Happy Friday, all! How are all of you doing? My girls just had their very last school event yesterday, so we’ve officially started summer. The idea IS a little daunting, given the fact that we don’t know what the conditions of summer will be like, as far as social distancing is concerned. But we’re going to be like the Light Brigade, and forge ahead, right?!

Before I start the post for today, I just want to acknowledge a few dates. Yesterday was a big day for one Mr. Brian Bird; the Big Man, the Master Pot Stirrer, and our beloved Papa Heartie. So, if you haven’t already, don’t forget to drop him a note of some kind. Speaking of birthdays, TODAY is a very special day for someone dear to me, and to you. It’s Mrs. Kaycee Simpson’s special day, one of my lovely cohosts on the When Calls the Hallmarkies: Heart to Heart podcast. So happy birthday to both of you. You touch our lives in very different, but very profound ways.

And, it’s actually thanks to Kaycee that we have this post. She and I were chatting about possible future blogs I could do, and she helped me come up with the idea of this lovely little series we’re going to chat about for the next several Flashback Fridays. So, today we start Heart to Heart: Friendship in Hope Valley. We’re going to explore all different kinds of friendships that take place in “our dear little hamlet.” And if those words sound familiar, like they could spout from the mouth of a certain Rosemary LeVeaux Coulter, you’re right; and that is with whom we are going to begin. We’re starting with Elizabeth and Rosemary, mostly because it’s the one that’s gone through the most drastic transition. And, as you can probably guess, it’s going to take a few posts. 😉

Part 1: Bumpy Beginnings

We all know that the friendship between Miss Thatcher and Miss LeVeaux was not exactly…smooth sailing. The very first glimpse of our red-clad thespian causes Elizabeth’s eyes to bug out, and she and her sister can do nothing but pass a bewildered look between them. Despite the shocking first impression, (dramatic curtsy and all!), Elizabeth is still polite and friendly, eagerly speaking with the new arrival…even if she becomes a bit distracted. Then Rosemary’s eye lands on a figure similarly dressed in crimson, and her true motive for travel becomes crystal clear. And if you’re like me, you wanted Rosemary to get back on that stagecoach and hightail it out of town after the first five minutes, pantaloons and all!

My Devotional Thoughts | “When Calls the Heart” Season One Review Photo credit: mydevotionalthoughts.com

Elizabeth probably felt like someone had punched her in the stomach, and no matter how hard she tried in the following days, she couldn’t get around Rosemary’s very imposing presence. Elizabeth’s face would take on what I use to call the “Rosemary Smile”. It pushed its way to her teeth every time Rosemary was around because Elizabeth was always trying to deal with her. Watch for it. It happens quite often in those first episodes.

Every time Elizabeth almost gets a leg up, Rosemary uses it to lift herself. Take the meeting about building the new church. Elizabeth was gaining the advantage, since Rosemary seemed quite appalled that Jack had spent reward money on the church. Then things looked up even more when he talked about “someone very special”. And what does she do? She snags the attention, proclaiming, “Thank you, Jack.” Who does that? Not to mention the lady does everything she can to outshine Elizabeth’s meager cooking skills with her superb chicken fried steak. Low blow! The one thing that saves the situation is Jack takes his life into his hands, and consumes the burnt food. That’s love! And it sent a very clear signal.

But, probably the worst thing she did was pitting Jack and Elizabeth against each other by eavesdropping then blabbing about Elizabeth’s job offer back East. She couldn’t let Elizabeth tell him herself, or let them work things out. In the beginning, the woman was, in a word, devious.

Jack’s words to Rip never rang more true: “I think it is safer in here with you than out there, boy.” That, and his declaration to Rosemary herself: “Your presence could sidetrack an army.” Not the best way to start a friendship, but I’ve seen worse…I think. Luckily, we know everything turned out okay. But, we’ll talk about that another day, another time. Have a great weekend friends! I’ll see you next week! This is Hooked Heartie, signing off. May your heart let your hope blossom!

