Looking on Love

You drive me crazy…
but I adore you.

When it comes to romance, the looks say it all. Don’t ya think? Whether it’s in animated film or not. We read romance in facial expressions. Sometimes it’s harder to capture the exact expression in a book, but that’s what we, writers, work to do. 

I know many writers, including myself, that study movies, YouTube clips etc…poring over and over an expression an actor makes that portrays falling in love, admiration, flirtation, longing, desire, angst. 

Here are a few pictures that capture an expression. No words needed (but I’ll probably give you some anyway) to convey what’s going on. 



What do you see in his face? Does he need to tell her
how much she means to him? The hand at the
back of her neck is tender. A soft moment.
Longing. Desire in a non-fifty shades kind of way.



Whether you’re  fan of  Twilight or not,
this facial expression he’s making is killer
 (ha pardon the pun or don’t). This is
intense. Angst. And in context of the movie,
a struggle in self-control on Edward’s part.
Ah! We all love Princess Bride, don’t we?
Westly is about to leave. But this expression, it’s
almost like he’s imprinting his promise to return,
his loyal devotion and love to her. He. Will. Be. Back.
And not Terminator style! 
Here, Westly is back! It’s been forever and
at this moment she knows it’s her farm boy
and not the dread pirate Roberts. This expression
conveys, “I came back. My love, my loyalty, my devotion
has never wavered. And…I missed you.”
Okay, Matthew C. really knows how to express
falling in love. I love the lips on lips smile. It expresses:
You make me happy. Love is fun. Whimsical. And it’s
about to crank up to something so much more.
Yeah, here he is again. Okay,
so they fought. So they had a misunderstanding.
It’s resolved. It’s a quiet expression, isn’t it? Full
of apology. Hope. Even pleading a bit. And longing,
as well as desire. We all know what happens next.
Plus the sweat just adds to it, doesn’t it?
Paul Rudd in Clueless. Cher doesn’t realize he’s
sneaking a peek at her. But check out those eyes.
I want to be with her. She’s so out of my league.
He’s almost willing her to see him, really see him,
with that look. You’re beautiful. And more than the outside.
Again, he’s really looking at her. If she can’t
see how he feels about her in those eyes, in that lopsided
grin, she’s…well….clueless! Right? Right? 
Good gravy, I adore the closed eye hug. This is Elijah
and Hayley from the Originals. This says, you’re safe.
You’re in my arms and I’ll never let anything ever happen
to you.  Flood of relief. You belong to me (in a non-Silence of the Lambs
kind of way). It’s so intense, he has to close his eyes.
A favorite prince for me. What’s this say?
I’m cute. Admit it. And I’m worming my way out of
something. Ariel is smitten with him over his boyish
flirting. It’s effortless to him. 
Check out the same-ish look in Hugh Grant’s expression.
This was Two Week’s Notice. He’s playful. Teasing.
But behind that, look at the admiration, the desire,
the…love he has for her. He’s every bit as smitten
as Eric in the next picture below.
Here she’s working her charm, naive as it is, on him.
Nothing else in the world is going on. Not dinner. Not the world.
Nothing but her. He could stay right here like this forever.
And she’s not even noticing.  
We all love Mr. Darcy! Rain helps set this mood.
Nothing like a hero with we hair matted to his forehead,
dripping down his cheeks. This is I love you but…see the pain.
The agony there. Not like Edward Cullen. Because it’s a
different king of pain a different kind of control.

Something about the trapped expression. His jaw’s set.
Look closely. He’s determined. He knows exacty what he wants
and it’s not slipping away. His hands shield her from it.
Pay attention to her face! She knows it. He’s a wolf (cue Duran Duran)
but not the kind that will devour her in a bad way. In fact, maybe those arms
are there to reveal she’s safe…sort of wink wink…

What hero/movie/book stands out to you as a sigh-moment in relation to romance?  

Bottoms Up!

