5 Shows on Netflix for Criers that don’t want to Cry

IMG_2232I crave real substance in my television shows. Sometimes, I will sit for forty-five minutes surfing Netflix on the television with the laptop open to reviews of whatever shows I happen to be investigating. Before I begin a show, I like to know what people are saying about it, and more than that, I like to know if it is a show that will make me cry. I hate shows that induce tears for no apparent reason. I will cry to see some growth, I will cry to see some virtue, and I will even cry if it cannot be helped, but I will NOT cry for deteriorating characters, depressing themes with no redemption, or an ending that had little reason for ending that way. I don’t mean that I physically will not cry, I just mean that I won’t even turn on the show because I am a crier. I know I’m not alone, and in fact, my own mother is the same way. She taught me to value virtue in television before I even knew what that meant!

That doesn’t mean that every show I watch must never feature sin in any way (there would be startlingly little to watch if that were the case), it just means that it must not feature the glorification of sin, or even the majority tolerance for sin for it to be in my “to watch” list. I am Catholic, and I believe there is a lot to learn from seeing different scenarios played out and seeing the consequences for them, but I also believe in a good redemption story! If you’re reading along and thinking the same things, you may have found five new shows to love that are currently streaming on Netflix.

Call the Midwife – I had heard my mom and aunt talk wildly about this show, and had it in the back of my mind for a rainy day, but I wasn’t convinced to try it right away because I’ve never been a “birth fanatic.” I finally decided to try it and was surprised that I was moved as much as I was by these midwives doing their job and the friendship that they shared in doing it. There are really so many medical scenarios to cover in the 1950s as well as political and cultural scenarios, and since it is narrated by the main midwife, “Nurse Jenny Lee,” this show may feature the most character growth of all five shows. She learns not just about her midwifery job, but about life in general, of people, and love, and tragedy. The other midwives are much the same and this show also has a healthy dose of humor throughout (especially where Sister Monica Joan is concerned). The themes I love about this one are friendship and compassion. And a word for the men, Daniel watched this one with me until we became pregnant ourselves (and knew he might be too sensitive towards the medical scenarios during the course of our pregnancy) and he really loved it. He never shied away from the birth aspect of it and commented often of the high quality of writing and filming. This is really a great date night show!

Death Comes to Pemberley – I just tried this one recently after running out of “Jane Austen shows” on Netflix and I have the least to say about this one, but it deserves mentioning. It’s meant to be taken as a sequel to “Pride and Prejudice” and is adapted from P.D. James’ novel of the same title. The quality of filming is wonderful, the sets and dresses are beautiful, and it really feels like a Jane Austen show, although I don’t know that I can say it is on par with Austen’s books. I haven’t read the novel by P.D. James but watching this show made me really want to read it! It’s a murder mystery which I found to be interesting in a Jane Austen setting, but I think that’s what makes it. No one is trying to “be” Jane Austen in the making of the miniseries, and there is enough original style to make it appealing. I will say that it is enough like Austen’s books that it makes you value virtue and loathe dishonesty and immorality.

The Paradise – This is a show that is gorgeous to behold. The sets are dreamy, the costumes are intricate and trim, and the actresses are pretty. This show is basically eyecandy. It follows character “Denise Lovett” around a department store in the late 1800’s as she learns the ropes of being a shop girl for high society. Her curious, bright eyes make the show and you find yourself as enthusiastic as she is in pursuit of bettering the store. This show was canceled and I’ve heard that the show, “Mr. Selfridge” is quite similar and did better overall, but I don’t think this one should be overlooked. The theme that stuck out the most to me in this show was diligence to work your hardest, and love your work.

Merlin – This one was recommended by a friend and while it is geared to a younger audience than the rest of the shows, both Daniel and I enjoyed it! The main actor that plays Merlin also looks like a young Benedict Cumberbatch so there’s that for all of you Sherlock fans (also another great show). I kept thinking that I want to watch this one with Eliot when he’s old enough. It’s influenced by Arthurian legends and has a healthy dose of fantasy involved. Camelot is a place where magic is banned and Merlin is a boy who has to hide his true nature because of it. He ends up becoming Arthur’s manservant and there is a lot of “polish my armor, clean my bedchamber” dynamic going on, but what makes this show is the character development between the two. The two grow a friendship between them and explore themes of trust and kindness. It’s a pretty awesome bromance. I will definitely re-watch this one (probably before Eliot is even old enough to watch with me)!

Parenthood – This is by far my favorite Netflix show, and I happened upon it randomly. Normally, I’m not one to try a show without recommendation or extreme screening before turning it on, but I was in the thick of Pregnancy, stuck at home, and desperate for a new show. I have to say, Parenthood hooked me by the end of the pilot episode. It is a show about family all the way from Grandfather to Grandbaby and as you can imagine, having episodes that feature different family members can offer a look into many different situations and problems that arise in a typical (or not so typical) family. Parenthood takes problems like spoiled children, rebellion, absent fathers, and health scenarios and solves them in an atmosphere of family, love and patience. There is only one scenario that I can call to mind that made me want to skip for controversial reasons (this goes back to what I said about tolerance of sin and even glorification of it) and there is really only one character throughout the series that has little development from start to finish. I cannot stand serious shows that feature little character development or even worse, a deteriorating character over the seasons. I’m very drawn in by character driven shows that feature the character(s) growing. Out of all of these shows, this one is more likely to make you cry than any of the others, but I did make it through with all of my raging pregnant hormones and was not depressed for days when it ended! The obvious theme in this show is “family” but the underlying theme that I really love is the theme of elderly wisdom (and sometimes not) in the place of the Grandfather’s role.

