A Year of Reinvention

December is approaching and I dance with the idea; it is my favorite month.  Many a reason for it – the holiday season, the end of the year, a beginning to a brand new year is near, the festive air, crisp cold, the towns getting dressed up, the spirit throughout, flurries … and much more.

For me, it is the time to review this year and meditate about what when on, the goals I achieved, the ones I did not, and time for reflection, much reflection.  It is a time to pick up my journal, a new calendar, and think of how I can make next year better.  Although it is always a bit disappointing to stare at the goals that did not come true, on the other hand, it is rewarding to look at the ones that did become real.  Somehow, it makes me happy to see that I worked towards something throughout the year, something that when I put it on paper on December of the previous year, may not have seemed so real or attainable.  I invite you to try this, even if it is one or two things in your list.  I have learned to call them predictions for the new year, predictions of the things that I will carry out on that year, or at least, that will take me a few steps closer to a goal.  It is a practice that I started years ago, and it works for me.  Looking at the end of the year, I can see where my heart was at the end of the previous one, and how I evolved on the issues that seemed important to me, and the things that I wanted in my future.  Sometimes, I am pleasantly surprised to know that I made it through that year, and most of the things on that list, were accomplished.  Other times, I see that half of them were not, and then, I can ponder why – this always leads to some insight, sometimes, realizing that in truth, it was not what I wanted, but I thought that I wanted at that time.  This is why I call it my time for reinvention.

Reinventing myself small steps at a time works for me better than setting out sails for a huge journey, which can seem daunting, exhausting, and many times an illusion.  Setting goals every December, and working on those throughout the year, keeps the journey real, and manageable – less intimidating.  It is part of the big journey.  In retrospect, it is very hard to feel that I “wasted a year”  if I go back and see all the progress that I made, and how I worked towards the goals that were on that list – even when I may have not hit the mark with a particular item in the list.

I am ready to make my predictions for the new year, and work hard to make them true.  Do you plan or set goals for the new year?  Feel free to share your method.

Great Local Blog

Map of Aberdeen Township in Monmouth County. I...

Map of Aberdeen Township in Monmouth County. Inset: Location of Monmouth County highlighted in the State of New Jersey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was very happy to see Inkspeare featured on Aberdeen NJ Life, a local blog that is full of information, historic facts, entertaining posts, lively images, and much more.  This blog is a great resource if you want to know more about the Aberdeen, NJ area.  It offers freshly pressed posts of current news/events as well as a more broad view of the area and interesting historical tidbits, many times accompanied by great pictures from the archives.  You will also find interesting posts of what is happening on the area at a local level, from neighborly events to recent happenings.  Aberdeen NJ Life gives you a broad view and many times, detailed as well, of the interesting way of living in Aberdeen, NJ.  Reading the blog’s posts for the past  year, I realized how quickly the year went, and how much has happened in our area.  It was grounding as well as lovely and entertaining.  I also learned many facts about the history of the area.

If you are planning to move or are interested in getting to know more about this area, this blog does a great job at presenting it, and it does it in an interesting, fun, and historical way as well.  I want to thank the author for including Inkspeare on this awesome and informative blog.  This blog is now on my Favorites, for sure.

Triangulation of Self by Knowledge


A method of determining the relative positions of points in space by measuring the distances, and sometimes angles, between those points and other reference points whose positions are known. Triangulation often involves the use of trigonometry. It is commonly used in the navigation of aircraft and boats, and is the method used in the Global Positioning System , in which the reference points are satellites.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Mind, Body and Spirit form the human triangle, and when in balance, we feel whole.  Caring for the mind, body, and spirit is what makes us live balanced lives, and when one of these areas is not in harmony, we start feeling the effects, emotionally, psychologically, and physically.  However, to care for our triangle, to balance ourselves, we must welcome knowledge and use it.  Information opens the mind, helps in caring for our physical body, and let our spirit soar, develop, grow.  We need information, imput, to process with our senses, the world in which we live; after all, we live in a physical body, in a physical world.  If we believe in a spiritual connection or world, a spiritual sense, then it is only because we are able to obtain imput through our senses, and internalize that information, while processing it.  When we are inspired, are having an epiphany, or when we feel a sense of spirituality and well-being, some kind of information processing is always present.  Whether it is an act of faith, or reasoning, feeling or believing, information has been processed.  The more you know, the more you open your senses – faith and knowledge go hand in hand; whether your faith rests in a Divinity, the Universe, or Science, information (imput) is present.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  (NIV)  – John 1:1

Building Your Brand – the Rewards

Line art representation of a Quill

Line art representation of a Quill (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As a follow-up to the previous post, I thought that I would mention the benefits or rewards of building your brand.  The rewards go beyond the monetary gratification, as brand building touches the entrepreneur’s “soul” (for lack of a better word).  When you set out to build your brand, you are strenghtening the process of reaffirming your commitment to your business or craft.  To outsiders, it serves as mere recognition of a brand, to the entrepreneur/artist/writer it plays an important part in building not only the business, but the perception in which the endeavor is seen from the entrepreneur’s side, deepening the commitment, inspiration, and serving as a refreshing fountain of energy (fuel) to keep it going.

