Christmas in July Step 2: Explore the Christmas Spirit of Giving.

Welcome, friends, to #FlashbackFriday, #ChristmasInJuly style. Today, we’re going back to two characters I think don’t get enough “face time” here on Hooked Heartie, so I’m going to remedy that today. These two have been through a lot together. Unlike Jack and Elizabeth, several people weren’t exactly eager for these two to become a couple. I, myself, was gunning against them for a while, but I eventually made my peace with them; heck, I even grew to like them. And now, I’m actually excited to know that they’re engaged, and maybe next season we can witness another beautiful event in Hope Valley.

Can you guess? I’m speaking of none other than Jesse and Clara. Once again, we’re not flashing back very far; but it’s to a very poignant event that, in this blogger’s opinion, is passed over as sweet and romantic, not seen as powerful.

I’m referring to the tickets to “The Nutcracker”. I know what you’re thinking: thoughtful, but why so poignant and powerful? When I thought about it, I came to quite the conclusion: this is the first act of Jesse’s that he does completely out of selflessness. Consider it: he told Clara to warn the town of the lurking bank robbers, but that was only out of terror when he realized he was in way over his head. He impulsively took a bullet for Frank, yes, but becomes bitter and resentful when he isn’t given the royal treatment in a struggling town. His behavior WAS impressive when he discovered Dottie Ramsey’s nest egg, and chose not to steal it; but his inner power struggle lasted the entire episode.

But with the tickets, everything is different. Jesse asks Lee for help in purchasing them, (he rarely asked for help previously, just took advantage). Then he gives them to Clara, with absolutely no thought of getting something in return; he only wants to see her happy. And when the poor guy gets the shock of his life that “The Nutcracker” is a BALLET, he’s not exactly thrilled, but it doesn’t weaken his resolve to take her, and all dressed up. In fact, it’s strengthened. Jesse goes to a LOT of trouble to become a human puzzle, piecing a nice suit together to look the part of a gallant suitor, making sure the woman he loves has the Christmas present of a lifetime. He has truly embraced the spirit of giving, and has fully become a good man! Have a great weekend! Be sure to come back Monday, because it’s going to be the best part of Christmas in July! This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

Happy Friday to all of you! How was everyone’s 4th of July? We had a lovely time swimming, eating, and watching a BEAUTIFUL fireworks display. Then this morning, I watched some very inspirational and patriotic episodes of “Signed Sealed Delivered” to finish up the celebration.

So now, it’s time for #FlashbackFriday. It’s funny! I had a totally different idea for the flashback this week, but after all that talk about Carson and Sofia, I got totally inspired! Given the #WonderWednesday we had two days ago, it seemed perfectly appropriate to highlight these two delightful characters.

Now, make no mistake! I am COMPLETELY in favor of #TeamInfirmary. I think Carson and Faith are adorable together! They understand and support each other, they look so sweet as a couple, and the way they look at each other fills me with chills…the good kind. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for them! I do, however, think it very important to shine some light on the lovely lady who, in Carson’s own words, “made me realize I could open my heart again.”

I think a person like Sofia can be a very critical part of a relationship. I know, because I’ve been Sofia before…kind of. In college, I knew several young men who were terrified of women, or of what might happen if they opened their own heart too wide. They would ask me out because we were friends, and I wasn’t afraid of THEM. 😉 Sometimes there was a connection, sometimes there wasn’t; but I always tried to leave them with an increased sense of confidence. They would go on with hope for finding the woman they would love forever, and most of them found them. Yes, many times I was a stepping stone, but better that than a stumbling block. But all those steps helped me build a picture of what I wanted, (and didn’t want,) in my own future spouse. And after lots of prayer, working on myself, hoping, and faith, I found him.

That’s what I think Sofia did for Carson. There are obvious sparks between them at first sight: Carson can’t keep his eyes off Sofia, and he only needs 1 invitation to sit down to dinner with her and the Coulters. Sofia can’t stop smiling, and her voice takes on a softer, dulcet tone. Then after an introduction that I cherish, (they shake hands in the very old-fashioned, gentlemanly and lady-like way,) they can’t stop talking; not even to let Rosemary get her obligatory word in edgewise. And when it’s time to go, they obviously haven’t had enough. When Carson suggests meeting again, Sofia could have left it at, “ I’d like that.” Instead, she adds, “When?” leaving no mistake of her interest.

