Two Polish Knights: A Photoblog of a Father and Son’s Faith Journey.

Walk of Faith

I grew up the only-child of the first Polish Permanent Deacon of the Catholic Church’s history. He defected from Poland during communist occupation as a seminarian and is very close to the St. Maximilian Kolbe story. He retired from the US Department of Justice where he served as a full time chaplain at many different Prisons throughout the United States. While growing up, when he had clergy over for dinner, I never sat at the kid’s table; I grew up listening to many powerful stories of Polish strength. Our story is very unique and I feel it could be a book or a movie. Here are a few photos that showcase our life-long walk of Faith giving testimony to our journey for Religious Freedom, New Evangelization, Divine Mercy, and living FULLY ALIVE!


 

Photos

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In the 1980s, my dad and I – his Polish American son.

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In the 90s, we brought Franciszek Gajowiczek (Mr. G) to Houston to visit the Saint Maximilian Kolbe church. Here’s a family photo with my parents and Mr.G taking with the local multi-ethnic community.

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Here I am participating while wearing a cassock at the Polish mission church in Houston with Fr. Prill who was persecuted by German Nazis. Dad being deacon was something I was used to, but to Poland… it was something their modern community hasn’t heard about, a Polish Deacon?! He can marry and have child? They never heard of clergy like this. Here is a photo of the first Polish Deacons in history celebrating Mass with his Polish American son.

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That Mass somehow made the newspapers in Poland. It was the first time many people in Poland saw a married clergy, a deacon. It just so happened to be the first time many people in Poland saw a Knight of Columbus. After this published in Poland, we started getting a lot of visitors from Poland come and stay with us in America. Many of my dad’s friends from seminary in Poland reached out to dad.

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My dad studied philosophy in seminary in Poland. He knew many languages including Polish, Russian, German, English, and Latin. Look at the image on the wall,  he is a lifelong student of Maximilian Kolbe.

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Many years later, dad studied environment remains similar and delightfully simple. He has the same images on the wall, his pen and pad, but now he has his son helping the story be heard on the internet. Here I am filing images of Mr. G and organizing various relics.

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The communist made my dad join their army and forbid him to Mass. Here is a photo of him as a lector… participating in Mass at the same time disobeying a direct order. Once this image surfaced within the community, they publicly intimidated my dad to denounce the Faith. He was famously last heard yelling, “I want to know nothing of communist, but I want to know everything about Jesus Christ” before being dragged into an area named “Place without God” for a long period of time of torture.

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A few years later, here is a photo of my dad in the US Army with my mom in Germany on a tank called The Priest. They were both working in the chapel. I was born in Germany on American soil in 1982. I think you can say that dad has a look of victory on his face.

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I have this hanging in my home. Not many can say that a saint sent them a birthday card. This is a pledge of heavenly favors sent to me by the pride of Poland, Saint John Paul II. When receiving this, I remember my dad looking at it for days. Dad said to me, “Do you have any idea where I was just 30 years ago, boy?” With tears he said to me” You have a Polish Pope… and he sent you his blessing.”

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Lech Walesa came to speak at University of Kentucky and my dad was invited to meet him. Here is a photo of me and the Polish President with my dad just behind me.

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Dad encouraged me to pick a major that challenges me to learn to think critically and to see what the other side of ideology is teaching. I was in the political science department studying sociology at a school notoriously known as a liberal institution. I was involved at the Center of Global Engagement on the Spiritual Life Project working in public relations. This project was to make available to the student community choices of spiritual engagements. I was an advocate of Catholic values and on a panel was representatives of Islam and pro-active atheist; once the Dean/VP of the school literally called on the phone my parents to tell them that our Catholic views of ideal marriages being between a man and woman went against the culture of the school and to rethink what they are teaching our home and listening to at church (2013). I stated publicly then and still do: tolerance of evil is too close to acceptance of evil. When the dean called, my dad recognized the dean’s German name and he finished the conversation speaking German. Dad and I then made a bonfire where he opened up to me how he survived an institution that wasn’t aligned with his best interest. We played chess and he spoke to me in between-the-lines, “Benjamin, there’s snakes in the grass. Be true to yourself. Plant seeds.”

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Here is a photo of me and president of Florida State University with a professor from outside my department who I completed independent study for. This was a dinner rewarding excellence. While being at odds within my department and my professor who advocated  World Classification Theory (modern day Marxism mixed with communism), I managed to get invited to the president’s dinner anyways…  My professor was a Berkeley grad who studied Life in Eastern Europe in the 1960s. He published that the life span expectancy above age 30 of a Polish male born within the 10 year span that my dad was born, was less than .01%. He told me in a private conversation the likeliIn thihood  that my father survived defecting communism as a Catholic seminarian was impossible; the same professor told my class that the Catholic view of marriage was hate speech.

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I couldn’t be more happy to be done with FSU. Post graduation, the academic dean told me, “If your views aren’t within the circle of common interest, you are in a lonely world. A voice is much stronger within an institution.” He was telling me this in interest of humanistic secularism suggesting that the modern progressive movement (liberal agenda) doesn’t include any form of religion. Furthermore if I remain outside of the agenda, that my Faith was inferior to his science. Look at my dad behind me, how happy he was that I was fished with this university. I look forward to further education from another school.

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Maybe the dean was correct that a voice is stronger within an institution. I became an active member in an institution of integrity with many colleagues of Catholic Gentlemen. The first year there was 4th degree Knights in Poland, my dad and I became exemplified Knights of Columbus with the same class, but in Orlando. Look at the center of the photo, you will see my dad standing. This was the 1st year media and cameramen where allowed at this part of the ceremony. This photo was published locally and shared globally.

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Dad and I. He likes this photo.

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Polish Archbishop Thomas Wenski, during a lighthearted moment, asking my dad in Polish what happened to his beard. The first time they met, my dad was growing a beard during a year to remember late Pope John Paul II. The archbishop once came to my dad’s work at the federal prison in Tallahassee to celebrate Mass with the female inmates in four languages.

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Here’s a photo with my dad and Bishop Gregory Parkes, the tallest bishop in the world. This is near my dad’s land in Tallahassee where there is a land lot dedicated to remember La Florida Martyrs. I showed up with my camera and joined the momentum offering photojournalism to the project in the early stages.

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Little did I know the first photo I would take with my new camera would be a photo of three bishops having a special Mass (that was parctically in my backyard) published globally by EWTN. I was only the photojournalist but the author of the article made it sound like I planned the entire event, “Mass for Florida Martyrs Credit: Benjamin Horbowy”  Read the story for yourself, it was a remarkable event.

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One of the first times I wore regalia with the color guard was at this cool site that’s historic La Florida and shows how Florida was in the 1700s. Look at the tent and the old fashion knight in the back. Here is a photo the local Knights of Columbus providing the bishop an escort.  I had a squire working the camera.

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This is what the bishop posted for the event. We were there only to celebrate a historic Mass. This was my first time posing with the bishop as a KofC… look at the next picture how the local media spun the story.

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I wasn’t happy at the slightest when the local newspaper posted my face in my Knights of Columbus regalia with a headline that promotes witchcraft. They totally got the point of the Mass wrong and even cut out the bishop. I told myself that for the next local Catholic function I will have to write for the newspaper myself or else they will always spin good news into … secular propaganda.

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For a few years in a row, Archbishop Thomas Wenski would visit Tallahassee during the Red Mass. Every visit, I would get a moment with the Polish Archbishop of Miami. His advice was always very short, simple, and profoundly prolific. “Carry on the spirit of Poland. Work with youth.”

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I started working with middle school youth groups.

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With the Knights, I became a youth leader with the Squires program at John Paul II High School. I was recruited into the position of Deputy Grand Knight with the council and Faithful Captain with the assembly. With the school, they logged the students’ time with the squires as an executive leadership program. One seed this group of gentlemen planted was the founding of the http://www.WorldYouthFund.org which one day we wish to systematize and streamline fundraising for youth within the Knights of Columbus – the goal is to provide funds for youth to attend World Youth Days. This global project and an ambition of mine is currently inactive pending, but we own the domain name for life.

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The first project we did with the Squires and John Paul II high school was source funding and recruiting an artist to create a statue of the Pride of Poland. Here are the Squires, Knights, and the statue per-completion.

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The squires achieved a great success by providing the community with the likeness of the Pride of Poland. Here Bishop Gregory Parkes is giving the Church’s blessing of the image of the Pope. I wrote the story for the newspaper this time to ensure the proper exposure.

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While many, many local Catholics were happy the event was covered in the paper with 4 color photos, I never felt so much backlash from the general public. I received more than 400 messages that week from all kinds of hate against Catholics: about worshiping statues, about clergy working with youth, about a Pope, yada yada yada. I submitted 5 photos of the event and even a #PopeSelfie with the squires. The media cutout again the bishop. Where is there anything hateful about this article? So where did all that hateful mail come from? The Knights gave me a special thank you for all this, Knight of the Month.

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The assembly in the capital city of Florida does a lot of cool color guard events. Here we are marching on the capital. We had guys on the sides of the parade passing out Rosaries.

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Our assembly was able to get the Nativity Scene placed in the capital. However, we used a political strategy that allows for all forms of religious expression. The local community mocked us by placing obscene statues that represented their humanistic inspired “nonreligious-religious” group. Hey, dad said, “there’s snakes in the grass.” What was a noble gesture to share our Faith, turned out to be loophole for bad things too.

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As a U.S. Army Veteran (2001-2007) and Color Corp Commander for the Patriotic 4th Degree of the Knights of Columbus, I was proud to present the US Flag at the capital building of Florida for Flag Day that is also the Army’s birthday. Florida July in a tux, anyone?

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For me, I was honored that the first time the Knights of Columbus officially published a photo of me, that it was while I was doing something most sacred providing guard for the Most Holy of Adoration. Since I had on a purple cape, they asked me to lead the procession, “No thank you, I will follow Jesus. ” @KofC tweeted this.

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The newspaper was bought by a larger media company; I was informed that I was no longer a columnist in the Religious section, but now I was titled as a community blogger for the faith section. Many people in the Catholic community were happy that I was able to get a photo of all the clergy in the paper. I liked the line I put in the write-up: when a priest travels in basketball, they call it a pilgrimage. I had to mention silly things like that in order to get the story even published. The message I put in the paper was mainly about how much the Knights of Columbus helped the school by providing this event and raising thousands of dollars, but what came out was one line that the knights were there selling hot dogs. I took it as an insult from the paper to butcher my article and put the story under the fold with a generic sports image on the cover of the new Faith section. Listen, editors know every tiny detail about the messages delivered and how to mislead. When she (the new editor from the media company) edited the word “Jesus” out of this article, I left the paper. I guess you can say my last article for them was a slam dunk.

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I met my soulmate and married her on 1-15-15. Look where one of our first dates was: Knights of Columbus HQ in New Haven, Connecticut. She knew what she was getting into.

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In St. Mary’s where the Knights of Columbus was founded by Fr. McGivney, my wife and I were there the week we married. I was surprised what was across the street, the Skull and Bones Tomb of the highest order of masons. As Knights of Columbus, we are Catholic Gentlemen and founded as soldiers in spiritual warfare; Fr McGiviney visioned this more so than he envisioned the KofC to be an insurance company. I am happy to be a part of an organization that supports Catholic values. Our organization was formed 100 years before I was born in 1882.

