Carole Mac is Sitting Pretty in Her Power
Powerhouse Carole Mac, a New York-based food personality and sommelier, has brought renewed faith and a new path for those who have experienced deep losses in life. She gained her power through a magical story she wrote titled The Gift of the Ladybug, which is based on love, joy, and radical acceptance through the eyes of two horses who learn their son is a ladybug. The book was written in honor of her son TJ, who had a progressive mitochondrial disease.
“When we heard of TJ’s real diagnosis, that was the hardest day of my life,” said Mac. “During the appointment at the Cleveland Clinic, the doctor told me my son wasn’t going to make it for his second birthday and I just remembered I had normalized all types of things and can be ok if he was blind or in a wheelchair and never thought it would be so soon.”
Learning the information surrounding TJ’s disease and that it wasn’t curable, Mac saw horses and ladybugs floating in her mind. The horses she saw in her mind were crying because they recently learned the news about their ladybug. As for the ladybug, the insect was concerned about why the horses were crying and mentioned to them that it only knew how to be a ladybug.
“These horses were representatives of us,” said Mac in regards to her and her family. “Just like in a dream it made sense.”
This beautiful metaphor provided Mac with instant relief from that harrowing moment and assisted her with reframing her circumstances. It permitted her to cherish TJ exactly as he was, be in the present moment, live with more peace and joy, and accept her circumstances. Due to this story being so transformative for her, Mac’s desire with her book is to bring comfort, peace, and love to other families facing difficult diagnoses.
“I wrote the book for TJ in an hour and a half the next day,” she said. “I read it to him countless times and gave it to him for Christmas.”
The book allowed Mac to see TJ as the gift he truly was in her life as well as to release fear. Nowadays, the heart-warming story is relevant to the National Gift of the Lady Bug Day, which became official on Jan 28, 2022. Mac mentioned that when she first published the book ten years ago, she created a goal for herself which was to have a national holiday to honor children with critical illnesses and medical differences.
“These beautiful children with critical illnesses are all absolute heroes and we have so much to learn from them,” she said.
Mac has two goals with The Gift of the Ladybug. One is a financial goal that entails donating $100,000 in the next three years to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Her second goal is more on the emotional side, which is to provide as many children and families with comfort, relief, and positivity.
“We are also coming up with a program with The Gift of the Ladybug to give books to hospitals and schools,” she said. “We are also coming up with a way to send Make-A-Wish children the book and the stuffed Polkadot, the main character of the book.”
Mac’s purpose with The Gift of the Ladybug also relates to her work in the food industry. After a year of TJ’s passing, Mac was still in a state of agony but decided that this loss would not define her.
“I figured I had to do something drastic,” she said. “I decided to go to Italy for three months and harvest olives, make wine, make Pecorino in the Alps, shoot my first food series, write about food, and more.”
As a result, she planned her three-month trip to Italy through a program called World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF), which is a network of national organizations that facilitate homestays on organic farms. With Italy being her destination, she considered this experience to be her “food bliss” experience.
“The coolest thing about this trip was that as I planned it, I found relief from my pain of losing TJ,” said Mac. “Since food and wine are sensory things, I would take a bite of the food and go into my senses.
Mac savored Italy bite after bite, drink after drink. The food and wine took the pain away from her, which is when she realized adding joy and passion into your life assists with eliminating grief. For her, it is much more powerful than therapy.
“You can actually experience joy and passion again, even if it’s in nanoseconds in the beginning,” she said.
After this experience, Mac decided to continue her food bliss adventures. With this being said, she packed her bags and moved to New York City so she can continue to experience food bliss and savor the Big Apple on a weekly basis. Currently, Mac is working on a show titled Food Bliss. The show puts together food bliss adventures for people in order for them to experience peace, joy, and passion in their lives again.
“Food has brought passion, joy, and fun into my life when I thought I couldn’t find it again,” she said. “Anytime you can infuse bliss into your life, you know you are on the right track.
For Mac, food defines bliss and purpose as well as the lessons she learned through TJ. Wine4food.com, a platform that brings readers the inside scoop from sommeliers, chefs, winemakers, and industry insiders, will also be working on a partnership with Mac in order to bring Food Bliss to life. Mac has been working with Wine4Food ever since she moved to New York.
“They helped me make my dreams come true,” she said about Wine4Food. “I started working with them the second I moved to New York and allowed me to use my passion with their passion for wine to turn out content that really helps people that love both food and wine.”
Indeed, Mac’s resilience has empowered many to continue their path towards happiness. To keep up with Mac, The Gift of the Ladybug, and Food Bliss, visit CaroleMac.com, GoftoftheLadybug.com, Wine4Food.com, and follow her on Instagram over @carole.mac and @giftoftheladybug.
Photographer: Filbert Kung @filbert_kung
Glam: Peggy Mackey @peggymackeybeauty
Styling: Steven Lassalle @stylebylassalle
Production: Matt Dillon @mattdillon1983
Story: Aida M.Toro @aidamtoro
Location: Grove Studios, Miami @grovestudios