Photo credit: Super Stars Bio

So now we have our picnic in the rain, or that ends with the rain. What’s funny is the conversation seems inconsequential, but really, it’s very telling. Sofia shares her longing to be a working architect, not just a licensed one. She says something quite profound: “I think until you’re actually doing it, [your calling’s] just a dream,” which is completely true in my book!

Carson isn’t necessarily sharing dreams, but he’s talking more openly and comfortably about his thoughts than he has to anyone else up to that point. He even manages the joke about the scratched cornea, and earns the title “smooth-talking man”. Then he literally wraps it up by wrapping HER up in their picnic blanket.

Photo credit: images.spoilertv.com  

I think it’s very interesting that Sophia WAS seriously considering a move to Hope Valley. Rosemary says it perfectly when she spots “the starry eyes, that little smile”. Hope Valley had, indeed, “worked its magic” on Sophia. She’s smart enough to recognize when something good is dropped in her path, and she’s not going to ignore it. But Carson knows staying wouldn’t “utilize” her talents the way they should be. So he shows us a precursor of what he does with Faith and her father: for the good of others, he takes the initiative.

There’s unmistakable sadness in his eyes when she excitedly hugs him, telegram in hand. But he shows his friends, and us as audience members, that he willingly and unselfishly puts others before himself, their happiness as well as what’s best for them.

I also really like Sofia’s interactions with Faith. She not spiteful or over-possessive, so there’s no jealous or bitter feeling from her, just lots of awkwardness. But Sofia is a very effective launching pad for Faith’s heart. Seeing Carson with another woman, and seeing how smitten he is, forces her to be honest with herself about her own feelings. So even though it’s not addressed until much later, I’m convinced this is where “everything” got its inception.

In conclusion, I’m a fan of Sophia. She brought some light and life into everyone’s lives with whom she connected, and she was able to help others, and herself, come to some realizations about the future. This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom! (And don’t forget that next week, we start Christmas in July, in more ways than one!)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PASCALE! Hope your day is full of joy, love, and lots of flyaway balloons! 😀

And in honor of the character who loves to stir up the gossip, (but is really curbing the impulse lately!), I’m mixing things up! As all you #Hearties know, it’s time for a birthday spotlight week. But as I said, let’s be different; make Pascale’s birthday blog celebration last longer. How do I plan on doing that? Well, I’m going to start with Rosemary’s #FlashbackFriday today, then we’ll have her #MeetYouMonday and #WonderWednesday next week; and her birthday will be immortal…okay it’ll last a couple days longer, but it’ll be fun!

I know #FlashbackFriday implies going way back into the past of our series, but there was an absolutely perfect Rosemary moment to review in Season 6. I couldn’t bring myself to discuss any other. Do you know which one I’m talking about? Only the best piece (or one anyway) of acting Pascale has performed! That is when Rosemary finally confesses to Lee her doubt that she can bear children.

I went back and watched that scene in Elizabeth’s house about 7+ times, studying every detail. Did you notice the background music? It took me a while to realize, but it’s the same theme as the one when Jack and Elizabeth say their very dramatic and tearful goodbye right before the Northern Territories in Season 4. I found that incredibly poignant. Yes, they are completely different situations, but think about how it fits. Being separated for an unidentified amount of time in a dangerous situation is the hardest thing Jack and Elizabeth had gone through up to that point. Being denied a child is the hardest thing Lee and Rosemary have experienced so far; and the music reflects two people who love each other unconditionally, struggling through a trial together. And their determination to get through it.

Back to Pascale, and her incredible performance! The really amazing thing is how far Rosemary has come, that being unable to have a baby affects her so badly. She’s gone from “Children are so sticky”, to sobbing, “What if it doesn’t happen for us?” Pascale plays the weighted and heavy heart to a T. You can feel Rosemary desperately needing to share her burden with her husband, but wanting to spare her beloved Lee that unpleasantness, and not wanting to say it out loud. She can’t even say it when Lee tells her that he knows. Pascale’s building up to that moment when it’s finally out is so heartfelt. The battle Rosemary has inside with that shaky “Uh…” made me inch closer to the TV.

Then she finally pushes the words past her lips, and the tears flow with them. I especially appreciated how Pascale portrayed the guilt Rosemary was carrying, certain she was the problem. Even when Lee tries to comfort her, suggesting he might be the problem, she gives him a very skeptical tilt of the head, as if to say, “Oh come on!” But her features soften ever so gently as Lee delivers his very impassioned speech about her being the only thing he needs right now. What woman wouldn’t melt at that?

