Believe . . . In Each Other

Happy Friday, Y’all!  We pulled another week off in spite of the negativity out here, so … TGIF!!

Yeah, so … I was writing from my daughter’s living room this past Wednesday morning because I will be in Ft. Lauderdale Friday morning organizing my trip back to Costa Rica … Puerto Viejo to be exact .. at my good friend  “Ace’s” place!  As I look back on my own personal story, I can clearly see … and acknowledge my mistakes.  That’s what I want to say right now.  I’ve made my own mistakes.  I see others around me (and world-wide, too!) who are still making their own mistakes that affect many other people.  Yet, it seems that “we” don’t want to acknowledge that our selfishness, greed, and actual stupidity is affecting the entire planet!  

Our “leaders” don’t want to acknowledge that global warming and climate change are actually occurring and they make “more money” while simultaneously destroying the Earth!  So, are they – the leaders – actually leading us into a gloom and doom type of mass destruction while ignoring the entire climate crisis?!?  I mean, the million- and billionaires have made more money than ever during the “pandemic” which many humans don’t even believe is actually happening!  Really?!?  It’s like …  those pieces of paper that get thrown around the planet are more important than the actual planet and the people who inhabit it!  If I were a conspiracy theorist, I would speculate that the “leaders” are in cahoots with the billionaires – if not actually are one and the same – to keep humans frightened into a state of compliance with whatever they tell us?!  Don’t make me say it ’cause that’s what it looks like to me!!!

Okay, so I’ll climb down off of my soapbox just long enough to confess, though if you know me, that I’ve had truckloads of trouble in my life.  If you don’t believe me, check out any of the three books that I have put together which show the many challenges that I’ve experienced (some even self inflicted while I tried to cope with other challenges like poverty, discrimination, and racism, not to mention health issues), in particular in the latest book “Cooking With Life! Cook Book III”:  I’m just trying to explain how an increased awareness of spirituality got me through some tough times.  As I was able to visit my only child and her son this past week, with A LOT of help from my friends … whom I believe in, but more importantly those who believe in me … I am convinced that  it is due to that mutual belief in each other and a power greater than ALL of us that made good things happen.  I mean, I hadn’t even planned to fly up there to Connecticut … yet it happened … like a miracle!  Try it … you just might like believing in yourself and others.

In the meantime, have a great weekend, and believe!!


John I. Cook, Director

Give It Your Best Shot!

Good day and a wonderful Friday y’all!  So, regardless of what is happening, give us your best TGIF!!  I know I may ask a lot of you, but I do the same with myself!!  So, here we go!! TGIF!!

One of the best character traits that an individual can have and develop is “discipline”.  Many people call it different things … like egotistical or “self-love”; but I’d like to bump it up a few notches and call it “self-preservation” directed by the goal of transformation.  If one wants to make a difference in themselves or the world, it requires a commitment.  With a continued constant effort to achieve the desired outcome, one can make that transformation into a better person, if you will, or at least achieve a current goal.  What powers this transformation from one type of person to another?  It is that desire to “be the best that you can be” … not just settling for less or mediocrity.  So, I can transform myself into a person that can achieve my goals.  So can you … if you set some goals or establish some projects.  In completing my third book, I employed that discipline.  No matter what other people said or thought about me and my efforts, I continued until I achieved MY goal.  I mean, I met people who tried to discourage me from writing a book dedicated to MY mother.  You know, some folks just showed disinterest while others tried to make a “joke” out of my desire to complete the book!  In fact, you may remember the episode with a former “property manager” who did as much as he could to deter my efforts.  “Go kick rocks … but get out of my way, please!”

Over the years, I have learned to not only read books … but read PEOPLE!  I watch them or an individual and determine what may make them tick based on their interactions with me.  I discovered that since “they” may not have anything going for themselves, or they may feel intimidated by my interests and projects, not to mention skills, their attitude toward me was like “what are you trying to prove” or “who do you think you are”?  Both thoughts have no place in my life because I have my own goals and I want to give them my best shot!!  After reorganizing my trip to Stateside where I had planned to meet my daughter and grandson in Ft. Lauderdale, I didn’t give up!  I mean, I haven’t seen them in five years!  I am a responsible person … the father and the grandfather … who wants to share my “strength, hope and experience” with my little extended family!  Why not … write a book illustrating this strength and hope in my life … and dedicate it to my Mother!?  Should I ask what’s wrong with that?!?  No, I’ve got other things to accomplish in my life rather than convincing a hater that my projects are worth my time, commitment, and discipline!

This morning, I am flying to Hartford, CT, and staying there for a week with my only child and her son!  I haven’t seen them in five years and my grandson is 5 years old now!  There have been many “ups and downs” in our relationship but I decided a while back not to focus on the negative things if I am to transform myself through discipline into the “best person that I can be”!  Fortunately, throughout my experiences, I have learned to enjoy the feeling of “success” and character building!  That’s the teacher in me!  Needless to say, I wouldn’t have been able to do much in Ft. Lauderdale without the help of good friends.  We ate at nice places, hung out at my favorite club a few times and I got many things done with my book purchases and visiting my mailbox.  Shucks, I even got a booster shot at CVS, this time it was the Moderna brand!

