And Away We Go!!!

away we go

Happy Friday, All!
It’s about that time again …. T.G.I.F.!  You know, I often have to promise myself, that no matter how “uncaring” a person may seem, which usually contradicts what someone like this might say … “how much they care about you!” …   their actions tell a far different story.  I am still practicing some serious detachment from situations like this.  This is when people try to hurt you or discourage you with something they might “with hold” from you …  like a raise … or simply said, cut your pay!  I don’t quite get it … I mean, it seems that EVERYBODY is on the “take”!!  What’s really going on?!?  Now don’t get me wrong … I’ve some superb friends who show me some “serious care” or “love”, if you will.  Yet, at a repair shop, for example, or at work … sometimes even in traffic it seems that somebody is trying to put somebody else “down” or into a difficult situation or just are plain old disrespectful.  Others in positions of authority may try to make another person feel like “they owe you something”!!  Are they seeking ego fulfillment due to their lack of character?!?
Things like this push me into a very peaceful yet warrior-like way.  Yes, sometimes I feel like acting out … arguing or something.  But usually, the person with whom I would argue wouldn’t understand anything anyway.  “Their” minds are made up, so to speak, and reaching them would be a miracle!  So, I save my comments most of the time, and simply move away from the potential conflict or drama.  Usually when I do this, I find a “miracle” of my own!!
As I mentioned, I will be moving and don’t know when I will have access to internet … though I will be looking for the “Wi-fi” locations in the meantime.  It is also the time to write maybe two e-mails/blog posts per week … who knows … maybe even one!  Let me know what you think, if you’ve the inkling!!  In keeping my head “to the sky”, I continue to hope to ramp up my options and take an interest in my daughter and my new grandson, Caleb Isaac.  The challenges we all face from time to time seem “normal” in our world today.  Do you think we can make some changes for the better?!?  I hope so … And away we go!!
John I. Cook, Director

“You Dropped A Bomb On Me!”



Happy Hump Day, Y’All!

Yeah … that’s what I’m saying now that I have gotten probably some of the most challenging news ever … in a long time anyways.  Yes, but not as challenging as some news I have gotten in the past.  So, for me, about this time … it is all relative!
There is  more electrical (fuse box) repairs needed in the Jeep Compass and the cost is even more than the last repair!  I had notions of “abandoning” it and … well … ruining my already struggling credit …  I had thoughts of just leaving it there for a few months and catching the buses across Broward County … Those thoughts were pretty horrifying, not to mention “challenging” as I wondered how I would grocery shop or get to the gym.  Then, I thought about asking a good friend … who agreed to help me out … again!  I am overwhelmed with happiness as I just got off the phone with the assistant manager at the repair shop to “get the ball rolling”, as he said!  Humbly grateful as I have so much to do this weekend.  I will leave the details for another day while embracing the love being shown to me.
Have you ever had those moments when you are NOT sure what to do?!?  Just yesterday … on my way home from work … I spoke with my daughter who shared her wisdom regarding “things that just happen that are unexpected”!!  I listen to suggestions, I meditate and pray … then meditate again … and listen to the “inner voice”.  I am so blessed and so grateful to have you folks as readers, as it is one of the readers who agreed to help … again!  Thank you, David …

John I. Cook, Director

Remembering Hurricane Wilma – R.I.P. Mom …

wilma devastation

It’s Monday . . .

