Thursday, September 27, 2012

It's Fall - Time to Prepare For The Winter Months

Fall is such a beautiful time of the year.     Red, orange, and yellow leaves falling from the trees and blowing across my yard waiting to be raked up and jumped upon, crispy apples, and fresh crisp air fill my mind as I enjoy this time of year.   

Fall also reminds me that winter is not far around the corner and with it comes colder temperatures, snow and ice, and unfortunately, colds and flus.    Fall is a perfect time to the year to start getting yourself in great shape for the winter months.    Here's a few ideas from Balanced Care to help you get started today:



Flu Shots - Check with your doctor or local pharmacy to find out when the flu shot will be available in your area.    

Exercise in important all year round, however, it becomes harder to do so during the winter months especially if you love to walk outdoors.    Fall is the perfect time to check out your local malls as a place to walk when you can't walk outside.

Add as many fruits and vegetables to your diet as possible.     We should all be eating fruits and vegetables at every meal.    A good rule of thumb is to make sure that half your plate is filled with fruits and vegetables.    Also, think of the colors of the rainbow with regards to fruits and vegetables.    The more colors you use, the healthier you are eating and the healthier you will be.  

Fall is also a perfect time to have your heating system checked out.     A service man will check for leaks and clean out any mold or dust that can leave you feeling sickly.     It's also a good time of the year to check your smoke and carbon dioxide batteries.      Many people will do this when we "Fall Back" to standard time on November 4th at 2:00 AM.     
Drink more water.     Chances are you will be turning your heating systems on very soon.    We are more prone to dehydration during the cooler months and the dry heat robs both our body and skin of vital moisture.     Water also helps to keep our mucous membranes hydrated so they can fight against disease causing organisms.   
To make sure your body can fight off illnesses, it's important to get plenty of rest.     Create a consistent routine for going to bed so your body learns to anticipate sleep.    You may want to create a habit of doing something that relaxes you before bedtime such as a hot shower, warm bath, cup of herbal tea, or a good book.     

Balanced Care does provide health insurance to businesses, individuals, and our senior market.     Although this is important, it's just as important to us that you are taking the necessary steps to stay healthy all year round.   

Monday, September 24, 2012

Secretary - My high school dream

We have been in an organizational mode in our home this year due to several things happening.     After my Mother's passing, we had to clean out her apartment and kept a lot of her things and have been going through it slowly.     Our youngest son, Andrew, was married the end of June and moved to a new place shortly after.     He and his wife have some of their things here and to keep it organized and together, we put it all on our front porch.      We found out that our street will be going through some major reconstruction so we are attempting to move everything off the front porch and into another location in the house.   Most likely, this location will be in the basement or garage.   

With all of this happening, my husband is actively working on cleaning up both the basement and garage to keep things as organized as possible.     Since he was organizing the basement, he found high school yearbooks and we took the time to look at them again.     I had forgotten about what I had written for my high school future goals and dreams until I read it.   

One of my future goals while I was in high school was to become a secretary.     I took several courses in high school including shorthand (which I still use), typing, bookkeeping, etc.     I still have the skills, however, I never became a secretary professionally.   It wasn't until recently that my high school dream actually became a reality in other ways.     

When you own a business and are self-employed, you not only do the work yourself, but have the responsibility of a secretary, a bookkeeper, a marketer, etc.    It is a lot of responsibility and I love every aspect of it.     To become better known in the community, I have become involved with organizations that are near and dear to my heart.    Some may say that it is good for business; I have to say that it is good for the soul.    

On December 2nd, 2010, I was asked to pray for a family here in Rochester.     The family was due to have a baby named Rachel Alice Aube delivered by c-section the next day, December 3rd.     I was directed to a blog written by Stacy Aube, Rachel's Mama.     Rachel had been diagnosed with anencephaly and wasn't expected to live long outside of her Mother's womb.      The days and months going forward, Stacy wrote about her loss and I continued to read the blog daily.     I decided to reach out to Stacy after feeling lead to do so.     I wrote a note letting her know how sorry I was for her loss, but thanked her for saying "yes" to something that she knew would cause her so much pain.     Stacy and her family built a playground in Rachel's honor at the church grounds of Grace Community Church in Rochester with the help of local businesses and many volunteers.      It was at this time that I personally met Stacy and we fast became good friends.    

