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

Praise and Worship Wednesday: We Delight

We Delight by Caedmon’s Call

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A Very Long Day

Ok, to be fair upfront, yesterday was an awesome day. However, a wonderful day was nearly ruined – and that is what I would like to share.

So, yesterday was the annual World Youth Day at Six Flags. It is an event where the Catholic teens of the Diocese of Dallas and the Diocese of Fort Worth go to Six Flags Over Texas (the original and still best). We have a day of fun and it ends with Mass at the Music Mill Amphitheater, con-celebrated by both Bishops and a lot of priests. And 7,000 teenagers. It is a blast.

This was my third year to go and every year, it’s the same thing. We meet Sunday morning, drive down to Arlington, ride rides, play games, celebrate Mass, and go home. On our way home, we stop at Sonic and arrive back at the church between 8 and 8:30pm.

Yesterday, it all started out the same. We met up in the morning, drove down to Arlington, rode some rides, played some games, and celebrated Mass. Then we tried to go home. But there was something different about this year.


The Dallas Cowboys now play in their new stadium in Arlington. One block away from Six Flags. And on this particular day, they just happened to be playing a game there with a kickoff time of 3:15pm. So, at 6:30ish, when we were leaving mass and heading to the parking lot, the game was ending and the fans were headed to the parking lot. So, what happens when 90,000 people try to leave Cowboys Stadium and 7,000 people try to leave Six Flags at the same time and try to access the same two highways?

You wait.

A semi-accurate run-down of our ride home:

7:14pm: My van is loaded up with myself and 6 teenagers. I start the van and head out of my spot.

7:15pm: Get in line to exit parking lot.

7:45pm: Leave parking lot and turn onto Road to Six Flags Drive. (not a typo. 30 minutes just to leave the parking lot. Most of that was standstill.)

8:05pm: Turn onto South-bound Hwy 360 and U-turn to go north.

8:26pm: Get on ramp for North-bound Hwy 360. (again, not a typo. It took 20 minutes to go through the light at the exit before I could get to the ramp.)

8:32pm: Leave the City of Arlington

9:07pm: Arrive in South Denton (it took as much time to drive to Denton from Arlington as it did to leave the parking lot)

But my night was not over. Because the traffic was such a mess, our multitude of cars got split up. And I had to wait at the church (a) for Caity, who I was taking home, and (b) to make sure all the kids got picked up. So the rest of my night went like this:

9:07pm: arrive at the church, unload.

9:09pm: Wait for cars

9:15pm: Tell Kendall she can go get food (she was waiting for her brother)

9:21pm: Call Caity and find out she just got something to eat and will be at church in 5 minutes.

9:23pm: Call Kendall and ask her to get me some food as well.

9:27pm: Caity arrives at church; more kids leave

9:32pm: Kendall’s brother arrives at church; more kids leave

9:40pm: Kendall comes back and brings me food, takes her brother home. Carrie, Shelby, Caity and I are waiting for our last teen, Kaytlin, to be picked up.

9:43pm: We realize that Kaytlin’s ride is another teen…who has decided to stop at Dairy Queen across town before picking her up. Sigh.

9:58pm: Kaytlin gets picked up. Of course, by now it is pouring rain, so Carrie and Shelby take me and Caity to the van and we jump in and head home.

I love World Youth Day. I just hope that next year, the Cowboys are playing an away game.


Praise and Worship Wednesday: Savior of My Universe

Savior of My Universe by All Star United

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Strength for the Journey pt. 2

Yesterday I told you about the results for my StregthsFinder test. Today, some reflection:

Interestingly enough, after reading my descriptions and discussion with some people at my table at the retreat, I realized something: I often see my strengths as a burden on others. I feel that I am taking something away from someone when I volunteer to head up an event or plan something. I never think about the fact that there is probably someone in the room thinking, “Oh thank goodness Holly took that!”