How are things going for YOU?!?  Hope all is well.  As for me, I am developing another dimension (NOT dimentia!!) of spiritual faith and endurance … better said, seeing the blessings in my life!  There are, for me, various dimensions of spirituality, if you will.  The first level is the more tangible level where deep breathing and meditation help balance out life’s ebbs and lulls at that moment … you can feel the relief, similar to that relief one may feel after a yoga class.  The other more deep (deeper) level is the “long term” maintenance of one’s “faith”, if you will … that “every little thing’s … gonna be alright” attitude expressed in one of Bob Marley’s greatest compositions!  It requires an ability … gift even … to keep the faith over a long period of time, defending oneself against the negativity that we may find as we engage in spiritual warfare against our opponent’s goals … to bring us down, especially in the face of challenges.  Feeling very grateful, right now.
Many of you who may know about Hurricane Wilma, which surprised the East Coast cities of SoFlo including the city where I was living at the time, Pembroke Pines, FL, will recall how the hurricane appeared over our shoulder, so to speak, as it crossed the “corridor” from Naples, FL to Broward County’s Greater Ft. Lauderdale area.  The destruction was devastating, destroying homes, towns and cities, putting nearly 6 million people in darkness with the loss of power at gas stations, supermarkets and homes of the populace as occurred in my sister’s house in Lauderdale Lakes around October 25th, 2005.  Ultimately, I quietly thank Hurricane Wilma for making conditions so that my mother – Marietta Dolores – could expire without tragedy like a plane crash or house fire … let alone being killed in a drive by or car accident!  She went quietly … and peacefully.
Interestingly enough around this time of year, I remember “Wilma” and recall all that went with it … from living at a “sober house” in Pembroke Pines where I actually did the “check-ins” of tenants in our community to  my roommate, Michael Keels, and all the fun we had together.  We had set up a gas grill provided by the landlord outside in the parking area of our place there on Johnson Street and took turns cooking our foods on the grill in an effort to avoid having to throw out meats and stuff that required refrigeration, since we had lost power in our building, too.  Remembering Hurricane Wilma requires me to remember my mother’s passing … they go hand in hand in my journey.
On Halloween, I plan to move again … from my studio in Hollywood to an apartment in Sunrise/Plantation, which is a condominium that my sister owns and rents out.  I am also planning to do two e-mails per week as I have not secured internet there yet, and, I do want to start to spend time on two other projects for Educational Excellence – the third book and motivational talks/presentations.  I am still dealing with the “car drama” as the repair shop didn’t have a chance to look at it yet; my friend Burke Wortman has lent me his truck for a few days … and I am grateful for that!  The full moon is on the horizon, as I noticed when I went to put the trash out last night and saw it’s beauty hanging in the dark yet star-lit sky.  So in closing, I am sharing with you some of Joel Osteen’s words today, that our Creator did NOT “make” us to suffer … and is a loving and caring Creator … giving us experiences perhaps, that make us spiritually more fit to continue along our individual journeys …
Until we meet again!


John I. Cook, Director

Just When You Thought It Was Safe . . .

face palm

Happy Friday, y’all!  I’m going out on a limb with this one so … T.G.I.F!
Have you ever had those days when you just kind of let your head drop down, almost limp and shake it from side to side??  Well, I had one of those mornings yesterday.  I had actually gone out and started up the car, realized that I had left somethings … went back to get them, came out … and right before my eyes, the car stopped running!!!  Just like that!!  Enough said??!
I can imagine that sometimes “folks” may wonder why I am so forth coming with things … drama … that happen to me!?  First of all, this comes from my heart.  I mean, things go on that I STILL don’t mention and won’t mention … mostly out of respect for others and their “privacy”.  I am pretty open about things because I like folks to know how difficult it can get sometimes … as well as how good it gets, too!  As I’ve mentioned more that once in these writings, you might even meet … know … or be someone like me!  That is, one who sees life as a spiritual journey with the goal of remaining positive, spreading and sharing love and peace, too!  Of course, I work every day and haven’t had as many outside opportunities to earn more money yet …  Reliable transportation is an integral part of that here in South Florida!!
The other reason I write about some of my experiences is two-fold: first, it is therapeutic for me … I don’t get so “caught up” in the stuff if I write it down; and, I don’t take some of the experiences so personally or perhaps, so seriously!!  It really gets to me sometimes, so I employ my own techniques including yoga and meditation to stay balanced.  As far as I know, I have not been “depressed” to the point that I couldn’t handle a “feeling” which led me to feel sad, so to speak.  I am not sure I “know” what that means.  I seldom use the word to describe myself … if ever … though I do know that many humans experience this.  I have the utmost respect for that “dis-ease” as I do for other illnesses like breast cancer!  Yep, my father died from bone marrow cancer … so … I know what death looks like up close and personal.  I don’t fear it … I think … yet I don’t want it yet either!
The regular readers may remember a week or so ago when I began my “car-escapades”, for lack of a better term, and I was expressing that I had “had enough” of this car drama!!  It is very costly, and life altering even, as well as a bit of a challenge!  So, yesterday I called the service manager at Joey Accardi Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep and told him I may bring the car back.  After checking my car insurance, and finding the terms and mileage of the towing benefit, I had the Compass towed there last night!  I also had a chance to chat with my daughter, Ayanna Lynne, who may be going home from the hospital soon with her son, Caleb Isaac.  I am happy for this bit of joy and am clinging to it as Ayanna says that Caleb clings to her!
John I. Cook, Director

It’s The Little Things That Count!