There you have it, five shows that are definitely binge worthy and should not make you ball like a baby for no reason (although you might cry through some of them, the tears will be worth it).

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Extraordinary Love through Ordinary Acts (and that time I almost gave my husband a heart attack in a taco restaurant)

“I finished my day a little early, want to meet for dinner tonight?” Her husband asked as they both climbed into their cars in different parking lots in very different locations. One had finished a demanding day of meetings, classes, teaching classes, and teaching privately, in addition to practicing his trade, and the other had spent the day packaging books, managing the phones, and handling customers until sundown. Life had acquired a special little rhythm in which the two were quite comfortable and happy living together. It was finally a peaceful and settled routine.

“Sure, I’m starving. Let’s go to the taco place close to work,” she suggested, starting the car.

“Okay, I’ll be there in a few minutes.” They hung up and not but ten minutes later were greeting each other outside the restaurant under fading blue skies with a hug and a kiss on the cheek.

He ordered. She picked a table.

She grabbed the napkins. He filled the drinks.

They bantered back and forth about their day for a few minutes, and then the food arrived.

They both eagerly dressed their tacos, said a blessing and began devouring their food. All was orderly, calm, and serene, regardless of the restaurant’s devil mascot with a pitchfork hanging precariously over their heads.

“I think I’ll stop at the grocery store on the way home and pick up a couple of pregnancy tests.”

*silence*

All she could truly focus on at the time of the casually dropped news was the deliciousness she held in her hand and her heart was full of all she desired… Food. More specifically, Tacos. “Man, these tacos are so amazing!”

*crickets*

It had taken a full forty-five seconds of silence for her to glance up at the shock registered on her husband’s face with his hands halfway to his face, mid-bite across from her.

He regained his composure enough to mumble something in response. “You think we’re pregnant?” He looked at her and glanced down at her stomach.

She took another enormous bite of taco and closed her eyes in pleasure with a satisfied, “mmmmm,” before even registering what he had said.

Obviously, he needed no further explanation.

This extraordinary journey has started in the most ordinary way. School, work, and a couple of tacos… But I want to talk a little bit about the ordinary acts in the beginning of this journey, not just the ordinary circumstances.

I can’t fully express the love my husband has given me since that day I almost gave him a heart attack at a taco restaurant, but I want to try. He’s been patient, understanding, kind, and loyal to me even when I wasn’t loyal to myself. I didn’t exactly ease him into whole, “you’re going to be a dad” thing, and in fact, I was pretty consumed with the idea of food at the time. You always know it’s a possibility living the life that we do, but until that possibility becomes reality, you don’t realize how extraordinary pregnancy is for a husband and wife.

I’m not just talking about the science or biology of the thing… I’m talking about the beautiful, extraordinary journey of love that occurs. I can’t condense it into the love between spouses. Or even the love between the future parents with their child, because it’s both of those, and more. Somehow, it’s like the world opens up and you see and experience love everywhere. And it’s not just that romantic love that has its place in an early relationship; it’s a love that goes much deeper… It’s appreciation, selflessness, and most of all, it’s sacrificial.

In the first trimester, I often wondered when I would start to “feel pregnant.” I knew that I was, I could see my body changing, but I just didn’t feel it. Even when I began feeling Eliot kick in my second trimester, I still didn’t “feel pregnant.” I was looking for that motherly, nurturing, loving feeling for my son that I knew would come, but wasn’t sure when. Would it come all at once, or would it come gradually?

It wasn’t through any extraordinary event that I began to feel it. It was through the ordinary works of my husband that exhibited his extraordinary love for me. The love of Christ through my husband’s willing hands and heart is what truly showed and gave me a sense of nurturing love for my son.

The sweetness of my husband’s open arms when he would observe me laughing hysterically at a joke and then not a moment of transition would occur and I would be melting into tears over the same joke.

The selflessness to wake up, help me sit up in bed, and guide me as I walked unstably to the bathroom four times a night.

The sacrifice in the rearrangement of every class, event, and piece of his schedule necessary so that he could come to every doctor’s appointment because he knew I was phobic of the doctor’s office.

The kindness of his coming to my whimpering calls at four in the morning to sit with me on the cold floor and dipping washcloths in cool water to ease my nausea.

All of these ordinary acts show his extraordinary virtue and sacrificial love, and I’ve fallen into deeper love with my husband through them. Gradually, I’ve grown closer to my Maker through them. And finally, I’ve realized a love for this little child in my womb, and my heart swells with love whenever I wake up and eat my ordinary toast and fruit as an act of extraordinary love until he can be in my arms.

