When on August 3rd, I announced, “Our Celebration of Life Together Continues”, in my thank you message to all our thoughtful friends who had acknowledged our anniversary celebration, I had no preconceived notion of what form the celebration would take. I just knew that my husband and I were committed to celebrating our union on an ongoing basis – come hell or high water. Before I go any further, I want to thank everyone who has since extended sentiments and love to us. We thank you, for placing a smile on our faces as your contribution to our ongoing celebration.
When a delivery from 1-800FLOWERS.com was made a few days later, we were alerted to the reality that we might have to make room for other unexpected contributors to this celebration. As if this mystery package was not enough of a spirit booster, it was the elation that ensued when we set eyes upon the contents that stepped up the experience to the level of a rather successful attempt to minister to us.
This was not just a move to send us flowers to help us celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary. Sarah of Capital One Bank, who according to the accompanying note, I must have connected with recently, had chosen to mark our anniversary with a bouquet of our most favorite flower – purple dendrobium orchid that is symbolic of royalty, admiration, and respect.
As Sarah addressed my banking needs over the phone, it was obvious that she did so with a passion to serve her Capital One clients, and that she had paid attention to my every word and made a decision to reach out to me and my husband in this surprising and exciting way. In case you are wondering, ‘No,’ I did not discuss my love for orchids with her….and ‘Yes’, my husband and I happen to be a couple that does NOT believe in coincidences!
As we extend our gratitude to Sarah (of Capital One Bank), We want to acknowledge the spirit of humanity that Capital One Bank promotes in its workplace. For our suspicion is that in the absence of a culture that significantly touches the lives of their clients, Sarah might have experienced a roadblock when she planned to embrace us in such a sweet way.
As a couple who strives to awaken the spirit of humanity in all areas of our life, we fully appreciate this and say a big Thank You to Sarah and Capital One Bank for touching our lives in this special way.
As can be seen from the pictures below, this special connection which gave us the opportunity to quickly get into gear for an impromptu photo shoot – with selfies and all – was properly savored. A moment we know was initiated by love, compassion and appreciation for humankind that will surely outlast the flowers even as they receive the tender and loving care that they deserve from a place of prominence in our showroom!
On this first day of our 15th year together as husband and wife, and 17th year as friends who built our relationship on a firm foundation of respect, I want to shout out to my husband and to the world at large, my elation for having been given the opportunity to have James A. Lacy as a partner-in-growth.
To my darling husband, I say, “ The Lord above” is at work 14 years after having blessed us with the abundant spirit of mutual love, respect, camaraderie, and satisfaction. Little did I know it would be you, who would personify the Angel that I knew “God had not as yet given birth to” – one that was deserving of, and most capable of reviving a half-way broken spirit, thus causing me to release and share all that was good, kind, gentle, respectful with another; one that would see the importance of dutifully assuming the role of the absolutely exceptional “Dad” you have been to our children who undoubtedly have benefited from interacting with you as an effective male role model.”
Still Smiling and Thankful 2 Years Later
It is an understatement to say that my other half has far exceeded the expectations of my then skeptical self with the manifestation of his understanding of love, legacy and commitment to family. That my parents embraced him as the son they “never birthed”, speaks volumes of this gentle giant who in turn has done nothing short of live up to their expectations.
The Lessons of this Love Affair
What a wonderful thing it is to be able to be so connected that we effortlessly finish each other’s sentences! This closeness, in addition to the exceptional courage my helpmate exudes in the midst of health challenges each and every day, has made our personal trials and tribulations less about us, and more about what we must do when it is our time and our turn to face the challenges of life with full awareness that “it” does not discriminate, and that “it” will stop at everyone’s doorstep sooner or later. This is a fact of life which, once embraced, changes perspectives on how we must conduct business in the Lessons of Life Department.
It is because we both know and appreciate this, that “woe is me” does not exist in our lexicon of life. That we have chosen to use the challenges of our life’s journey to inspire, empower and personify the spirit of gratitude and appreciation, will help keep the “for better or for worse, in sickness and in health” flame burning- not just for us, but for others who care to adopt this mindset.
