Hollison Journey

“The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.” – Don Williams Jr

Three Days

This weekend was three days of darn near perfection. I spent most of the weekend with Joe and his family and we had so much fun. Ice cream, art museum, good conversations and just a good relaxing time. Plus Joe and I got to sit 4th row center at Caedmon’s Call. And Randall opened!

We got back to d-town Sunday at lunch time and went straight into LN mode. We had “sneak peek” Sunday night and it went off without a hitch. Two of our teens made an awesome video, we played a game, had good small groups and the parents enjoyed crashing the party. 🙂 It was great seeing the kids again. This year is going to be awesome.

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A year ago, a good friend of mine entered Cistercian Abbey as a novice. Last Wednesday he made his first vows. I was unable to make the mass, but I did cameo at the reception.

Immediately after the vow ceremony/mass, Brother Anthony had the chance to leave the abbey and spend time with friends and family. So Thursday night, Joe and I joined Brother Tony, Rudi, Enrique, Freddy and Sean at Dave and Busters. We played games, had a few drinks and a good time. We taught the bartender a new drink (new to us too). And the Bigney brothers each obtained a Dr. Fart keychain. Their poor mom.

It was good seeing Brother Anthony again and watching him continue in his journey. Say a prayer for him.

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One of the things we do at Toastmasters is table topics. Three topics or questions are given to three different people for improv speeches of 1-2 minutes. Even if I am not called on to answer, I can’t help but answer them in my head.

At our last meeting one of the topics/questions was to talk about the best gift you have received or given. I don’t know what the best gift I’ve given is. I would suspect that gifts that I barely remember mean more to the people I give it to than I think. Or maybe they don’t.

I have received a lot of great gifts. Some, I’m sure, I have not even understood how great they are. One gift stands out though. Well, three actually. Not only are the gifts meaningful and thoughtful, but their presentation was flawless. As much as I like material gifts, elaborate setups make them all the more special.

When I was confirmed into the Catholic Church, I received several gifts from friends. All very special, all very nice. After vigil, we had a party at Joe’s that lasted into the wee hours of the morning. As I left the apartment at 5am, Joe told me that he had a gift for me but he would give it to me later.

A few weeks later, Joe and I were going to go out to dinner. I met him at the Student Center. I was waiting for him to finish up what he was working on and he told me that he had my gift. I had to wait in the office we were in and he would go get it. He came back with a gift bag. Inside was a card and a small cross. The card was all about my first reconciliation.

After I thanked him, he said “oh wait, what is in the hallway?” and brought in another bag. This one had a card about first communion, a white communion rosary and a cross with a young girl praying. As Joe explained, it’s a cross given usually to kids when they have first communion, but I didn’t receive it when I was a young girl.

The final bag included a red holy spirit rosary and a card for confirmation. The card was blank inside, but a letter was included.

Three sacraments, three presents. Not only do these gifts evoke memories of the moment, but the care and thought put into them made them all the more special.

What gifts, given and/or received, stand out in your mind as memorable?

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Fruits of the Spirit: Peace

I’ll admit it. Before Mon/Tues, I thought this week’s discussion on peace would be light. I thought I’d have to fill the time because honestly, how long could we talk about peace? There’s almost never any controversy over that (it would be ironic if there was, wouldn’t it?)

Then I started studying up on it. Boy was I wrong.

Here’s what we talked about:

External vs. Internal Peace

Peace comes from God

  • Psalm 29:11
  • John 14:27
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:16

Peace is spiritual; it is not the absence of conflict, but the presence of God

  • Romans 8:6
  • John 16:33

Therefore, we must trust in God for peace

  • Isaiah 26:3
  • Luke 7:50
  • Romans 5:1

When we are in obedience to God, there is peace

Peace is a glimpse of heaven

  • CCC 1832
  • Romans 14:17-19
  • 1 Corinthians 14:33a
  • Matthew 5:9

Living in Peace

  • Philippians 4:6-7
  • Psalm 119:165

Peace in trials

  • John 16:33
  • Isaiah 54:10

The girls of course were awesome and had great comments about finding peace in adoration, confession, etc. There was also a food analogy (of course), but I can’t for the life of me remember it. I’ll check with some of the girls.