Stacy was approached that same year about having a 5K Walk/Run in Dover in Rachel's honor and having the proceeds donated to a non-profit of her choice.     Stacy chose to have the first year's proceeds go to Options for Women.     Again, I volunteered my time and was proud to be a small part of such a beautiful cause.      A non-profit was formed entitled Baby Rachel's Legacy and Stacy asked me to be on the board of directors.      We recently held our 2nd Annual 5K Walk/Run with the proceeds raised going to Family Builder's Ministry in Somersworth.      I'm proud to say that we raised $9,430 this year and the event was a huge success.    

When Stacy asked me to be on the board, she asked me if I would be interested in serving as the secretary during board meetings.      It wasn't until I read my yearbook that I thought, "Wow, my dream did come true".    I am a secretary.  

As I mentioned before, becoming more involved within my community was important to me.     Balanced Care is part of the Barrington Chamber of Commerce and because of that, I go to Business After Hours, Luncheons, and as many events that they have to stay active.     Several months ago, I received an e-mail from another member asking me if I would be interested in serving on the Board of Directors.     I gave it some thought, prayed about it, and eventually said that I would be interested.      There were nine positions available and twelve people would be running.      To be honest, I wasn't entirely sure that I would be picked, but much to my surprise, I was and will start serving this week.     I am actually excited about the opportunity and you will never guess what I was asked to consider doing.     That's right - serve as the secretary for the Board of Directors.   

As I reflected on my yearbook, it became even more evident of how blessed I am.     I am a wife that still loves her husband and am blessed that he loves me back, I am a Mother to two grown sons who aren't intimidated by sharing their love with me (They have a wonderful Father), I have a daughter in law that I adore, my husband and I have a roof over our heads and plenty of food on the table, I have a business that I love and doesn't feel like work because I love it so much,  and lastly, my high school dream of becoming a secretary came true.   

As Walt Disney once said, "All our dreams can come true - - - if we have the courage to pursue them.      All this because of reorganization and reflection.           

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

My Logo

Soon after purchasing Balanced Care, I looked at all the marketing materials that were given to me as part of the sale.     They were all very well done and beautiful,  however they were all different.     The website was different than the business cards.     Promotional items closely resembled the website, however, it was still different.     Balanced Care had a presence and was well known in the community, however, if people that never heard of Balanced Care before went looking either online or at the website, I feared they would wonder if they had found the right business.   

While an employee for Balanced Care, I never really realized this.    I did my job and didn't have to  worry about the website or any other marketing for that matter.     Once owning the company, things changed and changed quickly.     I looked into website costs, marketing materials, logos, etc.     It became obvious to me that the change wasn't going to happen overnight.     I gave myself a year to get things done and started working on keeping everything the same.    

The first thing that I did was to review what I liked and didn't like.     Obviously, I didn't like that things were different and not branded.     I didn't have a logo and really wasn't sure if I needed one.    On the business card was a person practicing yoga at a beach.     She was balanced on a rock and I did really love it.   Unfortunately, what happened was people thought the business was a yoga studio even though the name of the business was on the card.    

With everything coming at me at once, I decided to step back and look at the business as a client.     What does a person really want when they purchase health insurance or any other type of insurance for that matter?    Peace of mind is what continually kept coming to me and so I looked at ways that provided me peace of mind.     I immediately thought of the ocean.      I've always loved the ocean especially in the evening with fresh air hitting my skin and the smell of the salt water.     I love picking up seashells and walking on the rocks.     Just thinking about it helps me to relax.    

Once I realized that I knew I wanted the ocean as part of my brand, I hired Don Chick of Chick Photography to do a business portrait for me.    He suggested that we go to the beach and take the photo:

This photo was really the beginning of why I chose my logo.       I thought about adding something to do with the ocean for a logo and couldn't think of anything.    That is until I looked up the word, "Balanced" and "ocean" and found that the Sand Dollar has a meaning of balance as well as a biblical meaning.     Let me explain the Legend of The Sand Dollar:

The Legend of the Sand Dollar

There's a lovely little legend
that I would like to tell,
of the birth and death of Jesus,
found in this lowly shell.

