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Posts Tagged ‘James Henry Dobkowski’

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My wife walked by me this morning with a gentle touch. I winked and batted my eyebrows .

“Maybe,” she amorously added with a smile, “but I have the Catholic Moms meeting tonight.”

“Tell them we’re in the NFP window,” I said joking half-heartedly. “If any group should know about the NFP window, it’s a group of Catholic moms.”

So, what is NFP?

It stands for “Natural Family Planning.” Some people falsely believe NFP is synonymous with the Rhythm Method; it is not!

Also known as the Fertility-Based Awareness Method,(FBAM or FAM); Natural Family Planning (NFP) is an effective and fulfilling method of avoiding pregnancy 1 that has developed significantly over the past 80 years.

It’s a way for women to take control of their fertility without using chemical hormones and invasive devices. Maybe that’s why it is sometimes called Green Sex

Used most notably by practicing Catholics, FAMs have been catching on. There’s even a TED TALK about it.  So, if it’s a “female thing” why am I talking about it?

Well, as a husband, I didn’t immediately jump on board with NFP. As a Catholic, I knew I had to avoid unnatural contraception methods. However, as a male, I shamefully pushed the responsibility of monitoring onto my wife.

It is her body after all; what do I really know about it.

However, as our marriage started to grow in Love and Respect, my understanding of NFP started to grow — as did my amazement for my wife’s fertility. The more awareness I had, the more love and respect I had for her and her body.

However, my true interest in NFP came from a peculiar source: Ricardo Montalbán. Star Trek‘s Khan. Fantasy Island‘s Mr. Rourke. Yes, THAT Ricardo Montalbán. (Or at least I think it was Ricardo Montalbán.)

At the time when I was struggling with NFP — (and you will struggle at first; everyone does) — I recall watching an interview where Ricardo Montalbán discussed his faith. He was a devout Catholic; a devoted husband, he mentioned how every month was like a “Honeymoon” for him and his wife because of NFP.

Now, I searched the internet trying to find this particular interview and I found many interviews where Mr. Montalbán discussed his Catholic Faith. However, I couldn’t find this particular NFP interview. 

Of course, I began questioning whether it was actually Ricardo Montalbán?  But the image was so strong.  After discovering that he was happily married to the same woman for 63 years, I searched some more.

Sadly, I never found it.  So, was it Ricardo Montalbán or someone else?  I may never know. What I did find, however, was some articles on NFP’s “Honeymoon Effect”.  Many of them were supportive, but not overwhelmingly positive. Here’s a good example.

Regardless of where I heard about the “Honeymoon Effect,” I’m writing to let you know that it exists. 

The irony, however, is that the “Honeymoon Effect” happens over time. Unlike the blissful beginning of a marriage, the “Honeymoon Effect” comes years later — like when your youngest starts to consistently sleep through the night.

Gentlemen, there’s nothing like knowing your wife’s body biologically and spiritually. To know her cycle. To know when she is fertile. Getting to truly know how she was created! It adds wonderment and awe to your relationship.

Sure, as men, we are always prepared to have sex. So the natural rhythm of nature oftentimes alludes us. Natural Family Planning or Fertility-Based Awareness forces us to pay closer attention to our spouse and the nature of her needs. 

These methods, not only, restore the natural bond between husband and wife. They remind us what Love truly is…

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres … Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4–8) 

And if you are patient, kind; if you don’t boast or dishonor; and if you’re not self-seeking, you discover yourself in the middle of a great love story where you are continually in the recurring role of the bridegroom nervously, fondly, and passionately awaiting the arrival of your bride to the nuptial bed where you two truly get to know each other.

_______________

James Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul,  and two children books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to All.   For six years, James taught At-Risk kids in Los Angeles. Today, he lives in New York where he continues to write — and teach. He has been happily married to his wife, Jen, for over 17 years. 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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Women dominate the New Testament. Of the world’s major religions, the Christian scriptures appear to focus the most on women in the ministry of the faith.

So, it begs the question “Why doesn’t the world’s largest Christian denomination allow woman to become priest?”

To address that question and many other issues facing Christianity today, I began writing. At first, Hail Mary was supposed to be a television drama. I scripted a few episodes and a Series Bible that received much praise beyond the typical Hollywood Polish Pass.

