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It feels like months

Where have I traveled?

A place of mystery and uncertainty

I can’t believe I am here

In this place, at this moment

Thinking, relishing, questioning

My purpose, my call, my existence

Surrounded but alone

Clinging to hope yet untethered

Trapped in the crevices of thought

I’ve traveled here before

It’s uncomfortable, that face, the reflection

Its shadow reaching out to hug me

Whispers of I love you, you have a purpose

You exist for a reason

I don’t embrace it

I turn off the light

Tears run down the mirror

I’ve been here before, it hasn’t been days

It’s been hours

In front of an empty table

Food cold, coffee bland, water lukewarm

Depression says hello


End of the Year 2017…Time Flies

Well folks, it has been a year.  So many downs and so many more ups.  Yet, I thought I’d end the year on some greatness and what I have done so far.

    • I set out to lose 25 pounds; I lost 10.2.  That’s major yal! I lost half a size in my neck.  18.5 to 18.
    • Completed six songs on my album and looking forward to working with one of Tupac’s producers in 2018.
    • Spit an ill flow on my man Double G.’s album for the song “Ambassador”.
    • Conducted some of the greatest young adult conversations on Christian living at my church.
    • Another year with my CHAMPS mentees and POET family.
    • I was promoted to Director of Information Technology in May of this year.  Major career move.  Growing and still searching for a mentor.  Until then, The Lord is guiding as He see fits.  Not sure what’s next for me but hanging tough.
    • Had a very successful year at NIU.  The journey towards my bachelors degree continues.
    • Fell completely in love with blog.  She really is my drive for consistency and creativity as a blogger.  Keep me moving beautiful and thanks for sharing your heart and experiences.
    • I dropped my first single, Soul Restoration, and video with the fabulous Restore. A whopping 48 copies sold, yet, I don’t despise small beginnings.
    • I completed a pretty dope class on Fatherhood and it’s challenged me to be a more intentional parent, father, and husband.
    • I will be writing for in 2018.

No resolutions for 2018.  I am learning to live, love, and laugh at 47 years of age.  I’m putting fear in front of me as a stepping stool to faith and trust in Yeshua. I’m realizing the Creator has no boundaries.  I’m fighting against depression with lots of Joy, Love, and Prayer and of course counseling because I’m unashamed.  I can’t hope the best for 2018, I have to be the best for my family, my church, my job, my ministry work, my community work, and the young people and young adults I mentor.  I look forward to this year. I look forward to the journey. I look forward to sharing it with you all.

Blessings and Happy New Year.

Yours truly,

Tony Briscoe


Online Success for Adult Learners

I was asked by my cousin (we actually met on Facebook) to give her keys to success as she continues her collegiate career in an online environment.  I was excited she decided to continue on to a Gradate program after completing her Bachelors’ within the same year.  She’s starting an online journey so I thought I’d share “best practices” that have lead to my success as an online student.

90 percent of my Associates’ Degree is from online classes.  Here are a few thoughts/practices I use as templates for success.  As working professionals, it’s very important for us to use judgement and wisdom when engaging in online classes.

  • Finding the right class.
    • Ensure your class is not a hybrid where there is a split portion between online and onsite requirement
    • Ensure the class(es) you take line up with your particular goals and degree.
    • Utilize your academic advisor.  I would have saved about 12 credit hours early on if I had done this.
    • Find out your professor in advance and do research on their teaching style.  I wouldn’t put a lot of stock into professor rating sites.   However, the particular link has not led me astray.
    • Find out what book you need but wait for a final word from your professor, which is why I recommend finding out your instructor and emailing them in advance.
      • Use Amazon to rent books.  Way more cost effective!
    • Download your syllabus and print it out immediately.
      • Cross off your assignment as they happen
      • Ensure you put all your deadlines on your calendar immediately and setup reminders
      • Syllabus’ can shift often so ensure you keep a tight look on your professors announcements
    • Balance your family, your job, and your education
      • Be intentional in your communication. Even though you are online and not in a classroom, your home is your classroom.
    • If you’re utilizing Blackboard at your Learning Management System (LMS), download the Mobile Learn App.
    • Subscribe to all discussions.  Email can be a bit cumbersome when people are updating but I find it valuable so I know when to respond to post
    • If your class has exams, ensure you find out if there is a webcam requirement.  If so, you’ll have to pay for the software monitoring system at your own cost, typically $54 – $75
    • Take what you can handle.  Adult Learning is a life journey not a quickie.  If you are working and have a family I don’t recommend taking more than 2 classes.  Ensure you adjust to the demands of your family, your job, and other responsibilities you may have.

