Good morning, Hearties! I’m getting this out to you early for a change. Go figure!

How is your week going so far? Do you have any plans for the 4th of July? I know the timing is interesting with all the national turmoil going on, and I hope we can still appreciate and celebrate our country…and have a little fun. We could all use some lightheartedness and levity to relieve the tension surrounding us. So I hope you find something entertaining that you can do…it’s on a Saturday, after all! 

So, for today, it occurred to me that I haven’t shared a podcast with you in quite some time. And this seemed a very appropriate one to have you listen to/watch. All of you #TeamNathan fans (and even you #TeamLucas fans too,) will appreciate this because it stars the one and only Kevin McGarry! But #TeamLucas, you’ll be able to enjoy it because it’s okay to like Kevin’s character, Joey. You don’t have to feel any inner conflict or turmoil. You’re supposed to root for him. Also, this movie was his first role with Hallmark, a very big milestone worth commemorating. And all of you who double fans, Hearties and POstables, will be very pleased for obvious reasons. 😉

 

I also found this very fitting to present to you given the dream I had a few nights ago. If you missed it, or if you want more details than Twitter will allow, I’ll explain it as best I can:

I dreamed that Kevin McGarry was appearing on a morning talk show. I’m not sure which one, and I can’t be sure if I was watching it on TV, or if I was there in person; I’m going with in person. The hosts introduce him, a curtain opens, and there he is, surrounded by a very elaborate and beautiful cardboard cut-out set. The set is shaped and painted to look like a Thomas Kinkade painting at Christmas time. I remember thinking it could be the town of Vienna, Austria, especially because there were mountains. And straddling the largest mountain piece (probably with the help of a step ladder or something,) is the man himself. He’s dressed in an old fashioned uniform. It reminded me of a Mountie uniform, only it was dark grey, and with more brass buttons. He’s in what looks like black breeches and high black boots to complete the ensemble. His fists are on his hips, Peter Pan style, and he breaks out in song, singing “Sleigh Ride”. And he sounds REALLY good too! My guess is, this is a result of several components: I’ve been watching too many Hallmark movies, talking about Kevin on podcasts quite a bit, hearing SO many Hearties begging WCTH executives to have Kevin and Erin sing together in Season 8, and doing a lot of planning for Christmas in July. Whatever it was, the perfect formula mixed together to create that amazing little picture in my head. 

 


Since there were four of us on the podcast, (the three regulars and a guest co-host who you will love!), and all of us really dug our heels into this film, we couldn’t cover it all in one hour-long podcast. So this is Part 1. And I give you my word, on my honor, that I will give you Part 2 next Wednesday. So if you’re left hanging by a thread on the edge of your seat when this ends, it will all come full circle next week. I’ll see you Friday then! This is Hooked Heartie, signing off. May your heart let your hope blossom!

 

 

Who knows that old song? “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?” Google it, it’s a catchy little tune. It’s also the inspiration for today’s #WonderWednesday post. That, and @heartiehallmark on Twitter; this was her request. Now that you’ve looked it up, sing MY version with me: “Who’s afraid of the big black hole, the big black hole, the big black hole?” Ah, the Big Black Hole of Hope Valley. Many a noble character hath stood in its shadow, only to be swallowed whole by its jaws. I remember when I first started watching WCTH, Seasons 1 and 2 were on Netflix, so I binged a show for the first time. I even said out loud, “Wow! I’m so impressed! They kept so many of the same kids!” Two episodes later, most of them were gone, and lots of their parents had already disappeared, even Cat Montgomery.

