Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Disneyland, Dominican Nuns, and Lessons Learned

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

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Vocation Discernment, Part Two?

Isn't this a great picture from LOLSaints?

Is there something in the air that is making some of my best friends rethinking their vocations? It seems that many of us (yes, I am included in that) are going to start discerning their vocations once more. The majority are thinking about the priesthood and the religious life but there are some of us re-thinking our careers. I still believe that my vocation is that of wife and mother (though I occasionally get impatient and wonder when that special guy will come into my life), especially these last couple of days, but I don't know if I still have what it takes to be a teacher. I still want to work in something that involves the Faith but I am unsure if it's teaching. I still want to write for a living but we all know how hard that is. I simply don't know. In an uncharacteristically short blog post (yeah, I know), I'm asking y'all to please say a prayer for everyone (not just my friends or me) who are currently discerning (or re-discerning) their vocations. I am still on the search for a spiritual director *sigh* but in the meantime, I will continue re-educating myself during the summer; until God shows me what my next step is. :) Anyone else in the same boat? I'm seriously considering starting a support prayer group if anyone wants in. :)

Anyway, sorry this is short but I've been a little busier than usual and have a couple of times to get done before the day ends.

Hope your weekend is going well thus far and THANK YOU in advance for the prayers!

As always, thanks for reading and God bless.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Feeling Close to God?! No Sinning?! Celebratory Dance!

That's right... I'm getting better! Of course, I'm a sinner (we all are) but my little vacation from the 'net has proven to be the best decision I've made lately. :D I'll admit that I am not completely offline (wouldn't be updating this blog if I was ;D) and I am keeping in touch with one of my best friends/soul sister, Angelica, as we're working on something together but I have disconnected myself from all other socializing. I do miss tweeting and interacting with friends on Twitter and FB but it's been for the better. Though I slept a total of 16-17 hours yesterday (yeah, anxiety's not been kind to me lately), I've still been able to spend my time reading books that are good for my soul as well as meditating on my relationship with God, which is improving.

I've been doing the Novena of the Seven Gifts (though I am a day off as I started it late) and it's been an incredible experience for me. It's really gotten me to think about what is important and what I (now) know needs to be changed. The changes will not be easy (but the things that are good for us aren't always easy) and it'll take a lot of strength on my part but I am willing to do it in order to strengthen my relationship with God. :) I can't even begin to tell y'all how wonderfully I've felt taking time to better that relationship. I can't describe how much I love God nor how close I currently feel to Him at the moment. It's almost as if, by taking this nerd's vacation, God said "You're taking this seriously, aren't you? Okay, I am here. What's on your mind?" In the past couple of days (despite the anxiety issues), I've felt like He's been helping me through the spiritual roadblock I'd been trying to get around for weeks. It might be a little silly, but I feel like He's listening (really listening) to everything I may want to talk about, anything that's been bothering me. One of the most important things is that I'm getting better and letting things go and trusting Him to provide with what is necessary. It's not always easy but I'm getting better at it. :)

One additional perk about the nerd vacation? Less sinning! Since I've been on my Twitter and FB break, I've found myself avoiding little things that caused me to have uncharitable thoughts or words about certain people or things. Trash talking during football (soccer) matches has been cut down (to the point where not a single mean word was uttered) and I was able to enjoy my Gold Cup matches (btw, go USMNT!!!!) like I did when my dad was still alive and I was the one who told him to be more charitable with his words. lol. I've also been able to step back and see how some of my friendships (both online and in real life) were affecting me with the negativity even when it was not directed at me. I've come to realize that I am happiest when I surround myself with people who try to not act negatively (or superior) and/or who are able to control their words and actions. Of course we all slip from time to time but I've been able to see who makes a genuine effort to stop it and to not offend God (or, really, who have taken responsibility for their actions) and who I will need to pray for because it's not good for anyone involved. I never knew how much I was personally affected by some of the words some of my friends had for people they (and I did) don't agree with. I still maintain my position that even your worst enemies deserve to be treated with some sort of respect (if only because God loves us all and treating a fellow human being rudely is not very Christian like) and I was reminded of that.