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On the drive down, moving my wife from New York to Florida, we stopped in the National Shrine of John Paul II in Washington DC. Many people don’t know that this is a Knights of Columbus funded project – ask the tour guild how many millions of dollars KofC donated. Walking through the museum is a masterful delivery of the messages of Saint John Paul II’s legacy. He planted seeds throughout the world and had a passion to work with youth. This place showcases one of the missions JPII started, World Youth Days.

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Also at the National Shrine of St. John Paul II, a display of the martyrdom of St. Maximilian Kolbe. I have some artwork and relics that this place might be interested in showcasing.

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Here’s a photo of me providing escort for the Florida State Deputy Paul Koppie at an assembly meeting in our new Parrish. After marring my wife, we moved from the capital city to Tampa Bay. I told my wife that I just spent a few years being very active with the Knights and maybe I could fly under the radar for a while. That never happened, within a month of my relocation the state council named me as the Public Relations Coordinator for the Diocese of St. Petersburg.  I created and currently host some of the largest Knights of Columbus digital communities and groups in the world, one being Tampa Bay Knights on Facebook and another group for 4th degree knights from around the world.  Not long after I was introduced publicly to the state, assemblies, and councils, we found out that one must be a PGK to be in this position. I wasn’t qualified yet, so I gave back the title. Now no one is in this role.

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The Papal Crest. I enjoy doing things for the Church more than engaging in the local politics of state councils. I love the new evangelization, being active in Catholic fraternity, and supporting charity. The Knights of Columbus help in more ways than many know. Here’s a photo of me carrying the Pope’s Crest at our local Parrish. My dad loves this photo.

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With my wife, Susan, after the 2015 Christmas Parade. It was an honor to wear regalia on loan to me by a knight of more than 50 years as we participated in a Tampa Bay event.

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Before the community, at my annual keynote on Global Polish Affairs at the Polish Society of Florida, I announced my marriage publicly as well as share stories of the Knights of Columbus in relation to the Polish community.  In this speech, I quoted the Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, the president of Poland, and Cardinal Burke. The speech ended by everyone in the room repeating together 10x, “Jesus I trust in You.” A member of the homosexual community reacted saying this speech contained hateful material and then they complained to the Knights of Columbus HQ, State Council, and my bishops office. His approach to me was that my beautiful marriage was insulting to his community and that the Knights was an organization to harbor pedophilia. In a heated moment, I told him to shut his face and that I don’t have time for a liberal antagonist. With that, he made a complaint to the Knights that I was outside the behavior of a Catholic gentleman. I had to write a formal response. Thankfully, thousands of Knights have supported me and encouraged me to continue to publicly  my witness of the Faith. The full speech is on youtube and posted at the bottom of this blog. I ask: where is there anything hateful at all .. or anything that would trigger any sober soul to be offended?   “Liberal Catholics are the worst enemies of the Church.” Pope Pius IX

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During this speech about our Polish heritage, our lives within the Church, the Faith, and relating it with the acts of Knights of Columbus, my dad joined me on stage to tell me, “I’m proud of you, son.” He has my back on this speech.

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“Benjamin, it’s time to tell the world!” My dad, Deacon Ted – Sir Knight and Reverend Mr. Thaddeus J. Horbowy – giving witnessees of the Faith, the power of Divine Mercy, and the strength of the Polish community. This was at the St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church in Houston.

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A Polish Knight’s hat in the Knights of Columbus Museum. The Polish are a huge supporter of the KofC. Poland is hosting World Youth Day 2016 and celebrating 1050 years of Christianity. Who do you think is arranging logistics of the event? Just last year – there were 30 newly ordained KofC Priests in Poland.

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These boots are in the Knights of Columbus HQ. They were made by an inmate on a life sentence. My dad was the inmate’s chaplain when my dad worked for Texas Department of Criminal Justice in maximum security prisons prior to his career working for the feds.

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These boots were made for my dad by the same life-sentence inmate who made boots for the Knights HQ.  My dad promised the inmate 25 years ago that he would help him get parole. My dad just made good (the other day) on that promise and the inmate is currently in a halfway home in Kyle, Texas being processed back into society.

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This photo was in the early 90s in Brzeg, Poland after visiting the home of Mr.G. Francis. This church is where he started a friendship with my dad Dec 12, 1970 giving him advice how to survive communism as a seminarian. We are holding the painting of St Maximilian Kolbe that Mr. G.Fransis signed. I was actually in Poland before AND after the fall of communism.

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My dad kept the painting in storage for about 20 years. When he opened it for the first time, he showed me the personal messages Mr. G.Francis wrote on the back of the painting and told me that something this valuable should only be owned by the Church.

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My father and I with the Polish Archbishop of Miami a day after opening the painting’s storage crate. The wooden carving is also signed.

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There are two paintings. One is a relic signed by Mr. G.Francis with a few cardinals’ and bishops’ signatures, this one is property of the church, in my family’s possession. Then the other painting is part of a mission to share the message of St Maximilian Kolbe, this one is property of my family. Later, it will be offered to the church once the painting finishes its purpose. Here is my father and the second painting being blessed by Cardinal Burke – Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

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My dad with the nun, Sr. Lareta in Krakow, Poland who made his deacon stole. This was the first deacon she met, as such this is the first deacon’s stole she made. She is in the same order of Sr. Faustina. Photo credit: Nancy Horbowy

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My dad with Cardinal Daniel DiNardo – the Archbishop of Galveston Houston, my dad’s archbishop.

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My dad with his goddaughter, of Russian decent, in Louisville, KY at her confirmation by Archbishop Joseph Edward Kurtz, President of the United State Conference of Catholic Bishops.

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Archbishop Jose Ruis Arenas visited Tallahassee, FL February 9, 2015. He spoke with my dad in Spanish about Prison Ministry for Death Row Inmates. He is the Secretary for the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization.

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Tallest statue of Jesus in the world. It was built 2010 and 30 miles from where my dad grew up in Poland.

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Fr. Francis from Sunny Hill, FL the spiritual leader of this painting’s pilgrimage. The goal is to place the painting in Nagasaki Japan after visiting the world.

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Veteran’s Day in Sunny Hill cemetery presented with the Knights of Columbus in Panama City. A video of the presentation is at the end of this blog.

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World known Franciscan Monk in La Crosse, WI signing the painting.

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Dr. Ricardo Grzona, Founder of the Ramon Pane Foundation for New Evangelization.

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Vietnamese man signing the painting on his 100th birthday

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My parish priest, Our Lady of Lourdes Dunedin, FL, Fr. Claudius signing the painting in Swaheli

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Polish Community of Clearwater, Florida.


Videos

Dad speaking to Polish Military men at the foot of the largest Jesus statue in the world in Poland only 30 miles from where he grew up.

Polish Global Affairs Keynote 2015 – Tallahassee, FL Polish Society of Florida.

Presentation of the Painting to the Polish community of Sunny Hills, FL.

Providing escort for our bishop as we publicly venerate this statue of St. John Paul II at the Catholic High School, John Paul II in Tallahassee. This video brought me much hateful emails from the antagonist anti-catholic community.

FYI: This is what is going on in Poland in today’s climate and a showcase of how serious we are as a community to defend religious freedom.


What’s Next in this Journey

My father is continuing to travel with the painting and we invite the Knights of Columbus to participate locally and globally. The painting journey is still alive with interest of being showcased in Poland, the Vatican, throughout USA, and on it’s way to Japan. My dad received a blessing from His Holiness Pope Francis on his 25th Anniversary of his Ordination of the Permanent Deacons.

With the Knights of Columbus, my father and I are transferring to Texas. He will rejoin the council he originally joined in Livingston Texas where they are active in prison ministry. I am joining the St. Maximilian Kolbe council where we brought Mr.G.Francis to visit in the early 90s.

The council number 16670 (which was Fr. Kolbe’s Auschwitz inmate number) is coming up and I am advocating that this council be a Knights of Columbus Multicultural Polish Council honoring St. Maximilian Kolbe. Leadership on the supreme level, in Texas, Japan, and Poland has shown interest in developing the council.


 

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Although I am pending an inactive status with the Knights of Columbus, I am not going anywhere far. I still host a few of the most popular digital communities with fellow Knights from around the world, am the founder of the WorldYouthFund.org – a future fundraising project for World Youth Days, and have relics of St. Maximilian Kolbe to share. I’m 33… if i double my age and return at 66, I still would be one of the youngest knights I know. Jokingly, in this photo, I am parked in Supreme Knight Carl Anderson’s space one a day he was out. “Keep your fork, the best is yet to come.”


 

For more information

BenjaminHorbowy@gmail.com

727-249-2272

 

Heavenly fish caught by angels

Each time I go to the Keys, I see something more beautiful than the last time I was there. For Valentines Day, my wife and I took a weekend trip. After Mass at San Pedro, I noticed on facebook one of my friends who I haven’t seen in a long time was also in the Keys. I called her- “Jen, we are in the Keys and I see on facebook you are too. Where are you?” She was in a hotel less than a mile from the church. I do not believe in coincidences. It was a random, wonderful visit. She was on a roadtrip with two other of her gal friends who she knew for ages. My wife and I joined them for lunch. It was nothing less than spectacular.

Sometimes God sends angels to us. Sometimes God places people in our lives for moments we need to hear His messages the most. God is alive in the hearts of others. Have a day by the water, eating fresh fish, and feeling the sea winds was healing mentally and spiritually. I’ve always thought of the Keys as a place to escape – a place to feel the wind blowing and let the tides move me. I thought that the world changes everyday, people change everyday, and relationships change everyday, so why do the same thing everyday? However, this time… I had an Emanuel moment. I had a moment that God was telling me, “Benjamin, LISTEN TO ME! You are right, and so wrong at the same time. It’s time for an adjustment.”

I sat there with friends, my wife, and the perfect atmosphere to pray- to listen to my heart. Yes, I felt the wind blow… yes, I felt the tides change. But look what I was looking at the whole time that I was sitting there enjoying the moments – an anchor. In the mist of an always changing world, we need an anchor. We need to do the same thing everyday- we need to praise God, we need to love each other, and we need to be constant. Yes, we can feel the wind blowing, but it shouldn’t change who we are at the core.

God is my anchor and as long as I have Faith, the world can change all it wants… but I will be focused in loving Him.

The ladies we met and had lunch with… were angels divinely sent to deliver a message -God’s love for me, for you, for us… will always be constant no matter what the world chooses to do. Amen.

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Fresh catch!

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Mermaid at Holiday Isle

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infinity pool with Cuba in the background

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My Valentine forever

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Peaceful rest

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Even the sand is manicured

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Back Patio view

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Wonderful Water Color

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These women caught our catch

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Friends luncheon by the water

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No one does Benny better than myself

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One of the youngest living WWII veterans.

U.S. Navy War Hero and Freedom Fighter, Louis Dumas of Henderson Texas. Writing and getting letters is his joy.

Here is a short video biography and a few photos to share.

Click on the video to view on the original news site

 

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He joined the Navy at the age of fourteen in 1942. He lied about his age so he could contribute in his calling making him one of the youngest living WWII veterans living with 90 years of age.

 

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He lied about his age as a young boy, so he could work in a grocery story in South Florida to help support his family back home in South Georgia. Before and after WWII, My grandpa was a grocer. Later on he became a successful executive specializing in merchandising “giving presentation to the customers.”By this photo, we see that his love for jellies and selling fish has a long history.

 

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“A man has to do what a man has to do. I was 14 in a war, Benjamin… You listening?! I was a cotton pickin’ cracker since I could walk. Enjoy being 14 in today’s world living in United States of America with two parents who love you. When I was your age in Tifton Georgia, the cow died because it was dry out of milk; you have a refrigerator in this house with milk, meat, and RC Cola. Think boy.”

