Well, it’s #FlashbackFriday, a regular one this time. But to quote “Mary Poppins”: “something is brewing, about to begin.” That something is the long-anticipated spin-off series “When Hope Calls”. I know many of you won’t be able to watch it; heck, I almost had to miss it myself because of funds. I do get the chance now, so we’ll see. But since it doesn’t interfere with the broadcasting schedule of “When Calls the Heart”, Mondays from September 2nd through October 28th will be #MondayMusings for “When Hope Calls”.

We’ll talk about that more on Wednesday, but for now, which flashback moment do you think we’re going to talk about? I’ll say this about it, this point in WCTH history got named more than any other when I asked Hearties what their favorite moment was. You’ve probably already guessed from the title, but it is that hysterical, yet infuriating moment WAY back in the very first episode when Jack is proving his detective skills to Elizabeth…by insulting her.

Elizabeth dishes it out too, though. She calls him a second-rate Mountie, lectures him on the need to investigate the church fire and mine explosion, but then defames HIM by insinuating that he hasn’t the capability to “deduce all sorts of facts that everyone else has missed”. So I don’t feel completely sorry for the very stubborn teacher when Jack very pointedly lists the imperfections in her wardrobe; my mouth just dropped open simultaneously with her at his impertinence.

This is only their second scene alone together; the end of the third time they’ve laid eyes on each other. And as so many of you well know, the proprietary in that time was key! So he struts his stuff like the early 20th century “Psych” with his “inquisitive” nature and the part of himself that “gathers information”. I just can’t believe he was so bold as to look at her waist, then declare it!

Then, none of us can help but let out an appalled chuckle when that smug little smile creeps onto Constable Thornton’s when he boasts his victory, “That was just a guess,” because Elizabeth revealed too much information about her sentiments. Frankly, I was shocked she said THAT much!

You can’t blame Jack too much. The post of his dreams was finally assigned to him, one full of adventure, danger, and the fulfilling feeling of bringing criminals to justice in Cape Fullerton. But all that is taken away in one fell swoop because “William Thatcher’s princess [arrived] in a town she had no business coming to.” And on top of that, he thinks he’s lost out on a potential courtship, because how could he even think of being attracted to the woman he’s supposed to babysit? 😉

Their first conversation and this one really set the tone for the fire that sweeps through both these people, as individuals and as a couple. We see a foreshadowing of events that will eventually cause Jack to say, “We’ll argue about that later.” They give them depth, and put a little salt on things to ensure they’re not TOO sickly sweet.

And with that, I leave you to have a marvelous weekend! I hope you don’t hurt yourselves, because you’ll have to take care of your own stubbed toes, thank you very much. 😀 This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

How’s it going, everybody? Who’s got school starting this week? Who’s trying to shop and/or pack for school? And who’s still trying to recover from something already beginning? Good thing we have our happy place of Hallmark movies to relax on Saturday nights…or another night of the week with the blessed technology of a DVR. 😉 And if said movies have an actor or behind-the-scenes member from “When Calls the Heart” in them, there’s a very strong possibility you can read about it here. And lucky for us, “A Summer Romance”, (and the following post,) is one that #Hearties, AND #POstables can enjoy; even #Sleuthers had an iron in the fire, pun definitely intended. There were S’MORES involved in this plotline, and I had the worst craving for one! Those irons include Erin Krakow, of course, Geoff Gustafson (SSD), Ava Grace Cooper (WCTH), Sarah Strange (GSM), Kevin O’Grady (GSM, WCTH), and Milo Shandel (WCTH)

Photo credit: Stalkram  

But I’m going to start in an…unorthodox place: the music. I’m a theatre girl, and musicals have always been my specialty. Singer comes right after Actress, and right before Writer in my list of favorite hats to don, so I appreciate the power of music, and how it influences the movie mood. For that reason, I listened carefully from the moment wolves and coyotes were mentioned. Did you hear it? There was a single chord of foreboding melody that added the slightest bit of fear and suspense. Then when Sam tells JR that Simba the mountain lion “probably” will leave him alone, the notes sound like tiptoeing, insinuating the act of said fierce animal creeping up on his now suspecting prey.

I’m not a connoisseur of today’s popular music, especially not country songs; so I can’t tell you the titles of all the songs used or the artists who sang them. But I can tell you it was catchy! My boys were dancing and bouncing to it every time they heard even a hint. I can also tell you is that the lyrics played illustrated the journey taken by both characters very well, especially when Ryan Paevey pulled back the dressing room curtain to reveal himself in an extremely attractive “cowboy outfit”. But the best example is at the very end. It’s got the feeling of things being wrapped up, and the relief that feelings are out in the open. And the two lines that stand out the most, the ones that I think express how JR is feeling are: 1) “I wanna sweep you off your feet tonight,” AND………………… 2) “I’m head over boots for you!”

