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Fabric Designing with Youth at LI School – My Time Has Come Program Senecon Experience

It was a pleasure facilitating four multicultural Textile Designing workshops for a total of approximately 100 middle school students at the Seneca Middle School Senecon Program.

I must note that these students comported themselves quite well, and showed much interest in the task at hand. It is little wonder that I felt like going back to the classroom full-time as a result of this experience. It was nostalgia all the way!

I promise that the sentiments expressed have NOTHING to do with the fact that I was literally treated like a celebrity by some students who asked for my autograph.

I congratulate the parents/guardians, teachers and administrators of the school for a job well done.

More on how Madona Cole-Lacy serves youth and families

A video summary of the Senecon experience

http://www.mytimehascome.org

Madona Cole-Lacy shows students the result of Hand-stamping

Student applies fabric paint to West African Woodcut in preparation for stamping on fabric.

Hand-stamping demonstration for students by Madona Cole-Lacy

*Visit our website for more art-related cultural enrichment and personal development workshops for youth and adults that you can book for your parties, library, school or community organization. You can also request a private “Wear-Your-Art” or “Not Just Another Paint Party” activity for your next event.

Madona Cole-Lacy, M.A.Ed.
Designer of Wearable Art * Teaching Artist/Cultural Arts Educator * Motivational Presenter * Nonprofit Founder
My Time 4Talk Blog

Honor Your Father and Your Mother: Something to Think About

“Honor your Father and your Mother…..”

These words for the wise are quite sufficient. Or are they? It depends on who you pole. For me, it is a resounding ‘yes’. I thank my parents for inculcating in me, a sense of respect and for modeling just how that was to be used in my lifelong interactions with them, my grand-mother and great-grandfather.

In the company of three people I will forever honor.

The awareness of how my behavior impacts them and their legacy will forever be on default mode for me!

Mama and Papa – Mr. & Mrs. C. R. A. Cole
I could not have wished for a more committed Dad to partner with me in addressing the needs of my children.
How I miss your ever-present wisdom Papa!

In recognition of Father’s Day 2019, I respectfully salute all fathers and father figures who do their very best to have a positive impact on the lives of children – theirs or someone else’s. Thank you for a job well done. In case the fruit of your labor is not as yet that evident to the naked eyes, do not be discouraged, for the time will come when they will acknowledge the seeds of honor you have sown. I extend these sentiments to all mothers and all parent figures too!

Telling It Like It Is
Another perspective that begs for examination places the onus solely on the children. In today’s society, some mothers and fathers have unwittingly placed their children between a rock and a hard place as they play mind games with these unsuspecting and “needy” young people. This is found most often in contentious relationships between parents who are engaged in what I term, “DDPD -dangerous distant parenting dynamics” – one which does not necessarily imply physical distance.

This dynamic inevitably pits a child against one parent for the disgustingly sick sense of gratification or revenge of the other parent, while the children are left operating “on empty” when it comes to the integrity side of life.

Questions to Ponder

1. How then can these children develop an appreciation for the targeted parents when they have fallen prey to the antics of their own flesh and blood?

2. How do they pass on the Honor Barton to their own children if they decide to take the risk of bringing children of their own into this world after all this?

My Humble Advice…to children of all mothers and fathers who are indeed deserving of honor:

1. Hold on to your God-given pure sense of integrity – the sense of right or wrong that you displayed when you had no idea of how flattering parental manipulation could be.

2. Be your authentic selves – see your parents for who they are as individuals – pray for them and wish them well.

3. Do not get caught up in being used to inflict one parent’s vandeta on the other. Their flaws are not yours to fix or to bandage, neither are their subliminal or not-so-subliminal narratives yours to promote.

4. Remember that parents/adults are not infallible. They make mistakes too. If it does not sound or feel right, do not engage. Don’t allow yourself to be used in this way even if you think you are in control of how and what you do.

Honor your Father and your Mother..and while you are at it, honor yourself too. This is an order with implications that are pretty loaded.

Folks, it is time to pray most fervently — regardless of whether we are guilty as charged or not. Our time has come to consciously contribute to making this world a much more pleasant place for us and generations to come.

This is my take. What’s yours?

As I sign off, I would like to give credit to Dr. Lizette Wright-Polk for the Facebook post below which inspired me to write this blog post.

Madona Cole-Lacy, M.A.Ed.
Program Director/Facilitator
http://www.mytimehascome.org

My Dot-Connecting Mission
http://www.Iconnectthedotsofcreativity.org

And the Two Shall Be One: Celebrating A Brave and Courageous Soul on My Birthday

 

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:

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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.

