Friday, August 16, 2013

In the Middle of Chaos

Just a little over a month ago now, our son, Andrew and his wife, Christina had a wedding to go to on Long Island.     Because they were going away, they asked my husband and I if we would be willing to watch their dog, Rosie.     We are always happy to help out our children and having a young dog around the house always brings a little more excitement and love.      

With the wedding happening on a Friday afternoon, they decided to drop Rosie off on Thursday evening as they would be leaving very early Friday morning.    I decided to have dinner ready for them so we could eat together and enjoy their company.     I also decided to have our oldest son, Michael and his family over so we could all be together.     As our sons have grown and gone out on their own, it becomes a little more difficult to have everyone together so every opportunity that comes about, we work to take advantage of.   

Thursday came and I decided to try a new recipe - pork spare ribs in the crockpot.    I enjoy cooking so anytime I can cook and try something different I'm thrilled.      Michael (our oldest son) and his family arrived first.      The aroma of the spare ribs filled the house.      Michael and Courtney had just looked at a new apartment and were excited about it, loved it, and wanted to start filling out their application for it immediately.      They sat at the table and got to work.     Rosslyn, our granddaughter, was playing with Jazz (our dog), talking about Elmo, smiling, and playing.  

I decided to put out some watermelon slices for everyone to enjoy while we waited for dinner to finish cooking.    I also had rice pilaf, fresh corn on the cob, and fresh carrots from the garden all cooking.     My husband arrived home to the house smelling yummy and Rosslyn jumping into his arms saying, "Grandpa, Grandpa."     A big smile came across his face as I also greeted him and the three of us hugged to welcome him home.    At this time, Michael and Courtney were making copies of things for their application and came back into the kitchen to say hi.      They were still excited and eager to share with John things about the apartment and show us some pictures.   

We looked at pictures as we all talked and set the table.     The apartment looked beautiful and I smiled as I watched them talk about it with such excitement.       Andrew and Christina were on their way, but told us to go ahead and start if things were ready.    We all started with our corn on the cob.    Rosslyn loves corn on the cob and can barely wait to sink her teeth into it so Michael and Courtney have a routine of running it under cold water so she can eat it without having to wait for it to cool.    

A few minutes after sitting down, Andrew and Christina arrived with Rosie.     Jazz and Rosie always get excited when they first see one another again so they begin by running around.     Up and down the stairs and all around the house.     Rosslyn immediately starts saying, "doggy, doggy" and can barely sit still to eat as she is eager to go to them.  

Andrew and Christina sit down to eat as the dogs continue to run around.     We try to settle them down only realizing that they just want to play.       By this time, Rosslyn is down chasing them around trying to give them kisses.     It was a little chaotic, but I loved every second of it.   

We finished eating as we continued to look at pictures of the apartment that Michael and Courtney were looking to rent.     We talked about the wedding that Andrew and Christina were going to.     Rosslyn was playing with the dogs, continuing to talk about Elmo (he is her favorite), and giving us all reasons to laugh and smile.   

After we began to clean up, Andrew and Christina started to share Rosie's schedule.    They are such good doggy parents and will make wonderful parents one day.        Michael and Courtney still had a few things to do on their application so I told them I would keep my eye on Rosslyn.     Aunty Christina decided to take Rosslyn outside to pick some fresh raspberries off of the bushes they planted for me a few years ago.    As I was cleaning up and doing the dishes, I took a moment to watch them.     Aunty Christina was talking with Rosslyn and they were both gently picking raspberries off the bushes.     Rosslyn was intently working to get a few raspberries and put them in a dish that would soon be put on top of ice cream. 

I smiled watching them and turned to look at the dining room table where Michael and Courtney were sitting working together on something for their future.      Just then, the dogs came running across the floor.     As hard as I work to make things perfect for my family, this is just a small example of how chaotic moments turn into lasting memories.   

John and I are still in love.    We show one another respect and never let the opportunity go by to welcome one another home.     Our sons have seen this and now as I watch them with their own families, they do the same.     We are blessed that everyone gets along and sees the gifts that each person has.     We all get excited to see blessings being bestowed on any of us.     The dogs in our life bring a little excitement and chaos, but they are loved and know it.     In the middle of chaos in our home, I smile as my husband watches me and smiles back.    

We have ice cream with fresh raspberries on top, I get the final instructions for Rosie, and everyone is ready to leave.    Hugs and kisses are given.    Once our chores are done for the evening, John and I sit down together.    The dogs are both not far from us and are comfortably resting.    The house is quiet.    I smile as I think of the day and each blessing it held.    I think of Michael and Courtney coming up on a year of being together and thank God they found one another.    I pray for Andrew and Christina as they venture on the road to see friends become married.    We get ready for bed and as I pat both Jazz and Rosie before I go into my bedroom, I am thankful for each of them.     They are part of the smiles, the chaos, and the beautiful memories.        

