Guess How Much I Love You

Guess How Much I Love You is a popular children’s book that sold millions of copies worldwide and was printed in several languages. It is a story of Big Nutbrown Hare and Little Nutbrown Hare trying to measure the love they have for each other. The book presented the hares as father and son but just for today, I would like to focus more on the message of the story as I see myself as the Little Nutbrown Hare trying to ask that one person in my life the question, “Guess How Much I Love You?”

I made the last minute effort to order flowers online and made sure it will be delivered on time.  Choosing the flowers was easy. I got stuck when I had to fill-in the message. For how do you express insurmountable gratitude and love in limited words? How do you make someone feel that despite distance, she remains to be, as what the song says, the wind beneath my wings?

Today in Manila and in other parts of the world, we celebrate Mother’s Day. We all have our own stories and our own different ways of paying tribute to our mothers. The language of love between a mother and a child is a sacred space where only the two of them can enter and fully understand.  My mother being a Math teacher, I initially would like to express my love in a language she knows best – numbers.  I would like to say, “I Love You Mama from where I am to where you are and the distance between those two points is 6,679 miles” or something like, “I have loved you since I was born and that is 12,592 days or 18,132,480 minutes”. But to express it that way means, I am putting a finite measure of my love.

And so I will just simply say,

To my Mama – Just like the Little Nutbrown Hare, I would like to ask you, ‘Guess How Much I Love You?’. Don’t guess, as the probability of getting the right answer is small. For there is no measure, I couldn’t measure. But let the remaining length of my days be the gauge as I will love you and I promise to take care of you for as long as I live. Happy Mother’s Day. Thank you for everything.

Today, I say a special prayer to all the mothers I know… relatives, godmothers, teachers, cousins, classmates, friends and even those strangers I have met along the way. May God’s choicest blessings and most special graces be upon you today and always.  A special thank you to all my friends who allowed me to be the godmother to their children. While I do not see them always, know that I carry them under the mantle of my daily prayers. Thank you for allowing me, in a limited capacity, to experience the joy of being a (fairy god) mother! 🙂

May this day be a grace-filled day to everyone. God bless us all!

(photos used are owned by the book’s publisher, Candlewick)

t w i n s

Those who know me would probably have heard me say, at least once, that ‘Patience is a virtue’. But those who truly know me would say that I am not a patient person. I am the avatar of restlessness when it comes to waiting. So while I profess that Patience and I are really good friends, spending time with each other is not really something I like or look forward to.

In one of his writings, Blessed James Alberione stated, “What gain is there to be restless, agitated, vexed, to be furious and cursing when it is not in our power to change events?  Mind gets disturbed, character is deformed, tempers rise, the moral stature declines, and health is damaged. And, in spite of all these the facts do not change. We have succeeded only to add to our physical suffering a moral affliction as well.” I couldn’t agree more.

We expect. We anticipate. We even want to dictate the outcome of what we’re waiting for as if we have the full control of everything. While we can condition the mind and command the universe to do what we want, we know that it doesn’t always work that way. We need to meet and befriend Acceptance.

A wise man once told me that the hallmark of maturity is Acceptance. I now reflect about Patience and Acceptance and I believe they are twins – offspring produced from the same pregnancy. That everyday in our lives, through success and defeat, joy and sorrow, we actually conceive within us, these two virtues which in due time, will emerge from our beings and just like a mother staring at her brood, one will say, ‘you, my children, define who I am.’

Life may be all about waiting. We anticipate great things to happen but we also prepare for the inevitable. Either way, it is Acceptance which will get us through.  And the irony of all is that, Acceptance only comes in time. You will need to be, yet again, patient for Acceptance to happen.

Next time you feel restlessness within, try to remember these twins, who annoyingly, will make you feel better and will significantly make a difference.

Tuesdays @ FFI – The Climb

It was during Britain’s X Factor Finals in December 2009 when I first heard this song. I didn’t know that it has been released earlier on and was actually a very popular song in the US during the early part of 2009. Nominated for the Grammy Award, it is indeed a song that is now known to many and I would guess one of the most downloaded songs in 2009 (I was one of those who purchased this from iTunes).