 

Two minor funny points that I want to stick in here just for a laugh:
• At the very end when JR is, in Buck’s words, “going after a girl,” he tells Sam that he “just needs 5 minutes.” Did anyone else find it funny, and maybe the slightest bit ironic that that was about how long the “angry drama” lasted? Not to mention that when he said it, there was basically 5 minutes of movie left. 😉
• A kiss interrupted by a mountain lion. Well, that’s definitely a new one! But I don’t know which is worse: the fact that a mountain lion interrupted the kiss; or that when he did, instead of saying, “We should get out of here as quickly as possible!” Sam said, “We should turn in.” What??? Where was the big poster that read, “Welcome, Simba! Please help yourself and eat us!” Maybe them holding hands created a protective force field that kept Simba at bay. 🙂

 

POstables, was Geoff a hoot, or what?! It was very different seeing him in a 3-piece suit, acting stuffy as all get out! I busted up laughing at his panic when Richard told Todd about all his new activities, then him placing an emergency call to the president of the board. And he just has such great comedic timing, that his interactions with Buck and Sam were so funny, but seemed so natural. I had forgotten he was a member of the cast, so it came as a fun and pleasant surprise. It’s always fun when I see actors from both my favorite shows in the same film. It’s very gratifying.

And speaking of that favorite show, how many nods to When Calls the Heart and other projects of Erin’s did we see? Easter egg hunt anyone? 😛 I started counting. And when I went on Twitter, (I hadn’t been able to watch and tweet LIVE,) I saw that several others had done the same thing. ♡

• The fresh start. This isn’t an exact reference to WCTH, but I find it very relatable. That’s exactly what Elizabeth has wanted and MADE for herself several times: Leaving home initially, leaving home after Season 2, New Year’s resolutions, getting her job back, getting married to Jack, picking herself up after Jack’s death to bear and raise her son…all kinds of ways!
• This is more of an anti-nod, but I had to mention it! The fact that Sam is such an amazing cook, and Elizabeth couldn’t evening boil water in the beginning.
• Milo Shandel played Hal Perkins, the banker. In WCTH, he plays Mr. Jenkins…the banker. 😀 He and Ryan Paevey are REALLY GOOD at portraying businessmen!
• The groceries will be fine in the back of the truck. Once again, this is more of a poke or an elbow nudge, but a similar situation happened in “Chance at Romance”. (Her name was Samantha there too!) Only in this case, it was her luggage left in the back, and it WAS stolen.
• The stranded camping. Yes, there have been many camping instances in WCTH, even 2 cases of stranded camping overnight…but they don’t include Elizabeth. No, I’m referring to the incident in “Chance at Romance” when gas is actually siphoned from a vehicle by a 12-year-old matchmaker. 🙂 Nothing that dastardly happened here, but we did get to see 2 people bond on a very spontaneous night away. 

  • This one is stretching it, but Erin’s tone was so similar. When JR is trying to get on the horse and Sam says, “It’s the other side,” who thought, “It’s the other knee”? 😉
    • The ever-coveted wood-chopping scene. Erin joked a while back on Twitter that it’s in her contract to have a similar scene in all her movies. But if it happens in the Royal Mysteries coming up in 2020, I’m going to believe her!
    • This one is just a funny joke Janette Stephens made on Twitter, but I loved it! When JR won her the bull/cow (which When Calls the Heart blog pointed out was similar to Lucas and Elizabeth at the carnival,) Janette commented, “PLEASE TELL ME YOU NAMED IT LIZZIE!” 😀
    • One of my favorites: when Sam got chocolate on her lip from the s’more and JR wiped it away with his thumb, that was TOTALLY the Jack smudge smear! Right?

Photo credit: It’s a Wonderful Movie 

• Final one, my other favorite: at the dance. When everyone has been asked to dance except Sam, JR stands right next to her, and holds out his hand. She’s doing the coy “I’m a wallflower” face until he does. Remind you of anything? Season 3, the Kindness Week dance, when Jack “saves” her from being “stood up” by Cody.

It’s always fun to watch movies like this, and see what we can find while enjoying the talent. So enjoy! And as luck would have it, we have two reviews on this movie, so head over to When Calls the Heart Blog, and see what she had to say. I will see you Friday for another of the #FlashbackFriday moments you suggested, and stay tuned for some BIG surprises coming in the next few weeks! This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

Whoa, what a whirlwind of a week it’s been, Hearties! But I did manage to get my daughters off to school for their first day yesterday! Phew! Now all I have to do is live through every morning of their grumpiness at getting up early, and CONTINUE to get them to school for the next several months. Piece of cake!

