“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

I’m Having A Moment …

Happy Friday, All!

So, here we have more incidents of pure “human folly” from rockets, bombs, and planes in the Middle East and the Gaza Strip to whichever gun-related mass shooting you’d like to choose from Stateside!  I mean, damn … So, see if you can join me in a Friday salute to “still being here …” TGIF!

I enjoyed this year’s celebration of my Mom’s birthday.  Of course, the month of May also has “Mother’s Day” in it!  So, I get a double dose of “how much I love my Momma!”  She struggled with Alzheimer’s for her last few years.  After Hurricane Wilma had caused so much destruction in South Florida where she lived with her daughter, my sister, and her adult kids, she fell in the darkness and suffered a brain hemorrhage on TOP of the Alzheimer’s condition.  Peace be still …

For many years after her passing, I experienced some tough “moments” around the time of “Mother’s Day” and her birthday.  That’s pretty much because I wasn’t able to do as much for her as I wished and I watched her struggle with that hideous disease.  Yet, I was somewhat happy, strangely so as she passed quietly in her comatose state.  There was no visible suffering nor pain as I was the last family member to see her breathing until slipping into darkness, so to speak.  I recall on some days of the past in May when at work in a call center, I would suddenly remember her “unconditional love” for me and what seemed to be “the whole world” as she knew it … and my face would fill with tears … emotional sobbing type stuff!  I would occasionally ask for an early “break” so I could pull myself together.  Most of my “bosses” understood ’cause everybody is supposed to love their “Momma”, right?!  This year, as I have been focusing on healing and the rejuvenation of my mind, body, and spirit, I handled those “May Days” with more skill.  Last week on Friday, which was the day after her birthday, I had my last tooth pulled!!   My jaw was swollen and I had to cancel a dinner pizza with friends.  Instead, I went out to eat some calamari, my favorite, with rice, veggies, and a nice salsa … alone.  I was in “heaven” with her, if you catch my drift!!  All in all, I felt I did well mildly mourning her while counting my blessings … from HER!

Even right now as I compose this message, I am feeling a tremendous calm as May closes!  I feel stronger, emotionally more “complete” and excited to continue “the journey”.  I also want to thank “Maureen”, another long-time supporter, and “CO” from boarding school for getting copies of “Cooking With Life!”  I know there are others and I thank youse, too.  If you haven’t browsed it yet or gotten your own copy, visit: https://www.amazon.com/Cooking-Life-Cookbook-John-Cook-ebook/dp/B08Z7FRKCX/ref=sr_1_6?dchild=1&keywords=cooking+with+life+cook+book+iii&qid=1621607433&sr=8-6.  Share it, give someone like “me” a “helping hand” in your own orbits, and share the love, respect, and peace from me and Educational Excellence!  The non-profit, sole proprietorship business known as Educational Excellence turns 20 in June 2021.  We’ve been around!


John I. Cook, Director

Something Special … Someone Special …

Happy Friday, All!

Once again, I think we can do a T.G.I.F. together to start things off, so TGIF!  “Thank you very kindly!”  It seems that the world’s leaders have lost the social etiquette necessary for us to “live together peacefully” on this planet.  Money, wealth and obsession with power have taken the driver’s seat in this “suffering” world!  The “followers” of this world have absorbed this character defect and spread it too far and too wide!  That’s why I focus on things like love, peace, happiness … even RESPECT in my pieces!

Yesterday was my Mother’s birthday!  Thanks for your wonderful and uplifting thoughts and comments!  She still is the world for me, my main motivation even!  Last night, I began to see snippits of news videos of a murder two years ago by the Louisiana State Troopers.  If you haven’t seen it yet, pay attention.  Yes, again and a year BEFORE Mr. Floyd’s public assassination by  Derek Chauvin of the Minneapolis Police Department, an unarmed African American male was murdered.  But this time, there was no “video taken by the public” and the one taken by the Louisiana State Troopers was concealed for TWO YEARS!  Mr. Greene had taken the troopers on a high speed chase one night as he traveled from Louisiana to Florida to see his mother …  According to the video which finally surfaced because of someone’s conscience in the trooper’s ranks, he could only say that he “was afraid and sorry” and they were “his brothers”.  The troopers heard none of that!  They were so angry and had lost self control and responsibility for their jobs and became as barbaric as they could be!  Mr. Greene was taken from his car while being tased, pulled onto the ground, punched and kicked incessantly until they could get the handcuffs on, and even dragged by his ankles while handcuffed and face DOWN!!  Who does that?!?  Imagine if I had gotten so upset with a student in my class and done something like that!?!  His Mother who appeared on the news channels said that she couldn’t even watch it completely!  It was truly sadistic!  One of the troopers was recorded as saying, “I beat the ever loving f–k out of him!”