The lyrics are very straightforward, there’s no need to reflect deeper or analyse further. Listening to it will encourage anyone to keep going, to never give up and to be strong. I have been listening to it over and over and over for the last several days but somehow, I felt like something is missing from the lyrics.

So, I checked with my two best friends – Google and Wikipedia. I wanted to know more information about the song. My heart, once again, lead me to the right direction.

Wikipedia says that the original lyrics of the song was written in third person and was more spiritual and contained lines about prayer.  But, was later on changed to suit the requirement of the movie Hannah Montana. That’s it. That’s what I thought was missing. I knew there’s a story behind.

I know not everyone believes in prayer but I know that everyone who will embark or who’s at the middle of a climb, has, in their hearts, a small wish, that someone will look after them and watch over them as they climb. That small wish, that little voice that yearns for protection, is, in its simplest form, a prayer.

Sometimes, it is not about how we started the climb. It is not about how we endure the hardships. It is not about how we rise after a fall. It is not how fast we get there nor what’s waiting on the other side, as the song says.

It is not just about ‘The Climb’. It is also about each and every prayer we utter every step of the way.  When the climb is over, we will all have to look back and see who we have become after the journey.

I now listen to the song with a deeper understanding of its true beginnings. True that some words may have been omitted, but I now know somewhere in between those melodies, the word ‘prayer’ exists.

If I will have the chance to meet the Little Prince and the fox (from the book, The Little Prince), I will join their conversation and say: ‘I agree that what is essential is invisible to the human eye but I will also add that what the ear fails to hear, the heart takes notice of’.

(Found these photos in my file. Taken during a visit to Legoland, October 2009.)

Today, I remember

Today, I remember this quote:

I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars – The Greatest Miracle in the World by Og Mandino

There comes a point in someone’s life when he/she will have to endure adversities and darkness. It is when things start to become uncertain. It is when one is forced to make one bold decision. It is when a Yes or a No will determine the course of your future. It is when darkness reveals its glory. And when full darkness sets in, that’s when stars will appear, that’s when you’ll start to take notice.

Today, I have seen, I have taken notice, I have encountered, I have talked and actually touched and hugged some of the finest stars around. Just in case it would seem difficult to recognise or find these stars – remember that they actually have names! Sometimes they are called opportunities, at times they are called life’s lessons but most often than not, these stars are simply called family and friends.

So, next time you feel like darkness is setting in – hold your breath, wait in anticipation – for precious stars will reveal themselves to you! And when you find them, make sure you keep them!

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The Greatest Miracle in the World by Og Mandino is one of my favourite books of all time. I read it when I was in 3rd year high school. I read it over and over again until I had the money to buy his next book, and the next, and the next. I admired him so much that I actually wrote him a letter and mailed it to the company that published his books (No internet access or email address during that time! Ei, don’t count, I’m not that old!). I wasn’t really expecting to receive a response from him.  But few weeks later, I received a mail from who else but the man himself.

Tuesdays @ FFI

Once in awhile, there will be a need to remind and tell yourself that you are great, that you are loved and that you are exactly where you are meant to be in order to make a difference.

I tried reminding myself these things today (Tuesday). Until it dawned on me, how for almost eight years in my life, I was part of an amazing organisation where every Tuesday morning, we pay tribute and give recognition to those who are great and those who make a difference.

Images are flashing back into my mind… for it is on those project meetings where dreams are made, goals are set, inspiring stories are shared, gratefulness are expressed (and talents are showcased).

Inspired by so many great and amazing people I’ve met on those many Tuesdays @ FFI, may I never forget to have a heart that knows gratitude, a mind that can picture dreams and visions, a will that can endure adversities, a soul that has a compass for what is right and wrong, an ear that truly listens and eyes that are not jealous but sincerely appreciates the beauty around

Let this simple blog be my way of paying tribute to those I have worked with at FFI. You are the best(est)! We will all continue to be the best and make a difference wherever we are.

See you every Tuesday!