Hello, all! How’s Friday been for you? Good, I hope! Welcome to the final installment of June’s #FlashbackFriday Fatherly Moments. I’m going to warn you now, today’s a bit of a doozy. That’s what happens when you start off with a bang, right?

Today, we’re going to talk about Jack and his dad. I know, I know, what CAN be going on inside my head? But I couldn’t let June go by without it.  

I love when Jack shares memories about his father. You can tell Daddy was his hero, and he meant a lot too him. There are several times that Jack brings up his revered father, but I chose the episode when he opens up to Cody about losing him. That one really hit home for me. First of all, Cody is beginning to look up to Jack as a father figure, so he’s more apt to listen to him. Then Cody finds out that Jack has perfect empathy for his pain, since he lost his father too. It’s a very touching scene, especially when the pain manifests itself right on Jack’s face, and in his eyes. It’s as if it happened yesterday, and the pain is still fresh. We as audience members really get a feel for how the loss of Jack’s father affected him. As Annie in “The Parent Trap” so eloquently put it: “A dad is an irreplaceable person in a girls life.” Obviously, he’s irreplaceable in a boy’s life too, as seen by Jack’s sorrow, and the fact that he followed in his footsteps to make him proud.

Now, with this being today’s topic, our minds can only naturally turn to the ultimate “what if” scenario; you know the one I mean. “What if Jack had lived to be a father?” We all can imagine it, I’m sure. That million-dollar smile followed by a laugh of pure joy, that is, after the look of shock and shaky voice confirming the news. And no Jack and Elizabeth interaction of this magnitude would be complete without him twirling her in the air, placing his hands on each side of her face, telling her how much he loves her, her returning the sentiment, and then wrapping things up with one of those earth–stopping kisses.

We’ve already caught a glimpse of how gently he held an infant when the character of Carla gave birth to her twins in Season 1. Imagine that magnified about tenfold when it’s his own child! That smile and laugh would return, only on a gentler scale, not to mention a gentle kiss to Elizabeth’s sweaty forehead. And before we received the news of Daniel Lissing’s departure, I used to envision writing a fan fiction story about Elizabeth having trouble in childbirth. We could see those eyebrows knit together with that signature look of worry and concern while he held her hand, then see him go out of his mind with fear as she lay unconscious. And of course, he wouldn’t leave her side, like she wouldn’t leave his in Season 3. (That’s how I got the idea in the first place.)

Since we can’t have that, please enjoy these pictures featuring my own Baby Jack. We can imagine he is Baby Thornton. Have a great weekend! See you Monday for our very first blog post of July!  

Photo credit: Crown Media and Me
Edit: Mary Sexton Schmidt
Photo credit: Crown Media and Me
Edit: Mary Sexton Schmidt

Well, Hearties, it’s the final Wednesday in June. Luckily, there’s one more Saturday, so we will be able to view the premiere of one more #JuneWeddings movie, which also happens to star ANOTHER actor from WCTH. Then I’ll review that movie at another time. For now, let’s concentrate on Wedding March 4, starring Jack Wagner and Josie Bissett. The first thing I noticed about this film is the pace was well set. The dialogue, especially the humor, was quick-paced, but not lightning speed. The best example of this, in my opinion, is the two phone conversations Mick and Olivia have right beside each other: easy transitions, no holes or gaps, and ending in the perfect exclamation of “WHAT?!”

 

The dialogue also offered some of the best marriage counseling I’ve heard in a long time: apologize and talk about it…in that order…bring doughnuts. I tell you, it’s a good thing the writers don’t have to pay commission to doughnuts or red velvet cake, because they’d be paying a fortune! This is the second #JuneWeddings movie where doughnuts have been a focused topic, and the third for red velvet cake! Methinks some scribes are experiencing cravings!

 

To start off with PEOPLE, Jack and Josie are not the only WCTH crossovers; far from it! There ended up being NINE people who work(ed) both projects: 1) Jack Wagner – Bill, Mick 2) Josie Bissett – AJ, Olivia 3) Andrew Walker – Billy Hamilton, Rob Atwell, 4) Christine Chatelain – Laurel Miller, Kelsey Atwell, 5) Blair Penner – Peter (Faith’s fiancé), Eric (Grace’s fiancé), 6) Larissa Albuquerque – Katie Yost, Intern, 7) Paris Abbott – Deborah, Maddy, 8) This young lady’s name isn’t listed, but she plays a student, then an intern, AND 9) Peter DeLuise – Director. A LOT more than I had anticipated!

