High and Pure Ideals - A Lesson from Anne of Green Gables

This fall I've been revisiting some of the books that I enjoyed most when I was growing up; when you're older you are able to pick new things out of books that you may have already read. One of the series I re-started was the "Anne of Green Gables" series, by L. M. Montgomery. I really love these books for many reasons, one of which is that the author is somehow able to sneak good points into the story, and it's interesting because it's done in such a natural way. I especially liked one of these points this time around, and I thought I'd share an excerpt. This is from the second book Anne of Avonlea:

"Gilbert was as yet little more than a boy; but a boy has his dreams as have others, and in Gilbert's future there was always a girl with big, limpid gray eyes, and a face as fine and delicate as a flower. He had made up his mind, also, that his future must be worthy of its goddess. Even in quiet Avonlea there were temptations to be met and faced. White Sands youth were a rather "fast" set, and Gilbert was popular wherever he went. But he meant to keep himself worthy of Anne's friendship and perhaps some distant day her love; and he watched over every word and thought and deed as jealously as if her clear eyes were to pass in judgement on it. She held over him the unconcious influence that every girl, whose ideals are high and pure, weilds over her friends; an influence that would endure as long as she was faithful to those ideals and which she would as certainly lose if she were ever false to them. In Gilbert's eyes Anne's greatest charm was the fact that she never stooped to the petty practices of so many of the Avonlea girls - the small jealousies, the little deceits and rivalries, the palpable bids for favor. Anne held herself apart from all this, not conciously or of design, but simply because anything of the sort was utterly foreign to her transparent, impulsive nature, crystal clear in it's motives and aspirations."

I thought this was a beautiful description of something that I have witnessed myself: that when a persons holds high standards in their behaviour and speech, the people around them tend to live up to that person's standards, whether they realize it or not. My parents have always had high expectations of the behaviour of my siblings and me, and I have noticed many times, with my family members and myself, that people do tend to watch their own behaviour around us because of our high standards. I especially love the following line: "She held over him the unconcious influence that every girl, whose ideals are high and pure, wields over her friends; an influence that would endure as long as she was faithful to those ideals, and which she would as certainly lose if she was ever false to them." It's amazing that someone can so easily influence other people for the better, simply by holding pure ideals, but it's very true. But it's important not only to have high ideals yourself, but to practice them. As soon as you violate your own standards there is no reason for others to try to live up to them, because you yourself do not.

This section of the book encouraged me to watch myself for any lapses in practicing my ideals, and I hope it encourages you too. You could be influencing those around you, and it's important to represent Christ in your actions and keep the best ideals possible; it could matter more than you know.

End note: I got the above image from www.ddsbinfo.wordpress.com.

Ralphie and Quincy

A couple weeks ago my mom, who works at our local sheriff's office, told Derek and me that the animal control department just picked up a new dog. Apparently she was always kept outside and ran away several times, and the owner's didn't seem to want her; they hadn't returned any of the calls about the dog. Well, alas, before we knew it my mom said that she was taking the dog, and she was ours if we wanted her. Well, how could we say no? So, yes, we have another dog now. She is a Cairn terrior, and probably one of the happiest dogs I've ever met. You just look at her and she starts wagging her tail and smiles at you. We named her Quincy, and she and Ralphie are becoming great friends; they play all day long. I couldn't resist posting something on her and Ralphie, so here it is! Ralphie is alot better at pictures than Quincy. Quincy always turns her head right before I push the button, but Ralphie just sits there and looks at me like a pro! He should be in commercials!
Dogs are great aren't they? They always love you, and love being around you, even if you yell at them sometimes. They seem to know if you are down and they just cuddle up to you and melt some of that sadness away. And they're great stress-relievers; they're always so excited and happy to see you! It's a blessing to have pets, and dogs seem especially to be a blessing, at least for me! Guess I'm a little biased though; I'm definitely a dog person!

The Season of Autumn

There's something about the changing of the seasons. It occurs so gradually, you hardly notice it's happening, but one day you can just feel in the air that the world has put one season behind and is tentatively stepping into the next. I especially notice this in the fall. In your head you may know that according to the calendar it should be autmun, but it isn't truly autumn until you feel it in the air. There's a certain crispness and spice that is felt more than seen or smelled or anything else. It starts with a certain "wiff" of fall-ness on a day that you would still be expecting summer. Then before you know it this season of change is in full swing.

The leaves change and brilliantly paint the hills in color. The air is brisk, and you start to smell smoke from the chimneys of neighbors' houses. Soups, cidars, teas, and of course, candy corn are served once again, and pumpkins appear in the gorcery stores. Football games prevail on the TV (especially in our house; Broncos games, CU Buffs games, and any other game that may affect the aforesaid teams). My dad starts to scout for hunting seasons, we start target shooting for practice, and the camo and hunter's orange is brought out of the box. The ground is covered with a beautiful mixture of green, red, orange, and yellow, and the fallen leaves bring that wonderful spicy, musty fragrance that is impossible to reproduce and always seems to elicit warm, comfortable, contented feelings from me.

My dad has always said that it is in the fall that he feels the most alive. I must have inherited some of that love of autumn from my dad, because I always feel exactly the same way when fall starts sneaking into the world and bringing with it the feelings that have always characterized the season for me. I think fall is one of the most beautiful exhibitions of the creativity of God, and I can't help but thanking Him for giving us a world with such amazing mountains, rivers, trees, and seasons. I think the reason I love the Autumn best is because there is a certain clarity, spice, and satisfaction that makes it so special. I feel alive, as my dad says, and I feel as if I'm home. I think Heaven must have a little bit of autumn in it; I think that maybe God created the fall to give us just a glimpse of how beautiful Heaven must be. But the fall can only be an imperfect glimpse of Heaven, like a dream is an imperfect, foggy glimpse of the world we know. One day death will blow that fog away, and we'll wake up to a more beautiful reality than we could ever imagine, and then we will really be alive. Because it reminds me of the beauty of Heaven, autumn will always be the most special season to me.

With that thought, excuse me while I go enjoy a cup of Vanilla Maple tea and some candy corn.

"Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him."
1 Corinthians 2:9
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