I am so glad that I made it to retirement and intelligent and perhaps was even lucky enough to have avoided such a fate!  Now, trust me, I have been stopped by law enforcement in Florida many times but never allowed myself to panic and run and be dragged from my vehicle.  There have been some close calls but, as one of my motivational talks that focuses on “Driving While Black” suggests, I have always maintained my own self esteem and self respect.  I had one incident in my apartment in Oakland Park, FL when the Broward County Sheriff’s department had come to contain me and I was on the phone.  They didn’t want to wait until I finished my conversation with a family member and had no warrant for my arrest yet.  It got physical and I know that a “guardian angel” was watching over me.  I came out alive.  I am glad that I can celebrate my Mother’s birthday in freedom and alive … pretty much well, too!  “Something special” indeed that I learned to appreciate because of someone special in my life – my Mother.  My heart literally cries for Mr. Greene’s mother who appeared on several news programs …  His mother said that she will miss his endless positivity that he often shared with her.  He was on the way to her house and the troopers told her that he had “died in a car crash that he had with a tree” …  She was heartbroken when two years later, she actually could see what REALLY happened to her son … Peace be still …

There’s nothing more special than love for one another!  What’s so hard to learn about that?!?  We humans have tried everything else and us hippies did a “Woodstock” thing for y’all!  People, especially “public servants”, should employ much more respect, love and understanding in their work!  I know I did it as a teacher …

As I continue my weekend with a “kudos” to my Mother, enjoy your weekends as well!  Feel free to visit: https://www.amazon.com/Cooking-Life-Cookbook-John-Cook-ebook/dp/B08Z7FRKCX/ref=sr_1_6?dchild=1&keywords=cooking+with+life+cook+book+iii&qid=1621607433&sr=8-6 to get your copy either in e-book or paper back.  The book is dedicated to the memory of my Mother … Marietta Dolores Cook … “someone” very special!  Thanks for reading!


John I. Cook, Director

“Meet ‘Karen’ . . .”

Happy Friday again, ALL!  How are y’all feeling about the world “we” live in today?!  Do you think “life is fair”?  Do you BELIEVE that you even “deserve” a fair life?!  I certainly hope you believe you do!  Keep in mind, you might have to “fight” for what you deserve in a most tactful way.  So, TGIF, then, will you?!!

Have you folks heard of the term “a Karen” by now?  It’s a word for a “white skinned woman” who feels that she is entitled to preferential treatment because of the color of her skin.  These “Karen” types usually seek an opportunity to utilize this psychological phenomenon that exists ONLY if the purported “privileged” and the subject of the “privileged action” BOTH agree on this fabricated phenomenon.  Let’s be clear, I don’t play that, and the ONLY thing that I will do when challenged is “represent my talents” to the fullest!  Be aware of who you decide to “disrespect” because that’s ALL that is … “disrespect”!  Let’s continue with “Meet ‘Karen’” from my perspective with the help of “The Wizard and his Wife”.

So, where I was living before here (people like to do 3-month agreements), I had asked the property owner for a copy of the agreement.  Cut to the chase, after weeks of unpaid dog-sitting WHILE I was working on my book and occasional UNPAID house-sitting for the electric/light company for the property owner and NEVER receiving a ‘thank you’ from this ‘property owner’, the “Bruja” produced a copy of the agreement … 2 months later.  It was like 8 or 9 in the morning and I was working on my laptop on the deck with my earplugs in when the “Bruja” came with a copy of the agreement and started to “talk”.  Mind you, no message was sent to me to ask me … that’s what I said … ASK ME if I have time to talk.  The rent of $850 was due for my last month and the “Bruja” also still had possession of MY $400.00 in the form of a security deposit.  So, I wasn’t about to trust a “property owner” who took 2 months to produce a “copy of an agreement” to return $400 of MY MONEY 16 days after I was to depart the last day – June 4th.  I had seen multiple examples of “tardiness”, lack of concern for me and more concern for her pets, and complete unprofessional rudeness as she displayed this same morning!

