Mother, Wife, Plastic Surgeon, Harvard & UCLA Graduate, Creator of MD GLAM Dr. 90210 on E!
From the Desk of
Corretta L. Doctor
Founder and Editor in Chief of communique Magazine, LLC
Hello Readers! I am excited to share the next issue of communique Magazine with you! The July 2022 issue is filled with encouragement and heartwarming, feel good stories from start to finish. This month features great articles filled with encouragement, inspiration, and education. The goal is for you to learn something new and feel positive energy as you read the pages of this publication. The cover story features Dr. Cat Begovic, top female plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, California. Dr. Cat is Board Certified in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Her glowing passion for her work, coupled with her education and skills, make her a highly sought after female surgeon. Dr. Cat specializes in highly skilled plastic surgery procedures that include tummy tuck, labiaplasty, mommy makeover, liposuction, breast augmentation, and BBL revision plastic surgery. Dr. Cat is also a published scientist with a degree in Molecular Biology from Harvard – “I wanted to investigate what ingredients and compounds had real scientific data”, she says. Dr. Cat founded MD Glam, a scientifically proven, anti-aging and hydrating skin care line that offers clean, safe, and gentle products that are all paraben, sulfate, and cruelty free. Take time to read all of the articles that we have brought to you in this issue. With gratitude,
Contents Table of
3 5 11
Dr. Elaine Stevens
Liz Pemberton Textile/Tapestry Artist
Not Your Typical Love Story
Rediscover Your Passion. Reimagine Your Worth
Our Love Story
Meet Dr. Cat - A Career of Compassion and Astonding Skill
Abandoned Guilt and Absorbed Gladness
Clarity, Awareness, and Excellence - Meet Lori Gentles
Ever Now and Again, A Real-Life Fairy Tale Comes Along
Jody Watley Is Still A Thrill
Bridal Bliss: Brittany and Samuel Paculabo's
If Foster Care is A Challenge, Then Those Who Age Out is A Crisis communique Magazine
Dr. Elaine Stevens written by C. NaTasha Richburg
through the formal education system to achieve a doctoral degree and subsequent marriage to her childhood sweetheart. The comfort associated with the familiarity of this high The season of gift-giving and family unions and friendships reunions is still fresh in the air. The thought of love and happiness seems to be buzzing. Many celebrate the start of their new engagements, including summer planning and things that many couplesdoattheturnofanewyear.Timesofchaos, worldchanges, unexpected worldly scenarios, and latitude of stress factors have caused an increase in the need for people to have a relationship coach as a part of their life balance. Dr. Elaine has been married to her husband James for five years. She is a Relationship Coach with 21 years of experience, Author, and Personal Development Advisor. Dr. Elaine was born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina, a place Forbes Magazine has coined “one of America’s Best Downtowns.” Nestled in the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains, this quaint city features a unique suspension bridge that spans the Reedy River. Her business practice reflects a passionate commitment to clients, including ebbs and flows regarding the types of clients over time. Initially, her client base primarily comprised men, subsequently transitioningtopredominantlyfemaleclients.Today, Dr.Elaine’s clientsaremostlycouplesandindividualsinterestedincounseling together. COVID-19 has caused Dr. Elaine to pivot her service model away from home visits to hold zoom and conference call sessionsinstead.Whileherbusinesspracticehelpsclientsmanage lovingrelationshipseffectively, occasionally, Dr.Elainealsooffers matchmaking services. Dr. Elaine’s background includes her successful matriculation 3
school sweetheart made it easy for the couple to reconnect. Unfortunately, Dr. Elaine’s first husband emotionally and psychologically abused her, including a few instances of unwelcomed grabbing of her shoulders, followed by shaking. Women’s Health has defined emotional and verbal abuse, in part, as “insults and attempts to scare, isolate, or control you.” Since most people, including Dr. Elaine, don't typically enter into a relationship knowing the dark side of their abuser, as an interviewer, I wanted to learn more about this aspect of her life and how it shaped her professional aspirations. When did you first understand your marriage was abusive? When I did not recognize myself. My former husband's antics caused me to move meekly into a corner at the beginning of our union, quivering with fear. Later, I began to change. I had voracious fits of rage. My rage was expressed so that I did not recognize my authentic self. Usually, I am a mild person. I did not like who I was in that marriage. How did you get out of your abusive marriage? I knew I always wanted to be in a solid relationship, and that wasn't it. I needed to leave. I prepared an exit strategy. Dr. Elaine’s exit strategy was predicated on the fact that she had to make a clean break from a situation that brought out negative behavior in her. The exit strategy took time to prepare. The time Dr. Elaine devoted to planning her exit from an emotionally abusive husband proved to be a valuable undertaking, yielding
invaluable, albeit painful, first-hand experience when offering
my approach to matchmaking pivoted because we have
advice to clients. According to an article published by the Ananias
fewer opportunities to meet socially. I now teach clients how
to manage relationships. Before this current state, I offered
of psychological aggression by an intimate partner during their
personalized, in-person matchmaking services. It takes a lot of
work to learn about unique clients and find a match for them since I do all the research to match clients. Sometimes I have
Dr. Elaine packed all of her belongings into her car and drove
good results. Sometimes what works on paper is not a match
from Kansas, heading east for 18 hours to arrive at a place of new
when the clients meet each other. There is a lot of trial and error,
beginnings. Many of us know how to look for the light at the end
of the tunnel. Dr. Elaine personally realizes what it is like to plan
Some people feel matchmaking is creepy. They would prefer to
meet organically and not use a matchmaking service.
towardthatlight.Withherpainfulpastnowinherrearviewmirror, Dr. Elaine’s personal experience in an abusive relationship never
Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching and can be difficult
deterred her heartfelt desire to marry again, to experience the joy
for some people. Can you give the readers some insights? You
of sharing her life with a loving and caring husband. “I knew there
don’t need to have someone to be happy on Valentine’s Day.
was something better for me. I needed to heal first,” she explains.
Do something special for yourself. If you don’t have that special
Deep within her spirit, Dr. Elaine understood that a new life
a bad relationship. Take time on Valentine’s Day to celebrate all
partnership with a loving husband. James is that loving husband.
that is good about your life. Understand, a beautiful day is when
Dr. Elaine delights in her mission to teach others to obtain and
you don't have tension or discord in your life. Love is a great gift;
maintainhealthy, fulfilling, andmeaningfulrelationships.In2008,
cherish those positive relationships.
Dr. Elaine established The Pretty Girls Alliance to empower and encourage women of all ages and ethnicities in crucial areas of
What is your greatest accomplishment? Surviving domestic
abuse without being bitter.
How did you develop The Pretty Girls Alliance? I was the
youngest of five children. When my nieces and I walked into the
room, my mother always said, 'Hey, pretty girl.' She identified
from a trip; I thoroughly enjoy cooking and preparing daily
attributes accompanied by the word 'Pretty' to explain what was
meals for my husband, and I have to do my practice. It’s a lot.
pretty about us, such as our hair, our legs, our walk, or our smile. Those attributes stuck. It made our shoulders go back, our heads
Dr. Elaine’s positivity bears witness to how anyone can move
rise higher, and our chests expand. We felt special. People always
out of negativity’s space. She is a beacon of light in Charlotte,
ask me to plan events, and I wanted other women to understand
North Carolina, a community that can break through the dark
how to feel pretty, just as I had as a young girl. Twelve years ago,
I started “The Pretty Girls Alliance” to plan events, such as a spa
light of our destiny. Dr. Elaine has a Pretty Girl demeanor, with
retreat or a brunch, to give women a boost. As each woman enters
the room, they are addressed as 'Pretty,' and they are surrounded
by like-minded women. I love planning events.
