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This magic trick took place at my favorite Irish Pub, Garryowen’s in historic Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  Keep your eye on the pint for a count of five … then scroll down…

Start counting as you scroll…

 

1…

 

2…

 

3…

4…

5…

Ta da!

Wait there’s more…

Start counting again…

 

1…

 

2…

 

3…

4…

5…

Ta da!

It was a Date Night.

Drink responsibly!  Sláinte mhaith.

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. For six years, James taught At-Risk kids in Los Angeles. Today, he lives in New York where he continues to write — and teach. 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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The Lent Diet ™

Source: Pinterest

Source: Pinterest

Catholics may be onto something.   In fact, they’ve been “onto something” for almost two millennia!

I just can’t believe nobody trademarked this idea yet!

During Lent, most Christians feel called to give up “something”.

In my Catholic Christian family, we were also required to fast, for lack of a better term, for the whole period of Lent.

Everyone knows about Catholic’s Fish Fridays.  My mom just took it a bit further.

She instilled in us that, “If Jesus could give up food and water for 40 days and nights, the least we could do is gives up snacks between meals and desserts.”

Did I mention my mom is Irish Catholic. If you’re Irish Catholic, you know what that means.

So, every Lent we would eat smaller portions, cut out snacks and go without desserts.  I still continue this tradition to this day.

Though now I break fast on Sundays, we carried out this fast, in my childhood home, all the way to Easter Sunday.

As I matured in Faith, I fasted — as in no food — during Holy Week, cleansing my body with Detox Tea until the morning of the Great Sabbath, Holy Saturday aka Easter Eve.

Every year, I lost weight and felt like a million bucks!

Originally, I ended my holy fast on Easter Sunday.  However, here’s why I stopped.

Polish people celebrate Easter with Kielbasa and an cornucopia-kowski of Polish treats: hard-boiled eggs, butter, ham, horseradish, bread, babka and other foods.

Maria Sliwinska, ICIMSS, Poland

Photo: Maria Sliwinska, ICIMSS, Poland

After a week of cleansing my body, a slice of low-end, high-nitrate brand of smoked kielbasa nearly killed me.  My detoxed body went into revolt and I felt like I was going into toxic shock.  The only thing running through my mind as my body struggled to maintain homeostasis was, “They’re going to find me dead on the sofa and they’re going to think it was the fast.”

So, as a precaution, I now start toxifying the day before Easter, so I could feast on the holiest day of the year.

Now that I’m a parent myself, I instill the same sense of sacrifice in my children.  It’s easy to do — with a little help from the Easter Bunny.  I give a few tips here.  One alteration I made from mom is that my kids substitute a healthy snack for the usually after-dinner dessert.  Besides that, its pretty much the same regiment!

Do this for a whole year — and there you have it:  The Lent Diet()

Cut calories, eliminate snacking, and no desserts every day — except on Sundays!

The good thing is that you don’t have to be Catholic to feel good; just eat like one — during Lent and beyond!

As far as the trademark,  I’m working on it.

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

ash-wednesday-corporation-you

Ash Wednesday – Corporation YOU © 2017

Today is Ash Wednesday.

For six years, I lived and worked in Southern California, within the bounds of the largest Catholic archdiocese in United States where I attended Mass and services at the parish of St. Finbar in Burbank.

Almost 5 million Catholics work, live, and worship in the Los Angeles community of 11 million people which prides itself on its embrace of multiculturalism.

Oddly enough, when I lived in So Cal, not one Ash Wednesday passed without someone pointing out that I had “something” on my forehead.

The first time it occurred, I was in a Target. The person was kind and concerned as she approached and expressed her concern.

“Excuse me, sir,” she said. “You have something on your forehead.”
“It’s Ashes,” I replied, believing she would then know what I was talking about. She didn’t. “It’s Ash Wednesday,” I continued. Still nothing. “I’m Catholic,” I added. “We put Ashes on our forehead to mark the beginning of the season called Lent.”
“Wow, that’s cool,” she smiled, then walked off.

I have to admit; though I chuckled, I was equally amazed that she didn’t know. The following year, it occurred again.

My wife and I went to have sushi after receiving ashes to meet our holy obligation of eating fish. (And yes, I’m aware that sushi is not the true intended act of penance imposed by the Church to commemorate the day.)

As we we’re leaving the restaurant, the Japanese-accented Sushi Chef called out to us.

“Thank you for coming,” he said. “Have good day.”
“You too!” my wife and I added in unison.
“Excuse me, you have something on you –,” he added, pointing to his forehead.
“Yes, thank you,” I replied. “It’s ashes. It’s Ash Wednesday.”
“Oh my goodness,” he humbly replied seemingly losing his accent. “I’m a lapsed Catholic.”

