UT Football

Yesterday, I had the privilege of working at the Tennessee/Alabama football game. There are three reasons it was so much fun:  

1. I got to see Smoky up close and personal. I love that dog. 

2. I actually got to talk to Coach Phillip  Fulmer. He is a wonderfully charming man. He called me “sweetie”, which is almost as good as calling a southern lady “darlin’”... 

3. I met the offensive coordinator for Alabama. Okay, I know most  Tennessee fans wouldn’t care about that, but he was very gracious in his win.   I never mind losing to someone who is gracious. 

Peyton Manning was also in the house, but I only got to see him from a distance, doggone it.  All in all, a very good day. A Vols win would’ve made it a perfect day, but I was proud of our team yesterday. They played their hearts out.  

Go Vols! 

The view yesterday from the skybox... 

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Who Minds The Store?

Some of you guys are business owners. You’ve worked hard to build what you have and are still working hard to maintain it. BUT...what happens if you become unable to work? Are you protected? How do you support your family in the event of your inability to go to work?  

 

These questions plague every business owner and keep us awake at night. Here are a few tips on how to protect your livelihood: 

 

1.  Have a buy-sell agreement: If you have a business partner, you need a buy-sell agreement. It’s easy and inexpensive to have an attorney to set it up for you. You don’t want to be in a position where you are in business with your business partner’s spouse. A buy-sell agreement eliminates the possibility of you losing your business in the event of the death or disability of your business partner.   One of the most common ways to fund the agreement  is with life insurance. Life insurance provides a way for you to buy out your business partners next-of-kin so you can continue life as usual, in the event of a loss, and vice versa.

2. Disability insurance: Disability insurance is an often overlooked need that can really help if you become disabled or unable to work. This type of insurance can work in several ways. You can purchase long or short term disability insurance or you can purchase life insurance with an accelerated death benefit to use specifically in the event of your inability to work due to critical, terminal, or chronic illness. Either way, you would be covered in the event you became sick.   

3. A 401k or long-term investment: Thwre are advantages to having a 401k set up for your employees. There are tax implications that are advantageous to the business owner, and it’s a benefit to the employee. It can also help attract good prospective employees who are interested in retirement benefits. Another good long term investment is an annuity, either for yourself or your employees. An annuity is a solid, secure low-risk investment. They are backed by insurance companies, not the federal government. They aren’t risky, and are a good add-on to your portfolio. 

 

If you’d like to know more, please feel free to contact me at your convenience at elainejacksonagency@gmail.com or call 865-482-7354.

 

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My Office

My office is still closed this week, due to bad leaks in the roof.  Part of the ceiling somehow found itself in my floor..

I am honestly not feeling too sanguine about this. The rest of the ceiling tile is bowed out and waiting to explode all over my office. I’m hoping it gets fixed this week, but not at all sure that it will. 

Just wanted to let everyone know. I am working from home until this gets resolved. God bless! 

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Why My Dog is a Cat

Yesterday morning, I was minding my own business, getting ready for work, when I suddenly realized something...my house was too quiet. Normally, Trixie follows me around everywhere, but if she doesn’t, I can still hear her, rooting around or running around pawing at one of her toys. Yesterday...nothing. Rightfully suspicious of this new phenomenon, I went downstairs...and so it began. My dog was on top of my kitchen countertop! She was happily sniffing around like a boss, which of course, she is. I can’t say I was completely surprised because I’ve caught her there three other times. Once when I left a container of bacon grease on the counter, another time when I was cooking sausage and turned my back for a nanosecond, and now, apparently, just because she wanted to.

Of course, I cried out, “Trixie! Off! Bad dog! Bad dog!” But she didn’t look one bit sorry. She just turned and hopped back through the pass through window, rested her head on the ledge and gazed at me with that look. “Who? Me??” 

