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My Christmas/Annual Newsletter--1996
by Brenda Kern 
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December 3, 1996

We close our eyes
and another year has come and gone.

--Danny Elfman of Oingo Boingo

Hey, everybody!

I felt like making some "pop cultural references" this time to help me organize my thoughts about my 1996 experiences. See how many you recognize...

"I'll be back."

In October of '95 I submitted a story to The Herald of Holiness, the Nazarene magazine, about a miraculous childhood healing (mine!). In January '96 I received word back from them that they wanted the story (along with a check)!!! This marks my first foray into writing (officially). Those of you who get the Herald, keep watching! This success made me want to try again, and I did, sorta. I had a letter to the editor printed in the April Focus on the Family magazine and another in the September Buzz magazine. As far as continuing to write, "I'll be back."

"Stupid is as stupid does."

I did some housesitting in March. I stepped outside to feed the (big) dog, and the sliding glass door shut behind me. Guess what? It was locked, and so were all the other doors (because I'm a responsible house sitter!). I had to call a locksmith from a neighbor's house (and pay for it, losing over half of my house-sitting income).

"Praise God from whom all blessings flow"

On May 2nd (NOT coincidentally the National Day of Prayer), a gunman entered the lobby of the "main" building at Focus on the Family and took 4 hostages--everyone else was safely evacuated. After a few hours, he let them go, unharmed. Eventually, after firing one round, he gave himself up as well. His case comes up for trial sometime next year. Thanks to all of you who prayed for me and the entire ministry on that day--your prayers and those of thousands of others were keenly felt.

"I Can See Clearly Now..." "

In May I got new contact lenses (using a slightly stronger prescription) for the first time since May 1979. You do the math.

"I'm not parking, I'm abandoning."

In June, my expert team of ever-faithful mechanics discovered a crack in the head. (of my Escort, smart alecks!) I learned that that is very expensive. The car more or less behaved until around Labor Day, when the speedometer went out (while I was on the highway going 55+). I learned that the repairs would have been expensive (is there an echo in here?), and decided to forego ever having a speedometer again.

"It's a new life coming into this world, and that's a miracle in itself."

In August I ventured northeast, to Boston. There, on August 8th, I witnessed a baby being born, my niece Cassandra Leah Owens. I could take up this whole letter telling you all about it...

Talk about being "flushed" with success...

In late August I began (mostly) minor repairs and thorough house cleaning in anticipation of my new roommate, Cindy West, moving in in early September. (My old roommate, Carol, moved out in March when she bought her own condo.) A co-worker magnificently fixed a toilet that had not worked since my attempt at repairing it earlier in the summer. As for Cindy, we get along great and all is well.

"I have GOT to get me one of these things!"

I'm still a fan of you-know-who. (If you don't know, don't worry about it). I joined his band's fan club.

"I was eloquent with rage."

Late September found me suddenly realizing that I needed to have a smog check done this year in time for my auto registration renewal. The Escort failed the emissions test (for the first time), and, while repairs were being done so that I could pass the test, my registration expired (on Monday, September 30, at midnight). Some people drive around with expired plates for MONTHS AND MONTHS, as you know. I received a ticket for expired plates the morning of TUESDAY, OCTOBER 1st! (No wonder I've never won the lottery or anything else that requires GOOD luck.)

"She Blinded Me with Science"

In late July I began looking into the possibility of getting a home equity loan (working with a female loan officer, thus the "She.") I wanted to pay off my car repair bills (which were "riding" on credit cards at that time) and to buy a computer. The money came through in August, and now I am the proud and somewhat perplexed owner of a personal computer!!! Having the computer should dovetail nicely with my fledgling ambitions as a writer. My E-Mail address is kernbg@n-gate.com


In November I drove up to Denver to attend (as a spectator only, not a participant!) the World Tour of Gymnastics Champions. I love that stuff, and, even though I've seen their "routines" many times on TV, their athletic ability still amazes me.

"Lies, Lies, Lies (They're Gonna Get You)"

The elections are FINALLY over. No comment on the winner.

"And now, Johnny Olsen, tell her what she's 'won'." "A NEW CAR!!!"

A moment of silence, please. My 1988 Ford Escort died a quiet death the morning of November 8, 1996. It wouldn't start to take me to work that morning, and that was the very last straw. Saturday the 9th, I bought a 1997 Toyota Tercel, with the assistance of a "professional auto finder." I love my new "baby."

"We Are the Champions"

The Washington Redskins have played much better this year than in the last several seasons, much to my delight. The next few weeks will tell what the outcome of this season will be...

"Oh, darn!"

I didn't get to visit the Topeka/Kansas City area this year (with a car nearing its last gasp, it's just as well, I guess). I look forward to doing so next year, though...

"Do you want a cookie?"

I hope this holiday season brings more than just good food your way. I hope you enjoy warm family celebrations, good times with friends, and gifts that are less than horrible. More than all this, may your attention be inescapably drawn to the first Christmas and God's great gift to us: His Son, Jesus.

Love ya.


***Quotes may not be verbatim.

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