We chuckled. First at the loss of the shame-filled Sushi’s Chef’s Japanese accent; but also at the fact that it happened again!

I was equally amazed that he didn’t know.

The most noted case of mistaken ashes came when British Sky News reporters, on Ash Wednesday, thought the dirty mark above the brow of then Vice-President Joe Biden was also just something on his forehead.

It’s quite humorous. The reporter, another self-proclaimed lapsed Catholic, finally realizes three minutes and 10 seconds into the broadcast that Joe Biden’s something is, in fact, ashes, and humbly apologizes.

Take a look at it HERE.

In her defense, and the defense of the others, our ashes often lose their intended shape, that of a cross — especially by the end of the day.  (See below)

Catholic Guide to Ashes

Though I no longer live in Los Angeles, I, oddly enough, miss those awkward Ash Wednesday incidents.

I don’t miss them because they made me laugh — even though they did.  I miss them because they revealed, to me, the true nature of the season of Lent that lives in the heart of those of goodwill.

Lent is a season of Penance, yes; but it’s also a season of Reflection.

But what exactly should we reflect on?

Well, how about we reflect on being more Holy, more Christ-like; we can do this by reflecting His loving character more.

In fact, I’d argue that the motivation behind these well-intended interactions were, for the most part, just as Christian as the act of receiving and wearing ashes.

How so?

Then let me start with this question: If Jesus was walking down the street and he saw a smudge on someone’s forehead, what would He do? What would He say?

I think that Jesus would stop, point, and say, “Excuse me, sir. You have something on your forehead.”

So, if today, if you are stopped by a well-intended non-believer or non Church-goer, simply smile and say, “No, that’s not dirt on my forehead. It’s Ashes … but thank you!”

Maybe, you could even take this opportunity to start a conversation — and possibly take the first step in introducing someone else to the Love of Christ.

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

Lent Fun Fact:
The Catholic practice of abstaining from meat on Friday was the reason for the creation of McDonald’s Filet-o-Fish sandwich.

 

Why I Love Snow

Snow Day (c) 2017 | Corporation YOU

I just got done snow-blowing my driveway. My very long drive way. Actually, its more like a small road than a driveway.

It took about two hours. (I told you, I have a long driveway.) Like usual, about a half hour after I was done, my neighbor showed up with his plow — but I’m not complaining.

I’m not complaining because I love snow.

Snow slows us down.
Snow gives us time to reflect.
Snow brings us closer together.
Snow makes us think of others.
Snow makes us more neighborly.

But that’s not why I love snow.

Before heading out to take on the snow, I asked my boys, “Do you know why I love snow?”

“Snow forts?” they shouted.
“No,” I replied.
“Making a snow man?”
“Sleigh riding?”
“Hot Chocolate?”
“Catching snowflakes?”
“Snowball fights?”

With each response, I just shook my head.

“Shoveling,” my youngest asked, running out of things.

“All very good suggestions,” I added. “But that’s not why I love snow.”
“Snow days?”
“Close…” I added.
My eldest paused in contemplation — he’s my deep thinker — then he smiled.
“Us?”
“You got it,” I grinned. “Snow leads to snow days. Snows days gives me more time with as Us. Now, let’s go out and play!”

And that’s why I love snow.

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

Gerhard Gellinger | Pixabay.com

A few days after Easter, I was resting in my in-laws basement in Gettysburg, watching a 2015 re-run of Last Man Standing‘s Christmas episode.

Tim Allen’s character sent his two son-in-laws off to set up the Nativity scene.  Ryan, Allen’s Left-wing son-in-law, convinced Boyd, the shows loveable air-head, to create something that was multicultural, which wouldn’t often “Jews, Muslims, and Zoroastrians.”

Together, they created the “New-tivity Scene” — an empty creche with a sign that read “put your God here.”

Ironically, nothing says “multicultural” than America — and nothing say “America” more than the Nativity scene.

Think about it.

First, speaking of Zoroastrians, the Magi were priests from the East — and possibly Zoroastrians. Mary and Joseph were undoubtedly Jewish parents, as were all the Shepherds.  The baby grew up to become  one of the revered prophets of Islam — and his mother is revered universally by Muslims.

And on that Holy Night, though the Holy Family technically were not refugees or homeless — they had a home in Nazareth, they were immigrants, as are most Americans.

Further, they were definitely not a traditional family.

