Thank you all for your patience on Wednesday and today; you know how family stuff can go. Now, where were we? Ah! The love triangle with the two men. 😀 Let’s talk about Grant first. When Missie is having the frontier equivalent of girl talk with Marty, Marty remarks, “He sounds like a fictional hero from one of your novels.” And indeed, he seems so. His family owns the railroad company, he travels with his extensive library and beautiful gramophone, he has a surrey with a driver, he immediately tells Missie he is interested in her, he invites her to dine at the hotel restaurant with his own beautiful dishes, and he seems very kind on top of all that.

Missie seems very eager to please him, and make a good impression. When he asks her if he can speak to Clark about courting her, there’s no hesitation. And she definitely has stars in her eyes, as well as makes a compelling argument for why she should marry him. But then when the giggling stops, the words that come out of Marty’s mouth are ones that I’ve never forgotten. She says that Missie needs to consult “not the feelings of [her] heart, but rather the thoughts of [her] heart” need to be consulted.

When she does consult the thoughts of her heart honestly, she finds that Grant would honor her as his wife, and treat her like a queen, but he wouldn’t see adversity “as something to get through together”. The thoughts of her heart take the wise counsel of her father, “Never despise meager beginnings”, and she chooses Willie: “the boy who stole [her] hair ribbons, and dipped [her] braids in ink” as the man for her.

Just like Clark, Willie is the quiet hero in this movie; only in this case, it’s meant quite literally. Willie is very soft spoken, and a man of few words. He only says 1 or 2 words the first several times we see him. But he saves Clark’s life, and the family’s farm.

Clark is still the amazing father we saw him as in “Love Comes Softly”. He and Aaron (Marty’s baby born in the “Love Comes Softly” are chopping and loading up wood. Clark is in mid-swing when Aaron cries out. Clark is distracted, and slices his own leg. But instead of being concerned about himself, he hobbles over to Aaron to make sure HE’S not hurt. He tries to get Aaron to wrap his belt above his knee to stop the bleeding, but Aaron panics, and can’t follow instructions quickly enough. Instead of getting angry or scolding, Clark just whispers, “It’s not your fault!” before he passes out.

Willie saves the day. He hears Aaron crying, rides over, ties the belt himself, and drives the wagon to the homestead. Even though he rides off without a word, he watches the family, (particularly Missie) toiling with plowing the field without Clark, and he comes back to take over. He saves Clark’s leg and life when infection sets in, he stays on to plant the crops, and even carves Clark a cane out of “a sturdy piece of oak”.

He does all this while he’s dealing with his own personal tragedy, and trying to face the ghosts of his past. When Willie was a young teenager, his younger brother, Mattie, followed him when he was setting traps for their father. It got dark, they got lost, and poor Mattie froze to death. The family tore apart, their mother left, their father still hasn’t forgiven Willie, and Willie spent 6 years away because he couldn’t forgive himself. But he is finally able to get past all of that, and on the day he and Missie get married, his father shows up. He stands off a little ways, but he does shake hands with his son.

While I wasn’t able to speak to Michael himself, I was able to chat with Cindy Kelley, who wrote the movie with him. She shared some of her favorite moments. She was a big fan of the little things. Here’s a little of what she said:

“I loved seeing the depth of love between Clark and Marty and how much she had grown in her role as both a wife and mother and partner for Clark. One of my favorite small things was when Willie and Missie sit down to dinner with her family and he reaches for her hand under the table.” A woman after my own heart! Those were two of my favorite moments too!

One story she shared with me was quite remarkable. She has a very strong memory of Mackenzie Astin, who played Grant. He “was such a gentleman to everyone. I heard him call everyone by name – from the craft services people, to the drivers, to the guys hauling equipment. When I commented on it, he said because he’d grown up in the business (his parents are Patty Duke and John Astin, his brother is Sean Astin) he was taught at an early age that ALL the people on the crew were of equal importance – and everyone deserves to have their name remembered. He was such a nice guy. MLJ and I have written numerous projects together over the last twenty years, but the “Love” movies are still my favorites.”

Thank you, Cindy! First hand experience and experience is the best! Well Hearties, NOW, we’ve reached the end of Michael Landon Jr.’s birthday spotlight week. I hope you had a marvelous birthday, Michael! And I hope you Hearties have a marvelous weekend. I’ll be back on Wednesday. This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

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!

Well, we have arrived at the end of Kavan Smith’s birthday spotlight week, #FlashbackFriday. I’ve noticed that, coincidentally, several of our #FlashbackFriday segments have come from Season 3. And for good reason! It’s a fabulous one! So many sweet and exciting moments.

The moment I’m choosing? Lee’s proposal. I know that might seem a little cliché, but we mostly see it from Rosemary’s perspective. We don’t see his thought process. Was it a spontaneous move, or did he go search for her in order TO propose? I guess we’ll never really know without some insider information, (hint, hint! 😉 ), but it’s such a beautiful moment!

Something I like to do is watch Lee’s reactions throughout the episode. When Rosemary comes into the office to tell him her “amazing news”, Lee is still dealing with shutting down the mill. Rosemary takes a moment to show sympathy, but she can’t help herself. She reveals that she is replacing the star Mary Medford in the locally-shot picture “The Reluctant Bride”. Obviously troubled, Lee still puts it aside, and in Rosemary’s words, knows “exactly what to say”. He puts on his charm, and tells her to “get out there, and show them how talented you really are”.

When the ball keeps rolling, and Rosemary’s asked to go to Hollywood, you can tell Lee is heartbroken. It’s incredibly funny to me when she says, “I’m not getting any younger”. You can see the wheels turning in Lee’s head, taking in her words, wondering how to respond. He tells her to go, but not very sincerely. My favorite lines are when she says, “You’re not making this any easier.” He could have said anything. He could have gotten angry or defensive, he could have gotten emotional, (but that’s not really his style,) or he could have demanded that she not go. But he quietly accepts it, even tells her to leave him behind, and not come back between pictures. Instead of making a fuss, or declaring his devotion, Lee respects her decision, and doesn’t “make it any harder”.

Even when he comes to find her at the church, he approaches her very casually. When you think about it, the stalwart Lee Coulter was probably shaking in his loafers. It could have gone either way. There had been no “I love you” declaration, no talk of plans, (except those for a theater,) and there was only one kiss, (that we saw). She probably pushed things forward for him when she made the very bold statement, (especially for a woman back then,) that her future was there with him.

I’m a theater person. I started acting at age 4, acted all four years in high school, and majored in it in college. It’s my first love after my faith and my family. So the writing here positively tickles me! Lee even uses an actor’s jargon in his proposal to Rosemary because he knows how well the point will come across. “There is another role I think you’d be perfect for.” Then with the perfect amount of aforementioned “emotion”, he asks her to be his wife, and makes both of their dreams come true! And gives her the role of a lifetime! 

Happy birthday spotlight week, Kavan! I hope your birthday was everything you hoped it would be. And I hope everyone has a great weekend. Maybe you’re enjoying “A Very Merry Mix Up” right now. Be sure to tune in, and watch Chris McNally in “Sailing into Love” tomorrow. And of course, I’ll see you Monday for another #MondayMusings about Sunday’s episode. This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

Photo credit: Me! 😉 This is my plaid pants birthday cake I made for my #HeartieParty on Monday, May 6th.