My little boy was feeling left out, saying he wanted to go to school too. Luckily we have this fabulous CD called “Sounds Like Learning” by Barbara Milne that teaches early skills like the alphabet, counting, and simple adding…all through songs! When Kyrah took to it, I decided to make visual aids, and I’ve managed to hold onto them. So today, Liam got HIS first school lesson. And Jack joined in. 😀

On that note, (Insert laughter at my corny joke,) I give you the Back to School edition of #FlashbackFriday to finish celebrating our Back to School Week. I asked my friend, Amy, (who was a teacher for several years,) what her favorite classroom or teaching moment was in WCTH. She only thought about it for a second before the bright flash of an idea lit up her eyes, and she said, “My favorite would have to be when Elizabeth worked with the dyslexic student. When she made the letters from dough, she really showed her repertoire of skills.”

We decided to watch the episode together. I wanted her teacher’s insight. The first thing she mentioned was one of the first things I noticed: “In my classroom I get to determine what’s fair, and isn’t fair.” A good teacher knows that different students have different needs. One of those students is the sweet, humble, and dyslexic Bo Grady. The one that the old teacher dismissed and called “too slow to learn”, but the innovative Miss Thatcher calls him, “Brilliant, simply brilliant!”

Between Elizabeth’s determination, her compassion, and her higher education, she pulled of what everyone else in town considered impossible, even Bo’s own father. Carl Grady is an amazing (and non-violent) example of how crippling fear of the unknown can be. Amy also pointed out that while he was afraid of Bo failing in the cruel world, what if Bo succeeded? Then Carl would have a son who was smarter than he. For a proud provider like Carl, what worth would he feel he was after that if Bo went on to become “a doctor, a scientist, or a teacher” like he and Elizabeth talked about? But he can’t express that, so he just lashes out, and gets angry at the mention of a “simple test”.

Even though Elizabeth manages to mix schoolwork with pleasure 😉 along the way, the journey is long and tedious, and very frustrating! Bo has to deal with failed reading techniques, James humiliating him in front of the class, watching Emily, (who is SO MUCH younger,) declare material he is struggling with as “too easy”. Even James looks sorry at that point.

Finally a breakthrough! Elizabeth figures out that Bo needs three dimensional models to help his brain function in reading, and she tirelessly works on making letters out of dough to help Bo feel like a champion…just in time to watch Bo walk into the mines with his father. How frustrating would that have been, just after an inspiration as huge as that?! But that Thatcher woman is full of fire and tenacity; she’s not giving up. Bo won’t take them, so she leaves them on the porch. The letters are glossed over kind of quickly, but they are true craftsmanship! Elizabeth took great care to create them…and in reality, whatever crewmember made them is a true artist!

Bo takes a cue from his persistent teacher, and tries…only to win! I’m taking a writing class to improve my story composition, and one thing my teacher pointed out to us very deliberately is, “Show, don’t tell.” Instead of a telling Carl Bo can read, she simply says, “Bo, will you please read for us?” And Bo drops the mic. 😀 He reads to his father and mother, and his father is so proud, he has no fear in asking his son what letters or words are.

Jack is right. “I guess it proves if you want something bad enough, you find a way to get it.” I hope you go after something with that kind of will, that kind of courage. And so I leave you with hopes of a fabulous weekend, and fulfilled dreams. This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

Hello, friends! Happy Monday! And Happy Back to School Week! I know some of you may already gone back, and others of you don’t start for weeks, but my kids start this Thursday (YES!) So, welcome to #MeetYouMonday, Back to School edition.

 

I apologize that there was no post on Friday; that’s when our tax-free weekend began. And with an almost-third-grade daughter who’s outgrown all her clothes, and a daughter who’s becoming a brand new kindergartener, (then buying my boys new shoes), you can imagine that it took all day…because it did.

 

So, back to the topic at hand. Because of this amazing group of people, I’ve gotten to know some pretty amazing people. One of those people is Miss Rebecca Brister. So she has kindly agreed to humor me, and spill her life story for today’s #MeetYouMonday. And since it’s Back to School Week, she added a few school memories to boot. Enjoy meeting this lovely lady. 

1. Where are you from? If you’re living elsewhere, where are you living now?
  -I was born in Mississippi, but my dad was transferred to Wyoming for his job. So we moved here when I was 8 years old, and have been here ever since.