Elaine at: https://drelainestevens.com/about
Describe the matchmaking services you offer. Since COVID-19, communique Magazine
T e x ti l e / T a p est r y Ar ti st written by C. NaTasha Richburg Liz Pemberton is a sixty-one-year-old Fiber Textile/Tapestry Artist and Children's book author who stands firm in the belief, "you are never too old to create!!" Liz is a self-proclaimed "late bloomer" who celebrates the company of other late bloomers (e.g., KFC Colonel Sanders, 65 years old, McDonald's Ray Kroc, 52 years old) who found success outside of their youth. Born in Mineola, Liz grew up in Hempstead, New York (Long Island), where her handwork started with sewing at the 4-H Club at age eight. Later Liz learned macrame and how to crochet; these skills kept her hands developing into the rhythm that would take form later in life. In 1995, Liz became a selftaught Textile/Tapestry Artist, Fabric Collage Muralist. Her art form's premise is to bring symbolism and color to a quilt or collage while giving meaning to an artistic image. Liz's artwork is always handmade though some quilters may connect cloth using a quilting machine. Liz's perfected use of carefully planned fabric cuts results in fashioning collages of cloth materials glued together onto a canvas board using a long wooden paintbrush. When speaking of her art, Liz says, "I love doing collage work, creating pictures from little fabric scraps that bring images to life." Liz was fortunate to witness her mother, an expert quilter, who exuded with her presence a love of quilting. Though Liz works with Textile/Tapestry, rather than patches of fabric for the traditional quilt like her mother, it is the love of working with a cloth material that binds the mother and daughter spirit, as evidenced by the beauty of their craft often displayed for onlookers. The African-American quilt and its storytelling tradition found a space in the form of a Textile/Tapestry for Liz. According to http://www.womenfolk.com/ 5
quilting_history/afam.htm, "African American quilting is almost as old as the history of America. Liz's handmade art embraces the African American history to replicate on canvas yesterday's struggle, shrouded into today's passion, never to forget whence we come. The quilting tradition was on display for Liz as she participated in two Traveling Exhibitions; the Curator was Carolyn Mazloomi: * Textural Rhythms: Quilting the Jazz Tradition * Quilting African American Women’s History: Our Challenges, Creativity, and Champions Both of these Exhibitions have Catalog Books, which include her quilts. What energy do you get from quilting? The fabric gives me a connection with the world, and it breathes, speaks, and transforms. The material is so colorful, just like people. As I work on a piece of artistry, it will start dictating what it needs, and I listen!
our various moods, skin color or may equate to the viewer of a collage the diversity of life experiences. The fabric collage shows us African American history as perceived through the lens of its creator. Liz artistically positions fabric with differences in textures and colors to encompass her Textile/ Tapestry's scenery, telling stories that evolve with an observer's experience. The perfect imperfection of storytelling with fabrics focused together with stitching has a place in the history of African American storytelling that our children and children's children will appreciate when allowed to witness as part of a traveling exhibition. It is up to us to spread the word about quilting as a form of storytelling. Liz Pemberton has Textile/Tapestry displayed at wonderfulwondersart.com until public settings can host exhibitions again. To learn more about the Textile/Tapestry, contact Liz at wonderfulwondersart@ gmail.com.
Why did you write children's books if you quilt? I started writing poetry in 2004 and created my first children's picture book, "An Autumn Sunrise," with one of the poems that I wrote. An Autumn Sunrise was self-published in 2006. Consisting of one rhyming poem with 16 lines, I painstakingly illustrated every line with 16 Illustrations. The outcome was a fabric collage. I had to get each collage professionally photographed so that I could create the book. It was the same for my second book "Wonderful Wonders," which was self-published in 2014 and had 18 fabric collage illustrations. It took me one year to complete my third book, "Speaking of the Sun," was self-published in 2017. This book is slightly different. It is a compilation of 12 poems I wrote, incorporating a fabric collage or a quilt to each of the poems. A Children's book is such an achievement for me!! I have won the Sterling and Dorothy Strauser Award -Delaware Water Gap Celebration of the Arts. The use of fabric to create texture can show
Not Your Typical Love Story written by Danielle McDowell We aren’t your typical love story. Our journey has been a decade in the making. Back in 2011, I was cynical about love and didn’t plan on ever getting married. I was too serious about being clear that marriage wasn’t an option and I didn’t want any more children. As I look into my four-month-old’s eyes, I thank God that He had another plan for our lives. The only reason I was so against this thing call love and marriage was because I had few examples of a healthy marriage. On top of thehandfulofsuccessfulmarriagesIhadwitnessed, Iexperienced heartbreak in all of my serious relationships in the past. I truly didn’t see the point of getting married just to get my heart broken and divorce later. Despite all of that, I was very open to dating. I felt dating was less of a headache and I could enjoy some dinners and getaways with a like-minded individual without all the stress of a relationship. A coolfriendshipwastheplan.So, letmesetthescene.Iwasonthose dating sites meeting all kinds of trash. My friends encouraged me to put myself out there because I was in my twenties and my energy was focused primarily on my professional goals. I pulled together some of my photos and mustered up a profile that highlighted my interest in meeting someone who wasn’t about playing games. My first encounter was a catfish incident. This guy had photos of himself from, at the minimum, twenty years ago. When we met in person, I was sure he was somebody’s grandfather. It was a whole hot mess! Then, after that, there was a string of strange men. A real horror story! I was working at a middle school at that time and became close to somecoworkers.Iwouldsharemydatingrejectstoriesanditmade for some real comedy. One of my coworkers encouraged me to go out on a double date with her husband’s friend. She described him as a good father, tall, a hard worker, and likely my type. I had my hesitation regarding someone else setting me up on a blinddate.Aftercontinuedfailedencountersfromdatingsites, we planned our double date for the end of the school year. Our first
date was scheduled and I met my future husband at the Texas Roadhouse. He was tall and cute, dressed well, and smelled good. From hello, I was curious but he came off quiet and shy. We spent the meal hardly talking and I was sure it wouldn’t be a good fit. You see, I’m a social butterfly and thought I needed someone who would have my same extroverted energy. For a time, I was uncertain he was my type but he continued to be a sweetheart. He was the most thoughtful person that I had ever met and clearly knew how to treat a woman with respect, making me feel special. A romantic who prepared heavenly meals, gaveflowersfornoreason, andpaidcloseattentiontothe little things that were important to me. His quiet, unwavering energy calmed me and I felt safe around him.Hetrulybecamemyclosefriendandeventuallymyforever love. For the next few years, we fumbled through attempts to make us work. There were breakups and makeups, but our friendship withstood the hard times. Icouldtellhimanythingandhewouldallowformyvulnerability. There was a quiet strength that he exhibited that allowed me to feel protected. I was impressed with how he cared for his family and the respect he had for women. A true gentleman with a focus on taking care of his responsibilities. He supported all my professional goals and encouraged me when obstacles arrived. Through our peaks and valleys, we grew to understand each other and nurture our connection. We finally got it right and marriage felt like the appropriate next step. Our wedding day was a true example of our love. We celebrated with family and friends, vowing to never give up on us.Afewyearslater, afterexperiencingadevastatingmiscarriage, God blessed us with our youngest child. Since the beginning of our journey, we have had countless laughs, memorable getaways, endured grief, and managed our share of obstacles, but we continue to grow our love. I wouldn’t trade him and our blended family for anything in the world. My husband has become the thing I never knew I needed and although our love story isn’t quite a fairytale, it’s definitely my happily ever after.
Our Love Story written by Autumn Dickey
We met during my last semester at Florida A&M
University of Central Florida (UCF) in August 2017. As
University (FAMU) in fall 2015. I knew right away he was
Jabari was making his speech at the graduation party,
going to be my husband. I explained to my classmate that
“Don’t Change” by Musiq Soulchild began to play as
we were meant to be and she thought I was crazy. I made
he got down on one knee and proposed. Jabari had
a few attempts to get Jabari to notice that I liked him,
been planning to purpose to me since I received my
which he didn’t grasp at all. I didn’t give him my number
graduation date earlier that year. It was well thought
until his birthday in February 2016.
out and only a few people knew about the surprise.
We quickly became best friends and decided to make it
We spent a year planning our wedding and officially
official in July. I remember how Jabari always arrived in
wed on September 8, 2018. Just two weeks after the
class before I did and would say, “Good Morning,” every
wedding, I moved to Newport, Rhode Island after
time I walked past him to get to my seat. I was extremely
accepting my dream job with the federal government.
shy so I would respond back with my head down.
Jabari later joined me in the middle of October.
Before meeting him, there was a special prayer I prayed.