There are so many vanished Coal/Hope Valley citizens that I have loved dearly, and have often wondered what they’d be doing if they had stayed on the show. If I absolutely HAD to pick a favorite, the people I miss the most, it would have to be The Dunbar-Graves Family. That might have something to do with the fact that Laura Bertram, who plays Mary, was the very first Skype interview I ever had her on Hooked Heartie. Here’s the link to that interview if you’re interested, and you missed it:

 

https://hookedheartie.com/wonderwednesday/wonderwednesday-hooked-heartie-hall-of-fame-food-connector/


But even if she hadn’t been, I just love these characters. My interest was piqued by DeWitt from the moment he entered the saloon; he was the only miner who was polite to Elizabeth without hitting on her. Then he helped Mary pick up the toppled groceries, AND saved her from an embarrassing situation by paying for her purchases. He even saved her pride with that cover story of her cooking him supper; or was that just a REALLY clever rouse to get her on a date, because it worked! That’s when my heart started melting around the edges for these two. It wasn’t long before it was in full meltdown mode, just at the sight of them. Mary reminds me a lot of myself, in a way. I don’t suffer from a shy personality the way Mary did. But I’m short like she is; and before I had four children, I had a pretty slight frame. 😉 So, call me old-fashioned, but I love feeling cared for, but even more so, protected. My husband is a whole foot taller than I am. His arms are, in the words of Christopher Reeves in “Somewhere in Time”: “nine feet long”. His arms fully envelop me when he hugs me. That’s what I feel Mary’s relationship was like with her husband. They talk about what a big, strong man he was, and how he adored Mary. All of a sudden, not only is the love of her life gone, but her protector, her safety and security, has vanished with him. She’s left incredibly vulnerable; she’s trying to move on the best she can by just putting one foot in front of the other. Enter a man who isn’t quite as big in body, but his heart must be, because he’s instantly smitten! They were so cute: her shyness, his patience.

 

Mary Dunbar (Laura Bertram) & Dewitt Graves (Derek Hamilton ... Photo credit: pinterest.com

And speaking of patience, can we talk about what Caleb put poor Mr. Graves through?! Caleb, with his typical protective kid instincts/bratty and selfish distancing techniques, however you want to look at it. I can see both sides. I lost my father too, but I was a grown adult, with a husband, and a child. I can’t imagine losing a parent in my formative years. And it’s obvious the man was the boy’s hero. Caleb worshipped his pa, and no one was taking his place! He did his best to get rid of DeWitt, but DeWitt wouldn’t give up. Back then, it was perfectly acceptable to rule with an iron fist, to declare, “My word is law!” But DeWitt doesn’t operate at all that way. He gently persisted, and eventually wins Caleb over with his kindness, sweet gestures, and teaching moments. It was a story begging to be continued!

That’s why I was ecstatic to see all three of them back in Season 2, and even more ecstatic that we got to see their wedding. No two people looked more in love…Jack and Elizabeth were on unsteady ground at the time, and Lee and Rosemary weren’t serious yet. And the icing on the cake: Caleb was excited to have a father again.

When Calls The Heart (Screen Captures, Promos and More) – Laura ... Photo credit: laura-bertram.com

So, where are they now? Hmm…good question. I bet they moved just one town over because DeWitt felt more comfortable sticking to mining when timber took over, but they come back for visits often. They can afford it because DeWitt has become second in command at the mine. Mary has had two more little ones, a boy and a girl, named DeWitt Jr., and Hannah. Of course, Caleb is grown; my guess is he’d be 17 or 18. Like most young men his age, he’s fighting in World War I. He left a beautiful girl named Lydia behind, and is determined to marry her when he comes home from France. And he DOES make it home!

So how does that sound? What do you think happened to the Dunbar-Graves family? Who would you like me to speculate about next? Let me know in the Facebook comments. You’ve got time until next Wednesday. But I’ll see you before then – on Friday to be exact. Take care everyone. I hope you’re okay. I hope you’re safe, and being able to find some happiness in these tumultuous times. Just remember something for me? You are beautiful, you are smart, you are worth it, you are enough. This is Hooked Heartie, signing off. May your heart let your hope blossom!

Welcome to Wonder Wednesday, wonderful women! Wow! Say THAT three times fast! 😊 Well, we have arrived at mid-week again. How were the last seven days for you? Have matters of all categories and concerns settled down in your area yet? I hope so, or I hope they do soon. Well, regardless of your current circumstances, take a break with me, and revisit some favorite moments with me.

