My Time 4 Talk

Sarah of Capital One Bank Adds to the Excitement!

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.

img_20180812_12243372131710800.jpg

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!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Signing off with the special request and affirmation James A. Lacy made on 8/01/04                 Click the link

Related Post

The Lessons of Life: Wedding Anniversary Reflections


The Lessons of Life: Wedding Anniversary Reflections

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. OUR 9TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY

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.

wp-image-563098298jpg.jpg

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”:

4774FFF8-7BDF-465F-8695-3C2BD8C3FFC1

orchid


The Valens Award Experience

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.E5B2A337-25FF-4AE4-BE62-56DB30394DE2 We thank Mr. & Mrs. Leslie Lambert for this opportunity.

6B204602-EBE9-40F3-90E1-CEEDDF1F9640

Mr. & Mrs. James Lacy

 

A320D7E7-279A-4294-9ACC-93C25E15ACAA

With Mrs. Alicia Figueras-Lambert

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.

A6C52707-61F5-4087-A078-7EBB28B98B65

        Family Love

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.

713942A2-DD6F-49A1-AB04-96F66773C0C4

Extended Family Love Ruled!

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

   When Adversity Strikes: by Madona Cole-Lacy & James A. Lacy

20CA456D-E2FB-4F55-A69D-FEC5C6D03EFC

***********************************************


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:

orchid
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

orchid

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

 

 


Parents as Positive Influencers of Their Children From Infancy Through Adulthood!

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.

papa-at-my-wedding1 (2)

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”:

Dear 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.

Your Daughter,

Madona Catherine

Papa 50214


Making the World a Smaller Place: Embracing Multi-Culturalism Through Art & Fashion

My quest to contribute to the making of the world a smaller place took me to Bellport High School last week. It was a pleasure to meet and interact with a mix of multi-ethnic students with the express purpose of assisting them in identifying and celebrating their respective cultural heritage and family traditions in preparation for the designing and creation of their own unique Coat of Many CulturesTM  (This project is funded by a grant from South Country Education Foundation to the school)

There were students who spoke with a great sense of confidence, others who, even though they did not say it, would have preferred to introduce themselves in terms of a subculture they had created or acquired that they were obviously comfortable with. Others appeared to be disconnected from their cultural background because “they were born here” and had not been exposed to “anything” “cultural. Whatever the case may be, I stay committed to my role in the lives of these students as we work diligently toward designing a coat that will not only speak to their identity for years to come, but will take them on a journey of self-empowerment and appreciation for their cultural heritage.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

(Madona Cole-Lacy with Art Students at Bellport High School – Easing Into the Creative Process Through Engagement)

As I anticipate an unpredictable yet successful execution of these series of workshops which I facilitate in Long Island and beyond, I want to highlight a few points that I believe society can bear in mind as they nurture and empower their children particularly in times like these when teachers are reporting bully related incidents that are targeted at children who may not necessarily represent the race and cultural background of those who torment them.

1. If we instill a strong sense of belonging in our children, there will be no need to worry about them being victimized by others. There are no “others” in an all-inclusive world where people work together for the common good of humanity.

2. It is important to maintain family traditions that reinforce cultural values.

3.  Parents should do an ancestry search, and share information about family heritage with their children.

4.  We should research and/or review the history of our cultural/ethnic/racial/religious group, and hold family discussions regarding this background and how it currently impacts each family member.

5.  Promote social studies and history education in schools that is fully inclusive of all ethnic, racial, religious and cultural groups.  This should emphasize their values and contributions to humanity.

We can’t know where we’re going until we know who we are and where we as people have been or been through.

Learn more about my art-related personal development and social/cultural enrichment workshops tailored to schools and community organizations here.

 

 


Thankfulness Knows No Boundaries

I am ever so thankful for the ability to give and receive thanks every waking moment of the day! While I will be the first to admit that I have found it impossible to get individual “thank you” notes out as expeditiously as I would love to, it is my hope that sharing my thoughts on thankfulness on this forum would clear any doubts and answer some questions. I thank God on a daily basis for the unfathomable blessings that come my way. These blessings, which come in many forms, include the gift of altruism, patience, and the opportunity to teach and learn brought on by the following people in my life:

My Husband                                                 

I thank my husband for the pillar of support and devoted helpmate he has been to me in a way that has not only taken our relationship to higher heights, but has created a strong foundation of support for my children and parents. I thank him for his unconditional commitment to a union in which the two have undoubtedly become one.

My Children

I thank my children for taking time out to demonstrate that they hear me loudly and clearly, even as they journey through young adulthood into the portals of adulthood where I expect they will freely give and graciously receive in a manner that is way beyond that which has been modeled for them.

My Parents

I thank my parents for a whole lot, and particularly, for the firm foundation they laid for me so many moons ago. It is that invaluable resource that I pull from to navigate the rigors of life today. I thank them in ways that only those who belong to that special ‘Adult Children Society’ can understand and appreciate!

My Siblings

My siblings – how can I not thank them for the position of prominence they have and will forever hold in my life! I thank them for doing their best to understand and appreciate the ‘who that I am’ and for affording me the opportunity to have a go at reciprocating. Family relationship dynamic is priceless, for, it is still a truism that blood is thicker than water, even though water plays an important role in our lives.

My Worldwide Family                           

I am indeed thankful for the various ways the people I encounter in all facets of my life’s journey choose to connect with all or some of what can sometimes appear to be a ‘complex personality’, and I will not give up this wonderfully unique relationship for all the diamonds in Sierra Leone. I find this sometimes complicated relationship to be one that is absolutely necessary for me to grow and flourish. The good news is this: The covert and occasionally overt unhealthy vibes I receive from some members of this important family are just as valuable and appreciated as the manifestation of kindness, gentleness, and generosity exhibited by others.

I am thankful for the lessons taught by those who have the ability to be empathetic, among other virtues. I thank them for the assurance that as I strive to be the best that I can be, I will not be frivolously judged and denigrated par chance I fail to “dot my I’s and cross my T’s“. This, virtue quite naturally, comes from the willingness to easily recall and empathetically connect with situations when the shoe was on the other foot.img_4774What a relief to know that human beings, no matter what their individual agendas, can recognize how valuable they are to one another once they are able to identify the role they are destined to play in the lives of others! This is all the more reason why I am thankful to everyone for being their authentic selves in their dealings with me – be it directly or indirectly!

Thank You, Again.

What are you truly thankful for? Please take a moment to share.