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I love my Dad...

Dad, I love you because… (c) Corporation YOU 2019

My kids are still young enough where they are assisted in honoring their mother and father by their primary school teacher.

Every year, I can expect something memorable.   

One year, I received a card with the above photo of my oldest. 

As you can see, he’s holding a chalkboard with a handwritten personal response to the statement “Dad I love you because…”  On the slate, his preschool teacher wrote his reply…

You bring me to work.”

Until then, I wasn’t aware how much my boys enjoyed coming to work with me. 

To this day, the card still hangs on the corner of the Smartboard in my classroom.  However, that wasn’t the most eye-opening gift I received from my boys.  

Recently, my son’s elementary school teacher handed out a list of biographical statements that her students had to complete about their dads. 

Age … Profession … Favorite food. Favorite ice cream. Favorite sports team….

Finally, my son was asked to write down, “Something your Dad often says:”   He wrote,

 Did I say ‘I love you’ today?

It’s true.  I say it often.  Actually, I say it more than often.  I say it every day!  What I didn’t realize was that my son was actually listening — and that it mattered, to him that I asked.

I grew up in an era where dads didn’t always say ‘I love you’.  I had a great respect for my Dad and I knew he loved me — even though I didn’t hear him say it very often.  

When he died, I wondered, in his last days, if he regretted holding back?  

One day, I’ll get that answer and many more, but until then, I’m going to make sure that a day doesn’t go by where I don’t remind my kids — whether they had a good day, or not — that I love them!

And that means every day I’ll make sure I’m going to ask them, “Did I say ‘I love you’ today?”

James Henry is also the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, James DobkowskiTwasHail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!  To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

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Every time that I kiss my kids goodbye or good night, I say this very simple prayer:

Mother Mary look after you;

Saint Joseph pray for you;

Jesus guide you;

And St. Michael the Archangel protect you.

May the Sign of the Cross be your salvation, your protection, and your guide.

Amen.

I love you!

 

That’s my simple daily prayer.

James Henry is also the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, James DobkowskiTwasHail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!  To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

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One of the passages in my book Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul deals exclusively with Father’s Day

The book came out before I was a Dad — and before the widespread use of smartphones pervaded our everyday life.  However, I feel, it illustrates the hidden meaning behind the nation’s celebration of Father’s Day.

If you don’t know what collect phone calls are, click here before reading, so you know what the exchange is all about.

From Corporation YOU:

“Do you know on what day the most collect phone calls are made?” Mr. Mel asked. 

I shook my head no.

“Father’s Day! … Why is that?”

I had no idea.

“Because Dad was always there, giving in that special way.  So special, that on the one day we set aside to honor him, most are not embarrassed to tell him we love him — at his own expense. In fact, he has almost come to expect it.”

I could see that then — and definitely can see that today. 

All the young men I grew up with are all great dads today.  Likewise, the men I work with are all great dads, as well.

I can only speculate that all these men have one common denominator. 

They and I all had incredible role models.  Real men who exemplified true masculinity!  A masculinity formed from watching the lives of men with Abraham Lincoln’s dictum  etched upon their hearts:

No man stands taller as when he stoops to help a child.”

Perhaps this is the hidden meaning of Father’s Day, long know among men of honor, who all proudly share one thing in common … the value of being called “Dad”.

Happy Father’s Day!

 

James Henry is also the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, James DobkowskiTwasHail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!  To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

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Man Angel

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

There has been a lot of people that have influenced my life.  In fact, you can say that I’ve been blessed with an over-abundance of role models and influential friends.

Today, when people meet me, they see a person that is fairly self-assured.  Truth be told, however, I wasn’t always.

For the most part, I am overly shy.

Though I’ve overcome my shyness for the most part.  I still needed to crawl back into my shell at the end of most days and re-generate.

However, of all the people who, arguably, greatly contributed to my life, there is but one person, today, I credit for my confidence.  A man named Mike Lavorata.

The story leading up to my life path becoming entwined with his is long and convoluted.