Speaking of which, that brings me to my topic of today; the second audience pick of Wednesday. This one is brought to you by Caroline Richardson. Not only did she participate in my Twitter question, but she’s also a friend of mine, and my co-host for When Calls the Heart recaps on the Hallmarkies Podcast. So, she knows what the audience wants, and she knows how my WCTH brain works. 😉 Thank you, Caroline!

Oh, right! The actual topic! That might be something important to reveal about now, huh? 😀 Well, Caroline’s pick, (one of them at least,) was to divulge my favorite episode from each season. I admit, this was pretty easy for most of the seasons, but the last two…(wince) those were trickier. It was actually pretty difficult. So, come along with me on a journey through time, through many different situations, and with several different characters. Now the question is, can you guess my picks before I disclose them, and do you agree with me? I’m warning you now: because of who I am, this post is most likely to be filled with romance and romantic scenes. So, if that’s not why you watch WCTH, (cough, cough!) you should probably quit reading now before your eyes roll all the way to the back of your head. (But seriously, do any of you NOT like the show for the romance? I didn’t think so.)

SEASON 1:
First up! There were SO many good episodes in this season! The triumphs, the heartache, the snark! 😉 But alas, there can only be one top pick. I will say that I almost picked the finale; the first kiss is a moment to be celebrated with gusto! And Elizabeth’s emotion at the children’s love for her, and the love she has developed for them, all of it is truly moving. I went with another choice…although you might find it just as typical. Episode 9: Change of Heart. This is…(trumpet fanfare) the big date! Stereotypical? Maybe, but it took my breath away! Everything was planned down to the tiniest detail, and the lighting was perfect to boot! He even danced with her! Be still, my beating heart! When Jack said, “I feel that my efforts tonight may pale in comparison,” I guffawed at the absurdity! Who could top everything he so thoughtfully carried out??? And let’s not forget how all our hearts skipped several beats when Jack declared, “Please consider this an act of courtship,” and KISSED HER HAND! Drop the Mountie hat!

SEASON 2:
Full disclosure: this one IS stereotypical! Season 2 was not my favorite. I was very glad I could binge watch it, because I found it pretty tough to get through. I call this season “a necessary evil”. I understand the necessity for it, I really do. But I cringe a lot while watching. So, my favorite episode for this season is Episode 10: With All My Heart. Can you think of anything more heart-pounding than that Indiana Jones rescue, rolling her away? Maybe him lifting her like she weighed “no more than a dried leaf” (Sense and Sensibility). Sigh! Then, after that show of bravery, Jack can barely gather the courage to examine Elizabeth’s knee without his hands shaking. 😉 “It’s the other knee” has become a very common phrase in my home. But of course, the best part is the declaration of “I love you, Elizabeth Thatcher,” followed by that beautifully passionate kiss. This is why Season 2 was needed. That pronouncement would not have meant nearly as much without the experiences the two of them had to go through to get to that point.

SEASON 3:
This season is truly one of my favorites, at least when Jack is in the picture. I liked seeing our favorite couple in a settled, loving relationship without jealousy or misunderstanding barring the way. I was just upset that they didn’t say “I love you” more, especially when Jack rode off to a dangerous rescue mission. All that being said, you can understand my difficulty in choosing one episode. I like so many parts of all the episodes: watching Lee and Rosemary fall in love, meeting Edith and witnessing her reunion with Roy, seeing Jack’s mother for the first time, feeling Rosemary’s inner turmoil as she gives up her dream wedding…the list goes on and on. But I’m going to have to go with Episode 3: A Time to Speak. I just LOVE the campout! We meet several kids who become regulars, and it’s nice to see Elizabeth and Jack having a little casual fun after so many intense and serious exchanges. Put aside what we know about how the show turns out for a minute, and who doesn’t love hearing Jack talk about their future together, and seeing the first kiss of the season in such a romantic setting??? Moving away from romance, I really like Frank being redeemed. It’s what Hope Valley’s all about.

