Hi, everyone! Sorry, i know it’s late, but to be very frank with you, it’s taken me most of the day to get this right. I want to warn you now: in this installment, Nate revisits memories of his last moments with Jack, and it IS emotional. So please prepare yourself before you read, because I was crying while I was writing. 

And also, please remember that tonight was opening night of the new modern retelling of Little Women. I got a group together, and we went to go see it. It…was…LOVELY! So find it in a theater near you, and go see it! Now ill leave you to your reading of this week’s installment of A New Arrival.

 

Nate felt the pain screaming from his shoulder before anything else. He reached for it before he could even open his eyes. What happened? Nate groaned and slowly shook his head, trying to sweep the cobwebs free. As his mind cleared and his eyes began to slit open, he heard something behind him: men’s voices. Men’s voices clamoring! “Dig! Dig! Get him out! Keep trying!” they all yelled at once! Nate’s memory returned in waves, his eyes popped open with sudden alertness. Jack! The landslide! He’d pushed Nate out of the way! Nate turned his head to see his fellow Mounties crawling over the rocks and boulders like an army of ants, trying to remove them from a particular spot. That must be where Jack was! Nate stood, steadied himself, then hurried to be part of the effort. He elbowed and shoved his way to the spot itself, just in time to see Jack’s head and shoulders be uncovered. He touched two fingers to Jack’s neck just as Jack moaned in pain. “He’s alive!” Nate shouted.

They lifted and pushed, scratched and dug for the better part of an hour before Jack was finally pulled free. Nate grabbed his feet while Cooper took his wrists, and they hoisted him away from the rubble. They laid him in one of the few clear spots to be found. Nate knelt beside Jack while Anderson appeared with a blanket to cover him. “Are there any doctors here?” Nate demanded. Silence. “Anybody?!” The Mounties just looked at each other sorrowfully. Not in this company. Everyone had the same amount of First Aid training Nate had…not enough knowledge for a situation as dire as this. And the others had looked to him as a leader, given his age…and the fact that Jack had appointed him his unofficial second in command.

Nate turned his attention back to Jack, and desperately tried to think. Jack had plenty of cuts and abrasions, but none looked too serious. Then Nate felt Jack’s cold, sweaty skin, and saw massive amounts of bruising on the exposed flesh. When he felt for broken bones, and Jack cried out in pain at every touch, he knew. These symptoms could only mean one thing- bleeding on the inside.

Nate stopped devising a plan of action, and started trying to accept that he was kneeling beside a dying man. He took Jack’s hand, and as gently as possible, tried to rouse him. The other recruits felt the change. They huddled in groups a short distance away, giving Nate a little privacy, but still there offering support. Jack’s eyes fluttered open, and he dazedly looked around him. His gaze settled on Nate, but he seemed confused. Finally, there was some semblance of recognition, and Nate didn’t wait another moment to speak. “You saved my life, Jack!” Nate said as tears pooled in his eyes.

“Had to.” Jack spoke with labored, wheezing breaths. “You’re my friend, Nate.” Suddenly, a sense of urgency overtook Jack. He tried to move, but his eyes widened, and he groaned loudly with the pain. “Quick…my pocket…take it.” Nate searched three of them before he discovered a piece of paper in Jack’s left breast pocket, next to his heart. Jack exerted all his remaining energy to reach his other hand up to Nate. Nate took it. “Find my wife…find…Elizabeth…give that…to her…please…” Jack pleaded.

“Calm down, Jack. Save your strength. Of course I’ll find her. I promise.”

Jack started choking on air. “Tell her I-I love her…so much. Tell her…t-tell her…”

“What, Jack? Tell her what?”

“Tell…her…‘Eternity’…”

Nate startled himself back to the present. Elizabeth had just asked him something. “Pardon me?”

Elizabeth’s eyes were wistful as she answered. “The baby…how did he know?” She met his gaze again. “I’m expecting.”

Only then did Nate notice the little bump barely showing beneath her coat. He sucked in his breath as his thoughts were flooded with images of his sister, another pregnant widow who lost her husband in the line of duty. He took Elizabeth’s hand, still holding the paper in both of his as he would have his sweet sister’s. “I want you to know, I’ll help you in any way I can.”

