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

LTTC 2009

Here it is! My official wrap-up of the 2009 Life Teen Training Conference!

The short story: it was awesome!

The longer story: We had a great time, made new friends, learned a lot, had a lot of fun, grew spiritually and ate wonderful food, all while staying in a great place.

The longest story:

SUNDAY

Carrie and I flew into Phoenix in the morning, arriving about 9:45 AZ time. Our friend Meagan was gracios enough to pick us up from the airport and took us to a part of Phoenix near Scottsdale where we met up with Angela to eat breakfast/lunch. Since it was only 10 in the morning for Meagan and Angela, they had breakfast, but it felt like noon to me and Carrie, so we had lunch. Angela suggested a great place to do this – Paradise Bakery. It is a lot like Panera (in fact, we think Panera might have bought it???) and there are actually a few in Dallas, but we had never been there. It was really good. Ang had some sort of oatmeal thing that she raves about and I had a delicious Thai Chicken Wrap. Mmmm.

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After our brunch, Angela took us up to Carefree because she wanted to explore the area (she’s only there for ten weeks to do a nursing externship at the Mayo Clinic). So we arrived at the resort the conference was at, and checked in, but our room wasn’t ready.

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We went to our first session and then after that, we all (400+, I think) loaded into charter buses and headed down to mass at St. Timothy in Mesa. For those that don’t know, St. Tim’s is where Life Teen started, so we were going to go to mass where it all began, almost 25 years ago. Mass was great – I think I counted 25 priests PLUS Bishop De Jong from the Netherlands.

S6301582 (this is not at mass – but this is Bishop De Jong)

Immediately after mass, we had the tried-and-true youth ministry meal of pizza, and then got to watch a Life Night at St. Tims’. It was fun to watch and not be the one worrying about time, skits, lines, or behavior of teens (no, not OUR teens. they would never misbehave when adults are presenting something).

After mass and Life Night, we headed back to Carefree and finally got our room key. That’s when we got our lovely suprise – due to some rearranging, we had been upgraded from our “resort room” to a Villa. Holy smokes! The Villa we stayed in was bigger than my apartment! It was so nice – washer and dryer, full kitchen, dining room, bedroom with king size bed and master bathroom, guest bathroom. Oh man. So awesome!

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MONDAY

We woke up early (long story) and headed to the conference room. Carrie went to morning prayer and I went to an early bird session about youth ministry web sites (NERD ALERT!). Then joined back up again for a day of keynotes and workshops and breakout sessions. I won’t bore you with all the details, but basically my sessions for the day were: Empowering and Equipping Teen Leaders and Collaborative Relationships in Ministry. We had two keynotes that day.

At lunch, we sat down at a table with a group from Guam and became fast friends with them. They are a great group of people and we found ourselves spending a lot of time with Ace, Tam, Edrienne, Robbie, and the others from Our Lady of Lourdes in Guam.

S6301601 (Robbie, Ace, and Tam – not at lunch)

At dinner, we met another great person: Sister Barbara Joseph from Oklahoma City. Sister BJ is a vibrant lady who not only runs the youth group at her church, but also runs a food pantry for the homeless: Sister BJ’s Pantry. She was a lot of fun and invitied Carrie and I to come visit any time we wanted to. Since I have friends in the OKC area, we may just do that!

Monday night, we ended the day with mass and then we had XLT in the conference room with our musicians for the week, Matt Maher and Audrey Assad (and Matt’s band). Audrey is an “up and coming” musician and she has a beautiful voice! XLT was beautiful and Meagan and Angela came and joined us, and then Angela actually stayed with us in the Villa that night.

TUESDAY

Another early morning – Carrie went to morning sessions and I went to an early bird session on utilizing video. We had mass, and then began our long day of sessions. I went to: Curriculum and Beyond, Teen Confirmation, Handling Issues, and Presenting to Teens.

Tuesday night, we went over to the Villa that our friends from Guam were staying in and had fun talking with them and some other adults from California. They fixed some traditional food from Guam and it was delicious! We had a lot of fun and probably stayed out way too late, but hey, when else do you get to do this?

