NO NEED TO MISS ANOTHER PHONE CALL

I went to a Zoom meeting that some would call grandparents meeting, senior citizens meeting, women of a certain age meeting even though there was one man in the meeting. This meeting was very informative. The program was the Senior Assist Program, and today it featured a presentation by a representative from the Specialized Telecommunications Assistance Program, STAP for short.

This was my first meeting of the Senior Assist Program, and I wanted to see what it was all about, and if I could learn something for myself or someone else. I learned a lot that I want to share with you.

The talk today was on communicating with those with disabilities such as hard of hearing, deaf, mobility issues, speech impediments and more. At this time I don’t have any of these, but I have a relative that does. This person is hard of hearing so when they talked about telephones that would assist them with talking on the telephone my ears perked up.

This program is available in most states, and it provides telephones, tablets and accessories to help people who need help enjoying a conversation on a phone. They do still have landlines, smartphones, tablets and more that have different features to assist the persons specific needs. They assist you in selecting the equipment that best suits each individual.

This service and the equipment is free of charge. You do have to fill out paperwork, send off proof of residency (you must live in the state that you are applying from. The person who will receive the equipment must sign the application. The only downside is that it does come from the state, and it can take anywhere from 2 to 4 months to get the equipment.

Here is a slideshow that will explain the program, the equipment and application more. It is from the Texas Health and Human Services Department. If you don’t live in Texas find your state’s Health and Human Services Department. In Texas you can also go to the Specialized Telecommunications Assistance Program site (STAP) to find more information. You may have to do some research in your state to find out about programs such as this, but it will be well worth the effort.

I’ll be going back to the next Senior Assist Program because if I don’t need the information, I know someone who does. Remember “thisisyourbestyear” there are services out there to help those that need it.

Top Jobs For Seniors Who Want To Work After Retiring

*Guest post by Tina Martin

It’s not uncommon for seniors to decide to return to the workforce part-time after retirement. There are many benefits to taking this route. For one thing, research shows that individuals tend to be happier in retirement if they keep busy and maintain a sense of purpose. A fulfilling part-time job can help towards this end. 

Money is another obvious motivator for those who choose to get a job after retiring. Many seniors worry about running out of money without a steady income. According to the Journal of Accountancy, it’s actually the number one fear among retirees. 

Not sure what job to pursue? Get inspired with the below ideas.

Sell insurance

Many people need to purchase insurance, so working in the insurance industry can be an excellent option for seniors, especially if you have a background in sales. For example, you could sell life insurance to other seniors, and you may be able to take on friends and family as your first clients. Before you look into selling insurance, research the best options for retirees.

Teach English as a second language

One key to figuring out what career path to take after retirement is to consider your transferable skills. Whatever you were doing before retirement may still serve you afterwards. If you worked in education, for instance, you might consider teaching English as a second language, either for kids or adults. 

If you want to go this route, you should get an ESL teacher certification. With this under your belt, you can apply to area language schools for part-time gigs or work on a freelance basis for yourself. The latter option gives you great flexibility in terms of timing, as you can decide when and where to work, and decide how many students to take on based on your availability and interest.

Become a tour guide

A tour guide job is a wonderful way to keep your mind active. You will have to memorize facts and statistics, and continually brush up your knowledge. This kind of brain activity will keep you sharp and stave off mental decline. Research even shows that such brain challenges can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. You’ll also benefit from physical activity, as the job requires you to be on your feet and continuously moving. 

There are tour guide jobs available to suit all types of tastes. If you are interested in art, history, and architecture, you can check out a gig at a museum. If you would prefer to spend time outside, take a look at the platform ToursByLocals, which allows you to present tours around your hometown to interested visitors. This is also a fun way to meet and interact with diverse people from different places, cultures, and countries. 

Consider seasonal work to get started

Reentering the working world if you’ve been retired for a few years may be daunting at first. Get your toes wet by starting off with a seasonal job. There are various senior-friendly options available, such as wrapping gifts for stores. There are also non-holiday related seasonal jobs available. This AARP list suggests options like tax preparer, tutor, and National Park Service employee.