Branding builds in professionalism, setting you apart from many other similar endeavors, for example, the author that just produces the book, lists it for sale, but never worries about building a brand around it – an author’s website, page, networking, and plenty of marketing, among other things.  It doesn’t matter if you self-publish or go the traditional way, brand building is important if you are planning to become a lifetime writer.

The financial rewards will eventually increase with brand recognition, if done right, but it should never be the main goal of building your brand.  It goes deeper than that, and if you are serious about your product (whatever that may be), you will understand that while everyone needs to make a living (preferably doing something that you love), it is when you give something back to the reader/customer/client that your brand will become stronger and your endeavor/business will grow.  This principle is old and you may have heard of it in the scriptures, popular wisdom … “What goes around comes around,” “You get what you give,” “Give and you shall receive,” and many other variations of it.

If you become serious about building your brand, do it with love, passion, and generosity and the rewards will eventually show up.


Building Your Brand – The Challenges

This post is a follow-up to the earlier – Building Your Brand.  It is a challenging task that never ceases; however, most difficulties are encountered at the beginning.  These challenges may be concrete or emotional, but they are present during the process of discovery and even after you had set out to build your brand.  The more you ignore dealing with these challenges, the slower the process will become, and it may even affect your own “emotional branding” – the way you perceive your brand.

YOU – The Biggest Challenge

The biggest challenge that you may meet building your brand is YOU.  Even after you have figured out where you are headed, your belief system (in yourself) may be shaken after the journey of self-discovery.  There will be the moment when you might say “nonsense” and doubt the entire process.  In addition, there is always the negative little voice that tells you to “be careful,” “wait,” “can’t,” “too difficult,” “too expensive,” … you know it.  Training yourself to bypass YOU (your fears and doubts) will take some effort, but will make you stronger and give you clarity of perception.

Emotional Challenge

This challenge is tied to YOU, as depending on the process of self-discovery, which is different for everyone, the array of emotions/feelings set free are the challenge in itself.  Dealing with those is important to continue building your brand.


At one point or another, motivation may get stale, especially when instant gratification is nowhere to be found.  In an instant society like ours, we are cued to get results and get them fast.  In most cases, building your brand will not yield instant results.  So patience and perseverance most be found inside your motivational briefcase.

Family, Friends, and Critics

This is a huge challenge, second to the YOU challenge.  Most of us pay great attention to the opinion of our closed circle first, and to the outside circle later.  Wether we want to admit it or not, their opinion has an effect in our emotions.  This is why it is so important to take a hold of YOU and understand that for them, a process of self-discovery may have not happened yet, and most likely, they may not be able to understand where you are coming from or your perception.  I have found that entrepreneurs are more likely to cheer you up, because at some point, they have gone through the process, than people with a job/paycheck mentality.  The later group will not be able to understand what you are doing or where you are headed, least how you are doing it.  They have not learned the value of a true dollar (or your country’s currency) and they may not understand your true efforts.  For this group, time spent = money in the strict sense of the phrase.  For you, payment for your efforts have come in many other ways.  A healthy dose of criticism is good, but beware of where it comes from and how YOU deal with it.


This is a personal issue and everyone must work with time differently to build a brand.  This applies to anything in life, as your perception of time may be different to mine.  Timing and time to work on something must be understood separately.  Emotional time spent is also important when building your brand.

Money and Knowledge

I linked these two challenges because many times, if you don’t have money to hire someone to do something you don’t know how to do yet, you can always spend time learning it and do it yourself.  It is a personal issue, sometimes tied to physical time, but not let lack of finances stop you in building your brand.  Today, there are many free social networks, platforms, and online features which are of help when money is tight.  Learning is a process that takes time.

Change and Setbacks

This is something that you must be able to accept as part of growing your endeavor and building your brand.  Things move different for everyone; it is the cycle of living, and part of the decision-making (past, present, future); however, don’t let that stop your progress.  Change may be positive or carry some setbacks with it.  It may speed the process or slow you down.  It can come in the form of total devastation as in a natural disaster, financial loss, divorce, moving to another state or country, illness …  It is up to you to set the emotional pace for dealing with change/setbacks.