If you examine closely,
you'll see that you find here,
four nail holes and a fifth one,
made by a Roman's spear.

On one side the Easter lily,
its center is the star,
that appeared unto the shepherds
and led them from afar.

The Christmas Poinsettia
etched on the other side,
reminds us of His birthday,
our happy Christmastide.

Now break the center open,
and here you will release,
the five white doves awaiting,
to spread Good Will and Peace.

This simple little symbol,
Christ left for you and me,
to help us spread His Gospel,
through all Eternity.

Author Unknown
All along, I really wanted to find something that would give thanks to the one who has blessed me with a business that I love while at the same time not be disrespectful of other point of views.      The sand dollar went right along with my "beach" brand, but also made me thank God everyday as I looked at it.     Amy Spainhower of Wedgewood Design is the one who designed my logo and has helped me with my business cards, my website, and my Facebook business page.   
So, today as you look at my logo, I will be thanking God for this business and thanking him for every person that I have the priviledge of providing peace of mind too.     


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How Do I Know What Kind Of Life Insurance Is Best For Me?

Have you ever wondered why there are so many types of Life Insurance and how to go about picking a plan?     As Balanced Care continues to focus on Life Insurance during National Life Insurance Awareness Month, I felt it was a good idea to talk about the different types and who they would best suit.    

There are really two types of Life Insurance - One being term and the other being permanent.   To prevent confusion, Balanced Care will focus on Term Life Insurance in this post.          

Term Insurance provides protection with the least amount of cost.    Term Insurance is often called Pure Life Insurance because it does not have any savings or investment features in the plan.    Term Insurance is also the most straight forward type of insurance as you will pay a premium (normally monthly or annually) for a specified amount of time.     This normally ranges from ten to thirty years for most policies.    

Generally, most people buy Life Insurance as a means of providing a lump sum of income to their survivors in the event of an untimely death.     This income can help with mortgage payments, rent, car payments, childcare, debt, and college education.     As we get older, our expenses should go down.     Mortgages will be close to being paid off and children will grow up and move out.     If we consider that the average mortgage lasts thirty years, it is a belief that the need for Life Insurance will decrease.    

Term Life Insurance policies will benefit families that rely on two incomes.     If you have a mortgage and live with either a spouse or significant other, you will want to purchase some Life Insurance as mortgage protection.     The general rule is to purchase enough to be able to pay the home mortgage for the duration of the years left to pay on it.   

You should also take into consideration Income Replacement.     If you have been relying on two incomes and suddenly go to one, your standard of living will change as well.   

As with any type of Life Insurance, the earlier you decide to purchase it, the better off you will be.    Your age and health when you are younger will make the premium much more affordable and easier to be approved.       If you feel that Term Life Insurance will be your best best, feel free to call Balanced Care for a no obligation quote today.     Balanced Care works with over forty insurance carriers making sure to find you a plan that takes your budget into consideration and your protection our number one priority.     

Monday, September 17, 2012

Autumn Is In The Air

Autumn happens to be my favorite time of the year.     Fresh cool air, the beautiful colors, crisp apples, and laundy hung on the clothesline that triggers the memory of my children playing outside in the fall are just a few of the reasons why I love this time of year.   

In the insurance industry and especially if you work with Medicare beneficiaries, it is also the time of year when agents have to recertify with every insurance carrier you want to offer your clients.      This includes AHIP (America's Health Insurance Plan) certification and passing a test with at least a 90% and then passing a test from every insurance company with at least a 85%. 

So, while you are enjoying the fall weather, I'll be enjoying it as well.     I'll just be enjoying it from my window as I take another test and look at the colors outside while crunching on an apple.   


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

"Selling" Insurance

Balanced Care is in the business of helping individuals, businesses, and our seniors secure adequate health and life insurance coverage in the states of NH and Maine. I often hear from people in other professions as well as from my clients that they wonder how I can stand to “sell” insurance. I thought it would be a good idea to comment on this statement and share why the job I do is important. 

