SENATOBIA, MS (06/26/2017) World-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma once said, "Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you're passionate about something, then you're more willing to take risks."
Following his passions is one of the things that defines Michael Lacey, Northwest Mississippi Community College alumnus and DeSoto Center tutor. In addition to helping his students succeed, Lacey has taken the risk to follow his passions in pursuing a career in music and in becoming a published author. Both of these passions have enabled him to spread his Christian faith to others.
Lacey grew up in Southaven until eighth grade, when his parents moved their family to an area near Branson, Missouri. His parents had owned their own cleaning business, and sold their company to take their sons to a quieter place. "They didn't like the kids we were hanging out with, and felt we needed a change. So, they sold everything here, bought land and built their own house. We worked and lived off the land, selling firewood and lumber. They sold everything here, bought land and built their own house. It was one of the best things they could have done for us, although I didn't like it at the time," Lacey said.
He attended Reeds Spring High School in Stone County, Missouri and then went to University of Missouri-Rolla for three semesters to pursue engineering, before transferring to Arkansas State University. "I realized that was not the path for me and I changed my mind a couple of times," Lacey said.
He and his family then returned to the area and Lacey started attending Northwest's DeSoto Center studying and earned his Associate in Arts in Business Administration. He went on to the University of Mississippi-DeSoto and earned his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics with a minor in English. He met his wife, the former Ashton Allman, when he attended church at Kirby Woods Baptist Church. Ashton is an eighth-grade teacher at Lewisburg Middle School. They are the parents of an 11- month old son, Nathan.
When Lacey was a student, he took a class called "Career and Life Planning" from Charlie Aaron, psychology instructor at Northwest, that required him to do a mock job interview. One of the people who interviewed him was Kitt Albritton Brand, who was the former CTE Disability and Support Services Coordinator at DeSoto Center. Brand was so impressed with Lacey, she offered him a job in the Tutoring Center. Lacey has been a tutor at Northwest for nine years. He also teaches a Business Mathematics class. "I love tutoring here and connecting with the students. It is wonderful to build relationships with my students," Lacey said.
"Since I transferred to Desoto Center six years ago to work with our ADA students and to oversee the tutoring lab, I have had the privilege of working closely with Michael. Although he is a quiet and fairly private person, he is one of the smartest and most talented people I know. He knows his math and has a special way with students. He has helped more students than I can count go from a failing grade in math to a C, B and even an A in several instances and is an asset to our tutoring lab," said Patsy Gardner, CTE Support Services coordinator.
Lacey is also a part-time worship leader at his church, Life Fellowship Church, where he plays guitar and sings. "My mother was a big influence in my pursuit of music. She wrote songs and sang to us all of our lives. I don't feel I was naturally musical, but she encouraged me to chase that dream. I worked on it and taught myself," Lacey said. He started playing guitar at age 20, using online resources to teach himself. In addition to playing at church, he plays alone, with his wife or with a band at local venues. In July 2016, Lacey cut his first CD at Blue Sky Studio in Jackson. The CD is entitled "The Diver and the Deep." All the songs on the CD were written by Lacey. "These are the songs that people seemed to like the best when I was playing either by myself or with a couple of guys, so I put them together on this CD," Lacey said.
"In between tutoring students, Michael is constantly reading, writing or preparing for worship at his church. He is also a wonderful husband and father. I am proud of him and all of his accomplishments and appreciate his faith, integrity and the impact he has had on our students here at Desoto Center," Gardner said.
His other passion has been to write a book. He had started a couple of books and never finished them. He says he decided to follow a mantra he had heard in the past, "done is better than perfect" and give it a try. He found a program online called the "Self-Publishing School," which he followed and ended up self-publishing his book, "As We Fight: A Weekly Guide Through the Warfare of Worship," which came out in February 2017. Lacey had already been making notes to put together devotionals to encourage his worship team. He put together 52 devotionals for each Sunday of the year as the basis of his book. "It is about the four fights we face: against our flesh, the enemy, our culture and the fights we face together with leadership," Lacey said.
Lacey's book is available through Amazon, he said. To learn more about his book visit aswefightbook.com and on Instagram. His music is available through MichaelLaceyMusic.com and Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Noisetrade.
Lacey explained that his book and his CD are exclusive of one another. He has followed two passions in his life and reached a milestone in both. "I hope one day they will be more consistent with one another. I've just chased passions whenever they were in front of me," Lacey said.
He will be doing some book signings and also concerts in and around North Mississippi this summer and into the fall.