Mothers mean so much!

Our mothers have taught us how to love ourselves and others.  They’ve been there for us and they’ve taught us how to be there for others we care about.  They’ve been examples and shown us how to live with the best and the worst of times.  We’ve also seen them endure hardships of their own and those of the people they care about.  One of the first and most consistent lessons that I learned from the man I admire most in my life, my father, was to always care for, support, and revere my mother (“you only get one” he would say).  He not only told me that but he showed me how by the way he loved and supported my grandmother.

All of you that read my messages, check out my Facebook, or view my webpage know how much my mother and grandmothers mean to me.  My mother has been a great source of support, love, strength, and kindness my entire life.  Despite the challenges that come from growing older, retirement, and helping her children through their different difficulties, my mom continues to set a stellar example of grace, dignity, intelligence, and kindness for me, my brother, and her grandchildren.  Even though it’s time for her to focus on herself and her needs, my mother continues to call me twice a day and interact with my friends and caregivers, making sure that I’m being taken care of.  She’s also in constant touch with my brother to make sure that he, his wife, and their children are OK, happy, and well taken care of.

My mom’s been having a particularly difficult time with her health these last couple of years.  We’ve all been supporting and praying for her as she continues to fight head on these challenges to reach a healthier and happier place in her life.  Nothing makes me more proud of my father and my brother than the way they are supporting my mom.  I’d appreciate all of you that read this to think a blessed thought of healing and contentment for my mom at this time, as I do for all of you.

Those unable to have a good relationship with their mother spend much of their life trying to fill that void.  Those who have lost their mothers realize how difficult it is to cope, especially without faith.  I have a friend who recently lost her mother, who was supportive and dedicated to her and her children throughout their lives.  I have another friend who recently lost his wife, the mother of his children.  He continues to represent her memory by being the kind of father and grandfather to their children and grandchildren that we would all cherish.

What I’m trying to say is, no matter what, a good mother, like a faithful God, is the gift that keeps giving.  Although we should do it more often, I think we should take this time to extend our appreciation, love, affection, and gratitude to that person that we mean so much to.

I love you guys!  Thanks for reading.

Father’s Day – What a Great Day!

My father, who became 80 this year, has been wonderful to me. He’s inspired, motivated, and secured me my whole life and I’ve been blessed to have him as my father. From the beginning, he has also given comfort and backing to my mom, who also provides such great support and security to me.

Fatherhood isn’t something that I’ve been able to experience in my life, but it’s something I was able to recognize and seek out in my friends’ fathers. Most of my friends have either had some similar influences from their fathers that I’ve had or have become the kind of father that I’m recognizing. It’s a struggle to strive for and maintain that type of consistency and excellence if you don’t have the example to live with or to learn from. I’m so happy to continue to have that. I see in my brother and my good friends (including my nurses, many of whom are single mothers) the kind of people that raise the kind of children that make a difference. I’ve been blessed to be a godfather and uncle and a friend toward a number of young people that have given me the kind of support and love that I try to give my father. I’m so thankful for that.

I’ve got a nephew that’s graduating from high school and going to college this year, and I’ve been friends with a number of other young people that have gone on to college in recent years. I pray I’ll be able to continue to share the insights and support that my father has given me. I hope to continue to be the friend and brother to my friends and brothers and give them the kind of support and advice that my father has always provided me. Those of you that I’m speaking to that are similarly blessed to have (or be) the kind of father or father figure that I’m talking about, reach out to your loved ones on this special day. Give thanks to God for providing the kind of resources necessary to have that special type of relationship. Give thanks and show appreciation and love to those people that have made your life better and more complete.

Happy Passover

I’m sorry that this is late, but I think about you and love you all the time.  Religious traditions give us the opportunity to reinforce the most important values in our lives.  I’m thankful to God that I’m still here with you.  I look forward to spending more time with you and making myself more available to you in the future.
Just as Passover commemorates slavery into freedom, Easter marks the resurrection of Jesus.  I think that all of us can realize that resurrection, change and rebirth are concepts that we can identify with as we progress through our lives.  Every year, it’s a good thing to acknowledge these changes and the need for change as we grow and mature through adulthood.

The last few weeks have been good for me.  I’m not sure if you have access to my Facebook pictures.   I got a chance to see my family.  They came in last weekend and my parents will be visiting me again next week on their way back to NJ.  I got a chance to see my friend Piya who lives in Japan with his family.  He spent some time with me and we shared a meal.  My brother Wayne and sister Marcia and my two nephews came down last weekend as well.  We had a chance to reconnect with each other.

This year is a time of change and recommitment for my family and friends.  We’ve been there for each other for years.  We’re blessed!  I want you to take a look at your loved ones and see how much you’ve changed for each other to make your lives better.  It’s something we do unconsciously sometimes.  But it should be acknowledged because it makes all the difference in your quality of life.

I love you all and I wish you a happy Passover.  Think about how much people mean to you and how much you care about them.

Much love always,
DJ

Happy New Year, 2014!

