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!

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!

Hi, Hearties! Sorry this is so late. We had an impromptu family day, so I’ve been preparing for and attending a huge picnic. It was busy and tiring, but we had fun. That’s what’s important, right?

Well, we’ve come to the end of yet another birthday spotlight week. Loretta, it is this blogger’s hope that you had a marvelous birthday a few weeks ago, and that you approve of the week that in which we highlighted your charming self, and your prickly yet loveable character, Florence.

Which is the perfect description of Florence in our #FlashbackFriday today. I’m telling you, Season 6 must have been pretty good, despite the hiccups, because I keep coming back to it for moments to delve into. If you’re a real Heartie, you’ve probably already figured out which moment I’m going to review; or you have a sneaking suspicion.

As we all know, Florence has quite a breakthrough in a…certain episode; a few actually. When Fiona first shows her the new-fangled machine, it “sounds a little too modern” for Florence’s taste, (and notice the narrow-eyed glance down at Fiona’s scandalously high hemline on “modern”). But when she’s told it’s a great way to, in a nutshell, gossip about someone behind their back, she’s suddenly very eager for a lesson on how it works. Then she takes it a step further, and gets a job WORKING said equipment!

Photo credit: IMDB.com 

But as we know, it doesn’t go well. She tries so hard to act professional and competent, but the poor thing keeps coming up short. First it’s too much glee and excitement, followed by sharing a little too much information on the line when she’s on duty, then literally crossing wires, and incorrectly connecting calls. And then, the big BOOM!

I’d run out with embarrassment too. The thing is, I think this is quite a development for Florence. I don’t believe she’s faced with things that are hard for her very often, except the occasional substitute job for Elizabeth. 😉 And we all have seen how she’s handled that in the past. 😀 But on a regular basis, I’m pretty sure she doesn’t come up against things she does badly. But working with something so modern, AND having her first job outside her home, that presents her with several challenges simultaneously, and it all takes its toll.

What is it about looking vulnerable that makes moments so appealing? Because when Florence is on the verge of tears, hair mussed up, eyes wide with terror from the sparks, and voice high and timid, we go from laughing at her misfortune, to sympathizing with plight. This is big for a woman like Florence. She’s doing her best to step into the ever-changing, modern world, even though her sensibilities are VERY comfortable in the past. She’s trying to better herself, and improve her life, and she’s afraid of failure because it’s hard to change.

But instead of clamming up and stubbornly getting angry, she opens up to Fiona. Not only that, she lets a voice that’s younger, but more experienced in the field, comfort and reassure her. That alone makes her character grow in leaps and bounds. And in my opinion, we’re going to love her even more next season.

Have a great rest of your weekend! This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

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!)