I also dedicate this to other couples who are experiencing their share of adversity, and, again, here share the following tips that we developed for “When Adversity Strikes”:
As one who has been known to say “Thank You, but not now”, I feel obligated to express my innermost thoughts on the reason why it was so easy to say “yes, we accept” when nominated for the Valens Award by Excellence-in-Success. My initial response was that it will be “a necessary boost to the Spirit!” which we needed in order to take a break from our “new normal” of almost daily doctor’s appointments and seemingly endless paperwork. That, though, would have been too empty and self-serving; so it quickly turned into a mission to advocate for love, camaraderie, and hope for all, including an important component….to give others a reason to show up and be relevant even in the midst of challenges that often force them into hibernation from the public. We believe we serve humanity no purpose when we as a people create this type of scenario that causes those experiencing setbacks in their life to protect themselves from the sometimes unempathetic dissociation that comes about in times like these. Who can blame anyone for protecting themselves from man-made additional stress while they have bigger fish to fry?
The Valens Award presented to me and my husband as a couple who “demonstrate unconditional commitment to each other” is one that we fully and wholeheartedly accepted last Saturday at the Brentwood Country Club; knowing that this gesture would be an opportunity to further our resolve to live a purposeful life to the best of our abilities, and to inspire others to keep this flame burning. We thank Mr. & Mrs. Leslie Lambert for this opportunity.
Our guests whom we regard as our extended family members joined our immediate family members to show their spirit of commitment and support to us at a moment’s notice.
We acknowledge the loving support of Rev. Dr. & Mrs. Edward Corley who were represented by their son and daughter-in-law. Our gratitude goes out in large measure to the following people who were in attendance: Miss Madona Branch, Mr. Hugh Lacy, Dr. Roxane Lacy, Ms. Zellin Lowe, Ms. Letoria Haughton, Mr. & Mrs. James Daniels, Mr. & Mrs. Kevin Taylor, Mr. & Mrs Edward D. Corley, Mr. & Mrs. Clyde James, Dr. & Mrs. Leroy Monroe and Ms. Florence Whitfield.
Along with the excitement of being the recipients of the Valens Award, we at the same time, wondered why we should be honored for doing what we were mandated to do when we took our vows in 2004…to love, honor and fully embrace each other in “good times and in bad”. Once we arrived on the scene, we were able to experience the benefits of being in a room full of like-minded couples who had inspirational stories – each with their own unique twists to their experiences.
We were delighted to be in the same league of a fine group of couples whose devotion to one another indeed deserved the radiant spotlight of the Excellence-in-Success Valens Award.
Some fellow honorees and their guests even took time out to minister to us. How wonderful that was! We thank them for allowing the spirit of love to move them in this way. We are honored to have participated in such an inspiration-filled evening— with stories from all angles of life experiences as proud couples shared their own unique stories about their relationships at the podium, and through their turning point statements read by Alicia Figueras-Lambert as she introduced them.
Below is the turning point statement of our relationship.
How We Do It
James and Madona demonstrate resilience in their relationship through their capacity for weathering adversity and maintaining normalcy in their navigation of James’ serious health challenge over the past three years –demonstrating the true essence of partnership “in sickness and in health”. The couple regards this turning point in their collective lives, as one for strengthening an already tight bond of love, devotion, mutual support, respect and partnership in all arenas of their life; driven by the sentiments reflected in a Valentines tribute composed in February 2016 and recorded by James in 2017 entitled “Be My Valentine” by James Lacy (https://youtu.be/EdG-GFvYAYo)
When Adversity Strikes…Pay the Lessons of Your Experiences Forward with Love!
It is our hope that people will begin to see they are not irrelevant and useless when the sideshows of life strike. On that score, we will now share in love a few tips of what has worked for us as a couple navigating such sideshows. Please click on link for PDF copy.