 

Once again, Kavan and Pascale did a lovely job introducing the show. I really liked how Kavan quipped, “Knowing Jack, there’s music involved.” And there was! I was actually surprised by Jack in this one. He and Josie talked on Home & Family about how much looser Mick is in this installment, but he is REALLY loose! It is obvious from the very beginning. Mick is singing at his favorite spot, the pond, when Olivia comes up behind him. He goes from singing the word “whoa” to exclaiming it in admiration for her. It was so effortless and CUTE! I don’t know if I’ve ever described one of Jack’s characters as “cute” before. And then he has a romantic candlelight dinner set up for them? Only every woman’s dream!

 

He’s still cutting edge though. I have two favorite examples of this. The first is the smug smirk he gets on his face when he asks Olivia if she’s had an important conversation with Grace, and Olivia looks like a kid with her hand in the cookie jar. The other is Mick’s interactions with Duke, the cook. They have such great chemistry! When Mick is passing looks to Duke so he’ll keep secrets from Olivia, it’s so seamless! Then when Mick brags, “I am a wedding coordinator rockstar!”, Duke doesn’t miss a beat before coming back with, “I’ll update your resume!” I really like how naturally the actors play the history and friendship between their characters. While I’m on Duke, I just want to add that I truly learned something new when he explained to the interns that wooden spoons are for stirring, and metal spoons are for serving. That, and it was absolutely adorable seeing him and the interns chopping opinions in swimming goggles!

 

Okay! Let me just say, ROB IS SOOOO CUTE! On Home & Family, Andrew Walker commented that his character was very patient; probably more so than he is in real life. After watching the movie, I’d have to agree! Rob reminds me of how a modern-day Jack would act, something every Heartie LOVES! He knows her well enough to guess the type of wedding dress she bought, he can sense when she’s upset, he asks her on a date right before they get married, and he makes a big deal about not looking at the wedding dress. My favorite part though, is the two of them at the barn; they act like a couple deeply in love who’s about to get married. Shocking, isn’t it?! It’s also a scene early in the movie before the stress and cold feet take over. She totally calls him out for not knowing what the heck a hydrangea is, and he totally admits it. Then listening to him tell their story, including the daisies…who could hold back a smile? And he puts the icing on the cake by rubbing their noses together right before giving her a perfect kiss: not too timid, not too passionate. Sigh!

 

I’ll close with my other favorite part, something that could have been disastrous if it had been handled differently. Do I have you on the edge of your seat yet? The revelation that Mrs. Atwell’s mother had taken over THEIR wedding all those years ago. I was rolling my eyes at Amy trying to make her wedding identical to Rob’s parents’. But then to find out that NOTHING had been their decision? I gasped…hard! And of all the reactions Rob could have had, he picks the best one for a healthy marriage: laughter. It was PERFECT! The way he tries to hold it in, then snorts! But the best was him leaning into her shoulder, laughing hysterically. Amy was able to laugh at herself, and realize she needs to make their wedding their own. Good girl!

 

Good night, everyone! Join me Friday for the final Fatherly Moment.

Hello there! Hope you’re having a good start to your week. We’re wrapping up June, which means we’re almost through with #JuneWeddings. What a month it’s been, huh? Tonight is our final bridal spotlight, and it is a very special person to me. Let’s recap once more, shall we? Our first Monday, we met Lizzy, a fresh newlywed of 8 months. The second week I told all of you my 10-year-old story of wedded romance. Last week, Vicki, a bride of almost 25 years, shared her story.

Tonight, you’ll meet the lovely Merlene Clements. And if that surname rings a bell, yes! She is my wonderful, and very patient mother-in-law. She has graciously allowed me to interview her, and share her story. And here she is!

  1. Where are you from? If you’re living elsewhere, where are you living now?
  • Born on west coast (Washington), grew up on the east coast, (Virginia) ended up in the middle (Texas)

 

  1. Tell us about your family.
  • We have a rather large family. We have 7 children, ranging from 35-20. They’re all very strong-willed, independent, and amazing. My oldest 2 have their masters degrees, others have graduated or are attending college, or successful in careers. We have 5 wonderful grandchildren, and now I know why you have your own children in younger years. 🙂 I love seeing how different and unique each one is.

  1. What are your hobbies? What are you studying/did you study in school?
  • I enjoy photography, painting, gardening, reading, being outdoors, crafts, spending time with my family and friends, and church activities,. I have a lot of hobbies, just not enough time to do all of them. I ended getting my bachelor’s in education from James Madison University, and I teach special education in elementary school.

