A Refreshing of Our Dreams

 A Reminder:


As I sat in a quiet room this morning, listening to the sound of water fall, I was reminded that maybe I’m pushing too much, too hard.
See, when I originally founded LYDIA, the idea was to have a place – maybe a coffee shop or cafe, maybe just have hot water and regular coffee – that our clients and friends could come hang out. We would have books to read, some to purchase, but our goal wouldn’t be on selling anything (other than items created by our clients, rare books, etc.).
What does this mean? To me, it means that all these challenges of HOW would we fund a bookstore and HOW would we compete with a certain online retailer….while they should be considered, shouldn’t be our focus.
Instead, our goal would be to create community and train clients.

I remembered a peer mentorship program I participated in before I had my second baby (2005); we all met at the department of children’s services and had coffee or tea, cookies, and a nice talk. That’s where the idea behind LYDIA began to take root.
At the college, before I got pregnant with the baby and went on bedrest (2006), we held a women’s tea – it didn’t go off as planned, but the survey revealed a deeper need.

In 2007, I had a prematurely born baby and a 3 yo/almost 4 years old child. I was a single mom, trying to go back to school and make ends meet. We met with and used the services of Maury United Ministries (MUMs). They had a Bible study and get together for clients, where we could take our children with us or find a babysitter.
Where we lived in the projects, there was a community center that held big events like Christmas parties, information on HUD changes, or even orientation.

   The Dream:

Here’s what I envision, taking form more than a decade ago. You walk into an inviting room. There’s the scent of fresh-brewed coffee on the air, and the smell of well-read books. There’s a welcome friend sitting in the corner, in an overstuffed chair. S/he looks up, a smile gracing his or her face, and you head over, browsing along the way. Glass cases house antiques and classics. Art that clients have created line the walls and small hand-made items for sale, such as jewelry, throw pillows, area rugs (hand tied), etc. can be found in little nooks and crannies. You hear the quiet hum of computers running in the background; the computers are for clients’ and students’ use, therefore kept separate from the Book Lounge. Beyond the book lounge are classrooms and conference halls for workshops and training opportunities. Behind the classrooms and conference halls are the administrative offices and our business apparel clothes closet.

We also have a child care center. Here, clients who are looking for work can drop their children off for a few hours a day to fill out applications and go to job interviews with no worries of needing a babysitter. These services are offered at $1/day or 1 hour of time doing work for the teachers or cleaning. We have a daycare center where clients who have gained employment are able to bring their children for the first six weeks at their new job; this is so they can safely save up to pay the deposit and have enough to supplement the state waiver for childcare. Finally, there is the option for clients employed with us (running the Book Lounge/Cafe, doing administrative work, or managing the clothes closet) to leave their children in our center. This is to promote and improve familial relations (taking lunch with their children or being available as needed).
I’ve been asked if we’ll have a sick room. This would be ideal. I’ve also been asked if we’ll have special needs teachers. As I have special needs children, I would love to be able to secure these dear people.

We’ll have something for the teens and young adults to do. Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights will be when teens can work together on projects, produce band and drama nights, and generally hang out in a safe environment. My hope is to partner with local teen and young adult agencies already in our community that have similar or compatible programs.

The Reality:

We have a business apparel clothes closet. We do online non-medical case management and life coaching. We do networking and are making connections within the community.

 The Need: 

Even to start small, we need an office location as we currently work from my home. We need to be able to store and sort clothes. We need to be able to meet with clients. We need to be able to offer an internship program for high schoolers and collegiate students. We need somewhere to begin building community.


So, we’re taking a step back, breathing easy, and hope to meet you soon. Please, let us know how we can help you build a stronger community, together.

Life Skills Classes

Okay, now. I know we’re already offering this one, and of course we have our blog!

How about learning to shop on your foodstamps – get the most for your “money”? Shopping for the day you come off your foodstamps? Learning to budget to account for the amount of foodstamps you receive, so that when you budget your new income, it’s not a hard adjustment to make – if I get $290 in foodstamps now, I have to include that $290 in my food budget for when I’m not on foodstamps anymore.

Budgeting – see above. Also learning how to enjoy life on no-to-little income. You can share your tips and tricks with us!

Hygienic concerns.

Cleanliness (don’t look at my house. Seriously, stop on by, we’ll share a cup of tea and a conversation. Cross my fingers, we’ll hope to make it a good one!)

What would you like to know? How to change a tire? How to make proper change? How to wash clothes – read labels? How to sweep and cover the most space? Mopping? Canning? Sewing? Wood-working? Metal-smithing? Real life, hands-on skills? How to wash dishes and get all the grease off? Water conservation – that one I need to work on, myself.

Participatory classes.

Real teachers who will answer your questions.

So much more than a computer screen or someone on a video telling you what to do.

What do you think is most important to learn? Work with us to customize a program to meet the needs of the community.

First Days at a New Job

The kids and I have been rewatching episodes of a t.v. show where the mom got a new job, really without discussing it with the rest of the family – discussing it, but not really listening to the concerns of all involved…. The other day, I was talking to a friend about her new job, and the way the people at home still expected her to be available at all hours of the day, even when she was scheduled to work. So, we wanted to take a moment to discuss some important first days events and preparation.

10 More Minutes, Mom!

10 More Minutes, Mom!

The alarm goes off and you hit the snooze button, maybe hoping for ten more minutes. You programmed your coffee maker the night before, or you’ve already alotted time for a quick coffee stop on the way in to work. In a perfect world, you laid out your work clothes the night before, you take a perfect 15-minute shower (quicker if you can), your curling iron or blow-dryer is all ready to go for your hair, your makeup technique takes you no more than 15 minutes, and you can be out the door in 45 minutes from the time you jump in the shower to the time you leave for work.