SEASON 4:
Do you even need to ask? I screamed so loud and jumped so high when Jack dropped to one knee that I woke my newborn son, and momentarily hurt my recovering body. Don’t worry, I recovered. But I don’t know how that proposal could have been better! Obviously, a LOT of thought and planning went into it, it was a surprise, Jack used nostalgic inside references in their relationship, it happened in front of the school he built for her, and there were CANDLES AND ROSE PETALS!!! What woman alive wouldn’t want the man she loves to propose to her in such a loving way?! The other thing I love, and this is just a personal opinion, is the way they say “I love you.” First of all, it had been FOREVER since they’d said it outright, and it was about time. The other thing is neither one said, “I love you, too.” I’ve always felt that sounds like an afterthought, a copycat sentiment. I know it’s not meant that way in most programs and movies, it’s just how I hear it. So, I really like that they just declared their love for each other, no afterthought present. By the way, that’s Episode 7: My Heart Will Go On, in case you’re wondering.

SEASON 5:
Once again, need you ask? Episode 6: My Heart is Yours. The wedding ALL the way! ‘Nuff said.

SEASON 6:
Okay, here’s the other part when it gets hard! Because now we’re contending with two men where Elizabeth is concerned, and because it became more of an ensemble show, all the characters become a bit more well-rounded. Therefore, IT’S HARD TO PICK!!! For now, at least, my favorite episode in this season is Episode 9: A Call From the Past. This episode had a ton of suspense in it, more than we’d seen for a while. We also get a chance to see Nathan really be a Mountie, and Lucas pounce like a tiger when Elizabeth is threatened. And I’m not going to lie, that hand brush in the library with Nathan and Elizabeth was a little steamy. But something I REALLY like is Nathan and Lucas have a very long and meaningful conversation, and develop a kind of mutual respect for each other, since their feelings for Elizabeth haven’t fully developed yet.

SEASON 7:
Episode 6: An Unexpected Gift. This might change tomorrow, but for now, I’ll stick with it. This episode is just bonkers…in a good way. I was pretty certain that neither man gave her the original bouquet, but it was hysterical seeing them compete with no need. On top of that, who can resist protective Bill trying to play investigator again, and figure out who’s paying Elizabeth so much attention. And that scene with the two of them in the café…laughed my head off at their sad attempt to talk in code. But the best parts were: 1) the fact that Rosemary gave her dear friend a bouquet of flowers because she was having a down day. So sweet! 2) It made me giggle (and I was tickled!) that both men stepped up to the plate, and took the initiative to give her flowers themselves.

Well, that’s it for now. Now you’ll have to tell me what YOU’RE favorite episodes are. I’ll see you on Friday. WARNING! I got a little inspired, so we’re taking a break from the Friendship series. See you then! This is Hooked Heartie, signing off. May your heart let your hope blossom!



Happy Hump Day, Heartie People! How’s your week going so far? You hanging in there? Who’s still in school? First of all, thank you to all of you who responded and contributed to my tweets and posts about topics you want to see discussed! I’ve got ideas for weeks now, and it’s always so helpful knowing what the audience wants to read, instead of just blah blah blahing my way through a post that nobody’s interested in. So here we go! First audience-picked theme of #WonderWednesday is on the move! Please keep your hands and head inside the stagecoach at all times.

The first topic is……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. “What WCTH Has Meant to Me”, requested by Jess @Greenbay531. Not only is this topic really inspiring; it also meant a lot to me because Jess is one of the organizers of the Tuesday night tweetfests #WeAreHopeValley. She was so warm and welcoming, and so happy I could make it the one time I could. So I’m happy to share! But, oh gosh! Where do I begin???