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Keeping My Family and Friends Informed

Last month, I started sending out what would be the first of a few letters to my family and friends to keep them informed on what my business offers and who I serve.    

This month's letter is focused on Life Insurance.     Hope you enjoy it and as always, if you have questions or need information on any of the products that are offered through my business, let me know.     My purpose is to serve you providing you with balance, security, and peace of mind with your insurance needs.   

In my last letter, I spoke how Balanced Care services our senior market.     When I originally planned out these letters, I thought that I would cover health insurance for you on the second letter, however, with changes still happening in health care reform and insurance companies waiting on their plans to be approved by the Federal Government prior to open enrollment for individuals this fall, my focus in this letter will be on life insurance and who I help with this product.    

As mentioned previously, insurance is never something most of us jump up and down about.     When it comes to life insurance, that statement is definitely true.     When I work with businesses providing benefits to their employees, group life insurance is a product that many employers provide.     Some employers will pay for one and a half to two times an employee’s salary for a life insurance benefit.      Some employers will give an option to their employees to purchase more and have it deducted from their paychecks.     This leads me to a story that I often share because it holds the true value that life insurance brought to a young woman I worked with.       While working with a business enrolling employees in plans, I sit down one to one with employees to make sure they understand what is offered to them.    This particular day, I was approached by a fifty year old woman.     Every question that she asked was regarding life insurance.     It was obvious to me that she had her reasons for needing it and after we established some trust between us, she stated that she would be forever grateful for her employer for giving her the opportunity to own it.       She had tried to purchase life insurance online; however, due to the fact that she had some health issues, she was declined.    When purchasing life insurance through a business or group, there is little to no medical underwriting which now made her eligible.    She also shared that she had recently lost her thirty year old daughter who died suddenly.     The next statement she made was one that I will always remember.     She stated, “Writing a check out to the funeral home each month brings me back to pain of losing her over and over again.     She was young, healthy, and thought she had plenty of time to worry about life insurance.    With two children still at home, I want to do as much as I can to take away this pain should something happen to me.”    If ever there was a reason to know that what I do brought value, she gave it to me in that moment.     

Not only do I provide life insurance for employees, but also business owners and families.     Business owners purchase it for reasons such as a key employee.    This employee may be a partner in the business and be an integral part of the business’ success.    Businesses have to ask themselves if their business could continue to thrive should something happen to the person they are depending on.  Another reason a business purchases life insurance from me is business continuation.     If a business owner were to pass away, they have to ask themselves if their heirs would be able to continue the business or have to sell because they wouldn’t have the financial means to do so.      

The majority of clients I work with purchase life insurance as a means of protecting their families.      New homeowners, newly married, and upon the birth of children are just some of the reasons clients come to me.   Whether they buy term life insurance, whole life insurance, universal life insurance, or indexed universal life insurance depends on their need, their age, and their budget.     At Balanced Care, I have worked with single men and women, married couples, college students, stay at home parents, and retirees.      Believe it or not, life insurance is also a vehicle to tax free retirement.    Because I am a broker, I work with over forty different insurance carriers to make sure clients have options and that the policy works not only for your budget, but for your specific needs.  

Lastly, I work with a life insurance product called Final Expense life insurance.     These plans are small, affordable and are designed to cover final expenses such as funeral and burial costs.       Without these plans, many retirees and our senior generation would not be able to provide a means to have their final wishes carried out.      These plans are also a good vehicle for leaving a legacy to your favorite church and/or charity.        Many people want to give generously to their church, but financial limitations can stand in their way.     A living gift memorial plan is a viable option that allows you to endow your church with a substantial gift without burdening your personal finances.     A client in her sixties asked me if she could leave part of her death benefit to a library that held a special place in her heart.     I recommended a Final Expense policy that was not only less expensive, but gave her protection for her final expenses as well as leaving a gift to the library as she desired.   

For your convenience, I have included a comprehensive life insurance checklist for you to take a look at.    It has been divided into age brackets with the types of life insurance that are most appropriate.      As I continue to provide solutions, education, and consultations each day, I thank you for taking time to learn more about the people I have the privilege of serving each day and the products that protect them with their most precious assets – Their business, their family, and themselves.   