After spending the first year of marriage in Rhode
I was involved in an extremely toxic relationship that
Island, I decided to transfer my job to West Palm
ended the year before which made me fear love. I asked
Beach, Florida where we currently reside. One of our
God to show me a sign that there was someone for me,
most memorable milestones would be our time spent in
someone that I could trust and love. My prayer was
Rhode Island. We had to move across the country, away
from our families, during our first year of marriage. Although it was difficult at times, it really strengthened
What I didn’t know was that Jabari was also praying not
our relationship with God and our marriage.
to have a toxic relationship with the next woman he was involved with. Neither one of us wanted relationships
Recently, Jabari has started working on his own cigar
like we formally had. I was discouraged from entering
company and I started my fitness journey after recently
another before I met him.
being diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). As a couple, our goal is to inspire other
We quickly fell in love and Jabari decided to propose
couples that face the same everyday challenges we do.
the day I graduated with my master’s degree from the
Our Love Story communique Magazine
Abandoned Guilt and Absorbed G MY 4,718 DAY IVF JOURNEY written by C. NaTasha Richburg Ericka Michelle Richburg had an In vitro fertilization (IVF) life changing journey that took 4,718 days, equivalent to 12 years, 11 months, 7 hours, and 25 minutes for her dream to become a mothertocometrue.Inthebook"AbandonedguiltandAbsorbed gladness…. My 4,718 day IVF journey," Ericka provides the reader insight on all she’s gone through during those tumultuous times when she dreamed of becoming a mother. Her story's lens describeslife'sroller-coasterridefilledwithups, downs, highs, and lowswithhintsofhumorduringthebirthingexperience.Without the stomach for a thrilling roller coaster ride, Ericka learned to manage the mayhem of her IVF journey with tears, fear, and heartbreak to finish with infectious joy and laughter. An excerpt from the book reads:
This story is about the roller coaster ride of my life that did not includeadottinghusband, idealweight, orpicture-perfecthealth. My life's ride was without a loving spouse who wished the best for me. My reality meant that I had moved everything from my marriage apartment. I immediately took my name off the lease and moved back to my childhood family home when COVID-19 stopped the world in its tracks. My mother became both my life coach and birthing coach. My brother supported me at my lowest points with cards and gifts, hoping to lift my spirits, and my dad prayed we made it through this trying time together with a sound mind and spirit. This new reality destined me to help others navigate similar paths I have taken. This story describes the series of events that took place on my IVF path to motherhood. The goal of motherhood represented the light at the end of the tunnel for Ericka. Starting with playing with dolls, Ericka wanted to be a mother one day. After many attempts at conception with her first husband, Ericka wanted him to move forward with his dreams of parenthood with someone else. However, her desire to conceiveneverceased.ErickaultimatelywassuccessfulintheIVF 17
process with a new husband who wanted out of the marriage, so she continued the process of parenthood alone as a single womangoingthroughpregnancyalone.Chronicledinhernew book:"AbandonedguiltandAbsorbedgladness….My4,718day IVF journey," Ericka tells the story of the good, bad, and ugly of her IVF journey. Ericka describes the IVF process in detail to help a newcomer gain insight. With the support of family and friends outside of the marital home, Ericka formed a village of loving good-hearted people to support her. That village completed its mission to create an environment of joy and happiness during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. Though the journey was hard and incredibly lonely at times, Ericka never loses focus peering at the ever flicker of light at the end of the tunnel. Let's just say, with the unsupportive people out of her life, Ericka had space for those individuals who make her smile and maintain hope for a brighter tomorrow. The journey taught Ericka life lessons that can help others on the road to IVF parenthood.
First, start with the end in mind; Stephen R. Covey reminds us in thebest-sellingbook,"TheSevenHabitsofHighlyeffectivepeople," "Start with the end in mind." "To change ourselves effectively, we first had to change our perceptions." If your goal is to become a parent one day, never lose focus on that goal. Second, meet with yourdoctortodevelopaplanregardingyourreproductivehealth. Third, prepare to endure the ups and downs of the IVF process. RalphWaldoEmersonsaid, "Lifeisajourney, notadestination,"so we learn to Embrace the lessons life offers as part of our journey. Fourth, you have the power to determine when you should adjust expectations.Changingthepathofyourapproachtoparenthood is unique to only you and your life partner. Lastly, never lose focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. It is very dark in the middle of the tunnel, yet there will be light if you keep moving forward through the tunnel. Darkness (e.g., shame, guilt, loneliness, etc.) cannot comprehend light; that is why knowing the light is at the endofthetunnelshouldmotivateforwardmovement.Eventually, you will reach the morning, and darkness will dissipate into a memory. What words of encouragement can you offer those interested in pursuing IVF? For those embarking on the IVF journey, my advice is to have a support system. The support system consists of people who are there to talk with you on a hard day. Having a life outside of the IVF process is critical because the process is very time-consuming. Still, you don't want to lose yourself in the IVF process. So, make time for your significant other and have a date night. Enjoythecompanyoffriendsandfamily anything to keep your mind from being too engulfed in the process. No matter the outcome, positive or negative, know it's a part of your journey. Everything happens for a reason. While we may not understand, it's all working together for a greater purpose. And never give up. If conceiving is something you want to do, keep doing it until you've reached your cutoff. For me, my cut-off for conceiving was 19
40. I'm thankful to be able to embark on the journey for a third and final time, and I am believing for a positive outcome. Thebook"AbandonedguiltandAbsorbedgladness….My4,718 day IVF journey" sheds light on Ericka's IVF experience and is due for release in January 2022. Ericka wants audience to know that entering into the IVF process can be exciting and fortified with difficult experiences, yet topped with glimmers of hope. The IVF journey requires faith and a loving support system so begin the process always remembering, “The journey of thousand miles begins with one step” -- Lao Tzu. Website: www.cnatashaproductions.com
Every Now and Again, A Real-Life Fairy Tale Comes Along written by Author Carol Gee Forty-sevenyearsago,asanF15EStrikeEagleairplanetookofffrom the base flight line, the sound rattled the stained-glass windows in the base chapel. Standing at the altar, two young military airmen, pledged “to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, in sickness and in health.” That couple was Ronnie and I. Growing up, I adored fairy tales. Those tales were as far from my life as a little, inner-city girl with brown skin, and two thick braids as they could be. Now, here I was with my own, real-life prince, about to embark on our very own “happily ever after.” In those fairy tales, my prince would be tall, dark, and handsome. With his caramel complexion and beautiful hazel eyes, my hubby is certainly that. As a hopeless romantic, I imagined my prince would also be romantic. As a big talker, I envisioned all the great conversations the two of us would enjoy. Bit by bit, my fairy tale started to lose its luster. That’s when it hit me— that there were tons of things that I would learn about my new husband. Was he romantic? My idea of newlywed romantic gestures leaned toward chocolate bonbons, perfume, and lace camisoles. Our first Christmas together, he gave me a four-slice toaster that was professionally wrapped and topped off by a huge, red bow. “Baby, you know that we received three toasters as wedding gifts, right?”Iasked.(Seriously, howmuchtoastdidfolksthinkweate)? “But honey, this particular one is better because you can toast four slices of bread at one time instead of just two,” he said, his hazel eyes flashing his excitement. Aww, he thought he was making things easier for me. How could that be wrong? Two months later on my birthday, he bought me a mixer. A Sunbeam, which was top of the line back then. Three days later on Valentine’s Day, he gifted me an electric can opener. This time I held my tongue, promising myself that I wouldn't say anything until my kitchen appliances were complete. After all, you know
what they say: blenders are like men. You always feel that you need one; you just don't know why.. "To have and to hold from this day forward" can still be quite challenging, no matter how complete your line of kitchen appliancesis.Ourfirstyearwasspentgettingtoknoweachother and learning to live together harmoniously. It also included relocating to a new military base and all that entailed. Then, I discovered that my new, husband was not a talker. How had this been missed when we were dating? I pondered. Oddly enough, it wasn’t a deal-breaker. Despite, our differences, the two of us were in it “for better or for worse.” Thetwoofuscoasteddownthehighwayoflife, fairlyunscathed. Oneyearpassed, thenten, andthentwenty.Aroundyeartwentyfive, “in sickness and in health” suddenly, reared its ugly head, with the first of what would end up being two heart attacks. “Blip, blip, blip!” The sound of the machines keeping him alive seeminglyreverberatedthroughoutmyentirebody.Underneath thetangleoftubesandwires, andoblivioustoeverythingaround him, my husband slept. “Myocardial infarction,” the doctor said, walking into the CardiacIntensiveCareUnitwithmyhusband’schartinhishand. “A heart attack,” he clarified, noticing my confused expression. “How old is your husband?” The doctor asked, glancing at the chart as if to see if it was written down someplace, among all the other medical notes. “He is 44,” I responded, thinking that was way too young for something so serious to have happened. Standing by, I felt helpless: a feeling that I absolutely detested. Unknowingly, that very same feeling would be repeated over and over, throughout the years. The past twenty-eight years, one illness or another, has been communique Magazine