I guess, to quote one of my favorite musicals, “Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.” The inception of my Heartie fandom IS in the Hooked Heartie FAQ’s, at least in part, but it’s more fun to tell it here! I found When Calls the Heart when I was pregnant with child #3, my 1st boy. Oh, the insomnia was BAD. I spent many nights with Netflix on, just trying to find something boring to put on the TV to help me fall asleep. When that failed…AGAIN, and I finished another show, I saw WCTH on the suggestions. I had seen promotions for Season 3 on Hallmarks, but I’d told my husband I didn’t want to sink myself into another show, and I didn’t want to start a show in the middle; that never bodes well. So when I saw it on Netflix, and the sandman was NOT visiting me, I decided, “Why not?” So I tried an episode, and that led to another, and another, and I couldn’t stop! I was enthralled, or rather, “hooked”. For the first time in my life, I binged a series so I could get caught up. And I’ve been a fan ever since.


 

That’s how it started. Now, what does it MEAN to me? So much! There have been so many wonderful effects that I have gleaned from watching this show! One of them is what you’re reading right now. The blog was actually my husband’s idea. I had never even FOLLOWED a blog before, and he wanted me to RUN one. I thought he was crazy! But he reminded me that rule #1 of owning a blog is to be passionate about the subject. Well, I had that covered! 😉 Then, having a blog led me to interviews with the stars, (like Madison Smith, Laura Bertram, and Milo Shandel to name a few,) it’s how I met Paul Greene(!), and it’s how I got involved with the Hallmarkies Podcast. And there have been doors opened by the hundreds for me by getting in with that crowd; only one being that I’ve gotten to know the wonderful ladies there, and several of us have become quite close. Oh, and as a little aside to this one, I opened a Twitter account because of the show. I’ll just leave that there. 😀

 

             

Getting a little bit more personal, I’ve made so many new friends through the show. There is someone in particular I never would have met. Her name is Sarah, Sarah Nitsch. You know her, we write stories together that I’ve posted here…among other things. Behind the scenes, she’s one of the best friends I’ve got! She was the first person I told I was pregnant with child #4, even before I confirmed it to my husband, (don’t worry, he pretty much already knew.) Behind every brilliant post here, you can find her influence or one of her ideas somewhere down the line We support each other through walks of life, we send each other Christmas and birthday presents, we laugh together, we cry together, and oh yeah, we’re WRITING A NOVEL TOGETHER. We started out by writing WCTH fan fiction stories, and now we’re involved in several projects that we have every intention of seeing through to the end.

Sarah proudly wearing a ‘beguiling’ piece of jewelry that both surprised and delighted her on her birthday


Which brings me to my next point. This show has inspired my creativity, really gotten my creative juices flowing. Because of this show, I started writing, and I started taking more chances, and started being bolder, and started believing in myself. Never in my LIFE would I have thought I would become an author! I remember the first time I posted something I had written on the Hearties Facebook page, and got a HUGE response. I wasn’t even really trying. I was so shocked, so I decided to really try, and see what happened. My mind came alive; I hadn’t felt that inspired in a long time. But I was nervous to show my husband. He doesn’t like the show, so I thought he’d just laugh if he read my work. When I finally let him have a look, I cringed and braced for impact. He read through it, put it down, and said, “I think you should write a novel.” He went out and bought me several spiral notebooks, and encouraged me to keep on writing.

Finally, this is just my kind of show! From the very first episode, I felt a connection to the characters, and I loved the feeling each episode left me with. My dear friend, Amy, (one of MANY friends I introduced the show to,) explained it so eloquently: “Every time I finish an episode, I just feel *content sigh*.” But it’s true. It’s heartfelt and compelling; there’s just enough suspense to keep you going, but none of the language, or sexual and violent smut that’s so rampant out there. And it’s SO ROMANTIC! As a hopeless romantic myself, I was such a sucker for the entire Jack and Elizabeth. I lapped it up, and literally, (yes, literally) screamed when he finally proposed. I was so invested that my friends knew to throw me a WCTH baby shower, and I even named my child after him, (partially, because it’s his only his nickname,) Sarah sent me a WCTH maternity shirt, and a knitted Mountie costume for him. I was pretty devastated when Jack died; sometimes I cried like I had lost a family member. But I’ve remembered that it is only a TV show, and life does go on. I have been very pleased with the way the show has thrived despite its losses.