Getting Ready

If you’re a guy, you do the normal guy things, and still have plenty of time to get to work. You filled your car’s gas tank and don’t need to worry about being late for work due to stopping for fuel (remembering that you’ve already factored in grabbing a quick coffee). Knowing how frustrating traffic can be with seemingly everyone headed to work at the same exact time in the same exact direction, you leave a few minutes earlier for added travel time. It goes great! You get to work, sign in at the desk or punch your timecard, whatever your first day demands are, and you report for duty. Yay, you!




Having Arrived

Now that you’ve arrived, you want to settle in – but what is the best way to do that? Do you greet people or wait for them to come greet you? Are you shy, and wait to see who the “leader” is, or do you take initiative and introduce yourself all around? Do you take a moment to appreciate your new work environment? Or do you dive right in, getting busy with whatever there is to do?

What kind of language do you use? Are you polite to your colleagues? Your customers? Do you respect yourself and others?

Getting a new job can be exciting, but also wearying. It can be physically and mentally draining. Are you prepared? Have you psyched yourself up? Are you ready for the hours you’ve committed to work – whether full-time, part-time, or seasonal? Are you going to give of yourself or are you going to take advantage of new people who don’t know you or what to expect from you? It’s okay to ask for help, to ask for instruction. In fact, one of the things we do here at LYDIA, Inc. is match clients with peer mentors. But. Tricking or otherwise manipulating other people into doing your work for you is not very responsible. It falls under “fraud” and can cause problems in the future – when you’re asked to complete a task or develop a program and you have no idea how to finish the job.

See, each choice we make has consequences. If we take a job and promise to commit then we fail to perform, it results in job loss. If we take a job and haven’t prepared ourselves, our families, or even our friends, it results in animosity, loss of friendship, and can even cause a loss of trust from others in you. This loss can cause a breakdown of community. What steps can you take to strengthen those relationships now instead of leaving them to weaken and eventually break? (Not taking the job is always an option, but weigh the pros and cons against your responsibilities here.)


Ties that Bind

Another part of getting ready for a new job is to prepare your friends and/or family. Talk it over with them. Discuss your hours. If you’re able, discuss your job requirements or duties. Talk about the impact this new job will have on your “normal” life. Will you still be available to run errands, drop everything and take the kids to the doctor’s? Will you contribute to the house, or eating out, or putting gas in the car (if you have roommates or if you share transportation responsibilities)? What will the people still at home be expected to do? How will your new job change the expectations on you?

The things we give up in order to do another thing we want to do is called opportunity cost. Sometimes, this means giving up time with friends and family for our jobs, or our hobbies. Sometimes, it means choosing friends and family over the job – a new promotion, better pay, and more hours at work to take you away from your families. Sometimes, it means there are some really great things to do, activities to enjoy, and all these choices require a decision. So then you must choose – what you don’t choose is the cost of your current opportunity.

a full hand

Pick a Card, Any Card

Remember, the job is a great thing to have. It’s an accomplishment. So is strengthening your relationships. So make sure that not only are you ready for the first days of your new job, but so is everyone else important to you. And congratulations on getting a new job. We wish you the best and we’re here to answer any questions you might have.



A Support Your Community Activity

Last minute notice*:

This Saturday, July 30th, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., we are gathering school supplies for recipients of St. Elizabeth Shelter’s Casa Familia. Donations can be dropped off at LYDIA, Inc.

The program manager has requested that we provide clean/brand new underwear, water bottles, backpacks/bookbags, and uniform shirts – for anyone who is able to do so. Otherwise, our request is that when you are out shopping, please pick up one or two extra items and drop them off with us. If your children need it, so do the children at St. Elizabeth Shelter’s Casa Familia. Continue Reading →

Steps to “Size Up” Your Current Situation

Sizeup – as presented by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)

The nine steps in “sizeup” are:

Gather the facts.
Assess and communicate the damage.
Consider probabilities.
Assess your own situation.
Establish priorities.
Make decisions.
Develop plans of action.
Take action.
Evaluate progress.

So how can LYDIA help you in your current situation? Continue Reading →

Loving Your Partner

Recently, a client asked me “How can I love my partner better?”

That’s one of the best questions we can ever ask ourselves and our partners.

Let’s start by looking at it this way. You are already well on your way by simply asking. There are multiple resources available. We’ve already briefly mentioned some of my favorites: Dr. Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages; Dr. Emerson Eggerichs Love and Respect; and even the Prepare-Enrich program hit my top list. Then there are books available on increasing intimacy, such as  Dr. Kevin Leman’s Sheet Music. Continue Reading →

How Can We Help?

Welcome back, dear readers. We are still working on getting our website up and running, developing our programs, and establishing community here in Santa Fe.

girl writing in diary
In developing our programs, our director, Emma Shows, is training as a life coach. Our marketing director, David Commini, is learning more about marketing and pushing our organization through multiple social media platforms (Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and more). As part of our learning, we were asked what our system of services and delivery might look like to our clients.
So, here they are in paragraph form. Continue Reading →

Give-Away: Prepare Enrich Couples Relationship Strengths Assessment


We’re hosting a giveaway for 2 free couples’ relationship strengths assessments. Interested parties can comment on our Facebook page at LYDIA, Inc. For more information on the Prepare-Enrich program, visit Prepare-Enrich.
The assessments are free, and our suggested session fee is $35 each. Sessions packages are 6-10 weeks, 10-12 weeks, and 12-15 weeks. Prepare Enrich can be used as a marriage readiness course, a simple “how are we doing gauge”, a marriage and family assessment, and a look at the blending of two families (step-family readiness).

Enter now, don’t delay. Winners will be notified via Facebook PM on 11/16/2015.