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.

Hey, Hearties! I’m back! WOW! I cannot believe it’s been an entire WEEK since I’ve actually…blogged. All of you who are bored during this quarantine, you are MORE than welcome to come to my house. You will not suffer from monotony in the slightest! 😉 But school is finally winding down for us, so my laptop will no longer be commandeered by my girls for their schoolwork.

Well, this is a big day! Not only am I back for the first time in a week, but I am debuting my first music video! If you love Hallmark, (which I suspect you do since you’re reading this,) and/or you’re feeling a little trapped by current circumstances, this video is for you! But first, let’s talk Nathan. (The reason for this discussion is in the video, but you’ll have to watch it to find out 😛 )

So, let’s get the “vegetables” out of the way first, poor Nathan’s flirting misfires. First of all, thank you to everyone who weighed in. That really did help me a great deal, and saved me a whole lot of time. Truthfully, I like Nathan’s flirtation failures. They make him human and relatable, and they make us smile. I’m inclined to believe that even diehard Lucas fans have a soft spot somewhere for the Mountie. But we can’t deny that these romantic mishaps cause us to react like Allie: palm our foreheads and shake our heads, but we’re still smiling. So here are, in the Hooked Heartie’s opinion, the Top 5 Nathan Flirting Failures.

 


5) The “Great” Triangle. When Elizabeth catches up to Nathan to try and engage him in conversion about Allie’s Queen Victoria book report, he misses a big opportunity to flirt. Instead he gives answers that are a couple words long. Then things get super awkward when Lucas approaches, thus the “great triangle”.


4) Dinner Invitation in the Stables. This is an interesting one. There isn’t an actual person interrupting them like in the school, and Elizabeth is geared up to say yes. So pull her outside, and finish your sentence, my friend!


3) “Just Getting Warmed Up”. Oh Nathan. You started out with such pure intentions: winning your niece a fishing rod at the strong-man competition. And you accepted the loss until the pretty teacher walked up eating popcorn. Then you had to show off. And it backfired. Good thing Lucas bombed too, or else it could have been REALLY embarrassing.


2) The Wave at the Party. Oh my gosh! How do you spell awkward? W-A-V-E. And the way Nathan tried to backpedal by putting his hand on his neck…you can’t help but feel sorry for the poor guy. At least Elizabeth smiled at Nathan first. We can say that much.


                                                                                 AND


1) “The Founders Would Be Proud”. I don’t think this one needs explanation. Elizabeth and Allie’s faces say it all. Nathan even admits it “just came out”.

 



Okay enough of that! Let’s skip to dessert: Nathan’s flirtatious advances that make us shout “Bullseye!” Or some kind of equivalent. 😀 He may have plenty of flirting failures, being the shy and tongue-tied man that he is, but in these instances, he hits the nail on the head.


5) Hands Brush. I put this one last because it’s semi-unintentional; a happy accident, if you will. When the library shelves collapse, and Nathan helps Elizabeth pick up the fallen books, their hands brush, and there’s definitely electricity. Didn’t hurt that in the moment before, he had very sincerely complimented her with, “You’re quite the teacher.”


4) “You Matter to Me”. I know what some of you diehard #TeamNathan fans are saying right now: “How could that be #4, not #1???? I promise to reveal my reasons momentarily…one of them right now. I love that actual feelings in the form of words pushed their way out of his mouth; we all know how difficult that is for him. I remember gasping, and yelling, “He said it, he said it!” I just think the moment ended abruptly. So while the emotion is genuine, and we all held our breath, there are other moments that play out more fully.


3) Invitation to Dinner. He finally got the words out. We were all so proud of him! He probably felt the urgency to ask since he was leaving to transfer the prisoner, Elias, and he didn’t want that loose end to remain untied. So good for him for taking a deep breath, and seizing the moment by the throat. Now we can only hope we get to see that dinner at the café in Season 8.