       

In short, When Calls the Heart means a WHOLE LOT to me. It’s a wonderful show that I love to watch, it has inspired me to do so many things, and I have met some wonderful people. It gives me something to look forward to, something to talk about with friends, and even a way to start up conversations, and make new friends. So now it’s your turn. The comments don’t work her on the blog, but comment wherever you saw this posted. What does WCTH mean to YOU! And thanks, Jess, for the contribution. This is Hooked Heartie, signing off. May your heart let your hope blossom!

  Photo edit by: Randi Elkins

Hey, everybody. I know this is a crazy hour to be posting for Wednesday, but I was determined to post today, no matter how late, even if it killed me! Some semblance of normalcy is exactly what we need right now, right? Well, I’ve got a fun one for you today. In celebration of Niall Matter’s new Aurora Teagarden movie “Heist and Seek”, his new movie coming “Country at Heart”, and his very first interview with my friends at the Hallmarkies Podcast, I’ve got an oldie and a goodie. We’re going back to Niall’s very first role with Hallmark: “Stop the Wedding”. It was aired just today too, so I found it very fitting.

Niall Matter. You remember him, right? In his own words in the podcast interview, his stint of playing the proud, sad, and stubborn Shane Cantrell on “When Calls the Heart” was “brief”. When Jack died, SEVERAL Hearties tweeted that Shane would be a wonderful person with whom Elizabeth could fall in love. Niall and Erin had already played a couple very successfully, and their chemistry was undeniable. Then they could be an instant family. I, myself, thought the same thing in the beginning of our emotional roller coaster. Well, come to find out, that had been the intention in the beginning. Apparently, he was hired as a possible replacement for Jack as Elizabeth’s love interest, but Daniel Lissing came back for Season 5. Something funny I figured out: two men who came on the show as possibilities for a second love in Elizabeth’s life, (i.e. Paul Greene and Niall Matter), both date Faith Carter. Shane obviously did it for a significantly shorter period, but still did it nonetheless.

So now, let’s talk “Wedding”. Niall also mentioned in his interview that he’d been doing so much SyFy, and he was ready to cut his teeth at rom com. He picked a great script to start with! Playing Alan Thicke’s son was an opportunity to jump at! And from his performance, you’d never know he was new at playing a romantic hero; he was fabulous! There are two aspects that I’d say are my favorite about this film. The first would have to be the meet cute. They have two, really. There’s the first time they see each other when Anna’s coffee is spilled all over Clay. Whose fault it is…well, that all depends on who you talk to. But then, Clay shows up at her aunt’s door, makes the very strange assumption that ANNA is his father’s new fiancée, and proceeds to try paying her off to call off the engagement. Hours later when he angrily questions, “Why didn’t you tell me who you were?”, she immediately fires back with, “Oh, I didn’t really have time. You were so busy negotiating your bribe.” That meet cute starts a whole movie of banter and quick-witted conversation.

The second, and best thing about this movie, in my opinion, is the amount of kissing that went on. Nowadays, we’re lucky if we get one kiss in the last 5 minutes, and we let out a shocked cheer if we get 2 kisses in one movie. What do we get in THIS one: we get not one, not two, but THREE instances where we get some very sweet and adorable kisses. Anna even says, “No more kissing” because they have to get to his dad’s and her aunt’s wedding before it goes on without them. I couldn’t believe me eyes! I just wish we had more like that. It’s nice to see a romantic relationship in progress, rather than watching them always trying to jump start.

 

Stop the Wedding | Hallmark Channel Photo credit: hallmarkchannel.com

Well, there are a million other things I could say about this movie, but I’m afraid it’s past my bedtime. With all the reruns Hallmark has been airing, you should be able to see it, if you haven’t already. And you NEED to see it if at all possible. I’ll see you all Friday. This is Hooked Heartie, signing off. May your heart let your hope blossom.