Making Lemonade

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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!

orchid
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. 🙂

Your Love,

Madona

 

 

The Joy of Self-Actualization

When was the last time you did something that was work-related and felt so satisfied  from that experience that you actually thanked yourself for having made the choice to follow that career path?  That high level of satisfaction was all mine as I worked with a group of ladies at the Wyandanch public library who for the first time last week, had a go at textile designing and fabric stamping…on silk fabric, no less !

It was not the resulting designs that each participant executed that caused this level of excitement and satisfaction. It was the way they each looked inwardly to draw strength and determination to get there. It was the intense nature of their interaction with the tools, their determination to master tools they were unfamiliar with, the ease with which they connected with me as their facilitator, the presence of great camaraderie, and last but by no means least, the sense of pride they each exuded as they modeled their final product. Enough said, see for yourself by watching the presentation below.

 I invite your comments and the sharing of your latest experience on the Joy of Self-Actualization.

Libraries, schools and community organizations can request this and other social and cultural art-related workshops that can be tailored to their needs or desires.             

Contact Us    

www.mytimehascome.org

 

 

A Daughter’s Plight: My Response

The following is a social media posting  I woke up to on the morning after the 2016 Election Day

“Accurate description of how I feel right now:
In the sixth grade, I found out that the KKK still exists…that it wasn’t an entity that solely existed in my history books like the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, and outright literal slavery in the US, but that it was an organization that still exists to this day.
My first reaction wasn’t irritation, rage or frustration. It was fear. Deep, bone-chilling fear that produced sobs that wracked my 12 year old body. And I only had one concern in response: will they kill me? Can I be killed for no reason?
If I try to fit in and I don’t talk slang, and I tell everyone I don’t like fried chicken or grape drink, if I cringe along with the white people in my class when slavery is brought up in history class…IF I DO EVERYTHING RIGHT, EVERYTHING TO ERASE MY BLACKNESS, WILL THEY KILL ME ANYWAY BECAUSE OF MY SKIN?

And of course, those sobs were hysterical. I realized that I could not totally protect myself. If someone was out to kill black people, they need not wait until I open my mouth. They need only look at the skin I was born in and can’t change.
It was the moment I remember feeling the most afraid and impotent. That is how I feel now. I can’t move past this question that it’s a shame I have to ask: will they kill me? Will I survive to see the next president elect in 2020?

Way back in middle school, I eventually concluded that I was overreacting and my life wasn’t truly in danger. I was overly emotional and easily frightened.
Over ten years have passed since then and I’m struggling to stay rational, to not give in to fear… But I heard how he spoke at rallies and the debates, I heard his soundbytes, I heard how his supporters spoke and how they behaved…and I can’t tell if I’m overreacting this time.
And that’s what terrifies me the most.”

My dear daughter, Madona Ayorinde,

As the mother of that middle schooler and 10 years later, a young adult who is trying to make sense of life on her own terms, I want you to know that it is at times like these that you work at unleashing qualities of the firm foundation which has been laid in you over the years.          madona-recent-college-graduate-6

madona_ayorinde

The seeds of sensitivity, high self-esteem, love and appreciation of the humanity of mankind, empathy and much more that have been embedded in you are now yours to use.

I wish I could make you a promise that moments like these will be few and far between as you blossom into full adulthood, but I can’t, as the reality of life as I know it dictates otherwise. The trick is to use the tools that are available to you in a manner that will bring about self-preservation in the physical and mental health sense of the term, with little or no chance of feeling victimized by the shenanigans of this sometimes cruel adult world. I implore you to always operate from the mindset that: it is not the hand that life deals you that defines you, but it is the way you handle what is thrown at you that defines the essence of life for you.

My Apologies

I am sorry that for you there were no satisfactory explantions that could have protected your 6th grade mind set from what you discribe as bone-chilling fear when you learnt that the KKK was not merely a group that once existed, but one that was and is now alive and well.  img_20161012_085051119

I am sorry that current events have taken you back to reliving the nightmare that no child should have to experience, as adults around them espouse hatred, racism, bigotry, insensitivity, ignorance, lewdness as the status  quo.

I am sorry you once entertained making changes to the essence of your being and or buying into the stereotypes that a cross-section of white America has in place for its black counterparts, in order to fit in and escape the wrath of the KKK.

I am particularly sorry I did not read between the lines at that time to identify the emotional trauma you experienced, for you know my parent-school alliance initiative would have been stepped up to include tools that the school would have had to put in place to address this important issue in a manner that would have been of benefit to not just you, but to the rest of the school. Surely, you recall from experience how important it was to me that the school reinforced the basic universal personal development values I taught you at home.