It reminded me of the 4th grade. We did a “yearbook” project (see, the fascination began early!) and we had several committees. One of them was called “Predictions.” They had the job of predicting what each 4th grader would be doing in the year 2010 (by the way, this should be a hoot to look at at my elementary reunion next year). We had country music singers, librarians, professional football players, comedians, etc. What did they predict for me?


Yep. Not “Magazine Editor” or “CEO of Bank of America,” just “Boss.” For a long time I’ve looked at that as an insult. The fact that the best thing they could come up with for me was “Boss” made me think that, well, I was bossy. But I realized while talking about my strengths that while there is the possibility I was bossy and annoying in elementary school, maybe what my classmates saw in me was my ability to lead and organize and plan and problem-solve and relate to others and think rationally – all the things you want your boss to do. The reason it wasn’t any more specific was because they saw that no matter what I did, I would be a good leader for it.

Conversely, I can think of a time when I wasn’t a good leader. It had nothing to do with lack of skill or ability. It had everything to do with huge emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental stresses weighing on me. Reflecting on that time, I realize that’s why it’s so important to keep my life balanced and in check. My strengths can only carry me so far. If I as a person am not doing well, my strengths can’t compensate for it. They can’t override my system – at least not for a long time.

What I am working on now is pushing back those feelings and thoughts I get of  “stop taking away from others.” We all have strengths. Right now, the only real “team” I work with is our youth ministry team. We all have gifts and we are all only at our best when we are each able to use our gifts. While I need to be careful and not overshadow anyone, I also need to stop thinking that I am “robbing” anyone of anything by using my strengths.


On a side note, something I found fascinating: you have a 1 in 250,000 chance of meeting someone with the same Top 5 strengths as you. You have a 1 in 3 million chance of meeting someone with the same Top 5 in the same order as you. Is that not AWESOME??? (p.s. I need to go fact check those numbers…sheet is in the car. But I’m pretty sure they are right).

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Strength For the Journey Pt. 1

“As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” – 1 Peter 4:10

A few weeks ago, I went to a half day retreat called “Strength for the Journey.” This retreat was held by my Diocese for young adults. About 55 of us met at a church and spent the afternoon discussing our different strengths/gifts and how those can be used.

I went into the retreat thinking “This could be really good….or really bad.” Luckily, it turned out to be really good. It was a lot of fun and very informative.

One of the unique things about this retreat was that before it started, we were given a code to go take a strengths finder test (as part of the book Strengths Finder 2.0) Once we took the test, we received a .pdf document with our top 5 strengths (with specific definitions).  Just seeing the words didn’t make sense to me. But once I read the descriptions, I was was thinking , “oh yeah, totally me!

So here are my top 5 with some words from the descriptions that I thought applied. If you know me, tell me what you think:

1. Achiever: …you approach your work-related or academic assignments with a great deal of intensity…you are known for putting in long hours…you automatically set aside time to map out the coming months, years, or decades…you likely resist devoting time to activities that impede progress, compromise productivity, or waste precious time…

2. Harmony: …you strive to be a dependable person…you willingly assume accountability for tasks, projects, assignments, or commitments…calming influence on friends, family members, classmates, coworkers, teammates, or strangers…realistic…you point out obstacles, glitches, or difficulties others do not or prefer not to see…you have a gift for simplifying, rather than complicating, chores…your capacity for orchestrating special celebrations, projects, or trips causes many people to feel less stressed or overworked…you thrive in situations where you can work on your own projects…

3. Developer:…you may derive satisfaction from helping youngsters…you take time to discover someone’s likes, dislikes, hopes, dreams, or idiosyncrasies..you soothe the frayed nerves of individuals…you usually gaina  great deal of satisfaction from making a person feel worthwhile and valuable…

4. Individualization: …you are apt to be the one to whom others look for ideas about assignments to give each individual…you assist certain individuals by sharing with them information you have acquired, skills you have mastered, or experiences you have had…you rely on reason to determine how an event, decision, or condition led to a specific event…

5. Learner:…you usually channel your mental and physical energy into things that really intrigue you…you are drawn to the process of gaining knowledge and skills…your thirst for knowledge causes you to explore particular topics of study…you may prefer to read, write, and ponder philosophies, theories, or concepts that interest you…you have little difficulty giving intense effort to projects, problems, or opportunities that capture and keep your attention..

