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

New Title

I often have these “flashes” of inspiration. Most of the time, it leads to a new project for me. A lot of the time it happens on Monday morning. By noon on Monday, I usually have half a sheet of paper filled with notes to my self for project ideas.

This week, my inspiration must have taken the day off, because yesterday I got nothing. But then today, POW! I have three new projects (non-work related, of course!) This led to a conversation in my head with myself:

“Man! All these new projects…I wish this could be my job. Somebody pays me to sit around, think of projects and organize them. I wonder what my job title would be. Projecter? No, sounds too much like the equipment that slides use. Creator? No, sounds too much like I’m trying to be God. Thinker? No, sounds too much like my degree is in philosophy.”

So now that I’ve leaked out a little bit more crazy than I intended to in one sitting, time to get moving on these projects.

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Fruits of the Spirit: Faithfulness

Yes, I know, we skipped goodness. Don’t worry, we will come back for it. We skipped over goodness because while the girls are studying the fruits of the spirit, the boys have been studying the virtues of saint Joseph (based on this book). Their next virtue was faithfulness, so we decided to skip ahead and have a combined session. We had 35 kids show up (yay!) which was awesome, but made it very crammed in our little portable. I actually let my counterpart do most of the teaching.

We talked about what faith was and how it correlated to faithfulness. We talked about people who don’t think God exits. We discussed that science gives us the how and the Bible (and catechism) gives us the why. We talked about how even when we are unfaithful to God, God is never unfaithful to us. And we discussed covenants.

I think my favorite part is a story we all re-visited. Jason Evert had told the story a few weeks back and a version of it was in the book Joe uses. A father dropped off his son at school one morning and told him “I’ll come back for you at the end of the day.” The father then drove off for work. During the day, there was a huge earthquake in the town. The father raced to the school and found it in ruins. He knew where his son’s classroom was and he began digging in the debris. He dug for 30 hours until he finally moved a large piece of debris and found his son, alive. His son smiled and turned around to his other classmates, all alive, and said, “see, I told you my dad would come for me. He promised.”

Whether the story is true or not, we are the child and God is the father. No matter what is piled on top of us, God will always come for us. He does not break his promise.

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What’s On Your Nightstand?

One of my new favorite blogs is 5 Minutes for Books. Every 4th Tuesday, they ask readers, “what’s on your nightstand?” While it is tons of fun to read all the different answers that come through, it’s also dangerous because it adds a few books to my list of reading material!

This month I decided to participate. My list is pretty lengthy, but that’s because I went to Half Price Books not that long ago. So we’ll call this the HPB edition.

And now, in no particular order (except the first one):

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon. I had heard about this book numerous times. It seems that almost every blog on books that I read has a mention of it. The name sticks with you too. So when I saw a few copies at HPB, I picked one up. The basic premise intrigues me. I used to babysit a severely autistic child, and I know more than a few people who register on the spectrum, so I can relate to this character. I’ve barely started, but so far so good.

Flabbergasted by Ray Blackston. I’ll admit it, I selected this book based off of the short authors summary it gave on the back: “Armed with the knowledge that his second grade teacher always liked his stories and poems, Ray Blackston walked away from the corporate cubicle, bought a laptop, said a prayer, and began typing the first words of Flabbergasted. He does not recommend this method for the faint of heart.” That is awesome.

Boo by Rene Gutteridge. I had already read a book by Gutteridge and it was alright. I thought i would give this one a go. Plus, there’s a character named Ainsley, and that makes me think of Emily Proctor on West Wing.

The Human Stain by Philip Roth. I’ve never seen the movie, but I know enough of the story line to find this on intriguing. I’m eager to start this one.

The next two are spiritual resource books, if you will:

Praying with Saint Paul: Daily Reflections on the Letters of the Apostle Paul edited by Fr. Peter John Cameron, O.P. Pope Benedict XVI has declared June 2008 – June 2009 the Pauline Year, a time when we are supposed to reflect on Saint Paul, so when Magnificat offered this book for a pretty cheap price, I thought it would be a good way to spend the Pauline year.

BeAttitudes for Women: Wisdom from Heaven for Life on Earth by Dorothy Kelley Patterson. I am reviewing this book to see if it could be adapted for our girls group once we finish with the fruits of the spirit.

And there you have it. God-willing, none of these will show up next month and I will have a new crop of books on my nightstand.


Fruits of the Spirit: Kindness

I’m a little behind schedule on these, but that’s ok.

For our discussion on kindness, we started out talking about acts of kindness. Scratch that. The first time we talked about kindness, we started talking about forgiveness and that segued into a Q&A session over Catholic theology.

The SECOND time we talked about kindness, we talked about acts of kindness. The girls were quick to discuss things we do. I brought up the point that sometimes we are most unkind with our words. We talked about gossip and our tendency (especially as girls) to tear each other down.