To make a long story short, let’s just say that one day I found myself in the limelight under the direction of Mike, a wildly enthusiastic man.

Now, there’s nothing more uncomfortable for an introvert, like I was, to be tossed into the limelight — unless you add over-enthusiasm to the mix.  But there I was — or should I say we.

For the longest time, I avoided meeting Mike’s wife, though he constantly invited me over for dinner, fearing a double dose of enthusiasm.    However, it’s hard to say “no” to Mike, so one day I accepted his invitation.

Finally, I met Mike’s wife, Helen.  Much to my surprise, I discovered a soft-spoken and elegantly beautiful, woman of great faith in total contrast with my overly passionate adviser.

At first glance, they appeared to be polar opposites when in reality they were the perfect compliments of each other.   That evening I came to see Mike, not as an overly ardent devotee, but as Helen saw him, a person with an enormously large heart with a caring and giving nature.

I realized then what I never realized before…

The platitudes coming from his lips were real.  His hugs were sincere.  And though I’ve received hugs and compliments my whole life, they were always from someone who I knew; someone who had to love me.

I never really believed in myself.

Finally, I stopped looking at myself through my own eyes and I started looking at myself through Mike Lavorata’s eyes — and I saw the person that he saw, the man I am today!

I’m writing this because, without getting into details, Mike and his wife need your prayers.  There’s no other way that I can think of to pay Mike back then to ask those who read my blog to pray for him and his wife — and pray with great devotion.

And, if you are shy, like I am,  insecure or lack a lot of confidence like I once was, then find your own Mike Lavorata and look at yourself through his or her eyes.

I promise: you’re going to find someone you really like and another person who is always worth praying for!

UPDATE:

If you would like do more for Mike and his wife, go to MealTrain.com.  I will be donating 100% of my profits from my book Corporation YOU to MealTrain.com on behalf of the Lavarata family.

James Henry is also the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, James DobkowskiTwasHail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!  To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

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Faith Ties (Smaller)

It seems like a lifetime ago since my wife and I moved to Los Angeles so I could pursue a career as a screenplay writer.  You can kinda, sorta read about it here.

I experienced a modicum of success in Hollywood, but not the kind I had hoped.

Before we moved West, my wife and I made a deal: Once my name appeared on the silver screen, we would come home.

I came close — several times.

However, be it the Writer’s Strike, egos, whathaveyou, something always impeded my ultimate success.  Eventually, I had to come home to take care of family.  Since I did so, without keeping my promise,  there has always been that emptiness; that sense of what if

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Recently, my cohort in Cali, John “Rusty” Proctor, has taken a scene from a project he and I co-created, called Faith Ties, and turned it into a short that has been making it big.  Here’s a clip.

Around the same time, my wife noticed a change in me.

“You seem happier,” she told me. “More focused.” More focused on me, I believe she meant to say.

It’s all kind of ironic since recently I’ve let go of so much.  Letting go and letting God, you might say.  It’s kind of ironic because Faith Ties is simply a story about “Letting go and letting God.”

The truth was that I appeared more focused because I had stopped following rainbows and looking for greener pastures.

Not that I was giving up.  I’ll never give up!

But by letting go and letting God, the Almighty gave me new lenses to clearly see what I should have been seeing all along — that I was already standing on the greener side of life and I had found my pot of gold at the end of the rainbow on the day I said “I do” to my beloved wife!   (He also gave me two beautiful Leprechauns to go along with my good fortune.)

All that self-awareness, however, and I still wasn’t feeling like I was really home.

Maybe that’s because I have always felt that my promise, to come home, was truly unfulfilled — until now!

Now, my name finally has appeared on the silver screen.

And there something else I discovered. The more I let go, the more my name keeps appearing on screens in film festivals across the nation.

So yes, I’m noticeably happier.

I’m noticeably happier because finally … I’m home!

James Henry is also the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, James DobkowskiTwasHail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!  To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

 

Postscript:  If you think the short film Faith Ties – The Alley is tearing it up, wait until the complete film comes out in 2021!  I’ll keep you posted.