Explore the above options and you are sure to find a post-retirement gig that interests you, even if that involves launching your very own home-based business. As you reenter the workforce, you will also benefit from the increased contact with other people, which combats the isolation that sometimes comes with age. A part-time job will thus pave the way to a happier and healthier retirement. Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

*Tina stays busy as a life coach and works hard to help herself and her clients achieve a healthy work-life balance.

Out of the Mouths of Moms

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms. Your words of wisdom will carry your children throughout their lives and beyond through generations. We thought we would ask our readers to share with you some of the wisdom their mother’s shared with them.

“You can’t live your life by other people’s standards, you must do what is right for you…if you want to be happy.”
Mrs. Alvin Johnson, mother of Carolyn Alexander
“The secret of life is JOY
Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last–JOY“.
Mrs. Edith Kelley, mother of Nancy Amos
“You can be whatever you desire to be/do if you put God first, be committed and never give up”.
Meshelle Stewart’s mom, Betty Hill
“The word dumb doesnt exist. Do the best you can with what you have to do it with”.
Mamie Coby Abdul-Raheem’s mom, Emma Coby
“Treat people the way you want to be treated”.
Mrs. Irma Rose White, mother of Pamela Berry
“(You) being present is important”.
Mrs. Mary B. Howell, mother of Rev. Dollie Howell Pankey

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, REMEMBER YOU ARE SPECIAL–“thisisyourbestyear”.

Girl Talk #3

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Surviving Social Distancing

So we have been told to stay at home, and some of us are having a hard time while others have found new callings, and our new wardrobe. Why is it so hard for some of us to be alone when really in todays world we are never alone? You know with all the social media there is always someone there.

I actually don’t remember my first few days of social distancing since I was frantically converting my face-to-face classes to online classes. It had to be done, and done quickly. After working furiously and relentlessly it was time to rest. So my next few days of social distancing were spent in pajamas. It was time to catch up on rest (you can catch up).

My first days were spent going from the bed to my favorite chair(s). There was a lot of looking at magazines, trying to find something to watch on television–I can’t binge watch. It helped that it was raining all day and night.

I kept in touch with friends and family by calling, texting, social media and more. My kids and I could see each other over the phone/computer. So all in all it wasn’t that bad. My husband was still going to court for a few hours a day, and that helped.

When you can’t go anywhere it makes you want to go more, and it was beginning to happen to my friends and me. Then we all decided that there was things that we could do.

Here are some of the things that we did:

  • Got up and moved. There were those that could do an exercise program via the internet, social media, television and more. You can do a different one every day. I have found out that I have no rhythm–Latin Zumba and I do not see eye to eye. I did however keep moving. There are some people who took walks around the block or on the track. Some that finally used that stationary bike and other equipment that was collecting dust.
  • When the sun finally came out there was yard work to be done, mowing the lawn, trimming the hedges, repotting plants and even planting flowers and that vegetable garden. I repotted plants, planted a vegetable garden, but then ran into a snake so no flowers were planted in the front flower boxes (and they may not get planted this season).
  • Many of us were a little bit more culinary inclined. Instead of preparing what we always prepared, we tried different things. We took out those gadgets, you know the Instant Pot, the airfryer, the electric skillet–we finally figured out what the convection button was on the oven.
  • Some of us even briefly went out. My sister and I went to the location of Hardie’s Fresh Foods truck, and got fruits and vegetables. They did social distancing. You never got out of the car–they bought everything to your car and loaded it.
  • We held our first Meet and Greet–Girl Talk via Zoom. Our next one is April 3 at 8 pm CST via Zoom. (Use the ID 843-171-852).
  • Deep cleaning your house is always an option. My shutters and blinds are getting deeped cleaned, and are now their original bright white.
  • Hopefully creative juices will start to flow like a river and not a slow moving one.
  • Read just for pleasure. I’m reading another Robert Parker book. It helps that I imagine Tom Selleck as Jesse Stone.
  • Prayers..no need to say anything else.

There are so many other things that people are doing and dealing with during this pandemic. Reach out to those that are truly alone, give them a call, send them a quick note. There are a large group of people who do not do social media. Remember “thisisyourbestyear“, please be safe.