I was looking before for some extraordinary feeling for Eliot that would just happen. But I was shown that it’s the ordinary acts that bring about that extraordinary love (which also brings about the feeling of protective, motherly, nurturing, and sacrificial love).

And if we’re talking about the ordinary leading to the extraordinary… does anyone want some of those tacos I mentioned at the start of this post? No? Just me? Okay…

A Chapter in the Life (Ch. 13)

Good Catholic Literature

Stop Trying to Change Your Boyfriend – To the Heights – Olivia nailed it! Don’t you love it when someone so eloquently writes something that echoes so deeply in your own heart? Because I do. 

A Homemade Holy Water Font for your Home – All for Heaven’s Sake – IMG_2136I was trying to remember if I had posted this link already but I think this one was posted after my last Chapter in a Life post. Amy was such a sweetheart that she sent a wonderfully cheerful package all the way from Canada with left over supplies (and a gift for Eliot) so that I could make my own Holy Water Font!! I don’t know if I can describe how loved that made me feel–but all of that is beside the point. This is a great resource and Amy did a wonderful job with her Holy Water Fonts! Check her out if you haven’t already taken a look-see at her blog.

Family News

IMG_2088Poor Cooper… I don’t know what to say about this troublemaker. He and I took a tumble down our stairs a few weeks back and after brushing off my bruised knees and scraped hands, Daniel and I thanked God that neither mother or baby was seriously hurt in the tumble, grumbled a bit at the impatient dog (who, by the way, refuses to be restrained with any manner of dog collar contraption whenever I walk him), and went on about life. A few days later though, Cooper had developed a major limp and upon inspecting his poor little paw, we found it quite bloody. Fortunately, I had already scheduled a vet visit for the following day, and when we took him in, Daniel said that he cried and yelped like nobody’s business when they tried to clean the paw. We then spent a lovely Saturday date sitting in the vet’s office waiting for our little mess to wake up from his sedatives and they informed us that he was all set, but had probably gotten a piece of glass stuck in it during the fall that had splice him up. As of now, he’s much better and no longer hopping along on three legs!

IMG_2095Baby Eliot is growing rapidly and kicking away at 29 weeks! I just adore feeling his little feet or fists and feeling him adjust in my belly. Daniel reads “Daddaddyslullabydy’s Lullaby” to him almost every night and sings the lullaby at the end (lately I’ve been falling asleep before he even gets there). Eliot has come to recognize not only Daniel’s voice, but will be quiet until the lullaby, and then kick a few times during the song (which is ironic because the song is all about going to sleep). Daniel has also been learning that if he scratches my belly a specific way, it wakes the little guy up and he will move and dance around in my belly! It’s such a sweet thing to see those two interact already!

And as you can see in the bump picture, I chopped my hair off. I really wondered if I would like it short, but have been loving it being down every day and not a mess! No more sock buns for me for a while!

Our friends, Mia and Joe, came to visit recently and we enjoyed a very nice pancake breakfast (thanks to my sweetie) and exchanged birthday/baby shower gifts. It made me really look forward to the end of this trimester so our little family can travel a little more to see such special friends! I’m really looking forward to their wedding in May even if I will be quite unsightly at that point. More to love in the pictures! Haha.

IMG_2063I may be nerding out way too much with our child on the dragon obsession… At least I know Eliot’s friends won’t have the same comforting plush character as him (courtesy of my cousin who so lovingly crocheted a dragon for him). Is it confusing for a child to learn all about Saint George and also grow up with a love of dragons? Never mind, I don’t wanna know… I’ll content myself to know that I grew up loving Smaug and HE was a pretty bad dragon.

Mia also made this mom super gleeful to have a Game of Thrones inspired painting. Fun fact: Before I realized I was pregnant and since it was October, I was planning on going to work as Daenerys Targaryen from the tv GoT series and then a few days before Halloween (i.e. the day all my coworkers dress up super nerdy), we discovered that we were expecting our own little baby dragon. And then I REALLY felt like I should go as Daenerys, but alas, I didn’t want to spend the money on the costume when I knew we would have added expenses coming up in the next nine months.

DIY

IMG_2057This is the embroidery piece I’ve been working on intermittently whilst trying to finish up the never ending blanket for my brother. It was a fun stitch up and I did like adding all the color! I just want to embroider lots of flowers now though, and I don’t know what to do with that… I’m not a huge floral person (although I love having real flowers all over the house) and tea towels have never been my jam.

IMG_2091And this is the previously mentioned never ending blanket (which only needs a border now whenever I can get to the craft store to pick up the last skein). The last bit of it is honestly like pulling teeth to make myself do it! I don’t really know why that is…

IMG_2128That hasn’t stopped me from testing out a granny square pattern that I thought I would enjoy doing for blanket for myself! I was thinking lots of whites, teals, blues, and lavenders and making each square two toned? I really need to test out one more square though to work out the kinks in the pattern before I set to work on the real ones.

Thanks for being a part of my Chapter in a Life posts and please remember you can find me on Pinterest to view the latest things that float through my head at night when I’m trying to fall asleep.

Peace be with you all!

Hannah