 

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Eucharist Priest

Image by Robert Cheaib from Pixabay

Full disclosure: If I was as handsome as Fr. Mike Schmitz (and I’m not) I don’t think I would have ever thought about becoming a priest (and I did).   Let’s face it, he’s the Brad Pitt of Catholicism.

He’s so good-looking, my wife recently admitted to me that she can only listen to his podcasts because his good looks are too distracting.

For Catholic answers, my go-to-guys were always Patrick Madrid, Scott Hahn, Brant Pitre and alike.   Because of this, Fr. Mike’s face kept on popping up in my queue.

I kept ignoring them because, well, he was just too handsome.  

Because of his looks, I just thought that he was just a silly front man for some kind of watered-down ecumenical theological program.  So, for the longest time, I simply ignored him.

One day, I was scrolling through a series of YouTube videos from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, I came across a panel discussion for the “Defending the Faith Conference” with Patrick Madrid — and Fr. Mike Schmitz.

Father-Mike-Schmitz-Dating-Project

So, I listened — and discovered that I was dead wrong about the handsome dude in the Roman collar.  The next time he appeared in my queue, I took the bait. Eventually, I began regularly watching his short vlogs for Ascension Presents.  

Not only did I find Fr. Mike Schmitz entertaining, I also found his vlogs informative, spiritually enlightening and, above all, in line with Church teachings.

A few weeks ago, while going forth from Mass, my boys and I stopped to preview the Catholic Lighthouse Media display at the back of our church for something new.  On the rack, I spotted Fr. Mike Schmitz’s Jesus is… CD.

“I think you might enjoy this one,” I told my boys.

My five-year-old protested when I put it in the CD player in our car as we drove home.  (Yes, our car still has a CD player.)   Fr. Mike, however, immediately grabbed my five-year-old jokester’s attention.

“Let’s start off with a prayer, Amen?”

The crowd replies, “Amen!”

“Alright, that was it.”

That’s all it took! 

Since we’ve listened to that CD so many times that my boys cannot only tell you that a lack of Caribou Coffee causes a headache, they also know the difference between an Objective argument and a Subjective one.

Above all, no pun intended, they can not just tell you who Jesus [truly] is…, they can also tell you who He truly is not!

Once my boys discovered Fr. Mike Schmitz was a YouTuber, his status catapulted him into a totally new sphere of awesomeness. He’s now up there with Zach King, EvanTube HD, Dude Perfect, and Halfway Memes.

Listening to theological podcasts went from something I do to something we do together!  To be more precise, its something my boys want to do together with me.  For that, I am forever grateful. That is why I say …

“Thank you, Fr. Mike Schmitz!”

James Henry is also the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, James DobkowskiTwasHail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!  To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

Buy Now!

 

IMG_3645 (1)

My blog this week was to mark the 40th year of my Dad’s premature passing from cancer.  It started sadly like this…

It always begins around the end of April.

Right around the time the snow melts and the trees begin to bud, the itch begins.  It’s hardly noticeable at first, then it begins to intensify.  Over time, an abrasion shows.  Soon, it becomes sore and finally, it opens into a small wound.

It’s been going on like this for years — 40 years exactly this week.

The more I try not to notice it, the harder it is to ignore.  Soon, I am reminded of the scar it left behind.

I stopped there — at a loss for words.  The plan was to write about the sadness of losing a loved one.  The continual pain it causes; its lasting side-effects, especially when a child loses a parent.

But I just could not find the words or the strength to continue. Then it happened…

On the anniversary of my dad’s death, I received a text from a close childhood friend, whose wife, also a dear friend, has been in her own grudge-match with cancer.   

In short, it read:

We went to the doctor on Monday and … the tumor has disappeared!

Coincidence?  There are no coincidences with God.

The day that has been marked by sadness for decades now has been transformed into a day of celebration; and like that, the words came to me:

A song of praise rose from the silence, gliding on the wind, capturing my full attention.  and these words were whispered into my ear.

“Rejoice!  Your Dad is up here with Me!”

 

James Henry is also the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, James DobkowskiTwasHail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!  To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

 

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