T. F. Hodge was born February 3, 1969, on the west side of Los Angeles, California. A 1970s ‘Star-Child’, he struggled with reading and writing while attending grammar school at Coliseum Street Elementary. While creative and mathematical challenges were easily conquered, fearing he might embarrass himself, young Hodge would occasionally ‘act-out’ whenever called upon to read aloud in class.
Motivated by his passion for sports, this once promising high school amateur all-star athlete realized his calling to write after winning second place in his first essay-writing contest as a senior at Dorsey High School. “Had it not been for sports, I probably would have found a way to stay out of school as much as possible. In my mind, the dream of one day becoming a professional athlete was the only priority worth pursuing.”
Inspired and challenged by his advanced placement English teacher, his football coach, and others in his community; the young all-star, who did just enough to maintain a ‘C’ average to play ball, earned eleven ‘A’s and one ‘B’ during his senior year at Dorsey. Finally convinced he could hang with the academic crowd, the jock, at the last-minute, found enough courage to apply for college.
Though accepted to Cal-State University, Long Beach to study psychology, after two years there, he found himself on a train headed to San Diego, California to become one of “the few, the proud – The Marines!” Having successfully earned ‘the title’, he later decided to study graphic design at Los Angeles Trade Technical College.
Haunted by his past, his fear of what the future might produce, and the anxiety of not achieving the same level(s) of success he once did on the playing field, primarily, he simply shelved his dreams and aspirations of playing pro baseball to jump head first into the job market. Coming home everyday after work without a sense of fulfillment that seemed to duck and dodge his constant pursuit, he decided to settle on a career working with at risk-youth.
As a high school football, baseball and basketball coach/athletic skills & techniques trainer, and group home case worker; he finally connected with his longing for a more fulfilling experience. Returning to his alma mater, Audubon Middle School, to present at annual Career Day – he was recruited by another one of his former English teachers to join the school district as an employee.
Ultimately, resigning as the former Senior Assistant to the Offices of The Budget Director, Deputy Chief, and Chief Financial Officer(s) of the second largest school district in the United States (Los Angeles Unified School District), in 2007, he finally began pursuing his passion – writing. From Within I Rise is his first book, after a long and oftentimes tumultuous journey.
His [true] story of triumph over death and conscious encounters with “The Divine Presence” is one that is riveting, provocative and inspiring! Some of the most original, creative thoughts have been born by this giant of a spiritual being. The bearer of originality, idealism and cosmic consciousness, his depth of human understanding is self-evident.
He has, no doubt, seen the best and worst of what life can be. He’s a survivor, pioneer, friend, guide, artist, writer, free-thinker, teacher and protector. Hodge is a man of Godly expression and he has witnessed, experienced and survived the harshness of the underworld, while growing up in the inner city of Los Angeles.
His story is full and uplifting. We joke and call him many things, but he is indeed one who has submitted to self, internal, and the will of divinity [God/The Divine Presence/Source]. His book was inspired by a desire to challenge, inspire and motivate at-risk youth, student-athletes and their families.
A [true] story of spiritual victory over “deathly” negative episodes and lifesaving encounters with “The Divine Presence” (God/Source), this self-help revelation is powerful and inspiring! A secret held for over twenty years has finally resulted in this long-awaited expression of love for God, self, nature and humanity. From spoiled man-child, to gangster men affiliate, to [true] self realization—the experience of triumph over one’s own understanding is full with the miracle of redemption and mental transformation; leading to a new life of prosperity and well-being. A former public school district colleague wrote: “Thanks for blessing me with your manuscript. I always knew you were cool, but I had no idea how thoughtful, insightful and provocative you are. I agree wholeheartedly with you that our thoughts and attitudes determine our fates. Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. Keep up the good work—two thumbs up!” [Frank Mitchell – L.A. Unified School District]
“Hello, I just finished reading your book. It’s an interesting, riveting, and provocative perspective that has been a true blessing. You are a beautiful man who has certainly been tested by family divorce, gang violence, death, and negative energetic episodes. Due to your strong and eye-opening perspectives about God, spirituality, consciousness, faith and the illusion of the perception of fear and suffering, I’m sure your readers will appreciate hearing your incredibly powerful testimony. As a single mom, it’s the best help for those struggling to deal with life’s challenges; particularly pertaining to ‘at risk’ youth and manifesting positive outcomes. I am not a book reader, but I couldn’t put it down once I got started! I also read your online article about “Michael Jackson: Cosmic Alien” – awesome! Please keep writing and find a way to make your book into a movie!”