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My grandpa took this picture in Japan WW2. He is standing on highest spot looking down at the island. This spot is where they planted the American flag and later put up the memorial of the soldiers/sailors erecting the flag.

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My grandparents are on the right.

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A box of letters sent to and from home during the war.

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A touching note asking his bride to be for her hand… in his words.

Remembering D-Day airshow 2015. My grandpa has an honored guest. — With my mom at the Rusk County Airport. I flew into this airport in a Piper 180 in 2001.

Remembering D-Day airshow 2015. My grandpa has an honored guest. — With my mom at the Rusk County Airport. I flew into this airport in a Piper 180 in 2001.

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Like grandpa, like grandson.

 

My grandpa loves letters. To send a hello, send them to me and I will hand deliver to him.

Benjamin Horbowy 
Attn: Louis Dumas U.S. Navy
31790 US 19 North #184
Palm Harbor, Florida 34684

 

 

 

Opal Sands Resort, Clearwater Beach Florida 

Flying Drone Cameras

First aerial images of the newest prime spot in the Tampa Bay Area brought to you by Flying Drone Cameras.





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Living the art of life

Published in the Tallahassee Democrat 

http://blogs.tallahassee.com/community/2015/03/27/living-the-art-of-life/

Being fully alive is our duty. 

I am different; some call me “something else.” I have a past, I have a future, I have family, and I can only live once. Sometimes I am eager to learn and expose myself to new while other times I refuse to hear one more word on the subject. My father is European and my mother is from Ohio, but somehow I identify myself as a “good-ole-american-boy from the souf who loves sweet tea and cajun boiled peanuts.” I enjoy spending time with my spouse and hot dinner at home. How am I different? The same way that you are different; we just are. We can see the same image or hear the same story and  will walk away with different experiences.

Last week, for me, started off as routine. My wife and I went to the big house on Sunday,  heard the Good News, and spent time calling our families back home. Later that night, something special happened. Something happened that changed my world forever. Something happened that I replayed in my mind a million times on how I could have done something to avoid this incident. I am unaware if this event was good or bad, but I will choose to make the best out of it. I was injured: in multiple places, I cracked my skull, broke facial bones, fractured my arm, and punctured my ear drum. The worst part was that I suffer a very traumatic brain injury. The doctors are surprised that I did not go into a coma and that I maintain my motor skills. Now, everything is different. There is no going backwards, there is no changing what happened, and there is no one to blame. What there is… is something to be grateful for. Life is precious.

Live life as simply as it was meant to be.

There’s been more than a few times in my life when I have been a hospital patient for more than a week. The best part of being in the hospital is the part when I get to leave. The air, the sun, the wind… it’s all new again. In that moment, there’s usually a feeling of relief. For me, this time was different. It was scary. A million thoughts hit me at once, a million sensations hit me at once, and a million worries attacked me at once. Time froze at that moment and it was as if I was tossed into a cage full of hungry wolves during dinner time. Do you know how I reacted? How would you react if you felt you were tied up and the bullseye of a firing squad? I just started laughing and said, “devil, you are going to come at me with fear and panic… really?  Get out of here with that.” Why fight a battle that has no victory? I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and remembered a time when I was in the Florida Keys with my feet in the surf.

Make memories worth remembering..

There’s no way to teach someone how the wind feels in a classroom setting. There is no emotional connection with a canvas that has a painting of wind on it. The best way to learn about the feeling of wind is to feel it yourself. I actively live a lifestyle of creating extraordinary moments just so I can look back and go on short mental vacations (day dream). God is an artist. He created nature, He created you, and He created beauty. To live without feeling His art would be sinful. Christ is alive in the hearts of others and the most beautiful moments in my life have been sharing His gifts. Living is my artistic medium. The doctors told me to do something this week that brigs me joy. Well, writing is that for me. I wrote this story for you in hopes to share my love for being fully alive. #GodisGreat

One Step Closer To You: Music and Lyrics of Michael Franti & Spearhead slideshow by @SocialBenjamin

One Step Closer To You: Michael Franti & Spearhead

I’ve been down for far too long
Till my faith was nearly gone
I never knew somebody just like You
Could be a friend i could call my own

Till i let go of a broken heart
I let go to an open heart
I let go of my broken dreams
I let go to the mystery
And i believe in the miracles
I believe in the spiritual
I believe in the one above
I believe in the one i love

And take one step closer to You
I just take one step closer to You
Even when i’ve fallen down
My heart says follow through
I take one step closer to You

I never meant to hurt You, no
And You never meant to hurt me to
But it seems like You always do
And even though i’m scared sometimes
If ever see You fallen down
I will be the one that’s there for You

So i let go of a broken heart
I let go to an open heart
I let go of my broken dreams
I let go to the mystery
And i believe in the miracles
I believe in the spiritual
I believe in the one above
I believe in the one i love
& take one step closer to You

I just take one step closer to You
Even when i’ve fallen down
My heart says follow through
I take one step closer to You

I just take one step closer to You
I just take one step closer to You

I keep on walking to You, i’m walking
I keep on walking to You, i’m walking
I keep on walking to You, i’m walking
And i’m never going to stop

Even when i’ve fallen down
My heart says follow through
I’ll take one step closer
I’ll take two steps closer

One Step Closer to You

Steve Wozniak: How we met in person using Social Technology

traintoworkI met Steve Wozniak. I found him on twitter, tracked him on foursquare, was at his house, and I informed him an over sight on Foursquare.

Usually, I like to blog about recent events, but there’s a story worth sharing that happened last year. I was in the Keys summer 2011 planting foursquare checkin points that would auto mention one of my many twitter names. I set up geographical traps like the bridge between the mainland and Key Largo is called the Jewfish bridge, but on social media I changed that. More people checkin on “@KeyLargoFL Bridge” than on the real checkin point. There’s many 4sq spots in the keys that auto mentions a hashtag or a twitter name when the users connect their twitter account to their foursquare app. For example, they think they are checking into “Mile Marker 95” or “Feeding the Tarpon at Robbies” but the checkin mentions “Feeding the Tarpon at Robbies #islandlife #floridakeys @LegendaryKeys”

At the beginning of the summer, I left the Keys and moved to Silicon Valley, California. I planted many of these geo traps around places like Apple, Google, the Mountain View shuttle stops, Facebook HQ, and all over the bay area in places that are interesting to me. I even made a Steve Jobs twitter account and when I set it up to show the tweets coming from Apple’s Campus and his house. People believed my tweets were authentic until he passed. Anyways, I was monitoring my twitter accounts when I noticed Steve Wozniak checked in one of my spots in the Keys. Ironic to me, that I’m in his town and I 1st came across his twitter name while he was vacationing where I just left, Key Largo Florida. I tweeting a few locals that he was in town, but I was surprised that a few people didn’t know who he was. I added him as a friend on foursquare and he accepted. I wish I could have been in the Keys and had a picture with Steve Wozniak. It would have made the paper there I’m sure or a picture on the wall of the Caribbean Club.

Few days later, his foursquare checkin alert pops up on my phone. My settings were set to very close, so he wasn’t far, in fact I was riding a bike around his neighborhood in Los Gatos looking for garage start up businesses. I was surprised that his checkin at his house had his address posted publically. I’ll always remember it because it’s a binary number and the name of the street was a competitor of Apple. I didn’t knock on his door, but I thought about it. I just stood in front of his house and took a moment to realize where I was. A few months prior I was in Colombia on a private island realizing iPods are everywhere, now I’m standing near the guy who started Apple. For apple fan boy, this was cool. I didn’t want to spook him and I didn’t think going to his personal house would be kosher.

The next morning, I was taking the Caltrain from San Mateo south to Palo Alto to meet up with Social Genius, inc on University Drive. Something came up and we needed to reschedule, so the day was free for me to explore. I wanted to check out San Jose and on Caltrain going south, I got another alert that Steve Wozniak was near at a steakhouse. If you follow his tweets, you’ll see that he loves mexican food at Jalisco in Campbell, CA and orders take out steaks from Outback for his dogs. I felt this was a better moment to approach him. I got off the next stop and rode my bike towards the restaurant he was eating. I checked in on 4sq and there was an auto tweet mentioned the friend I was there with who was @SteveWoz. I walked up to him, and introduced myself as a super user. I said, “there’s an oversight in foursquare that I think you should know about. Your address is 1—0 B———y and it shows when you checkin” His wife had more of a reaction than he did. He thanked me and I left. I wasn’t selling anything, but maybe I should have. The ROI in my time for me was finding a loophole that one of the smartest minds alive over looked and I met him. I like meeting other brilliant Polish minds. The next day, when he checked in at home the address was showed as XXXX. I used the opportunity to warm lead a linkedin connection. That alone really helped my linkedin social capital.

He was very warm and approachable. He doesn’t mind super users coming to him. In fact, I think he is so public with his location, so he can meet ambitious people. I did a short experiment. I changed the name of my foursquare user name and put a picture of Woz up. I already had a large 4sq friendship base in Silicon Valley because I was adding anyone who was in interesting places to me such as @500startups or Bucks in Woodside. I was fishing for VC sharks mostly. What I found was when I checked in to places that were popping like the Palo Alto Apple Store on the release day of the iPhone 4s, it created buzz and I would over hear “Wozniak’s here!” then watch people looking for him while I chuckle. My friend requests folder would fill up. It was fun for a few days, but it was bringing too much attention and there wasn’t any benefit in that game.

Some people are on twitter and foursquare, but I use those tools on a level that some people would never even think about. My foursquare friends must think I’m a world traveler because I checkin all kinds of global events like the Super Bowl or Comic Con just to add people to my friend lists. Geo tagged traps, auto buzz, finding interesting people to follow, geo spoofing, and tracking isn’t the intended social use of the apps, but it’s how I use it and I’m figuring out more and more ways all the time.

Fireworks over Key Largo Florida in Hyper Speed

 

FLORIDA KEYS-    Footage taken with a GoPro Hero 2. The original show was 20 minutes and I speed the footage down to 3:30 using iMovie to edit. Motivation for this was merely to share with my friends back home who had their 4th of July celebration canceled. Of course the added benefit is sharing globally.

My version music video: Zac Brown song featuring Jimmy Buffett: Knee Deep

Knee deep in my own paradise

My video version

Zac Brown feat. Jimmy Buffett
Knee Deep

Gonna put the world away for a minute
Pretend I don’t live in it
Sunshine gonna wash my blues away
Had sweet love but I lost it
She Got too close so I fought it
Now I’m lost in the world tryin to find me a better way

Wishin’ I was
Knee deep in the water somewhere
got the blue sky, breeze and it don’t seem fair
the only worry in the world
is the tide gonna reach my chair
Sunrise, there’s a fire in the sky
never been so happy
never felt so high
and I think I might’ve found me my own kind of paradise

Wrote a note, said “Be back in a minute”
Bought a boat and I sailed off in it
Don’t think anybody’s gonna miss me anyway
Mind on a permenant vacation
The ocean is my only medication
Wishin’ my condition ain’t ever gonna go away

Now I’m knee deep in the water somewhere
Got the blue sky breeze blowin’ wind thru my hair
Only worry in the world
is the tide gonna reach my chair
Sunrise, there’s a fire in the sky
never been so happy
never felt so high
and I think I might’ve found me my own kind of paradise

This champagne shore watchin’ over me
It’s a sweet sweet life livin’ by the salty sea
One day you can be as lost as me
Change your geography and maybe you might be

Knee deep in the water somewhere
got the blue sky breeze blowin’ wind thru my hair
only worry in the world
is the tide gonna reach my chair
Sunrise, there’s a fire in the sky
never been so happy
never felt so high
and I think I might’ve found me my own kind of paradise

Come on in
the waters nice
find yourself a little slice
grab a bag
pack it ligth you’ll never know until you try
when you lose yourself
you find a key to paradise

Official Music Video:

Keys Livin for the summer

Key Largo Sunset

Since my last post, you saw that I was seeking a position with the Center of Global Engagement in a public relations role. Good news! I got the internship and I’m very excited to start it in the fall. I have the summer to myself. I chose to live in the Keys while I author my 1st book. I wanted to live in a creative environment and away from regular distractions. My one appointment per day is with the sunset. The rest of my day, I have for writing, a online course, and an independent study with my university for entrepreneurship in computer science. This summer is monumental for me because at the end of it, I turn 30.