Having said this, my daughter, I want you to know that one cannot be adequately prepared for the complexities of life. We know not when and in what form societal ugliness may come our way. It is for this reason that I will again stress the importance of readiness through the implementation of self-improvement tools.4dab9cda33bb411a1795c424533210fc

I iimg_20150528_200840.jpgmplore you to focus your energies on building yourself up in ways that you can be a blessing, not just to your family and friends, but also to those who do not mean well for you. I ask you to do this bearing in mind that the only competition you have to contend with is YOURSELF. Allow me to draw upon the gift of Grandpa’s wisdom, as I say to you: “Festine Lente.” Hasten slowly, as in act decisively, yet thoughtfully! I ask you to take your time to figure out how you can tap into the academic discipline, life-skills and orientation you have received thus far, to turn around what you perceive as an eminent license for nationwide ugliness, danger, and unsettling behavior. If I know of anyone with the capability to do so, it is you. “Let your light so shine…”. You know Dad and I have your back, and that we are here for you.

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 A Mommy Disclosure

What you may not fully realize is that, as a United States Citizen and Citizen of the World – with deep community and family values that were instilled in me at an early age in my country of birth- I am automatically a good candidate for some form of discrimination, rejection, and the issue of fitting in – more often than I care to recount. This, my child, is in no way to be confused with the occasional misunderstandings that occur in the normal discord of life! It is the waging of all-out war in the…just because.. department!

The ‘God News’ is that even though the scale may tip more to the side of the undesirable, it is not everyone that I know or encounter that is this lacking or needy in character and spirit.  I suspect by now, you are asking how I manage to appear so ‘sane and composed – most of the time.’  I can tell you what I do not consider to be viable options: withdrawing into isolation, cutting ‘these people’ off (this is not possible as they are all over the place), a tit-for-tat stance,  a feeling sorry for self response or engaging in self-destructive behaviors. How I deal with this is to position myself to continually search for positive ways to prevent this phenomenon from overshadowing my sense of self. Maintaining a sense of self mindset in each unique encounter helps me emerge from the lion’s den emotionally, socially and culturally intact. Also, please note that if I were to internalize the negative effects of this dynamic and allow said perpetrators to take control of my life, I doubt that those touching sentiments you and your brother, Samuel, recently expressed to me on my birthday would have ever found their way to me in a hurry.

I will now summarize the personal development tools of my response in easy-to- read quotes I have formulated:

Personal Development Madonarisms                                                                                   by Madona Cole-Lacy 

1. Since there is no patent on societal ugliness and propensity to minimize humanity, do not assume there is one to prevent you from unleashing the qualities of a firm foundation which has been laid in you over the years.

2. Use fear and anxiety as tools to focus your energies on building yourself up in ways that you can be a blessing, not just to your family and friends, but also to those who do not mean well for you.

3. Those of us who have lived long enough know that bigotry, racism, and many more “isms” that are in place to suppress and diminish others are alive and well in all shapes and sizes.

4. Whenever we consider directing our attention toward the avoidance of stereotypes meted out to us by others, we unwittingly position ourselves to accepting the hate they espouse. Hatred for self is as unlikely to cause the unenlightened, unfeeling and uncaring to love us more, as self-empowerment is as likely to chase these characters away from us -each time! You know which one to go for!

5. I implore you to focus your energies on building yourself up in ways that give you joy and satisfaction in knowing that you can indeed be a blessing, not just to your family and friends, but also to those who do not necessarily mean well for you.

6. We must approach life knowing that the path to being an Agent of Change begins andmother-and-daughter-madona-ayorinde-volunteer-event-photoghapher-for-the-day-2 ends with us. This change is only accomplished when we operate from a place of understanding that the change we desire is the change we want to be …and the first step to this long and sometimes arduous haul begins with us.

 God Bless You, My Daughter. 

Mom, Momeeeee, Mother, Madona Catherine

Bridging The Gap: 8 User-Friendly Tips

As I take stock of all that I have learned about the rich history and culture of Black Americans, and Black pioneers around the world as a whole, during the month of February that has been officially designated for the observance of Black History, I cannot help but ask myself how that knowledge and the accompanying mindset can be translated into respect and regard for self and others. My hope is that a large number of us have made a worthwhile contribution to lifting up and keeping Black History alive by engaging in activities and participating in events that can only help people of the human race understand that there is indeed a common denominator inherent in all citizens of the world that is anything but common. For there is so much more to this “common” denominator. It is binding, it is healing, and possesses the ability to forgive and assuage fear and ignorance…and yes, it can quite easily yield the opposite result when it is not given the attention it needs to flourish.