 

2. Tell us about your family.
  -It’s been just my mom, dad, brother, and I for many years. Most of my family still remains in the south, and though we visit, we aren’t able to see them as much as I would like. I was one of only 2 children. My brother Adam is 4 years older than I. We’re a very close family, and love to do things together.

Rebecca and her family 

3. What do you do for a living? What are your hobbies? What are you studying/did you study in school?
   -Unfortunately, I am unemployed right now. I worked at a retail jewelry store for almost 8 years, but earlier this year, the company went out of business. So I am currently looking for new employment. As far as hobbies go, I love to read (predominantly Christian fiction or old classics), listen to music (southern gospel, instrumental, some opera), and watch Hallmark movies…or other movies that are clean and family-friendly. I also love the outdoors. Living in Wyoming, we have access to some of the most beautiful scenery, and I love to see it. I love to go boating, camping, and just riding. I didn’t attend college, but I loved any kind of English or literature or history class in school.

 

4. How did you find/discover WCTH?
   -I had watched all the Love Comes Softly series, and absolutely loved them; so I became a fan of Michael Landon Jr.’s work. I had watched his dad in Bonanza, and Little House on the Prairie, of course, but hadn’t known much about Michael Jr. I continued to keep up with his work, and watched the pilot movie when it was released. I loved the pilot so much that I was hesitant when I realized that the series was going to be quite a bit different than the movie. But after seeing 2 episodes I was hooked. (See what she did there. 😉 )

5. What is your favorite episode? Season?
   -The wedding episode in season 5 is fantastic, of course; and being a Lucas fan, I loved several in season 6. But my ultimate favorite episode is from season 3: “Prayers from the Heart” where Jack is on the verge of death, and the town rallies and has prayer for him. Then he awakens the next day, I believe. I love any portrayal of prayer, and its power on the show. This was a wonderful example of it.
   -I must say that the first season, as a whole, was my favorite. I enjoyed the attention to detail of that time period, and I always enjoy getting to know characters as they’re introduced, and figuring them out.

6. Who is your favorite character? Star of the show?
   -Ohhh, this is hard! Without being too cliché, I have to say Elizabeth. Her interactions with the children are heartwarming, and she’s a wonderful teacher. I admire that. She’s confident and strong, but still feminine and sensitive. I also like Lee and his common sense approach to life. He’s very grounded. And as of season 6, Lucas is right up there. 😊 Sorry that was 3 characters.

7. Why are you a Heartie? Why do you love the show?
   -I love the show because of the strong faith element, personally. The foundation of the show was built on the Lord, the Bible, and prayer; and I find that so admirable in this day. There are almost always lessons to be learned from the episodes. They’re not simply empty plotlines with no moral. They teach the viewer something. But the stories and characters are compelling, they keep you intrigued, and wanting more. They’re well-written and balanced, and you feel as if you personally know these people. I love the time period also. It was a more simple time in many ways, and I think I simply fit in that era better than now. 😊

8. Favorite school memory?
   -I don’t have one single one, but really a conglomerate of memories. Haha! My friends and I were obsessed with musical theatre, drama, and choir. I was never brave enough to actually participate in those activities, other than choir, but I was a loyal viewer! I have many wonderful memories of going to see musicals and plays at our local high school and community college…sometimes all 3 nights that it ran.

Rebecca and her friend Brittney 

9. Favorite subject? Hardest subject?
   -I loved English or literature classes, and I also enjoyed history. I especially loved Civil War history and the Revolutionary War period. I however, was not a math whiz. I was okay up until sophomore year in high school and then I realized just how much I disliked math. I really struggled after that. Haha!

 

Isn’t she great? Rebecca thought her answers were too lengthy, but I thought they were perfect! So have a great rest of your day. I’ll see you on Friday for our Back to School edition of #FlashbackFriday. My girls will be IN school, so I’ll be able to actually do it. 🙂 This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom! 

Happy Wednesday, Hearties. How are you holding up with the end of summer looming closer and closer? 😉 My kids start school in eight days, so we’re trying to get everything ready, especially since Lydia is going to be a brand new kindergartener! So I’m trying to get lots done, and relax with Hallmark’s Summer Nights movies when I can.

And that brings me to today. Did you see “Love and Sunshine”? My husband and I went out with our girls Saturday night, so I didn’t get to watch and tweet LIVE; but I watched it, and LOVED it! I felt strangely connected to this film, even though it’s not one I would usually feel such a magnetic kinship with. Part of it was probably that my son (Jack) got all excited every time the dog appeared on the screen. That’s why I was so gleeful when I saw Christine Chatelain’s beautiful face on the screen. If you need a reminder, she plays Laurel Miller in WCTH, the only wife to get her husband back after the mine explosion; and she was the only link. But what a great link she was! She portrays Ally’s (Danica McKellar) feisty and comforting sister, Emma. Probably my favorite part about her is her blatant disdain for Ally’s pushy and controlling ex-fiancé, (played brilliantly by Peter Benson. Kudos for playing such a rotten character so well.) That, and she brought BUBBLES to hang out with her sister. What could be better? Well, suggesting a man buy a potted plant for her nursery-owning sister was pretty funny too!