Okay, so right about now as I sit in the living room of my daughter’s place, I am finishing my message after arriving at the airport and being picked up by Ayanna!  We are both here working on some important things after reuniting, hugging, sharing stories and updates!  My grandson will be home later after we pick him up from summer camp!  This opportunity to reunite with them is one that I couldn’t pass up.  Changes came and changes went.  As I sit here finishing this post which I started last night in my buddy Johnny Ace’s place, I am feeling somewhat successful for achieving this long awaited goal!  So, I am going to cut to the chase and suggest that you always … ALWAYS … give it your best efforts!  There’s no shame in being the best that you can be!

Carry on!


John I. Cook, Director

Take The Bitter With The Sweetness!

Happy Fridaaay, Y’all!

How are we holding up?!?  Can we show some gratitude in our attitude with a TGIF?  Then, hit it!  TGIF!  Thanks!!

This past week has been quite a “wonderful world wind” for the most part.  The plans I had made to come back Stateside have been going well … almost better than I expected!  The airport entrance activity was a bit awkward in San Jose since when I got on line with Spirit, a staff person immediately asked me if I had my Covid 19 test results.  I told her that I had heard that the test could be taken at the airport a few hours before my flight.  So, I asked where and was instructed that “all would be taken care of” before my flight!  It was true.  I took a short bus ride at the airport to a “mobile clinic” type set up where a sample was taken after I had paid $65.00 using my bank card.  By the time I had gotten back to the airport in San Jose 45 minutes later, the test results had arrived in my e-mail.  It was negative!!  I got on line for Spirit and the rest was typical airport stuff.  You know, the departure gate got moved twice and finally, the plane was two hours late.  “Welcome to Spirit Airlines, Ladies and Gentlemen!”

One of the reasons I was excited to come back for a few weeks was to purchase paperback copies of my book which I need to complete this morning.  My good friend, Johnny Ace, is willing to take me to the bank first to clarify the functions of my new debit card which hasn’t allowed me to purchase my OWN BOOKS!  I’m like: “Whaaaat?”  It worked at Walmart … so … I decided to read the reasons for the declined payments.  It said: “If you continue to have problems with your purchase, you need to go to your bank as we cannot disclose the reasons.”  I am looking forward to getting THIS taken care of first.  Then, we had planned to go to my mailbox at the Main Post Office in Ft. Lauderdale where I have had a box for more than 10 years.  So, hopefully one can see the importance of solid friendships.

In all, I am still learning to take ALL things into consideration when reviewing my life and the genuine friendships coupled with everpresent challenges of misunderstandings and mind games, if you will!  Try not to let life get you “down” because some people “don’t treat you right”!  I try not to worry much because the only person(s) one can change is ones self.  Believe it or not!!

As I continue this somewhat “divine” trip, I look forward to keeping my goals front and center as well as being grateful for the many things that come my way.  I won’t waste much time on who doesn’t like me or who doesn’t understand me.  Besides, I will never forget my accomplishments and the wonderful people who made those things possible!  Enjoy your day and the weekend … wherever you are!!  Know thyself …


John I. Cook, Director

I Wanna Thank You . . . (Fly On, Baby!)

Happy Friday, All!  Yep, you bet we got another week under our “spiritual” belts!  TGIF, then!!

In moments when you feel like something far greater than oneself has taken the reins of your life, spread your wings and fly!!  Don’t ask why … just FLY, Baby! Well, Monday coming July 12th, I will be doing just that … flying to Ft. Lauderdale to handle some business and visit some great friends.  And as the quantum field coupled with the cosmos has provided, I will be flying on to Hartford, CT where my Only Child will pick me up from the airport there and stay a week with her and my grandson, Caleb Isaac!!!  Can you say, “Fly on, Baby!!  Fly on!”?  My response is, “I Wanna Thank You …”!  

So yesterday, I got my second and last partial placed in my lower jaw!!  I mean, this was another “impromptu” project that fell in my lap when my $600 post and crown fell out of the front of my mouth and in to the toilet!!  Yep, that’s what happened … no sh@t, Sherlock!  So when I went to visit the dentist here in Puerto and asked if he could replace it, he smiled and said, “I can replace most of them using bridge and partial technology.”  I agreed!  Now, both the top  as well as the bottom jaw have been completed!!  “I Wanna Thank You!” 

While I haven’t “sold” many books yet, I still have a feeling of accomplishment for completing a more than five year project.  I would like to continue my journey here in Costa Rica, maybe even visit some natural springs or view a volcano … from a distance!  Needless to say, improving my health, both mental and physical, remain at the top of my “projects” list.  Drinking curcuma tea with the ginger base each day as well as some “Noni Juice” (cold pressed) which I take a few teaspoons of each day is a must.  The “full spectrum” CBD oil, if you will, is still a part of my daily natural supplements, too.  Keeping my health “front and center” is a main goal for me.