These are a few challenges, which may be present when building your brand; however, it is your journey, and your own challenges will appear along the way, of course.  There is no growth without challenge; so welcome these.


Building Your Brand

When you are self-employed, you become your business and vice versa.  It is very easy to get tangled in your work, and become one with the brand.  At the same time, it is easy to absorb your brand, and under develop it, as it happens when there is lack of discipline and personal issues absorb valuable work time – your efforts may get lost.  Balance is key; however, it is important to develop your brand, and keep evolving with it.

Developing and building your brand starts as soon as you get in business for yourself, and it continues throughout ( I think it never stops); however, branding your business whether it is a shop or your writing career, will help you stand apart, and create visual impact with your customers – or be remembered/associated with something.  Large companies do it all the time, so why not develop your own brand?

If you want to do it right, you must spend time and effort (lots of it) as well as be willing to tweak and change things around as needed, or evolve keeping the integrity of your brand – the essence of it.  For some people, depending on the line of work and resources (time – physical and emotional – and money), it will take less time than for others, especially if you are doing everything yourself.  Of course, you can always hire someone to do it for you, if you have the financial resources.

Over the past couple of years, I left my job, starting a soul-searching journey, with the support of my angel husband (thank the heavens for him), and came across the realization of the things I truly love – Real Estate (which sucks right now), writing, and creating with my hands, whether art or handcrafted pieces.  Slowly (more due to the morass in my heart and slow self rescue and discovery) a brand started to emerge, which I called THE OWL, BOOK & CANDLE.

I am by nature a do-it-yourselfer, so I started thinking about it and creating a business and slowly working the details.  Still, there is much work to be done, as well as evolution.  The purpose of this post is not to promote my brand, but to make you think about your own branding and how you can work towards its development/growth, even when resources are low, even when you can only take small steps.

What I don’t know, I try to learn; that has always been my motto.  The first thing I did, once I was sure of where I was headed, was to make my business a legal entity by registering it and taking all the necessary steps.  To me, that step made the commitment more real.  To give you an idea of the things that I did to grow my brand, here are a few pictures.  The entire process continues to be an affirmation to my commitment, as well as self-focus.

I learned to design my logo and business cards.  In addition, I learned to create my business flyers and promotional materials.  I could have hired someone or use an online service, which is not expensive at all; however, from beginning to end, I needed to do it all, as it was about finding my true call, and about self-rescue.  If in the midst of it all, something did not sound quite right, I would change it or redirect my efforts.

 I took my logo/brand to my everyday life by placing it on my car – wherever I go, so does my brand.  It is about advertising, however at this stage, it is more about brand recognition and self-commitment.  This was not an expensive process neither.  An online presence was very important, as this would become my modus operandi.  I decided to create and umbrella corporation that would house the writing and e-commerce parts of my endeavor, instead of building separate entities.  Part of the reason, you guessed it – the need for reaffirmation and self-focus at this stage (scattering efforts was counterproductive).


This is the most important part of any business as without it, a business cannot exist, and this is where I try to focus my best effort – offering top customer service, communication, and excellent work performance.  Branding without top customer service is useless.  Branding translates to the e-commerce area on developing a packaging that is cohesive so when the customer receives the product, it associates your brand with it.  From wrapping, labeling, packaging, flyers, stationery (electronic or hardcopy), and free tokens of appreciation, your efforts should mirror your brand.

There are many other steps and things to do to build your brand, but in keeping with my usual way of not making posts too long, I will leave you to ponder this – how can you make your brand a bit stronger and how does it play into your true passion?  Do you need to redirect your efforts?

After Sandy, the Next Northeaster in Cliffwood Beach, NJ

I am so happy to be writing this post, happy and blessed.  Happy that I finally got power and heat last night, and internet this morning, and blessed that our home was untouched by the storm.  As I write this post, I feel deeply for those who lost so much and still have no heat, as this new northeaster approaches – snow is already on the ground, and it is very cold outside.

I count my blessings; Sandy was a humbling experience for certain.  Here are a few pictures of some of the damage to my neighborhood in Cliffwood Beach, NJ, which is truly nothing when compared to other nearby towns.

Tree on my neighbor’s home.

Giant pine tree down.

The beach front – tons of debris, a surge at 2.00 am damaged the area.

The boardwalk was cut in half.

Neighbors survey the area the next morning.


The dunes are gone and the street becomes the beach.

Poles and power lines under water.

Whale Creek overflows, and at one point, meets the ocean and Treasure Lake.  Cliffwood Beach is surrounded by the Raritan Bay, Treasure Lake, and Whale Creek; however, it is set up high, in a small cliff.   Looking through the 2nd floor window, I saw waves were land was supposed to be.

Neighbors come together helping each other.

And this is how I count my blessings.