R. Gates – Antelope Valley, CA (Thankful Foster Mom)
“Tony, even though I am only 20 pages into your book, I’m amazed at your insight and sensitivity to life and ‘The Giver of life’. I could just picture you in your powder blue dress suit in church (smile). Man, your outlook on what happened to you, so tragically, and your just plain FAITH was simply off the map. The Scripture says that “without Faith it’s impossible to please God.” Tony, the Father, the Giver of Life, must be very pleased with you. Just know, Tony that I’m enthralled with your story. I can’t wait to get back to it. It was a very generous gift and a gift of love, which now that I’m getting to know you, doesn’t surprise me one bit.”
Jerry L. Masters – Jackson, MS (Rock-N-Roll Icon, Recording Engineer)
“I just finished reading your book. Thank you for sharing! I am counting on another one of these from you. I feel like I need to give you a big hug, especially after reading about your birthdays as a little kid. I remember you telling me about that, a long time ago. What I found most insightful was your section on Intimate Relationships, talking about the ‘egoic‘ self. For someone who’s never thought about that concept (speaking about me), I found myself whispering, “wow, sounds familiar.” Because you are who you are, T, your words make a person look deep down into the soul.”
V. Reyes – California (Huge Fan)
“A world of respect for you and your discipline; day after day writing, expressing, telling and sharing your knowledge, which in someway will help someone! I scanned your profile as I saw you passed through mine and I will visit again, and hopefully read your hard work. To be able to bounce back is a gift, and with that gift, be able to produce something and leave it behind is a blessing from God. We are so lost in the material, the spiritual is forgotten, and the most important of realms treated with no respect and importance by many. Everything I have is on loan and I, too have been given the gift of giving. My inner is way stronger than my outer. My inner cries for the outer and it is a lonely place when your 3rd eye is open, and you are surrounded by people who are blind, but with capabilities of a perfect vision – yet too ignorant to see! Thanking God every now and again, my energy crosses with others and refreshes my senses. God bless you, I hope, further on your journey.”
Sam (Chacie) – Italy (Online Social Networker)
“I read the excerpts from your manuscript, and I am looking forward to reading it all. I plan on purchasing your book. You are a very insightful and intelligent person, who seems to be in touch with your spiritual side. I personally believe that the Creator (God) has a plan for us all, and everything happens for a reason. I am one who is very much in tune with the Creator, and I try to live my life in a manner that is pleasing unto him. I really enjoy reading your comments and blogs. I am quite impressed by you on all levels.”
Kat Luv – Kansas City, MO (Online Social Networker)
“Thanks for blessing me with your manuscript. I always knew you were cool, but I had no idea how thoughtful, insightful and provocative you are. I agree wholeheartedly with you that our thoughts and attitudes determine our fates. Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. Keep up the good work – two thumbs up!”
Frank Mitchell – L.A. Unified School District (Former Colleague)
“Tony, I meant to tell you I got your book; really enjoyed it. Keep it up!”
Mashon Miller – Los Angeles, CA (Realtor – Rodeo Realty)
“I love you, T. Hodge. You’re a beautiful friend and have been there and taught me a lot. You are a ‘G’ in my eyes!”
I. Tanner – Antelope Valley (God’s Young Soldier)