However, the content was considered at odds with what the modern television audience. So, I decided to re-write these teleplays in book form and release each individually as I complete the transition from a script to a literary work written in prose.

Though Hail Mary explores controversial Church issues, the series is not an opinion piece. It’s a story – or a series of stories.

Each new book in this series will revolve around Sister Mary Joseph, a former cloistered Irish nun trying to adapt to American life after she becomes involved in solving the many life issues of an urban community – while secretly disguised as a priest.

All Mary Joseph has to guide her, in this role, is her love for the teachings of Jesus Christ.

In this series, many of the issues facing the Church today will be examined and explored with grace and dignity. And, to the best of my ability, resolutions will be based on ecumenically accepted Church teachings. However, I am not a theologian — or even theologically educated. I’m just a storyteller. Nothing more.

American contemporary Christian singer and songwriter Rich Mullins may have put it best when he said, “It’s so funny being a Christian musician. It always scares me when people think so highly of Christian music, Contemporary Christian music especially. Because I kinda go, I know a lot of us, and we don’t know jack about anything. Not that I don’t want you to buy our records and come to our concerts. I sure do. But you should come for entertainment. If you really want spiritual nourishment, you should go to church…you should read the Scriptures.”

Maybe the same applies to contemporary Christian fiction writers? I don’t know. But the quote most certainly applies to this author and the Hail Mary series.

Most importantly, Sister Mary Joseph’s call as a woman to impersonate a priest is NOT intended to be an outward condemnation of Church teachings. Instead, the true intent of Hail Mary is to entertain — and possibly guide the reader to inwardly examine one’s “self.”

Therein lies the central question of Hail Mary – the deep, spiritual question that dwells in every person: Are we truly answering God’s call?

In the first book: Hail Mary: Bread & Wine, Mary discovered a homeless parishioner, named Jesus, who took her on a modern day Passion of the Christ.   In the next book, Sister Mary Joseph’s American parish adventures continue.

Below, you will find the opening chapter of Book II.   In the industry, it’s called a teaser. I hope reading it is an enjoyable and positive experience – and you look forward to the release Hail Mary Volume 2: The Prayer of Saint Francis

 


HAIL MARY 2:1

Source: Pixabay.com | Pixel2013

Have you ever been in one of those situations where your heart races, your hands become clammy, your mouth feels like a sand box and your tongue feels like a paperweight? And somewhere, in the midst of it all, you begin to wonder, “How did I get here?”

Sister Mary Joseph was having one of those moments.

Her hands, positioned for prayer, dripped with sweat and her dried mouth felt like it was stuffed with cotton as her focus leaped from one Church image to another; from the Lord, to the Blessed Virgin Mary, to all the Saints.

Guilt-ridden, she reached up and tugged on the Roman collar around her neck then began to pray, “In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

If this was a normal day, she would’ve been praying silently or alone and the Amen that followed would’ve been soft, demure and her own. But today was no normal day. And Sister Mary was not praying silently, nor was she alone.

She was center stage – center altar to be exact – pretending to be a Catholic priest at the eight am daily Mass at Brooklyn’s century-old St. Vincent Ferrier parish

“Amen,” responded the few Collect in attendance.

The People of God, gathered for their daily nourishment of the Eucharist, were unaware that the celebrant before them was really Sister Mary Joseph.

The reasons why the Irish-brogued Sister of the Poor Claires had taken on role of an impostor priest were many. However, defiance was not one of them.

But for now, she was committed to carrying out this mission – even at the cost of losing her soul.

“The grace and the … The grace and — of … of our Lord Jesus Christ and the fellowship — I mean: the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all,” the impostor priest fumbled through the Entrance Song.  Confused, the congregation respectfully stood in silence as they exchanged awkward glances.

“Oh brother,” Sister Mary quietly lamented.

Later on, Father Tonna and Sister Mary Joseph, still in her public guise as Father Joseph, exited the old Black Forest Bakery.  When the bakery first opened in 1878, it was one of many Mom & Pop stores owned by German immigrants that speckled this Brooklyn neighborhood one hundred plus years ago.

