Merry Christmas 2004
December 25, 2004
Christmas blessings and greetings for the holiday season 2004! This is my seventh annual Christmas letter since beginning the Nanty Glo Home Page in 1997 and since 2002 it has been the replacement for hard paper Christmas cards. As always, my goal is keeping in touch with old friends and new, updating you all on our Kennedy family activities, gains and losses in the year past. We look forward to receiving the letters of those of you who share this way of keeping Christmas contact and appreciate your toleration of mine.
One of the best items of news of this year has been that brother Bob's wife, Katy, has made surprising progress in countering the effects of the severe stroke she sustained just before Christmas 2002. She still needs assistance to get out of bed and get around, but Bob continues to get her home almost daily and to church on Sundays.
My son Mike, who turned 30 in July, moved out from my house at New Years this year after being there for about six years, so my life has gone through a major change. I had a roomer, the son of my good friends Michael and Julie Masterson, through the summer but he also moved out before school began, to start his college student career in Southern California. Mike and his girlfriend Tracy live near downtown San Jose in a house with a back yard where we've had some of the year's best get-togethers, including a party for Tracy's graduation from San Jose State University. She is now working in social service and Mike has graduated from his apprenticeship to journeymay pipefitter, and is now fully employed, as a foreman, at a power plant construction project in San Jose.
Kevin's fiancee, Maya, also graduated from SJSU this year and is employed as a special education teacher in a local school. Kevin has also returned to full employment in his field as a network engineer, now commuting each day to Palo Alto. Chris and the grandchildren, Brandi and Antony, are still living in the San Joaquin Valley, now near the small town of Newman in the Modesto area.
My employment situation also made a strong positive move this year, going from contracting after about six years primarily working that way to permanent fulltime with Xilinx, a Fortune 500 company that is the major provider of programmable logic and applications for its memory devices. I began that in April so didn't have a full vacation this year, actually beginning my major block of time off for the year on Christmas eve day. I got by with slaking my wanderlust with a working week at the company's Albuquerque, NM, outpost in July, and a long Labor Day weekend trip to Pennsylvania for the Vintondale Homecoming. Check here for the listing of the accounts and photos of that trip, on which I traveled with brother Bob who usually tries to get back to the Vintondale reunion, having spend most of his formative years in the village where I was born but lived in for only my first four years. The new job, with the same supervisor and co-worker as the previous job of contracting, is very enjoyable and promises more opportunities to travel. My boss is in Shanghai as I write this and has hinted that there might be a need for my editorial expertise there sometime soon.
The most rewarding development on a personal level this year has been the creation of a detailed index of the hundreds of articles I've put on the Nanty Glo site under the general title of "Jonal entries." They range from very personally reflections to a preponderance of theological discussions, travelogues, and s0cio-political essays. I have for some years considered them my most substantial block of "life work" as a writer and had long despaired of making them accessible to a larger public and long term. But after Thanksgiving I plunged into the painstaking process of creating a huge table of all the articles since January 2001, linked to their web locations, and the basic list is now almost complete. Check here and I hope you enjoy some or many of the articles.
Though I've been healthy all year, losing no work for illness, it is of concern that I was diagnosed this year with dangerously high blood pressure. I've been medicating and trying to control it but with not entirely successful results. Added to my diabetes and minor stroke, I'm now taking four prescription pills daily.
My ministry-avocation, the Christian News and Media Portal, will end its third year of online publication on the worldwide web as of February. It still gets scant attention from the reading public, but keeping it up daily keeps me informed on a wide range of current topics and ideas. Whether it "succeeds" or not is in God's hands, not mine.
As before, the Nanty Glo Home Page continues to occupy most of my discretional time, still being updated daily, except for some vacation days. Again this year's theme photo above this letter is of Nanty Glo's Chestnut Street.
May the joy of Christmas fill your holidays and the Babe of Bethlehem dwell in your heart now and always,
Theme photo by Judy Rose, Nanty Glo, December 2003