With love,  




Part 2 - Comprehensive Life Insurance Checklist 
Comprehensive Insurance Checklist for 2013
Ages 30 – 40 Newly married?   Planning a family?   Starting to think about retirement planning?     
·         Term Life Insurance – A twenty to thirty year term policy can help you with your financial responsibilities such as your mortgage and your children’s college tuition should something happen to you.  
·         Indexed Universal Life Insurance – Purchasing an indexed universal life policy early in life allows you greater potential for the policy to grow and accumulate value while you pay your premiums. 
Ages 40 – 55 Married? Have children?  Protecting your family/preparing for a comfortable retirement?
·         Indexed Universal Life Insurance – You have probably made some contributions to your employer sponsored retirement plan and have a more focused prospective on what you’ll need for retirement.   This will help you as you design your personal IUL.  
Ages 55 – 65 Married?    Children grown and moving out?  Preparing for retirement – protecting assets?
·         Whole Life Insurance – A whole life policy can be used for Estate Planning, charitable donations, or even purchasing as a gift for a grandchild
·         Annuity – An annuity can be an ideal place to roll over pension/IRA funds which will eliminate market volatility at a time in your life when you can’t afford to lose.  
Ages 60 – 70 Retired? Want to offer protection to family after your gone?
·         Final Expense – A small, affordable life insurance policy designed to cover final expenses such as funeral costs and other end of life expenses.  
·         Annuity – The peace of mind that comes from having an income stream unlike any other protection you have in place.   As you look at your retirement income, an annuity might be the perfect compliment.  


Friday, June 21, 2013

Providing Protection One Business, One Individual, One Senior at a Time

With my sons now grown, it is no longer important for me to know the local school's schedule.     This week, however, I've noticed many posts on Facebook with regards to graduations, have seen pictures of children on their last day of school, and have noticed local graduation ceremonies in the newspaper.  

These things brought a smile to my face as I remembered the last day of each school year for my children and how they anxiously awaited summer.    They loved the fact that I didn't have to wake them up and could literally play all day.  Picnics outside, playing in the pool, trips to the beach, baseball games, and our annual camping trip were always treasured by each of us.  

As I thought about our summer days, I remembered doing everything I could to protect my sons against injury and keep them healthy.     For instance, they weren't allowed to ride their bikes without a helmet.    They had to wear sunscreen and if we were heading into the woods, bug spray would always come with us.   I made sure to keep food cool so they wouldn't get food poisoning.    

Now that they are grown, I can no longer protect them the way I used to when they were children.    When my granddaughter, Rosslyn comes for a visit, my motherly instinct goes into full gear.    We block off the stairs, close up electrical sockets, close doors, put up gates, and protect her as much as we can.  

When I thought of this, it really confirmed for me that I am in the best career.    I am still able to protect children.     I am still able to protect families.    It is much different than protecting my children, but it is still protection.    

When I sit down with businesses that want to provide health, dental, life, and supplemental plans for their employees, it is gratifying to know that one more person is protected.    It doesn't matter whether the business has one employee or 300 employees, everyone deserves protection.      They can get proper medical help when needed.    They can get their teeth cleaned.    Their children will be able to learn as much as they can when in school because they had the proper vision care.  

When I sit down with a family that wants to buy life insurance, I am able to sleep a little bit better that night because another family is protected.      I know that if something happened, that little boy or girl would still miss their Mother or Father, but would have much less stress because their parents loved them enough to still care for them after they were gone.  

When I sit down with a senior that is overwhelmed about Medicare choices, it is humbling to see a sigh a relief when they now understand what they need to do.  

The reality is that we can do everything humanly possible to protect.     I did all I could to make sure that my sons didn't get hurt when they were outside, but things still happened.    Andrew still got a black eye when he was playing baseball with his brother.    Michael still needed a trip to the emergency room when his finger got stuck in the car door.     Rosslyn still took a tumble down a few stairs.  

My clients will still receive a diagnosis that will change their lives.    They will still have an accident.     All I can do is do what I do best - provide protection, provide peace of mind, and provide security one business, one person, one senior at a time.  

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Eye Opener

Since the beginning of this year, I have been on a quest to analyze my business to make sure that I am doing what I can to promote myself.     It's never an easy task especially when you have a very small business budget, however, several things have happened in the last month that have been eye opening.      

Just a few weeks ago, I ran into a friend at the grocery store.     Once we caught up on our families, the subject of our work came up.      She knew that I did insurance, however, she wasn't fully aware of all the products that are offered to clients.     This became painfully evident when I handed her my business card and she realized that I offered Medicare insurance.     She let me know that had she known that I offered Medicare, she would have gladly referred me to a friend of hers a few months prior.       To make matters worse, just last week-end, I ran into another friend while running errands.     The same thing happened when she read my business card except for this time, it was about Life Insurance.       This was eye opening as it made me realize that I haven't done as good of a job as I should have about promoting what is offered and to whom I serve.    