Okay, I’m going to attempt to describe a few of the reasons this movie struck a chord with me. The first is a little thing, but I find it very poignant: the mention of 9/11. September 11th is what I see as this generation’s JFK assassination – we all know exactly where we were when we heard the news. The following year I was even in a play called “Hole in the Sky”, portraying a mother on the phone with her son who was stuck in the North Tower. So needless to say, the date means a lot to me, and I know it prompted several men and women to take action. While I don’t think it will ever be forgotten, I do think it’s overlooked every once in a while. So the fact that Jake decided to join the military as a result of that fateful day meant a lot to me.

Reason #2: the lack of petty drama. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that’s one thing that really can get under my skin in movie plots- a horribly inconsequential comment, a gross misunderstanding, tiny little things that threaten to undo the whole plot of a movie in 2 minutes. There were several opportunities for the characters to turn defensive or spiteful over insignificant things: Jake taking Sunshine back in the first place, Jake sneaking a peek at Ally’s sketches, Ally asking what it was “like over there”, Jake seeing Ally at dinner with Ben, Ally seeing Jake at dinner with Donna, Jake thinking Ally was trying to get back with Ben, and Jake breaking things off when his team gets called back. That’s a lot of opportunity to revert to immaturity, but they never do. There might be pause, but neither character refuses to speak to the other.

Photo credit: heavy.com 

I was going to save this reason for last, but it just flows too smoothly. Two words: Breakup Scene. Ordinarily, I hate these things, and watching them can be torture. But this one is done SO WELL! I’ve never dated a military man, but I’ve heard several real-life stories of said men breaking up with their sweethearts “for their sake”; so that if the worst happens, they’re not “stuck”. But you can see and FEEL how that is the last thing Jake wants to do. He’s trying not to sob! And when Ally tries to stop him, and he says, “You’re not going to make this easy, are you?” Do you remember how he said it? It’s a harsh, emotional whisper, with both his hands on her face, his forehead pressed against hers, and his eyes squeezed tight against the tears. And hers are just free falling. Then Jake does something you hardly EVER see in this kind of breakup scene: he kisses her forehead; and it’s not just a tiny little peck. It’s the kind of kiss that tells the audience Jake believes he won’t see Ally again, and he’s reluctant to break the last romantic touch he’s initiated.

Finally, there’s reason #4. Nobody laugh at me, but “Love and Sunshine” isn’t a #OneKissWonder. YAHOO! I think so many #Hallmarkies are desperate for sequels to these films because the first kiss is in the last 30 seconds, and we want to see the couple’s relationship develop and blossom into something deeper. But this time it’s different. The first kiss is an hour and thirty minutes in, and it was perfect! I was afraid when the fireworks interrupted that kiss, that they wouldn’t go back. Not only did they go back, but TWICE. And the way they both smile during the kiss makes their characters’ happiness and relief shine through. Then we get to witness them become a precious and comfortable couple; complete with teasing, kissing the top of the head, celebrating for no reason, and adorably keeping track of their time together to the DAY. Then when he proposes, and all is right again, they interrupt their kiss with smiles again, proving just how happy they are. His proposal speech is just too endearing, so I decided to quote the whole thing. You’re welcome!

“[Sunshine] has a new job now. I’m entrusting her with the most important thing in the world to me – you. Sunshine, I’m counting on you, girl. You’re gonna take care of Ally for me. If any potential suitors come along, you make sure you chase them away; because when I get back, if she’ll have me, I’m gonna marry her!”

Then she replies with a phrase that only holds meaning for those who have been paying attention. Jake has been helping her with several things as a thank you for taking care of Sunshine., and because he’s just a sweet guy. Every time she tries to insist it’s not necessary, he gives the same answer to explain his reasons. So after he proposes, when he’s nervously rambling that he’s not sure he should ask her to wait, she says, “Ask me to wait? You didn’t ask, I offered.”

Photo credit: hallmarkchannel.com  

My only complaint was that those events didn’t happen earlier in the plot, and time constraints caused the ending to be a little abrupt. I would have liked to see that reunion when Jake returned from his tour. But we can’t have everything we want, right? So I leave you, a bit later than I would have liked, (sorry!) with the image of two people promising to belong together. This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!