After I took my earplugs out and simply looked at her, she began telling me that here was the contract and I was to sign it and give it back to her …  It was ON!!  Not only does NO ONE simply order me to sign something, but NO ONE will get my WELL DESERVED PENSION monies without providing a “successful service” for ME!!  Basically, we went back and forth, her speaking in Spanish and trying to get the upper hand on MY MONEY until I took the contract, placed it on the deck and told her that I was not going to sign it 2 months later.  She, “la diabla”, got upset and started to make a case for me to “have to sign” this faulty, dishonest, property owner biased so-called “contract”.  The agreement had 2 clauses that I refused to acknowledge as they were LIES … and I don’t sign LIES.  One clause said that “ALL of the furniture was in excellent condition and that the leasee/or I would have to pay for ANY damages to the floor (which had several cigarette burns with one in the front doorway) or the furniture!  The lamp right next to my bed was a “second hand store” fixture that was clearly broken before I arrived.  The property owner aka “la Diabla” told me when I complained, “Oh, I won’t charge you for that!!” which brought me quite a “furrowed brow” and a look of disdain that could clearly be understood by ANYONE!  I laughed, put my earplugs back in and continued working.  I took a moment to tell her to “get away from me” while I was working.   “La Diabla” was shocked that I spoke to her that way just as much as I was shocked that she even “tried me” like that!! WT@!!

She left for the time.  Like a week before, I had met a gentleman that I will call “The Wizard” and “His Wife”!  This was no coincidence because “The Wizard” and his wife not only KNEW “la diabla” but had helped her by renting their second home to “la diabla” at a tremendous discount while she rented the same house I was renting but for $950.00 per month!!  “La diabla”, and I call her that because while “it” had a unique eye color, her expressions with me were sinister as she tried to “suck” my self esteem with her insistence on her being right and that I was in “her house”!!   Cut to the chase again … The next night, “la diabla” came back demanding that I pay her $850.00 and that I follow her instructions to get my $400 back!!  I refused, she entered the house and … “Meet ‘Karen’”!  She began to walk around in the house … yes “her” house with more than $2,000.00 of MY dollars having been paid to a negligent, rude and unprofessional property owner!  The conversation went back and forth until I told her again that I would ONLY pay $450 since she had $400 of MY dollars already so we were “good”!  I walked in to the bedroom and to my surprise, she entered behind me saying, “Es mi casa!”  She started looking for my possessions to touch and found my laptop case IN THE BEDROOM!!  “Karen” was trying to get me into as much trouble as she could.  Fortunately, the police in Costa Rica can’t get involved in domestic issues unless a “woman is physically touched and injured”!  This was a “landlord/tenant” issue which must be taken to court as I found out with the previous “property manager” that I had to put in check, too!  At this point, I exited the bedroom for my safety, walked into the kitchen and dropped a bowl on the floor, which got her attention finally.  “La diabla” exited the bedroom and headed for the deck to call the police.  “Bingo!” I thought.  When she walked out of the front door to the deck, I grabbed the door and securely closed it behind her … locked it in other words!!  She was in shock and immediately thrust her foot up and kicked the door!!!

In that short amount of time, I realized that this was out of control … “la diabla” in particular.  She called the police who came  half hour later.  One officer spoke with her while the other spoke with me on the deck of the house.  I explained what happened and the other officer spoke to “la diabla” for what seemed to be an eternity!!  Finally, since “la diabla” just likes to talk people to death, I told the officer assigned to me that if she would simply give me my $400 back, I would leave at the crack of dawn!  I had had enough of this and wasn’t looking to experience any “Derek Chauvin” tactics used on me in Costa Rica … Puerto Viejo, to be exact  Finally, it seemed that she agreed but again, did NOT give me back my security and the police are NOT authorized to get involved in ANY financial disputes in Costa Rica!  I called my new friends, “Mr. Wizard” and his “Wife” and explained to them what happened.  As I watched the police ride away both on motorcycles, I wondered who was supposed to get my money back from this creature!!  I agreed with Mr. Wizard that I didn’t need to spend another month in “hell” so we agreed that I would pack everything up and be prepared to leave when he arrived the next morning to do a “walk through” with “la diabla” and get as much of the deposit back as possible!  Mrs. Wizard had spoken with “la diabla” and tried to convince her to be more amicable in solving this “situation”.  I could care less about any freakin’ house … I wanted OUT!!