love the world

Happy Hump Day, Y’all!
How are things progressing for you this week so far?!  I hope it is all good … you understand?!?  Feeling chipper today, just counting my blessings as well.  Gratitude is an important part of my attitude. THAT … keeps me humble!!  Why humble, one might ask?  Because “one” who is not teachable in a variety of situations … or at least able to “learn the lesson” … is doomed to repeat the same mistakes, and possibly remain in an “unhealthy” frame of mind or spirit!
I have those  moments like many of us when I wish I could just talk to my mother.  These are the moments when I am calling upon all her teachings and “nurturings”, tips and clues of how I might best handle a certain situation that I encounter in my life.  I filter that information with what I have personally experienced in my own past and seek to merge the two, if that makes any sense.  I don’t want to make another mistake unless I have to … and I don’t want to make another mistake that is costly and not fun … or “serving my true needs”.  I  have found that the small adjustments I make on a day to day basis help me to “sail smoothly”.  Just the other day, I was in the parking lot at Publix and a guy climbed out of his red pick up truck with “ROLL TIDE” flags positioned on it and he wore an Alabama t-shirt, also red.  I was standing in front of my vehicle just observing some of the damage and this guy comes walking towards me within inches and says, “Excuse me!”  I turned around and looked at him, and replied as I turned sideways so this character could walk by me, “You could’ve gone that way next to your truck, you could’ve gone straight down the walkway in the middle of the parking lot … but you chose to come up behind me!”  This guy replies, “Well, I said excuse me!  I could’ve just shoved you out of the way!”  I looked at him and smiled, stating: “You wouldn’t want to do that … you’re just talking!”  He kept walking without a response nor turning around.
In general, people try to make more out of some simple things than they need to … and not enough out of the things that are usually bigger and more important.  So, what I try to do, is weave or connect a bunch of little things to make the “bigger things” that I need in my life.  I say thank you when someone holds the door for me, and I occasionally let people cut in front of me in crowded traffic and am much moreso on the lookout for close encounters with other cars, leaving more room for the unexpected.  I do the same with people … like at work … I avoid the “drama” peeps and focus mainly on getting my work done.  Again, it’s a little thing to be polite and peaceful, much less applause but a lot more comfort … for me!  I don’t like the noise and drama of some things in life.
My daughter, Ayanna, just had her first child and I am a first time grandfather.  She is my only child so the only kid(s) I would ever have as grandchildren, I suspect … , will have to come from her!  The first one, and fine with me if it is the only one (that’s how it is for me …), arrived October 19th, 2015.  As one co-worker wrote on a hand-written note for me, “Welcome Caleb Isaac!”  Do you guys remember that we ALL started as a little thing … a baby?!?  When Ayanna was born in White Plains, NY over 30 years ago, I called her “Squeezy”!  That’s because she had the best little hugs a father could ask for!  Now, she has her own “little Squeezy”, whom she calls fondly “Cash” … short for “cashew” describing the shape of Caleb Isaac in his sonogram!  Congratulations, Ayanna Lynne … And welcome, Caleb Isaac!  I am glad that her mother was there with her and many many friends of hers from Connecticut are showering she and Caleb with love … and many many gifts!

John I. Cook, Director

Don’t Let Nothing Steal Your Joy!

Count it ALL joy


It’s Monday, Folks!