If we really stop and think about it, we all have been in sales at some point in our life.   It may not be your career choice, but stop for a minute and think about how you had to “ask” permission from your parents to do something you really wanted to do.  They may have said “no” the first time which if you were anything like me, you kept asking.   You plead your case; you asked again. You may have still heard the word, “no”, but kept on.  You were “selling” to your parents the reasons why you should go to a dance, a party, or a movie.  Think about your first job interview or any job interview for that matter.   You made sure to dress the part, were escorted into an interview room, interviewed, and possibly interviewed a second and third time.   Each time, you were “selling” your strengths.

“Sales” is the reason why I personally hesitated before deciding to go into the insurance business. I didn’t want to be seen as someone who “Sold” my clients.   I didn’t want to be known as a “Pushy salesperson”.   I worried about what people would think if I “bothered” them.      

After realizing just how important insurance is and what is does for families, I had to change my attitude about sales and perceive it differently. Through experience, I knew what it did for my family. How could I possibly be worried about what people think and not share with them what it really does. Could I be that selfish?

The answer is No! I couldn’t be. It was a gift that my family received and a blessing that we had an insurance salesperson come to our home, care enough to ask us questions and protect us.   It was a gift that I had to pay forward.   People can say no and that’s fine.   I can rest assured and put my head on my pillow each night knowing that I have done what I could to protect them and given them the best advice I have at my fingertips.

So, when I hear the comment, how can you stand to “Sell” insurance, the answer I always give is how can I not?    I know that another person, another family, and/or another business have done what they could to protect themselves.  They will sleep a little better at night and so will I.      After all, I had to “Sell” myself to go out to a movie my parents didn’t want me to see and I had to “Sell” myself on many job interviews.   Truthfully, insurance is a whole lot easier and much more gratifying.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


It hardly seems possible that it has been eleven years since the horrible tragedy of 9/11/2001.     I still remember the day and everything about it.      I remember where I was and thinking that this cannot be possibly happening.      I remember airlines being shut down.     I remember amusement parks closing.    I remember walking my children to school the next day and seeing armed guards outside of the National Guard.     It was all so surreal.      Countless lives were lost that day.      Countless men and women sacrificed their own lives to save others.     

The thing that forever took my breath away was watching Congress sing, "God Bless America".    They weren't thinking about Democrat or Republican.     They were standing together as one.     It's something I wished could have lasted much longer.

God Bless America, my home sweet home.       

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Smiles and Teardrops

Labor Day Week-end is always a special week-end for me, however, this year is much different.      I was born on Labor Day week-end and am celebrating my birthday today. .    It's much different this year as it will be my first birthday without my Mother.   My mother loved to shop and when birthdays would come, she would shop with a passion looking for that perfect gift.    The last several years of her life were harder for her to get out for any length of time so she shopped through magazines and absolutely loved QVC.    The gifts were always perfect, but more importantly, I was blessed to see the joy as she wrapped the gift to perfection and she waited with eager anticipation as you opened the gift.    This year, there will be no gifts to open from her, but the gifts that she gave me were worth more than any gift I could possibly open.     This blog is dedicated to my sweet Mother and so I thought it fitting to share some of my thoughts and experiences that have happened since losing her and this week-end.    

After losing my mother, tears would flow at the drop of a hat.     With each holiday, my sister's birthdays, and Mother's Day, I would put on a smile, but inside, my heart broke.       Just because she was gone didn't mean that I would ever stop loving her or that I would ever forget her.    If anything, it only made me love her more.     Over the last few months, I started going through her pictures and would smile as memories of her would flood my memory.   