Tomorrow, I’ll do part 2 and give you some reflections I had on this.


Quick Takes: Oct. 16, 2009


It’s time again for 7 Quick Takes. I don’t know if I will be as witty as I was last week, but here’s hoping.

Actually, I decided for this one, I will take you through the last 7 days, because they have been awesome! (um, this will all be after work stuff!)

1. Friday, October 9: I picked up Caity and we went to the DHS/GHS volleyball game with several friends from Life Teen. Between the two schools, we have 4 girls who play, so it’s always fun to watch them compete against each other and cheer for Ann, Emily, Darcy and Kailiee. After the game, I went to Abuelo’s and had dinner with Joe and Nic, which is always so much fun.

2. Saturday, October 10: This day turned out awesome. I went to a Young Adult day retreat called Strength for the Journey (more about that next week, so come on back) with my friends Abby, Juli, Sydney, Brian, Amanda, Tim, Becki, Megan and Cat. When Abby dropped me off at home, I had a message from Shelby asking me to come have a sleepover with her and Carrie. So I did. We had lots of fun watching movies and eating cookies.

3. Sunday, October 11: Sunday always equals Funday. The senior class presented our Life Night and they knocked it out of the park. They did awesome and we had a lot of fun celebrating with them afterwards at the ‘Bee’s.

4. Monday, October 12: After work I had a great Spring Retreat meeting. I can’t wait! and then we had Teen Core meeting. I never laugh harder than when I am with those kids.

5. Tuesday, October 13: Our diocese is participating in the Why Catholic? program and Tuesday was the first meeting of my group. We had a lot of fun and I’m excited to do this with so many great people.

6. Wednesday, October 14: More retreat planning and then BOB and WOW. We had approximately 50 kids there Wednesday. That’s what we used to have on Sunday nights.

7. Thursday, October 15: Yesterday turned busier than I planned. After work, I had a quick meeting, and then I planned to go home for a little bit before another meeting. However, I ended up going to visit with Shelby, then heading straight to my XLT meeting. It’s gonna be massive. 🙂 After XLT meeting and a quick Frosty run to Wendy’s, Stephen, Garrett and Bailey came over and there was some impromptu hang out time.

Whew! I’m a little tired just typing all of that. It has been an awesome week and luckily things will slow down a little bit tomorrow before everything starts up again!

Have a fabulous week and as always, visit Jen at Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes!


Praise and Worship Wednesday: Something Beautiful

Something Beautiful by Jars of Clay

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Quick Takes: October 9, 2009


Jen is taking a week off, but I am still going to do 7 Quick Takes.

1. I don’t know about y’all, but the Sonic‘s in these here stomping grounds are serving up a Chicken Strip Dinner and Drink combo for $3.99 right now and bless my heart, I have gone hog wild on this here deal more than once since October 1. Call me crazy, but I feel dadgum Southern when I am eating up fried chicken strips, an onion ring, french fries, and Texas toast, with a side of cream gravy for dipping and a Dr Pepper. Mercy!

and now back to my normal semi-Southern vocabulary:

2. Tomorrow I am attending a day retreat for young adults called Strength for the Journey. I am excited to go and more excited to go with my friends Abby, Becki, Megan, Cat and Gretchen. We had to take a preliminary quiz and determine our top strengths; this will then be tailored to us on the retreat. My top 5 were Achiever, Harmony, Developer, Individualization, and Learner. I’m interested to see what happens tomorrow! Those of you who know me, what do you think of my results?