The truth is that I assumed  that others know exactly what Balanced Care does, but obviously, they didn't.      Another friend and business owner just shared with me yesterday something that she offered to her clients and I wasn't aware of.     I've known her for years and still didn't know about this one piece to her business.     With this is mind, I will be focusing on sending out a series of letters to family and friends to ensure that I am doing my part so this experience won't happen again.     This blog is really about people getting to know me and the person behind the business.     I'm human, I do make mistakes, however, I have also learned to keep my eyes open to the needs in the community and my clients.    This is the first of many letters that I plan on sending out.     Please feel free to share and by all means, please let me know of any suggestions or questions you may have.     I'm open and would love your feedback.   

The first letter:


About three weeks ago, I ran into a friend at the grocery store.     After catching up on our families, the subject of work came up.     When we both shared what we doing, she let me know that she wished she would have known what I did a few months ago.   The reason was because she could have referred me, but didn’t know what I did.      This brought the reality that I haven’t done as good of a job as I should have by sharing exactly what I do and who I serve.     With this in mind, I thought it would be a good idea to send you a series of letters to give you more insight into my day with the hope that this experience won’t happen again.    

Most people know that I work with insurance and to be honest, I completely understand that the majority of people don’t like it.   Because I have seen firsthand both personally and with my clients the value that insurance brings,   I continue to love what I do.    In my business, I serve our senior population, businesses, and individuals.     I strictly work within the scope of both health and life insurance.   Because that involves many insurance products, it is much easier to go through just a few at a time.    In this letter, I will concentrate on our senior population and how they are helped through my business.        

I have to be honest and share that the age of 65 is hardly a senior; however, this is when most people become eligible for Medicare.    About six months to a year prior to their 65th birthday, Medicare beneficiaries will begin to receive countless books, sales and marketing materials, and postcards from insurance companies.     This is so overwhelming and leaves many not sure what direction to take.     They wonder if they need a Medicare Supplemental Plan, a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, or a Medicare Advantage Plan.     They are told they can be penalized for not signing up for Medicare when they are first eligible, but don’t understand when that is.     They are also told that having a Prescription Drug Plan isn’t required, yet if they don’t have one, they can be penalized.    Many people work beyond the age of 65 and wonder if they need to sign up for Medicare.    Can you why they are overwhelmed?   If that isn’t enough to be confused about, each year between October 15th and December 7th, they can analyze their current plan and make changes.   Because Medicare is always changing, my recommendation is to start looking at options three to six months prior to your 65th birthday so you will have the most current information and ample time to grasp what exactly you need to do to ensure coverage and prevent penalties.        

For more information on Medicare or any of the other products offered through Balanced Care, please visit my website at    I’m also active on social media with Facebook, Linked In, and Twitter and would love to keep connected with you.     

With love,  


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Happy Anniversary, my love

Twenty nine years ago at 4:00 in the afternoon, I walked into a room full of family and friends.     The one person that I had my eyes on was the man that was the love of my life.    That man is now my husband and has been ever since that afternoon on May 26, 1984.       

I still remember every single moment of that day.      Standing side by side, exchanging vows, joining hands, and being pronounced husband and wife was more than I ever dreamed of.        

John - I am blessed to be your wife.    I am honored to still be standing next to you, still holding your hand, and walking together with God's grace.   

                                                      Happy Anniversary, my love.      

Saturday, May 18, 2013

One Little Heartbeat at a Time

Last week-end, mothers across the country celebrated Mother's Day.     Whether you are a Mom, a Step-Mom, an adopted mom, or a grandmother, we all celebrated together with homemade cards, jewelry made out of noodles, handprints, and maybe breakfast in bed.   

For some, they celebrated Mother's Day missing their child and longed to have their little one in their arms.     For some, they celebrated either their first, second, or more without their Mother.      One of my sisters and I spent the day before Mother's Day visiting my Mother's grave, planting vines and flowers, and sitting there together with her.    

As I sat at brunch the next day enjoying my family and feeling so blessed to be in their company, I thought of her of how thankful I was that she was my Mother.    She taught me to love deeply and enjoy every moment.        She took the time to change my life - one little heartbeat at a time.   


Monday, April 22, 2013

You Are Beautiful!

I just got done watching this short video and thought it was worthwhile to share with you.

Please take the time to watch it.  

Monday, April 15, 2013

Referrals and Testimonials - Good for the Heart

Whether you work for yourself or for someone else, we all want to be appreciated.    It is always so good for my heart when I am either referred by a client or someone takes the time to write out a testimonial for me in my business.   

At the end of many networking meetings that I attend regularly, there is an opportunity for people to share a testimonial for someone they have either done business with or referred someone to.     As wonderful as it is to receive both a referral and testimonial, it's also great to give them. 
I have been incredibly blessed with clients who have placed their trust in me with their insurance needs.     As a way to "Pay it Forward", I'd like to share with you many businesses that I have come to trust over the years.   It is my hope that when you need the services, you can call on me for names and numbers.   

