“Just When You Thought It Was Safe . . .”

locked heart

Happy Hump Day, yeaaaahhhhh!

Yes, I got up early to watch the lunar eclipse … I wasn’t able to see the Moon and the Earth and the Sun the way they appear in those professional photographs. I live a bit West of the Ocean and most of my view of the sun rising was obscured by local foliage. So be it. I did get to see the red hues in the nearby clouds and sky as the sun rose over the Atlantic …

Now, I know you guys know the “JAWS” movie and the expression, “Just when you thought it was safe to go back in to the water ….”. So, I want to share something with you all since I have shared so much already about this particular topic. It is hard to talk about it but for myself, it is important to be honest … as honest as I can … regarding things … “people, places and things” … that touch my heart. I am the kind of guy that feels stuff … like rejection or harshness … or just plain old ignorance. I also feel positive energy, vibes and love! Now, I know how to handle those things while “feeling the feeling”, if you know what I mean. I may shed a few tears, I may become melancholy, (even excitedly happy!) … but I don’t become violent … or self-destructive in response to certain disappointments in life … You’ll see what I mean in a moment.

So, you guys remember when I bragged on how my daughter was moving down here?! She did … she even got a job and her own studio apartment in Boca, since she had brought her own Jeep Liberty down with her on the Amtrak Auto Train. You know, we did okay for a while … I picked her up with her significant other from Holy Cross Hospital where she had undergone a needed surgery. My sister even helped to identify a doctor for her here since she was in Connecticut when she first learned that she needed immediate medical attention. So, we all pulled together to make that happen here in SoFlo. We (Ayanna and I) began to communicate a little bit though we hadn’t been around each other since her late teen years when she came to visit when I first moved here. Before then, we hadn’t been in each others proximity since she was like 4 years old … just before I moved to Cali, Colombia, South America to teach … and get over a very uncomfortable divorce with her mother. Soon, the talking turned to texting and more and more time went by in between. Finally, one day when I was trying to connect her with a good friend here who was helping her with yet another “personal issue”, the bottom fell out. It was late one weeknight, our conversation wasn’t going so well. She wanted to talk negatively to me about someone … a friend of mine whom I had introduced her to … to help with that “issue” I mentioned. I don’t do that ….

So, I told her that she should call this person, since communications had gotten interrupted and she still needed this friend’s help with that issue. Then, when she asked me if I wanted to know about all the communication problems between she and my friend and I said “No!”, things went very poorly. She hung up the phone on me … later sent me a very hurtful text … and then blocked me on Facebook!! This form of communication leaves a bit to be desired … texting and hanging up the phone on people. Last I heard, she had gotten laid off, moved out of her studio and went to South Carolina. I sent a text and got no response …nearly a week later. I am cool … I ain’t no fool … feelings are real but they are NOT facts … So, I keep moving and growing … spiritually!

Have a wonderful Hump Day and enjoy the rest of your work-weeks!

Peace,

John I. Cook

Don’t Let The Devil Rob You!

liar

Happy Monday all!

It is another opportunity to “be you”! Are you proud of that?! I mean, everybody can’t be the president or the best athlete or the richest person on Earth. But … we each can be “ourselves” … don’t let anybody rob you of that, especially “the devil”!

Yesterday, I woke up early to get my day started after a fun night out with “dem boyz” aka my friends at Capone’s Night Club. So, while I was awaking and listening to a tel-Evangelist, I heard the message: “Don’t focus on your problems, lest you become hypnotized and paralyzed by them … which is actually the “devil” at work”, literally, robbing you of your self esteem, your sense of self worth and even your motivation and justification for being on this Earth!! Of course, the other “negative forces” hone in and assist if one allows them, to reduce ones idea of believing that she or he has just as much right to pursue ones dreams as any other person, no entitlements for ANY reason. That’s the hardest to enforce, since the human character “often” succumbs to that opportunity to be “better than someone else” or in control of someone’s well being, if only from time to time … or for a little while!

Expressions like: “The Devil is a liar!” are conceived because people realize that there is indeed some negative energy at work in the universe! Good things seem to take the “back seat” because of society’s direction and individuals need to be “on top”. Interesting thing is that often times, these “individuals” and institutions run by such individuals take the selfish and “I am in this for myself” attitude rather than working for the good of human kind. Just last night on “60 Minutes”, there was a story of the pharmacy’s pricing of the best “cancer drugs”. One gent spoke and he simply said, “We set the cost of the medicine to reflect the hard work and research that goes into making it as well as the cost of producing it!” He never mentioned that cancer patients should be able to AFFORD this medicine. Finally, one critic of the pharmacies producing various cancer arresting drugs mentioned that the pricing should also take into account the financial situation/age of the people who need these drugs!! It was quite clear that there was a “high profit” motive in setting such prices. Could that high profit motive be “the devil”??! One doctor said, “It’s simple. Either the patient gets the money required for the drug, or the patient dies.” It was revealed in a comparison study that the price for the SAME drug is half in Canada and other European countries!

