Dear Terry,

How are you?

I wanted you to know how very much I have been enjoying your short story “An E-mail for Christmas” in RiverOak’s HEARTWARMING CHRISTMAS STORIES collection. Reading it was like getting a peak at how life might be for those guys (and women, too) who are serving far away. The ways that the community reached out to Mike’s family, everything his wife shared, and how he in turn told his fellow comrades and it uplifted all of them as well, makes it a very precious story (if you don’t mind my saying that :)].

My favorite moment was when the reservists answered for him in the roll call of their inspection lineup – “Deployed, sir! Standing tall in Iraq.” That gives me chills every time.

I have had the book since it came out a few years ago, and so have read “E-mail” more than once, most recently tonight. The story is close to my heart because I have special feelings for our military servicepeople and vets, especially those serving overseas.

I volunteer with a letter-writing team to send letters to soldiers serving overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan, a project I’m been thrilled to be part of for 2 1/2 years now. Also, I am a music therapist, and one of my greatest dreams is to get to work with servicemen and -women dealing with PTSD, TBI, reentry issues, etc. In the music therapy community we’ve just had some incredibly exciting news that Walter Reed Medical Center is going to have a pilot music therapy program designed for it to serve the returning servicepeople who get sent there (!!!). Anyway, I understand from your brief bio in the RiverOak collection that you are a veteran serving during the Vietnam War. Thank you very much for your service there.

Thank you too for creating this terrific story. I wish I could send copies to the servicemen and women I write to, especially at this time of year.

I also just wanted to say that the picture on your home page is very nice. Are those red rock cliffs in Texas? The scenery reminds me of the area not too far outside my home in greater Phoenix – especially the drive between here and family in Albuquerque. There’s nothing like living in God’s beautiful Southwest, is there?

Merry Christmas ~

Warmly in Christ,

Alexis

Alexis, thank you so much for the great letter. It means a lot to me that the story touched someone. The stories in that book were all donated with the proceeds going to serving children overseas. I presume they still do. My wife took the picture you refer to, and it was taken at the ‘Ghost Ranch’ near Abique NM where a writing conference is held. My best to you and yours for a wonderful celebration of our Savior’s birth.