Yes, I took this picture only two nights ago. :D
If you're following me on twitter, you know that I went back to Disneyland and California Adventure on Monday. (I got an annual pass for my birthday this year so I can go often. :D) It proved to be good timing as I had finished the Novena of the Seven Gifts (a.k.a. the Holy Spirit/Pentecost novena) and I wanted to put my new found outlook to use. There is seriously no better place to test your progress than Disneyland. You encounter occasional pushing/shoving, rude guests, long lines to get on the rides, screaming children, overpriced everything, etc. With my anxiety being a pain in my tush, it was also a good place to see how I would do. Happy to say that it went much better than I expected. :D
I actually left the house with both anxiety and a stomach bug (yes, I know... I'm constantly suffering from some stomach ailment as it's very sensitive). I knew I was going to be there for at least 14 hours so I did my best to just get through it. After the first ride I actually felt quite sick and, stranded at the theme parks until 10 p.m., I decided to pray the 9 Hour Novena to the Infant of Prague which I only use when I know it's absolutely necessary. I knew that it meant that I had to pray while I was waiting in line for rides, and that people would see me doing the sign of the cross, but it was good for me to do so. I have to get over my self-conscious feeling when I do the sign of the cross in a public place ('cause I usually get strange looks and I'm shy... do the math. lol.) I felt so horrible and I knew my ride wouldn't be by to pick us up until nighttime so I did it. I'm very glad I did because I got better as the day went on and it turned out to be one of the best times I've ever had at Disneyland.
I kept seeing what I thought were little signs that I was going to be fine. On the second ride, and first after I started the novena, I saw that the line was going to take 40 minutes but decided to go ahead and get in line. (For those interested: it was for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.) My time to do the novena came a couple of minutes into our time in line. I turned on my iPod touch (where I'd typed out the novena) and prayed the novena. The line went by faster from that point on. I also saw a woman wearing a bracelet with saints on it (you know, those popular ones) and I felt a little better. On our next ride, the Small World ride, we were in line with Dominican nuns. I kid you not. There were three sweet Dominican nuns enjoying Disneyland, with big smiles on their faces. It made me so giddy, it was actually quite funny. It reminded me of the happiness I felt as a child when I saw nuns; of the time when I used to tell everyone I was going to grow up to be a Carmelite nun. :D I ended up seeing them a couple more times throughout the day which really made my day. (side note: the Dominican order was the one that inspired me, via Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati, to become a Catholic educator after college.)
My novena ended when I still have two and a half hours left of my time at California Adventure, the theme park next to Disneyland. As I finished and during my time praying it, I kept God on my mind. I remembered to be more charitable with people despite how they might act. I remembered every single one of the Holy Spirit gifts I had prayed about that previous week as well as the novena I had done that day. I was rewarded with my stomach bug and anxiety having calmed down after the first two hours of the novena as well as a better understanding of myself and what I still need to work on. I was always rewarded with my "baby magnet powers" being extra good. lol. A little girl I didn't even know even took my hand while walking down the Monorail stairs. :)
We stayed until the World of Colors show which was beautiful. I am woman enough to admit that I cried during the 30 minute presentation because it reminded me of my childhood. All the movies I loved growing up were featured and, standing next to my mom under the moon and stars, it really reminded me of what was important. I thought about always having that childlike love and trust in God that St. Therese of Lisieux talked about. After the show was done, and before we left, we turned back to Disneyland to watch the fireworks display. Watching them, and feeling utterly content about how the day had turned out, I inwardly thanked God for the lessons I had learned.
Now you see why I like going to Disneyland and why my mini vacation idea was a good one? I'm slowly coming back online but I have already made the decision not to be online as much as I have in the past. It's been good for me (though I miss y'all terribly) and I like this new relationship I have with God. :D
OH! And before I forget, I want to thank everyone who kept praying for my Cal Grant situation. I spoke to someone at the California Student Aid Commission yesterday and she confirmed that my appeal to receive my final Cal Grant for my senior year (though initially denied twice) was approved last week and that the official letter would be arriving next week. That means that the loans (if I have any) won't be as scary as I previously thought. Thank you, God, for the miracle as well as those who prayed on my behalf. :D
I should quit writing as I'm sure it's really long by now. :D I hope y'all are having a good week thus far! And to those who are thinking about the mini online vacation, I definitely cannot recommend it enough. :D
As always, thanks for reading and God Bless! :D