So, take this Monday, y’all … all y’all … and make the most of it. Prove the devil wrong and show your Creator some love. Have a great day and a wonderful week.

Peace,

John I. Cook

Celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month – October 2014

breast cancer

Happy Friday, All!

Yes, of course!!! You’re ready?!? T.G.I.F.!

The weekend is here … and October is not only the month for Halloween … it is the month to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness! Now, some of us may remember something I posted last year. It was regarding whether men … yep, men … can also have breast cancer. Yes, again … Richard Roundtree, alias “Shaft” had also experienced breast cancer, was treated and it was arrested! So, we … all of us with breast … can get cancer there. However, it is much more common among women.

Last year, I attended the “Glam Doll Strut” sponsored by Channel 7, WSVN in Fort Lauderdale. It is taking place October 18th, 2014 … on Saturday! Lynn Martinez, host of Deco Drive, will also be hosting this fabulous event. It usually starts at the Huizenga Park at the intersection of Andrews Ave. and Las Olas and the competing “groups” of participants compete to win the “Glam Doll Strut”! It’s a must see, if you are in town. It is a “keeper”, too, … that’s why they are having it again. Check you local calendars for events inviting us to support breast cancer awareness and research.

So, me and Educational Excellence have been around for over 5 years and my efforts at re-building it via enhancing the tutorial component are yielding some results. While one client that I was tutoring in Weston moved to Columbia, SC with his family, (miss you Daniel, your Dad and your Mom and two sisters … and the family dog, “Coqui”!), I have acquired one new student, possibly his sister, and meet with a Brazilian gent this Sunday to have our first meeting. I enjoy teaching and tutoring and appreciate the gift I have been given; as my friend “Tashi” says, “I know you like helping people, Cook!” Now, I don’t have much to “give” other than peace and love … and some knowledge of how we can get in touch with “ourselves”. Again, I thank each and everyone of you who have helped me … each in your own ways!

Have a fantastic Friday and enjoy your weekends!

Peace,

John I. Cook

“We Dem Boyz!”

wiz

Happy Hump Day, All!

So, how are your weeks going so far? As for me, I am staying focused … things change … I adjust and adapt. Then, I start again. Each day is a new opportunity for me … just to be the best that I can be.

Do you know what “We dem Boyz!” means? I am sure that there is no single correct definition for it. Yet, for me, it means we are friends who share some important things in common. “Those are the guys!” Oh!! “Yeah, we dem boyz!!”, as the title of a song on the latest Wiz Khalifa CD goes. It is so interesting to watch people change depending on who they are talking to or who they are dealing with. That is a skill that I haven’t really mastered because I try to be myself … the same person … in as many situations as possible. For me, I don’t have to remember a lie I told nor who I told it to … nor do people have to guess how I might handle a situation … except those who don’t really “know” me … I think all of us may have a group of friends that we identify with … “Our Boys”!

I still enjoy all kinds of music and fondly remember back when I played trombone in elementary school at Rochambeau. I played in both the band and the orchestra; I had standing solos in the orchestra at the school auditorium and even marched with the band in the streets of the City of White Plains for a Memorial Day Parade or two! I went to music school … on scholarship … at the County Center for several summers. I learned to play drums, basic piano while I studied trombone at the Summer Music School there at the Westchester County Center. I truly love music … I have an ear for it … the different sounds and melodies of everything ranging from classical music to fusion jazz … even hip hop and some pop music. When I taught and lived in Cali, Colombia, I embraced even more salsa music as well as the horn arrangements on some of the popular music in Colombia. I had played trombone with a group in White Plains first called “Inner City Funk”, then our name changed to “The Whole Damn Family”! That’s because several of the members were actually married, had children together … and so on and so on. I was the “head of the horn section” and played a mean cowbell with a sawed off pool stick!! We had 13 well blended “pieces”, including three female vocalists, congas and timbales played by Frank Jones. We were “bad”, Baby! “We wuz dem boyz!”

I just wanted to give a quick shout out to “Mr. 305” aka Pit Bull and “FLO Rida”, two of the Miami area’s rappers who try to keep it positive … keeping it “real”, so to speak. I often listen to rap music and hear lyrics that I am SURE some of the youngsters emulate. So that’s why me and EE are out here, too, just to let them know that there are options. Pick a good role model, let the “young people” be young people. Yet, dare to show them options of how to be “spiritual people”, too, without shoving it down their throats. Some of us “oldsters” can use an occasional attitude adjustment every now and then, too. Have a great Hump Day!

Peace,

John I. Cook

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