With all-due respect to the Holy Mother, she did not plan her pregnancy — just like many American women today.  However, she accepted her predicament giving women throughout history a blessed example to follow.  And Joseph, her husband, was not Jesus’ father; he was His step-father.  I had a step-dad, as do so many of us today.

Because of the love I had for my father in heaven — my biological father in Heaven, that is, I didn’t make my step-dad’s role easy.  However, I can’t image my life today without his wisdom and guidance.

Nearly everybody was represented at the Natitivy — except the powers of the world.

The Nativity offers the birth of Freedom: The Freedom of Religion; the Freedom from Want; the Freedom of Worship; Freedom from Fear.

There’s nothing more American than that!

 

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. For six years, James taught At-Risk kids in Los Angeles. Today, he lives in New York where he continues to write — and teach. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

It often becomes awkward when people discover that I teach science.

First, when someone discovers I teach secondary school, they assume, because I’m a writer, that I teach English. Next, when the discover that I’m a science teacher, they tilt their head and say something like, “How can you teach science and be religious?” — as if one excludes they other.

They do not.

Recently, while preparing to teach my AP Biology class, I read a paper on Fetal microchimerism. It’s a phenomenon involving fetal development that has lead to more questions than answers, but it is still fascinating.

Here’s my layperson interpretation: Though we know that blood cells of the mother and the fetus do not cross the placenta, stem cells of the fetus do. These stem cells can last, circulating in the mother’s system, for almost four decades.

Even more interesting, these stem cells can cross back across the placenta into a future child. So, simply put, unless you are the first born in your family, you have stem cells of your older siblings inside of you.

Wow! Being the youngest Dobkowski, I have my siblings cells inside of me. That’s cool and creepy, at the same time.

Then, suddenly it hit me: That means Jesus’ stem cells crossed over into his mother, Mary.

As a Catholic Christian, I am familiar with some of the Marian traditions passed down through the centuries, such as: The Immaculate Conception, The Assumption of Mary/ Dormition of the Mother of God, Mary’s Perpetual Virginity….

A quick side note: Though many mistakenly believe an immaculate conception is when a virgin conceives a child with a deity minus the act intercourse, well … it’s not. In truth, the Immaculate Conception is a person, the Virgin Mary, who was conceived naturally — just like everybody else — except she was conceived minus the stain of mortal sin.

Many of my non-Catholic Christians have a problem with this Church Teaching.

However, the recent scientific discovery of fetal microchimerism not only scientifically supports the doctrine of this teaching, but it supports the ideology of the Dormition and Mary’s Perpetual Virginity, as well.

If your a non-Catholic Christian, you’ve might’ve heard the phrase, “God cannot be in the presence of sin.” Well, there are many Biblical examples as to why this phrase in technically untrue. However, this saying becomes clearer when shared in the light of Isaiah 59:2.

But your iniquities have separated you from your God….

How could the Mother of God be separate from God who she is carrying God in her womb, if the woman and her womb were not a fitting vessel — meaning without sin?

Using science, anyone could argue against the Immaculate Conception with a strong scientific defense since Embryology soundly shows that a fetus’s blood and the blood of the mother don’t ever mix, thereby  making her womb a fitting vessel regardless of Mary’s sinful nature; and they would be right — before the 1990’s.

But since the 1990’s, we know, scientifically speaking, that the infant stem cells cross the placenta and enter into body of his/her mother. That would mean the cells which were genetically Christ and incarnately God would have entered into His Mother.

That could not occur if her iniquities have separated her from God.

So, therefore, the Virgin Mary’s entire nature to be sinless — or as we Catholic Christians say “Immaculate” or “Full of Grace.”

The scientific discovery of Fetal microchimerism also confirms, for me, the need for Mary’s Immaculate Conception.

Think about it…

 

Even more astounding, a report in Molecular Human Reproduction shows that researchers, who performed autopsies on 26 women who died while pregnant or within 1 month after delivery of a son, found Y-chromosome cells in every tissue cells of the host mother.

Every cell!

That means that Mary body was literally embedded with Christ’s cells!  Since Mary, biologically consubstantial with Our Lord, was also rightfully taken up to Heaven in her Assumption.

The science clearly supports that ideology, also!

Now finally, let’s discuss how fetal microchimerism also further confirms the Church teaching of Mary’s perpetual virginity.

I know this is a hot-bed of contention because the Bible clearly states the James from Jesus’ brother and our Lord had siblings. Or does it.

Regarding the common argument from Matthew 1.24-25 that Christ had siblings, the famous Reformer, John Calvin thought “that no just and well-grounded inference can be drawn from these words of the Evangelist, as to what took place after the birth of Christ”

Calvin was not alone among the Protestant Reformers in defending the perpetual virginity of our Blessed Mother.

known to have been the practice of the inspired writers.”