Our next Zoom “Girl Talk” will be on Friday, April 3 at 8 PM CST. Please use the ID 843-171-852. See you soon.

let’s get together

We’ve been social distancing for a few days so let’s get together and have a little girl talk. Join us for about 40 minutes of getting to know each other, and sharing our tips on surviving social distancing.

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YOUR SAFETY

Most of us will say that we remember the “good old days”. The days when we didn’t lock the doors, the days when the windows were open, the front door greeted everyone with a latch screen and the only reason that we locked the car doors was so that we could play with the lock pulling it up and pushing it down. We remember when going to the mall alone was therapeutic–a time for us to just clear our mind.

These days are so different, and we have had to take so many precautions that our mothers’ never thought about. We all know about the precautions in the house–a lot of us have ring doorbells, security cameras, security systems and more to protect us while we are in our homes, and to protect the things we have in our homes while we are away. But what about while we are out, what kind of precautions do we as “women of a certain age” take to remain safe.

A law enforcement officer told me some simple things to do that can enhance our safety while we are out:

  • Always try to take someone with you–not a child that you have to constantly watch–you will not be attentive to the things around you.
  • If you go with someone else have your purse inside next to them–they will have to go between both of you to grab your purse.
  • Only take the card(s) that you need and if possible put them in an easily accessible place on your person–an inside pocket that zips, etc.
  • Keep your windows rolled up at traffic lights–they can grab you at the light.
  • Carry bags/purses in your nondominant arm–you fight better with your dominant arm.
  • Don’t stop for gas at night, but if you must and you feel someone staring at you, don’t drop your eyes, look them straight in the eyes–they will then know you have seen them and can identify them.
  • Don’t get in the car with anyone. Fight until you can’t fight any more–your chances are much if you don’t get in the car.
  • If you are accosted, and can get away run and scream like your life depends on it–it does.
  • Don’t accept drinks from strangers at parties, in bars, etc.–we’ve heard this all our lives.
  • Don’t stop when someone points and tells you that you have a car problem–drive to a well lighted area, call 911 on your phone while you are looking for a place to pull over.
  • Use major highways when possible–they are better traveled. They have signage and are well lit.

There are many other things that we could do to try and stay safe such as carrying pepper spray, taking self-defense courses and even taking a concealed weapons course.

Share some of your precautions that you take so that we can assist each other in staying safe. Remember “thisisyourbestyear”take extra precautions when you are out and about like your life depends on it, it does. Don’t forget to share the precautions you take.

USE THESE 5 STEPS TO MAKE YOUR FIRST CRAFT SHOW A SUCCESS

*Guest post by Tina Martin

**I know a lot of crafters–people who make things, and are actually good at it. In fact one of my friends just rented a space to showcase her handy work. This article will assist you in hosting a successful craft fair and put you on the road to becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Are you a maker or an artisan who is gearing up for your very first market or craft show? Then you should know that making your booth a hit with customers can take some planning and effort, especially if you want to increase your sales. So, before you begin setting up your table, take note of these simple ways that you can attract customers and sales for your new business. 

Streamline Management and Operations 

If you were building a house, you wouldn’t dream of getting started without the proper tools. Before you take your arts and crafts business to the next level, make sure you have the right tools to help build yourself up to success. For instance, getting your operations under control is crucial when you need to focus on setting up at your first craft show, and doing so can be effortless when you have business management tools, such as software to make point-of-sale operations more efficient, in your small business toolbox. Another way to enhance your operations and reduce your stress is to download productivity apps to keep yourself on track. You will need a solid smartphone to use those apps, so be sure to complete the next step. 

Upgrade to a More Powerful Mobile Device

If you don’t have a fast, efficient smartphone, you could be missing out on a lucrative revenue stream: mobile credit card processing. If you need a smartphone to handle all of those swipes as well as other essential business tasks, consider a next generation model. Phones like the iPhone 11 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S10+ can help increase sales and even help promote your business. Contact your wireless provider to see if they offer any trade-in deals where you can swap your older model phone for a discounted new model. 