I personally believe that these businesses will meet or exceed your expectations.   In some cases, there are more than one that I can recommend and you can take the time to "interview" who would fit your needs the most.    

Because it is springtime, I thought I would share some businesses that can help with spring cleaning:  

  1. Do you need a painter?    How about a carpenter?   
  2. Do you need floors and carpets cleaned professionally?
  3. Do you need a landscaper?  
Are you thinking about buying or selling your home?      I have established very strong relationships with both realtors and movers in the community and would love to refer them to help you.   

Are you thinking of taking a vacation this summer?     I know of a travel agent that has traveled the world and would love to help you plan your vacation.   

Are you looking to try a different kind of exercise program?    One of my dearest friends does guided hikes with one of her specialties being moonlight hikes.    It happens to be one of my favorite things to do and I would highly recommend the experience.    

After the long winter, do you need a massage?    I have just the person you need.   

And, last but not least, are you looking to lower your insurance costs?     Because I don't personally work with both homeowners and automobile insurance, I have many agents that I refer business to on a regular basis.    

If you own a business or know of one that you highly recommend, please let me know.     It's good for the community, will help them to feel appreciated, and most likely, be very good for their heart.   

Friday, April 12, 2013

Living Gift Memorial Plan

It is always so inspiring to see the hearts of people who reach out to their community to help. Whether it is volunteering at church, giving to a family in need, or donating both time and money to a charity that you cherish, it is always humbling to watch. I had the opportunity to see this personally while at a Chamber Business After Hours during the month of December. The Chamber was raffling off either 100 gallons of oil and/or cash. When a winner was announced, he asked if the proceeds could go to a family in need. It turns out that a son of one of the chamber members had recently been in a car accident and was facing many surgeries along with not being able to work. The raffle was donated to him. It touched my heart. In my line of work, I am always speaking about providing peace of mind to families and businesses and I am honored when I know another family has been protected. I have also been humbled to see people want to leave money to either a charity or their church with the death benefit from their life insurance policies. Not only do people leave a lasting legacy when they do this, there are several advantages as well. Your gift would be protected from probate taxes, the gift could be excluded from estate taxes, and you can receive a tax deduction on the premiums you put into the plan. Leaving your Life Insurance death benefit to a charity can also help you to pass on a larger gift than you would have been able to give in your lifetime. Your cost is just the sum of the payments to the policy and your death benefit could be much more than that. A charity may have helped you or a loved one during their lifetime and it’s only natural to want to continue to help them as long as you possibly can. There is a misconception that only people with a large income can provide this. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Even those with a modest income can still be a philanthropist in your community. At Balanced Care, we would encourage you to speak with a tax advisor or your attorney to make sure your gift is structured properly. Because we network regularly with these professionals in the area, we can refer you to make sure that your legacy lives on the way you desire.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Food Pantry Networking

As a business owner, networking with other businesses in your local area is a very inexpensive way to market your business.    It is also a way to build trust with other business owners in your community.    

Because Balanced Care is a small business, I have to be mindful of a small business budget.     I have become involved with Rotary, local Chambers, and women's networking groups.    Belonging to these groups has given me the opportunity to do things that touch my heart.    For instance, with Rotary, volunteering at a local homeless shelter and taking part in a clothing drive for school age students.    With the local chamber I belong to (Greater Barrington Chamber of Commerce), serving on the board of directors allows me to give a voice to the members.      One of the committees that meets regularly is the Member Outreach Team and together we work to stay in touch with the members making sure they take advantage of all the Chamber can help them with.   

Each month, the Chamber hosts a luncheon that allows members to get together, network, talk about their business, and have lunch at the same time.     The Chamber does encourage members to bring a food item/items for the local food pantry if they desire as well.     In the past, some members have used the food items they brought in to give a one minute commercial about their business.     This is harder than it seems, but after some thought, I came up with an idea and tried to out today.    The food items that I used are in paragraphs.   

Here it is:

I am Terri Trepanier with Balanced Care Health and Supplemental Insurance.    Licensed in both Maine and NH, Balanced Care offers health and life insurance products that include health, dental, life, Medicare, and supplemental plans such as accident and cancer plans.    

Do you have an Uncle (Uncle Ben's rice) that is self-employed and looking for health insurance?  

Do you have an Aunt (Aunt Jemima's pancake mix) that has a business and wants to provide health benefits to her employeees?

Do you have a neighbor, Mrs. Grass (Mrs. Grass's soup mix)   (I actually looked for Mrs. Fields cookies and couldn't find them) that needs guidance on her Medicare Supplemental, Medicare Prescription Drug plan, or final expense life insurance plan?

