In the Name of Friendship . . .

Happy Friday, Y’all!

It’s time for another one … TGIF, then!!  Thanks for joining me in raising some positive vibrations!!

You know, when you are traveling and arrive at a “new place”, we ALL want to make “friends”, if possible.  I think back to some of my most challenging times when “friends” came through to help out … even though there were episodes of failure from my end.  I think of a really wonderful God-powered couple I met at church in Ft. Lauderdale – Karen and Steve … two of the nicest people I have ever met.  Thanks for putting up with me, guys! Here in Costa Rica … Puerto Viejo, to be exact … I’ve made a few “really good friends” … Davia and Greg stand out a bit!  There are others, but Davia took the time to make some splendid photographs of me for my book covers. I had to use them elsewhere since I had to change the book’s format.  Tomorrow, Davia and Greg are getting married … yep, here in Puerto Viejo at a cool resort called Banana Azul!  And guess who is invited?!  Yep, ME!  Again, thanks guys.

One of the most important things for me is to be understood … not by everyone … but by those closest to me.  And that’s a tall order for both parties involved … you know … being close!!  I am looking forward to the wedding because not only was I invited with a bunch of other folks, but it is going to be the “spread of the year”!  These guys really know how to entertain!  Davia is a mother of two girls who look just like her and she is straight out of California.  Davia is also an exceptional business woman … and I’ll leave it at that.  Meanwhile, Greg is an attorney originally out of Miami, if I am not mistaken, and they met here!  How romantic is that!?  It’s an all day thing starting at like 1pm and ending with a shuttle to the “after party of your choice” around 8pm!!  I am attending alone but there will be a bunch of people there to keep me company!!  I am sure that I can make a friend or two more … not to mention salute the happy couple.  I didn’t comment on the menu because I don’t want anyone salivating on the post!!  But I have requested either Red Snapper or Portobello mushroom … I forgot which one I asked for!  It’ll be a great culinary surprise, not to mention all of the other gourmet foods they have for guests.  I think of a room mate I had at Princeton, Randy, who also just got married to a lovely lady … Carol!

Friendships are delicate.  Make them last if you can.  Say “thank you” and “I’m sorry for that” when appropriate.  I open my heart and home to people as I was raised that way by both parents.  They used to invite people over for dinner at our tiny apartment in the Winbrook Apartments after church … and we went almost every Sunday!  I am glad that I did go with them as I learned a lot about spirituality and a “power greater than myself” whom I often call God!  Be good to your friends …  And people, be kind to those who offer you friendship with no strings attached.  Of course, one has to be careful even here.

I have been in a bit of a “tizzy” lately as I am organizing a trip back Stateside for a few weeks around the time of my birthday.  I am looking forward to taking care of some important business with my small sole proprietorship, Educational Excellence, as well as a family “reunion” of sorts with my best friend in Ft. Lauderdale, Johnny Ace and our running partner, Joel Valencia!  If all things go as planned, I may get to see my grandson, Caleb Isaac, whom I haven’t seen in person in five years.  He and his Mom, my daughter Ayanna, are scheduled to meet me in Ft. Lauderdale.  I have been working hard on making the trip a success … and of course, return here to Puerto Viejo … for now.  Remember, “it’s the journey, not the destination”!

A huge thanks to all of the friends who have helped me throughout my life … you know who you are!  I’m trying to make good on your investment in our friendship!

If you haven’t looked at the third manuscript, check it out!! With Life!: Cookbook


John I. Cook, Director

Happy Juneteenth, America!!

Yes, yes!  It’s that time again!!  You know … Friday … TGIF Time and ALL!  Hit it!! “TGIF!”  I know, I know … I am not only “friendly” but corny sometimes!!

Isn’t it sadly interesting that some fellow human creatures want to “take your/our kindness for weakness”?  I mean, how can we disseminate good vibrations without being kind with and to each other?!?  It can’t be done with “egotistical envy” or “brute force” aka “violence”!!  Don’t get it twisted.  Find the balance … like “Stonehenge” or the Great Pyramids … maybe Machu Picchu!!  Many of us, in particular in the West, have adopted such extremist views … just because they “can”!!  No matter how “incorrect” and “inaccurate” the viewpoints and talking points of these “people and politicians they follow” are, these other “extremists” find solace in embracing things that are actually “detached from reality”!  Extremism Gone Wild!!  It’s a sad commentary on the state of human intelligence ….  “I can’t …”  In fact, one political representative in the US Congress has family members who say publicly that his denial of reality has disgraced his family’s reputation!  This GOP representative denies that anything dangerous happened on January 6th, 2021 at the US Capitol …  His family members say that he keeps perpetrating this “fraud” because he is helping to get more funds in for the GOP!!  Believe it … or not!

So, shall we deduce that some “people” will embrace AND advocate an untruth for M.O.N.E.Y. and some make-believe “power”?!  What about the “fool-hardy” followers of this nonsense who get NO money and NO power?!?  They get an imaginary “fist bump” from an imaginary “creature” who never had any business pretending to be the president of anything!  The worst part is that these “frauds” also known as lies are destroying the very fabric of an increasingly diversified US of A!!  Now THAT’S what frightens the average moron!!  If you don’t believe that then maybe you can believe that the FBI is having dress rehearsals for their next “insurrection at the Capitol”!  Come on now, folks, why won’t some of us focus on a “common reality”?!?