Dad Fishing

My dad  came down to help me set up  in Key Largo and enjoy a few days of the Keys. We had a chance to go fishing together and take the very scenic ride from Key Largo to Key West. He showed me the Hemingway house and told me many stories of his life at my age and the decisions he was facing at the time. One thing that was very clear to me by the end of his visit was how compassionate he is for lives of others and  animals. Even while baiting a hook, he said “the least we can give the shrimp is dignity in how he dies.” It’s not in his heart to hook a life shrimp. Even on his short visit, in the relaxing ora of the Keys and the separation of the daily routine, he achieved some personal growth too. He left saying, “sometimes it take living on an island to gain perspective of the mainland” and “there’s two kinds of people, simple or stupid.”

Benjamin and Ernest Hemingway

It’s rather cliché that writers come to the Keys thinking they will become the next Hemingway. I’ve been called Jim Cramer 2.0, Steve Jobs 2.0, and recently Hemingway 2.0. I would like to be on record even though I may have rolled with the jokes and called myself the next version of those guy, truly… I’m Benjamin. I don’t have energy being those people because I’m too busy living my life, but thanks for the compliments. I admire all three gentleman in their own light and while they have inspired me, I don’t wish to lose focus on my own identity and self purpose. I’d like to title my memoir as a metaphorical fishing story, but I’ve found out recently that my stomach is not one designed for the sea. “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men” Matthew 4:19

Geo tagged a fishing spot

My AT&T 4G iphone 4S has been a useful tool and the coverage is amazing. I had full bars 7 miles out in open waters and even created a foursquare check in at “The Red Can” making a popular fishing spot. It’s proof that with today’s technology, there’s limitless global reach regardless of geographical location. My best friends live in Utah, Atlanta, Colombia, and Poland and we haven’t lost any communication. Life on an island doesn’t mean seclusion anymore. Below are a few ways I am sharing the #islandlife

My art gallery 

Youtube 

uStream

Community Invitation

Come celebrate the Marriage Blessing and Celebration of Holy Matrimony with us. 


There will be a live stream of the wedding for viewers online. It’s gonna be … HUUUGE 

Calling on my 4 Horsemen: Introducing my Groomsmen


Good memories of good men

While finishing the addresses for the wedding invites to mail out this week, it took me some time because I was remembering awesome stories of my peps. I am happy about my selection of groomsmen; I’m thrilled these guys are coming from around the county to celebrate this event with me. It’s gonna be epic. 
1) My cousin who was ten driving grandpa’s john deer with me riding in bouncy trailer behind him at age six… we were riding around grandpa’s orchard in east Texas with a 20 gauge shotgun shooting invasive raccoons, rattle snakes, and armadillos. Picture and 6 and 10 year old with an old shotgun and a rifle that grandpa “got off a Jap in the war”… We were Texans alright. I’ll never forget being taught how to skin a catfish with my cousin when I was four… and the talk grandpa gave us at my high school graduation. He’s my only guy cousin living in America… the dude and I go way back. When I was in boot camp, he wrote me a letter… 3 pages telling me how cool his new remote control plane was and how much he loves flying it. I loved getting a letter and all, but we were on the final two weeks of boot camp doing 30 mile hiking days, sleeping in dirt, doing the army thing, and here comes this letter about his cool new toy. I laughed and cried at the same time at that until drill sergeant laid into me for laughing- thanks cuz. He and I- were at the 50th anniversary dinner, grandma’s funeral, graduations, and I regret missing his wedding, but am so happy he will be at mine with his wife. 

2) Then my best high school buddy, he’s a airline pilot now and flies the big ones… I was the pilot for his first ride in a small plane when I was 19. We had cleared airspace in Cincinnati for maneuvers… while on a ferry flight to sporty’s with the flight school principal’s personal plane, a week after flying it to Florida and back for him, and right over the downtown, I showed my buddy how much fun negative Gs are (sure, the principal never let me fly his plane again, but … so worth it) We both moved from Kentucky to Florida for college (me after some time in the army), we had college spring breaks in Daytona, hurricane evacuation parties, and meet up in Orlando often. Then as young professionals, we had some night life fun in Palo Atlo and San Fransisco when I worked out in California. That reminds me about my cousin too… after army boot camp, and I was flying in different parts of the county, I would send him post cards asking him how his toy plane was. This fly boy buddy of mine, we have some great travel stories, ski trips, spring breaks, and he’s been in the inner loop of my adulthood and I in his.

3) After my career in banking, while starting in marketing trying many different routes… my ole roommate will be there. He knows my life from the inside. He lived with me in my first two houses as a young homeowner. He and I also know most of the natural rivers, mountain bike trails, and have encountered most of Florida’s Wildlife together. He knew me as I got through college. He knew me when I lived in the Keys. He knew me when I lived in north Florida. He knew me through a few jobs: I was a photographer for Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation, a writer for the Tallahassee Democrat, and an automated marketing coach/ enterprise software user coach. He knows the Old Bumpy Road I traveled to get to Palm Harbor and what I did to marry a wonderful woman. The dude is legit and is like an uncle to me. I tell people that when I was a child, I joined Big Brothers/Big Sisters and he was my big. He’s known me forever and it’s good to know someone has your back without having to ask if they do. 

4) Then there’s a new friend who I met after moving to Palm Harbor less than a year ago. Like Jimmy Buffet says everyone has a cousin in Miami, every businessman has a best friend accountant. We met at a Yankee game sitting first row behind the home dugout during a political club meeting and spoke about economic politics the entire night; only bankers and accountants can love a night like that. Then we watched the debates together and I love his humor. This guy travels more than I do. Beyond the few joys we share, I am also sponsoring him to become a Knight of Columbus. God gifted me with a good Catholic friend when I moved here. I think I’ll get a groom’s party photo of the guys wearing boat captain hats…

Not to mention- but I have a long “short list” of great friends and family from Poland who are coming and aren’t in the groom’s party. Between all the people in the room, there’s no secretes that’s for sure. 

There’s many reasons that I am excited for the wedding day: I just wanted to introduce the people on the alter with me. I’m getting excited about hanging out with all these guys at once and coming together with the bride’s family. 

The theme is “Livin’ Life in Paradise” and I’m gonna give you a slice.

The tentative rehearsal day of events: After doing what we have to do at the church, a roasted pig (thankfully, I actually do have a cousin in Miami), and then a coastal ride thru a few different beaches on our way up to Tarpon Springs for a 45 person boat ride island hoping at sunset – you are welcome to join me wearing white linen beach attire (wedding color: Malibu accent color). Oh yeah, we will be in boat captain hats or panama fedoras. In Tarpon Springs, at the sponge docks there’s a hat shop and shell store in the greek village where the boat leaves from. 

After the church wedding, we will all go to Honeymoon Island for photos, then meet up a few hours later at bahama breeze island grille for the dinner reception; it’s on the water of Tampa Bay. At sunset, we’ll have tiki time, bon fires, and steel drums at the beach. 

Boo Yah

Ten Tips to WINNING after defeat

1 Remove the ego- E G O is Edging God Out – know that it’s not always about you only. 

2 Help others- say I’m here to be a service to you, how may I help you? 

3 List and remember three things you are grateful for – good times come and go. This too shall pass. 

4 Reflect, Recover, Recalibrate – Is there a better way to handle it? Give it an hour or a day to step away from the emotional reaction before engaging, and don’t let it ruin your day or week. Then adjust your approach to be more effective next time.

5 Pay attention to your self-wellbeing and how you feel- self awareness is always useful. Check yourself if need be.

6 Think of others’ struggles and use their courage as motivation – we all know of someone in the family or friend group who has a stronger struggle that you are facing. Know in God’s timing- this too shall pass. 

7 What you resist, persist – If you don’t ever try something you haven’t done before, you’ll never grow to more than you already are 

8 Set 5 goals and write them down: Physical, Financial, Spiritual, Professional, and Educational.

9 Minimize tasks- automate with reminders, systems, and systematic progress checking. Don’t allow system chaos to occur; streamline. 

10 Embarrass the spoon-fed theory – Tell yourself, “I’m a doer, I get things done, and I do it in time.” Then work with the Accumulation Effect: many small steps to help complete big steps. 

[WATCH] Polish Society Keynote Speech 2015

 

Wigilia Celebration 2015

December 4, 2015

Tallahassee Florida

IMG_1949IMG_1944IMG_1936IMG_1951

Thank you Marty, thank you for hosting this every year and thank you to everyone in the room for sharing these wonderful Polish traditions. I’ve come to this event for 12 years in a row; this night has always meant a lot to me. As of recently, I don’t live in the capital city of Florida anymore. I made the short pilgrimage from Palm Harbor, near Tampa just to feel at home here. By home, I do not mean Tallahassee… I mean here with you, my family – the Polish community.

However, one thing that I miss greatly about this Parrish is the beautiful 24 hour Adoration chapel you have here at this church, Blessed Sacrament. I remember in times of stress, I would stop by and just sit in there with Him. I always left feeling a very comforting state of grace.

Last year, I shared with you the good news about Poland now having the world’s tallest Jesus statue, the squires of John Paul II High School bringing Tallahassee a new carved wood statue in the likeness of Saint John Paul II, and mentioned the upcoming World Youth Day that will be in Kracow in July 2016. That event is approaching soon and they are expecting 3 million people to pilgrimage from around the world to visit our homeland, Poland.

(Arms out!!) It’s gonna be … huge

Also last year, I sat next to the traditional vacant seat and empty plate that we always reserve. This symbolizes our warm, Polish hospitality and shows that there is always a place set for those who aren’t here. Guess what?! I knew then that this year, that seat would be filled for me. I’d like to take a second to introduce to you all someone very special for me, I ask you to all welcome my beautiful bride Susan.

Thank you for that. We met in New York and she comes from a very large Puerto Rican family. Together with my Polish family, we make a modern day version of West Side Story.

When I mentioned that we made a trip from Tampa Bay to come to this dinner, we called it a pilgrimage. Susan ought to be used to that by now. Our first week of marriage, we visited a few Holy places. Our first confession as a married couple was in St. Patricks Cathedral in New York City, we saw the Knights of Columbus headquarters and its birthplace in St. Mary’s in New Haven Connecticut, we stopped by the National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Doylestown Pennsylvania, then visited the Saint John Paul II National Shrine and Museum in Washington DC, had our first communion together next door to it at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and of course, we can’t have a crash course in Polish culture without talking a tour and paying our respects to the Polish folk who suffered at the United States Holocaust Museum Memorial in our nation’s capital. Haven’t you heard this? You might be Polish if… you spend your honeymoon on a romantic religious pilgrimage.
Moving on (shuffle paper)

For those who may not know me, please allow me to reintroduce myself, my name is Benjamin H to the OV. It’s spelled with W, but you say my name Horbowy.