WEDNESDAY

No early morning sessions, we just woke up and packed and headed up to the conference room:

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We had a closing keynote, and then mass. Meagan came to mass and then we loaded her car and started back towards Phoenix. We stopped along the way and ate lunch at In-N-Out Burger, and then boarded the plane back to Dallas, where Wally and Charlene were waiting to pick us up.

Here are some more random photos from the trip:

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Homily by Deacon Greg Kandra in NY

Happy 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time! (that’s a quote from my Dad who has been known to start his children’s stories with that).

Deacon Greg, who writes The Deacon’s Bench, posted his homily for this weekend and it is lovely. Please go read it.

A small preview:

Fr. Tim Vakoc. Dr. Jerri Nielsen They never starred on television, or had a hit on MTV. Most people have never heard of them. When you leave here this morning, you might forget their names. But, my friends: don’t forget what they did. Remember how they strove – like those we met in today’s gospel — not to have fear, but to have faith.

Faith in possibility. Faith in the future.

Faith in the Christ who brings healing and life, even in times of disease and war.

That is what God asks of all of us. To embrace that kind of faith.

It is a faith that empowers us to reach out for some kind of contact with him, even if it’s just to touch the hem of his garment.

Faith that asks for any kind of merciful healing.

Faith that will not necessarily settle for things as they are – but will accept whatever God wants them to be.

That is what we are called to believe – and where we are called to dwell, in a place of complete trust, and complete confidence.

As Fr. Tim so beautifully put it: the safest place to be is in the center of His will.

Seek it. Embrace it.

Because, there we will know joy.

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Quick Takes

1. I realize it is probably mean to have a countdown to Arizona and then not tell about the trip. An update is coming. I PROMISE. Look for it Monday. I hope.

2. The reason I haven’t done it yet is that I am packing and moving. And that is exhausting.

3. Next time I move, someone please remind me of three simple things: 1) Don’t move in the summer 2) Don’t live in a third floor apartment and 3) DON’T MOVE IN THE SUMMER

4. Dear Texas Rangers, Please don’t screw this up. I’ve been a fan of you guys and the Red Raiders since I was a wee girl and quite frankly, I’m tired of the no championships thing. Tech is fighting like mad to get to the next level, I need you to fight too.Love, Holly

5. The people at my work make me laugh.

6. Did I mention that moving in the summer heat stinks?

7. I missed bible study last week cause of XLT. I’m missing it this week because of moving. I’m missing it next week because of San Antonio and the week after that because of DCYC. While I like all of these things (except moving), I wish I could go to them AND bible study.

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Praise and Worship Wednesday: Sing Alleluia

Today’s song is Sing Alleluia by Jennifer Knapp and Mac Powell

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Praise and Worship Wednesday: Carry My Cross

I decided to share some praise and worship music with each Wednesday. Start the day right.

Today: Carry My Cross by Third Day

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Arizona!

We’re on our way to Arizona!

Here’s my current favorite song by Matt Maher:

With one voice the Angels sing;
songs that make creation ring
Prophets hear and call us
to live in spirit and in truth

Father Yahweh, Elohim;
voice of thunder, spirit wind
Breathe on me your very life;
Grace will make the darkness bright

Word of God enthroned,
dwell in us forevermore;
Love has come to show the way
Halleluiah, peace be with us
Love has come to show the way

God of covenant divine,
lead us to the end of time
Beyond sorrow, beyond fear;
beyond pride and earthen tears

Keeper of the sacrifice,
manifest in Jesus Christ
Born to die and wake the dead
As we hunger, keep us fed

Now salvation has come
in the New Jerusalem
Dancers dance and singers roar;
proclaiming Jesus Christ is Lord

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Countdown to AZ: 1

We leave tomorrow!

Today’s song: Empty and Beautiful.