Elizabeth nodded her thanks with an emotional smile, and pulled her hand back to continue looking at the treasure she’d just been given. It wasn’t a letter, but a drawing. Nate could study it in his mind’s eye as Elizabeth looked, as Jack had shown it to him so many times. It was a depiction of Elizabeth holding a baby wrapped in a crocheted blanket. Jack was just above her and to the side, his left hand on her shoulder, his wedding ring visible; and they were both smiling down at their little bundle of joy. At the top read simply “My Eternity”. Then he remembered to answer her.

“I don’t think he did know ma’am, at least not the way he talked. But he was always talking about his dreams of the future with you, and that included lots of children. I guess this is what he wanted when he…when he came home.”

“This means more to me than I can say. He must have trusted you a great deal to leave this in your hands.” Elizabeth folded the paper, and lovingly placed it inside the cover of one of her books. Then she locked eyes with Nate, and asked in a very somber tone. “May I ask you one more favor?”

“Name it.”

 

 

See you Monday! Oh, and don’t forget to tune in tomorrow evening to watch All of My Heart: The Wedding. Enjoy! This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

        

Who got the pun? I have a sneaking suspicion that the title of this movie was a play on words with the 1997 song Truly Madly Deeply. Did you think that? Clever really, since it’s probably been about a decade since I’ve even thought about that song. The plot is also very reminiscent of the Hallmark film All of My Heart: baker with a dream meets a businessman with a plan, and the two of them inherit shared property that they have to figured out what to do with. We also have our WCTH connection in the form of Milo Shandel who plays Mr. Jenkins the banker in WCTH, and Stanley Cardillo the lawyer here. He plays that kind of role so perfectly. You can see why he gets cast in them.

It’s funny: in the first 2 minutes, Nikki DeLoach’s character, Natalie, says that when she discovered baking, it was magic. My 4-year-old overheard, and “sweetly” asked, “Is that REAL magic???” Ah, the innocence of youth! And speaking of innocence, what about that question to test the man out? The fool-proof one that the best friend, Sam, (played by Karen Holness, Hattie in SSD: Higher Ground) agrees will get her hired by the FBI. “If you could have 1 superpower, flying or invisibility, what would it be?” So apparently, if a man answers “invisibility” it means he’s sneaky, and not trustworthy. Good to know!

The friends, Sam and Nick, are hilarious, aren’t they? It’s so sweet when the bakery is being inspected, and Nick and Sam seem just as invested as Natalie and Eric. They’re so cute together too! I love when the plot includes the best friends falling for each other too. Everyone and everything is so much happier! Nick becomes so comfortable with Natalie by the end of the movie, that he’s calling her “Nat”. His best line? “I burn water.” Then we have Sam. She’s just awesome! One of my favorite parts that illustrate her personality is right after Natalie spills the coffee all over Eric. You see her shocked reaction, but then you don’t see her face for the rest of the interaction. What you do see is her hand with a napkin and pen ready for Natalie to write her phone number on so she can pay for Eric’s dry cleaning. You also see Sam handing Nat a cupcake literally 1 second after she insists on giving Eric a free one to make up for the ruined suit. She’s totally synced with her best friend, and knows her next move almost before Natalie does. THEN she smirks, and reminds Natalie that she just gave her number to a MAN! Of course, there is the “best friend code” of subtle eye cues and head movements; now THAT is fool-proof!

Now let’s talk about our main attraction: Dylan and Nikki. They had really great chemistry; not too cold, not too syrupy. For instance, when they’re both heading to see Stanley Cardillo, I like how easygoing they both are. Or when she tries to fish for a comment about how uptight Courtney is, he teases her a bit, then completely agrees. They both readily acknowledge when they’re caught in an awkward situation.