Madona Cole-Lacy - Bl;ack Voices Exhibition

In addition to my contribution to the Black History Month enrichment process, I was blessed with knowledge that I otherwise would not have received had it not been for those who made major contributions by sharing so many “Firsts” by Blacks that were virtually unknown to the masses before now. I was elated to see establishments make a move towards spotlighting people of African descent here on Long Island – a move whose time had come, in light of the unsettling racial climate in this country.

I invite fellow Americans and African Americans to join me in enjoying this sense of pride and desire to understand the rich legacy of people around us, in a manner that will stay with us way beyond the last day of February.

As America welcomes Women’s History Month; followed by Asian Pacific American Heritage, Older Americans Month and Jewish American Heritage Month in May; I want to take it upon myself to ask everyone who understands the need for these special observances, to plan on making some move toward gaining a little bit more knowledge of and appreciation for the spotlighted groups.il_570xN.837801766_b03iI hope that those who do not understand will be open to a briefing from those who do. This, of course, is only a sampling of other significant upcoming observances of various ethnic and special interest groups that make up the diverse fabric of the American culture!

Let it be known that as I make this request, it would not surprise me in the least to learn that some would say, “Why should I care about this or that group?” My response to that question is as follows: If for no other reason that is remotely obvious to you, you should care because the bliss of ignorance must be superseded by the folly of wisdom if we expect to be treated with respect, empathy and even sympathy when it is our turn.  We cannot allow the unwillingness to make wholesome connections to lead us down the path of ignorance.

Newsday Jan 24 2016   (‘Dynamic, multi-ethnic art’- page E6)

The tone has been set with Dr. Martin Luther King’s Birthday and Black History Month Cultural Enrichment activities leading the way to more opportunities for Americans to find that common thread that runs through the fabric of mankind. Let us not miss out on the power of cultural enrichment and social enlightenment that will subscribe to the greatness and security of our neighborhoods and country. What we do with this opportunity will augment the process through which we can make the world a more congenial place in which we can all proudly take on the responsibility of healthy engagement, and build a firmer foundation on which the next generation of the human race can stand. This mindset, by the way, is race, ethnic and gender neutral; and calls for those who are now referred to as “those people” to be equally engaged and appreciated by those who may not have given this a thought in the past. Newsday article January 22, 2016 2 IMG_20160131_162844499 (2)

In conclusion, I would like to offer executable tips on ways we can go about obtaining and maintaining a much-needed cultural enrichment, social enlightenment and racial harmony.

The following starter ideas can, in part, be attributed to my observations last month

  1. Don’t exclude yourself from discussions that are meant to uplift, empower and educate-in person, on LinkedIn, on Facebook or other social media portals-simply because you can’t see yourself relating to “those people”.“Those people” exist in all neighborhoods on all corners of the world, and could use some refreshing input laced with sensitivity and a desire to connect in a healthy way with them.
  2. Make it a point to converse with an associate or co-worker whose race, ethnicity or social group is being celebrated at the time.  This would work well within group settings of professional and community organizations where, more often than not, people are brutally prejudged. 
  3. If you have young children or teenagers in your life, hold a discussion with them to find out their opinion on, or knowledge of the culture or history of the highlighted group for that month. Don’t forget to share helpful resources with them. Encourage them to hold discussions with seniors in the community. This can be arranged with Senior Centers, Churches, Synagogues, Mosques etc.    
  4. Go on a themed exploratory trip to the library, utilize google, see what Wikipedia has to say and visit museums, art galleries and other places that can assist you with a horizon-broadening experience. Write a poem on your impression, do a painting or come up with your own creative form of self-expression that would suggest growth.
  5. Remember that you can neither be held responsible for the atrocities your ancestors might have perpetrated on others nor be pigeonholed as the ultimate helpless victim of circumstance, if you don’t conduct yourself in ways that bring to life the negativity of past experiences or support the perpetuation of the selfless victim syndrome. We cannot wish away the mistakes of the past, but we can surely work toward improving the present climate that we have inherited by acknowledging the resulting pain, hurt and confusion; and formulating a language that will generate camaraderie and healing instead of stone-throwing, name-calling and worse!   
  6. When in doubt, show LOVE, connect with EMPATHY and unleash KINDNESS. These three tools are versatile enough and come in color schemes that do not ever lose their luster without much effort on the part of mankind.
  7. Cast aside the built-in suspicion which invariably leads to defense mechanisms that keep your radar up in the company of people you are meeting for the first time. Be open to interacting with people from whom you may potentially learn something new.
  8. Be genuine in your interactions with others. People tend to switch off when they realize that they are dealing with the disingenuous. 

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Workshop -Madona Cole Lacy
My Time Has Come Workshop (2)

West African Surface Design Workshop conducted in observance of Black History Month. Wear Your Art: An African-Inspired textile designing workshop.  

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