I took my son to see
Monsters University on Monday.  Totally
cute movie and unlike Man of Steel, I
didn’t cry through the entire film. You can read my post Man of Steel vs. the Cross HERE.
But something hit me
for sure. (I don’t think I’m giving away spoilers, but it’s a kids’ movie, so
do you really care?)
All Mike ever
wanted was to be a scarer. But no one believed he could. Yet, he had
faith. It was his dream.
was going to show the world.
Enter Monsters
University and the Scare program. He worked harder and longer than
anyone–especially Sully. He had a lot to prove.
During an argument
(Mike once again proving he was good enough) he and Sully caused an accident
and it landed them out of the Scare program.
Mike and Sully’s
dreams seemed destroyed. Then Mike remembered the Scare Games–a competition
amongst fraternities. He bet the dean he could win them and if he did, she’d
have to admit she’d been wrong and he was the scariest.
again, Mike sought his dream. But it was for his own glory. His own good. His
own fame.
The most unlikely
band of monsters came together and they learned valuable lessons: Team work,
camaraderie, and even friendship. But Mike still had his eye (ha, don’t pardon
the one-eyed pun) on himself. His end goals.
While they seemed to
have won, Sully cheated. Because Mike, well…he just wasn’t scary.
That little diddy
landed their expulsion.
What happened to
Mike’s dream? Poof! Gone.
Was it?
What he learned
through a few more scenes was he was okay being just okay. And what Sully learned was, Mike wasn’t just okay.
He was brilliant. They never could have made it as far as they had in the games
or in that final battle had it not been for Mike.
Mike decides, you
know what? We’re not beaten. We’re not down. And he and Sully start out at the
Scare Company’s mail room. Photos in their work locker show them moving up in
the ranks. Starting at the bottom and working up.
Until finally, they
make it to the scare room floor.
And that’s when a
spiritual lesson hit me.
Sometimes we fail
because we’re chasing after our own glory. We want to prove we can do something
just for the sake of being somebody special.
you are special. I’m special. To God.
And sometimes our
dreams won’t always come in the ways we expect them. They won’t be big and
flashy. They’ll come small and steady. You can read about small beginnings
Sometimes it’s a
process of starting in the mail room, being diligent and persevering that
inches us toward our passion.
Sometimes, God keeps
us low, so He can go high. He has lessons in character building He needs us to
learn, and He wants the glory. If we are faithful with little, we’ll be ruler
over much.
is hard work. It takes time. Endurance.
“For God is not unjust to forget your
work and labor of love which
you have shown toward His name, in
that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.”
Hebrews 6:10
The question is, who
are you laboring for? Love for God or for yourself?
“Be…not lagging in diligence, fervent
in spirit, serving the Lord;  rejoicing
in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;…” 
Romans 12:10-12


you say you’ve been enduring with diligence and the 
right focus or not? 

The Love Triangle

I admit it, I’m a huge fan of the love triangle. I looked back on my manuscripts–most have a triangle of some sort, which is odd since I’m all about balance. I like things even. 

But triangles have snagged me since Jessica Wakefield and Lila Fowler fought over Bruce Patman. What?! No really. It’s true. In fact, that entire series had one triangle after another. It’s why I adored the Vampire Diaries books (though odd at times) and the show–which is actually better. Thank you, Kevin Williamson. Like seriously. Thank you.

Fairly Legal really picked up when they brought on the oh so wonderful, Ryan Johnson, as Ben Grogan–but then it didn’t get picked up. I’m still ticked over that.

I’m drawn to books, shows, and movies that have a triangle. 

I thought I’d share some of my favorite movie love triangles today.

An Affair to Remember 
 Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr, and Richard Denning. There have been several remakes of this movie, which I’ve seen, but I always come back to this one. She falls in love with the playboy (and who doesn’t love Carey Grant), he knows he isn’t good enough for her, and in the wings, a good man loves her and takes care of her after her accident, but her heart has always stayed with the playboy. My favorite story line, I think.


Sweet Home Alabama
Reese Witherspoon, Patrick Dempsey, and Josh Lucas. Torn between a really  nice, rich guy and her ex who’s still in love with her. You root for the husband but you also root for the character, Andrew Hennings. It’s only at the end that he realizes, he’s not in love with her. Up until then, it could go either way. 


My Best Friend’s Wedding
Julia Roberts, Dermot Mulroney, and Cameron Diaz. I rooted for Julia Robert’s character, Julianne, to be with her best bud (played by Dermot Mulroney), Michael but in the end it didn’t happen and I kinda wished Rupert Everett’s character, George, hadn’t been gay because I also liked him and Julianne together. 


I have several other favorites: The Princess Bride, It Happened One Night, Casablanca, Twilight Saga, The Hunger Games, The Notebook…but I can’t list every single one.