Anyway, enjoy the newest Federal holiday of “Juneteenth” as it has found its rightful place amongst democratic decrees in the States.  It is actually proof of the notion that the two party system might just work again if the “nutcases” can get their heads out of their buttocks!!!  Happy Juneteenth, America … in my “Bernie Mack” voice.  Comedian D. L. Hughley said it best:  “Now if only they ALL could agree on giving the Congressional Medal of Honor to those “police” who actually saved their a$$es!!”  Or … is that too hard to comprehend, too?!  

However you like to do it, seek balance and harmony in your daily endeavors!


John I. Cook, Director

“Be Yourself Because You Are YOU!!”

Happy Friday, Y’all!  So let’s show some gratitude right about now!!  TGIF to keep it movin’ this mornin’!  Don’t let the haters make you hate!!  Be YOURSELF!  And the best version of you that you can be!!

Most of us have had “parents” though I am sure in many places on the Earth, like the Gaza Strip, the situation requires quite a bit of flexibility and human resilience …  I was fortunate and I like to be a light of hope for those less fortunate.  This world seems to have literally become a battleground for “the good” vs. “the evil”.  It has become a world in which it is not only paramount to “know thyself” but to BE YOURSELF!  How comfortable is it for a human to be told over and over to “be like so and so”!  Growing up in The Projects was interesting because one had so many choices!  Yet, my Father who never graduated from high school raised a family in New York after escaping the harshness of the “Dirty South” and a raw brand of racism that we can FINALLY SEE today … with your OWN EYES !!  Still, keep in mind that there are some of “us” who are fit to lead and be great examples, perhaps, for others to follow …

Here at Educational Excellence, I encourage folks to “be yourself”.  Find out who you are and as I mentioned before … what makes you “tick”, so to speak.  I have exposed MYSELF to different things and situations so I can learn MORE about myself and share that “goodness” with others.  While I don’t mention my Father “Big Ike” aka Isaac Henry Cook often, he was the family’s advocate for “being who you are”!  He would always tell me as I was growing up in the Winbrook Apartment Complex, “Don’t follow people around, boy!”  He would continue, “Get a hobby or something and stay out of trouble!”  His tough love advice was something I carry with me to this very day.  I know after so many “dress rehearsals” that I have a sound mind, a great heart and an ability to perceive and understand things and lead!!  So, why would I “follow” just anyone who attempts to make me follow THEM?!?  It’s the kind of thing that makes me wonder …

Trust YOURSELF!  Be YOURSELF …  And finish that thought however you wish!  Find your “motivation” to live a great life!


John I. Cook, Director

Truth And Communication

Happy Friday, y’all yeah!  It’s that time again!!  Let’s put together a big “TGIF” for “the Universe” then!!  TGIF!!  There you have it!!

Sometimes in our lives, we come across that “moment” when communication with someone “close” to us is difficult.  It’s even more challenging when that “someone” is NOT so dear to us … like a co-worker or someone we met “in passing” or just “hanging out”!  Why?  Because it’s that much MORE difficult trying to communicate well with someone who “doesn’t have your (or their own!) best interest in mind”.  In other words, “they” may just be “acting” difficult towards your attempts to communicate with them just to get a “rise” or reaction out of you!!  Enter “action mode” … don’t simply “react” … and think through your options first!  It’s a similar thought process as used when playing chess!  This is why we here at Educational Excellence advocate “knowing thyself”!  Know what makes you “sick” as well as what makes you “tick”!  For example, lies are tiresome to keep up with and make me sick.  On the contrary, “love” and kindness attracts me and makes me blossom to the point where I want to share it …

About twenty years ago, Educational Excellence was born.  After overcoming a few challenges, I got enrolled in a course at “Nova Southeastern University” at the campus in Davie, FL.  The course was designed to help participants in setting up their own “small business”.  The course introduced us to the various forms that a small business could take, be it an “LLC”, a non-profit 501(c)3, or even a not for profit sole proprietorship like my little” business”!  I had also looked at getting involved in another “self-help” program in Broward County that coached its participants through the process of buying their first home!  If “one” completed THAT “course”, a local bank would deposit like $2,000.00 into an account that they set up to help towards the purchase of that first home.  I chose the first option which waived the cost of the course for each of us that completed the classes, activities, trips, and workshops.

Once getting “on my feet” with “EE” and working a few jobs, I began to actually “knock on doors” of the colleges and universities located on Las Olas Boulevard in Ft. Lauderdale to inquire about the possibility of me working with them as a tutor, motivational speaker, and a resource person.  I got my “feet wet” by volunteering services for organizations like The Urban League of Broward County, The Boys and Girls Club of Broward in Lauderhill, FL, a Big Brothers Big Sisters Program in Miami, and several other opportunities to market my first book and EE with The Brahma Kumaris in Miami and the African American Research Library and Cultural Center there on historic Sistrunk Boulevard named after the first Black doctor in the FTL.  My first book was released and my Mother was with me there at the AARLCC at my very first “book signing”.  I am EE and EE is me … and this is the blog for Educational Excellence!  We focus on learning and communicating the truth about ourselves and others.  I know, I know … it’s a tall order and I’ve been on this particular journey for 20 years now!  Happy Birthday Educational Excellence!

Thanks for reading …


John I. Cook, Director

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