This Is Who I Am

An Instagram friend shared a post in which she was asked to list “10 things I am.” I found the idea intriguing, because once I stopped actively practicing law, I lost my sense of self, and honestly, have been floundering to find myself again. This exercise reminds me of who I am at my very core, and what is important to me.

1.) I AM proud to be a native New Orleanian. I was blessed to be born and raised there. Growing up, the city was my world, and I never dreamed of ever leaving my city, my family and my friends. Unfortunately, I had to leave, because I could not find a job in New Orleans. I have been in Texas since 1981, but New Orleans will always be my heart home.

2.) I AM a meditator. Since December 2013, I have meditated every day.

3.) I AM an attorney licensed by the State of Texas, but because of the pain caused by fibromyalgia, I was forced to stop practicing law, and go on “inactive” status with the State Bar.

4.) I AM easily obsessed. My current obsessions are crystal and rocks, succulents, art supplies, lavender, orange blossom and sweet jasmine scented candles, my beautiful grands, essential oils, books, gray clothing, writing, and container gardening.

5.) I AM an artist. I have been away from painting and drawing for health-related reasons, but they are an integral part of me, and I feel the pull to return to created my art.

6.) I AM a highly sensitive person (HSP), and an introvert, with slight extrovert tendencies. As such, I am very empathetic, crave silence, and welcome my alone time. Also, I believe in the cathartic affect of tears.

7.) I AM blessed to be my Mother’s daughter, because she is MY HERO. My father abandoned us on my birthday, five days before Christmas. He left her to raise three girls, five and under, on her own, without a job. Soon after the holidays, she went to work as a cook for one of the many Catholic elementary schools in New Orleans. The pay was meager, so, over the years, she simultaneously worked 2-3 additional low wage jobs, in order to clothe and feed us, keep a roof over our heads, and provide us with the best education that she could afford. Yes, we were poor, but we always had what we needed. I admired her sense of grace and pride. She could have easily qualified for governmental assistance, but she said that as long as she could work, she would never take handouts from anyone. I’d be satisfied with a mere fraction of her strength, compassion, determination, beauty, honesty and grace. In the face of much sadness and adversity, she has always maintained an unyielding trust and faith in God.

8.) I AM a staunch proponent for equality. I believe that no one should be discrimnated against, ostracized, or singled out for unequal attention, because of his/her gender, age, race, national origin, disability, sexual or gender preference, religious preference, weight or political affiliation. I believe in, and respect the right of everyone to believe and live as they chose, so long as it is done so, with respect for others and without causing harm or animus to others.

9.) I AM one who believes in a world where there is no homelessness, hunger, war, unequal education opportunities, unequal housing opportunities, unequal job opportunities, where the top 1% richest Americans do not hold more wealth than the bottom 90% of Americans, and where the bottom 90% do not hold 73% of the countries debt. I believe in a world where no one is forced to chose between purchasing crucial medication or food, where everyone has insurance so that money need not dictate who lives and who dies, and where there are no school or mass shootings. I believe in equal pay for equal work, and a living wage for all. I believe in a world in which hospitals and insurance companies are forced to price services and medications at a price point that is fair to all. Finally, I believe in a world where everyone is entitled to his/her opinions or beliefs, as long as those beliefs do not infringe upon the rights listed in point 8.

10.) I AM a believer in hugs and “I love yous,” as often as possible,  because no one of us is promised the next minute.

11.) I AM determined to leave this world, better than I found it.

12.) I AM a believer in the power of prayer, hope, faith and the love of God.

13.) I AM a believer in standing up for what is right, even though I might stand alone.

14.) I AM a believer in the power of love to heal and change lives

15.) I AM a  blend of my positive traits, that I readily embrace, and the negative ones, which I tend to shoo like pesky flies, hoping they will go away, so I am not forced to delve into them. Well, they don’t. In fact, the more that I swat them away, the more that they return, undeterred.

Just as there is no light, without the dark, no highs, without the lows, and happy, without the sad, there are positives and negatives within each of us. We desperately try to cling to the positives, while ignoring the negatives, so that we won’t have to face them, i.e., face ourselves. They will not be ignored and until we take the time to acknowledge, accept and determine their reason for being, we cannot hope to know and appreciate all the facets of who we are. Both make us who we are.

Well, this is a partial list of who “I AM,” and it was a perfect exercise to remind of my true self, whether I am a lawyer, an artist or a role, yet to be determined. I am a woman of conviction, obsessions, compassion, kindness, hopes, dreams, love, and faith; however, I am also a woman with fears, worries, doubts, self-sabotaging tendencies and more. They are all within me, and I am okay with that.

#whoami #thisisme #selfinquiry #myheromymother #ibelieveinequality #ibelieveinstandingupforwhatisright #iamagainstdiscrimnationofalltypes #theperfectworld #nohunger #nowar #nodiscrimination #genderequity #equality #nohomelessness #insuranceforall #equaleducationforall #wearebothlightanddark 

With Gratitude To My Mother On Mother’s Day

My beautiful Mother.

Carol at 18

My Beautiful Mother

Carol at 18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I AM WHO I AM, BECAUSE YOU ARE, YOU ARE.”