Mr. and Mrs. Wizard (now do you see why I call them that!?) used their “relationship” with this creature to not only help me get the deposit back … all except $90 which she claimed I owed her for 2 nights and the electricity bill which she never produced for the 2 months that I was there.  They had also spoken to the manager of this lovely bungalow at “Bamboutel” to reserve a unit for me!  The next morning went as planned and I was out with the help of Mr. Wizard who did exactly as he said, by midday!  His wife, “Mrs. Wizard”, had promised me that Mr. Wizard would “get my money back”!  They BOTH are pretty incredible!!  Thanks guys … “Good-bye, Karen!”

Enjoy your weekends, please, and beware of the “Karens” and “Chauvins” out there amongst us!


John I. Cook, Director

A True Love Story . . .

Happy Friday again, Y’all!

We know what we’ve got to do today … like most days … a TGIF might suffice!!  Yeah, Baby!

Well, it’s that time again …  my Mother’s birthday in a few weeks!  May 20th, 1917!!  While I can say that she left this physical realm on November 6th, 2005, she has remained a spiritual pinnacle in my life today.  We always seemed to connect though she did most if not ALL of the unconditional love part with me.  Now, I wasn’t the only recipient of her unfathomable care for fellow human beings as there were many other organizations of which she was a part and still others that she actually led.  She served as president of the PTA (Parent Teachers Association) for several years while I was in elementary school before it – Rochambeau Elementary School – closed down due to anti-segregation interests in the fair City of White Plains!  She was a girl scout troop leader as well as a member of the Flower Club at our home church – Bethel Baptist Church – located there in the Projects.  Should I add here that with no formal post high school education, she cleaned houses for a living for many years in Westchester County, NY for well off clients in Scarsdale and White Plains.  She and her “lady friends” would often cater dinner parties for some of the same clients whose homes she cleaned.  Oh yeah, she was my mother as well as a mother to three others of her off-spring … and a wonderful wife for my Father – Isaac Henry Cook.

I have been able to overcome several situations with her help before the dreaded Alzheimer’s Disease set in to make her life more confusing for her.  It sent me for a loop, too, when I finally realized how much she and others struggled through the memory portions of their lives … Peace be still!  As most of the readers of my work know, the third book in the series of “Cook Books” entitled “Cooking With Life!: Cook Book III”, is dedicated to the memory of my Mother – Marietta Dolores.  She and my Dad were both there when I needed them … when I graduated from St. Paul’s School in 1972; and then again at Princeton University in 1976.  She, too, taught me how “to go high when they go low”, a la Michelle Obama!

Thanks for reading and enjoy your weekends!  There’s more brewing up right now in my life but I fill you in later!


John I. Cook, Director

“What Does It ALL Mean?!?”

Happy Friday, Y’all! 

And as usual, I am sending out a huge fist bump in the form of a “TGIF” of your choosing!  Remember, either “Thank God It’s Friday!” or “Thank Goodness I’m Friendly!” … or come up with one of your own … or NOT!  That’s me so … TGIF!

I am always grateful for readers of these e-mails which I  magically turn in to “blog posts” every Friday so far.  Some may ask, as I do from time to time just to stay on point with my vision, “So why do you do these writings and what do you hope to accomplish?”  The answer can be as simple as you like or as complicated as you’d like to make it.  I’ll keep it simple … I like people to know that there are perhaps “others” out there like “them” or “me” or “you” or anyone else that may feel defeated by life’s circumstances which we often invite or allow.  So, I offer my anecdotes often based on my own personal experiences … both good and not so good … as an example of how one might overcome challenging circumstances.  Sometimes, we have to look inside of ourselves for the courage, fortitude, self respect and self confidence, which are not always “available” due to the circumstances, when the external “life lines” are not available.  I jokingly tell myself sometimes “We shall overcome!” or “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference!” … just keep it simple stupid!!  Needless to say, it’s not that easy!  I can tell you that I’ve made MYSELF scared straight enough to want to prevent ANY unnecessary drama.  It takes confidence, which one has to build by being “successful” at things like sports or music … singing or dancing …  maybe even academic excellence and interests!!  Who knows!!?  Think outside the box.  Train yourself, even!

