The Importance of Preparedness

I used to be a huge proponent of preparedness (I still am but I just don’t shout it from the rooftops any longer). Food, water, emergency essentials are all important.  So, what kind of preparedness am I talking about?  Wills. No matter what age you are, if something were to happen right now, does anyone know not only what your final wishes are but have the legal authority to take care of them?  Now is the time to get these important matters dealt with.

As I may have mentioned, this year has been one heck of a year.  There have been many accomplishments made, some setbacks but mostly it has been a year of discovering what is truly important and a year of reflection.  See, my husband was diagnosed with cancer in June (as of right now, he is cancer free).  May 1st, my mom (step-mom) was diagnosed with liver cancer (she passed in August).  Then, in October, my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  He just passed November 1.  Our family is no stranger to loss.

My mom is the last of the children on her side of the family and both of my grandparents on my father’s side passed away, most of them before I turned 30 years old.  The one thing that remained consistent with each passing was the breakdown within our families.  Siblings who always had issues in the past let it all out.  There was no holding back for the sake of the family.  I don’t even really remember (in those instances) the offending parties allowing for grieving to take place.  Heck, when my husband’s grandmother was still with us (hospice) things were being stolen from the house during visits (we cannot confirm or deny exactly who it was but only someone extremely close would have know where she kept all of her valuable jewelry and that stealing just the stones made it more difficult to report/track).  As soon as the patriarch (or matriarch) passed, it was every sibling for themselves.  Well, that is now happening with my dad but it isn’t the children stealing from each other, it is another relative!  I am so livid that his brand of poison is infecting even more members of my family.

And this is why I am writing to you today.  Do you have a will?  Is it with a neutral party who will not take sides and favor this person over that one?  Do you have your valuables stored securely?  If you look at someone and say, “They will never steal from me” are you sure about that?  A death in the family can bring out the absolute worst in people.  Is there anything you would like someone to have that you can give them NOW?  If so, do it!  If there is someone (like a child or sibling) that you do not want to have anything, be sure to name them in your will and give them 1 dollar (or penny).  They cannot contest, saying you forgot about them or some other such nonsense. Does someone have an item of yours that you want back?  You better get it back soon or they may claim it for themselves.

I found this website with free wills and other legal forms that can help you if you have no idea where to start.

Personal Branding Step by Step, Tips and Tricks

Selling Yourself–The Art of a Winning ‘About Page’ with Melissa Cassera

So, I have made some steps toward fulfilling my goal of figuring out who I am. See, in an earlier post, I mentioned I am a teacher and student. I love to share all the new crafty things I have been learning … well, no. I love sharing anything I learn, from how to fix your refrigerator to how to crochet this new-to-me stitch. I have also been a bit of a freak (for years and years) about business.

I have always had a voracious appetite for anything having to do with business. My interest was never in a specific business but business in general. I consume anything I can get my grubby little hands on that is even remotely related to business. This week begins a new chapter in my business education. I will be retooling everything. I have registered a new domain name, have come up with a business format (something I will truly love doing that is perfect for my Attention Deficit Disordered mind), and will (once again) be building a new website. I may also (though I’m not quite sure how the transition will happen) be consolidating this blog with one of my other ones and kicking that identity to the curb. I have been feeling that coming on for a long time, that need to break away from the identity I used for so many years on my website, forums and even online radio. I am no longer “Sustainablehome.” I am Brenda Nolen, happy to share who I am and what I have to offer with the world.

That’s where the link above comes in. I can’t tell you how many times I have stared blankly at my “About” page and had no idea what to type. Heck, despite just listening to this podcast, I still have not checked my “About” page here to see how well I did (that’s because that will distract me from my tasks for the day, so I will probably take care of that within the next few weeks).  You really need to listen to this podcast if you want to have a fantastic “About” page anywhere (whether it is your blog, web site, Facebook page, or just about anywhere you talk about yourself).

Personal Branding Step by Step

Personal Branding – Who Am I? – Passions

This is step 3 (Defining Your Passions) from Defining Who You Are from The Complete Guide to Building Your Personal Brand and this is where my A.D.D. really kicks in.

Here’s the straight-up, actually written on paper list of what my passions are (I will elaborate on those passions that require it):

  • My husband
  • Business
  • Graphic Design – All Things Digital/Computer Related/Internet
  • Education
  • Self Improvement

Now, for the elaborations.

Business: I have been a total geek for anything related to business (in general) for as long as I can remember.  I love just about everything about the topic of business (except taxes).  I even have a diploma from a technical school (which is worth less than the paper it’s printed on but cost me $5,000) in Small Business Administration (I learned Lotus there … yes, LOTUS lol … in my defense, it WAS 1992).  From day to day administrative duties to marketing, I love it (heck, I even loved working with one office manager to develop the standards and practices that enabled the company to become ISO certified).

Graphic Design: So, the other day I stumbled onto this wonderful podcast (that I obviously can’t say enough about) Fresh Rag.  I began to browse through the podcasts when I noticed a theme (yeah, I’m a bit slow sometimes): The site focuses on artists (anything creative)… then he mentions Graphic Artists.  I decide to look up exactly what the term Graphic Artist is and that’s when I hear the angels sing.  🙂  Just about every area of interest I have falls under that category!  Take a look at the courses offered at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh and you will get an idea of what I’m talking about.  I really had no idea that everything I’ve been learning (or wanting to learn) fell under one category!

Education: No subject is safe from my interests.  Anywhere from fiber arts (knitting, crocheting, weaving, etc.) to rebuilding a car engine, I have learned it and will continue to as long as I enjoy doing it.  This past year, I have strayed from my typical “only if it’s practical I can learn it” education to pushing more creative pursuits.  I completed (framed and hung) my first ever water-color painting and now that I’m sitting here, contemplating creating a logo that represents me, I guess I should learn to draw (I currently can draw a mean stick figure, though in high school I once read that the human hand was the most difficult part of the human anatomy to draw correctly so I spent months on that one subject).

My First (and only) Watercolor Painting
My First (and only) Watercolor Painting

Self Improvement: This really could fall under the subject of education but this is more personal.  We all have issues/hang-ups and if we do not learn to overcome them, we will never move forward in our lives.  So, looking at this more in-depth, I have been on the quest of “Personal Branding” for over two years.  I’ve been working on breaking through the self-built walls in my life, pushing past my comfort zone, and learning to embrace not only who I am but who I can (and will) become.

So, that’s where I am today. Step Four of Defining Who You Are from The Complete Guide to Building Your Personal Brand is Identify Your Ideal Traits.  This should be fun!  I will begin this today so, hopefully, it will be ready to post tomorrow.  This will be posted today.