my spouse's constant companions. Throughout those years, I’ve been an interpreter of every illness since, recounting them in minute details to doctors, nurses, and everyone who needed to know about them. They included heart attack number two which required quadruple bi-pass surgery, a mini-stroke, and diabetes. All of this caused me to momentarily rage at God and ponder angrily why these health issues kept happening to such a lovely man. Admittedly, I’ve wanted to scream at the top of my lungs; break something! Then, just like that, my fury lost most of its heat. IfIhavelearnedanything, it’sthatheartattacksdon’tdiscriminate by age, nor gender. That strokes–mini or full-blown–do not discriminate by gender, race, or class. Nor does diabetes care whether you are politically aware or even politically correct. Every time I’ve waited in the “Family” waiting room of Emory University Hospital, where my husband was also employed, I’ve felt like Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole: frightened and because I’m his only family, alone. Many nights as my husband slept fitfully in his little man-cave across the hall, because he was in pain, or couldn’t get comfortable, I burrowed deeply into the mattressofourmaritalbed, finally, lettingfallthetearsthatI’dkept at bay during the day. “If there ever comes a time that caring for me gets too much for you, you can just put me someplace. It would be alright,” Ronnie remarked one day. Every time I recall this, tears fill my eyes. Wishing to protect him from having to endure what was to come, everytimewe’dhadtodealwithahealthcrisis, sadly, theonlything I could do was pledge that we would get through this one the same way we had gotten through all the others. Alas, Scripture tells us, “The Good Lord does not put more on us than we can handle.” Yet, sometimes I’ve wondered if that was true. Still, whenever my mindtouchesonthatplaceinsidemewherefearconstantlylives, I realize that I wouldn’t be the wife, the partner, or even the person that I am today, without these seasons in our lives. I will always be a romantic. Do I still wish that Ronnie were more so? Yes. A few rose petals thrown around the bedroom, a few candles, what’s not to like? Then, one day it finally dawned on me that perhaps I was looking at romance the wrong way. You know, making it about grand gestures and things that required lots of work, which often meant time and/or money. Who needed that,
right? Seriously? Frankly, I do. In truth, over the years, I’ve discovered romantic gestures frequently comes in the form of a loving act. Like when one of my kitties had to be put to sleep, causing me to cry so much, Ronnie contacted our vet to see if he knew of any needing a home. Hearing about one, he drove several miles in a brandnew city to get it for me. As such, through the years, I have fallen more and more in love with Ronnie. This realization, when it came, was similar to shrapnel penetrating my chest. Although, maybe not the scintillating conversationalist I once dreamed of, we have somehow learned a way to communicate that is uniquely ours. “Give me your hand,” he says, reaching for it as we start to cross a busy street. That he sometimes holds it for a few minutes longer than necessary before relinquishing it, does funny things to my foolish, girlish heart. Silly? Perhaps. Special? Definitely! Much like my husband and me, our marriage is also perfectly imperfect. However, it makes me cherish it even more. Yes, while his on-going health challenges impact us, they have also strengthenedourbond.Theyhavealsostrengthenedourresolve to live as full a life together as possible. Today, my husband’s health is stable. For that, I’m extremely grateful. As for the next health crisis? Well, I have faith that we’ll weatherwhatevercomesalong.Bothretired,militaryveterans— warriors, we warriors fight. Long ago, I realized life does not come with guarantees. As I look forward to the rest of our journey together, I now know the secret to “happily ever after.” It’s despite his health challenges, I still have my husband. At night, as I lay my weary,= head down, where beside me my husband starts to snore, a feeling of peace surrounds me that’s all-encompassing.IrealizethatI’mtrulyhappy.Thatmuchlike miracles, everynowandagain, areal-life, fairytalecomesalong. CarolGee, M.A., aretirededucationadministrator, istheauthor of the “girlfriend” series of books of which Random Notes (AboutLife, “Stuff”AndFinallyLearningToExhale)ishermost recent. See www.VenusChronicles.net for more information.
W W W. C ORI N T H I AC RO M W E L L . C O M
REDISCOVER YOUR PASSION.
REIMAGINE YOUR WORTH written by Andrew E. Guy
I grew up on the Island of Jamaican, but sad to say I knew little
success, your purpose and your future has a lot to do with where
you came from, but what you ultimately become is how you see
yourself in the crowd.
air, there were many things that were different for me. The crowd is the people we try to live our lives for so they would Tobeginwith, Iwasborninataxicab;Ialmostdiedinmymother’s
accept us, or what’s left of us after we’ve been trodden under the
womb as she once struggled to cross the busy Kingston roadway.
foot of those who are clueless of the greatness that lies within us.
My parents left me to follow their dreams of creating a better life
I often considered myself in the likes of Joseph from the bible.
for me and my siblings when I was only six years old. I grew up
in foster care, struggled to find myself, my worth, my identity and
almost gave up hope.
of birth on earth, I want to encourage you that the greatest part of you came from a Creator that knows you better than those
I was considered as dumb as a doornail, so I told myself after many
who hurt you.
times being told by others that I would never amount to anything good.Icouldnotread;Iwasasilliterateastheycame.Didn’thavea
Be encouraged, keep hope alive because having a vision of who
clue about reading until I was almost 14 years old. I did not receive
you could one day become will ignite a mission in your heart
much formal education in my early years; sometimes one day, if I
that becomes your lifeline. I’m always reminded that dreamers
were lucky, I would get to attend school. The rest of my time was
never die, only people without a vision do!
spent, missingmyparents, prayingtheywouldonedayreturnand take me away to be with them.
After many years of waiting and praying, my mother did fulfill herdreams, returnedtotheislandandtookallsixofherchildren
School was not a priority, and even though I seldom grazed the
and immigrated to Canada. I’ve learned a lot from my mother;
doorway of a classroom, most of my time was spent doing endless
she became the MOSES to our family. Many times, mom would
choirs around the yard: touting firewood, hauling water, even
sit me down and explain how time is all we have on earth, but
when it rained. But while these many reflections may sound like
God owns the clock, and nothing happens until he says so. Be
complaints, they are not; these tracks of my past are only a living
strong; hang in there; weather the storms regardless of how
testimony of the Grace of God, his Divine Purpose for my life and
hard the wind blows; forgive more than you forget, because
his faithfulness to complete what he’s started...a great work in me.
forgiveness is the key allows you to forget the hurts of the past, soyoucanenjoythepresentanduseittoprepareforyourfuture.
Many of us came from broken backgrounds we haste to forget,
She would say, spend time talking to God, and he will answer
but struggle to erase the memories of our past. It’s that part of us
you in time. He may not come when you want it, but he always
we are least proud of, but I’ve learned many years ago that your
comes when you need him.
Mom...wow! She was my rock until I discovered that the same strength that was inside her was also in me. Mom took us from a placeofbondageandbroughtustoaplaceofopportunity, Canada. Ever since, I’ve spent my life empowering everyone I know to NEVERALLOWTHEIRPASTTOHINDERTHEIRFUTURE. My message to any who struggles with their past life and setbacks is to FACE IT, FIX IT, GET READY FOR IT! Too many times we allowed our past to blight our present and terminateourfuture.Itdoesn’tmatterhowuglyyourpastis--FACE IT! LOOK AT IT! OWN IT! THANK GOD FOR IT! Because every bit of your dark days is part of the making of your brighter nights. Don’t allow your gaze in the rear-view mirror of your past todistractyoufromthepresentopportunitiesinyourwindshield. SO, FIX IT OR IT WILL BREAK YOU! Next, stop wasting time being terrified of the unknown, PREPARE YOURSELF AND GET READY FOR IT. Times spent can never be regained, so spend it wisely. My life is no bed of roses. Not even to the stretch of the imagination.Ihaveexperiencedalotofpaingrowingup, andIwas so determined that one day, if given the opportunity I would use my life to bring hope to the hopeless, joy to the sad, laughter to the broken, inspirationtothedoubtful, motivationtothedemotivated and empowerment to the weak. After immigrating to Canada, I struggled with reading, literacy, math, every subject you could think of, I was terrible at it. I was so bad that I spent most of my time in the school library learning how to sound letters and recognize phrases and patterns. I managed to graduate after many hours, days, months and years of frustration. To motivate myself I started watching comedy and anything that would make me laugh. I became very interested in stand-up comedy and started taking classes at Yuk Yuks comedy club with Canada’s funny man, Kenny Robinson. I had a desire to learn and caught on very fast. communique Magazine
It wasn’t long after that I started doing speaking engagements Itwasn’tlongafterKennyandtheYukYuksstaffnoticedmynatural
at high schools, churches, community events and I was even
ability to connect with people on stage, which led to me joining
invited to speak for the Mayor. Horace G. Shipp of Texarkana.
