation of War, or leave a comment below about your thoughts and deeply felt sorrows while reading Rilla of Ingleside.

Who doesn’t love a high-speed car chase?

In the most recent Mission Impossible movie, motorcycles are the vehicles of choice – flattening into the curves and zipping down the straights.

Who leads the pack of growling machines?

The beautiful and elusive Ilsa Faust. Unlike the demure beauties of a past age of womankind, Ilsa can “ride,” as Ethan Hunt points out later.

Furthermore, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation features clever story developments. Among my favorites are the scene at the opera and the scene with the British prime minister.

Telling you more than that would give the plot away! Be sure to look for those scenes as you attend your local theater or munch on popcorn in your media room.

While some people tire of the Tom Cruise movie series, I can’t help but celebrate the production of movies that are consistently surprising, romantic and get you using your brain to figure out how he will get out of each situation.

I will admit, however, that throwing in the word, “impossible,” in the movie’s lines is taking it a bit far. Let’s try a few synonyms, shall we?

Still, the mix of true movie making is right there at your fingertips – comedic lines from Brandt, heart-wrenching moments with Benji, a romance between Hunt and his leading lady, the anticipate high-speed chase, the seconds of doubt in impossible fixes, the culmination of clever planning.

What are your thoughts as the franchise progresses? Favorite scenes or twists from the new movie? Tell us in the comments below.

Our furry friends appreciate the “little things” that we do for them. Watching their small joys elicits an uncomfortable pang in our chests – the reminder of humility.

Just the other day, I went outside to feed the animals in the evening. The dogs’ water was looking low and sprinkled with bits of hay, so I decided to go dump the old water, rinse the bucket and refill it with fresh water.

Lugging the heavy bucket out of the barn and tossing the water out, I set my face (unknowingly) into a frown and thought about the heat in the air and the bugs nipping at my skin. Why do some people enjoy the outdoors so much?

My blue heeler nudged up against my leg, brown eyes large and wise. Irritated, I just pushed him away and grumbled to myself.

But when I set the bucket full of fresh water on the ground, he sneaked forward and sipped out of the bucket. I turned back from unlatching the gate to look at him.

With that little sip, the dip of his head into the bucket, the wet velvet on his muzzle, my heart melted. That dog appreciated what I’d done for him.

Just a little thing – filling a bucket with clean, sloshing water. Yet he wanted to enjoy it as soon as he could. He wanted to appreciate it with a tender sort of sincerity.

How do your furry friends humble you? Tell me about them in the comments below.

I feel as if I have lived an entire lifetime with Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne Shirley – excuse me, Mrs. Anne Blythe.

We grew up from the ragged little orphan girl with a full and open heart to the young woman studying her nights away at Patty’s Place to the fresh-faced mistress of the House of Dreams.

Now she listens to the little fears and delights of her own “small fry” at Ingleside.

To think that the little girl with only an old suitcase and a head of dreams came to live in such a huge house with all those adoring children with little dreamy heads of their own!

I almost feel as old as Anne in Rainbow Valley. But, of course, no one can change that fast. Somehow books have a way of aging us up (or down).

Have you read Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights?

While reading that book, I felt that I aged at least a few generations along with the characters, but the satisfying feeling of accumulated wisdom was certainly worth it.

Where else would we have the chance to experience generations of lives in that detail and intensity?

What books have you read that aged you either up or down (or caught you right in the comfortable middle)? Tell me about them in the comments below.