Wow! That title has quite the double meaning for me today. So Hearties, I know I have “some s’plainin’ to do”. I am very sorry to not have posted on Friday, but I do have a very good reason. I had to go to the hospital on Saturday. The test results came back with a rather large hernia, and I had an operation on Sunday afternoon. I’m home now, recuperating and resting comfortably, feeling so very blessed that it wasn’t something worse, and that the hernia didn’t become strangulated; otherwise I don’t know where I’d be at this point.

Maybe that’s why my choice for today’s #WonderWednesday resonates so much with me. It is Once Upon a Christmas Miracle. It spoke to my soul even before I went to the ER, then it just became doubly meaningful. The connection to WCTH is miniscule, it’s true; Steve Bacic, (Mr. Spurlock the Pinkerton) plays Heather’s (the patient) cousin. But his name is Jack, so that counts for something, right? It’s not like any other Hallmark movie uses that name. 😀

Probably one of the best parts about this movie is that it was inspired by a true story. After watching it and how the events unfolded, I couldn’t help but think, “How could these two NOT fall in love?!” There’s no bond that could surpass that! Then I just started wondering which parts were true, and which were written with artistic license. Did it really happen at Christmas, or did they place it in that setting for extra inspiration and feeling? Fun to speculate, but it’s also nice to just sit back and enjoy this love story for the ages!

Heather is a nursing student who finds out she needs a liver transplant, and come to find out, a living donor is the best option. Heather didn’t want to get checked out until after exams. (That was me. I told my husband I’d get checked out after Christmas. He wisely told me not a chance!) Chris is an honorably discharged Marine spending his first Christmas at home in 5 years. He works at Jack’s garden center, and overhears Jack and Ashley (Heather’s sister) discussing the imminent need to find a match for Heather. He goes and gets screened for a total stranger out of the goodness of his heart, and it turns out he IS a match. He literally saves her life!

And as if THAT wasn’t enough, Chris then instigates and heads up a Christmas Eve fundraiser so Heather can pay her medical bills, and return to nursing school. He even decides to make it a Christmas fundraiser because, “I don’t think I’ve met someone who loves Christmas more than Heather.” Well, he’s never met me, but man! What a guy!!! That’s actually one of my favorite parts, the prep. Chris is on the phone with Jack, then there’s a knock at the door. He asks Jack if it’s him. “You know Heather’s going to be here, [open door to see Heather and drops phone down while words fade,] any seco…” Brett Dalton delivers it perfectly. It sent me into a fit of giggles.

That’s got to be the best part about this film, (besides the romance, of course,) is how they find the humorous moments in an otherwise solemn plot. We always need a break from drama, and they do that very well. I can’t possibly name them all, but here are some highlights:

1) After Chris reveals they’re a match, Heather is obviously very emotional. She reaches across the table to give him a very tearful hug. He reciprocates, then casually looks at the menu, and asks, “So, what’s good here? Then he talks about his great love for Mexican food. She smiles knowingly, and plays along.

2) When they’re being prepped for surgery, Chris says, “Nice gurney,” as if he’s flirting with Heather. Good way to lighten the mood, especially because she panics, and tries to back out. “What was I thinking? How can I let you do this for me?” He calms her with, “How can you not?” They squeeze hands, and it goes from light, to intense, to tender.

3) The entire conversation between them after the operation. They
• “What can I say, I leave ’em in stitches.”
• “You better get out of here. They’re coming for ya!”
• “I’ll be here all week.”

4) After they kiss for the first time, he leans back, and asks, “Does this mean I’m staying for dinner?”
So lots of fun amidst the sadness. In addition to the fun moments, there are just lots of great moments! Here’s a great one: During recovery, they watch a Christmas movie. She very expertly informs him, “This is the part where he’s confused about falling in love with her.” It’s so quick, but Chris looks down, the words obviously penetrating him personally.

The moment I started crying was when she walks into the fundraiser, everyone starts applauding, and he makes his way through the crowd to her. And when they dance together, he tries to tell her he is hesitant to take a new job because he doesn’t want to leave her. The vulnerability in his eyes when he says, “Things are a little more complicated now, aren’t they?” Can I get an “Awww!”?

Of course the crowning moment is the very end, which is where the movie started may I add, with Chris proposing. He gets out of a curtained horse-drawn carriage to do it too! Heather does a voiceover, and says something really profound. “He was my Christmas angel, and I was his.” That is really important to remember: He saved her life, yes. And she gave him purpose, as well as someone to love. She saved him too.

And to wrap it all up in a beautiful Christmas bow, I’ll tell you what my 4-year-old said. She watched some of it with me. When she saw the picture of the real Chris and Heather and realized it was a true story, she said, “That story was real?! Someday when I’m bigger, I want to get on an airplane and go meet them.” This is Hooked Heartie, signing off. May your heart let your hope blossom!

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