Many of my peers, including Mr. Stuart encouraged me to start
young Afrocentric comedians bringing joy to visitors at Yuk Yuks
doing more talks to help encourage others.
oneSundayofeverymonth. Iwasfortunatetoperformwithgreats like Tommy Davidson, Russell Peters, Kenny Robinson, John
I took their advice, but I started noticing other qualities, like
Paul, and many others.
leadership, delegation, management, negotiation, motivation and the ability to lead a team of people. This led to me running
Soon, my life changed. I started noticing that after doing stand-
up, thatmostpeople, especiallymyJAMAICANPEOPLE, would
laugh until their bellies ``BURST”, a term people from the island
prestigious award, especially for international students.
used to express when something or someone is very funny and tickled their funny bone until tears roll from their eye. By the way,
My passion to inspire others took on a new platform. My dream
JAMAICANS really know how to laugh. We put everything into
of making a difference took roots and my passion for public
a good cackle! The change came when I looked around after the
speaking was ignited.
uproar of echoing laughers and the celebration came to a halt, people sort of--slipped back into their regular routine after the
I came a long way from that six-year-old boy who was hopeless.
dose of laughs wore off and the lights turned off.
Today I am the husband of a beautiful bombshell Bahamian Queen, thefatheroftwoamazingboys, aprofessionallycertified
I enjoyed every bit of the comedy life, and even came close to
science educator and teacher of the year recipient. Learn more
making it on the David Letterman Show. That’s a long story, I’ll
and connect with Andrew Guy at the following links!urban
also made it to the finals in the “SHOWTIME AT THE APOLLO” contest in Shreveport, LA., when I was attending University in
WHO'S THIS GUY?
Arkansas. But it is after embarking on my journey to pursuing a
MY TEDX TALK (As We Grow Up)
higher education that I realized who I was, what I was good at and
FACEBOOK (Follow my adventure)
my place on earth.
( Follow my tweets
INSTAGRAM (In the now) IattendedSouthernArkansasUniversityandduringmytenureas a Medical Biology student, I was granted an opportunity to do a
WHERE I HANG OUT
Service Department. The show was a big hit. But again, I noticed something peculiar. The same sort of thing that happens after the shows at YUK YUKS in Toronto, Canada! After every show since then I was driven to give a pep talk to the audience before they leave the auditorium, and the subject of passion kept coming up.
Dr. Cat A Career of Compassion and Astounding skill
AsidefromhergroundbreakingroleonDr.90210, Dr.CatBegovic is an amazing businesswoman and physician that specializes in female plastic surgery. Dr. 90210 is a show that follows Beverly Hills’ top female plastic surgeon Dr. Cat. She is widely known as ‘the pioneer of vaginal rejuvenation surgery’. Dr. Cat is a vaginal cosmetic specialist and has developed special techniques for tummytucks, mommymakeovers, andvaginalcosmeticsurgeries likeLabiaplastythathaveaffordedheraplethoraofsuccessacross many platforms. Dr. Cat was born in the mid-central eastern state of Delaware and grew up on the east coast. Her family heritage is Taiwanese. Her husband Binais is from Montenegro. Dr. Cat and Binais are very proud parents to an amazing daughter named Layla. Their beautiful family is simply amazing! Dr. Cat’s never-ending ambition and belief in herself took her all the way from the halls of Harvard to the bold, vivacious state
of California where she went to UCLA for medical school. Upon completion of her medical degree, Dr. Cat was selected into the highly competitive Head and Neck Surgery training program at UCLA, performing advanced Facial Plastic and Reconstructive surgery for six years. She then completed a second surgery training program in Plastic Surgery at UCLA. TheUCLAplasticsurgerytrainingprogramhasbeenratedone of the top training programs in the country in all areas of Plastic andAestheticSurgery.Visitwww.beautybydrat.comtocontinue reading about Dr. Cat’s early years and her education journey. Women role models are important in the male-dominated field of plastic surgery. Dr. Cat didn’t always have the benefit of the multiple social media platforms that are available today. She uses every opportunity to present the beautiful process of plastic surgery. It is about the connection with people, and she loves to guide patients and potential candidates with care and compassion. communique Magazine
At UCLA, Dr. Cat took a special interest in stem cells that are commonly found in fat and fat injections, publishing many research papers in plastic surgery and scientific journals on the topic. From the beginning of her education journey, she has been respected and acknowledged for her unique, though diverse specialty. Her website clearly says what her mission is, lists her credentials, and demonstrates her goal to set the pathway to excellence for anyone who wants to improve the way they look physically.Dr.Catsays, “Manypeoplewanttosimply“lookgood”, by their own definition of the term. It is all relative. A lot of people think that plastic surgery is about the physical, but I believe it is about the mental and emotional. It is about creating an alignment between the two. It goes hand in hand more than people realize.” She adds, “Every procedure does a specific thing. For skin tightening, radiofrequency-basedtechnologyworksbest.Iwork mostlyinvaginalrejuvenation:vaginalcosmeticsurgeryandpostpregnancy loosening.”
think about how you would like it done to you or someone you love.” Having had plastic surgery and understanding the process helps Dr. Cat being empathetic with patients. “I consistently do maintenance on myself such as micro-needling, vaginal rejuvenation, and skin tightening. People often fear surgery because they think it may be painful or bloody. In my surgeries I use special techniques so there is very little swelling, bleeding and bruising. I am very gentle when performing surgeries so mypatientshaveaquickrecovery.”Socialmediaclipsshowhow Dr. Cat’s patients are doing amazingly well with no pain and no bruising just one day after surgery.
“People think that plastic surgery is all about the
outside, but it is really all about the inside” -Dr.Cat
Dr. Cat and her staff take pride in taking the time to listen to and educate her patients before surgery, taking them step by step through the entire process with care, and after surgery providing constant attention . “For most people, plastic surgery is a once in a lifetime thing. Approaching plastic surgery or a physical change should always come from a place of loving yourself, loving your body, andwantingtodosomethingpositive.Theawarenessofthe patient’semotionalandmentalstateofwheretheyareisimportant. I carry them through their whole journey from consultation all the way through the process and follow-up after the surgery. We answer all their questions and hold their hand through the entire way-anyanxietiesandfearsarereplacedwithpositiveexcitement”.
I asked Dr. Cat if people tend to seek plastic surgery during the start of a new year, as part of their resolution and she replied, “Just before the holidays people plan plastic surgery because they have time to rest and be home during the holidays. A lot of people turn to diet and exercise in the beginning of the year, but anotherbigsurgeoccursinearlyspringwhenpeoplearegetting ready for summer. Some either give up on the diet and exercise or want to change direction in their physical appearance goals”. When considering when to book your surgery, Dr. Cat says the best time to have surgery is when you have two solid weeks available for recovery. “As women who are moms and wives we tend to be the nurturer and we need to choose a time when we can focus on ourselves for two weeks - that’s usually the hardest thing for most patients ”.
This is more than a job for Dr. Cat. It is her passion. “In the pre-op, I go through everything. Sometimes I have to meet with people multiple times to help them get relaxed. It is important to go into surgery without fear. The operating room is warm, calm, and there is always meditation music playing. I often hold their hands and when they slip under anesthesia they are feeling calmness and peaceful energy.” Dr. Cat is known for her rules which she has in place to give her patients the best possible experience and for everyone to perform at their best. For example, one rule is “Patients should always be kept as comfortable as possible when awake and also when under anesthesia. With everything you do,
Our readers wanted to know if many seniors getting plastic surgery?Dr.Catsays, “Seniorshesitatebecausetheyfearthatage isalimitingfactor.Itisnottheage, buttheiroverallhealthstatus. Many seniors are great candidates for plastic surgery. Every day media shows us that people want to take care of themselves and look their best. Media motivates people. Plastic surgery is less taboo these days. People look good without plastic surgery but at any age, it is still valid to look and feel your best. Everyone has the right to make themselves feel happy and confident”.
