Hold It Down In There!

Happy Hump Day, Y’All!

Another day in paradise . . . or is it?! One of the most famous sayings I have always struggled with is: “Life is what you make it!” Now, I seldom look for excuses anymore, especially after some situations I’ve experienced, and have noticed that people like you to grovel when they “hit you with their best shot”, so to speak. I have never liked groveling and my father always taught me to be respectful and humble but not to grovel to satisfy another human beings desire to appear superior to me. Sometimes, making life what you want it to be is easier said than done, while it appears for others, it is a “done deal”!

Still, living alone has taught me a lot about myself, life in general, my life and others. I can actually find time to be quiet and listen to my own thoughts and feel my own feelings. On occasion, I enjoy listening to the sound of the mini-waterfall in my aquarium and meditating . . . alone! As it is said in the 12 Step program, “the committee is not so noisy”! I like to keep those demons quiet anyway . . . those inside my head . . . because there are enough of them running around on two feet anyway! lol! Be able to be alone …. and search for inner peace and solitude for maximum results.

“To live a spiritual life we must first find the courage to enter into the desert of loneliness and to change it by gentle and persistent efforts into a garden of solitude.” – Henri J. M. Nouwen

Thanks to God for the solitude I have found in my life. (TOUCHSTONES August 3rd)

Now, please don’t get me wrong . . . I love people and company, as long as it is positive. One does not have to agree with me to be my friend but one has to respect the basic values I hold like peace, love, gratitude, humility, forgiveness and understanding …. just to name a few!

Have a great Hump Day!


John I. Cook, Director
Educational Excellence
Ps. – Love you gals and guys!

First Things First . . .

Happy Monday, All!

Just want to be sure that “all things are working together for my own good . . .” as the lyrics go of the song we sang at Calvary yesterday. Peace be still . . . It seems the nation’s leaders – both Republicans and Democrats – were able to work out a plan for avoiding a national disaster for America’s credit and debt ceiling so that there will also be no interruption of regular benefits like Social Security and Medicare that Americans have become so accustomed to receiving when of age.

This is the first day of August and waking up with blessings and being “thankful and thoughtful” will undoubtedly characterize my day. Sunday’s events … at home and for me … were quite “mystical” as my friends from Cali, Colombia used to say to me when I appeared deep in thought. Now, the morning hours yesterday found me searching for consoling words from my parents, may they R.I. P., even though I consult them from time to time. After a communion service with Pastor Chet where he re-emphasized the human need for change as our Creator prescribes it and our desire for change as well as our need to embrace change, I found my way to the beach in the FTL to spend some time with my buddy from White Plains whom I have known now over 40 years. He and his wife were at our usual rendezvous spot and when I called him upon arriving, he invited me into Margaritaville and I had a cold ginger ale and some clam strips and fries we shared.

So, we got to talking about his physical condition and his new plan of action involving stem cell research to slow down the Lou Gehrig’s disease troubling his body. It was like the leprosy that Pastor Chet talked about in service and God’s instructions for the otherwise fabulous looking leper to be healed by bathing seven times in the Jordan River. I wish there were an easier way for my friend . . . woe is me. So, we talked a bit more and I carried a plastic cup filled with water to his wife who was already out into the ocean, since the weather was fantastic and the Atlantic ocean water was luke warm. When she came out of the water, she asked me how her husband was appearing. I told her what he had mentioned to me – that he was feeling a bit weak in his hands. We both looked at the ocean, listened to the waves and the sounds of people enjoying the water’s edge, then our eyes met and hers were filled with tears. Mine were too but I had to be strong for her in that moment so I held mine back …. for a few hours ’til I was home.

“It is so hard and he gets so depressed . . . “, she spoke softly through whimpering tears as she packed the towel and chair to go meet her husband.

“I can only imagine,” I said to her. “I can only imagine. But try to be strong for him, please!” I hugged her and kissed both cheeks and I started to walk back into the ocean and digest the feelings we were experiencing.

“The great artist is the simplifier.” – Henri Amiel

As I go about today’s activities, may I find ways to make it a simple and creative expression. (TOUCHSTONES, August 1st)

Please, send one up . . . a prayer that is . . . to The Creator for my friend so that his journey may become a bit more peaceful, if possible . . .


John I. Cook, Director

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