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

Simply Because It Is Awesome

total eclipse of the heart



Over the past couple of days I have updated my blogroll and links sections on the right of the blog. I encourage you to check them out. It is not an exhaustive list (thank you Google Reader!), but I do read each of them. I’ll add some more hopefully soon.

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Dark Night of the (Joyful) Soul

Today is Mother Teresa’s birthday.

Excuse me. Today is Blessed Teresa of Calcutta’s birthday.

If you wanna know more about her life, EWTN has a great site set up, and I encourage you to peruse it.

I’ll admit, I was never that interested in Mother Teresa. I knew who she was and it wasn’t like I didn’t like her, I was just, I guess, indifferent about her.

And then last year, I taught a WOW session on Joy and stumbled upon the recent publication of letters by Mother Teresa where she explains her spiritual drought.

What amazes me most about Mother Teresa isn’t the countless people she helped or the works that she did, it’s the fact that the woman who said:

“A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love,”

could be the same person who wrote to her spiritual director:

“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.”

I find it fascinating that a woman who spent so much of her life helping others and doing the work of God struggled with feeling His presence.

There are some who use her writings to say, “See! There is no God. Mother Teresa didn’t even feel Him. She is a phony!” But I think that if you look at both her private writings and her public writings, you see that God HAS to exist. Our faith comes from God and He gave her so much that was able to rise above an enormous period of darkness. How many time have I claimed to have “spiritual droughts?” They never seem to last too long, and yet, I feel like I will never get through them.

She said she never wanted her private writings and letters to go public because she didn’t want the attention to be on her, but on God. I’m grateful we have the knowledge of her struggles – if anything, I think they point me to God and make me realize just how AWEsome He is. Her faith was so strong and so much light came out of her darkness.

“Give yourself fully to God. He will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in His love than in your own weakness.”


Praise and Worship Wednesday: Now That You’re Near

Now That You’re Near by Hillsong United

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What’s On Your Nightstand?


5 Minutes for Books hosts a monthly “What’s On Your Nightstand?” on the 4th Tuesday of the month. I am 38 minutes away as I type this, but better late than never! (p.s. this is a sneak peek for upcoming book reviews!)

The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O’Neil’s America by Joe Posnanski – Ah, baseball. My first love. This book is on loan from my dad, who has it on loan from his friend Dennis.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows – Not only does everybody seem to be reading this, it is the book that 5 Minutes is doing for bookclub!

Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji – The next month’s bookclub pick.

Not too many this month…maybe I’ll actually get them read by this time in September! Hopefully, I’ll also add some throughout the month that I will review as well.


Praise and Worship Wednesday: Revolution

Revolution by Jars of Clay

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Praise and Worship Wednesday: Everything About You

Everything About You by Sanctus Real

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The Wednesday Sisters

I’m trying to read more, and I figured if I’m reading more, then I need to share. So I’ll try to do some book reviews after I finish books. Here’s my first one:



I picked up this book at Target mainly because, well, I read the back and it said it was about women who form a writing group. I like that idea.

The book is set in the late 1960s in California and revolves around 5 women who live in the same neighborhood and go to the same park with their children. They meet and over time form a writing club, with each of them working on a novel or story of some sort. Through the years, they bond as friends and see each other through pregnancies, miscarriages, affairs, new jobs, health issues, and the ever-changing social world they are living in. Clayton does a good job of sprinkling historical moments throughout the book and gives appropriate reactions to the characters (I assume – I wasn’t alive in the 60s!). The women are funny, quirky, and supportive of each other.

I liked several things about this book. One is that not everything goes smoothly. I don’t like friendship books where the friends never fight. It’s not realistic. Also, Clayton does a good job of showing hurt and pain that they go through, as well as real thoughts. I also like reading about the writing the women do and what they go through in an attempt to get their stories published.

The book is pretty clean, just some older themes in it and a few adult situations in it.