Has someone close to you just had a baby (Baby Food)?   Has your neice or nephew just bought their dream home (Dream Whip)?    If you do, it's a good idea to protect their most valuable assets with life insurance that will fit their budget.   

It always feels good to be out networking, but for just a few dollars to buy a couple of items at the grocery store, it was even more rewarding to know that someone would be fed.      At Balanced Care, we look at ourselves as educators and consultants, not just another sales person.     We appreciate being able to take care of another family every day and give them . . . .    Balance, Security, and Peace of Mind with their Insurance Needs and in this case, keeping someone fed for another meal.  

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Happy First Day of Spring

With the weather outside looking very much like winter, a few pictures of springtime are in order.     Enjoy!

Life stands before me like an eternal spring with new and brilliant clothes.   
Carl Friedrich Gauss

The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another.   The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month. 
Henry Van Dyke

For happiness one needs security. but joy can spring like a flower even from the cliffs of despair. 
Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Spring is nature's way of saying, "Let's party". 
Robin Williams

Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.  
Doug Larson

I drank the silence of God from a spring in the woods.  
Georg Trakl

My favorite weather is bird chirping weather. 
If you want to see the sunshine, you have to weather the storm.  
Frank Lane

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Reality of Owning a Business

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to go to a seminar entitled, "Monetize Your Message" that Fabienne Fredrickson of Client Attraction.Com put on.     I've been following her for about a year and a half and love all the nuggets she gives about running a business.     What I love about her is that she is real, honest, humble, and full of integrity.     

Fabienne put on a great seminar and it has been a dream of mine to not only meet her, but take advantage of one of her programs.   The dream of meeting her in person came true this week, however, taking advantage of one of her programs is still in the horizon.    The reason and the reality is that it costs money and it's not yet in my budget.   

One of the things that she spoke about is her struggles in business and because of her honesty, it truly gave me hope.      Contrary to what some may believe that just because you are in business, it doesn't mean that it comes easy, without work, or without struggles.     As much as I love what I do, there have been several things that have happened that hurt.    I'm not one to share these things often, but after listening to Fabienne, I feel that by sharing them, there will be someone that will benefit.    At least, that is my hope.     She shared her heart and it was not only a benefit, but a blessing to me.    Thank you, Fabienne.  

One of the hardest things for me to hear is that "You do insurance - wow, you must be loaded".     This comment or anything like this really takes me off guard.      First of all, my husband and I aren't loaded and even if we were, it isn't something that should even be brought up.     For me personally, I work to put some of the money that is made back into the business every month.    Many months, this isn't possible and I can look at my account seeing less than $10.00 there and wonder how I will get through until the next week.   Does this affect me? Yes it does.  Do I sometimes feel sorry for myself?   You bet.    Can I do something about it?    Yes, and I do every single day.     I get up, brush myself off, and find a way to provide peace of mind to another client.     Is it hard?   It can be if I let myself think about it too long.    That's the reality.    

About a year ago, I received a referral for a business with seven employees.     They had reached out to me to find out if I could come with options for their employees for health, dental, and supplemental insurance plans.     I collected all their information, put together a wide range of options, set up an appointment, and met with the owners of the business to go through everything.     The meeting lasted for two and half hours.     At the end of the appointment when they had made their decision, one of the owners told me how much he appreciated the work and knowledge I brought to the table.  He went on to tell me that he had never seen any agent be so well prepared.    They currently had a plan in place that was due to expire in six weeks from the time of the appointment.     We set up another appointment to close on everything in two weeks.      Three days later at almost 9:00 at night, my cell phone rang.      I heard the phone ring, however, unless I know it is family calling at that time of night, I don't answer the phone because this is my family time.    Yes, business owners do need family time.    After listening to the message the next morning which by the way was from the business owner that complimented my presentation, I was floored.    In the message, he thanked me for giving his business plenty of information to know where to get their benefits, but they already had an agent and wouldn't need my services.    My heart sank as I thought about how this business had used my services to get what they wanted all while knowing that they never intended to move forward.     Did this bother me?     I can honestly say that this was probably one of the hardest things I had to overcome.    Did I learn from it?    You bet in more ways than one.     Did I brush myself off and move forward to help others?   I had to because I couldn't let one bad apple get in the way of helping others that wanted and needed the help.    The reality is that there are far more people that are honest and would never even dream of using someone.     The reality is focusing on the people that are honest far outweighs this one company that felt it necessary to use my services.    

