E Pluribus Unum

Happy Friday, Gang!

In accord with a nearly world-wide practice, I begin today with T.G.I.F.!

Interestingly enough, when researching today’s topic, I came across a segment stating that Pres. Barack Obama doesn’t mention “God” enough in his references to our Great Nation in his addresses and speeches. This allegation was made by none other than the “notorious” Michele Bachman, and her religious right friends in the Congressional Prayer Caucus …. believe it … or not! Some say our national motto should be “In God We Trust” rather than the Latin phrase selected by the founding fathers, “E Pluribus Unum”, which means “from many, one”. Initially, that phrase was referring to the many states of these United States of America. Yet, with the inclusion of so many nationalities in the USA, the meaning has taken a new and improved form referring to from many nationalities, perhaps, comes this one great nation.

The Fourth of July has special meaning to the citizens here, and, oftentimes to those abroad who have become regular “visitors”, if you will, to the shores of America … from sea to shining sea. On the 4th, I had the pleasure of joining a friend and her son at the beach in Fort Lauderdale, FL. This time, we hung out at the picnic area where families gather as early as 6am to claim a grill and multiple picnic tables provided by the City of Ft. Lauderdale there on A-1-A. Sally, I believe, is Irish and her baby’s daddy is Italian. Their son is a blond haired kid of 12 who likes to hang out with all ethnic groups, usually black kids, if you will. We didn’t get there in time to procure a grill so, since it was just three of us with maybe six pieces of chicken to grill, some “brothers” from Tuskegee, AL, who had a tent displaying the renown Tuskegee Institute’s colors, had come to visit a daughter of theirs and upon the kid’s request, invited her to use their grill in the down-time of cooking their racks of ribs, chicken and the other typical “4th” goodies!

Directly in front of us was another tent of what appeared to be Polynesian people, which also included another “brother”, a balding white guy with a big belly and a plethora of what apparently seemed to be again … Polynesians. I didn’t ask, I just observed, as my social scientist nature compels me to do! There were a few kids, lots of women (one who helped everyone in the vicinity put up their tents) and just one or two men. Their physical characteristics intrigued me as they varied from one to another and the language they spoke was even more interesting to me. “From many … one!” Hear, hear now … in spite of Michele Bachman, The Tea Party, and Donald Trump, I am proud to be an American.

In closing, I just wanted to acknowledge the developments in the Trayvon Martin Saga . . . George Zimmerman has been given a new bail of a million dollars, a strict “lockdown” type curfew because the Justice Department here in Sanford, FL decided that he was indeed making a mockery of the legal system by lying about the monies they had and, hiding a second passport. It led the judge to believe that Zimmerman was intending to flee the country and avoid consequences of his behavior in the murder of Trayvon Martin. In God We Trust!

Have a great weekend, in peace!

John I. Cook, Director
Educational Excellence
ps. – Congratulations today to my yogis, Christen Iannone and Preston Scott who are tieing the knot in Rhode Island today!

The Fourth of July

Happy Fourth of July Week, All!It is always a pleasure to be able to write these words, those inspired by warm friendships, deep inspirations and lessons of life!  I thank you once again for reading.

I am sure most of us have heard the expression that many things in life are circular: we go full circle – from childbirth to expiration.  In other words, we come into this world needing help as a new born, and, if we are fortunate (or unfortunate in some cases) enough to complete the cycle, we go out needing the help of other humans.  Peace be still . . .  Sometimes, when contemplating this circular concept, and, while “connecting the dots” so to speak, I realize how important we are to each other.  Sometimes, life doesn’t seem to make sense, but we live it anyway.  I am glad to be fortunate enough to have the concept of a spiritual health that, if kept up, can take me through some of those unexplainable moments in life.

Usually, I ask early on in the e-mail how your weekends were.  So, I am late, as well as not perfect . . . so, I’ll ask you now!  How were your weekends?  Silly, ain’t I!  Well, mine was really nice even with the scorching heat.  I grew up in some sub zero climates so I make the adjustments when it is hot!  Friday night was cool, hung out a bit downtown and turned in early as I had another dental appointment Saturday morning for X-rays.  It was painless but the machine that goes around your head for the panoramic shots made me nervous!  Then, early Saturday eve, I met up with a good college chum, Lee Blair, and his wonderfully spunky wife, Toni Blair,  (for real … that is her name, through marriage of course), at Rocco’s Taco’s on Las Olas Boulevard.  Our time was stellar, and we talked incessantly about  college days and things up to and including present projects.  The food was delicious, the tequilas were tantalizing and the company was splendid.  Thanks both Toni and Lee for connecting with me on this trip.  Keep me in our prayers as you know I’ve a couple of projects that are works in progress!

Sunday was super!  Got up early and actually washed clothes before 9am since I wanted to make it to Calvary’s 10:15 service.  Pastor Bob Coy was back at the podium, and, though that service was jam packed, I managed to find a seat for one.  Bob spoke about his biological father’s will, which he didn’t really understand, and compared it to our Father’s will for us to carry us through this journey in search of love and everlasting peace!  It was beautifully done, and I sat in awe without a Bible though he refers to scriptures because I like so much his form of story-telling!  May we all continue each day, being true to ourselves and our callings to make this journey called life one to be fondly remembered … forever … and ever.  Amen!


John I. CookRed rose, Director
Educational Excellence
Ps. – Happy Birthday to my friend, Michele Rinks out of Jackson, MS; Frank Jones  and Howie Weintraub both from NY this week as well!

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