My past won’t stop haunting me
In this prison there’s a fight between
Who I am and who I used to be

This thorn in my side is a grace
For because of it the flesh and blood of God
Was offered in my place, my place

You fought the fight in me
You chased me down and finished the race
I was blind but now I see
Jesus You kept the faith in me

Where did my best friends go?
In my defense they disappeared
Just like Your friends did to You, oh Lord

But You were there, You gave me strength
So this little one might come to know
The glory of Your name, Your name

You fought the fight in me
You chased me down and finished the race
I was blind but now I see
Jesus You kept the faith in me

Awaited, set apart like incense to Your heart
A libation I’m pouring out
Empty and beautiful, beautiful, beautiful

You fought the fight in me
You chased me down and finished the race
I was blind but now I see
Jesus You kept the faith in me

You fought the fight in me
You chased me down and finished the race
I was blind but now I see
Jesus You kept the faith in me
Jesus You kept the faith in me
Savior, You kept the faith in me

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Countdown to AZ: 2

2 more days! Todays Matt Maher song is:

Great Things

Here’s Matt talking about it:

And here is the song: (i think the video comes from the drummer, which is why he is so prominently featured)

My soul proclaims Your greatness, Lord
Rejoicing in my Saviour
Your mercy belongs to those who fear Your Son
His blessings You have given them forever

And holy is His name, holy is His name

You alone have done great things
I can’t boast of anything
Mighty one, and King of kings, Jesus
You alone have done great things
By Your living word in me
Mighty One, and King of kings, Jesus

My soul proclaims Your greatness, Lord
Rejoicing in my Saviour
Your mercy belongs to those who fear Your Son
His blessings You have given them forever

And holy is His name, holy is His name

You alone have done great things
I can’t boast of anything
Mighty one, and King of kings, Jesus
You alone have done great things
By Your living word in me
Mighty One, and King of kings, Jesus

And it’s Your name we’re shouting out
Shouting out loud
It’s Your name we’re shouting out
Shouting out loud
And it’s Your name we’re shouting out
Shouting out loud
It’s Your name we’re shouting out
Shouting out loud

And it’s Your name we’re shouting out
Shouting out loud
It’s Your name we’re shouting out
Shouting out loud
It’s Your name we’re shouting out
Shouting out loud
It’s Your name we’re shouting out
Shouting out

You alone have done great things
I can’t boast of anything
Mighty one, and King of kings, Jesus
You alone have done great things
By Your living word in me
Mighty One, and King of kings, Jesus

And it’s Your name we’re shouting out
Shouting out loud

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Countdown to AZ: 3

Next up: Set Me As A Seal

I go back and forth with this song. I love the song, but in the heart of wedding season, I get a little tired of it. But it’s beautiful and it is from the Song of Solomon.

First, an intro to the song:

And now, the song:

Set me as a seal on your heart.
Set me as a seal on your soul.
For strong as death is love,
unyielding as the grave.
Nothing will quench its flame,
nothing will quench its flame.

Kiss me, my love,
that your name be on my lips.
You intoxicate my being
with the fragrance of your presence.

How beautiful you are, my darling.
Show me your face, let me hear your voice.
Sweet as the dew in the early morn,
like a lily among the thorns.

I looked for you, the one my heart loves.
I looked for you, but did not find you.
I searched through the night until I rested in your sight.
Now, I will never let you go.

You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride;
you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes.
Your lips so sweet, adorned with honey.
My hands, they drip with myrrh.

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Countdown to AZ: 4

On July 14, my friend Carrie and I will travel to Arizona for the Life Teen Training Convention, and we are excited!

While we are there, one of our favorites, MATT MAHER, will be there too. So I’m counting down the days by sharing some of my favorite Matt Maher songs. (Maher like car!)

Up first: Just Like You. Just try to stay seated!

Revive my heart; renew my soul
In You oh Lord, I am made whole
No more in fear will I wander
Cuz’ You’re my God,
my Lord and lover
Like a burning fire; be my one desire

I wanna be holy just like You
I wanna go where You lead me to
With reckless abandon to Your truth
I wanna fall deeper in love with You

Oh lift me up, God my Father
In all this world, there is no other
I’m dancing in Your holy presence
And Your glory fills all my senses

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