Working my way through a block

As I mentioned in the previous post, I’ve had a little bit of a writer’s block recently, which is why there haven’t been many posts. The words just aren’t coming. So, to try to kick it, I’m going to do some random writing prompts to simply get me back in the game. I hope you will indulge me.

Today’s prompt comes from creativewritingprompts.com:

Take out a photo album and count to picture #14. Write about the picture (I modified the prompt slightly).

I have some albums, but I don’t know where they are, so I opened the pictures file on my computer and went to the 14th picture in the first album/folder. Here it is:


This photo was taken in February 2002, at a very special retreat – Raider Awakening. Rather than describe the picture, I’ll tell you about the people in the picture and maybe a memory or two about them.

Right to Left:

Becky (Dr. Seuss hat): Becky was one of my early friends at Tech. We lived in the same dorm and bonded one night while re-arranging her room (she did that frequently). Becky was my first “Catholic” friend, and eventually introduced me to CSA and everyone else. I don’t think enough credit is given to her for my eventual conversion. She was an important role in my faith journey and I owe her a lot. Plus, she’s a lot of fun!

Andi (green shirt, curly hair): I didn’t know Andi very well, but I always thought she was a lot of fun. She brings a ton of energy and joy into the room and has one of the best smiles. I’ve actually gotten to know her more over the years and I wish we had hung out more in college. She and her husband live in Arizona and they have a precious new son.

Stephanie (clipboard in back): I really didn’t know Stephanie at all, but I remember her mainly as being the coordinator of RA#26 when I retreated.

Damian (crown): Damian is a teddy bear of a guy who has his own unique style. A frequent visitor of the 15th Street house, Damian often brought the party with him (black backpack, anyone?) A few years ago (wow, seems sooner!), he married my friend Meredith and it was one of the funnest receptions I’ve been to.

Jon: (Dr. Seuss hat): Most of you that know me know that I could write pages about Jon. It’s funny to see him this long ago. If I remember correctly, he was a junior at Tech at the time, so it’s hard to believe he is an ordained priest now. It’s also hard to believe that when this photo was taken, we had known each other for only 4 months.

Scott (camera): Scott was a lot of fun, but honestly, I haven’t seen him in years. He stopped coming around not long after RA#27 if I remember correctly.

Tori (cowboy hat): Tori is one of the sweetest girls I’ve ever met. Most of my knowledge of her comes from the time I used to hang out at Jeff’s house (her eventual husband), and it was always fun when she was there. She *just* gave birth to her third child and Lilly is beautiful!

So much has changed since this picture was taken. But I still remember the feel of that day. That weekend has a special place in my heart.

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7 Quick Takes


1. I know, I know. It’s a real post, not just a video of a song I like. Don’t get too excited, I don’t know how regular I’m going to be with this. I seem to be in a small writing drought. I’ve started a post a million times only to leave it blank. I’ll snap out of it, I’m sure.

2. Not that there hasn’t been a lot going on. My life has changed quite a bit this summer. Still not sure how to share all that information – I’m working on it.

3. As crazy as life has been, these past two weeks have been “dead weeks” in the world of youth ministry because of some upcoming changes. I really miss the teens. I’m excited for next week when we start back up.

4. Several exciting life announcements have come from friends recently: 1 marriage, 2 engagements, 2 births, and 4 babies-on-the-way. So fun!

5. I went to Lubbock last weekend for the aforementioned wedding and it was so fun. I enjoy road trips, and Chris and Kathryn make excellent companions for the journey. The LBK was wonderful as always and it was lovely to be able to have lunch at Bless Your Heart, celebrate mass at St. E’s, stay up late talking at Daybreak, weave through campus, hop on the loop, and peruse the shelves at Brother John’s.

6. The weather in little d has been great this week. Hot, but not unbearable, and the evenings have been pleasant. I like it!

7. A small glimpse of my summer: I’ve moved twice in 8 weeks and I’m still not in a “permament” situation. Yeah.

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