I am not really a cat person. Never have been. I know people love their cats like I love my dog, but I never warmed up to them. Too aloof, and too weird. Now, I have a doggone dog who climbs up on my counter, exactly like some ole alley cat. What’s a Mamma to do? She is rotten, spoiled rotten, I tell you! 

I have to figure out a way to stop this behavior, short of re-arranging my entire living room...please feel free to message me any ideas!  

The Princess, giving me the look...

#trixiethewonderdog

#dogsbehavingbadly

#dogshaming

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3 Reasons to Buy Life Insurance

According to insurance company polls, there are many reasons people buy life insurance. Here are the top three reasons:

1. To create an estate, especially of there is none. Life insurance is a way to leave your family in a financially secure position in the event you’re not here to take care of them yourself. 

2. To pay off debt. If you have a mortgage, credit card debt, car payments, student loans, etc., life insurance can help in the event of a loss. 

3. A savings vehicle. Life insurance can assist in funding retirement, provided it’s the correct vehicle for you or your family.  

Of course, all these reasons boil down to just one...you love somebody.  

 

 

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An Alzheimer’s Moment

Yesterday was Mother’s Day...a day to celebrate all that is motherhood. I had  a wonderful day with my daughter and my son-in-law’s family. With my own mother, not so much...

it started out to be a good day. I picked Mom up from the assisted living facility and took her to church with me. I seldom take her out anymore because she just gets too confused, and let me just state right here and now—I am not blaming her for the less-than-perfect  day. I am blaming myself for having unrealistic expectations of a Alzheimer’s patient. I had somehow gotten it into my head she would enjoy a day with the family, when she seldom does. She loves it one-on-one, or maybe two-on-one. With the whole clan...not so much. 

She was great during the church service. She was even singing along with her own words, hugging me and holding my hand. I am certain that years of her and Dad singing duets at almost every church in Knoxville were a major factor in her contentment. I know we had a wonderful morning, and she was happy. Things didn’t start to go south until we got to the in-laws house. 

I don’t know what happened, and I don’t believe it was a specific thing, because let’s face it...it you don’t have a good time at Steve and Sherry Smith’s house, then you don’t gave a good time anywhere. Just sayin’...however, something must have triggered her because she started mumbling  under her breath, gesturing, and trying to get up and leave by herself. At 2:30, I finally gave up and took her back home. She wasn’t real content there, either, but at least she settled down. 

I am aggravated with myself today. I knew better, but like the Little Engine That Could, I pressed on anyway, knowing it was dicey. I will not make this mistake again. For those of you read this, if you don’t have someone you love who struggles with Alzheimer’s, thank the Lord above. It is a horrible, devastating disease that steals the heart and soul of your loved one, but leaves the body here. I find myself caring for a stranger trapped in my Mother’s little body. There is nothing about it that is easy. Yet, I do it, not because I want praise or glory for it, but because that is still my Mother, even if the brain belongs to someone else. I just want the last years of that “someone else” to be happy ones, and I fear they will not be. And if they won’t be happy ones, maybe I’ll settle for contented  ones...there are worse things to be. 

Even though our day was difficult at times, I have to be mindful that we don’t know what our future holds. Only God knows that. I can’t imagine making it through life without Him. He is my Constant, in the midst of a storm. He is Hope in the midst of bleakness. He is Shelter in the midst of a spiritual housing crisis. He is Lord, and that is enough.  

God bless. 

 

#fightalzheimers

#analzheimersmoment

 

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A happier moment...

3 Reasons Why You May Be Underinsured

When was the last time you reviewed your insurance policy with your agent? If the answer to that was, “Never,” it might be beneficial for you to read on...

1. With today’s rising costs of construction, automobile parts, and most of all, earning potential, it is vital that you take a look at your coverage, your towing benefits, and your yearly income. The cost of adjusting something as simple as your deductible, your liability limit or face amount of a life insurance policy is minimal, and it could mean the difference between financial stability or financial ruin.   Take a moment to pull these policies out that have been gathering dust in your drawer and give your agent a call and have them explain them to you, if necessary. 