So, it all means that I care enough to write about things that matter to me … that I see in the world today.  I think I have a talent of caring and loving enough and writing it down to capture someone’s attention and help them “along their way”!  Of course, it can be a kind of symbiotic relationship with most people as we “feed off of each other’s goodness” while hopefully not being parasitic!  There were times when I thought long and hard, meditated even … got acupuncture treatments … ate different foods, incorporated stuff like turmeric in my diet.  I have dabbled in many aspects of a healthy life style with a focus on wellness.  Yoga gives me some discipline while aiding my circulation of both air and blood.  You’ve heard of probiotics, and surely you know the anti-aging properties of ginseng … good stuff, I think  Now, please keep in mind that you are free to think that I am “full of malarkey”, which is cool.  I am just offering alternate ways of viewing things that we all share in common.  And please, just so you know, I don’t entertain conspiracy theories ‘round here unless you’ve got proof.  And, as you are free to disagree with me, I will feel free to disagree with you!!  Hopefully we can agree on two things … Peace and Respect … for each other, for the world we live in, and for our “sisters and brothers”!


John I. Cook, Director

Say His Name: “George Floyd”!

Yes, Yes, Y’all!  It’s Friday again!!  We got more rain last night and this morning out here in the Tropics!  So, TGIF with me then ’cause “Baby, some rain MUST fall!”  Do it right quick, “TGIF”!

Well, I am definitely glad that this “pot of grease” didn’t have to explode on “the streets of America …”.  Imagine #45 calling LeBron James a racist because of ONE tweet, which he later removed, cautioning people of color to be aware.  LeBron admitted his rash judgement (can you blame him!) while professional moron #45 has never admitted he’s wrong about anything!!  Here’s a “moron” who was sued by AND PAID the Federal government for racist rental practices!  This “cockroach” is still preaching that he is president!!!  The racist monster, as is clearly seen on his face in the 9 minute plus video filmed by a 17 year old girl of color, kneeled on the neck of a grown African American man handcuffed behind his back laying on the filthy street while urinating on himself and calling for his “Momma” …. has been found GUILTY on ALL counts for murdering Mr. Floyd!  Yaay!  We need to get the soul of America back, if possible, and keep the “hate spreaders” on notice!!  At least we know this one cop will be off the streets for good.

We all know what a hypocrite looks and sounds like.  In our daily “adventures”, be sure to “raise the bar” in your interactions with fellow humans.  It’s the low, desperate reactions in situations, especially regarding race and gender, that has led to the decline of RESPECT for human dignity!!  Would you want YOUR friend or family member to be “put to death” on the street over a questionable counterfeit financial transaction by a person hired to “protect and serve” its citizens?!  Don’t lie to me!!!

As I often suggest in my writing, we CAN be better than this … America, once leader of the “free world”.  We humans can do this but we have to WORK together … not FIGHT each other over every little childish thing!  Thanks for reading!


John I. Cook, Director

Spiritual Warfare Part II

Happy Friday, ALL!

Take an opportunity to be grateful this fine day!  So, TGIF with me then!  Thank you, kindly!!

Have you ever had those experiences when you were doing “the best that you can” and things still seemed to NOT be going your way?!  Have you ever wondered “where was God” when you needed “It”  (some folks believe that It is a feminine spirit or energy!)?  It’s funny sometimes how we doubt our own creation  by a Power greater than ourselves  … as if we did it ourselves!  Many of us have NOT had that moment of clarity when we find out what we are really made of!  I was experiencing some doubt of my Creator as I have been faced with different challenges while living in another country.  Now it’s not my first “rodeo” living in another country, and I am fluent enough in Spanish to handle some intellectual conversations.  Yet, I wondered why my Creator has allowed some things to “trouble” me …. But it was ME who allowed those things to “trouble” me!  This is what I am referring to when I mention “spiritual warfare” which is different for each of us, should we decide to believe!  The relief check from the US government hasn’t arrived yet and things have gotten a bit tough.