I feel that it would be remiss of me not to disclose that I wrote almost all of this post for Mother’s Day 2016. I was about to write a Mother’s Day 2018 post, and I decided to look to the past, to see what I’d written. I stopped at this one, and I knew what I had to do. THIS POST STILL SAYS IT ALL. Moreover, consider it recycling. With so much ❤️, Lydia

No, I am not responsible for the above lyrics. They are from an iPhone/Sprint web commercial in honor of Mother’s Day. I am not much for commercials, but I am an admitted sap, and when I heard those words, well, my heart warmed with familiarity and love. The thing is that my mind churned over an upcoming post (this post) for my dear Mother. As of late, my life has been a flurry of stressful news, but on Thursday, I remembered that Sunday was Mother’s Day. I could not let the day go by without expressing my gratitude to my mother.

I am blessed, and I know it. I know countless members of my family and friends for whom the day brings nothing more than bittersweet memories because their mothers have passed. At the same time that I ache for their loss, I am infinitely grateful that my mother sits a mere three doors away enjoying one of her favorite television programs. Over the years, I’ve learned a great deal from my mother. Like most of us, I did not realize that when I was growing up. I thought that she had little to teach me. As I grew older, I began to realize the wisdom of her quiet teachings. The positive traits within me were gifts from my Mother, and for which I am deeply indebted. I treasure them as much as the woman who handed them down to me.

With that said, I introduce to you, the woman who I am proud to call my Mother:

  • A mother and child’s relationship begins from the womb. Studies show that even from the womb, babies can sense their mother’s emotions. I imagine my prenatal self, moved by my mother’s SELFLESSNESS when, even though she was 18 years old with a bright life ahead of her, she chose to give that up and have me.
  • She taught me STRENGTH and GRACE in the face of an obstacle  when my father abandoned us and left her with three small girls to raise. At the time, she was a stay-at-home mother with no outside employment. She wasn’t even left with any clothes for us.
  • Instead of bemoaning her fate, she jumped into ACTION to find a job to care for us. Her HUMILITY, FORTITUDEDETERMINATION, and DRIVE led her to a job cooking for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, a position where she remained for 42 years.
  • Throughout her life, she has sought to maintain her INDEPENDENCE so that she would never be forced to solely rely on anyone for her well-being.
  • Over the years, her TIRELESS WORK ETHIC has been epic. From as far back as I can remember, Mom worked up to three jobs to put food on the table, keep a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, and to give us a private Catholic school education to prepare us for a better life. As we grew into adulthood, she continued to work multiple jobs. Hurricane Katrina forced her to slow down. Later, even after a stroke and a broken hip, she is usually washing and folding clothes, cooking delicious meals and cleaning, as best she can.
  • Even though we were poor, my mother stressed PRIDE in our appearance and decorum.
  • My mother’s past is replete with many tragic losses, including the loss of my dear baby brother. Through it all, she maintained her fervent FAITH, TRUST, and BELIEF in God.
  • After she had a stroke and lost much of her independence, she displayed a level of calm ACCEPTANCE that allowed her to forge a new path in life.
  • She has always chosen to LIVE IN THE MOMENT and eschews being bound by the past. Of all of her qualities, I envy this one most.
  • Although she doesn’t use these words, she lives by the edict that “IT IS, WHAT IT IS,” and refuses to let circumstances out of her control, control her.
  • She has COMPASSION and KINDNESS for all, including those with less than she. Her GENEROSITY led her to make plates of food for neighborhood people in need, and to offer ready help to those who needed it.
  • She is DEDICATED to and LOVES her family and many friends.
  • Her FEARLESSNESS led her to live for decades across from a housing project, which, for a while, was named the most dangerous in the country.
  • She personifies HONESTY.
  • Her LAUGHTER echoes throughout the house.

So on this special day set aside to honor our mothers, I say to mine, “Dear Beautiful Mother, I thank you and I love you most. Your decision to have me changed the direction of your life and for that, I owe you my life. As I grow older, in my eyes, you grow taller and taller. Little by little, the blinders that have obscured the whole of you, fall from my eyes and I recognize you in me, and that makes me smile. I think back to the time when I thought to myself that I never wanted to be like you and here I am relishing the fact, that the better parts of me are from you. You’ve been my cheerleader, benefactor, promoter, referee, banker, teacher, coach, doctor, savior, chef, counselor, shoulder to cry on, friend, offensive co-ordinator, warden, mentor and more. I am grateful for these roles that you’ve played. Yet, all pale in comparison to the Mother that you’ve been to me. I am blessed to know you and be your daughter. It is my hope that I have given my children a small fraction of the goodness that you’ve given me. I love you, love you, because you are, you are. With love and gratitude, your daughter, Lydia”

Happy Mother’s Day to Moms of every stripe and color, be you a step-Mom, GrandMom, Father/Grandfather in the role of Mom, Guardian, foster Mom, co-Moms or what have you!!! You are serving a vital role in our society and you deserve our gratitude every day, not only one day of the year.

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#happymothersday #theloveofamother #ilovemymother #endlesslove #tomymotherwithlove #mymothermyhero #crmagraff #iamwhoiambecauseyouareyouare #blessingstomymother

Quote Tuesday

“Anything you cannot relinquish when it outlives its usefulness, possesses you and in this materialistic age, a great many of us are possessed by our possessions.” ~ Mildred Lisette Norman

Quote Tuesday

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“Your heart knows the way. Run in that direction.” ~ Rumi

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