2) Holding Jack/Funny Faces. Okay, guys, I STRUGGLED with this one. Should it be 1? Should it be 2? I even asked my husband and my best friend to weigh in on it; that’s how stuck I was. This moment melted me into a puddle, and my heart was pounding with joy at those hilarious faces. Rarely is there any gesture more endearing than a man holding and playing with a baby. What it came down to was that this scene showed more of his good character, and why he might make a good choice for a stepfather. Number One, however, shows more of Nathan’s personal intent toward Elizabeth.

                                                                   AND NUMBER ONE IS…………………………………………


1) The Engraved Wooden Plaque. There are so many levels to this gift that some write off, or dismiss as “simple”. First, Nathan remembered that Emerson was her Elizabeth’s favorite poet. Then he took the time to choose a quote appropriate for her; which with Emerson, that is no easy task. But he doesn’t write it down. He becomes a craftsman, carving it into a beautiful wooden plaque with his own hands. He doesn’t have the means to match the generous gift of the library that Lucas can afford to do, but he offers what he can to the cause.

Okay, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the first exclusive look at my first music video project, “Do You Wanna Watch TV With Me.” I had the great honor of singing this song I created for Kristoffer Polaha in his Friday night Instagram Live video: The Polaha Chautauqua. First thing he asked was if I had put it on YouTube. Well, I finally did! But I wouldn’t have been able to pull it off without my husband and cameraman, Will, my dear friend Jess who edited, my piano player Shaleen Wilding, and yes, my children, who loved playing themselves on camera. Enjoy! This is Hooked Heartie, signing off. May your heart let your hope blossom!

 

Okay, everyone, we have some HUGE news for you today! This is BIG! Thanks to all of you wonderful, supportive people, (and maybe even thanks to the quarantine for making so many of you bored enough!), Hooked Heartie now has 100 FOLLOWERS! Actually, the total is 103! What a milestone! I remember how excited I was when we hit 50, and now it’s more than doubled! Thank you all SO MUCH for your laughter, your tears, your indulgence, your patience when I miss a day or am late, and your SUPPORT! I can’t begin to show you enough gratitude!!!

But I’m going to try! I’ve got something special for you today! Call it a #FlashbackFriday and a #FaceOffFriday mashup! And in celebration of Mother’s Day on Sunday, it’s something VERY appealing to all you ladies out there, as well as something everyone’s favorite WCTH mom Elizabeth gets to experience: the best of Mr. Lucas Bouchard and Constable Nathan Grant.

There’s got to be a moment when you decided which team you were on, something special one of the men did to steal your heart. Or did one of them do something that made you conflicted? What was the one moment when one man or the other sealed the deal for you, or made it harder to decide? Well, what I’ve done today is present the two moments I think made each man the most desirable; when each of them really hit a homer for me. It leaves poor Elizabeth with quite the conflict, but she’s a mom. She’ll make the right decision for her and for her son. So here we go!

Nathan Moment #2:
This is more of a fun thing, but it makes Nathan very appealing: chopping wood. Any fan of Hallmark knows there are few things more attractive in a Hallmark man than watching him succeed at the chopping block. Why is that? I don’t know exactly. It’s one of those “you had to be there” things. When I started making a huge deal about it, my very practical husband said, “Sweetie, I’ve chopped wood.” It’s not that sexy…and those logs are pre-split.” I know THAT, of course! But there is just something about a man splitting logs (on TV at least) that shows off an old-fashioned display of strength and masculinity. A girl knows a man that strong can protect her, and a good look at those arms makes her want to feel them around her!

Lucas Moment #2:
This moment is quite small, especially compared to the grand “not a date” on which he takes Elizabeth. All of that is INCREDIBLE, of course! But there is one point where he becomes the most desirable, mostly because he’s not trying. When the desk clerk at the hotel calls Elizabeth “Mrs. Bouchard”, there’s no playing along, no moment of teasing, not even a smirk. Lucas IMMEDIATELY corrects him, and clearly calls her “Mrs. Thornton”. Then add some icing on the cake: he booked her an entire SUITE, while only booking a single room for himself. No appearance of impropriety, AND gives her the royal treatment. That makes him pretty desirable!

