Merry  Christmas  2003

December 24, 2003
Dear friends and family,

Christmas greetings and blessings for 2003! This is the sixth annual Christmas letter since beginning the Nanty Glo Home Page in fall 1997, and it continues a tradition that was carried on most of my life, through the nearly 20 years of youth and campus ministry, the final 11 years of which were at Stanford University (1972-83). As always, the idea is to keep in touch with old friends and new, and to update you all on our Kennedy family activities, gains and losses in the year past. We love receiving the letters of those of you who share this way of keeping Christmas contact and hope you're able to tolerate mine.

The main change in our family this past year is that the newest member of my immediate family, brother Bob's bride as of 2002, Katy, suffered a severe stroke just before last Christmas (unbeknownst to me at the writing of last year's letter; their home is about 2-1/2 hrs from me in Willows, CA). She was in a coma for some weeks, but miraculously came out of that and then quickly regained her mental faculties. However, she remains partially paralyzed. She's living in a care facility now, though Bob has arranged to take her home almost daily and they are able to go on short trips near home using a specially-equipped van and wheelchair.

My grown three children, Chris, Mike, and Kevin, are still single, though we're hoping there will be at least some news on that front in 2004. Kevin and Maya have been together seven years and have been engaged for more than a year now. Click the family portrait, right, taken last spring, if you'd like to see a more legible version of it and read the caption.

With the economy still lagging, especially here in Silicon Valley, we didn't try to do any international travel this year. However, Mike accompanied me to a Kennedy family reunion in Juniata County, Pa., in August, and to make it more enticing we flew into and out of New York (JFK). Our first whole day to spend in the city was the day the power went out in much of Eastern North America. We had just gotten out of the subway before it hit, and it was quite an adventure, accompanied by some things we considered worth calling "miracles." The whole account is on our Nanty Glo Tourist pages, with dozens of photos. A special bonus was a wonderful tour of Pennsylvania's Kishacoquillas Valley, near where the reunion was held.

I had a week of official unemployment in June, then began a new job with new supervisors at Xilinx, so plan to end four years there, as a contractor still, as of next month. The new job has more web work on company intranets, which I find more interesting. Also, I'm the only publications worker in my immediate group, so that is a source of greater satisfaction than having been the third of three in my previous group. Also two, I get to "telecommunte," meaning work from home via remote network connection, one day a week. But, alas, even this is scheduled to end when my contract ends in April, so stay tuned.

My ministry-avocation, the Christian News and Media Portal, will complete its second year of publication on the worldwide web as of February. I've finally added links to some commercial sites that have the potential of bringing some residual income, but none has come yet. It has been published daily without fail, except for vacation.

And the Nanty Glo Home Page continues to occupy what little "spare time" is left in my days, having been updated daily, except for some of the days on our vacation when because of the power failure we weren't able to connect. The photo atop this year's letter is of Nanty Glo's Chestnut Street, a view I had for scores of hours in my teen years of hitchhiking from the corner at which the photo was taken. This one, by Judy Rose, was taken this month, December 5, at about 4:30 p.m. as the first big snowstorm had put down a couple of inches of white fluff. It's my favorite photo from the Home Page this year.

May the joy of Christmas fill your holidays and the Babe of Bethlehem dwell in your heart now and always,

If you could have done it on your own,
what would have been the need for
the coming of the Lord? - St. Macarius

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