JUST edited –words in brackets– the short messages sent to me for the new year. Some are cute, some pinch the heart. To the senders who I want to remain anonymous here, thanks.

     But here’s one that I got from an editor of the The Manila Times who ushered me into the roller-coaster ride of journalism, and to whom I’ll be forever grateful. No regrets, dear friend: “These have been trying times, friends. Here's to hoping we will have the courage to endure another year and come out ahead with our values intact. Venceremos!”

     • “The biggest blessing in our lives is simply [the] presence of people who care much, whose love is for real, [and] see us much beyond ourselves. May God continually bless you and your family with long life, good health, great provisions, peace [and] contentment! Happy New Year!”

     • “SHALOM is a Hebrew greeting which means that the one who greets you is asking God to bestow upon you All the good things He could possibly think of: good health, joy, success, abundance, safety, love ....Shalom to you. Happy New Year!”

     • “I thank God [for] all the people who are part [and] touched my life this year 2009. Friendship made my life more meaningful. Thank you so much [for] being a Friend! Happy New year [and] may 2010 [usher] more success in all [aspects] of [your] life. Ü”

     • “Time & things don't really last. What matters most are the people we care about [and] the values we dare to live [and] share. Let life be as beautiful as your heart. Merry Christmas and Happy new year”

     • “We [don’t] have everything to enjoy life, but we have life to enjoy everything. Always choose to see the nice things. Life is happier that way. Happy New Year!”

     • “Tell GOD [your] 3P's: P-roblems, P-ressures and P-lans & HE will give You HIS ABC's! A-nswers to prayers, B-est favors & C-ourage to go on! GOD BLESS! GOOD VIBES! …HAPPY 2010!

     • “In facing life [this coming] year, let's [always] cling to God [and] dwell on His promises...Let's be like [the] finest bamboo; bending but not breaking... God Bless!”

     • “May you [and] your family be blessed in 2010 [with] all that you wish for, all that you really need & all that you can share to others. Happy New Year! God bless always.”

     • “Happy new year! Enjoy [the] media noche [later] w/ [your] family [and] loved ones. [Take care and] God bless! Ü”

     • “H :-D A :-D P :-D P :-D Y :-D N :-D E :-D W :-D :-D Y :-D E :-D A :-D R :-D :-) GOD BLESS :-)”

     • “Sana ay ngumiti ang bulsa mo sa dinero, lumaki ang wallet mo gaya [nang] bank vault at ulanan ka ng tseke na di talbog. [Happy] new year!”

     • “To all friends who sent me love, luck [and] best wishes for 2008.....It didn’t help, :-( Please Send CASH for [2010]! ;-) Mwahahaha! Happy new year!”

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