“That inner glow of knowing and feeling good really shines through”-Dr.Cat I asked Dr. Cat what she defines as the proudest moment of her career? “Opening my state of the art medical suite on the penthouse of Rodeo Drive where people from all over the world come for plastic surgery. That location is also the flagship store for MD Glam, my skincare company”. Dr. Cat’s skincare line, MD Glam, was launched over a decade ago and it was formulated because she loves skincare. Dr. Cat is a scientistandshestudiedmolecularandcellularbiologyatHarvard. She also did a lot of research on skincare while at UCLA including investigating ingredients that were proven to work. From all her years of study and scientific research she realized there were no products on the market that had the efficacy or quality she was looking for. So, she started MD Glam, with the commitment to being the beat skincare products in the world, based on Dr. Cat’s years of knowledge and research. She formulated each product to be incomparable to other products on the market so she could standbehindit100%andhelpallwomenhaveamazing, youthful, and glowing skin. “I am in love with my skincare line because I put so much passion and knowledge based on scientific research into it. There are so many women all over the world that have had their lives changed by MD GLAM. Not only does their skin look smooth, youthful and amazing, but the confidence it has given themhasgiventhemaninnerglowradiatesineverythingtheydo”. Theproductsalsofeelandsmellamazingandwomenlookforward to their daily MD GLAM self care moment at the beginning and end of every day! The product is great for ALL skin types. Visit www.mdglam.com to experience the products for yourself! I never wanted the conversation to end, but we had to do a wrap up. I wanted to go out on a light note, so I asked Dr. Cat about some of the fun stuff that she likes to do in her spare time? “Fun Tik Tok videos with my daughter Layla! I also love doing arts and craftswithherandgoinghikingwithmyfamily.”Familylifeisvery important to Dr. Cat. On the show, Dr. 90210, there are scenes with her parents, her husband and daughter. Dr. Cat balances it all - career, wife, being a mom and does everything with love.
Clarity, Awareness, And Excellence:
Meet Lori Gentles
Author of OhSLAP! MyChoicesDetermineMyDestiny!: The#1Guideto MakingBetter DecisionsandLivingaSelf EmpoweredLife written by Lori Gentles Have you ever been overwhelmed by your circumstances and felt there was nothing you could do about it? Have you ever struggled with saying no, even when you knew you should? If you’ve answered yes to either of those, it’s time to reevaluate some things and author Lori Gentles is here to show you the way. I recently had the pleasure of talking with Lori about the release of her new book, Oh SLAP! My Choices Determine My Destiny!: The #1 Guide to Making Better Decisions and Living a Self Empowered Life, and she shared some very powerful gems.
Born the seventh of eight children, Lori’s grandmother knew there was magic in the number seven and she always assured Lori that she was destined to do great things. Now, Lori hopes to take that same confidence that was instilled in her and pass it on to others. Although she never fancied herself a writer, the universe clearly had other plans.
While it can be easy to feel like your circumstances have limited your possibilities, Lori wants her audience to know that nothing is ever out of reach. If you’re unhappy with your situation, you have the ability to work towards improving it. Sure, you may not be able to accomplish your goals overnight, but progress is always the key. Lori likens these moments to a game of chess in which every small move gets you closer to your ultimate goal. In fact, this analogy reminds her of a saying taught to her by a former coach: “inch by inch everything’s a cinch, yard by yard, everything is hard.”
In her book, Lori offers a pathway to a more confident and empowered life. With more than 15 years of human resources experiences, Lori is no stranger to helping people work through various conflicts and other issues. As a result, she has a unique point of view and she’s ready to share it with the world. Lori is a big believer in the importance of perspective, and she feels that one of the first steps to “living a self empowered life” starts with seeing yourself as a victor instead of a victim. She wants people to know that “with every breath, they are making a choice. And it's that kind of clarity, that I'm trying to convey”. Oh SLAP! aims to assist readers in building confidence by teaching them to understand the power of
The book is the true definition of a labor of love, and Lori has filled its pages with life changing information. Through her writing, Lori hopes to help people identify what she calls “slap moments”. By her own definition a slap moment is “a moment of sobering clarity, awareness and excellence.” Essentially, these wake up calls serve as turning points to make people realize that it’s time to make a change.
Oh SLAP! was written to help people of all ages and all walks of life. Even if confidence and decision making aren’t things you struggle with, there is still something you can learn from reading the book. Lori says, “If we can get people to [move] even one degree in their behavior towards the positive, the collective benefit will be exponential. Let’s all do our part to change the world; to contribute to the betterment of the world. If we can get people to do that through reading the book...then we’re doing a wonderful communique Magazine
thing.” With all of the self help books on the market, some people may be wondering ‘what’s so special about this one?’ That’s easy. All of the advice Lori offers in Oh SLAP! is advice she’s already utilized in her own life - and it’s worked. In fact, Lori even reads the book from time to time when she needs some guidance. Not only is Lori’s voice refreshing, but her insight is truly enlightening. She understands how hard life can be, but she also understands that positive change is always possible. When asked if there’s anything she wants to leave readers with, Lori simply said “keep moving forward, you’re never stuck”. Oh SLAP! My Choices Determine My Destiny!: The #1 Guide to Making Better Decisions and Living a Self Empowered Life is currently available on Amazon and all other major book retailers. Lori can be found on Instagram @weareichoice or on her webpage at thechoicescompany.com.
Jody Watley is Still A Thrill!
She celebrated the 35th anniversary of her massive
songwriter, and producer Andre Cymone who joined
blockbuster self-titled album in true festive style
Watley for the first time onstage in celebration of her
coupled with a birthday balloon drop into the audience
35th Anniversary Solo Debut Concert. In the show,
on Friday, January 28th at Sycuan Casino and Resort in
Watley said, "It's an historical night."
San Diego. Cymone was an early collaborator with Watley on The sold-out concert began with a standing ovation
her solo debut album, co-writing hits like Looking
from her fans when the Grammy award-winning iconic
For A New Love, Still A Thrill, Some Kind of Lover
singer appeared on stage.
and subsequent hits Real Love, Friends, I Want You on their work together over 4 albums. With sheer
Her 90-minute set did not disappoint! She delivered a
delight from the crowd, Cymone was well-received
high energy performance from beginning to end.
with continual applause from fans as he jammed with Watley and her band throughout the show.
To the surprise of the audience, she introduced musician,
Andre sat down for an interview and also recorded this message for the Grammy winner, also giving respect and praise for her influence on other female artists. Click here to watch The former couple were also married, divorcing in 1994 and have one son together, Arie. Andre Cymone has since remarried. Their son Arie was in attendance along with daughter Lauren along with Andre's wife Katherine to join in the festive occasion. "The night was truly special, especially with Andre graciously accepting an invitation from me to play with my band on stage in celebration for my birthday and 35th anniversary of my solo debut album," says the legendary singer. As a solo artist, the ageless pop and R&B singer has 6 Billboard Hot 100 Top Ten Singles, 13 Number 1 Dance Singles, 2 R&B Number 1’s, 15 Top 40 Singles, Gold and platinum albums, 2007 Billboard Dance Lifetime Achievement, 2017 recipient of the Black Music Honors Crossover Music Icon Award and nominations from the American Music Awards, MTV Awards, NAACP Awards and Soul Train Awards. Watley is a trendsetting pioneer in music, video, fashion and style, one of the architects of 21st century pop. The cultural music iconic singer in Pop/Soul/R&B continues to amass chart-toppers! She also performed the upbeat dance song, Whenever from her latest EP release, Renderings, a special collection of Alex Di Ciò Dance/Club remixes. Alex Di Ciò is a world-renowned producer, and remixer. Congratulations, Ms. Watley! You can follow the iconic singer on her social media @jodywatley
Article and Photos Submitted by BNM Publicity Group & Management
Brittany and Samuel Paculabo's
Wedding Was "A Royal Day" Filled with Lush, Greenery and Lots of Love!