I am a 4th degree Knight of Columbus and founder of the World Youth Fund. I take my role as a Catholic Gentlemen and Defender of the Faith very seriously. My sword… is my rosary and I believe all things are possible through Christ, Our Lord and Savior. For a few years now, I’ve provided the keynote during this Christmas dinner on Global Affairs within the Polish community. My last name and the word Horbowy means “Mountain man with a message.” Specifically, it is a messenger from Mt Horib”. Horbowy. Well, here is my Polish mountain man hat… and here is my message for you.

(breath – make sign of the cross)

This is the 2nd year that we are blessed to celebrate wigilia with our Pride of Poland, Pope John Paul II being a saint. His spirit and love continue to inspire us. In fact, just in three days, we start a major event in the Catholic Church. Starting from the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8, 2015, going all the way to the Feast of Christ the King on November 20, 2016. Pope Francis has announced this time in our lives as an Extra-ordinary Jubilee Year of the Devine Mercy.

As many of you know, the Message of the Divine Mercy came to Sr. Faustina in Kracow Poland from the Lord for the good of the people. She heard the command of Our Lord to paint the image that appeared to her. Later, that image was venerated, first in the Sisters’ chapel, and then everywhere. There is now a peace of Poland in every Catholic chapel around the world.

It is important to remember that the Message of The Divine Mercy revealed to St. Faustina and to our present generation is not new. Although, It is a powerful reminder of who God is and has been from the very beginning. God is … in His very nature… Love and Mercy

Recently, this past October, during a ceremony at the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Washington, DC, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson the of the Knights of Columbus was presented with a state award from the Polish ambassador for cultivating the legacy of St. John Paul II. In his acceptance remarks, he emphasized that there is no nation, other than his own, that is more meaningful to him than Poland. He said quote, “On this occasion I am most of all grateful to Poland that throughout a long and difficult history she has remained true to herself”

Wow! That’s not the most easy thing to do… being true to yourself. Many people and nations struggle with this, but integrity is a trait of strength!

Within the Polish community, I have heard some of the most powerful witnesses of Faith. Here are a few examples of Polish strength. I saw on the internet this week, a video of a man on his 104th birthday in Poland run a 100m dash and he completed it like a champ. He was born in 1904… and survived more than a 100 years in Poland through two world wars and the communist Russian occupation. When asked how he managed to be so physically healthy, he responded with… “I pray”.

Another, my dad, one of the first Polish deacons in history. He turned 65 this year and after beating all my cousins in arm wrestling on his birthday, he calls me and says, “guess what I just did, son, 133 push ups as I prayed my morning rosary.” He added, “how many can you do?”

Finally, my babcia, my grandmother who would visit us for extended periods of time from Poland. She would cook enormous feasts for whenever my dad would invite his priest friends to the house for dinner. It was her heart’s delight to cook for clergy. She would make everything from scratch and I remember her in her old age as she would kneel on one knee because she believed that everything good in this world comes to those who persevere through suffering. She said it made the pierogis taste better. As a little boy, I was puzzled by this. I asked her if that hurt to mix ingredients with one knee on the hard floor. She said with her smile and Polish wit, I have a solution for that. She stood up… then got back down on her other knee. Recently, she came to me in a dream and gave me some motivational words. She told me, “Benju, when the struggles of the world are too difficult to stand against, kneel.”

Summing this all up, the President of Poland, Andrzej Duba commented on the matter of fact. He said “The strength of Poland is the strength of the Christian tradition”. Ya know, we might not be most wealthy nation in the world, but when it comes to the Faith and love for God, I would say we are the richest. In May, we are partnering with Catholic tours to offer guided tours through out Poland so that anyone who wishes to join, can live the experience and walk the footsteps of the three Polish Saints, St. Maximilian Kolbe, Sr Faustina, and St. John Paul II.

And finally, before I give the mike over back to Marty and we start our Christmas songs and gift giving, I leave you with some wise words from His Eminence, Cardinal Burke

“Our culture is in a state of grave crisis. Many people no longer believe in God. Christians around the world are being viciously persecuted even as the Faith itself is increasingly under attack. But we know that God’s Truth is more powerful than any of these threats. He is calling upon us to give witness to the Faith in our own time. A simple way we can give that witness is to remain at a constant state of grace and to spend time with Our Lord Jesus Christ, especially, in his real presence in the Most Blessed Sacrament.”
I invite you all to join me now under protection of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Purest Heart of Joseph, to give your hearts totally to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Say this with me 10x

Jesus, I trust in you.

 

 

Who does that?! Look what he’s doing! What was he thinking? 

This day in history October 28, 1981, my dad’s Feast Day

This is an awesome story. You won’t hear things like this from too many people. To understand the significance, let me tell you a short version of the back story.

In the 70’s my dad defected communist occupied Poland as a Catholic seminarian from Poznan. Just being Catholic alone in that region and time was already putting yourself in the threat of communist “bullying”. My dad didn’t only stand out by being a seminarian, he was a publicly vocal seminarian who declared his interest in knowing Jesus Christ. They drafted him into the military and put him in a special unit in Brzeg, near Wroclaw, that was for Catholics just to torture them. They took away his cassock, gave him a communist soldier’s uniform, and instructed him never to wear it in the church. Know what my father did? He wore that uniform to lector in the church. Then later defected communism (and lived to tell about it) in search of religious freedom.

Who does that?! 

 
Ya know, people back then got shot for far less. They put my dad in the hole in a place called “Place without God” for weeks of unspeakable treatment and even busted out his teeth in a way that caused him pain all his life. Today, years later… He gets that fixed after years of dental work. There is no stopping my dad smiling.

Look what he’s doing

Here he is in the early 80’s. He is in the US Army, he is working for the church, he is in Germany the next country to Poland, he is with my mom – an American blonde bombshell, he is on a tank called “The Priest”, and he has this look on his face and posture like… “Hey you communist jerks, you bullies, look at me now.”

 

What was my dad thinking?
My generation poses with fancy cars or on a boat and think that’s cool. My dad is on a tank… This photo is very important to me because I know how happy my dad is in it and what the story means. I often wonder how he felt or what he was thinking when I see this photo.

Today is his feast day – he has a new smile. Sure you can say it’s from the reconstructive dental work, but I know where it really comes from. It’s from living with my mom after so many years of being on a honeymoon together. 

Now here is a photo of them this past weekend at Honeymoon Island.

 

Who does that? Horbowys! 

Do black lives matter or do all lives matter? How to answer this trick question. 

The question is political; both answers are factually correct, but there is no right answer.

Black, white, yellow, and blue lives matter, so why is it politically incorrect or considered racist to say all lives matter?

The Black Lives Moment is highlighting the intergenerational “black struggle” of the poverty lifestyle, unportional incarceration rates, and an overall disappointment of the community’s socioeconomic achievements. Although correct, to say “all lives matter” is a blind undermining of their cause. “Down with the struggle” means to understand what it feels like to walk within the the specific american minority black peoples’ lives. 
I hear you. I see both sides. My concern with the black lives movement is what has been called the Ferguson Effect: law enforcement have pulled back providing service within these communities due to the recent violence against them. As a result, a higher unportional crime rate increase within the black community. Perhaps the real threat to the black community is deeper than just law enforcement…

I see the incarceration rates of black males who are fathers, uncles, grandfathers, and brothers. I see the numbers of aborted black babies. I am sickened with them of the obstacles they endure. If we take a step back and think ahead, we can see that the distruction of traditional and black families are the root of many of these social problems. 
Perhaps the question isn’t do blacks lives matter or do all lives matter? I’d like to hear conversations start with constructive questions and withhold the tricky questions and agendas. 

How about: 

Do black unborn lives matter?

Do black incarcerated lives matter?  

Do black families matter?

All lives matter; it shouldn’t be “political” to say this! To solve the unfortunate social issues within the black community, we need a focus on black families. 

Without disrespect or belittling of this issue, I’d like to end this article reminding everyone of a comedy show my generation watched as youth: it showcased a traditional black family with extended family living under one roof. The father was involved with family issues and worked as a police officer. The main character was the neighbor boy who had a love for math and science and desperately craved the family love of the neighbors, the Winslow Family. Remember the name of this show when someone asks you do black lives matter or do all lives matter: Family Matters!!!
  

Vivat Jesus,

@BenjaminHorbowy

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About the author– Polish American born 1982 in Germany and raised in the southern USA as a Catholic in the Bible Belt. I grew up as the son of a prison chaplain father and family councilor and educator mother; I witnessed their ministries. My Polish grandpa was a true run-away slave from a nazi camp, and my American grandpa was a cotton-pickin-white-boy from Tifton Georgia; I’ve heard their stories. 

Downtown Tampa, Encore District

The latest drone photos of Downtown Tampa in the Encore District by (my new service) Flying Drone Cameras. We have only been open a few days and already have more than 1500 subscribers to these cool pics. Join the club

http://flyingdronecameras.com/2015/08/09/downtown-tampa-encore-district/

Flying Drone Cameras

Aerial Downtown Tampa by Flying Drone Cameras

Aerial Downtown Tampa by Flying Drone Cameras Aerial Downtown Tampa by Flying Drone Cameras

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Flag Day at the Old Historical Florida Capital

Knights of Columbus | Tallahassee

The Knights of Columbus hosted the 2015 Flag Day event in front of the Historic Old Capitol. It took place on Apalachee Parkway and Monroe Street at Noon on Sunday, June 14th. The event commemorated both the institution of Flag Day and the Pledge of Allegiance. The Knights presented the Colors, gave a Narrative of the Pledge of Allegiance, lead the crowd in a community Pledge of Allegiance, and retired the Colors.

Tallahassee Knights of Columbus Old Historical Florida Capital Flag Day 2015Tallahassee Knights of Columbus Old Historical Florida Capital Flag Day 2015Tallahassee Knights of Columbus Old Historical Florida Capital Flag Day 2015

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Devine Mercy Sunday: Brings hope and healing into my life.

Published the the Tallahassee Democrat: http://blogs.tallahassee.com/community/2015/04/12/devine-mercy-sunday-brings-hope-and-healing-into-my-life/

About two years ago, I shared with this community Ambition vs Patience: God’s time has no clock. Today, I would like to revisit the subject being that today is Devine Mercy Sunday. I won’t go into the history or the significance on the matter; my father is more of an expert on the subject than I am. I am, however, wanting to share my witness on how today is for me. Today is wonderful! After my last article, I was hospitalized again for another (compounding) head trauma and was able to return home on Easter Sunday. I am on bed rest, but my ambition makes it difficult for me to sit still. I have a tendency to force recovery. With an injured brain, that’s impossible … if we do not allow God’s hand to do as He wishes.

Yesterday, I went to the FSU spring college football game to take my wife out of the house and to enjoy the event. I thought I could handle it. When I returned home, I regretted going to the event as soon as I was able to sit down and feel the aches and pains associated with my injury. Today, is a very special day for us. Last year, I helped organize a big event in the Polish and Catholic communities and Hundreds gathered in Tallahassee to celebrate the canonization at JPII High School and this year my dad is giving witness in Houston Texas in front of a large audience with some very special VIPs in the audience. If it wasn’t for my injury, I would be able to make the events. But, if I can’t handle a nice day at the ballpark, there was no way I could handle a drive to Texas and an audience in the tens of thousands. I read the readings for today with my wife before we went to sleep and I shed a tear because I knew I was missing out on a great day.