Today, this century old bakery and Otto’s Deli, two shops down, are all that remains of the original immigrant community that settled here at the end of the 19th century.

These businesses are kept alive, mainly, from nostalgic online orders, by those whose families moved out of the city long ago, and from in-store purchases by new immigrants who have developed a fondness for things like Lebkuchen.

Like many who grew up in this neighborhood, Tonna was raised on the bakery’s German delights. Going to the Black Forest Bakery on Sunday was as much a part of their family ritual as going to the nine AM Mass.   Hard rolls, crumb cakes, and Danishes from the Black Forest Bakery were as much a part of the Sunday breakfast as where eggs, bacon and home fries.

With every visit, Peter fondly recalled waiting in a long line with fellow parishioners and feasting on free sugar cookies as mom and dad ordered – a tradition that sadly soon ended after Vatican II changed the pre-Mass fast from midnight to Mass to just one hour before receiving.

“You had to see me. It was horrible,” Mary Joseph moaned as she exited the Black Forest Bakery with Tonna, who held their order of German delights in a 1 lb. white paper bag.

“It couldn’t’ve been that bad,” Tonna contended, trying to be supportive.
“It was worse,” the Irish-brogue priest impostor insisted.
“Here!” Tonna added as he started to unveil their purchase. “This should cheer you up.”
“They’re called Bear Paws?” Father Joseph asked.
“Bear Claws,” Tonna pointed out. “See the claws. Take a bite.”

Ignoring Tonna’s correction, Mary Joseph dug right into the heal of the Bear Claws.

“Mmmmm,” she groaned with a mouthful of pastry. “That’s –”

Suddenly, she stopped as her eyes locked on a mystical vision in the distance. This was the same vision that had been haunting Mary Joseph since that prayerful morning in the Irish Hills.

“What? You don’t like it?” Tonna innocently questioned, not being able to see the angelic apparition.

Now locked in a trance, like one of the visionaries of Kibeho, Mary Joseph advanced forward and unquestioningly followed this mystic image that now guided her forward.

“What the…?” Tonna added, seemingly at a loss of words – or at least kind words. Tonna followed Mary Joseph and finally caught up with her just as the pair turned a corner.

Now awakened from her trance, Mary Joseph peered down the street, in search of the angelic image – but was it gone.

“What was it?” Tonna asked with concern.
“I thought I saw her again,” Mary added.
“Her?”

As they fixedly stared at each other in question, a car suspiciously edged passed the two, slowing as it neared the house across from where they stood.

Only seconds passed before several glass bottles with burning cloth wicks were tossed from the car at the Brooklyn home.  Time appeared to slow as the homemade bombs took flight.

Finally, the bottles landed and violently shattered, spreading terror and flames as the car spun away — but not before Father Tonna caught a glimpse of the teenage driver.

“Luisbi?” he silently sighed.

A sudden scream diverted Tonna’s attention and the pace of time returned to normal for the Brooklyn Diocese priest. In a flash, his old fire-fighting instincts kicked in and the former New York City firefighter rushed forward in to action.

Without questioning, he unraveled a garden hose, and then ordered several neighbors to do the same. As the neighbors scurried to comply, Peter handed Father Joseph the nozzle and pointed to where he wanted his co-cleric to direct the stream of water.

What happened next still has people talking to this very day…

Unshaken, Peter ran into the home as the neighbors surrounded the front of the house and tried to drown the flames, as best as they could.

“Look!” a neighbor shouted. “I see four men walking around in the fire … and the fourth looks like –”
“Peter!” Mary cried at the sight of her new found friend exiting the fiery furnace with a frightened family, huddled under the protection of a wet blanket.

Upon Peter’s command, the family sped forward together, away from the blaze, escaping the flames as the courageous cleric fell to his knees from exhaustion.

Seeing Peter fall, Mary broke the line and ran forward to aside.

“Are you okay, Peter?” she asked once she arrived at Tonna’s side.
“That was so much easier with an air mask,” he added as he gasped for air and coughed uncontrollably. “What an adrenaline rush. Man, I miss that!”