With any profession, there are people that do a great job and there are some that don't have a good reputation.     One of the things that I work each day to provide is trust.     There have been people that have said, "Oh, you sell insurance.  I don't trust anyone that sells insurance - how can you be trusted?"    This can come from people that don't even know me.      This is where it has helped me to read over testimonials, read past e-mails from clients that thank me, and put my focus on all the good that comes from helping others secure adequate insurance coverage.     The reality is that there are bad salespeople.     The reality is that I feel for people that have been hurt by anyone in sales.     The reality is that I am human and sensitive.     For some reason, people believe that just because you own a business means that you can take anything including verbal bashing.    The reality is that I do sell insurance, however, I do so in a way that provides as much education and consultating as possible so that people can make informed decisions that are best for their companies and families.   

Even with all of this, I love what I do.    I have learned that I must keep going.   I have learned that without my help and guidance, many people would suffer.     I have learned that owning a business and being my own boss has it's rewards.   I have learned that I have many hats and know my strengths.   I have learned that there are many types of businesses out there and all of them have struggles.    I have learned that business owners have fears, but do it anyways.   I have learned that other business owners want to help you because they know what you go through each day and have come to be some of my best friends.      I have learned that it pays to be honest and trustworthy and I wouldn't run my business any other way.     That's the reality.        

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

It's The Little Things That Matter

Very often, when tragedy hits anyone and especially if several things happen within a short time frame, we as humans can't wait to get through it and see a light at the end of the tunnel.   At the end of 2012, I wish I could tell you how many times people would say to me, "I bet you can't wait for 2012 to be over".     Truth be told, I wanted to see a light at the end of the tunnel and I wanted all the pain of losing both my Mother and Father-in-law to not hurt anymore, however, I really didn't want the year to end.     The reason was because I was getting further away from losing them and afraid of not feeling pain.    As strange as that sounds, I was truly afraid that I would forget them, forget what they looked like, and forget the love that filled my heart from knowing them.    With this said, I wasn't looking forward to the end of the year as so many thought I might; I was actually dreading it.       Questions filled my mind such as, "Do I have to stop talking about them or  "Do I have to stop loving them?    I don't know if we ever get questions like these answered here on earth, but I can tell you that the fact that it was painful to me meant that I didn't want to be without their love.     The fact that it was painful meant I cherished every moment that I had with them and always will.     Both of them are deeply missed and it's all-right to miss them and still feel their love.     And I do.     

Cherishing moments now has become even more special now.    As hard as 2012 was, we also had incredibly beautiful moments.     I continue to remember all the little things about them and continue to create lots more little things today.     

Andrew and Christina were married in June of last year.      It was such a happy day and hearing them pour their hearts out to one another as they read their vows brought tears to my eyes and warmth to my heart.      Watching them smile and laugh all day long was a great example of how it's the little things that matter the most.     Their wedding was simple and elegant, yet one of the most beautiful ceremonies I have witnessed.

As my husband and I watched Andrew and Christina get married and now watch them as they have started their lives, it's exciting to hear the plans they have together.     It's the little things like seeing them discuss and share some of their goals, watching them cook together in their home, and hearing them on the other end of the phone call just to say, "I love you."  

Michael has had many changes this past year and we couldn't be happier for him.     He has met a very special young woman, Courtney.     He also has shared the love he has in his heart with her daughter, Rosslyn.     Both Courtney and Rosslyn hold a special place in our hearts and have brought even more joy to our family.     Last week-end, Rosslyn celebrated her 1st birthday.     They had a party for her at a local place called, "Twice The Fun".     John and I went a little late so she could enjoy her little friends and play for awhile.     When we arrived, the door was shut for the room all the guests were in.     Rosslyn was sitting in her new chair with Mama helping her open gifts.     When John and I walked in, she saw us and immediately reacted.      She smiled and held up her arms as she wanted us to come to her.    I will forever remember that moment for the rest of my life.     My husband was truly glowing from ear to ear.   It was just a little thing and it meant the world to both of us.    

Each day as I awake and am blessed to spend another day with my husband, I continue to thank God.    We don't have a large home, a lot of money in the bank, or big cars, but we have more love in our hearts for one another every day.     I still get excited to hear his voice on the other end of the phone letting me know he's on his way home.     I still get excited to hear him say, "Hi baby".     I still greet him at the door when he gets home with a kiss and a long hug.      It's always going to be the little things we remember the most.    

Monday, February 4, 2013

February is National Heart Disease Awareness Month

When you think of February, one of the first things that normally comes up is Valentine's Day and love.      As much as I am a hopeless romantic and love Valentine's Day, it's also National Heart Disease Awareness Month.    There is nothing romantic about heart disease and I hope that if I can share just a little information and provide some extra protection for you, a goal will be reached.  

Heart Disease is one of the leading causes of death among men and women.    In fact, it will take the lives of more women this year than breast cancer.     It's also important to share with you that symptoms are different in men and women.     Men will normally have chest pain, left arm pain radiating down the arm, indigestion, and even jaw pain.     For women, symptoms can include unusual fatigue, sleep disturbance, a feeling of severe indigestion or reflux that can actually make you short of breath, cold sweats and nausea with or without feeling dizzy.   