On the bright side, the Good News… He IS risen and I haven’t missed out on my own miracles. 1) I am home from the hospital, 2) my beautiful wife is here to share the day with me, and 3) God has His own plan for me that doesn’t always include my father’s missionary works. How does the Device Mercy effect me today…. for the simple fact that I survived my injury without coma or brain damage is a miracle in itself. I am naturally ambitious; this injury is forcing me to sit and recover. For me now, doing nothing IS doing something because it’s the only way to recover and get back out there. I have no choice other than to sit, listen for His direction, and enjoy this time home with my wife. God is great! and I am witnessing this everyday.

Benjamin and Susan Horbowy attend the Spring Game at Florida State University

Benjamin and Susan Horbowy attend the Spring Game at Florida State University

My dad, Sir Knight Reverend Mister Thaddeus (Ted) Horbowy giving witness to the power of Devine Mercy and the Polish Catholic Community in Houston, Tx on Devine Mercy Sunday at the Catholic Charismatic Center.

My dad, Sir Knight Reverend Mister Thaddeus (Ted) Horbowy giving witness to the power of Devine Mercy and the Polish Catholic Community in Houston, Tx on Devine Mercy Sunday at the Catholic Charismatic Center.

Pope's words on Devine Mercy. Benjamin Horbowy

We love the North Florida Coast and the romantic St. Mark’s Sunset #LoveFL #Florida #Sunsets



Our diocesan Mutually Shared Vision is

“The Church Fully Alive”

January 2015, after a year long Envisioning Process that saw more than 1,000 participants gather at Listening Sessions to share their ideas for the future of our local Church.

The input from these sessions was assembled and carefully considered by the bishop’s Envisioning Leadership Team, with representatives from clergy and laity across the diocese.

The resulting vision was presented by Bishop Gregory Parkes on January 24, 2015 at the Celebrate Faith 2015: Hearts on Fire! conference.

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To end the year with the Holy Family…

I walked three miles in the rain to come to this church today; why? Few reasons.

1- This is a special multicultural Italian church at risk to be closed soon.
2- It’s world known to be rich in
heritage, art, and community.
3- I wanted to end my year in thanks to God.
4- I never been more happy than I have been this week and when you are happy, the devil will try to ruin it. I won’t allow this to happen and I need strength in Faith now more than ever.
5- A friend invited me and I prefer to be where I am invited.

I am sorry to boast that I am in church, but I love God and doing things right. I would shout this from the roof, but my blog has a greater reach.

Go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born.

To petition Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archdiocese of New York, about Our Lady of Mount Carmel to remain as an independent parish administered by the Claretian Missionaries.please visit and share this webpage.

https://www.change.org/p/timothy-cardinal-dolan-archdiocese-of-new-york-our-lady-of-mount-carmel-to-remain-as-an-independent-parish-administered-by-the-claretian-missionaries

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CRHP 47 Blessed Sacrament [Reflection]

Christ Renews His Parrish (CRHP)

The last retreat I went to, I published a reflection and it ended up in the paper (click here to read). Looking back on it, I feel that I shared too much. The CRHP retreat, I will share three gifts given to me: some scripture that stood out at me in the order I received it, some quotes from others who were at the retreat, and some letters written to me.

 


Scripture

Daniel 13

Susanna. In Babylon there lived a man named Joakim, who married a very beautiful and God-fearing woman, Susanna, the daughter of Hilkiah; her parents were righteous and had trained their daughter according to the law of Moses. Joakim was very rich and he had a garden near his house. The Jews had recourse to him often because he was the most respected of them all.

Titus 3

Remind them to be under the control of magistrates and authorities, to be obedient, to be open to every good enterprise. They are to slander no one, to be peaceable, considerate, exercising all graciousness toward everyone. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, deluded, slaves to various desires and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful ourselves and hating one another. But when the kindness and generous love of God our savior appeared, not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of his mercy, he saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the holy Spirit, whom he richly poured out on us through Jesus Christ our savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.

Psalm 51

12 A clean heart create for me, God; renew within me a steadfast spirit.

Philippians 4

Joy and Peace. Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Psalm 1

1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in company with scoffers. Rather, the law of the Lord is his joy; and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted near streams of water, that yields its fruit in season; Its leaves never wither; whatever he does prospers.

Matthew 5

The Beatitudes

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart,  for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me. ( I REALLY LIKED READING THIS!!) 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

The Similes of Salt and Light. 13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. 14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. 16 Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.

Proverbs 3

The Benefits of Finding Wisdom

13 Happy the one who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding!

Psalm 34

11 The rich grow poor and go hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.


 Quotes

“My free will is to submit to God’s plan.” Father of 8

“God has a plan; trust it.” 31 year old fisherman

“Behind every great man, is a virtuous woman.” 87 year old Knight of Columbus from council 500

“I have no wife, I have no kids, so I am just hanging out until I do.” Convert Catholic

“This is great! The bible says I’ll be blessed for being persecuted! Cubans are blessed!” Cuban

“I learned my lesson and now I have a career job thanks to the grace of God.” Former inmate

“Global and multicultural engagement means everyone, not only minorities. Just saying.” Grad student

“You aren’t a writer; you are a poet.” Lay minister

“Go get what you want. You can’t be lazy. Life is hard work.” Person with mental illness


Letters given to me by fellow men at the retreat

Letters given to me by fellow men at the retreat

Priests Play and Pray at John Paul II High School

To read the original Tallahassee.com posting (Before Edits) 

Priest Basketball - Benjamin Horbowy

Normally when a priest travels, it’s called a pilgrimage. However this week, traveling was a foul at the Annual Priests vs. Priests Basketball game fundraiser benefiting John Paul II High School. There was a sold-out crowd to watch local priests play basketball against each other. Distant family members of Saint John Paul II was in attendance, Paul and Rennie Kaczorowski, “We come and support the school whenever we can.”

The priest game was the last event of the evening after students and alumni from Trinity Catholic Middle School and John Paul II High School scrimmaged. Marshall Moyle, an alumni and former school athlete, commented, “I love this event because I get to play with my old teammates. It’s pretty neat how families from Trinity, JP2, and the local Catholic community come together to watch the priests play. Usually we see clergy in formal settings. Watching them play sports reminds us that they are regular guys like you and me. It’s fun to watch them on the court playing ball.”

Before the game, in the locker room, I witnessed Bishop Gregory Parkes give the priests a coach-like pep talk. Moments later, he started play with the tip-off. Team Gray “The Earthen Vessels” with Fr. Tom Dillon, Fr. Michael Nixon, Fr. Eddie Jones, Fr. Chris Leblanc, Fr. Craig Smith, and seminarian Luke Farrabah held out the humorous defensive battle to win 15-13 against Team Black “Men In Black” with Fr. Tim Holeda, Fr. Matt Busch, Fr. Pete Zalewski, Fr. Will Ganci, Fr. Paul Lambert, Fr. John Cayer, and seminarian Tommy Kennell. Titus Nixon said, “This event is a wonderful way for our community to come together and rally behind our priests. As the boysbasketball coach at John Paul II High School, it is an honor that we get to host an event that creates a special dynamic for the Catholic community in Tallahassee. I particularly love this event because it gives the student athletes a sense of how important it is to play for the only Catholic High School in Tallahassee. When students play at John Paul II, they represent something bigger; I believe this event makes that very evident.”

The Knights of Columbus participated in the event to support Catholic Education and priestly formation. The Knights ran the concession stand, had a 50/50 raffle, and sold “Keeping Christ in Christmas” cards in different languages. Before the event was over, Grand Knight Vaughn Mikesworth presented a check to Sister Maureen Martin, principal of the school. Overall, with the attendance from the community, the funds raised, and the amount of fun everyone had, the event was a success.


 

As Published by Tallahassee Democrat 

Notice how the newspaper edited out the part where I mentioned the Knights of Columbus is “Keeping Christ in Christmas.”

Front Page - Benjamin Horbowy

They cut my words in half to fit a cookie recipe into the faith section.

They cut my words in half to fit a cookie recipe into the faith section.

 

A Witness of Faith | FSU shooter avoided

We all know about the FSU shooter this week. It was a scary time on campus.

The story was all over the news. I have a relevant witness of faith to share.

That evening, I reached out to a fraternal-brother buddy to come chill with me in my apt. It was later in the night than usual for a social visit.

He said, “I can’t. I’m going to the library tonight.” I told him, “Something is telling me we should hang out instead. You won’t get much studying done at this hour, anyways.”

I felt slightly selfish to steering him away from studies, but I knew he and I both could use a break from our projects. He came over and we watched YouTube videos. We watched history documentaries about our charitable fraternity, the Knights of Columbus.

The next day we saw that if he didn’t come over, he would have been in the same section of the library where the shooter was.

Road To The Lake

Kirk Edwards Park, Tallahassee Florida, as seen by a local.

Dogs of Old Bumpy Road

My neighbor’s dog loves to race my car. He reaches speeds of 30 miles per hour.

I witnessed the power of prayer today in court

Before my court date, I collected myself with a cup of Jamaican Café

Before my court date, I collected myself with a cup of Jamaican Café

It was a small victory that felt like a miracle.

Ask and you shall receive. I can give witness to that.

A few months ago, I had a minor collation with another car. On the scene, I called and reported it for a police report. The police issued me a careless driving citation. Since I have a commercial drivers license, the fine was very large. I asked for court, and wanted to plea with the judge for mercy. I was hoping she would lower the fine.

In traffic court, there was about a dozen cases before mine. Each one was rather entertaining to watch. They all seemed more complicated than mine, and the entire time I was praying that my case would not be as stressful as theirs’.

Please, may it come and go quickly with the best result possible.

I took a quick restroom break while waiting and my father went as well. In the courthouse bathroom, he asked me quietly, “what are you going to say?” I told him, “I will ask for mercy and explain that I can not afford the large fine. It would also be nice if the court would let me do traffic school.” He gave me great advice, “Be more humble than that and do not use the word mercy. Tell them the truth. Tell them that you were at fault and you are sorry, then not much more.”

In the courtroom…

Before I had the chance to speak…

before I stood judgement… 

I witnessed a small miracle.

It was the police officer’s turn to speak. Instantly, he said that he wasn’t  interested in continuing the citation and he wishes to drop the case. The judge looked at me and said, “There you go, case dismissed.” I showed no reaction, turned around, and walked out. Outside the courthouse, I told the officer thank you. It happened so fast, my mother asked, “what happened?” My dad said, “I was praying the Devine Mercy Chaplet.” I was speechless.

The prayer came true.

The time in front of the judge was painless, it went as fast as possible, and was the best possible result. The favorite part was…when I said nothing.

Blessing of Saint John Paul II Statue

Knights of Columbus | Tallahassee

The church blessed this beautiful wooden image of Saint John Paul II, created by Mr. John Birch, for public veneration at John Paul II High School. Bishop Gregory Parkes celebrated a special Mass with the students, faculty, and the community in Tallahassee, Florida. James Dimarco helped develop a base for the statue as his Eagle Scout’s project.

Saint John Paul II 1 Saint John Paul II Statue in Tallahassee, Florida at John Paul II High School

Saint John Paul II 3 Left to right: James Dimarco, John Birch, Sr. Maureen Martin, Bishop Gregory Parkes

Saint John Paul II 2 Blessing of the statue

Saint John Paul II 4 Knights provide the Bishop escort leaving the Mass.