Then, without warning, her Irish rose within Sister Mary Joseph and she socked the winded priest in the forearm.
“What where you thinking!” Mary Joseph growled.
Peter grabbed his left arm and laughed, all the while gasping for air. “By the way, you have a pretty good punch.”

Now far from the flames, the family stepped out from under the protection of the water-soaked blanket as the neighbors crowded around them with concern.

To their amazement the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their clothes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.

In worship, the family turned East and gave praise.

“Allah Akbar!”

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James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul 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.

 

 

Hail Mary: Prayer of Saint Francis.  Copyright © 2017 by James Henry Dobkowski. All rights reserved, including the rights to reproduce this book or portions thereof, in any form.

Book design by James Henry Dobkowski.  Cover Photo: Silhouetted of a Nun is used by the permission of the photographer Kjeld Friis. © Kjeld Friis. See more by going to KjeldFriis.dk.

 

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Angela George [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

I believe the great comedian and movie producer Mel Brooks has found the answer to America’s great divide.

Years ago, Mr. Brooks told Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes:

“Hitler was part of this incredible idea that you could put Jews in concentration camps and kill them…How do you get even with the man? How do you get even with him?” he asks Wallace. “You have to bring him down with ridicule, because if you stand on a soapbox and you match him with rhetoric, you’re just as bad as he is, but if you can make people laugh at him, then you’re one up on him,” he tells Wallace. “It’s been one of my lifelong jobs – to make the world laugh at Adolf Hitler,” says Brooks.

And instead of venting our anger with violence, we need to combat hate with ridicule – and make the world laugh at Adolph Hilter … and all those like him.

 

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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Source: Pixabay.com | JamesDeMers

Let’s be clear, the reason why slavery and racism are deplorable is self-evident. Also, I’m not a fan of Confederate statues. I never liked them. (I blogged about it here over a year ago.) As uncomfortable as they make me, here’s why they need to stay up — it’s actually very simple:

So, we NEVER forget!

These statues must remain so no one can ever deny that Slavery never happened in America; that Jim Crow, in all it’s ugly forms, never happened!

Sure, we have museums and places like Gettysburg where we can go. But that’s not enough. There needs to be a reminder in every American town and city of our own atrocities. So, we never forget! So, no one can ever deny it happened. So, it never again occurs.

Once these monuments of Lee, Longsheets, “Stonewall” Jackson and alike are gone, we limit the evidence that such beliefs and actions were once a part of the fabric of America. And, once this is gone, we open the door for a new breed of haters: The Deniers!

So, how do we begin this transition? How do we take a statue of Robert E. Lee and give it new meaning? I believe the great comedian and movie producer Mel Brooks has found it.

Years ago, Brooks told Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes:

“Hitler was part of this incredible idea that you could put Jews in concentration camps and kill them…How do you get even with the man? How do you get even with him?” he asks Wallace. “You have to bring him down with ridicule, because if you stand on a soapbox and you match him with rhetoric, you’re just as bad as he is, but if you can make people laugh at him, then you’re one up on him,” he tells Wallace. “It’s been one of my lifelong jobs – to make the world laugh at Adolf Hitler,” says Brooks.

Charlie Chaplin lampooned Hilter. Disney did as well, sending Hilter to Hell. He also enlisted Donald Duck to do the same. Of course, there’s Hogan’s Hero’s. And let’s not forget the hilarious Hilter Pineapple scene in Adam Sandler’s Little Nicky.

The movie Forest Gump is a perfect example of this type of lampooning. Watch the clip here:

You can’t watch that clip without realizing how sad – and ridiculous was this part of our American history.

So, for now, we need to keep these monuments up for the same reason Forrest Gump’s mother gave him his name.

“Momma said that the Forrest part was to remind me that sometimes we all do things that, well, just don’t make no sense.”

And instead of venting our anger with violence, we can bring these statues down with ridicule – and make the world laugh at Adolph Hilter … and all those like him.

 

 

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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Once forgiven, I can still remember my sins — but God cannot!

There are several passages in the Bible that shows how deeply God’s mercy goes. Here at two:

Isaiah 43:25 says, “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”  Hebrews 10:17–18 says,  ‘Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.’ And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.”

Obviously, God is all-knowing.

However, He chooses to not just forgive, but to forget our transgressions.

 

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.

 

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