Of course, with a little help from my friends (you know who you are!) I am able to move forward with some delicate financial situations!  Thanks, y’all!  As well, I am learning more mental discipline as I fathom ways to remedy situations with my focus on “peace”!  If you know me, you know that I can “take care of myself” and often have to “dial down” my anger!!  It’s reached a boiling point several times in the past two months.  Once, a couple of friends from Italy and Norway encouraged me to “breathe deep” when I saw the monster moron who decided to “create” one of the most uncomfortable living situations I have experienced in my life!  THIS is when it is important to “know thyself”!!  So, I breathed deep … walked around a tiny space for a minute or two … then I went back to sit down with my friends!  I thanked them as I often do when I realize that someone has “helped” me!  THIS is also why it is important to surround yourself with cool friends who encourage “you” to be the best that you can!!

Growing up going to Church, often flanked by Isaac and Marietta – my parents, I learned to sit still at a young age.  The church I attended, Bethel Baptist Church, was right there in The Winbrook Projects where many of my childhood friends grew up!  I also want to thank all of “youse” who stop by my pages, be it the blog or social media, and show me some “love, understanding, and support” especially on the heels of the release of “Cooking With Life!” on Amazon and Kindle!  Of course, while I “stewed” in my discontent, I had forgotten my many many accomplishments in life that I am sure some folks are actually envious, not that I care.  A while back in my personal development I learned to take that same “envy” that folks display and put it into my “self confidence” tank and burn it to “ease on down the road”!  And in case you’re wondering, I was “the Tin Man” in my elementary school production of “The Wizard of Oz”!  So, don’t sleep on the fact that I know about “higher powers”!  What about you?!  That relationship becomes important when one is faced with “human lowness” and become the subject of the lack of decency displayed by some fellow humans.  This is “spiritual warfare” as I learned about in my youth while attending Church with my parents!

Go forth and enjoy your day!  I see sun shining through the windows here as I write!

“Be yourself because you are YOU!”  -John I. Cook, SPS Yearbook 1972!


John I. Cook, Director


Good Day All, and a Happy Friday!  Yep, that’s what I said!  So, hit the Universe with a TGIF!  BOOM!

Yeah, I’m up early after a great day yesterday, nothing special, but no serious problems!  As far as the character who refuses to return the $500.00 security deposit I had paid him with a receipt and all, he’s still “holding” on to it …   On Monday, I visited the “OIJ” here – Organismo de Investigacion Judicial – near Puerto Viejo in Hone Creek.  When I got to speak with a representative, she first said that the “contract” was done improperly … no witnesses or notarization … not to mention the content and structure.  I kind of knew from having signed rental agreements in the States, but simply tried to have a document to protect myself.  Cut to the chase – I would need to hire a “civil attorney” for like $500.00 to represent me in “civil court” in the municipality of Limon, Costa Rica, with NO guarantee.  Of course, I let the “folks” here know via social media about the developments.  Not that I need ANYONE’S opinion regarding my measly $500.00 but there were a few “envious” nuts in “the peanut gallery” who questioned my judgment.  Most tenants whose landlords “confiscated” or kept their deposits have resigned themselves to accepting their loss.  For me, it’s the FIRST time and I am NOT getting use to it!!  I am going out verbally “swinging” and with a fury!!  I just paid $400.00 deposit for an $850.00 place, so …  That’s me!!

On the other hand, I’ve decided to “pick up my shingle” for Educational Excellence and go Stateside for my birthday, July 13th. I’m working on going to Ft. Lauderdale first (maybe my “relief” check is there!) to check my mailbox and order some of my new paperback books.  My only “offspring”, Ayanna Lynne, said that we could all meet up, grandson included, in Florida somewhere!  Either way – hotel room and/or “friends” places – I should be able to see them again!  Can you say “Happy Feelings”?!?

So, “Cooking With Life!” is out via Amazon and Kindle!  I wanted to make my “Momma” proud by completing and dedicating the book in her memory!  Besides, she was there at “The African American Research Library and Cultural Center” in Ft. Lauderdale where I did my first book signing for my first manuscript entitled, “From the Projects to Princeton”.  It is true that we ALL have a story … I just choose to “tell” mine, truth included.

Thanks for reading and keeping me in your “positive vibrations” and thoughts!


John I. Cook, Director

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