As I continue to enjoy the excitement brought on by so many who reached out to me on my birthday yesterday, I must pause for a moment today, to celebrate the 26th Birthday of my son, Samuel Rotimi. I thank God for bringing him thus far, and pray that as he holds on to the reigns of young adult life, he will abundantly showered with the resources and determination he would need to realize the blessings of success. As an equal opportunity nurturer, I cannot just stop here without offering a few ‘mommy tips’ which I doubt will come to Samuel as a surprise.
Congratulations on your 26th birthday! 26, is regarded as an age of adulthood by some, while others regard it as the age of young adulthood. I regard you at 26, as a young man whose ideals border on adulthood – one who has determined what he wants life to look like for him. Nevertheless, these Mommy tips are in order just in case you should you need them:
- The most exciting and responsible aspect of commitment is realizing that we must work, and work hard for whatever it is that we want that badly. Something tells me this might be redundant for it appears as though you might have internalized this memo which I see manifested in the way you conduct business. Working With Others
- The ability to be a team player will go a long way in our professional aspirations. The key to navigating this successfully starts with self-discipline and pre-determination of where we are to draw the line. Team players do not follow or endorse blindly! They band together to add substance and value. Self-Preservation
- That people will take advantage of a “kind and giving spirit” is an age old fact of life. While it is not advisable to stop being kind and giving, it is necessary for us to be discerning and be prepared to say ‘no, not now’ when we find ourselves giving to the point of operating on empty.
Here are some precious mommy moments that warm my heart.
Dad and I wish you all the best in all that you may wish for yourself. Remember, the door is always open to you for consultation!
It was a few weeks ago on October 14th that I was afforded the privilege of marking one more year with my husband and soulmate, James A. Lacy. The celebration and acknowledgement of his birthday took on a new form for me this year!
It was not about how early in the day I could get a social media posting going to alert friends about his birthday. No, that was not on the agenda this year. Besides, I know of at least one portal that generates birthday alerts that gives well-wishers the opportunity to acknowledge birthdays. Some did make good use of that to express birthday sentiments, and I thank them for that. Others celebrated him by sending him text messages, making phone calls, and in the old-fashioned way- – -by being physically present and taking charge of what turned out to be a rather meaningful and unique surprise informal gathering which underscored a variety of themes aimed at celebrating and sincerely acknowledging his sweet spirit from a close vantage point.
It is not surprising that the celebration did not end on the day of his birthday as more extended family members have since stopped by to show him some love!
My heartfelt gratitude goes to all who contributed to making Birthday 2017 ever so exciting for him.
As I mark my own birthday in the hospital waiting room today, with much anticipation of the answers to questions that have cropped up of late, I cannot think of a better way to spend my time than to write this open letter for all to understand what my husband means to me. I hope by doing this, more people would open up and subscribe to a culture that accommodates the celebration of humankind in a grand way – as the default modus operandi – be it in celebration of the spouse, the offspring, the neighbor, the boss or Joe Blow! Here goes!
Love, respect and reciprocity engender credit for the role our partners play in empowering us. I invite you to share your story.
My dearest Darling Jim:
In addition to being grateful for “One More Year”, my position with regards to celebrating you is one which takes the form of daily in-the-moment meaningful interactions that bear as much significance as the birthday milestone itself. Giving credit where credit is due, I thank God for using Rev. Dr. & Mrs. Thomas Lacy to manifest his handiwork in the form of the kind, gentle, courageous and selfless human being that I know you to be. As I celebrate you, I thank God for blessing me with a partner of such courage, resilience, stamina, caliber, and integrity, …and for heeding to my prayer that if there was ever to be a second time around, it was going to have to be with a man (an earthly Angel) who possessed the qualities you possess, my darling.
Even though you have- – – along with me- – -subscribed to a real life demonstration of what happens when we ask for what we want—knowing that once we play our own part, our wishes do stand the chance of coming true—I cannot in good conscience embrace this “ask-do-believe concept”, without doing the same for our resolve to navigate to the best of our abilities, the unwelcome guests that come in the form of serious health challenges we are currently navigating. Your propensity for grace to precede all – – -while under fire- – -is second to none! You have effectively subscribed to a new definition of what it means to gracefully navigate life-altering challenges. I thank you for making it so much easier for me to keep my composure and focus on the important lessons of our journey. I am proud to say that you and I are card-carrying members of a breed that embraces emotional and spiritual growth in the midst of life’s calamities and its resulting side shows as its status quo. How wonderful!