After dating for a year, Samuel and Brittany became Mr. and Mrs. Paculabo in front of family and friends on September 1, 2021, in the United Kingdom. The beautiful bride, Brittany Batson is a native Texan. She relives her special wedding day for us and shares, "It was our royal day." Tell us how you found your true love, what made you decide to make a public commitment in the form of marriage and the wedding day? Our wedding was held at Hengrave, Hall, Bury Saint Edmunds IP28 6LZ, United Kingdom Wednesday, September 1, 2021 at 3 p.m. THE VENUE: Hengrave Hall is a Tudor manor house in Hengrave near Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk, England and was the seat of the Kitson and Gage families 15251887. This stunning Grade 1* listed mansion is situated within an impressive 350-acre estate and is an exclusive use wedding venue, which exudes historic charm. This magnificent mansion is filled with 27 luxurious bedrooms and was built in 1525. Hengrave Hall has a fascinating history and its own idyllic chapel. Elizabeth I stayed at Hengrave in 1578 and there is a chamber named in her honor. The madrigalist John Wilbye was employed by the Kitsons at Hengrave and in London, as was the composer Edward Johnson. King James II also visited Hengrave throughout the 1670s. Suffolk/Bury St. Edmunds is located approximately two hours northeast of London. THE NEWLYWEDS: The groom, Samuel Paculabo was born in Bristol UK and raised in Eastbourne, UK. He is the eldest son of
Christian Music pioneer and worship champion, John Paculabo. During his father’s tenure at Kingsway music, Sam worked in marketing under his dad’s leadership for several years in the British Christian music industry. He is also a former Basketball player in the British Basketball League for the Brighton Bears in Brighton, Sussex. Still excellent in his skill, he is currently looking at developing mentorship opportunities to merge his love for Basketball with his heart to empower gifted young people in their talents. Currently a West Sussex resident, he enjoys his currently role in the social care realm serving and supporting a community of at-risk youth. The bride, Brittany Batson is a Texas native but currently lives in Nashville. She is a Worship Leader, earring designer, and Former Celebrity Makeup Artist. Before moving to Nashville, she lived in Los Angeles for nearly 10 years. Her musical experiences range from live background performances on nationally televised shows to professional sessions for major label recording artists, as well as singing background for numerous renown Christian and Gospel artists. Brittany was also seen in several national commercials as well as a testimonial for four national and international Proactiv commercials. Brittany modeled in three seasons of the Nashville Pink Bride Wedding Show with Glitz and David’s Bridal. She was featured on page 118 in the Pink Bride/ Tennessee Weddings Magazine wearing a Glitz Bridal gown. OUR STORY: Sam and I met through his British sister and Brother-in-law (Lucy and Jorge) who moved from England to Nashville. Lucy moved here to work for her late father’s mission-based organization (Justice and Mercy, Intl.) that her father oversaw with while in England, while Jorge is a Christian touring artist with singers such as Matt Redman and Chris Tomlin. While attending a mutual friend’s party, I met his sister and organically befriended her and her husband for nearly a year. One day in July, she posted a picture of her brother (Sam, still living in England) on IG and I nearly fell off my seat! I said, “Who is that and why has my friend been 41
holding out on me?! lol” After exchanging a few innocent likes on IG with her brother, Lucy texted me out of the blue asking to go to lunch. Perfect timing! When we met up several weeks later at First Watch in Franklin, I asked if this cute brother of hers was single and she said yes! In fact, he was coming to the States to visit them the following month. Lucy made the formal introduction, he DM’d me several days later, and the rest was history. Our first date (Sept. 27, 2019) in Nashville was 10 hours long! And on our third date during a Tenn. Titans game, we knew we both found something special. (My cousin plays for the Titans and got us front row seats.) After officially dating and two back-to-back trips to England later, he popped the question and we were engaged on Dec. 28, 2019. Then COVID hit. And just like so many other pandemic couples, we were placed on an invisible waiting list wondering when our turn would be to have a wedding. We initially planned to be married in August 2020 in Texas at Knotting Hill Place. We looked at Tennessee venues, but because most of my immediate family are in Texas, we chose Dallas. But early in 2020, the US placed a travel ban on the UK which kept him from traveling here. After this halt and surveying other precautions relating to marriage visas, we were advised by Sam’s immigration lawyer to marry in his native country. After gaining some clarity and direction (and being thrust to marry in England, which I’m not mad about!) our wedding immediately became a destination wedding for US guests. Because of certain travel restrictions, we kept it more on an intimate scale of 60 people (which ended up best befitting the quaint castle-like manor and the petite church on its grounds). I abandoned my US estate homes search and began looking for UK wedding venues. I’ve always loved the Gothic Revival Style architecture, so England started to feel like the perfect place. I paired my love for their country’s old yet ornate
grandeur with my personal nostalgic vintage junkie vibe. England worked! And why not make it a castle?! – they are everywhere there anyways! With a few Google and YouTube searches for castle wedding venues with churches on site, my eyes landed on Hengrave Hall and they never swayed. I knew it was love at first sight. I joke with Sam that I fell in love with the venue first and just needed him to get married there! He didn’t find that too funny! I was working the cyber end of the venue searches from America, and he and his mom visited the locations on ground there in the UK. Of course, we kept coming back to Hengrave Hall. We locked in our deposit Aug or Sept. 2020 and I had my first venue tour there in November. But because COVID was not going anywhere, we had to move our wedding date three times! Talk about stressful. Planning a wedding is one thing, but planning a wedding overseas, in the middle of a pandemic, in a relationship torn apart by travel bans, is on an entirely different level. Love and faith kept us going.
dramatically in the UK, guests could travel there with more ease than before, and weddings had finally returned full force. God-willing, Sam plans to come to Tennessee 2022. In the meantime, I’ll be partaking in short stays in the UK. THE PROPOSAL: Sam proposed to me on Dec. 28, 2019 in the courtyard of the Tate Modern Museum in London near St. Paul’s Cathedral. We were surrounded by supportive on-lookers and a local guitarist, which totally reminded me of Nashville. Sam was so nervous as we walked to the museum that I knew something was up. But you can never plan your reaction for a once in a lifetime moment. Once we were fixated in the perfect spot, he began to tell me how much I meant to him and I just knew it was happening. Everything was so perfect except he was so nervous that he forgot what finger he was putting the ring on! Lol. As you can see, it wasn’t a dealbreaker!
As an interracial and an intercontinental couple, we’ve had to overcome many obstacles particularly highlighted and made harder due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. But the waiting was worth it.
THE ATTIRE & INSPIRATION: Ceremony Dress: Ceremony Dress: “Helen” from Milla Nova’s Royal Collection Reception Dress: Mikaella #2105 (No belt) Headpiece & Earrings: Asya Lapteva Bridal (Based in Russia) Veil: Viero Bridal Shoes: Zara Bridesmaid Dresses: “Askins Crystal Slit Gown” by Tadashi Shoji Other: *My cascading bouquet included a royal flower that can only be grown in a royal garden of a royal family. My florist was the only florist in the area to have access to this particular flower that descended from the line of Queen Victoria. *Many have compared the wedding or the inspiration to Megan Markle, particularly because of our interracial relationship and my choice of a minimalistic second dress.
Not only did we grow and learn each other better (under stressful opposition and uncertain times) but since we didn’t rush the process of marriage as we could have done initially, we were afforded a fresh perspective of true commitment and loyalty in our relationship, plus the perfect window of time when COVID rates had dropped
Although I respect Megan, she was not a part of the planning vision. But it’s a fun comparison! JOHN PACULABO: Sam’s father was a giant and legend in the Christian Music Industry. Someone once called the Paculabo name and legacy “Worship Royalty”. But he was, on the contrary, a humble man; a man of little words
We knew God put us together. We chose to persevere believing that our story would encourage so many other couples. We were not just committed to each other, we were “committed to the commitment.” This marriage is significant for so many reasons, especially as the newest “Paculabo” to join into a huge family legacy of worship and justice.