3. Speaking of retreats, last week I mentioned our Fall LifeTeen Retreat. It went great! It was called Unstoppable and focused on the life of St. Paul. We had 26 teens and had such a fun time! Saturday night during free time the girls put on a dance party and let me tell you, you can’t help but smile when teenage girls are jumping around the room dancing and singing to Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me” and dcTalk’s “Jesus Freak.”

3. I got invited to my 10-year high school reunion next summer. Well, I got a “save the date.” Shesh. I feel old.

4. I am very heavily considering working on a family cookbook for my mom’s side of the family over the next 13 months (I figure a Christmas 2010 deadline is much more realistic than a Christmas 2009 deadline). Any advice? I already have ownership of all the recipes from my grandmother and my mom and I have pulled the “good ones.”

5. I just realized that I have a book read that I have not posted a review on! Whoops! Look next week for my review of The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold.

6. Our Life Night this week is being done by the Senior class. I’ve been working with them on it and they are such a joy. It’s hard for me to think of them as Seniors — they were little baby sophomores when I met them! Next year will be even harder as the Class of 2011 will be the first class I have seen all the way through their high school years. Don’t cry now!

7. I was going to write some gobbledygook here as filler cause I can’t think of much else, but the plumber is here at work and guess who gets to let him in?



This is my 150th post. I didn’t notice when I hit #100, so I thought I would celebrate #150. Originally, my plan was to share 150 things you probably didn’t know about me. However, that takes a lot of time – time that I do not have. So, I decided to give a 10% effort and share 15 things you probably didn’t know about me.

150 15 Things You Didn’t (maybe you did) Know About Me

  1. I’m not afraid of insects. Except crickets. They creep me out.
  2. In terms of cooking, I am at my best when it comes to desserts. I don’t know why.
  3. I’ve given up on reading “classics” and mainly browse the YA or fiction section in book stores. Give me light and fluffy any day.
  4. My sister and I used to check out The Sound of Music from the public library (2 VHS tapes!) and watch it constantly. Our parents would actually make us take time off from the movie and place limits on how often we could rent it.
  5. When I was 11, my parents argued about letting me see Jurassic Park(a PG-13 movie). My dad won and I got to go see it. I had nightmares for months but couldn’t tell anyone because I knew that if they found out, I’d never get to see an older movie again.
  6. Another thing my sister and I used to do (before we could drive and had jobs and such) was our daily summer routine: Wake up at 8:55am. Watch Star Trek: The Next Generation from 9:00am – 11:00am. Eat lunch. Watch a movie (Sara would pick the movie without me knowing, I would have to guess what it was before the previews ended), Watch another movie. Hurriedly do our chores between 4:00pm and 5:00pm before Mom got home.  EVERY. DAY.
  7. In first grade, I read all of the readers in the classroom by February and had to start reading the 2nd grade readers.
  8. I have a freckle on my forehead hair line and my older cousin Jennifer has one in the exact same spot.
  9. I prefer vanilla ice cream over chocolate ice cream.
  10. I don’t like pepperonis on my pizza
  11. Despite these last two admissions, I really am not a picky eater.
  12. Contrary to the previous statement, I am extremely picky about cereal. Here are just some of the cereals I do not like: Honeycombs, Fruit Loops, Applejacks, Fruity Pebbles, Captain Crunch, and Trix.
  13. This one won’t be about food: We learned that I needed glasses in the 3rd grade at a Texas Tech football game in the Astrodome.
  14. I estimate that in my 27 (almost 28) years of living I have been on 48 retreats either as a retreater or a staffer, or a chaperone. I’ve got another one this weekend.
  15. Continuing the statistics theme, I have been to 11 states (including my home state) and 5 countries (including my home country): Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, Austria, Canada, England, Germany, U.S.A. I did not include states I have only driven through or landed in on my way somewhere else.
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Praise and Worship Wednesday: My Savior My God

My Savior My God by Aaron Shust

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