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Benny publishes “good news” in the paper.

Benjamin Horbowy Cartoon

Benjamin Horbowy Cartoon

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I’ve always seen my life as a live Polish cartoon; people tell me that I am animated all the time. I am very thankful to the Tallahassee Democrat for allowing me to share with it’s readers how I see things. My favorite medium for artistic expression is story telling. Please, take a look at my column in my local paper. 

Marketing Best Practices: Corporate vs How We Do it

Two split tests: One Week’s Results

In the interest of measuring twice and drilling once, I’ve put my latest and greatest  marketing strategy  in a split test against the strategies we practiced in my years of corporate marketing. I used to work for Honeywell and Bank of America; at the time these two companies were one of the two largest corporations in the world. My consultative roles were always very successful due to a comprehension of the interpersonal sciences. The CEO’s themselves used my antics in their communications to enhance effectiveness. With best practices of sales by Tom Hopkins and Dale Carnegie’s tips and tricks, I always drafted my personable scripts for conversations I lead beforehand. Now, I am releasing the best tested practices of marketing.


 

 

 

Honeywell and Bank of America vs Benjamin

TheHorbowy split test one corporate strategies I tested my strategy against was from 2004-2010. From 2010-2014, I have emerged myself in the most effective methods to market online. We are pretty much testing manual marketing vs basic automated marketing. It’s the 800 pound gorilla vs a guy with a sling shot… but that sling shot is automated. I tested one week of calling vs one week automated marketing with effective sales funnels. Doing the old way, I had 150 out-calling conversations and 7 requests for information. Doing it the new way (generically), I had 28 conversations in-calling conversations requesting infomation.

Generic Automation vs Tactical Enhancements

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 10.31.37 AMWhen I split test automation vs manual marketing, I used the most generic automation available. It was the low cost guy’s methods that is out of the box, cookie cutter. When I combine my talent, my formal education in social psychology, experience in marketing, social savvy, and targeted the audience that I felt were most qualified; the tactical enhancements was very much notices. This was a test of $ vs $$. I don’t know how the $$$ guy sees things, but I think like this: 1+2=21. With the same budget and time frame, I reached far less people, but achieved a greater amount of conversations with people requesting information.

 

How many leads can you get for 5 dollars?

14 qualified, interested, and ready to buy leads for under $5 is not ‘not bad’… it’s awesome!

I wanted to see how many good leads I could get for only $5 dollars. I targeted only iphone users who were at the end of their decision cycle and ready to buy. Facebook meta data that people give freely helps us find the behavior of our ideal audience. I filtered the target audience down to under 25,000 possible users. For only five bucks, I was hoping to get at least two good sales leads and engagements. I haven’t even spent all of the five dollars and I have fourteen.


How much do you spend per lead?

benjamin horbowy quality leads

How to boost search page rankings using ‘Long Tail’ keywords 

Short Tail Keywords are Falling Behind in Rankings

Let’s face it, if you are a small internet business owner, selecting popular keywords to rank high on search engine pages can feel like playing pin the tail on the donkey blindfolded. Hitting the search sweet spot can be challenging… especially when you only use ‘short tails’. Search marketers refer to one-to-three word search phrases as short tail keywords, for example “bankruptcy solutions” “

These queries attract a high search volume and, therefore, a high level of competition including large established companies that spend a lot of money dominating the search market.  Instead, as a precision and efficient player, employ long tail key phrases. A critical Search Engine Marketing (SEM) option you can easily master to boost your online presence. ‘Long tails’  are specific, multiple word search phrases that zero in on a precise audience. For example, “how to prepare for bankruptcy” or “what do I need to know before I file for bankruptcy”

Outrank Your Competitors with Long Tail Keywords

This concept is simple: don’t compete head on with the big players. Think of a mouse verses an elephant. The elephant takes big, heavy steps that shake the ground and can harm the mouse. The mouse can move much faster, and if it is smart… the elephant will never know the mouse is there. I tell my clients with under $10,000 a month marketing budgets that they are mice trying to get the cheese away from an elephant. There’s many EASY ways to get the cheese; do not try to force it. Popular keywords are often priced high. This is because the traffic-driving keywords aren’t a secret. Your competitors know about them and are bidding them up. Instead, outsmart the elephant with wit and focus. Differentiate your brand and target your niche market. I’ll show you  methods low cost keywords can outrank higher marketing budgets with tactical marketing and long tail keywords. I am not talking about gimmicks or tricky antics- I am merely talking about honest and smart keyword usage.

The same marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) principles apply to long tail keywords. Let’s take a long tail search and break it down: “procedural steps in a Chapter 7.” A search on this phrase displays a government page and competitors with high budgets.

Probe search engine databases to help you gain insight on less obvious search habits. Popular vendors, including Wordtracker.com and WordStream.com, are sharpening their keyword suggestion tools to support the new wave of multiword research. Your smarter words that work will be worth the prize.

Bankruptcy Solutions - Prepare my Bankruptcy Petition Benjamin Horbowy


Benefits for Small Businesses

The Perks of Long Tail keywords:

  • Higher page rankings
  • Less competition
  • Greater conversion rates
  • Less words, more reach!

It will be easier to achieve top search engine placement because you face fewer direct competitors in the niche of your target audience. Visitor quality increases offsetting lower traffic volumes. Quality vs quantity! As you can see by their long specific queries, these potential customers know exactly what they want. Catching buyers at this later stage of the purchasing cycle lead to higher conversion rates, which is what you want–customers not traffic.

Search Engines are up Updating Long Tail Keywords

Although web search marketers have successfully played with the long tail strategy for the last few years, it is now winning credibility. Both Google and Bing admit it! Google updated its algorithms placing as much value on multiple word queries as shorter ones. Microsoft’s Bing admits failure to recognize the importance of the long tail queries web searchers keywords and is promising to update bing to optimize on long tail keywords.


 

Tips and Tricks: Long Tail Keywords

Stop playing games with your keywords and jeopardizing the visibility of your website.

  • Include long tail search phrases and questions.
  • Of course include as many short tails keywords to supplement buzz.
  • Have a comprehensive SEM strategy.
  • Create several different strings on various channels to accelerate traffic numbers collectively.
  • Seamlessly place them in your web content, titles, headings, links and articles, just as you would with your shorter ones.

By fine-tuning the keyword game in your favor, you will critically improve your chances of customers landing on your site, not on your competitor’s.

I do not know what the other competition offers, but what we provide with these tips are honest webmarketing tactics with authentic results.

Subtle Adjustments to cure Systems Chaos 

For our routines to work, systems have to be in place. It might not make sense to someone else watching us work our system, but we know how it works and that’s all that matters. Right?

Benjamin Horbowy Order court

What’s your procedure for harmony? 

There might be a different approach on how to look at things holistically. Of course this article is about people and real world applications, but my perspective is coming from the software industry. With tech, we can easily predict if systems have the capacity to work together.  We know for A-B-C to happen, we must do A then B then C… ABC one at a time 😉 However, with people, it’s not that simple.

It was soon after joining a firm after being independent for many years, I realized the importance of self-awareness and aligning my daily routine/system to bring value to the team. The more documented procedures we made together, the easier it was for us to work together; we even made a procedure on how to make a procedure. This eventually led us to a “stressless workplace” where our differences, our passions, and our goals push us to move forward together. With organized personal systems working fluently together, we are working on making “our dreams” come true and not only our individual ambitions.

Do you want the opposite of peaceful?

Let’s look at another type of workplace- opposite of how we do things. I can think of two past offices I’ve worked in that are perfect short examples: one was a real-estate tycoon and the other was a web-store. Both had multiple systems in place that created too much redundant work and therefore stress.

The realtor was highly successful and had a every web-tool there was. Often clients received irrelevant or repetitive information that slowly harmed the relationship between the customer and the realtor. Think of it this way: you are working on a car. You don’t dump out your whole tool box on the floor before you start working on the car. Instead, you only pull out one or two tools at a time as needed.

The web-store used an internal software to receive their orders instead of a simple order-form. We could calculate the limitations of their software and how many orders per hour it would take to create bottle necks in work flow and jam their shipping software. It would be a shame if a successful product launch was halted by overloading the shipping process. It was like using the largest wrench to tighten a small bolt. Sure, it’ll work, but we both know that the wrench will strip or even break the bolt.

At my workplace, we enjoy peace and watching systems work gracefully. We much rather spend twice as longer on a project if that project can be cloned and run by itself after we finish designing it… Live life as simply as it was meant to be. Simple works and simple sells.

Is your behavior steady or predictable?

Both the realtor and the web-store had great results due to an abundance of over marketing. But sooner or later, their kink in the line will create a clog and their fast momentum will start moving about as fast as pond water. The deterministic nature of their systems does not help them be steady or predictable. Business behavior like this is known as systems chaos.

Common stressors:

  • The philosophy of “making it happen” and forcing things.
  • Using the wrong tool or too many tools for the job.
  • Calendars and scheduled time-blocks were not shared internally or publicly.
  • Limiting productivity by overloading a person with too many things to focus on.
  • None of the minuet daily tasks or personable interfaces were automated.
  • Trying to offer every service within that industry and spreading yourself thin.

Subtle adjustments:

  • Learn to stay flexible to include the commonly shared interest of others.
  • Find the right tool for the job an use as few multitools as possible for the project.
  • A daily reflection of successes, optimism, and focus on self-awareness is essential.
  • Be willing to forgive yourself to start the necessary steps refocus on the light.
  • Empower your team with automated procedures that streamline your business.
  • Do the one thing that makes you successful, focus on that, and do it over and over.

How I see it: If it’s too stressful, do something else. Having a chaotic work culture results in stress and worse (like having to bring work home). Tackling these issues one at a time can help create a more rewarding attitude during your routine. Eventually the consistency will lead to higher quality perception and capacity of faster growth.


Is Chaos Slowing Down Your Growth?

Bottom-line Action Step: Realize when a lack of tactical systems have plagued your workflow. Make a shift to align your team with the mission. Here’s three tips to speed your growth: 1 Be very clear on your team goals and vision, 2 Work together closely adjusting momentum to stay on path, and 3 hire a professional coach to hold you accountable.

I don’t appreciate being email tricked

Don’t Spam Me, Bro!

“The darkness always lies,” said Anthony Liccione and I agree with his statement. It’s not often that I’ll complain publicly or even mention politics, but I’ll dip my toe in the water and make a statement concerning emailing integrity. Mostly, I’m willing to comment on this subject because I feel this reaches a place close to everyone’s pocket or home: in their email inbox. I felt fooled and embarrassed that I allowed myself to be subjected to trickery; I wish this tactic would end soon. What’s sad for me is I sort of trusted this particular politician to be one of the “new kind of politicians” that is suppose to be trustworthy and an authority figure from outside of political tricks.

There was an interesting Facebook meme about student loan debt. It was comical and witty, so I clicked the thumbs up to share the post with my inner circle of friends. A week later, a post from the same group showed up on my Facebook timeline. It was a conversation started by Elizabeth Warren about student loans. I admit, I commented on the conversation and signed up to be notified on the progress of her bill Bank of Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965. I am not stating if I did or did not support her bill, but I was interested in what would happen. In fact, I don’t know much about the bill other than I liked the name of it. I signed up for one newsletter specifically about the process of a particular bill, and I ended up being bombarded with dozens of other emails with all sort of agendas not related to what i signed up for. Some governor out west, a congress woman from New England, and blast emails from senators I never heard before… they started emailing me, “Hey Benjamin, yada yada yada oh by the way, buy my book or donate to some fund.”

