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”:https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FCooking-Life-Cookbook-John-Cook-ebook%2Fdp%2FB08Z7FRKCX%2Fref%3Dsr_1_6%3Fdchild%3D1%26keywords%3Dcooking%2520with%2520life%2520cook%2520book%2520iii%26qid%3D1621607433%26sr%3D8-6%26fbclid%3DIwAR15rAEh59naiHkEveua7fzSYt58zLK32vU4njXthKGcza8MgwC9sfvcHmY&h=AT2VY8HrK1GWq_BIFxAEuO1AYWC3b8tkqVcRPWeWZzUZRkLbGEiGakuXBoAhN11Q5x9HTQ3Xc3zJdNlQDlyMfLRmUqHn3nn1jwx-W71dKwKDsR67HmyL_kRLL-uLvNtOXBnyerTSyNXqeTIWrOM  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!!

Peace,

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!

Peace,

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 …

Peace,

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: https://www.amazon.com/Cooking-Life-Cookbook-John-Cook-ebook/dp/B08Z7FRKCX/ref=sr_1_6?dchild=1&keywords=cooking%20with%20life%20cook%20book%20iii&qid=1621607433&sr=8-6&fbclid=IwAR3z9QZfQT6KhKedNnz41kMeb0asMPGcAJkiP90OOKH_ZGFkg2_PT1y6AmM

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

Peace,

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!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

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!!  

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=8-6Cooking With Life!: Cookbook IIIamazon.com

Peace,

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!

Peace,

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!

Peace,

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 …

Peace,

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!

Peace,

John I. Cook, Director

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