 

  1. How did you find/discover WCTH?
  • I think I found it by accident by watching the Hallmark Channel one time.

  1. What is your favorite episode? Season?
  • I’m not as avid as my daughter-in-law, but I enjoy how the community helps each other, and rejoices with one another. What really got me into it was seeing the women go into the mine to save their homes. I, of course, loved the episode when Jack and Elizabeth got married, and hated the one when he died.

 

  1. Who is your favorite character? Star of the show?
  • I really like Rosemary too. I didn’t at first, but she grew on me. She’s still annoying sometimes, but she really does have a kind heart.

  1. Why are you a Heartie? Why do you love the show?
  • It’s just uplifting to watch. I don’t have to cringe at any content, even when they’re stressed.

 

  1. Anything else you enjoy, or anything you’d like to add?
  • Kami asked me to talk a little bit about my marriage of almost 37 years. My husband and I met at a church event for young single adults (18-30 years old) just like Will and Kami! It was a 2-3 day event. His jokes captivated me. I immediately felt comfortable with him, like I was with my best friend. I remember I was lying in bed one of the nights, trying to think of a joke I could tell him so he would think I was funny too. Our first date was soon after, on May 8th to the movies. He didn’t waste time after that, as he proposed a month later after a date to an amusement park. He was going to propose a few weeks earlier when we were in McDonald’s, but I squirted a ketchup packet on his crisp white shirt and tie. That sort of killed the mood. 😀
  • We were married 6 months later on December 16th, just 2 days after my mother died. One way I knew Willie was a keeper was the first time he met her, he pushed her all over a battlefield in a wheelchair. It was really hard with my mother gone, but I truly feel she was able to be there in spirit; she wouldn’t have been able to attend had she been alive, she was too ill. She was also there in the weeks leading up to the wedding, and she helped me prepare.
  • Willie and I have learned many things in 37 years. We always depended on each other because we lived far away from family, and that made us stronger. I remember once hearing of some friends of ours breaking up, and I wondered how could that happen to such a perfect couple. My husband’s response was quite profound. He said, “If you don’t work on a relationship, it will be lost.” We’ve put each other first, developed communication and honesty, and learned how to give and take. I think it’s very important to have a common goal, and always include God in your marriage. Pull together in hard times, use humor often, and hold regular family counsel to keep the bonds strong.

Thanks, Mom! Isn’t she great? Easy to see why I wanted to marry a boy raised by her! And I was astonished by how many new things I learned about her, even after all this time.

Well, this concludes our final segment of #MeetYouMonday: Bridal Edition. It’s been a fun month learning different things about marriage from different perspectives. What a lovely way to start our weeks in the month of love! So, I’ll see all of you on Wednesday for our #WonderWednesday #JuneWeddings movie review. Adieu, dear Hearties!   

Bonjour, Coeurs! That’s the closest I could get. No, I’m not doing a French theme or anything, I just wanted to do something different to catch your attention in the greeting. 😉 So now that I have it, it’s FRIDAY! And welcome to yet another Fatherly Moment for #FlashbackFriday. If you read last Friday’s post, then you may or may not have caught a hint as to what duo is being highlighted today. Does anyone remember? Think “knuckle ball”…

DeWitt Graves and Caleb Dunbar! A beautiful example of how a blended family with rough beginnings can have spectacular results. And as an added bonus, DeWitt is introduced in the same episode we meet Billy Hamilton. “Why should we care?” you’re saying. Well, Billy Hamilton is played by actor Andrew Walker, and he plays lots of good guys too. Tomorrow he stars with Jack Wagner (Bill) and Josie Bissett (AJ) in Wedding March 4; that’s nice timing, isn’t it?

So, back to Dewitt. He really is such a good man; anyone can see that the first time he’s onscreen. It’s also pretty obvious that he’s made for Mary when he steps in to help pick up the cans she drops, then pays for her groceries. But there’s still Caleb to deal with. It’s rough being a man coming into a ready-made family, especially when the late father was such a hero. But DeWitt doesn’t give up! He’s smart enough to understand that he’s not just marrying the woman. Like any man trying to get in good with a young boy, he finds common interests with Caleb, then makes himself invaluable by teaching new skills in those domains. Good thing DeWitt’s good at them! He knows his way around baseball, and teaches Caleb the knuckle ball. A sure-fire way to strike out a batter? Every boy’s dream! And even though Caleb refuses, I think he was secretly impressed that Dewitt made his own lures.

Even though DeWitt scores big points, Caleb is quick to get frustrated with him at every turn, not to mention gets downright rude. But how humble was DeWitt to apologize to Caleb for “playing a pretend father” when he hadn’t really done anything wrong; and then he completely opens up about his past with his father taking off so Caleb understands why he wants to be his friend so much. Finally, the ice is broken, and Caleb allows himself to begin a friendship with him.