Calvin was not alone among the Protestant Reformers in defending the perpetual virginity of our Blessed Mother.

Martin Luther wrote:

“When Matthew says that Joseph did not know Mary carnally until she had brought forth her son, it does not follow that he knew her subsequently; on the contrary, it means that he never did know her . . . This babble . . . is without justification . . . he has neither noticed nor paid any attention to either Scripture or the common idiom.” (That Jesus was Born a Jew)

“Christ, our Savior, was the real and natural fruit of Mary’s virginal womb . . . This was without the cooperation of a man, and she remained a virgin after that. […] Christ . . . was the only Son of Mary, and the Virgin Mary bore no children besides Him . . . I am inclined to agree with those who declare that ‘brothers’ really mean ‘cousins’ here, for Holy Writ and the Jews always call cousins brothers.” (Sermons on John)

Huldrych Zwingli wrote:

“I firmly believe that Mary, according to the words of the gospel as a pure Virgin brought forth for us the Son of God and in childbirth and after childbirth forever remained a pure, intact Virgin.” (Zwingli Opera, Corpus Reformatorum, Berlin, 1905, v. 1, p. 424)

Even John Wesley, in 1749, wrote:

“I believe that He [Jesus] was made man, joining the human nature with the divine in one person; being conceived by the singular operation of the Holy Ghost, and born of the blessed Virgin Mary, who, as well after as before she brought Him forth, continued a pure and unspotted virgin.” (Letter to a Roman Catholic)

If Jesus was not an only child, he, a devout Jew, not only broke Jewish Law by handing his mother over to John while they looked up at Him from the foot of the Cross, but He also would’ve natural law was broken, as well.

Let me explain — using science.

As stated above, these fetal stem cells don’t just cross over and dwell inside of Mom as the nourished baby develops and grows, but they also return to the womb and nest inside future siblings.

And since God cannot be in the presence of sin, Jesus’ stem cell cannot be in His brothers and sisters, who had not yet been saved by Christ’s Death and Resurrection.

Remember, the Resurrection has not yet occurred, and the Holy Spirit — which dwells in us — was not yet given to us.

Now, if you’re Catholic, I know what you’re thinking: What about Holy Communion? Doesn’t Christ enter our body when we receive his Body and Blood.

Theologically, no!

When we go partake in Holy Communion, we enter into the Body of Christ which is why we are not suppose to receive Eucharist with the knowledge of committing the mortal sin. That’s what St. Paul meant when he wrote, “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord” (1 Cor 11-27).

Yes, God is omnipresent. And yes, He has been in the presence of Satan (see the Book of Job). And yes again, upon His death, Jesus descended in Hell (though many argue he descended only to Abraham’s Bosoom or Paradise, as He called it on the Cross,  and into the bowels of Hell (Gehenna).)

But God could never be encapsulated in a vessel of sin and become co-joined with darkness.  For God separates Himself from sin, and the Light of the World can never dwell in Darkness.

The science is clear, and because it’s clear, my Faith is sealed.

But let’s go beyond the science for a moment.  The answers to all our questions about Mary can be found in the Heart of Christ.

If you were God and you could create your own mother, how would you do it?

My guess would be “Perfect” — just like the first woman I created, who was designed to dwell with me forever and without sin.

 

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. For six years, James taught At-Risk kids in Los Angeles. Today, he lives in New York where he continues to write — and teach. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

FIGURE SOURCE:

Boddy, A. M., Fortunato, A., Wilson Sayres, M. and Aktipis, A. (2015), Fetal microchimerism and maternal health: A review and evolutionary analysis of cooperation and conflict beyond the womb. BioEssays, 37: 1106–1118. doi:10.1002/bies.201500059

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/bies.201500059/full

 

Bravo to Burger King. They just made the best Anti-bullying campaign ever. But I’ll let them tell you about it…

Scrawny. Short. Ugly. Fat. Weird. 30% of school kids worldwide are bullied each year and bullying is the #1 act of violence against young people in America today (Source: nobully.org). The BURGER KING® brand is known for putting the crown on everyone’s head and allowing people to have it their way. Bullying is the exact opposite of that. So the BURGER KING® brand is speaking up against bullying during National Bullying Prevention Month.

In the BURGER KING® brand Bullying Jr. experiment, more people stood up for a bullied WHOPPER JR.® than a bullied high school Jr. Visit NoBully.org to learn how you can take a stand against bullying.

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