Here’s what happened: her webpage systematically released my email to her political party and they used the information on my Facebook profile to know which topics I might be interested in. Regardless if I am interested in those issues or not, I feel tricked that my email address was disrespected and used as just another email account to blast information to. I don’t appreciate this type of online behavior. As I opt out of one email campaign, their system opts me into other campaigns. What’s apparent to me now is that if I can’t trust her with my email address, how can I trust her with the ins-and-outs of her bill? “That demon will trick you faster than a politician with a liquor license.”― Erik Bundy

I believe I have room to talk when it comes to handling large lists of email addresses. I work in a field similar. Some of our clients have more people on their email list than Tallahassee has population (and they grew those list correctly). We help our clients grow and engage their community just like Ms. Warren was trying to do through marketing systems and using a very powerful method of email marketing as well. However, we coach and practice honest double opt-ins and true unsubscribe features. I’ll give one free tip and tactic to anyone who engages an audience with email: build your list honestly.

Originally Posted in the Tallahassee Democrat: Click Here to See

Our Faithful Friar was ordained

We have been praying for a spiritual leader for sometime.

Knights of Columbus | Tallahassee

Sir Knight and Deacon Matthew Busch was ordained to the Catholic priesthood by Bishop Gregory Parkes at the Cathedral of The Sacred Heart in Pensacola on Saturday, May 10, 2014.  Fr. Busch, one of the founding members of St. Louis the Crusader Council 12929 and a member of Father Hugon Assembly 0170 has recently been appointed Faithful Friar of that Assembly.  The Faithful Friar is the spiritual Advisor of the Assembly and we have been needing one. This is a blessing from God for him to bring us a Priest of valor.  The accompanying photographs reflect the support he received at his ordination from his fellow Fourth Degree Knights.  He has expressed gratitude to all Knights of Columbus and requests their continued prayers and support as he begins his priestly service at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church on July 1st.Fr. Busch Ordination 2014 008Fr. Busch Ordination 2014 077Fr. Busch Ordination 2014 119

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Personal advice to me from Jim Hagel (Bill Gate’s life coach)

Personal advice to me from Jim Hagel (Bill Gate's life coach)

I had the opportunity to met Jim Hagel (Bill Gate’s life coach) through two companies I was working for in Silicon Valley: Bridge Management Consulting and Social Genius. In the photo in San Jose, California, you see me with some former teammates, Jim next to me, and the CEO of BroadVision. We were providing digital social architecture for their newest product, Clearvale, the first cloud-based “network of networks” for the virtual, mobile, social enterprise.

During a personal coffee meet up with Jim (a man who charges 10s of thousands per hour of couching), he told me, “Benjamin, you are a walking iPad 11. If I were you, I’d write a book. It would be interesting for the readers to catch a glimpse of why you see things the way you do. After it publishes, you’ll be surprised at the doors that will open even if it doesn’t sell well.”

Retreat reflection: Helping others by helping myself.

For the Published article: http://blogs.tallahassee.com/community/2014/04/06/retreat/

It’s good to retreat from time to time for self reflection and regrouping. Sometimes we have to travel to an island to gain perspective of the main land. This weekend I went on the Annual Pensacola-Tallahassee Diocesan Men’s Retreat with about 80 other men with the mission of getting away, listening to hear a life lesson, and discerning my calling/vocation.

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Men’s Retreat at Camp Timpoochee

We had two days and two nights of spiritual talks, small groups, self time, prayer, church service, and recreation time with similar minded gentlemen. The small group questions were intriguing and engaging. We each had our individual matters to work on, but it was good to be around other masculine men. Fr Crawford had me laughing with his quirky personality that came along with prolific messages, “humility humility humility humility humility humility humility…. we’re not talking wuss here fellas.”

Personal Reflection Time

Personal Reflection Time

During personal space, we were encouraged to do something peaceful that we enjoy to do and listen to the quiet. I enjoy writing; I wrote God a letter while listening to the waves of the Gulf of Mexico. I almost put my letter in my empty water bottle to toss it into the water, but I didn’t want to litter. The thought was the same. It was healing to write down personal troubles and give it up to God.

Early morning by the water

Early morning by the water

Everyone received different take-aways. From the few guys I asked what they gained from the retreat: some took away how to be a better man in their personal relationships, others felt they were there to help others as leaders, some said they figured out how to better organize the juggle of time between work and home. I had a slightly different take-away. For years, I have focused on helping others as much as I possibly can. While still being motivated to help others, I feel like for a short time it will be best for everyone if I focused on helping myself. Before I can love others, I must love myself.

Young Man and The Sea

Young Man and The Sea

I’ve been working on a book idea for two years. The closer I get to a finishing story, the more the story changes. It’s time for me to quit a few community efforts and think about helping myself. I have to target what makes me happy, what makes joy, and do it everyday over and over. Maturity is being mindful about what we are doing and where our decisions will take us. Fr Tim gave us a homework assignment; he told us to go home and write down a goal for next year. Leave it up to me to take the writing assignment to the next level by publishing it. My goal for this time next year is to finish my book, “Young Man and The Sea of People”. In all truth, I need to hurry up and get this book out before I have to change the title to middle aged man and the sea.

My favorite hobby: Aviation

I received my private pilots license when I was 18 years, a senior in Dunbar High School, and the first graduating pilot from Fayette County Kentucky’s aviation program with AeroTek’s Flight School. I once flew from the Sporty’s Fly-in to the coastline from Mertle Beach to South Padre Island in “good ole’ Julie”; it was the time of my life. I haven’t flown in a few years, but I aspire to continue flying and eventually be certified to give flight lessons. It’ll be my passion/hobby that will pay for itself.

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This is a perfect example of a headline spin.

Bishops Facebook posting

Very special to celebrate Mass today at the Chapel at Mission San Luis in Tallahassee. The mission is a reconstruction of an early 1700’s Spanish mission that existed there. With Fr. Phillip Merdinger, Fr. John Cayer, Fr. Paul Lambert, and Deacon Santi.

Official facebook post from Bishop Parkes

Official facebook post from Bishop Parkes

Local Newspaper’s Headline

Winter Solstice: Mission San Luis celebrates the merging of culture. However, the Knights of Columbus, nor the clergy were not there to celebrate anything to do with the solstice. This was one motivator for me to start writing my own public articles in the Community Section of the Tallahassee Democrat.

The headline in the newspaper

The headline in the newspaper


Knights of Columbus blog posting

TallahasseeKofC.org

Commemorative Mass Dec 15, 2013 by Gregory Bishop Parkes at the Mission San Luis. The mission is a reconstruction of an early 1700’s Spanish mission that existed in Tallahassee, Florida.

Providing escort for the bishop at early 1700's Spanish mission

Providing escort for the bishop at early 1700’s Spanish mission

During Mass in the Chapel of Mission San Luis in Tallahassee

During Mass in the Chapel of Mission San Luis in Tallahassee

 

 

[Video] Ave Maria sung by child brings crowd to tears

During a special Bishop mass honoring Our Lady, an 11 year old brought the full cathedral to tears with her performance of Ave Maria. Complete silence of awe came over the audience when Cecilia Malley took the microphone to sing as her mother, Almira, played the piano. Cecilia told me after the mass that she practiced for this event for one year. At the end of the mass, Bishop Gregory Parkes gave her a special thank you and the congregation gave her a standing ovation.

DSC_0784 Cecilia Malley at the microphone and Almira Malley on the piano

IMG_9498 Bishop Parkes gave the youth a few words of appreciation

DSC_0744 John Malley – age 12, Theresa Malley – age 9, Cecilia Malley – age 11

Watch the performance

Giving with Integrity: Record Setting Donations

Charity has always been a defining characteristic of the Knights of Columbus

Charity has always been a defining characteristic of the Knights of Columbus

Give to receive in order to give more” my former banking and finance colleagues would say. I admit that the phrase sounds appealing, but my Father taught me a better concept. It took me a long time to understand the wisdom of His simple philosophy- Give from your heart and expect nothing in return.

In my past, I’ve witnessed crooked charitable offerings. It was uncomfortable for me to give without knowing the accountability of the offering. I would ask myself, “how can I have faith in the organization that I’m giving to?” I trust God, but people will always be suspects. I started donating my time in order to ensure offerings of mine and others’ would truly go to its intended use. In 2009, I joined a charitable organization 1.8 million strong, the Knights of Columbus. Since I have been a Knight of Columbus for nearly five years, I can endorse with full confidence every penny donated is being spent honestly for the cause.

Judging by the numbers, I’m not the only one believes this. While charitable donations giving in the United States grew only by 2% last year, giving through the Knights of Columbus grew three times as much, 6%. Last year set a record of $167.5 million donated (Franciscan monastery). Over the past decade, the Knights have donated $1.475 billion to support charitable works with consecutively increasing for 13 years(EWTN). More valuable they have given more than 673 million volunteer hours to support charitable works (CNA).

Pope Francis also praised the integrity and loyalty of the Knights of Columbus during an audience in Rome October 2013, the Pope met with Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. “Charity has always been a defining characteristic of the Knights of Columbus … and committed to preserving, cultivating and passing on to future generations…” he said (Vatican Information Service).

From my banking days, I understand the finance culture of loopholes and backdoor giving. I saw so many gimmicks, tricks, and lies… I have zero tolerance for anything less than truth. I applaud those who give honestly from their heart.

@BenjaminHorbowy

Ambition vs Patience: God’s time has no clock

“Wow! What a great idea. This has to be done… NOW!” Have your ever thought that? I know I have many times. I would be half way complete with a task from a previous good idea and stop all of a sudden to begin working on the next project. At the end of the day, I would have incomplete work on two great ideas, but that didn’t benefit anyone.

I was overly ambitious. Although this helped in the type of work I was in, my personal life was unorganized. My spiritual advisor strongly suggested that I work on my patience. We came up with a plan to write down the idea and put a time on the calendar to start working on it.  This helped with time management; this helped my ambition become orderly.

I wasn’t the poster child for patience. I repeated a saying, “why put off something you can do today until tomorrow?” After asking myself that question for many years, I finally have an answer: to think about it. God gave us two ears and one mouth, so we can listen twice as much as we can speak. By allowing time between the creation of the idea and starting to working on the idea, this gave me time to listen to God’s vision of the idea. Adding patience into my life has given my work diligence.

God’s time has no clock.  An example of divine timing happened to me this week. I had an idea of a fundraiser and I looked up the name of it online. The www.WorldYouthFund.org site was available for purchase. I called the number and spoke with the sales rep. She gave me all kinds of traffic reports and told me the number of counties that frequent the site. When she finally came around to quoting me a price, it was $15,000 only for the domain name. After praying about where I could raise the funds, I thought about putting my inquiry on a 3rd party webpage that would notify me when their rights were released from the domain name. I told myself, “When God wants me to have that domain, he will provide the funds at the right time when I need it.” Would you believe that it was only two hours later that I received an email saying that the website was available? The company who was selling it had a 6 year contract and did not renew the subscription even though they had a possible buyer submit an inquiry that afternoon. I bought the domain name for $18 that night. That’s God’s hand, there’s no other way to explain that timing.

I believe if we allow time for faith into our lives, we will be surprised with what we can overcome. Good will always win over evil, honesty will always trump dishonesty, and God’s timing will always be on time. Since believers will never give up, patience added to ambition gives our works wisdom.

@BenjaminHorbowy