We kicked off the night with the “get to know me” cards and a major game of card ninja with a poison dart twist. And thanks to Teen ACTS, we had 40 kids!

Icing on the cake for the night was Applebee’s with Kate and Char afterwards. A wonderful night. A peaceful night. I can’t wait for next year.

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I’ve been MIA for a little while and it is because of a little (BIG) thing called Teen ACTS. The retreat was last Wed-Sun and it was amazing. There’s so much to even process, not to mention the fact that I can’t talk about all of it (sounds familiar, eh?). Just know it was amazing and the teens totally blow my mind. I can’t wait for Lifeteen this year!

There was a small casualty this year…two really. Thursday night we had an outside activity and we got drenched. My phone was in my pocket and after that, would no longer let me hear phone calls. So, Monday during lunch I ran over to the Sprint store and picked up the LG Rumor in white. I’m still getting used to it, but I like it. The other casualty was the walkie talkie in Joe’s pocket that literally leaked water two days later when we took it apart.

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Fruits of the Spirit: Joy

This week in WOW we tackled the second listed fruit of the spirit: joy! I think it went well. the girls consistently amaze me with their insights and this week I got the pleasure of watching their brains come to some understanding.

I did something a little different this week. Knowing how most girls love quotes, I found different quotes and verses about joy. I wrote each of them on a small posterboard and then paired up a verse and a quote to go with a question I posed the girls. I would ask the question, reveal the quote and verse associated, and then we would discuss. Hopefully, each segment built.

I know you’re dying to see what questions and what verse/quote pairings, so here we go: (note: i jotted down ideas, not a script…I may not have exactly said these words)

What is joy? How do we know it? Where does it come from?

  • V: The joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10
  • Q: Joy is a result of a heart that is overflowing with love. Sister Olga Yaqob

Is joy the same as happiness?

  • V: A joyful heart is the health of the body but a depressed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22
  • Q: Joy is more than happiness, just as happiness is more than pleasure. Pleasure is in the body. Happiness is in the mind and feelings. Joy is deep in the heart, the spirit, the center of the self. Peter Kreeft

How do we increase our joy?

  • V: Although you have not seen him you love him; even though you do not see him now yet believe in him, you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, as you attain the goal of (your) faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:8-9
  • Q: Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile and sometimes your smile is the source of your joy. Thich Naht Hahn

Why express it? How do we express it?

  • V: Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Matthew 5:12
  • Q: Such is human psychology that if we don’t express our joy, we soon cease to feel it. Lin Yutan

We also discussed having joy and suffering, which provided a great opportunity to talk about (Blessed) Mother Theresa of Calcutta. This is a woman who for her whole life has been seen as a holy woman, filled with joy and love. She has said that joy is a net with which to catch souls and that joy is everywhere because Christ is everywhere. Yet after her death, we come to know that she suffered for more than 50 years with the “dark night of the soul,” she did not feel God’s presence in her life and suffered every day. Her personal writings include passages such as:

“In the darkness… Lord, my God, who am I that You should forsake me?.. I call, I cling, I want, and there is no one to answer… Where I try to raise my thoughts to heaven, there is such convicting emptiness that those very thoughts return like sharp knives and hurt my very soul… I am told God lives in me and yet the reality of darkness and coldness and emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul.”

and later in life, in another letter to her spiritual advisor:

They say people in hell suffer eternal pain because of the loss of God… In my soul I feel just this terrible pain of loss, of God not wanting me, of God not being God, of God not really existing. That terrible longing keeps growing, and I feel as if something will break in me one day.”

All this from a woman the world knew as a joyful person, a living saint.

Mother Theresa said that joy was hard work. To help us remember that joy inside of us even in moments of suffering, we closed the night by writing lists of things that remind us of our joy and things we can do to remind others of joy.