Why LYDIA, Inc.

I’ve had many questions about “why LYDIA, Inc.?” – “what is the idea?”, “what is the concept?”, “what is the reality?”, “what do we want?”, and “why?”, “why?”, “why?”, “why?”, “why?”


Original Logo

In 2002 I was the happiest I could ever be. I got married. In 2003, I got pregnant and gave birth to one of the world’s most beautiful people. In 2004, I found myself separated, and in 2006, my divorce was finalized.

*not my belly

*not my belly

In 2005, I lived in a small apartment with my baby, and joined a peer mentorship program, where I worked with a social worker to determine the true needs, listen to the stories, and begin the idea of LYDIA, Inc. From there, I decided to go back to school. I wanted to study business management. Since I lived in the family dorms, we tried to work together to have a women’s tea/young moms support group.

Wasn't she cute?!?!?

Wasn’t she cute?!?!?

I found myself pregnant in 2006, after having what some in the church would call “a moment of weakness” – I met a man, who saw that I was hurting because I wanted to save my marriage and that my ex-husband wouldn’t consider it. This man helped me begin to heal in his own way, and gave me my second daughter.
That pregnancy was rough – I found myself on bedrest. I couldn’t pay my rent because I couldn’t keep a job….I would have contractions at the worst times, when carrying food, standing on my feet, sitting down. I had my daughter at 32 weeks – I was approximately 8 months pregnant (I say approximately, because the EDD and the Adjusted Due Date differ depending on the organization or medical community).
After she was born, I found myself homeless due to a series of unfortunate events. I went to stay in a women’s shelter until I could find a job and somewhere to live. It was at this time that I met people from Against the Grain in Nashville, TN.

2#15 oz at birth. 16.5" long

2#15 oz at birth. 16.5″ long

From the women’s shelter, we went to live in the projects – but it was a much nicer neighborhood than I was told to expect. And it was at this time that I met people from Maury United Methodist Services (I’m not sure what they’re called now).
In 2007, within the projects, I met struggling grandparents raising their grandbabies, I met moms who were with their men for the check, I met families who struggled to make ends meet and were appreciative of the roof over their heads.
I opened my home, and my doors, to the children in the neighborhood. It wasn’t odd to find anywhere from 3-10 children in my yard or my house at any given time.
But, because my pregnancy had been so hard, and my baby so sickly, I wasn’t able to work. I reached out to DCS (department of children services) and asked for help. Because of them, I found family services, a local non-profit to where we were, and began discussing various needs and solutions with them.
We began to flesh LYDIA out and see what we could potentially do with it. It still wasn’t “just right” – and may never be, but it is becoming what it needs to be.



We’re going to jump forward several years in part two, so stay tuned!

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.



You CAN Make a Difference

This article was shared with us: http://www.welzoo.com/share/9V5oQNKw

Here are the highlights: A homeless man, down-on-his-luck, refused to stay “stuck” and peppered his local community with his resume and applications for work. He landed a job as a cook – which is what his resume reflected he had experience and maybe even joy in doing.

Times are tough. Times are hard. Times are challenging. Mr. Callison was most likely overlooked for quite some time because he’s homeless. Because he couldn’t afford his own uniform. Because of his looks. Because of his living conditions…

Because of “preconceived notions” and “stereotypes”, we face hardship finding work, developing safe living arrangements, having our needs met….and we project our own irritation and anger at others because of what we experience. And we often find ourselves “stuck” in this situation – one of our own making or one that has been “forced” on us because of the economy, because of jobs being sent overseas…because of our own biases- because we live with an “us versus them” mentality. This is a mentality that LYDIA hopes to break, and change, by working to build a stronger sense of community and individuality. We do not strive to offer a hand out, but rather, a hand up. We hope to build families up, encouraging and lifting us all higher than our current circumstances.

outstretched hands

Sometimes, we face a feeling of defeat, that we just can’t go another day. No matter that we have good things in our lives, like our families, our children, our friends, people who need us or like us – we feel despair. Our affect – that is, our face, our bearing (the way we hold ourselves), and the way we present ourselves can be influenced by our feelings. When you feel that despair, that lack of hope in making ends meet, of being enough or being satisfied, reach out. Reach out to your community. Pepper your immediate sphere of influence with the things you offer.

Right now, wherever you are, list three things that you KNOW you can do, already do, or even just want to do. Who can benefit from you doing them? List three people.

girl writing in diary

Now, take another moment. Look around you. Who do you see? How do you think they feel? Is that smile a little too bright? Are their eyes shifting uncomfortably away, because they don’t know how to be recognized? Are they tired? Hopeless? Are they just like you? Sometimes, it helps to realize that there are others out there just. like. me. Oh, maybe their circumstances are a little different. Maybe you think that no one could possibly understand. Do you understand them? Do you want to wallow in your despair, hitting your head against that brick wall that you’ve marked out as yours? Or do you want to make a difference, discover your community, and broaden your horizons?


How can we rise to the challenge? How can we support each other in our endeavors to provide for our families? How do we work together, help each other, and encourage one another?

Let’s talk.


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 →

Stop Temper Tantrums in Their Tracks

“You’re always getting on to me! It’s not fair!”

Staring down my 12 year old, I pause a moment and try to consider where she’s coming from; what she really needs from me. Frustrated, she sighs and stomps off to her room. I wait a moment before following her. Quietly knocking, I open the door when she says “Uh-huh.”

I take a really good look at her and realize she’s in tears. “Oh, honey.” She flies into my arms and sobs against my shoulder. “What’s really going on here, huh?”

She shrugs her shoulders and shakes her head. “I don’t know!”

And it’s true. She doesn’t know what the myriad of emotions she’s feeling mean. She doesn’t know why she’s a raging hormonal almost-teen. Continue Reading →

For the Weary Moms and Dads

little girl on a swing


Let your “Yes” be YES, and your “No” be NO.
“Consistency is key”
These “trite” sayings sound so easy – ARE easy to say, but are more challenging to DO.
Let your yes mean YES – you concur. You agree. You permit it to happen. It has your blessing.
Let your no mean NO – absolutely NOT. You do NOT agree. You do not allow or permit it. It does not have your blessing.
How much easier, in life, in relationships, in parenting, to say “Yes” and give in, even though you might actually mean “No” – but you don’t want to argue, or you’re too tired. It is very draining, setting and enforcing boundaries. It truly is. Continue Reading →

Clothes Closet Drive

Clothes Drive Banner


Come out and help us collect professional attire for our first semi-annual community clothes closet drive!
Running August 24th-September 5th, we’re asking for your business professional attire. Anything gently-worn or like-new, from jeans and t-shirts to slacks and blouses, ties and cuff-links to costume jewelry, scarves, hats, briefcases to purses…we want it all!

All donations are tax-deductible.

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 →

Managing Your Medication

Medication Master_List

So I am attempting to get our “lives” in order before my oldest leaves for the summer to spend time with her dad’s family. In an effort to keep us all together, I made calls to the pharmacy to order refills of prescriptions. I did not find a master list that suited my personal needs, so I created my own. While re-ordering medication, I instructed my daughter on how to call the pharmacy and to follow the prompts. Continue Reading →