You will either be your own best friend or own your worst enemy with online classes.  You have to be disciplined.  You are the professor, the teacher, the student, and the leader of your own success.  I’ve had great success and I am only stressed when I don’t follow 100% of the playbook I listed above.

These are a few tips I shared with my cousin.  Feel free to comment and add more.

The Journey to Godly Fathering

I am not a perfect dad.  If the cameras where rolling in my house last week, even while in a class led by a good friend on godly fathering, you may have even questioned my day to day life.  It was one of those moments when a father reacts in emotion and not under the guise of the Holy Spirit.  Yet, a few hours later I apologized to my wonderful, beautiful, and intelligent daughter.  12 year-olds know how to push buttons.

Our final class was a couple of days later. “So brothers, how did it go last week?”  To which I confessed, “I blew it but I grew it”.  That translates to, I blew what I learned the previous week but grew in what I learned the previous week also.  One of the things we discussed on being Godly Father’s was owning our mistakes with our children.

Our theme scripture comes from Ephesians 6:4, which translates in The Message Bible, “Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them.  Take them by the hand an lea them in the way of the Master”. In conjunction with the previous text, Proverbs 22:6 (train up a child) and I Timothy 3:4-5 where key scriptures in our development and training process.  The three goals of the class are as follows:

  1. Educate men on the distinction between a “good father” and a “godly father”
  2. Provide practical principles that define godly character and development
  3. Create an apparatus where men can commit to being a godly father
    1. Culminate this apparatus with a Commitment Letter to our families addressed to the wife and children of each represented household.

My cousin Arlene raised her two children along with my brother and me.  Years before she passed on to Glory we had a heart to heart and with tears in her eyes said, “I messed up with you all, especially you, and I’m sorry”.  (Had to pause after crying a little myself while typing this).  Ownership is so key on journey of becoming great parents.  So, we’ve begun an intentional journey together as fathers.  6 men with 15 children between us have vowed to share our trials, our successes, our failures, and our financial planning for their future, with several other strategic commitments with a focus on seven developmental areas.

7 Practical Principles: A Guide to Train and Point my Child in the Direction of the Lord

by Elder Marlon Medious

  • Imparting principles of life:  Forgiveness, apologizing, mercy, truth, and the living the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5)
  • Teaching godly habits
  • Protecting against moral dangers through appropriate discipline
  • Instilling daily prayer
  • Leading Bible Study at least once a month in the home
  • Engaging in interactive church participation
  • Explaining how decisions are made regarding their lives and choices

Proverbs 20:7 (AMP) reads, The righteous man who walks in integrity and lives life in accord with his [godly] beliefs–How blessed [happy and spiritually secure] are his children after him [who have his example to follow].”

As I close out this blog, I will share what we have in place now and will end with an image of the Commitment Letter to my wife and daughter.  If you would like a template to draft your own please email me.

We are not looking at this as consecutive weeks because we realize that life and family aligns with life and family situations.  However, we will be intentional in our sharing, our cause, our purpose, and our growth.

A major thanks to my brother Marlon Medious for pulling us together for this phenomenal training.  He is a true friend, confidant, and brother in the Gospel.


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FireKeeper: A Voice for All Generations

Her name is Loretta Hawkins.  The People of Extraordinary Talent, to which she is a member, and Chicago’s poetry scene know her as FIREKEEPER.  Tonight I have the honor of capturing her event that will surely be a photo experience.

I met Loretta Hawkins 2 years ago when she joined the P.O.E.T family.  Her voice is second to none.  She holds her own weight, embodying the spirit of Harriett Tubman in “These Shoes”.  Her voice, hard, subtle, strong, melodious, and powerful.  She doesn’t have to work at grabbing the attention of any audience, it’s simply a gift that comes with her anointing.  She is a retired teacher but she has never stopped educating.

Tonight, at Gallery Guichard, located 436 E. 47th Street in Chicago’s historic Bronzeville community, she will have a 3 Genres Book Signing.  This is a culminating event for her recent A Taste of Theater Award for her play “Of Quiet Birds”.

Loretta Hawkins is determined to utilize her remaining time on this earth to release books, poetry, plays, and inspire a young generation to embrace their heritage, their ancestry, their melanin, their history and their future.  Chicago’s best kept secret is no more and her work here is not done.  Today we celebrate a legend and I am honored to know that a fire of passion for life brews in all of us and FireKeeper is part of that Great Flame!

The Endurer
Photocred goes to the producer of the flyer for Loretta Hawkins.

Soul Restoration: Fulfilling Your Dream


2017-08-02_15-45-27 I’ve worked hard at being imperfect, self-deprecating, low self-esteem, excuses, asking permission to do something for myself, taking care of everyone except me, working hard on the job to a point of fainting instead of asking for help.  When you grow up broken, you begin to self-destruct and the unfortunate damage from that is cataclysmic personally, emotionally, spiritually, and professionally.

