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!

Welcome to #FlashbackFriday, everybody! How was your week? I wanted to send out a HUGE thank-you to all those who responded to my posts about your obscure favorite moment on WCTH. We got some great answers, and believe it or not, there was only one repeat. Good for all of you die-hard #Hearties for thinking outside the box.

So I thought, for the next several Fridays, I’d explore the moments you gave me. I do LOVE interactive participation here at #HookedHeartie. And all your ideas were fabulous! They deserve to get a proper spotlight. That brings me to Moment #1. This came from none other than my #MeetYouMonday spotlight, Pam Hyer, and we’re ACTUALLY doing a real flashback to an earlier season; not just taking baby steps back to our recently concluded Season 6. Pam wasn’t the first to respond, but her moment really made me think. It’s small, and while it can’t be forgotten, it might get looked over. But it’s moments like these that create the beautiful feeling of family and community in our show.
When I first saw this moment on my screen, it actually annoyed me slightly. But when I watched it again, and went over it in my head, I found it very touching…and effective. Here is a description of the moment in Pam’s words on Twitter:

“…one of the first smaller moments that comes to mind would be when Cody replaces Elizabeth’s vase that he broke playing ball in the house. It was so sweet.”

You’re probably wondering how I could EVER be so heartless as to let this moment annoy me. In the words of “The Princess Bride”: “Let me s’plain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.” My heart positively melted when Jack gave Elizabeth that exquisite vase as a “housewarming gift”. But it was so much more. Jack had been a little on edge about his newly-settled-in love settling in to a new home of her own. Even though they had mutually resolved to take their time in their relationship, I imagine our honorable Mountie hadn’t pictured Elizabeth moving ANYWHERE until it was into THEIR home…and that gave him pause. But thanks to the cool-headed, smart-talking advice of Lee’s about “nesting”, Jack took her renting a home as a good sign, and bought her the vase as a physical and visible gesture that he was at peace with the decision. On top of that, he mentioned getting her flowers the moment she opened it, and called her perfect! Be still my heart!

The next time we see that lovely house decoration, it’s filled with blossoms, (whether by Jack or Elizabeth herself, we do not know,) and it’s comfortably settled on the furniture in the house…right before it’s shattered in a moment of carelessness. I was angrier than any of the three adult characters in the room, because I saw that vase as a symbol of love and acceptance, not just décor.

When Cody comes to replace it, first, he interrupts a kiss. There had been so few of those in Seasons 1 and 2, that seeing them interrupted always left me a bit miffed. Then when Elizabeth says thank you, I felt like she almost downplayed the value of Jack’s vase by saying Cody’s was every bit as nice.

Then I watched it again another time, and a few things really stood out to me. First of all, I LOVE Jack’s reaction. The two incidents were five weeks apart, so the writers could have easily let it glide out of our memories. But the moment that second vase comes into view, everything rushes back. I think it was like that for Jack. When he saw the huge gesture from this little boy, he was pleased and proud, not to mention he was reminded of the bonding experience he and Cody had shared that brought them closer together.

The other thing I realized is, I think in Cody’s mind, having to leave Hope Valley is a rite of passage of sorts. He sees himself as becoming a man, so he better act like it; and since he’s going away, he knows he needs to tie up looses ends. We also see that the vase has been on his mind almost everyday, since he’s been saving his allowance to buy one as nice as Jack’s. Furthermore, Cody takes one more step toward adulthood by making sure Jack will take care of Abigail when Cody is gone.

And that is what I think Elizabeth keyed into. She sees that he’s making every effort to be grown up, to take responsibility for things he’s done, and fix what he can before he goes. Even though he’s pretty calm when he talks to them, I think Cody is very stressed. Elizabeth, wonderful teacher that she is, validates his actions. His anxious mind can rest at ease, knowing everything he’s tried to do will have positive results, even if he’s not around to see it. Now, we know it all turns out alright in the end, but Cody doesn’t at this point. So that’s two less things he needs to be sad about until he receives the good news that he’s staying.

Have a wonderful day, and a fabulous weekend! Enjoy your last few of the summer, right? I’ll be back next week; but whether it’s Monday or Wednesday first, well, that’s a surprise. This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!