What about you? Do you enjoy a good love triangle, why or why not? If so, what is one of your favorites?
photo credit: freedigitalphotos

Shut Up or Get Out: Coffee with Jess

Hey everyone! Today is a Coffee with Jess installment! Today’s question comes from Erica Vetsch! Thanks for asking such a fun question!

I’ll be here on Monday with some helpful and important tips for attending the ACFW conference, so come by! 

If anyone has any tips on helping me with my lighting on the vlog, cough it up! I think it’s the back light from my screen, but I don’t know how to fix it! Ack!

Ok, on with the show this is it! Have a great weekend. 

Frivolous Friday: Real-Life Steel Magnolias

First let me say, CONGRATULATIONS to THEFEARLIST!!! wOOT, bELLs & WhIStleS! You WON a copy of My Foolish Heart by Susan May Warren!

Now, on with the show, this is it!

Remember Steel Magnolias? I loved that movie. I think about it and I’m reminded of my girlfriends. Right now as they read this line they’re all thinking the same thing, “Oh dear Lord, please don’t let me be Ouiser!”

I had a slight melt down the other day. Something I read sent me right over the edge.  Naturally, before thinking it through I started visualizing worst case scenarios in my mind.

I had a choice. Who to call? My real Steel Magnolias love and support me no matter how neurotic I get. All of their advice is meant for my good, but they each have a unique way of giving it.

 My sweet Jane would have answered with, “I love you.” In my mood, it would have turned nasty. “You love me? Oh, you love me? Well, that’s going to make me all better. Thanks for the love.” Click.

I could have called my “body guard.” Her response, “You want me to take someone out? You just say the word and it’s on.” She generally resorts to offering to beat someone up who hurts me or offends me (which happens less often than it sounds). And she makes me laugh at her violent antics. After calling off a hit, she buys me shoes and bling. So please, say bad things about me in public because Charlotte Russe has a sweet pair of red sling-backs I want!

I could have called my “Fixer” friend. She would have given me sympathy and then proceeded to tell me all the things I might be able to do to make things easier, or solve the problem. Always great ideas and sensible. 

All of their advice is great. And helpful. But when I’m having a pity party and I know I shouldn’t be, I call my pit bull. My ragin cajun. I owe the fact I’m blogging to her. Her encouragement to do it was relentless…”You’re an idiot if you don’t do it. What’s your friggin problem? Who cares what people say about you? Get a grip.”  Now you get to read my drivel 3 times a week!

I called her and told her what I read. Our conversation went like this:

“So, this morning, I was about to get into the Word, but I read something really quick and this is what it said…” (insert what I read) “and then I couldn’t even study because I was sick. Just sick.”

Silence on the line, then in that Lousianna spice–a little loud, a little sharp, I hear, “First of all, yah never should have put anything above the Lord. Yah had that comin.”

“I know.” Sigh.

“Now, I gotta confess, my advice is good, but I’m guilty of it myself. However, this ain’t about me. It’s about you so…”

I giggle. She laughs with me for a moment. “Now, shut up and listen to me,” her sharp tone silenced my chuckles. She spent the next ten minutes givin me an earful of raw, honest truth. And she was right. I was worrying over something that was ridiculous. I needed to trust God more. And I had no business getting into my emails, social media, or blog before I socialized with God first. Had I, I would have been prepared for what I read and saw it for what it was–nothing to worry about.

So am I over it? Yes. Am I set straight? You betcha.

I laugh as I think about my own Steel Magnolias. I love them so much. Maybe I’ll have a girl’s night and we’ll all watch it and laugh because we used to wear our hair just like them. We’ll fight over who gets to be Darryl Hannah without the glasses and I’ll stand in my living room and do an awesome impression of Sally Field at her crucial moment.

 “Drink the juice, Shelby!” Bet you thought I was talking about the funeral, didn’t you? Sidebar: When my ragin cajun or I talk and one of us is feeling sick that’s what we say. “Drink the juice, Shelby!”

Anyway, here’s a few of my favorite lines from Steel Magnolias taken from IMDb:

Clairee Belcher: Ouiser, I’d recognize this penmanship anywhere. You have the handwritin’ of a serial killer.

Clairee: Ouiser, you sound almost chipper. What happened today – you run over a small child or something?

Truvy: I don’t like her. I don’t trust anyone who does their own hair. I don’t think it’s natural.