2.  That car that you have sitting in your garage that doesn’t run.  You know the one...the one one you don’t carry insurance on, yes, THAT one. Did you know that you have no coverage for that vehicle in the event of a house fire? Did you also know that if you have gasoline in the tank, it acts as a fire accelerant, which could potentially make the fire burn out of control? It literally costs pennies to insure a vehicle with comprehensive coverage only. It’s worth it.

3. Take a good look at your deductibles and liability limits.  The best way to insure you home or auto is NOT by lowering your deductible. It’s by raising your liability limits and increasing your deductibles. When you lower your liability limits, you are exposing yourself to lawsuits. The insurance company is only liable for the limits of your liability. For example, if your liability limit is $25,000, that is all they are going to pay in the event of a claim. So that means if you get sued for $75,000, you have to come up with the additional $50,000 out of pocket! Most people assume if they have insurance, the company automatically takes care of these things. Not the case. In this litigious society, how important is it that you and your family are protected in case you make a mistake?

These are just a few things you might possibly want to discuss with your agent. Touching base with your agent in the event of a life/lifestyle change is extremely important. It only takes a phone call and can save you thousands at the time of loss, and could even save you money on your renewal premium. A good rule of thumb is to review once a year, even if your circumstances haven’t changed. Your agent can keep you abreast of changes in the industry, insurance law, and basic knowledge of your policy itself.

Have a great day! 

 

 

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Call Kelly!

I had the privilege of having coffee today with Kelly Rice, a good friend and mortgage loan specialist with TN Bank Mortgage. Kelly just won an achievement award, and no one could be more deserving of it.  She works hard, is honest, reliable, and really goes the extra mile for her clients. If you are thinking about purchasing a home or even refinancing, give her a call. She’s great!

 

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Kelly Rice, holding her award! Go get ‘em, Kel! 

5 Things You Need To Know BEFORE You Have A Homeowner’s Claim

It’s happened...a hailstorm has battered  your roof, a burglar has stolen your jewelry, or your house has been decimated by fire. Times like these can be devastating financially as well as emotionally devastating to your family. Here are 5 things you can do beforehand to make the claims process easier in the event of a homeowner’s claim.

1.  Video your belongs and save it in more than one place. One thing your claims adjuster will ask for is a list of the things you’ve lost. It is much easier to hand him a flash drive at the time of loss than it is to try to remember everything you own. Be sure to keep the flash drive  somewhere other than your house. A safe deposit box is great, if you have one, or give a copy of it to a family member. It is a good idea to have this stored in multiple places in case of computer crash or house fire.


2. Know what your coverages are before the time of loss. A quick call to your insurance agent will take care of this for you. It’s important to know this because the time of a theft is not the time to discover you don’t have coverage for that $12,000 diamond ring you purchased last year. Review your policy with your agent at least once a year.


3. Make sure you have replacement cost coverage on your contents on your homeowners policy. I can’t stress this enough. You don’t want to file a claim, only to discover you’re getting reimbursed for a 25 year old analog TV instead of the new state-of-the art one you bought last week.


4. Do your own due diligence. Make certain to maintain your property. Trim any limbs that overhang onto your roof. Put handrails on your  front  porch steps. Repair your roof if it’s 30 years old and the shingles are falling off. Insurance companies can deny claims if it can be proven that the insured was negligent in property maintenance.


5. Lastly, get to know your insurance agent. They are your friend. They will go to bat for you if there is a problem. They can advise you on how to handle a claim. Taking the time to get to know your agent can be invaluable in a claim situation. If they know you personally, they can vouch for your character, if there is ever a question about the validity of a claim.


These are just a few important things to know to help the claim process move along more smoothly. As you can see, doing just a few simple things BEFORE a claim occurs is essential to having peace of mind, so that if you do have to file a claim, you can rest assured that you’ve done your best to help the process along.