And why is this a problem? Because we are one body. When one person suffers, we all suffer. When one person succeeds, we all succeed. Ironically, most people gossip about someone or tear them down to make themselves feel better, and yet, by tearing someone down – injuring them – we injure ourselves.

Ephesians 4:29 says “let no unwholesome (or evil) talk come out your mouths, but only what is good, toward the edification of faith, so as to bestow grace upon those who listen.”


Interestingly enough, I ran into this today. The words spoken weren’t evil or unwholesome. Nor were they especially untrue (not that that matters). While I did not join in on this talk, I didn’t exactly stop it. And that is my bad. I should have. I will try to next time.

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Oh Mike Leach…

how I love thee!


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Hurricane Ike Update

Well, I will attempt to get back in the swing of this thing. I cleaned the house today and that should make it easier (when my room, etc. are a mess, I have a hard time focusing on anything, thus, my writing suffers.)

Unless you just don’t pay attention, you know about Hurricane Ike coming through last weekend. For anyone who doesn’t live in Texas, let me give you a small lesson in what happens in Texas when any sort of weather thing happens: the local media freaks out. They love it. They go crazy with graphics and special reports and via satellites. It’s Christmas, Easter and a couple of birthdays for them. The problem is that they tend to cause extremes with their audience. Some people become paranoid and raid the nearest grocery store for supplies for what is sure to be the end of the world. Some people pay no attention, because the news casters do this every time, but in doing so, fail to heed serious warnings.

I like to think that I am in the middle. I didn’t think that this weekend where I live was going to be bad, so I didn’t change my plans (40mph winds? please. go live in west Texas). I did, however, remove things from my balcony and keep an eye on the news in case things got bad. I was more watching with my relatives in mind.

I have a chunk of my mom’s family scattered around the Houston/Gulf Coast area, about 15 or so currently, I think. None of them live on the island, though I do have an uncle who lives near the channel. On top of that, my grandmother’s house is still on the market in a town near the channel. Most of them evacuated for Rita, but they all stayed this time around, though a few of them left their homes to go to another relative’s home slightly more out of the danger zone. My mom managed to talk to them all by mid-week and everyone is doing fine. Most of them don’t have power, but they have generators. My grandmother’s house has trees in the yard that are now debris, but nothing harmed the house. Her 26-year-old cyclone fence held up nicely, while the wood fences in the neighborhood fell apart (my mom shook her head a few years ago when she saw neighbors putting in wood fences. They are called “cyclone fences” for a reason, people!). Several of my south Texas relatives work for school districts. Two of them have started up again, but everyone else is closed “indefinitely.” My aunt and uncle have to travel about 2 hours for groceries, but they stocked up, so they should be good for awhile.

All in all, we were blessed. 15 people, 11 residences, numerous dogs and cats, and no real damage…just inconveniences. Ike dumped some rain on the north Texas part of the family, but it didn’t stop plans and my grandmother in Lubbock only suffered from no phone line due to Tropical Depression Lowell (bonus points to anyone who even knew that storm dumped 7 inches of rain in flat, dry, no-drainage west Texas).

My heart goes out to those who weren’t as fortunate as we were. Seeing pictures of Crystal Beach made me remember the beach house we used to go to there and left me wondering if it was still standing. I wonder if it will ever reach a point where I have to explain to my kids what Galveston, New Orleans, etc. were like before the storms. It’s been 100 years since Galveston had to rebuild. They can come back again. I just hope Mother Nature lets them breathe a little bit.

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Harmony-seeking Idealist (HI)

(Take the free personality test and determine your iPersonic type!)

Harmony-seeking Idealists are characterized by a complex personality and an abundance of thoughts and feelings. They are warm-hearted persons by nature. They are sympathetic and understanding. Harmony-seeking Idealists expect a lot of themselves and of others. They have a strong understanding of human nature and are often very good judges of character. But they are mostly reserved and confide their thoughts and feelings to very few people they trust. They are deeply hurt by rejection or criticism. Harmony-seeking Idealists find conflict situations unpleasant and prefer harmonious relationships. However, if reaching a certain target is very important to them they can assert themselves with a doggedness bordering on obstinacy.Harmony-seeking Idealist

Harmony-seeking Idealists have a lively fantasy, often an almost clairvoyant intuition and are often very creative. Once they have tackled a project, they do everything in their power to achieve their goals. In everyday life, they often prove to be excellent problem solvers. They like to get to the root of things and have a natural curiosity and a thirst for knowledge. At the same time, they are practically oriented, well organized and in a position to tackle complex situations in a structured and carefully considered manner. When they concentrate on something, they do so one hundred percent – they often become so immersed in a task that they forget everything else around them. That is the secret of their often very large professional success.

