Monday, September 22, 2008

THE SANTA LETTERS by Stacy Gooch-Anderson

Tristi at Tristi Pinkston, LDS Author sent me this book and asked me to join a virtual book review tour.

The author, Stacy Gooch-Anderson lives in Salt Lake City with her husband and four sons. An award winning journalist and public speaker, she began her career at eighteen when she "found her voice" and began to share her ability to tell inspiring stories.

Gooch-Anderson's writing is generally real and crisp, albeit some descriptive elements and dialogue could be tightened. The author tells her story by including anecdotal Bible passages and interpretations which are understandable and inspiring. For those who are not readers of the Bible, The Santa Letters is unintimidating and friendly in its approach.

The story begins with Emma who has been left a widow and mother of four children after the death on Christmas Eve one year ago of her beloved husband William. For a year she has suffered through the grieving process while trying to keep her family afloat, both financially and spiritually. With Christmas looming ahead of the family, Emma wonders how she will ever provide the children with any Christmas gifts or spirit. Surprise, surprise! Letters and packages signed "Santa" begin arriving every day from a mysterious person. With each missive, hope for this family is ever closer.

This little book is elegant in its simplicity. Keep it on your bookshelf to take down during the Christmas season. Its inspiring story is a classic.

Thank you, Tristi, for inviting me to be a part of this virtual book tour. It was fun!


Monday, September 15, 2008


There is nothing in the world I hate more than mushrooms. Fresh, wild, boiled, sauteed, fried, baked, stewed, growing in my yard. They make my skin crawl just to look at them. These are growing in my yard today. Yuck.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


I made it to church today - had to sit in the choir loft because I was a little late and the place was packed.

It is 90 degrees today and it feels like the humidity is high as well.

I am in the process of reading three books right now: Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich, R is for Ricochet by Sue Grafton and The Santa Letters by Stacy Gooch-Anderson. I don't usually read more than one book at a time, but two of these are library books and I have to get them read in a timely manner. The Santa Letters is being read for a review which will appear here on September 22. I also have books that are heavier reading and I read them sporadically. I just finished James Lee Burke's latest, Swan Peak, which was (as always) excellent. That man's writing is so beautiful; his prose is like poetry. I have been working my way through Sue Grafton's alphabet mysteries from A to T.

I am off to the movies with some friends to see Brad Pitt and George Clooney in Burn After Reading. I'll update my opinion tonight.

UPDATE: Burn After Reading was hilarious!! If you have a chance, go see this movie. The dialog is full of a certain four letter word, so I would not have young people see it, but if you don't mind that it is full of a lot of laughs. It is a Coen Brothers movie if you are familiar with them ("No Country for Old Men.")

That's the news from Beech Drive today.

Thursday, September 11, 2008



Monday, September 08, 2008


I attended a funeral today. A man who worked for my husband died suddenly last week. The sad thing is that he had been estranged from almost all of his family for years. And there they were -- mourning his loss. Why is it that it takes a funeral to bring people out who couldn't have been bothered before? It serves as a reminder to me to cherish my friends and family while we are all together on this earth.

The funeral procession traveled (with a motorcyle escort) to a veterans cemetery for the burial. The deceased was a Marine veteran who served in Vietnam. There was an honor guard with the guns and bugle salute. Although I barely knew him, I was in tears. Something about those lost years that could have been spent with family and the fact that he had served his country and it was finally being honored.

Love each other,

Sunday, September 07, 2008


I am a Realtor and today was my day on the schedule to be on duty. It was dead! No calls, no one stopping in, nothing. The real estate market is definitely in a slump and according to all reports, it may continue for awhile yet. People are buying, though. The market where I work in Delaware is primarily vacation home or retirement home shopping. If you are buying within the resort town proper the prices for a single family home are close to or exceed a million dollars. "Deals" are non-existent anymore.

After I got home I took Beau for his walk, stopping along the way to chat with neighbors and other dogs. For the second time in as many weeks Beau went after (with teeth bared) other much larger dogs. It seems to happen if the dog runs towards him (usually in happy exuberance). Beau believes the dog is being aggressive so Beau defends himself and me. At least this is what Beau told me!

We have been dealing with fleas for the past month. First the Frontline stopped working and then the Advantage stopped working. He is now on Promeris and Capstar and they seem to be working. I still see a flea here and there and he still scratches, but I think it is improving. I bought flea foggers which I haven't used yet. What a pain.

I have a pot roast simmering in the crock pot and I will make mashed potatoes and veggies for dinner. I always use the crock pot for roasts - even a chuck roast can be cut with a fork. I don't use it for other recipes, but I love it for things like soups, roasts, stews.

The storm here didn't turn out to be anything. I hope the same is true for all of you. Hurricane Ike is the next one we need to worry about!

Good health and happiness to you and yours,

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Last week my sister and I traveled to Pittsburgh to visit our Uncle Bud, who is one of three remaining siblings of our mother. He is now eighty-five and still going strong with more vitality than either of us. My fondest memory of Uncle Bud is when I was a little girl and he lived in Texas. He told me I could come out there and be a cowgirl. And he still remembers that! It doesn't matter that the dream never came to fruition -- it was the dream that mattered.

Uncle Bud gave us a wonderful tour of Pittsburgh - driving through the city, looking at it from high outlook points, eating the best fish sandwich I have ever had at a fish market on "The Strip." We took a ride on the Incline which is both a means of transportation and a favorite tourist site. Pittsburgh was voted the most liveable city a few years ago and I can see why.

I came home with a sewing machine (which belonged to my late aunt) and a family scrapbook which I will treasure since apparently I have become the "keeper of the flame."

With all my best,