Truvy: Oh, Sammy’s so confused he don’t know whether to scratch his watch or wind his butt.
Ouiser Boudreaux: I do not see plays, because I can nap at home for free. And I don’t see movies ’cause they’re trash, and they got nothin’ but naked people in ’em! And I don’t read books, ’cause if they’re any good, they’re gonna make ’em into a miniseries.
Clairee: I’ve just been to the dedication of the new children’s park.
Truvy: Yeah, how did that go?
Clairee: Janice Van Meter got hit with a baseball. It was fabulous.
Truvy: Was she hurt?
Clairee: I doubt it. She got hit in the head.

Alright, so tell me how your girlfriends encourage you. Do they bring you pints of ice cream? Buy you shoes and bling? Take you out and drive you around while tied up? Maybe that’s just me. wink.

Have a great weekend & call a friend and tell her you love her.

A Moment with Myles: MARS NEEDS MOMS

“She feeds me, does my laundry, fixes me up when I’m hurt…she… loves me…”
I took my six-year-old son, Myles, to see a movie Wednesday afternoon. I planned to take my daughter too, but it was Myles’ turn to pick since she had father/daughter night and had picked her movie the night before.
Myles wanted to see Rango, but after hearing from a friend that it had several four-letter words, I checked pluggedinonline and found it had more than I was willing for Myles to hear and repeat. He already tells us what to do; I don’t need him adding where to go to the mix.
He had two more options: Gnomeo and Juliet or Mars Needs Moms. I wasn’t keen on either of the two and he chose Mars Needs Moms. My daughter opted to stay home because it looked “ridiculous and boring.”
We paid for our tickets, spent a thousand dollars on a kid size popcorn and Coke, then found our seats (Myles’ pick) at the top. I taught him well. I’d been up since about 4am, so I was pretty tired. My eyelids drooped a few times, but then I shook myself out of it because Myles kept poking me to share commentary. We’re still working on that.
I’m glad I woke up.
The movie was worth staying awake for. It had humor and a deep message–that mothers love their children sacrificially.
*Spoiler Alert
A young boy who wishes he didn’t have a mother (because she asks him to take out the trash) decides to apologize, but when he enters her room (the dad’s flight is delayed from weather) she’s being abducted by Martians. He jumps on the spaceship and tries to save her.
At the end, the son saves his mother and as they’re hurrying to the shuttle, his mother’s air helmet gets shattered. He takes his off and puts it on her.
I looked over when I heard my son gasp, not sure if it was him at first or if it was the boy who was panting for air—dying to save his mother. It was Myles. I watched him put his hands over his eyes and I thought I heard a sniff. From my son! Who takes nothing seriously. (Yeah, he’s six, but still…)
I rubbed his back and he looked at me and then back at the film.
The boy opens his eyes and he can breathe. He smiles and then his mother—without the breathing helmet smiles back. He tries to unlatch the helmet to remove it and give it back to her, but she breaks the lever off.
*Spoiler Alert ended
Tears streamed down my face because I know that love. A mother’s love. I tried to casually wipe them off my cheeks, hoping the two annoying tweens above us didn’t catch me and giggle. I’m not their mother, so I wouldn’t have a problem putting the whammy on them.
I cleared my throat and a soft, wonderful whisper invaded my heart. “That’s what I did for you. I gave my life, so you could breathe. So you could live.”
Lord, you’re not helping me with the whole crying thing here.
But it’s true and glorious and unfathomable.
We walked out of the theater, Myles bouncing along after an Austin Powers episode of urinating, and I asked him, “So what did you learn?”
“I learned to do your chores when you’re told to and not complain…you know, it might be easier for us both if you just don’t ask.”
I chuckled under my breath because that’s my typical son—he wants to be a joke teller when he grows up. I unlocked the door to our mini-van and he climbed inside. I handed him his DS and listened to Mario Kart noises in the background. I cranked up The Outsiders CD by Need to Breathe, one of my favorite bands.
Ten minutes from home, I heard Myles. I turned the volume down and asked, “What did you say?”
He wasn’t loud or obnoxious like usual. His voice was a sweet lull. “I love you, Mom.”
He got the message.
“I love you too, baby.”
Have a great weekend and if you get the chance, go see the movie with your baby/babies. If you don’t have children, call your mom. Tell her you love her.