I love the way things come full circle at their wedding in Season 2? Do you remember what Caleb said right after Mary and DeWitt kissed? “I have a new dad!” All their hearts are mended, and they can be a family; a true happy ending. And with that, we’ve reached the ending of today’s blog. I do apologize it came so late; another crazy day. 🙂 Enjoy Wedding March 4 tomorrow, and I’ll see you Monday!

Sing like no one is listening

Love like you’ll never be hurt

Dance like no one is watching

Live like it’s heaven on Earth

Good words to live by! Good thing it’s so catchy, because it’s the first line in the movie. Well, hello! Welcome to your Hump Day Heartie pick-me-up, and that is a #WonderWednesday review of Niall Matter’s movie Love at First Dance. Turns out he wasn’t the only WCTH actor in the film. Jason Cermak, who played Dr. Burns, plays the assistant Gavin. He takes over as partner in the company,  and it’s very implied that he will take over as the man in Adriana’s life later on.

My favorite part has to be the pond. I grew up watching The Karate Kid quite a bit; a positive side effect of having 5 older brothers. So when Niall’s character, Eric, asked Hope: “Are you Mr. Miyagi-ing me?”, I burst out laughing!  Whoever wrote this scene must have been a big Daniel Larusso fan, 🙂 and VERY clever! I’ve never thought of dancing in water to feel the natural ebb and flow to get a good rhythm. But it sure worked! And Eric let his guard down long enough to not only give Hope a spontaneous dip, but to also quote the famous line: “Wax on! Wax off!” I’m just surprised he didn’t take his jacket off too. The rolled-up pants with a suit coat on was quite the look.

A huge problem with this movie: I didn’t hate Adriana, the fiancée. She is a very reasonable person, and not a witch at all. She’s not hard on Eric, the way Hallmark’s “other women” usually are, she’s just absent.  She and Eric seem to agree on several things, particularly on the wedding size, the music they should have, and that their mothers are both as crazy as any bridezilla. I noticed one of her mannerisms is that she plays with her engagement ring,  A LOT! She really does it when she talks about Eric. I think that was an excellent way for the actress to display the insecurities her character feels about marrying Eric. They sure did take their time! Eric says they started dating in their 20’s, and it’s been on the fast track since. I hardly call 10+ years FAST! You’d think 2 such high-powered professionals could figure out a little more quickly that they don’t belong together, but…I guess then we wouldn’t have a movie. But I’m definitely with Adriana when she said she looks like a cake! 😉

Speaking of actresses, I was so happy to hear so much theater talk in this movie, not to mention how much Eric loves it! A man after my own heart! And watching the ballet couple dance the piece Hope choreographed was so lovely; I was especially fond of the lift behind the dancers’ backs.  

All the dancing was fun to watch. I didn’t have a choreographed first dance at my wedding because my husband would have rather chewed nails than take dance lessons. However, I do love dancing, especially watching people more talented than I am. While watching, I wondered how much dance experience/training the actors have. Obviously, the ballet dancers were professionals, but what about the others? Did the 2 bridal couples Hope trained have previous dance experience, or were they actors who received training for the roles? What about Niall Matter and Becca Tobin? They definitely both looked their parts: capable dance teacher and clumsy student. I just wonder how much practice they went through. Their background music of “Love, Love, Love” was a fantastic choice to illustrate their moves and them coming together.    

I’ll close with some of my favorite quotes, ones that I haven’t already mentioned anyway.

  • “You’re not in a suit of armor” – clever way to tell Eric to loosen up
  • “I don’t do anything halfway” – also good words to live by
  • “I would’ve paid money to see those two dance.” – big compliment coming from a person of means who is also a theater geek
  • “Sometimes we need to be reminded not to think” – VERY true
  • “That must’ve been painful, being misunderstood” – Eric immediately assumes that Hope didn’t cancel her wedding maliciously. Sweet.
  • The whole conversation of “reading the books” of their futures. Just funny!
  • “Would you LIKE some moral support” – subtle way to show concern and interest
  • “My name’s not on the list” – in the beginning and the end. An inside joke that ties everything together
  • Judge a book by its cover, you might miss a good story.

I left that one for last because it’s the most profound. A good reminder for us all to look deeper in all aspects of life. I’m just glad all of you always find it in your hearts to look deeper into my blog posts. So once again, thank you! Now I’m off to go celebrate my 10-year anniversary. See you Friday for another Fatherly Moment.