It’s not easy to break the cycle and at 46, with a biological parent back in my life after years of separation since childhood, one can easily slip back into an old mindset.  So, in my Christian journey, I’ve embarked on transformational living and surrendering my being to all of The Lord.  Poetry and Hip-Hop have saved and encouraged me in ways unimaginable.  Writing transformed from anger to peace, soothing to therapeutic, stagnate to transformative.  Counseling, professional and personal development seminars and an incredible wife have increased my desire to do more and to do well.  My soul has been restored and repristinated so I present you with my first single release, Soul Restoration available on CD Baby.

With that being said, I am happy to release my first single to the known universe (people on Mars, get your copy).  I had the pleasure of inviting the incredible Alicia “Restore” Spikes of Solace Souls Coalition to lace the background vocals and she far exceeded my expectations.


Thank you Restore for blessings us with your voice and thank you to my POET family for accepting me as I am.  PNoble TV for working on the soon coming video.  Dan @ Studio 11 for the engineering work and Tone Jonez of JeeJuh for track production.

Grace & peace unto you all.

The Endurer

7 Years…Part III-Final

I interviewed 5 times at the Noble Network of Charter Schools 7 years ago.  I remember going from cracking jokes at a friends house when my phone rang to instantly transforming into business mode.  It was my first call back from a job I applied for two weeks prior.  It was a 30 minute phone interview and the rest is history.

Fear kicked in.  I didn’t feel qualified for the job and was ready to turn down an opportunity that The Lord answered after all this time.  Strange how we so quickly revert back to that dark comfortable place.  Was I ready to rejoin the work force?  Yes.  Was I ready to work for this organization?  Based on the job description, no!  Yet, a sermon from my pastor on Sunday morning stated, “Who are you to close a door that God opened?  Don’t put him in your box, He’s way larger than it can hold.”

I started as a technology manager (not the listed title when I applied) in 2010.  I run hard. Earned the name Hulk Smash.  Won our first ever MVP award named the Hulk Smash Award.  I almost didn’t win.  My boss said I came close to losing because I didn’t develop a good work life balance.  I didn’t for the first five years but I am not hear to talk about all of that.

7 years later, I am the Director of Information Technology for the number one charter school in America.  I am faced with that same fear everyday.  I really don’t know how long this will last but I love where I am.  I have an uncanny devotion to people I work for and an uncanny devotion to my team members.  I am working to rebrand myself.  The Hulk Smash has to go. I have to become a master of so many corporate deals, policies, financials, terminology, and people management. 

A new challenge is upon me and it is unfamiliar, it is uncomfortable, it is uncertain.  Yet, I will do what I grow to do daily, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.  I am not sure what’s next for me but I know it’s beyond being a director of technology.  I am in a place where I get to impact African American and Latino American lives.  I am in a place where I get to work and see a very incredible organization do very incredible things.  I work with teachers I love, students I serve, principals I support, co-workers I would die for, chiefs I answer to, and a very special person who shall remain nameless.  He’s a man I have grown to admire, be unnerved by, challenged by, be supported by and ultimately to serve with.  Who would have thought a meeting at Starbucks would yield an opportunity to be Super.

A part of me is hesitant in this new role.  Yet, I have incredible people who support me, a former boss, a right and left arm at work, and an incredible team member who I hope to call friend one day with her critical feedback, insight, and precision.

7 years is said to be the year of completion, a time to move forward.  For Tony Briscoe, it is a time to grow and I am just getting warm.


7 Years…Part II

Our marriage is strong.  It has always been. Even strong marriages face challenges.  During my time of unemployment it surely brought tension into my home.  I was frustrated on all levels.  Mind you, we were not going hungry, we still had enough saving to carry us through at least mortgage and life insurance payments for five more months.  

There were times I simply didn’t feel strong enough and that kind of pressure, mixed with a wife who is an eternal optimist and faith-walker was equally frustrated with my self-loathing.  “You going to mope about it and keep your head down!!??”  Oh snap, she has lost her marbles coming at me like that.  I know my temper so it was best to remain quiet until I was able to address her approach to my state of self-deprecation and depression.  I had been here before when we were engaged.  I was previously unemployeed but I was single, a different place mentally and spiritually.  I could conquer the world.  I knew her relation to the man she married and that’s the man she wanted to see rise up.  She was my cheerleader then and she was my cheerleader after marriage when joblessness hit us.
Life was indeed worth living.  I knew it and I had to fight for it daily.  One particular night In June I had on a good face.  My daughter came home and asked how I was doing.  It was one of my worse days.  I had already decided I am done looking for a job after today.  “Lord, I am done.”  My daughter touched my hand and said.  “You’re not ok.  Daniel 12:12 says, “Blessed is he who waits.”  Good night, love you.”  She kissed me in the cheek and went to bed and I cried like a baby.  Talk about child like faith.  I repented for my lack of trust.  There is a scripture in the Holy Bible that says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick…”. My heart was sick and that same night I pressed on my search. It was 12:30 AM. – IT Support Specialist, Noble Network of Charter Schools.   I applied for the position.  I studied the company on YouTube and their website until 2:30 AM.  It was the first week in June of 2010.