And they’re very real. Take Dylan’s character Eric. When his daughter whines about wanting the crusts off her sandwich, what is his answer? A very clever one: “when you’re with me, you get the whole sandwich.” It fails, but good try! And Natalie at the bank, she doesn’t suddenly know all the financial jargon. She reminds me of me if I had to go to the bank alone. The best part about them happens when they have their climactic argument. The third party, Courtney, practically sold the bakery when they both told her to take it off the market, and Natalie thinks Eric went behind her back. The misunderstanding is cleared up right away; Eric doesn’t waste any time in telling her he had no such intention. She realizes she was wrong, but still fired up and shaken up. So instead of being too proud to communicate, and it goes on and on, it just turns into a regular argument because both people got angry. AND they both understand that they both overreacted, and promptly apologize the next day. Above all, they are both very generous with their words to each other, and very willing to give each other some slack. What a healthy Hallmark couple!

Hump Day has come and gone, so I will see you Friday for the next installment of #FanFictionFriday. No, it probably won’t be the last one. This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

         

Hello, Hearties! How was the weekend? Did you tune in to watch the very first Hallmark Fall Harvest movie “Truly, Madly, Sweetly” on Saturday? I missed it on Saturday because my husband and I went to San Antonio. But I watched it today. It has the man who plays Mr. Jenkins the banker in it, so I could review it on Wednesday. What’s your vote? Should I do that one, or is there a different one you’d rather see?

While I’m talking about new movies, let me put in a plug for Little Women. It’s a modern remake of the classic, and it opens this Friday. If you see that it’s showing at a theater near you, you MUST go see it! A childhood friend of mine whom I’ve known all my life is a producer, and his wife is the director. My sister-in-law also has a small part as a doctor in the film too. Just look for the beautiful Asian woman. It promises to be the exact kind of clean media we all crave!  Oh, and if you’re a fan of Back to the Future, you might want to see if you can spot…oh, I don’t know… Lea Thompson? 😉 

Well, I promised you quite a treat today, didn’t I? And have I got one! Only the 2nd man to ever consent to an interview! And this one isn’t related to me, so he has no family obligation. That must mean he REALLY DID want to be interviewed! This male Heartie is Ryan Kyle, a friend from church. I’m good friends with his wife. He’s a really great guy; he must be to be a fan of this show! An awesome bit of trivia about Ryan: I told him and his wife that “the guy who plays Hickam tweeted ‘happy birthday’ to me. His wife couldn’t quite place him, but Ryan instantly said, “Oh yeah, him!” 😀 So here he is: Mr. Ryan Kyle.

 

1. Where are you from? If you’re living elsewhere, where are you living now?
I currently live near Austin, TX in a city named Pflugerville. I grew up in Phoenix, AZ and all over Colorado. I basically have spent one third of my life in each state.

 

2. Tell us about your family.
Well my family is AWESOME! No really, they are. My amazing and beautiful wife, Liz, spent a large part of her life in the medical world as a nurse. Most recently as an ER (Emergency Room) nurse. However, when we added 3 little munchkins to our family she chose to be a stay-at-home mom. She is an awesome mother to a 3.5 year old boy named Rhett and twin girls that just turned 2, Brook and Daisy. And we can’t forget our little wiener dog named Leo who is 12. We love having fun and making people laugh and smile! (They certainly do that!)

 

3. What do you do for a living? What are your hobbies? What are you studying/did you study in school?
I am currently an account manager at Dell, a part time realtor, and a part time financial/life coach. If you are wondering how I do all of that, and help my wife with three kids under 4, the answer would be: I don’t know…. Did I mention that my wife is amazing 🙂

Needless to say, I have made entrepreneurship into a hobby. However, I do love fixing just about anything, and I love competing. I love playing card games, board games, volleyball, and just about any other sport.

As far as school….well I didn’t like school much. I didn’t do college. I am more of a hands on kid of guy; so I started working at 15 years old, and never stopped.

 

4. How did you find/discover WCTH?
We don’t watch much TV, so when we do, we want to make sure it is good and worth watching. My wife actually found the show, which I think was a recommendation from Kami. (Will suggested he give it a try too, if you can believe that!) I then sat down one night to check it out, and instantly fell in love with the show. It’s just too hard to find good clean entertainment with good story lines, romance, strong classy men, (of course he likes that!), and funny plots.