 

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Groceries

Does anyone else love online grocery shopping? I confess...I LOVE IT! It frees me from physically going into the grocery store and picking out more random food that I don’t need. There is something that just satisfies my soul about sitting in my pajamas late on a Saturday evening and perusing the “Search” option on the grocery app. I don’t have to get dressed, I don’t have to talk to anyone, and I don’t have to pass the donut aisle. 

For the last eight months, I have tried to follow a low carb diet, mainly because I needed to shed an extra pound or two. For those of you who have taken that leap, you know how challenging it is to find a tasty snack that isn’t cheese or meat. No chips. No candy. No bread. Just typing those words depresses me...At any rate, I found this snack that didn’t make me gag...seaweed. If you’ve never eaten seaweed (face planting in a pile of it on the beach does NOT count), the taste is different, but semi-palatable. It’s not great, but It satisfies the salty cravings I get quite often. Imagine my joy when I found that I actually sorta liked those little green slices of thin styrofoam.  

So when I placed my order this week, I was glad to see my regular store had these things and I didn’t have to make a special trip to Kroger to get them. So I thought...when the guy brought my order out he said, “We had a substitution. Instead of the seaweed, we gave you KALE.” Kale, ladies and gentlemen...I immediately spoke up, and said. “No, I don’t like kale.” As those words left my mouth, I realized how utterly ridiculous they sounded...I was trading one tasteless green styrofoam patty for another tasteless green styrofoam patty. At the end of the day, neither one was a Krispy Kreme donut or Ruffles Potato Chips, so what did it matter? 

Needless to say, I did not get the kale. But now I’m wondering what it would’ve tasted like...just because I don’t like the actual vegetable doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like the snack after it was salted up really nicely. Maybe it tasted better after all those artificial ingredients jazzed it up some. It couldn’t taste worse. I am now craving something salty and crunchy....maybe I’ll fry some pickles...

There is a point to this little tale...the difference beteeen Kale and Seaweed may be negligible. But when I extrapolate that on down, does it matter? The answer is, of course, no. People are starving in China (according to my mother who told me this regularly when she cooked cabbage), and here I sit fretting over not getting my seaweed snack. All I have to do is drive down the street and I can have it. It’s a privilege denied to many. If you are fortunate enough to live in the United States, imagine the possibilities...why, we can choose caf over decaf, dark chocolate over milk, Nissan over Ford, etc. etc...We are blessed. I am grateful. And I’m gonna go fry a pickle now because I’m still hungry...be blessed today!

 

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The actual snack...doesn’t it just  fill your heart with joy? LOL!

#seaweedsnack

#kale

#friedpickles

Penguins

I recently read a story about penguins. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but the author of the book wrote this amazing paragraph about them, and I would like to share it with you this morning. “In order to find out if the water is safe, one of the birds jumps in—a first penguin. It’s a risky venture. Sometimes the results are disastrous, at least for the first penguin, but at other times the first penguin becomes a leader. He or she jumps in and everyone else follows and swims together...Jump in. Be a first penguin!” Gary R. Collins, PhD. Helping Others Turn Potential into Reality, Christian Coaching, Second Edition. 