She doesn’t melt, but she’s able to remove a boulder from her chest. She exhales another shaky breath, but this time, it’s relief instead of fear. And that final moment between them! I’m usually the best advocate The Kiss could get, but in this case, I’m glad they didn’t. They way Rosemary touches Lee’s face and looks into his eyes like he’s rare and glistening crystal; then drinks in his strength, love, and acceptance by just standing forehead to forehead…adding anything would have, I think, taken away the power of their performance. So, in other words, it was perfect!

Bravo, Pascale! You’ve proven that the character of Rosemary has more depth and levels than any of us would have thought possible when she appeared on the scene in Season 1. We love you, and happy birthday. And I love all of YOU dear Hearties! Thank you for your Hope Valley support! This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

Hello, Hearties! Welcome to #FlashbackFriday! As we wrap up Paul Greene’s birthday week, we’ll close out the spotlight with his favorite Carson moment. Here’s how that part of the interview went:

Do you have a favorite season? A favorite episode? What is your favorite Carson moment?
In my first season (Season 4) of When Calls the Heart, there was a storyline where I had to save Cody‘s life. That was probably one of my favorite seasons and moments so far.

We didn’t have time to elaborate, so the rest of this post is my view of the events,  but I couldn’t agree with him more. I think that part of the storyline, and his performance, are both superb! When I watched it the first few times, I always looked at it more from the town’s perspective that Carson was the last hope for Cody. But watching it again from Carson’s perspective, that poor man was being ripped apart!

He finally finds a quiet town where he can enjoy some anonymity, then he’s found out by his vengeful sister-in-law. So he does the noble thing, and leaves, to escape all the backbiting, and to spare the town. Not even 24 hours later, he’s begged to come back because Cody‘s life doesn’t have much time left, and no one else can save him. It takes a lot of gumption to face his past, and see a patient after a two-year absence; especially when the last patient he operates on “didn’t make it”. I’d be reluctant to pick up a scalpel too!

The whole ride home, Carson had to be going back and forth in his head, trying to drum up the courage, and get back into the mindset, to be a doctor again. He gets to the infirmary, he’s on a roll, medically speaking. Then in walks Dr. Strohm, with his high opinions and closed mind. To Carson, it must have seemed like popping a balloon that had yet to be tied. He just got his confidence back, the physician who’s been “practicing medicine for 20 years” is ignoring symptoms, and second guessing everything Carson has said. Or, as Carson so eloquently put it, “Cody‘s going to die because you’re a coward!” So he’s begged to come back only to be doubted when he does return. Wouldn’t you leave too? It’s astonishing that Elizabeth metaphorically talks him down from the cliff, and convinces him to stay.

Carson steps up when necessary, performing the surgery when Dr. Strohm is too drunk; lucky he was smart enough to not drink. You can see the resolve cement into place when he starts asking Faith for everything he needs, giving calm but firm orders. And she doesn’t even bat an eye at him taking charge.

But even though the operation is pulled off, Carson and Cody aren’t out of the woods. Surgery, as Carson says, is highly risky at that time and place. Who knows if Cody is going to make it through the night? Carson is doubting every move he made. Luckily, Bill reminds him that deciding who lives and dies is left to “a higher power”, and that nothing is solved by running. I truly believe that THAT is the moment Carson makes up his mind to stay.

But my favorite shot is when Cody is still unconscious, and Abigail has drifted off from exhaustion. Carson has been up an entire night performing surgery, after riding most of a day, then has eaten or slept very little. But he’s sitting right there, alert as a watchdog, keeping a constant vigil. He’s so calm and confident when he says the pulse is normal, and Faith chimes in that the fever has broken. He starts talking to Cody as if it’s the most normal thing in the world; his doubts are gone about Cody’s recovery.

And what does Carson do next? He goes straight back to work, cooking in the café. Thank heavens he’s convinced that his calling is to be doctor, not a cook. And the whole town is better for it.

And that is where I leave you. Before I do, I received a few questions about what Paul is holding in this picture. I forgot to mention it: my 8-year-old made him a “heart birthday card”, and it was his idea to take a picture with it so my daughter could rest easy, knowing I’d kept my promise to give it to him. One more example of the gentleman he is! Happy birthday, Paul! May this year be amazing for you! And good night, to all you, loves! This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

Well, well, well! I always knew that if you want something said, tell the Hearties, but WOW! I got so many responses to my posts about who’s on #TeamLucas and who’s on #TeamNathan! You guys are great! I’m a little late because I got LOTS of information and opinions, which means we better get started. I won’t be able to do all of them, but I’ll do my darndest!