There are ways you can protect yourself against this disease.    The American Heart Association calls these Life's Simple Seven.   Here they are:

1.   Get active and stay active. 

2.   Control your cholesterol.     Keep your cholesterol in normal levels, most importantly, keep LDL (or bad cholesterol levels) at 100mg/dl or less.   

3.   Eat better.    

4.   Manage blood pressure.    120/80 and below for healthy individuals is what is recommended by 
      The American Heart Association.   

5.   Reduce blood sugar levels.    If you are a diabetic, keep your blood sugar levels within normal
      limits, generally 70-100 mg/dl.

6.   Stop smoking.  

7.    Lose weight.    Maintain a BMI within a  normal weight, 18.5 - 24.9.    

Balanced Care also wants you to realize that these are all things that your physician can help you to control.     By having your yearly physical exams (if you have health insurance, health care reform has included a yearly exam for prevention of disease and does so without any additional cost), you are taking the necessary steps to make sure that you are protecting your heart and your health.     

So many people rely on you each day - Your children, your spouse, your parents, your employer, your co-workers, and even your closest friends.     And while you are busy focusing on them, Balanced Care is focusing on you.   

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Pay It Forward

In the fall, I began to take part in something called a Goal Achievement Circle.     It's a group of like minded individuals who get together once a month to share goals, share what they have achieved, talk about challenges during the month, and share ideas to keep you on track towards achieving the goals you desire.    

During the month of November, we were encouraged to keep a gratitude list of what we were grateful for.     We were also encouraged to do random acts of kindness during the holiday season and for me personally, this was something that I couldn't wait to do.    Personally, I did things such as paying for a cup of coffee to the next person in line, paying a toll for the person behind me, letting someone go before me in the grocery line, and just offering a smile to perfect strangers.    When I did these random acts of kindness, I also made sure to keep it a secret if I possibly could.     I made sure that the cashier didn't let the person behind me know that it was me paying for the coffee.    To be truthful, paying for the coffee was minimal; watching people smile and share their excitement over a free cup of coffee was worth it's weight in gold.  

In December, I had the blessing of witnessing the true reason for the season.     At a Business After Hours with the Greater Barrington Chamber of Commerce, we had a Chamber Raffle with the prize being $500.00 worth of oil or $250.00 in cash.     A Chamber member won and immediately wanted the prize to go to a local family who was in need.     It turns out that a Chamber member's son who has a young family was recently in a car accident.    The accident would involve several surgeries, months of rehab, leave him unable to work, and because of this,  the family had some financial stress.    The oil was donated to this family and it really touched my heart.     This man didn't know this family, didn't think twice about it, he just did it.     It was something that both professionally and personally, I would love to be able to do without a blink of an eyelash.  

As a business owner who frequently receives referrals from many business owners, it is in my nature to try to give back if I possibly can to the ones who continually give.    As much as I would love to do this, the reality is that it's just about impossible.     Personally, several home and car insurance agents in the area continually give me referrals for health insurance and I pass their names along to people who are looking for the types of insurance they offer.     The hard part is that it isn't unusual for me to receive one or two referrals a month from five different agents.    It would be quite impossible for me to refer all of them.     I can thank them and do so, but never feel that it is enough.   I've also thought about telling them all the good that came from their referral, however, I have to follow privacy laws.  

With this said, I wanted to try to do something both professionally and personally that would allow me to do random acts of kindness or "paying it forward" while being mindful of the reality of my business.    Then I saw this on a Facebook status:  Pay It Forward in 2013 - The first five people to comment on this post will receive something from me sometime this year (a card, a baked good, something that makes me think of you).   There won't be a warning and it will happen whenever the mood strikes me.    What is the catch?     You must make the same offer in your Facebook status.   Let's keep paying it forward and spread the happy."  

I loved the idea and will be posting this on both my personal page and business page (Balanced Care Health and Supplemental Insurance) this week.      My goal is to obviously pay it forward and do random acts of kindness on a regular basis, however, it's also to share with you all the good things that people do on a regular basis.      It's also my hope to share more business pages, more testimonials for businesses, and just continual good news about all the good that both people and businesses do in their community.     

For myself, it gets very depressing to continually see bad news.    As someone that works with people each day, I believe that most of us need to read good news more often.     I also believe that as a business owner, it gives me great encouragement if someone has taken the time to go out of their way to write a testimonial or share a referral.    

I hope that you will join me in my effort of "paying it forward" in 2013 and look forward to reading and sharing all the good news that comes as a result of reading one small post on Facebook.    Let's Pay it forward together and share our business, our good news, and all those random acts of kindness.