To put everything I just wrote in a nutshell: I'm SO happy with how my nerd vacation is going. I feel closer to God (and I've thought about how maybe the anxiety forced to stop and take the time to repair the relationship) and it's so exciting. Many things that I was unsure of are now becoming clear. Anything I was doubting is being answered. And the sinning I had fallen into (which I don't know how I ever got caught in it) has been made clear so I may stop it (or at least attempt to). YAY! I think this calls for a celebratory dance! Anyone who wants to join me is free to do so. Dancing experience is not necessary. ;)

Anyway, this Mexico v.s. Cuba Gold Cup match is coming up in about an hour and I want to spend some time in prayer before it so I guess this will be it for now. :D I greatly appreciate the prayers y'all have sent me way. They've certainly helped me start this vacation off right. :D Y'all are the best! :D

I hope your week has been great and that the upcoming weekend (Pentecost Sunday to less) will be wonderful.

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Little Nerd Vacation; Repairing My Relationship with God

I promise this picture, which I actually took (well, it's a screencap of the brief time I explored Second Life as part of my Art History course a year ago), is relevant to the post. And, yes, that's supposed to be the avatar version of myself. ;)

It may seem that I've already taken a break from posting but it is not so. Sorry but the days leading up to my birthday, my birthday, and the week after it has been pretty busy. Also, I ran across some writer's block so hence lack of posts. All of this activity has left me a bit drained (I'm so a Phlegmatic-Sanguine, lol) so I'm going to take a break from some of my online activity. Yes, I am having a little nerd's vacation. I'll more than likely blog post more often but I'll be on Twitter and Facebook less often. The only posts that will go up will be whatever is updated on Twitter through Foursquare and GetGlue, as well as links to new posts on this blog, but I think that will be it.

Before I get asked this, and I know I will, the reason for my break is simple. First (as I said) I'm a bit drained and I need time to recoup from everything. These past couple of days have not been easy on me. I asked for some clarity from God and I've gotten it so I'm going to take some time for myself. I especially came to the realization that I've shared more about myself lately than I usually do (on Twitter and FB) and I'm uncomfortable with the amount of prying into my more personal business people have done as a result. I've always been open (as you can read on the blog; I am honest on here) but to a certain degree. I'll only talk about things I feel comfortable sharing and I have never liked being pestered about things I do not want to disclose. If I say I don't wish to share something it's because I truly don't, not because I want to be asked repeatedly. I feel like I should be entitled to keep certain things to myself and my wishes to have this have not been honored and it doesn't make me feel good. Also, I've had a few problems with being taken advantage of and then having that person get terribly upset at me for not doing what they want. I'm only one girl and I can't do everything to please everyone. As much as I love you guys and appreciate everything y'all have done for me, there have been a few things that I have not been okay with that have hurt me. In order to maintain my sanity, and in order to keep myself on the right path, the only answer is to take a breather.

Second: well, I'm not really doing anything extraordinary; just taking a step back and disconnecting myself for the online world so that I can focus on sort of rebuilding my relationship with God (which I've felt has been stagnant for a while now). Trust me, I feel like the Catholic elitism online I've encountered as well as the negativity have affected me more than I would like to admit. I miss the times when we might've disagreed on things but we did it respectfully instead of trading insults. The criticizing, the name calling, the manipulating -- I imagine that the Lord would not be happy with some of our actions and I want to go back and repair my relationship with Him. I'll admit I've been caught up with the judging (though I've been able to catch myself and instantly regret doing it) and it's so unhealthy to do. Of course, it's human weakness but I should know better. This is a new side of myself that I am truly unhappy with. As I said, I will continue to blog because I want to show my progress (and any temporary roadblocks and failed attempts along the way) but that's pretty much the extent of my socializing for a couple of weeks.

I'm going to be spending time in my garden, reading books, praying, and just relaxing. I probably won't be sleeping in and indulging in other vacation staples (drat!) but it'll be good for me and in turn will make me someone y'all can rely on for things I am unable to give at the moment due to my feeling overwhelmed. :) I will post regularly as I will now have a reason to; so no one will think I got kidnapped by aliens during my vacation. lol.

Anyway, I'm off to get some things in order for said vacation. :) I hope y'all had a great weekend and have a great week. :)

As always, thanks for reading and God Bless!