The Journey Continues…

7 Years…Part I

7 years ago I was unemployeed. It was a dark place.  Being the sole provider for a family is no small task.  To provide for our families we make the sacrifice (choice) for our spouses to stay home and focus on child-rearing, and, as my friend TeeNat calls, domestic engineering.  

I knew the layoff was coming months in advance so I prepared.  I had my resume professionally revamped.  I went to job fairs, employment agencies, temp agencies, I did it all.  One thing I learned was that companies generally do not hire between Mid-October – February.  Yet, I pressed to no avail.  There is something in a man that sends shivers through him when he feels he is an inadequate provider.  It’s a place of reflection and we internalize it to a detriment.  Spiritually I held fast to scripture “if a man don’t work a man don’t eat”.  I excluded, “the Lord will provide all my needs…”My full-time job was looking for a job.

To keep abreast of technology I offered to work for free at my place of worship and several emails went with zero response.  Face to face went with, no, we are good.  Hmm, I serve here, I tithe here, I minister here, and now I am rejected here.  My story and my truth.  It pushed me further to a place of darkness in my thoughts.

For the first time in my life I went to the public aid office and they would only provide medical coverage for my daughter. I was told I made too much money from unemployment to receive federal assistance. A system that I had been paying into from age 13 to 39 rejected me.  My wife, working since age 14 also paid into this system and it rejected us.  Two people that voted, paid taxes, paid into SSN, etc were being shunned by the system built on the back of the lower and middle class.  A country that I fought for and served rejected me. 

I saw many women and men with children who left with smiles.  Not me, not us.  My wife is always optimistic but not me, eternal pessimist allowing past experience to live in my present and project my future.  As we left with our daughter in carry I was scared, broken, alone, bewildered, perplexed, and confused.  My faith was being tested by fire and my flesh was submitting to the burn.  Was life worth living…

Father’s Day

Today is Father’s Day. It doesn’t garner the attention of Mother’s Day. Restaurants don’t sell out, theaters are not packed, and Facebook post say “Happy Father’s Day” to those single mothers that had to raise the males in the family. It can be said that many fathers have failed in their responsibility and people would often be justified. Yet, it’s always easier to celebrate negativity rather than champion excellent fathers. I thought I’d share part of the story about my biological father and what he meant to my life before his transition into eternity.

I buried my dad in 2015. I eulogized his funeral. I paid the expenses until my sister covered the cost with insurance money. He had a stroke a few before his death and that was what crushed me. He had no memory of me. It reminded me of the time I ran into him in 1996 in a Burger King and he didn’t even recognize who I was. We’d spent the last few years building a relationship. In a heated argument one day he told me he didn’t owe me an explanation for why he left. He chose to live his life the way he wanted to and that he didn’t owe anyone an apology. It hurt but those words were true. Outside of giving me life, he had nothing to do with the man I’d become, or did he? When my wife took ill it was the first time he called me almost every day, short on words, “How’s my daughter doing?” When she was well, his calls stopped. I wasn’t mad, it was his way of saying, “I care”.

Because of my Christian Faith, I am bound by scripture to honor my mother and my father. It doesn’t say honor them based on how they treated you. Equally, they can be categorized as deadbeat parents that never did anything, except, they did, they gave me life. They couldn’t handle the journey of parents and as unfortunate as that maybe they still played a role in my existence. I loved my day and honored him until the day he died. Losing him was a normal part of life, but his stroke broke me in ways I couldn’t imagine. After years of missing him, when we finally got together he lost his memory. I’m glad I got to know him. I’m glad I got to spend time with him. I’m proud to call him my dad. I honored him in life, I honored him in death. We both wore white sweat socks with dress shoes and slacks. We had similar thoughts on religious views and it was amazing to know that after years of separation that there was a ground to mend our relationship by finding commonalities one within the other.

I miss him! I wish I had another opportunity to “Dance with my Father again”.

Men, enjoy your Father’s Day. Let’ go of the past and look forward to the future. Live life, enjoy the journey, be there for your children. Raise the bar.

Happy Father’s Day.