 

5. What is your favorite episode? Season?
Oh geez…This is just wrong to ask such a thing. Really, to pick one over the others? How could I? Ok…Ok… The first season is certainly one of my favorites because you meet so many characters there first, but the second season is where Lee Coulter is introduced, and the hilarious banter between him and Rosemary begins.

It is impossible to pick a favorite episode. I will say that I really enjoyed the Christmas special….I mean it was Christmas and who doesn’t love that? Plus, I watched it with really cool people, so it was that much more fun! (Aww…shucks! Thanks!)

 

6. Who is your favorite character? Star of the show?
Lee Coulter and Abigail Stanton. I like Lee because he is so patient and caring. He never seems to be out to get anyone, and is always finding creative ways to make Rosemary happy. He is a classy guy, and that is rare to find these days. Abigail is similar. She is a strong woman who stands up for herself and others. She cares deeply about the people in the town, and serves the town selflessly.

 

7. Why are you a Heartie? Why do you love the show?
This show stands out among a sea of entertainment that seems focused on showing hate, violence, and other destructive tendencies instead of emphasizing the good in people like When Calls the Heart does. I like feeling good after a show. I like feeling like being a better man. I like feeling romantic. I like feeling alive…and When Calls the Heart makes me feel alive. It makes me laugh, cry, feel romance and love, and strengthens my pursuit of good character traits.

 

8. Anything else you enjoy, or anything you’d like to add?
I am fortunate to be chosen to be interviewed. There are so many great people out there watching the show! For you ladies out there: your husbands may pretend they don’t like the show, but deep down…they do. Just make it easy for them to sit down and pretend not to watch it with you. It’s only a matter of time before they become full fledged Hearties…(Can I quote you on that in Will’s case? That’s the way it is with my father-in-law, but hasn’t work on the hubby yet.)

 

*The photo of Liz and me is right after we got engaged in 2013. The other is our 3 little kiddo’s having a little snack 🙂

                     

 

Thanks, Ryan! You’ve given hope to us all! It’s so refreshing to hear about a man who loves good and wholesome entertainment. You’re the best! Well, everyone else, hope you had a great start to your week. This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom…that hope Ryan gave us!

             

Okay, everybody! Why bother? Let’s just skip the niceties, and go straight to the story. Enjoy!

 

 

Elizabeth’s left hand cupped her mouth as she gasped, and tears sprang to her eyes. Nate saw a glint of sunlight reflecting off her wedding band, and squeezed his eyes shut with self-loathing. For a moment, he wished he HAD died in that accident. He would have given anything to have traded places that day so Jack could be here in Hope Valley, with Elizabeth where he belonged. But sadly, things didn’t turn out that way.

When Nate looked at Elizabeth again, he was sorry he had. She was crying quietly behind her hand, tears streaming down her cheeks. He wondered if she might slap him. He certainly wouldn’t have blamed her; in fact, it would have made him feel better. But what did happen was something he never expected. Elizabeth regained her composure: took a few deep breaths, wiped her tears, then gently placed her hand on his forearm. Nate stared in shock, but Elizabeth offered a small, empathizing smile. “This must have been very difficult for you, Constable Grant.”

Nate stammered, completely taken aback. “Y-yes ma’am, it certainly was!” he finally admitted, then felt like one of those rocks had been lifted from his shoulders. “I didn’t know what you’d think of me, what you’d say. I know you probably resent me, Mrs. Thornton, but believe me when I say that I would have switched places with Ja- Constable Thornton in a heartbeat!”

“I’m sure you would have, Constable Grant,” said Elizabeth, taking her hand back, and readjusting her books in her arms. “And let me assure you, that while I never imagined coming face to face with one of you, I promise I don’t hate you. My husband was a very duty-bound and protective man. If it hadn’t been you, it would have been someone else.”

“That’s true enough, ma’am.” Then Nate genuinely smiled for the first time since he got to town. “He loved you so much, Mrs. Thornton. He was always talking about you, and he showed me a picture of you. That’s how I knew who you were. Elizabeth bashfully smiled at the ground, and tucked a stray hair behind her ear. “And there’s more…” Nate’s face turned serious again as he held a folded and ashy-looking paper out to her. “He asked me to give this to you before he died.”

