It was a challenging year. Looking back, we were blessed with enough strength to cope. We’ve made adjustments here and there, exercising moderation in many ways. This situation gave us the opportunity to open our eyes, to take a stock of what we had and to make the most of it. Thanks to our Filipino characteristic of being resilient. We are able to recover and adjust easily to change. We all know that we are currently not in the best of situation as a nation and it is hard to predict what is ahead of us. What is important now is to make our day to day living easier to manage. I say, stay healthy, live simply and in moderation. To add, stay away from everything wasteful – habits, energy and money. I truly believe in self reliance. Not a breeze, but with great determination, survival is imminent. There are so much blessings to thank for as we say goodbye to 2009 – warmth in our family, good health; earned resources to sustain our everyday living. We were also able to extend some help to the less fortunate. With hope and faith, may this coming year be a better year than the last for all. My wish list for 2010: that the family of those who passed away may recover from grief and sadness the soonest; family and friends who have medical challenges get the best medical attention and get well fast; family and friends who are currently unemployed be able to cope and or recover; that the Filipino American volunteers may continue to be motivated to serve the community; that donors from the community may continue to be inspired in keeping the spirit of giving and sense of generosity. and that friendships may continue to flourish and endure. A Christmas Message Very seldom a brother writes to a sister about inner feelings, about life. Well, my brother from the Philippines who normally would only greet me with a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in his Christmas card did write me something that warmed my heart. It goes: “It’s so nice to see you celebrate with your children by giving them a Christmas that’s meaningful as well as merry. It is great that you’re teaching them about gifts of the Spirit as well as gifts under the tree. As they grow older, they’ll follow your example and discover for themselves the true meaning of Christmas.” After so many years, this was the first time I received this kind of message from my younger brother. It has always been the monoloque type. This time it was meaningful. Foods for Thoughts You are what you eat. Money should not be confused with love or preference. The best thing you can spend on your children is time, not money. Be careful with what you wish for, you might get it. There is no expiration date on memories. You don’t have to control your thoughts. You just have to stop letting them control you. When life hands you stale bread, make a dinner. Make a difference and love it. Some people inherit wealth, the rest of us have no choice but to earn it. Be as kind as you can today; you may not be here tomorrow. The greatest sum in addition is to count your blessings. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ONE AND ALL!