What’s love got to do with it?!?  Everything!!!  And from left field, I come at you folks with a Monday morning wake-up (or delete) read … the choice is yours!!  Either way is fine with me.  So … Top o’ the morning to you lads and lassies!
I don’t know if many of you know why I write other than the fact that I love it … just writing and sharing things.  But, I just wanted to say that I don’t … in case you ever thought I did … know everything!  So you can take me out of that class of “crazies” that do think that they know everything.  Know that I want to share thoughts and ideas … not so you can say that I am right (or wrong), but so you can see how one might want to work on oneself (or someone they know!) to make some self improvements and enjoy life in some of the ways that I do.  Just in case … I mean, you might meet someone like me one day … or maybe you already know someone like me … or heavens forbid … you … yes I said YOU might be like me yourself!!
I wanted to share something ELSE with you that you might find interesting … if only my take on it.  So, Friday morning, after I had just gotten my Jeep Compass out of the Joey Acardi dealership repair shop Thursday evening, I was on my way to work a bit early on I-95, and I had an accident.  And, it was my fault … so to speak!!  Okay, so I was in the second lane at Griffin Road which is always under construction and traffic was stop and go so  much that it felt unsafe.  So, I cruised, speeding up a bit to merge into the third lane.  It appeared that the car in front of me was moving slowly because I don’t recall seeing any brake lights.  After 2 seconds, I realized that the car was NOT moving!!  I was going about 50mph and slammed on my brakes … But, it was NOT enough to avoid contact with the rear bumper of the car in front of me!!  Are you “spiritual” enough to count even THIS “all joy”, as the scripture states?!?  I know that I wasn’t!  I was so upset with MYSELF … disappointed in ME … until I started to feel “hopeless” …  Not a good thing!!  I struggled through Friday at work once I got there, some friends took me out to dinner after work and I continued to work through my feelings.  Enter Sunday morning televangelist Joel Osteen …
Sunday’s sermon focused on “keeping a song in your heart” … that same song your spirit can sing when things seem to be going ever so wrong in one’s life.  Joel used his usual funny stories about a bird that sang in a big house until one day, the home owner accidentally “sucked it up” in her vacuum while cleaning her huge curtains!!  Once she got the bird out of the vacuum cleaner bag, it stopped singing … for good!  Is that you?  Do you let things that happen in your life stop YOU from singing … being happy … overcoming obstacles?!?  It can easily happen, so … keep that song in your heart … because “bad” things happen to good people, too!  Keep your spiritual strength up … I know when I woke up this morning, I thought about all I need to do NOW, and very grateful that my car is still riding very nicely … I have some dents on the hood and some front grill damage on the Compass, but it is running like a good car should!  Can I count it all joy?!?  I will tell you this though … I refuse to let anything steal my joy, y’all!
Don’t loose your joy, don’t stop singing your song … as difficult as it may seem … keep your dreams alive!
John I. Cook, Director

It’s The Weekend, Baby!!

peace colors


It IS Friday … what do you make of it?!?  Hey! Hey heyyyy! … T.G.I.F.!!!

Man … and woman … oh man! …. and woman! … It has been quite a week for me!!!  Changes out the “ying/yang”, to use an old school expression.  Between catching two buses to get to work and then home for a week can wear you … in this case …. ME … out!!  Okay … at least wear me down!!!  Whewww. Walking maybe a mile at 6:30am to catch two buses with a bit of walking in between stops and work!?!  Keeps one humble … A lot of working folks do it everyday.  I even observed some some students … elementary/day care age to trade school age … taking the bus ritualistically!  Reminded me of my days when I lived on Ft. Lauderdale Beach and had to catch two buses to get to American Express’s Call Center in Sunrise, FL.  There is a whole world or “early morning people” out there, y’all!
So, thanks to a few good friends again, I got the Compass out of the shop Thursday evening.  It was so beautiful, yet, while somewhat challenging for all involved, to see how the people who helped me out came together into the situation!  You know who you are … and some of y’all reading might remember them, too.  Nice to get into the vehicle after 3 weeks of constant drama and disappointment, and finally start it up and drive without incident!  But, last evening … definitely this morning by now, the Jeep Compass is cruising the streets of Hollywood, the roadways of I-95 as well as the streets of Ft. Lauderdale again!!
Keeping in mind that we are bringing Hispanic Heritage Month to an end, we are in the middle of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  There have been so many great posts on social network and really  nice to see the different means that people are choosing to demonstrate an interest in keeping Breast Cancer Awareness in the forefront of our modern society.  This Saturday at Huizenga Park off of Las Olas in Ft. Lauderdale, the “Glam-Doll-Strut” will begin its annual parade of women (some men blended in there, too!) set up in groups with costumes and outfits, high heels and make-up … and strutting their “stuff”!  It begins around 11AM as the various “competing groups” assemble and get their marching positions in the parade.  The parade better known as “Glam Doll Strut” is hosted by Lynn Martinez from Channel 7/WSVN News and Deco Drive here in SoFlo.  Hey, I am going to be there taking some photos and enjoying the extremely positive ambiance.  Come on down to the Esplanade Park near the New River and the IMAX Theatre downtown FTL where the even “holds court” and culminates.
Now, as if that ain’t enough, the Brahma Kumaris Meditation Group of Hollywood will be holding the monthly “World Peace Meditation” in ArtsPark at Young Circle in Hollywood, FL on Sunday at 6pm.  It is always a fine time with many activities including QiGong movements, yoga asanas … and singing bowls along with our guided meditations by the yogis and Roz Reich and Etta Stevens.  I am sending out vibrations for decent weather so these outdoor activities, as well as many many others, can be enjoyed by those choosing to participate.  It’s the weekend, Baby!  Do something good for yourself!

John I. Cook, Director

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