Lucas Moment #1:
Yes, I’m doing this order on purpose. Lucas has a moment that I’m sure everyone, even #TeamNathan fans, must admit makes Lucas a very desirable man. I have a feeling Elizabeth had a very hard time not melting into a puddle at this great act of kindness, generosity, and yes, affection. That moment, in my opinion, is when Lucas gave Elizabeth the library. We all know how dear literature is to Elizabeth’s heart, as is the drive to use it to inspire her students’ minds. But “more important” town matters, as well as the town’s unwillingness to pay, leaves the town without a library. I wonder if that’s part of the reason he gave it to her: his noise-making ruckus pushed back the library discussion at the town meeting. Regardless, giving Elizabeth the means to fulfill her dream of a town library, and at no additionally cost… that definitely bumped Lucas up several points on my scale.

 



Nathan’s Moment #1:
Turn around IS fair play. Although Lucas made several strides, especially in Season 7, there is a very significant step in which he is lacking. And who voluntarily picked up that slack? Our mild-mannered Mountie. Can you guess what step that might be? It’s the one moment that made Nathan everybody’s main man, even #TeamLucas fans. And that moment happens the instant Nathan took Baby Jack into his arms, and melted our hearts with those amazing goofy faces. Any time a man voluntarily holds a baby, he instantly wins brownie points. And when he’s as handsome as Kevin McGarry, he becomes the most attractive man in the room! Then if that wasn’t enough, he pulls out the tactics, AND makes the baby laugh. Sorry, Lucas, but you have yet to even hold Elizabeth’s little man.

 



So, do you agree with my picks? What are YOUR top moments that make each man the most desirable? Think about it, and keep the picture in your head this whole weekend. Have a Happy Mother’s Day all you mommies out there! And YAHOO! OVER 100 FOLLOWERS!!! Please keep ‘em coming, and please keep clicking ads, sharing, retweeting, and shopping on Amazon through our site. It helps so much! Thank you SO MUCH! This is Hooked Heartie, signing off. May your heart let your hope blossom!

 

 

Photo credits: Crown Media

Well, #Hearties, I can hardly believe it’s all over! Don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry! At least we know that it’s not going away forever. It WILL be back; the future may be a bit uncertain concerning filming, but it is returning. So that is one thing to look forward to. Also, I know I’m a day late, but once again, I have a great excuse! At the bottom of this very post is not one but TWO podcasts! Not only do you get our recap of the very dramatic season finale, you also get a Round Robin conversation about the entire season with the King and Queen of Heartie podcasting: James Lott Jr. and Marisa Serafini! And that one didn’t drop until today, so I couldn’t share it with you until now.

So with that in mind, please put your hands together for…………THE FINAL SHOWDOWN OF SEASON SEVEN! Who will get the most points today? Will that be enough to win overall? Shall we find out? LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLE!


 

S7E8: INTO THE WOODS

LUCAS:
+1 Long glance on the street
+1 Cookies are “delicious but not necessary”.
+1 Graciously accepts anyway
+1 Got her an autograph
+1 Bound the book in the leather
+1 Loaned her binoculars
+1 Came and got Elizabeth after finding Lee


NATHAN:
+1 Tipped his hat and said hello on the street
-1 Cold shoulder with “How far you going?”
+1 Cute wave through binoculars
+1 “Elizabeth is up there with the kids”
+1 Wanted to keep her safe with the kids
+1 “I’ll get Emily!”
+1 Found Emily and Elizabeth and guided them back to the cabin
+1 Making sure Elizabeth isn’t hurt
+1 “You both could have died!” (He cares that much!)
+1 “You put both our lives in jeopardy” (Some may argue this point with me, but if we want to get technical, Elizabeth disobeyed an officer of the law. She needed to hear what he said, even if she didn’t want to.)
-1 “My focus is on 2 things” (Even though anger is justified, that’s a low blow)
+1 He tries to apologize before Florence interrupts