Elizabeth looked almost nervous as she unfolded the page, and rubbed her fingers together to rid them of the dust. One glance, and her eyes widened in shock. “How did he know?!”

 

 

Part 5 coming your way next Friday for #FanFictionFriday! Ill be back on Monday with a special treat for you. This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

             

I think today’s blog would be best started with a tweet from Lori Loughlin:

It’s Wednesday. You got this! #WednesdayWisdom.

Yeah, that about sums it up. Very wise indeed, Lori. So how IS everyone’s Wednesday going? Other than my oldest staying home from school with a cold, we’re going along pretty normally here. Wow! I didn’t even do that on purpose. I just think it’s funny I would choose those kinds of words because they describe the whole sentiment of the movie we’re reviewing today. We’re doing a real classic! It’s the one that first introduced me to the names Janette Oke and Michael Landon Jr. And I was reminded of how good it was when it was recently featured in a movie event on Hallmark’s Movies and Mysteries on Saturday. Can you guess? It’s the first in a long, beautiful saga: Love Comes Softly.

The best thing about this film is it shows how low-key, everyday life can become something so lovely, and even romantic. Two people can fall in love while going about daily work. “Sometimes love isn’t fireworks. Sometimes love just comes softly.”

If you don’t know the story, a woman named Marty travels West (quite reluctantly,) with her husband, Aaron. The very morning after they reach their land, Aaron goes after a runaway horse, and is killed in a fall. You can imagine Marty’s shock and horror when just hours before, she had promised to remind Aaron that they could “get through anything”, as long as they were together. Everything happens in a flash. The funeral is the following morning, then a man named Clark Davis tentatively approaches with a startling proposal. He admits it’s crazy, and far from the right time or place; but he says both their situations will be solved if they marry. Marty will have a roof over her head when winter comes, and Clark’s daughter, Missie, will have “a woman’s hand” in her life. The preacher is leaving the area that day, and not returning until spring; so it’s now or never. A new friend reminds her that now is not the time to be “crying over wants. Your life’s about needs now.” So a distressing Marty agrees to marry a complete stranger.

Clark reminds me a lot of Jack. It stands to reason, since they were created by the same author, but seriously! Clark is older and simpler, but he is a good and noble man; a quiet hero. He’s gentle and careful with Marty, and even in the beginning of their arrangement, he bends over backwards to make her comfortable. She can’t seem to reciprocate at first, and she often lashes out with anger or impatience in her grief. But he knows what it’s like to lose a spouse, and he patiently lets her heal. Oh, and he also does some very simple things…delivering her baby (Aaron’s child) when no one else can get to her!

I think one of the best illustrations of this happens one night right as Clark walks in the door. Missie, who is not as understanding of Marty’s presence in her home, makes the poor woman run circles around the cabin. Marty’s trying to cook dinner, Missie tells her the fire is dying, Marty asks her to stoke it, and Missie says she’s not allowed to, (which is a lie). Marty goes to the fire, then Missie announces something’s burning. Marty rushes back to the stove to try to save the food, then burns HERSELF. Dinner is ruined. And all this after she had been sprayed by a skunk that morning! Clark comes inside just in time to hear Marty’s “Ouch!” What does he do? Frontier men came home from a hard day’s labor, and expected there to be supper waiting. And a meal could hardly be thrown together in 15 minutes the way it can now. Ever the saint, he immediately sits her down to spread butter on the wound, (a common remedy back then for taking the sting out,) and wrap her hand. He could have said, “Okay, all better. Now you can cook.” But he gets right back up, and says, “I’ll go see what we have for supper in the icebox.”

After being taken such good care of physically, emotionally, and spiritually too, you can imagine that Marty falls in love with Clark. How could she not? He had promised to pay her passage in a wagon train back East come spring, and she actually leaves with it, much to both Clark’s AND Missie’s dismay. But when Clark is on his knees begging his Father in Heaven to help him understand His plan, he finds the note Marty had written him asking him to ask her to stay. It had accidentally fallen under his bed. He races into the cabin, tells Missie to stay put, and takes off on horseback to bring her back. He does, and they live happily ever after…for this movie, at least.

Good night Hearties. And remember, you got this! This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!