As partners, harmony-seeking idealists are loyal and reliable; a permanent relationship is very important to them. They seldom fall in love head over heels nor do they like quick affairs. They sometimes find it very difficult to clearly show their affection although their feelings are deep and sincere. In as far as their circle of friends is concerned, their motto is: less is more! As far as new contacts are concerned, they are approachable to only a limited extent; they prefer to put their energy into just a few, close friendships. Their demands on friends and partners are very high. As they do not like conflicts, they hesitate for some time before raising unsatisfactory issues and, when they do, they make every effort not to hurt anyone as a result.

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The Great Debate

This post made me laugh

It tackles that age-old debate..is it soda? is it pop? or is it coke?

The most surprising part to me was how far spread the “coke” answer is. I thought it was more contained to Texas and maybe some surrounding states. This is a good thing.

It also reminded me of a time I was at Triennium in 1998. Triennium is a Presbyterian Youth Conference with teenagers from every state and tons of countries. One day as I was walking around Purdue’s campus with my fellow north Texas people, a group from one of the Midwest states (maybe Illinois?) ran up to us and asked us where we were from. We told them and then they asked, “Is it Pop or Soda?” They had been debating with another group and now they were taking a casual poll. Our answer stunned them. They couldn’t understand how we called everything “coke.” We even had to put on a little skit:

Miranda: Hey Mason, thanks for coming over. Would you like a coke?

Mason: Sure. What do you have?

Miranda: We have Dr Pepper, Sprite and Root Beer.

Mason: I’ll take a Dr Pepper.

Miranda: Here’s your coke.

Mason: Thanks!

Good times.

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Fruits of the Spirit: Patience

It’s been awhile, I know! We covered patience a few weeks ago. Then we had XLT. This week we talked about something completely different. So technically, I’m not that far behind. But here’s what we talked about:

Patience is a characteristic of God: Exodus 34:6

Colossians 3:12-13

Psalm 37:7-10

James 5:7-8, 10-11

Example of someone with no patience:


Read Genesis 15:5, Genesis 16:1-10, Genesis 21:1-2

Take special note of Genesis 21:1-2: The Lord took note of Sarah as he had said he would; he did for her as he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time that God had stated.

– Notice that God held up his end of the bargain, even though Sarah did not.

– Sarah tried to handle the situation; she did not trust in God.

Example of someone with great patience:

Saint Monica!

The circumstances of St. Monica’s life could have made her a nagging wife, a bitter daughter-in-law and a despairing parent, yet she did not give way to any of these temptations. Although she was a Christian, her parents gave her in marriage to a pagan, Patricius, who lived in her hometown of Tagaste in North Africa. Patricius had some redeeming features, but he had a violent temper and was licentious. Monica also had to bear with a cantankerous mother-in-law who lived in her home. Patricius criticized his wife because of her charity and piety, but always respected her. Monica’s prayers and example finally won her husband and mother-in-law to Christianity. Her husband died in 371, one year after his Baptism.

Monica had at least three children who survived infancy. The oldest, Augustine, is the most famous. At the time of his father’s death, Augustine was 17 and a rhetoric student in Carthage. Monica was distressed to learn that her son had accepted the Manichean heresy and was living an immoral life. For a while, she refused to let him eat or sleep in her house. Then one night she had a vision that assured her Augustine would return to the faith. From that time on she stayed close to her son, praying and fasting for him. In fact, she often stayed much closer than Augustine wanted.

When he was 29, Augustine decided to go to Rome to teach rhetoric. Monica was determined to go along. One night he told his mother that he was going to the dock to say goodbye to a friend. Instead, he set sail for Rome. Monica was heartbroken when she learned of Augustine’s trick, but she still followed him. She arrived in Rome only to find that he had left for Milan. Although travel was difficult, Monica pursued him to Milan.

In Milan Augustine came under the influence of the bishop, St. Ambrose, who also became Monica’s spiritual director. She accepted his advice in everything and had the humility to give up some practices that had become second nature to her (see Quote, below). Monica became a leader of the devout women in Milan as she had been in Tagaste.

She continued her prayers for Augustine during his years of instruction. At Easter, 387, St. Ambrose baptized Augustine and several of his friends. Soon after, his party left for Africa. Although no one else was aware of it, Monica knew her life was near the end. She told Augustine, “Son, nothing in this world now affords me delight. I do not know what there is now left for me to do or why I am still here, all my hopes in this world being now fulfilled.” She became ill shortly after and suffered severely for nine days before her death.

Almost all we know about St. Monica is in the writings of St. Augustine, especially his Confessions.

– Saint Monica showed patience for 40 years! And in the end, her husband, mother-in-law and son converted to the faith.

– Patience does NOT mean acceptance. Saint Monica was not content with Augustine’s behavior, waiting for him to convert. She shed tears, followed him around, begged and pleaded with him to reform his life.

– Without Saint Monica’s patience, we may have never had one of the great doctors of the Church. More importantly, the world may have been short three Christians.

We demand patience from God (“God, be patient with me..” “God, one day I’ll get it right, just wait..”

But do we give it to others?