S7E9: NEW POSSIBILITIES
LUCAS:
+1 Telling Elizabeth his mother’s compliment of her writing
-1 Sent in the chapters without asking
-1 Negating her feelings of not being ready
+1 Gave her an opportunity (Once again, I’ll probably get pushback for this, but a writer never thinks their work is ready. He helped her take a leap)
-1 Elizabeth wonders if she can trust him
+1 He profusely apologizes
+1 He was out of line and has learned his lesson
+1 Asking Elizabeth to stay and sit with him
+1 His excitement at her saying yes

NATHAN:
-1 In denial: “I’m not shutting you out”
-1 Refusing to talk to Elizabeth
+1 Humble acknowledgement to “He asked”
+ 1 Apologized for lashing out at her
+1 “I overreacted”
+1 Appreciates her courage and that she follows her instincts
+1 “I want you to be safe”
+2 “You matter to me” (First true spoken declaration of his feelings)


S7E10: DON’T GO
LUCAS:
+1 He came to get Elizabeth to call the publisher
+1 Grabs her coat, “Shall we?”
+1 Helps her relax for the call
+1 “I’ve read your work”
+1 “Did I write those chapters?”
+1 “Make a grand entrance for when you’re famous”
-1 Pulled out of the company
+1 Trying to keep things afloat from his own pocket
+1 “I can’t fault you for caring”
+1 Confiding in Elizabeth about Henry
+1 Inviting Elizabeth to celebrate at the library
+2 CANDLES! (2 points for being so Jack-like, but no more because it could have been hazardous! 😀 )
+1 Takes her jacket
+1 Pulls out her chair
+1 Brushes her hand
+1 Holds her gaze
+1 His vulnerability at seeing Elizabeth hug Nathan. He really showed that he truly cares for her, and it’s not just for show or the thrill the chase

NATHAN:
+1 He’s so happy to hear the news of Elizabeth’s book deal
+1 “I’ll see you at school in a bit.”
+1 Calling both Elizabeth and Allie talented writers
+1 Tried to ask her to dinner before Allie interrupted
+1 Complimented her on her strong mind, i.e. no cobwebs
+1 Unsaddles Sargeant for her because he doesn’t want the “famous writer hurting her hands”
+1 Happy the publisher realized how special she is
+1 “He’s not the only one.”
+1 He tried asking her out again
+1 “Standing guard” banter
+2 Finally got it out that he wants to take her to dinner at the CAFÉ (NOT the saloon! 😉 )
+1 Tells Elizabeth she can think about it
+1 Elizabeth’s reaction hearing he might be dead
+10 HE GOT THE HUG! Very emotionally charged, and no wandering eyes toward Lucas

TOTAL:
LUCAS – 26, NATHAN – 34

Well! Nathan pulls ahead in this final round! The strong, “silent” man got his day. But will it be enough for the entire seasonal win? Or will Lucas in all his suave charm prevail?

FINAL ACCUMULATED TOTAL: (Drum roll please………………………………………………………………….)



LUCAS – 90, NATHAN – 88

Oh man! He did it! He maintained his lead to the end for the win! On paper, Lucas is a very desirable choice. Now we’ll just have to see if the feelings match up. I know this disappoints several people, but when you think about it, I will admit that Lucas took more chances, and made more moves. We never saw Elizabeth’s reaction to Nathan’s flowers, they didn’t actually GO on that dinner date, and there were no words spoken there at the end of the finale. So Lucas does deserve this win. But we’ve heard what Brian Bird has said about The Tortoise and the Hare. 😉 We’ll just have to observe if it applies here.



Have a great rest of your weekend, Hearties. I’ll be back, I promise. It may not be until Wednesday, but I’ll do everything I can to keep you entertained! Be safe, be sane, be HAPPY! This is Hooked Heartie, signing off! May your heart let your hope blossom!

Photo credit: Crown Media
Top photo edit: Sarah Nitsch