Sometimes we humans don’t want to be the first one to take a risk. Jumping in first is, well...RISKY!  But if we don’t dive  into what God has planned for us, we are lacking in faith, the very impetus that propels us forward. It’s easy to do the safe thing, the secure thing, the KNOWN thing. It is much  more difficult to do the risky thing, the unsure thing, the hard thing. Dare I even say how difficult it is to do the thing that makes us wake up sweating and shaky in the middle of the night? According to Dr. Collins, we operate on a 90% rule. In other words, there is a 10% discrepancy in our thinking. It is that ten percent that we don’t talk about, we don’t deal with, and we even try not to think about. But it is that very ten percent that Jesus is calling us to bring to Him. He calls us to bring those things into the light and deal with them. That ten percent is what hinders us from being a “first penguin.” It is that ten percent that holds us back from achieving our hopes, dreams and visions. We like our comfort zones. They are exactly what they say...”comfortable”. We spend years building a mental and physical place where we can live and not be challenged. I don’t believe Jesus ever called his disciples to that type of life! How hard was it for Peter to leave his fishing business and follow an unknown Rabbi? Or for Paul to stop being a Pharisee, a lifestyle that appealed to his meticulous nature? Or for Noah to build an ark when he’d never even seen rain? Or for Mary to believe God’s messenger and carry the Savior that would change the world? I could go on, but you get the idea. These great men and women of the Bible are people I want to emulate, but I will never emulate them sitting on my sofa. No, I must be a “first penguin.” I must get off my couch, leave the comfort of my “zone” and launch myself into the water. I imagine the water will be cold. I can’t swim, so I imagine the water will be scary. I imagine there are predators waiting on just such a reckless penguin as myself. These things, when taken in perspective of eternity, really do not matter at all. What matters is what do we do with what God gives us? Let’s grab hold of our ten percent and jump together! Let’s be the first to say, “Yes, there were pitfalls, and yes, it was scary, but come on in! The water is fine!!” God bless! Have a wonderful day!

 

The first penguin taking a flightless leap of faith! 

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 #firstpenguin

#getoutofyourcomfortzone

School

I have done something that I never thought I would do...I am going back to school. I am taking a certification course to become a life coach. For those who may think this is taking time away from my business, it isn’t. It’s online and the actual class is only a few hours a week. The homework, however, is rather brutal on a seasoned individual like me...I can only plead temporary insanity...

I started this journey for a few reasons:  1) to help me become a better insurance agent; 2) to connect with folks who are encouraging and honest; and 3) to help other ladies who have been through a struggle similar to my own. Widowhood can be relentlessly difficult at times. Women need to hear there is hope, and they need to hear it from someone who has walked the walk.   

I really bring no particular set of skills to the table...I am not particularly gifted with asking penetrating questions, nor am I particularly dynamic. I am, however, passionate...passionate about the goodness of God and His mercy and grace. Passionate about His deliverance of His people. Passionate about life and living it to the fullest with the time I have left here on this third rock from the sun. 

Hopefully, along the way, this journey will include (along with late nights of bleary-eyed studying) help for my clients and growth for my agency, resolution and forward motion for those being coached,  and accomplishment for me. And ice cream and donuts, of course...God bless and have a great evening!

 

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#christianlifecoach

#lifecoachvision

#dontknowwhereimgoingbuttheresnousebeinglate

Snow

I am watching the snow fall through the window on my back door. I came home a little while ago, when it started to snow a little in Oak Ridge. There’s already a dusting  on the ground and it’s cold! And they’re expecting it to get colder! Somewhere in the dim recesses of my brain I can hear Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney singing “Snow!”  

A snow day is a good thing every now and then. It gives me an opportunity to pile up on my couch, sip hot tea and binge watch “Anne with an E” on Netflix, in between phone calls and business stuff. It was a needed break for me. With the advent of the internet, Skype, go to meeting, DocuSign, and all sorts of other mobile apps, I have become very mobile so I can operate my business from almost anywhere. I like that, especially because it’s so convenient for my clients.

But there is something cleansing about snow, isn’t there? Something fresh and new. Something about watching those flakes fall, each individual and unique, that makes me, for one brief moment, feel free and happy. It’s liberating to me, in a way. It makes me want to sled down a hill, plop backside down and make snow angels, build a snowman, or start a snowball fight with a neighbor (ok, maybe that last one isn’t such a good idea, but it’s my daydream, after all). It’s also a good time to cozy up to someone you love. I’m doing that right now...sitting here, computer on my lap, doggie dozing at my side. She’s the “someone that I love”. And she’s a pretty doggone (yes, absolutely, PUN intended) good substitute for a human. She’s cuddly, warm and doesn’t complain too much. Happy Snow Day, everyone! God bless! Drive safely!

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Awake and looking out my back door!