I thought this a very appropriate topic given the buzz it’s receiving. On top of that, let’s be honest: this story is going to be the main plot line right behind the christening. I took it upon myself to carry out the heavy burden of rewatching Season 6 to seek out these two men’s characteristics. Huge sacrifice, I know, but someone had to do it. 😀

So who will Elizabeth eventually choose? I watched Erin this morning on Home & Family, and she was very adamant that Elizabeth isn’t jumping into anything prematurely. But she was also pretty certain that by next season, enough time will have passed that Elizabeth will be ready to open her heart again. And “she has some pretty good options when she’s ready.”

Let’s start with what these guys share, then we’ll move on to differences. The most important trait of all: they care about people, and are very protective of the people they care about. I’d say that’s vital in a man! They also can’t stand seeing women/widows bullied, and they do what they can to fix those circumstances. They both have a strong sense of fairness, they’re both brave, they’re both very handsome, they both give her “the look”, and they both have an amazing amount of chemistry with our “lovely school teacher”. They also both know how to give a compliment, and they are both very nice to children.

That last one being said, Nathan does have a lot more experience with children. He knows what it is to be a single parent, and with a child who is not his own. On top of that, SPOILER ALERT! In the season finale sneak peek, Nathan is seen not only holding Baby Jack, but also making silly faces, and causing him to laugh! Just saying…

I got a lot of response about Nathan’s morals, integrity, and character. Many think he’s much more mature, that he’s figured out his life’s purpose. He’s the strong, silent type: gentle, even-tempered, and a shoulder to lean on. He has the Jack-like character traits worthy of Elizabeth, and she is drawn to that kind of upstanding hero. Nathan’s sincere, honest, and always keeps his word. He’s duty-bound, takes risks when necessary, and knows how to keep a cool head. He also has a heart of gold, and a deep admiration for who Elizabeth is. He admires her for her nurturing nature. One Heartie said he acts as if he thinks, “I’m the luckiest man in the world to be in her presence.”

I also have to add what a smart investigator he is, but he’s also wise enough, and HUMBLE enough to accept help. He’s a team player, very accommodating and willing to forgive. He also doesn’t let his past control him, and there’s something about a man with a clean-shaven face that a beard just can’t pull off.

Alright, let’s talk about Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome Man of Mystery. Even though he had a head start on the show, he’s a big underdog in Hope Valley. It’s harder for the community to accept him. Not the fans, though! Several Hearties are thinking the chemistry and passionate looks run deeper between these two. I’m not going to deny that there is DEFINITELY something about a man gliding toward you, his voice of silk quoting literature and praising you at the same time, in just the right lighting…I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t incredibly effective. That smooth voice also knows how to pay compliments, say very friendly and polite words, speak French, and give him the air of confidence; but he’s not snobbish about it. Not only that, but he and Elizabeth argue well. He admires her spunk, and they have quite a few moments of fun banter.

He’s elegant and refined, yet he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty, or injured, when there’s work to be done. He would definitely appeal to Elizabeth’s more sophisticated side that she hasn’t explored in ages. They both know the difficulty of fitting in with locals, but he fights for his position, just like she did.

While he’s not as good or experienced with children, he is kind to them, which counts for something. He’s generous with his time and money, employing several people, giving a library to the town…there’s nothing wrong with sacrifice and struggle, but there’s also nothing wrong with being a smart businessman of means. He’d definitely be able to provide a good life for them. And while we’re on sacrifice, he was willing to give everything he had to save Elizabeth. And I know very few, if any of you, missed that Jack-like tiger glare when Amos Dixon DARED hurt her. Once again, just saying…

Even if he DOES have a beard, one thing is definitely working for him: he asked her out first. Even though he downplayed it by saying it was “to discuss library business”, and she turned him down, he made the first move. Elizabeth felt it because she even “confronted” him about having feelings for her.

Well, you’ll be happy to know that after reviewing all the evidence, rewatching episodes, and writing the post…I still have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA who I would pick. If anything, I think this proves there’s a strong case for both of them. So let’s sit back, relax, and watch what happens in the finale. And I might even squeeze in some #FanFictionFriday stories for both sides in the off season. For now, I’ll see you next week, and join me for Paul Greene’s birthday spotlight week. His birthday is this Sunday. So long for now! This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!