Going through the pictures helped with healing as instead of shedding tears each time I would think of her, I could concentrate on what was instead of what wasn't.     Friday nights were an evening that I would visit with her, take her out to eat, and spend time with her.    In the beginning when a Friday night would come, I could barely hold myself together.    Now, I'm grateful that I took the opportunity to be with her, hold her hand, and enjoy her company.       As I mentioned, my mother loved to shop.    It isn't something that I can't wait to do, but it was an experience with her.     At Christmas time, we would visit store after store looking for a gift for everyone on her list.     They were never extravagent gifts, but they were given from her heart.      The last time I took her out shopping was at Christmas time and I rented a wheelchair so she wouldn't tire as easily.     I was exhausted after several hours, but so glad we went and I have that memory.  

My mother never loved cooking and wasn't shy about telling you that it wasn't her favorite activity.    She joked that she wouldn't mind if her home didn't have a kitchen because she was rarely in it.     All this and still a cup of tea would still taste better when she made it.     I remember having her make scrambled eggs and toast when I was sick and she made them to perfection (eggs not runny and toast just lightly browned).    I also remember having her take the popsicle or fudgsicle off the stick because I never liked (and still don't) the feel of the stick in my mouth.     She may not have loved the kitchen, but these memories bring a smile to my face as I work in my own kitchen hopefully making good memories for my own family.      

While walking our dog, Jazz, on the sixth month anniversary of my mother's death, the day started off hard.     I was missing her and tears starting to roll down my cheek.    I began to pray and asked God to help me through the day.     I looked down on the ground and saw this:

A perfect shaped heart in the grass.     God had answered my prayer as he showed me that he was still guarding my heart by showing me his.      Instead of sadness, I felt joy as I knew she was with him.    She was healed.     Her heart was now strong,   She no longer suffered.     She was in his care.     A smile came across my face and the day was a little easier.    

This week-end, I spent some time in my garden.     My heart was breaking as I anticipated my birthday coming up.    When I say this, it sounds selfish and I guess it is.      So, again, I prayed and you won't believe it, but in my garden I found this flower.

This flower isn't suppose to be blooming this time of the year, but it is.     This flower is the one that my mother enjoyed the most in my garden.     She always commented on how beautiful they were.    In the midst of heartbreak, there was plenty of beauty as long as I looked for it.   All I could imagine were plenty of flowers and beauty all around her.    How could I possibly not be smiling for her?         

The day got a little better as I took Jazz out for another walk in the yard.    I looked down and saw this; another heart guarding my heart as I smiled and a tear fell down my cheek.   

I love and miss you, Mom.  


Saturday, September 1, 2012

National LIfe Insurance Awareness Month

September is National Life Insurance Awareness Month and because Balanced Care provides Life Insurance to individuals, businesses, and seniors, we thought we would provide as much education on this product this month as possible.    

We will start with answering the most commonly asked questions and because today is the first of the month, we thought we would start with the question that is asked the most.     "Do I Need Life Insurance"?   

Are you engaged or married? Your spouse or partner can use the benefits to help pay for final expenses that include burial costs as well as meet ongoing obligations such as rent, mortgage, or car payments.

Are you the breadwinner in the family? If your family’s lifestyle would significantly be impacted, benefits will help with the loss of income.
Are you a parent with dependent children? Benefits can provide for your children’s financial needs. Expenses such as day care, medical care, braces, school and tuition will be taken care of even if you are no longer able to do so.

Are you a single parent? Your children rely on your income to survive.
Are you a stay at home parent? Even if you don’t work outside of your home, you provide plenty of work inside the home. Caring for children, housekeeping, cooking, and bookkeeping will all need to be replaced.

Are you a homeowner? Without your income, your family would still have to pay the mortgage, sell the home, or worst case scenario, face foreclosure.

Are you in business with a partner? Your death could cause the business to fail or close and leave more than one family financially distraught.
Are you an employer with one or more hard to replace valued employees? Without these key employees, your company can fail causing the company to close down. This not only effects the company, but every employee and their families.

Are you involved with an important cause or charity? If you want a leave a lasting legacy, the benefit can be donated to your favorite charity.

As we have always said, Life Insurance is a personal decision. At Balanced Care, we do encourage no obligation consultations so you can get to know us as a broker and the insurance companies we represent. We do work with over forty carriers so that we can offer the most competitve rates, the best underwriting offers, and most importantly, support and customer service when you need it the most.