I hadn’t heard back from a long time recipient of the blog/newsletter, Coach Blake from New Hampshire.  So, I reached out to a few of the guys who graduated from St. Paul’s who live near him and touch base with him often.  The guys mentioned that they receive my e-mails and that Coach is okay, yet struggling with some vision issues in his mid-90’s!!  They all said, “He’s still sharp mentally and enjoys a phone call or two from folks as reading and replying to e-mails has become difficult!”  I’m going to give him a call when I get back Stateside.  He would often respond to my e-mail messages honestly and with his ageless experiences and let me know just how he felt about a topic!!  He was a big part of my positive experiences at the boarding school where he served as the athletic director and head coach of American football, lacrosse, basketball and other teams!  Thanks again Carl, Bill, Art and the rest of the guys.  We love you, Coach Blake!

Incase you would like to help with my “grassroots” effort to market my book, visit the link, browse, buy, and share a copy of “Cooking With Life!” with your friends, family and loved ones!  Click on:

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Thanks for  reading, sharing and caring!  Have a great weekend!


John I. Cook, Director

“All That Glitters Ain’t Gold!”

Happy Fridaaaay, Y’all!  I hope you got a look at the Full Moon this past week!  So, TGIF with me then!!  Okay, that was cool!

We’ve all heard that expression before, right?!?  Every fancy, shiny, glittering … maybe even “beautiful” object is NOT what it seems!!  Can you say “over rated”?  Life is full of “tests and failures”.  Yet, once YOU figure out who YOU are, things go better for guess who … you bet … YOU!  Now this life is not a competition thing as some foolhardy folks focus their time … yes THEIR time … not mine or yours … on criticizing who YOU are rather than tightening up their own activities!  Those are the people with “too much time on their hands”!  They pretend that they are perfect as they criticize others while they tout some religious or spiritual affinity!  (THEY will never tell you that they work … maybe part time … for the devil!)

There’s another anecdote that I remember from my days “growing up” is that “what one does in the dark will come out in the light”!  Pretty cool, too!  Now THAT particular anecdote is for those who think that they are so “superior” or “intelligent” that they can fool Y.O.U.!  Who wants a friend that tries to “fool you” and convince you to do something that is not in ones best interest?!?  Not me!  There is wisdom to be learned from “following other people’s advice”:  “Be yourself because you are YOU!!”  Now, there are folks out there who try to tell “me” how to be “me”!!  Isn’t that funny?!?  Those kind of people are jealous of you or me and our “lifestyle” and actually wish others “ill”.  My father used to tell me that when I was growing up in “The Projects”.  I am glad that I started so young and had such a great teacher!  Thank you, Dad! (RIP, my Man!)

When I decided to try to stick it out here in Costa Rica, I established some goals.  The first one which took me on this leg of my “journey” was to finish my third book.  Now, there were folks who didn’t know (nor care!) about the first and second books!  So, “the haters” were surprised and of course, those who didn’t want to “accept who I am” decided that now is the time to criticize MY BOOKS!!  Of course, they haven’t written any books and probably have a hard time forming a good paragraph.  I would sometimes mention to folks that “I would rather tell my own story” than have some hater running around trying to describe my life to their liking.  Oh … hell no!  Don’t make me say it!!  I’ll just write it.  My health was the third project which is an ongoing thing.  Between taking “full spectrum CBD” and regular consumption of curcuma and ginger, the range of motion and even the muscles in my back and hips are improving!  Now, I am not going to try out for the NBA but I can still get around on my own!  Blessings!

Now in all my activities, fun and learning while here, I haven’t seen my ONLY child – Ayanna Lynne – and her son, Caleb Isaac in five years now!  So, I got my second Pfizer shot yesterday and sent the forms required for the national registry through the Costa Rican Ministerio de Salud.  My arm was a little sore. But since the first vaccination about three weeks ago, I have noticed that I expectorate a bit more to get the phlegm out of my scarred lungs, which occurred when I had “walking pneumonia” while I lived and partied … oh yeah, I taught, too … in Cali, Colombia, South America for five years!  So, after Ayanna told me that it might be difficult for her and my grandson to visit me in Ft. Lauderdale, I decided to check flights to New York while I am stateside.  And once again, as the “universe” has shown me over and over, I found affordable flights from Ft. Lauderdale to New York (actually the airport is in Hartford, CT which I learned from my daughter!) and back!  So, I think I am going to saddle up, get the necessary documents (tests, vaccinations, etc.) so I can travel to see my immediate family members …

I kept in mind that all the negative comments of the “naysayers” were not helpful in achieving MY goals and I stayed focused on what I am doing!  You see, when you actually focus on improving yourself, things go better!  I won’t waste my time “slaying dragons” and convincing “haters” that MY life is worth living the way I want to do it.  So far, so good!  I am feeling the most relaxed that I have felt in my entire life … anywhere and everywhere!  And I am not hurting ANYONE and continue to spread the unconditional love that I experienced with my mother first and now I experience the blessings of the universe!

Stay focused on your goals once you have made a few!  I had the chance to attend an incredible wedding last weekend here in Puerto Viejo of two “new” friends who are “leaders” in the growing “ex-pat” community here in Puerto.  And remember, everything that glitters ain’t gold!


John I. Cook, Director

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