Create and Post Engaging Social Media Content 

How do you get people excited about your products when you don’t have an actual storefront? By using social media, of course. Start by selecting the best platform to showcase your products and connect with your target audience. Many makers opt for Instagram since photos and videos are at the heart of this popular social media platform. You also need followers to boost your business, so don’t be shy about asking folks to like, share, and follow your account, or even printing business cards featuring your social media info. 

Promote Products with Organized, Attractive Displays 

Now that you have all the right ingredients to get folks to visit your booth or table, you need to make sure they are really “wowed” by what they see. That means taking some time to educate yourself around a few visual merchandising basics. First, find ways to showcase your products, including large-scale photos and clever signage. Next, try to set up your displays so that shoppers can easily browse and even touch your products. Touch can be especially important since people are more likely to buy items when they can touch them first. 

Connect With Customers Through Quality Service 

Your displays and products will entice shoppers to visit your booth or table, but your personality is what will drive people to actually make purchases. So, before you set up at your first market, show, or event, be sure to refresh yourself on some ways to offer excellent customer service. Showing up to your booth with a friendly attitude and a genuine smile can go a long way in helping shoppers connect with your business, so try to get a positive start to each day you will be working your booth so that you can attract loyal customers to help boost your business. 

Your first craft show can be a success so long as you take the time to plan out some key strategies. Planning is always essential for ensuring these events are as stress-free as possible, but know that keeping a positive attitude is crucial as well. So, be mindful of the way you present your products, and always be mindful of the way you present yourself. Good luck!  Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

*Tina stays busy as a life coach and works hard to help herself and her clients achieve a healthy work-life balance.

**Check out the crafts of friend to the blog Steffany Villalobos. You can find her creations–Freestylecraft at the Mercantile #313, 7200 Camp Bowie Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76116.

NOW ON YOUTUBE–BOSS WOMEN AND US!

We’ve started a new series, in fact, we’ve started a YouTube Channel. The channel is “thisisyourbestyear”, and we have been hard at work on it.

In the past we have had one or two videos that we have shared on YouTube, but we have now decided to go all in so that we can keep you informed on all levels. We’ve decided to expand the blog.

Our first official venture is a series that we entitled “Boss Women”. These are women who are entrepreneurs, community leaders and more. These are women who work hard while multitasking. These are “Boss Women”, women who are the “boss” of not only their businesses, but their lives.

Each boss woman is different in the ways they came into their entrepreneurial self. Some knew from the very start while others worked in corporate and decided it was not for them, retired or maybe stayed home to raise the children, and now find themselves empty nesters.

There will be so many other things that we will post to YouTube in the future. We’re working all the kinks out of our recordings, doing research on equipment we need (and can afford) to make the videos better.

If you are a “Boss Woman” or know a “Boss Woman” who might want to be interviewed for our series send us an email. We want to showcase their businesses and them. Just by interviewing them may give another woman the sign they need to becoming their own boss.

Remember you can now read us on our website and on these social media sites. Each one of them may have something different so give them a look.

  • Facebook—thisisyourbestyear
  • Instagram–thisisyourbestyear
  • YouTube— thisisyourbestyear
  • Tumblr—- thisisyourbestyear
  • Twitter—- thisisyourbestyear@mariciajohns

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”, and this journey of women of a certain age gets better because we are the “boss” of our lives.

DOWNTON ABBEY VISITS THE BILTMORE ESTATE

In my third and final installment regarding my visit to the Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina the package I purchased included a special treat from our friends from across the pond.  Just recently I saw the movie “Downton Abbey.”  The film picks up where the PBS series left off and I am a big fan of the show.  

While visiting the magnificent Biltmore during the Christmas holidays to view the incredible decorations, it just so happened that “The Downton Abbey Exhibition” had recently opened at the estate.  There were of course costumes from the series and movie as well as furniture, documents, props and audio visual presentations regarding the life of the British aristocracy in the early 20th century.  I loved the exhibition and the history that went with it.  The “Downton Abbey Exhibition” will be at the Biltmore Estate until April 2020.  If you’re a fan of the show, it’s definitely worth the price of admission.

In my best British accent–remember “thisisyourbestyear”.