but great impact. Affectionately known as “John Pac”, he was a Christian Music pioneer and worship champion. He was best known for his Manager Director role at Kingsway Music. Kingsway was bought out and merged with now Integrity music. John was also a trustee to Kingsway Trust which still exists today and has since merged with CLC book publishing. He was a former musician of the band Parchment, an A&R manager and label founder. John Pac was the man who introduced such acts as Tim Hughes and Matt Redman to the Christian music scene and they are global Christian artist sensations today. ATTENDEES: Guests included friends and family from all over the world with places such as: UK, Netherlands, and various cities and states in the US (Chicago, Florida – Jacksonville & Tallahassee –, Los Angeles, Orange County, Houston, East Texas and Nashville). A family from South Africa was set to come but had to renege due to the UK travel ban and restrictions still in place. 1. Jonathan Brown – President of Integrity Music, Nashville 2. Les and Judith Moir - Les Moir has played a significant role in the international contemporary worship music community. As a mentor, A&R manager, record producer and bass player, he has encouraged and coached many worship leaders, musicians and songwriters. Les is married to Judith and they are based in Eastbourne, East Sussex. Producer for many noted gospel acts. Former A&R for Integrity Music 28 years. 3.Adrian Anderson – Recording Artist, philanthropist, Beauty Entrepreneur, Speaker, Member of Grammy Nominated Dove Award Winning Music Group “Trin-I-tee 5:7” and the Recording Academy 4. Angela Jollivette- Music Supervisor/Producer. Former Recording Academy; Grammy Awards Department 5. Geneen White – Recording Artist, Song Writer, Worship Leader. Based in Los Angeles
6. Mat Owen – Executive Director of Kingsway CLC Trust (Music and Book Publishing, Eastbourne, UK) 7. Pastor Doug Williams - Doug Williams is the Senior Pastor of Emmanuel Christian Centre, a large and thriving inner-city church in the East-end of London. Doug is a wellrespected and much sought after Christian motivational speaker, with strong teaching gifts and an apostolic calling to leaders. He travels widely internationally, to conduct leadership training sessions, church retreats and men’s conferences. He is a singer / songwriter and has played with numerous gospel artists and singers. THE BRAND: House of Paculabo HOP is a family branding founded on the concepts of Bridging, Truth, and Heritage. We want to lay new groundwork for generations to come from our unique joining together as a cross-continental couple, while including the vast generational inheritance bestowed upon us. We consider ourselves: bridge builders, truth seekers, and culture keepers. Our family will be built on the bedrock of our crest banner line: “in domo hac nos Deum colimus” - In this house, we worship God. By this we are reminded that as a Christian family, everything we do and take part of will be unto the glory of God. With our new family name and now brand on the horizon, we are looking to set fashion at the forefront. We are currently narrowing down the market and discovering how to merge the likings of fashion-forward European trends, traditional British elements with American standards. As we hope to expand, music along with mission work will inevitably follow suit as our hearts and heritage direct us down this path. We hope that the three aforementioned pillars will undergird each endeavor we establish. Right now, we want people to get familiar with the name, the story and the heart.
Article and Photos Submitted by BNM Publicity Group & Management
“If Foster Care is a Challenge, then those who age out is a Crisis…” The chapters in our lives are not always authored by us. Steven Pemberton’s childhood experience as a ward of the state gives one an in-depth view of how one’s journey is often not their path of choice. The successful author, speaker, and executive reveals in his USA Today bestselling memoir, A Chance in the World. His personal experience, this unstable foundation, one built on physical and verbal abuse, and his survival has made him the highly respected man he is today. Steve Pemberton’s memoir, his extraordinary life journey has been featured in People Magazine, CBS Evening News, The Washington Post and The Today Show. The film with the same title, A Chance in the World, was adapted into film in 2018, it is currently airing on Prime Video and other networks.
Mr. Pemberton is the Chief Human Resources Officer for Workhuman, which is a leading online platform providing employees an opportunity to recognize each other. Through the program employers invest in the recognition of their employees. This creates cultural bridges, empowerment, and value within the workplace. Workhuman brings continuous performance development solutions, that brings humanity to the world through positive recognition in the workplace. It is no wonder how Steve’s responsibilities today would reflect the environment he longed for as a youth. Steve has been showered with well deserved accolades. His advocacy for the disenfranchised, dedication to public service, his personal and profession achievements
have earned him Honorary Doctorates. He has created his own foundation, A Chance in the World, that specifically focuses on helping young adults who age out of the foster care system in America. He has taken the opportunity to provide scholarships to middle school students in his hometown of New Bedford, Massachusetts. Steve completed his undergraduate and graduate work at Boston College, where he also serves on The Board of Trustees. He also resides on several non-profit boards including UCAN, Loyola Academy, Boys Hope Girls Hope and DisabilityIn. Steve and his wife Tonya are the proud parents of three children. The personal impact from the publication of his first book brought many referrals, advocates, updated information regarding Social Service agencies, and having to navigate through the court systems, and new policies and procedures. We discussed his personal experience and though that was then, now doesn’t seem to hold many changes.
When asked, what are the differences for the youth that age-out of the Foster Care System today? The answer was an eye-opener. It was discouraging. “Very little has changed. The stress and strain on the employees, the Social Worker, the Counselors is overwhelming; and then there’s the dangers for the youth.” Steve went on to explain the depth of the problem we, society, don’t realize until there’s undisputable evidence. Incarceration, the lack of education, homelessness, and community discord. “If Foster care is a challenge, those aging out are a crisis.” The lack of school and home placement create an unstable environment. With those limits, the youth become rootless. “You don’t have what is needed to plant your own seeds.” For most foster kids, the day they turn eighteen (18), they’re suddenly on their own, responsible to find a place to live, and manage their money. They become responsible for their living, support, care, and necessities. Aged out
usually occurs once they’ve graduated from high school. “There is no next. Transition homes exist in some states, but most states ignore the needs of the youth that has aged out.” The aged-out youth in the system has often survived more than one or two homes, become aware of the crisis he or she had no choice in creating, and wears societies labels. “It becomes a generational crisis, just like prison and addiction. One either pays now or pays later. Many of the youth have skills. They dream, but they face reality and don’t take things for granted. Speaking to their future... they just want to be normal.” Steve was placed with an abusive family. Although the family structure; mother, father, sister, and brother existed each member abused him regularly. It was his sophomore year in high school when his life changed. His desire to know who he was, who his parents were, and simply who did he look like were daily questions. His reflection in the mirror couldn’t answer and his foster family wouldn’t answer his cry for identity. Although they were compensated for taking him in, he didn’t mean much more to them then that stipend. Most foster children are labeled. They wear the labels given to them by the system and it extends to the home. “Labels limit and invite an idea and belief, ‘This is all you are’.” This categorizes who they are in the world. “It’s the first picture of who you are.” A child living daily in this environment wears the label and without that resilience, the survival instinct, they fall victim to becoming a negative statistic. “Expanding beyond the label behavioral label causes us and others to think we know who they are.” Record levels today show family discord and separation have continued to climb leaving many youths to become part of the system, now or later. “All resources must be partners. Private and community based as well as government agencies must work to one end. What it really means is, we must provide a vision. When that vision is seen and shown the endless possibilities can be accomplished.
“Our culture is adrift in division and distrust, and we need everyday heroes more than ever.” Steve’s newly released book, The Lighthouse Effect is based on this principle. He shares the stories of the ordinary people who quietly change lives and bring change to their communities. “Ordinary people can have an extraordinary impact in one’s life and the world.” Steve was touched by this effect and it changed the direction of his life. Reading was his outlet. While being punished in the cellar he found reading would take him away from the circumstances that met him daily. He spoke of the Lighthouse Effect and I had to admit it broadened my understanding as he explained. “All around us are people whose stories and journeys are lighthouses for us. They impact us in small ways and lead us through our stages in life. It’s not always the celebrity or the family member. It may be a coach, a teacher, or our first boss. When you go through your life’s journey and you are now responsible, your past, that part of your journey is lit because of the lighthouse effects in your life. You can be a lighthouse or need to be the lighthouse for someone else.” Steve found his lighthouse in Mrs. Leven, who provided him with books to read, Mr. Slyvia, his caseworker, Ms. Dolton, and Mr. Skyes who lit the way for him to receive a scholarship to Boston University through the Upward Bound program. Although they lit a way for his survival and redirection, he had to suffer through what would be his last bout of abuse. It was then that Mr. Sykes took him in until he graduated from high school and left for college. The Lighthouse Effect for Steve Pemberton was based on the vision of possibilities. A Chance In The World Foundation supports aspiring youth in an effort to help them reach their goals. Through Steve’s miraculous story, his memoir has inspired young people to persevere, to realize they aren’t alone, and most importantly, to realize the power of possibility. Interview: Steve Pemberton www.stevepemberton.io Writer: Nanette M Buchanan firstname.lastname@example.org Model: Guthrie Bonnétt Photographer: Gaby Abboud (Chicago, Il) communique Magazine
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