What a blessing! It’s been a challenge trying to come up with some words to match the feelings of gratitude I feel going into this year. My 56th I meet this year with happiness, gratitude, but also some sadness. I left last year without some very special people to me, Lisa Rawls, Curtis Moore, and George Duke. We lost some great people in 2013 and I can’t help but feel it’s coming closer to me. That’s why I feel so grateful for all of you, my mom and dad, my brother and his family, and my friends Baron, Lenny, Jeffrey, Ted, Lance, Desmond, Brian, Robin, Tanya, Todd, George, Cardell, Rick, Nikki, Rob, Max, Dorene, Michael, Ellis, Natalie, and Alma. I just feel like some people need to be named as testimony to just some of the love that keeps me alive and makes my life worth living, people like Dr. Edwards, Dr. Toisekani, Dr. Putnam, and the teams of people that keep my mind and body healthy; as well as Wynton, Ellis, the rest of the Marsalis family, Roy Hargrove, Larry Clothier, and Sade, with their crews of helpers, that keep me spiritually and emotionally strong. To those many of you who do so much for me, not to mention all the rest of you that respond to my email and Facebook messages and phone calls, I am so blessed to have all of you make me feel part of your lives.

I’m sure you all have legions of people that mean a lot to you. You have to take the time to let them know, cause at some point, you won’t be able to. It’s important that they remember the impact that they have on your life. I’ve been blessed to live in a generation with television, the refinement of air travel, digital communication, computers, the web, cell phones, the first black president, and probably the first female president, and I’m still here, sharing it with you, my godchildren, and my nephews.

I hope I get to see more productivity from President Obama. That depends so much on the 2014 election – we need more Congressmen and Congresswomen and Senators to help him make a deeper and more meaningful impression on history and in all our lives today. We don’t have the right or expectation if we don’t vote for more support. He has shown us six years of family values, strength, and dignity, in spite of severe limitations. I have to thank him for that. I have to thank him for preparing to turn over a country in two years, ready for even greater accomplishments, to hopefully Hilary Clinton, her husband, and the kind of people that brought prosperity to the U.S. some years ago. I would love to see that with you.

This was a year when movies like “The Butler” and “12 Years a Slave” show strength, accomplishment, and dignified struggle from people proud to be and worthy of being some of the best this nation has had to offer. I’m thankful for all this country has given to me and mine. It’s enabled me to make a contribution and be a full participant in a world where miraculous things can happen anytime. Thank you for sharing it with me.

I look forward to good music, great sports, and family and friends getting together, sharing good times and weathering storms together. Thanks again for being there with me. I love you all!

Father’s Day 2012

Happy Father’s Day.  Once again, my favorite time of the year: Mother’s Day, graduation, my nephew’s birthday, the California primary, and Father’s Day.  I’m so blessed to have such a stellar father in my life.  He defies all the stereotypical perceptions of what an African American father should be in so many ways.  But he’s always been that way.  He’s charted his own course through a variety of life circumstances.  Adaptability, consistency, and determination are tendencies and talents that’s he combined to live an accomplished life.  It takes that type of person to inspire, encourage, and promote fatherhood and manhood to all the people that he’s encountered.  I’m blessed to have him and my brother as examples of fatherhood, brotherhood, and friendship.  I look around me and see that having them in my life has enabled me to attract similar people in my friends and associations.  Most of my considerable number of acquaintances are good fathers and have had good influences in their lives.

I think it’s important that you express appreciation to the fathers, uncles, brothers, and friends in your life that have provided comfort, support, and inspiration to you.  This greeting goes out to my considerable influences and comrades.  Thank you for your example and your encouragement.  It inspires and motivates me to see you with your families and activities in your community.  Times like this call for comfort, support, encouragement, and enthusiasm from the men and women that mean the most to us in our lives.  Those efforts should be acknowledged and encouraged.

Thank you Dad for providing me a frame of reference and a means to advise good fatherhood.  I love you all.

Our country will be looking for a father figure of sorts in November.  I’m hoping that you will look kindly on our current President, another dedicated father.  Let’s give him four more years and a chance to complete his mission and get our country moving in a better direction.

Happy Memorial Day

So many thoughts and so many memories. I remember growing up thinking about family trips to the cemetery to pay respect and decorate the gravesites of family members that have passed: grandmothers, parents, brothers, sisters, uncles, and aunts. As important as the war veterans are, I think it’s important that the collective community also recognize on this day all the people that we love, who made us who we are.

So many tornados, earthquakes, assassinations, and other events have brought the demise of so many people we love. It’s also illuminated so many heroes, helpers, caretakers, and others who take the pain away and make it easier to go on. We have to think about those people in times like this, extend our gratitude, and give them love.

Specifically, you’ve heard me speak about and acknowledge so many important people in our lives, people that have made a difference in my life and made it possible for me to go on: my parents, my brother, and my other family members and friends. I thank you and I love you!

It’s going to be a challenge not to have Ms. Oprah anymore on a daily basis. Gil Scott Heron passed,away, another voice in transition.

Graduation’s here again, so much accomplishment and so much promise and possibility. Remember that and encourage that.

I leave you now with a small request. I’m lying in a hospital bed in Santa Monica, dealing with some maladies from wear and tear on my body. Say a prayer of healing, keep a positive tbought, and remember that I love you and believe in you.