Hospital

We had to admit my Mom to the hospital Wednesday night. She had taken a bad tumble out of bed, and she is currently on a trauma floor. I am sitting here with my sister in the hospital room watching my Mom hold a marker in one hand and a coloring page in the other. And she hasn’t a clue what to do with them.

Mom was an artist of sorts. She loved to sketch and color. And she was good at it. To watch her stare at the page without a clue as to the nature of the implements in her hand was very hard indeed.  And, yes, I cried...I left the room so she didn’t see me, but I cried... 

After going through this journey with Mom, I  have come to believe the greatest treasure one person can give another (besides sharing Jesus with them) is the gift of a listening ear. A shoulder to cry on, a calm and steady presence, a voice saying, “I’m here”...these small gestures go a long way in comforting the black void of despair that threatens to overtake the despondent and the hurting. It is priceless, that gift. And It is my absolute belief that God created us to be creatures of community, born to interact and comfort our fellow man. The New Testament admonishes is to love God and love our neighbor. Part of that loving is listening...

Just my rambling thoughts on a Saturday afternoon at the hospital...May God bless you! 

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Frogs

I am taking the afternoon off today. I have no excuse except I’m tired. This year has been a difficult one, and I’m happy to see it end. This afternoon, as I was trying to do a little cleaning, I moved some stuff around in my bedroom. I really like doing that because I am a person of change and unpredictability. Even I never know what I’m going to do next...at any rate, while moving stuff from Point A to Point B, I inadvertently knocked my little green stuffed frog onto the floor. I didn’t even know he was missing in action, until I saw Trixie chewing on him to her little hearts content... 

Ok, let me say right here and now, that I love that little frog. That frog has been by my side through thick and thin. He has a little pouch inside him that I can pop into the freezer and/or microwave. He has been the source of much comfort through aching heads, stiff knees, and cold nights. He’s become a friend. So when I saw the Trixie Belle having her way with his little stuffed head, I immediately reacted...”Stop, Trixie!! That’s not your frog! That’s Mamma’s frog!!” I quickly snatched the frog from harms way, no worse the wear. And as I placed  him in his little perch atop my headboard, I realized how ridiculous that sounded...Mamma’s frog. 

I ordinarily detest reptiles and amphibians of any sort. I will never have a stuffed snake or lizard. I do have plastic dinosaurs here at the house because the grandboy likes them and I can justify that because  they’re an extinct species. I never said I was rational about it. Somehow, this little stuffed frog had worked it’s way into my heart years ago, and I’ll confess right now...I sometimes sleep with the doggone thing. It’s very comforting to squeeze a little stuffed frog while you pray...not that I’d know anything about that, but still...

Well, that’s my story for the day. I hope and pray everyone has a happy and safe New Years. Be safe!  

 

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The frog... 

Crumbs

Today is the day my family and I are celebrating Christmas. We normally do this a few days ahead of time so that the kids and grandkids can have Christmas Day to relax a little bit.  

One of the things I have to do in preparation is to add the leaf to my dining room table. It is a major ordeal. I have to wrestle it from it’s hiding place underneath my bed, drag it downstairs, clean it and manhandle it into place. And it weighs a ton....Every time I do this, I swear I’m gonna just leave it in there. But about mid-January, I get tired of it taking  up so much space, and I cave. 

This year,  I opened up the middle of the table, and looked into the little cavity there. And I was struck by all the little crumbs of a years worth of life lying there...there were bread crumbs from the Mexican cornbread I made, glitter from the Christmas ornaments I took out of the box, snips of paper from craft projects, and numerous unidentifiable pieces of a life lived around a dining room table. 

Isn't our life rather like those crumbs, though? We are the sum of many parts, and we leave a little trail of “crumbs” as we pour into one another’s lives. They are crumbs that find their way into the hearts and minds of our friends and family. 

Well, the family will be here soon. God bless you all and have a Merry Christmas!! 

 

 The inside of my table... 

The inside of my table...