Come Hell or High Water!
You know what is so special about our partnership? It is the unwavering awareness of our role on this earth – our unshakable raison d’être that brings and maintains meaning to our collective lives. Thank you for being the perfect “accomplice” to a mindset which effortlessly dictates that even as we go through our own trials and tribulations, if we could “help somebody along the way”, our “living shall not be in vain”!
You are truly a Class Act…and a Half!
I will continue to smile for you, knowing that you are right for me, and I am right for you, my darling…in sickness and in health! You are the best birthday gift I can wish for today! I suspect Mama, Samuel and Madona understand why they have to play second fiddle at this time. 🙂
Three years ago, my father passed away as I held his hand and told him how much it meant to me to have had a father like him. It seems like yesterday as my husband Jim, and his exceptionally compassionate physician, Dr. Hawthorne, who to date, proudly speaks of the reciprocal role Papa played as a mentor to him, rendered their support.
I feel compelled to mark this day with the brief letter below to the man of few but effective and wise words that I call “Papa”:
Three years ago, you took your last breath as I held your hand and seized the moment to send you off with a tear-filled tribute only deserving of the likes of you. Your legacy will forever live on if I have anything to do with it. I thank you for showing by example that it is indeed possible for one to successfully interact with people of differing points of view and orientations to achieve a common goal that speaks to the preservation of humanity.
Thank you, “Mr. Activity Cole”, for giving me something to think about with regards to your resolve to uphold the true spirit of Fourah Bay College’s motto: Non Sibi Sed Allis (“Not for themselves, but for others”)— through your service to others. You know it is not easy, but if you did it, so can I.
It is a wonderful thing to daily recall moments of your caring and engaging fatherly spirit. I thank God for the gift of a father such as you.
Rest in Perfect Peace, Papa.
What a pleasure it was to be in the company of willing adult learners (plus one child) who did not hesitate for one moment to unleash the textile artist in them as they recently designed their own unique holiday silk scarves! The sole elementary school student participant was just as comfortable. She confirmed my suspicion when she loudly declared something to the effect of, ” I am enjoying myself”.
With the exception of two participants with some art background, these ladies came in ready for the challenge-not knowing what to expect. It is clear to me from the nature of my interaction with each artist, that their anxieties were quickly laid to rest when they began to appreciate the fact that what they initially regarded as “mistakes” during a creative process were now valuable opportunities to expand their reach and embrace their own creative spirit in a manner that they can truly be proud of. This was true for those who thought they had “messed up” their work! After a few demonstrations, they could see for themselves how creativity and the concept of messing up just do not mesh!
If you are by now thinking that I quite enjoyed facilitating this Workshop, you are right. It was yet another pleasant reminder of why I have chosen to utilize my passion for the arts to creatively communicate and interact with others!
Thank You, goes to Jude Schanzer, the Director of Public Relations and Programming, of the East Meadow Public Library for granting me an opportunity to share my creative talent with the library’s patrons. I thank the workshop participants whose enthusiasm reinforced the “why I do, what I do factor” of my artistic journey and my other half, James Lacy – a fine example of one who believes in unconditional love and support!
Madona Cole-Lacy, M.A.Ed., Program Director/Facilitator
Madona Cole-Lacy is a registered Nassau and Eastern Suffolk BOCES Teaching Artist and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
My Time Has Come Program Provides art-related workshops for Schools * Libraries * Faith and Community-Based Organizations.
Promotes and Supports Equality * Inclusion * Diversity.
Fosters a sense of belonging, accomplishment and pride gained from the creation of well executed culturally-inspired works of art.
Develops skills and techniques in the execution of handcrafted contemporary and multicultural textile designs and visual arts.