Strangers to Friends with Carlyn Shaw

“Strangers to Friends is founded in synchronicity” ~Carlyn Shaw

Carlyn Shaw was at a crossroads in 1997. She’d been diagnosed with MS and had lost two good friends in two separate car accidents. Before the days of Facebook and social media, it was hard to find people who could relate.

Creating “connection cards,” Carlyn was able to meet people who could relate to her story. She found that by sharing our stories, we create connection.

Strangers to Friends is founded in synchronicity,” says Carlyn. “It’s knowing that as humans we are designed to be connected.”

In talking with Carlyn, she described more of her ideas about how we can connect and take the initiative to share of ourselves without shame and find commonality and acceptance with one another. When we realize that others have similar feelings and challenges, we feel a bond and can support and empathize with one another.

Carlyn is the latest guest on my new podcast, Carpe Diem Connections, where I’m talking to people about leading a meaningful life and developing deep connections.

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Thriving Solo with Jennifer Fields to start National Singles Week!

This week’s Podcast interview is with Jennifer Fields of Thriving Solo

Today starts National Singles Week and how lucky that my podcast guest, Jennifer Fields, is a coach who helps singles thrive!

Last week I was talking to Rebecca Mullen, who was getting ready to launch a class for married couples. Today Jennifer has a practice for singles, so.. married or single.. if you want a coach, we’ve got you covered!

In the interview, Jennifer and I chat a bit about societal norms. Often, as a single, it seems to be an expectation that we’re all looking for a partner, and that there’s almost a feeling of pity from others. It’s easy to feel like the rest of the world views us as a failure or a loser without a romantic partner by our side. However, that’s just not true! More and more people are choosing to be single and feel happier as singles.

If you’re single, whether you’d really prefer to have a partner or not, it’s always a good thing to practice self-love and feel good about who we are, whatever our relationship status. Jennifer covers 8 key points of thriving solo in her own latest podcast: “How to Live Your Best Solo Life”.

So for those of us who are single, let’s celebrate! Especially this week because it’s National Singles Week! Yay!

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Rebecca Mullen of Altared Spaces Hosting Happily Ever After Class

Podcast Interview with Rebecca Mullen from Altared Spaces

This week I’m honored to welcome my dear and wise friend, Rebecca Mullen from Altared Spaces, as a guest on my Podcast.

I met Rebecca about 12 years ago when my daughter married her nephew. Though we met briefly at the wedding, it turns out we both were coincidentally at a bat mitzvah and recognized one another and started talking. We soon realized that we had a lot more in common than family.. we were both writers, bloggers, and we ended up both becoming coaches and close friends.

We met regularly for years and were one another’s accountability partners as we worked through our goals. Last year, we went on a special trip to Moab and to scout out roadside altars. This was especially poignant for me because my brother died in a car accident and we did this on what would have been his 58th birthday.

Rebecca has worked on a variety of projects including writing, speaking events, training, and coaching clients through transition. Her current big project is a class that’s starting September 28th called Habits for Happily Ever After.

The class looks very interesting and fun. The first sentence of the description about what to expect got me excited:

During the 8-week class, a lesson arrives in your email each week in the form of a story, workbook or game.

Excerpt from Habits for Happily Ever After: How Does the Class Work?

Did somebody say game? I want to get married just so I can be in this class! (Or maybe I can talk Rebecca into creating a new class about better communication between siblings or friends or family members..)

During our short podcast interview, I realized that some of the advice about healthy communication in a marriage will apply to healthy communication in any relationship.

Rebecca talks about recognizing the different we roles we play in a marriage – Partner, Friend, and Lover. As Rebecca talked through an example or how a partner might be wanting to take action and a friend might be needing empathy, I recognized that this situation applied directly to a recent conversation I’d had with my sister.

Of course, my sister and I don’t have to worry about the “Lover” role with our relationship, so it’s less complicated than a marriage. And it would be a shame not to be able to take part in any of the “Lover” activities with this class, so maybe I’ll just have to wait until I get married again to take this class.

Whether you’re married or not, I highly recommend you check out Rebecca’s Website, Altared Spaces. She has amazing insights about relationships of all types, including the very important relationship with we have with ourselves!

I feel so lucky to have learned so much over the years, thanks to this beautiful friend!

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Twine – An Application for Deeper Conversations

I am really enjoying meeting new people and having them as guests on my new Podcast, Carpe Diem Connections. I thought, during Covid, this would be a good opportunity for me to use my social networking skills to find interesting people to connect with.

As it turns out, I met Lawrence Coburn, cofounder of Twine on Twine! Let’s back up.. I subscribe to a Big Talk newsletter which included this blurb:

DISCOVER 36 QUESTIONS TO HELP YOU LIVE A LONGER LIFE

In 1938, Harvard University began the longest-running study on human development in history to determine what makes us live happy and healthy lives. Key results showed that happiness and health weren’t from wealth or fame, but came from meaningful relationships. I worked with Diana Rau, Cofounder of Twine to develop 36 Big Talk-esque questions centered around the theme of longevity.

PARTICIPATE IN WEEKLY 15 MINUTE BIG TALK VIDEO SESSIONS

Want to have a short meaningful Big Talk conversation with a new friend, that could change your life? Join me weekly on the twine platform at 8 AM PST to be matched with others from the Big Talk community for meaningful conversations.

I signed up and got partnered with Lawrence! Rather than talk about the topics prompted by Twine, I went a bit Meta and wanted to know more about the app and whether or not it could foster friendships. I was curious about hosting a session myself on my new Carpe Diem – Single Snowbirds Facebook Group and Lawrence was very amenable to that idea.

Lawrence also shared some ideas of how Twine has plans to expand in the future. It’s really different than typical social media where you are trying to get attention from large groups. This is kind of the opposite. It’s about fostering a true relationship where you are getting vulnerable one-on-one. There’s no “lurkers” or “trolls”… just two people.

I asked Lawrence to be a guest on my new podcast and he readily agreed!

It was really fun to find out more about Twine and where it’s headed, and even more fun to find out about Lawrence and the experience his wife planned for him for his 50th birthday! Check it out by watching the YouTube video in this post!

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Happiness Hero: Pamela Gail Johnson

Interview with Founder of the Society of Happy People, Pamela Gail Johnson

Getting to know Pamela Gail Johnson through my Podcast is an example of the wonderful power of making valuable connections via social media!

I read all about the Special Days (like Carpe Diem Day!) and often blog about them. When I saw that August was Happiness Happens Month and that Pamela Gail Johnson was the founder, I connected with her in all the usual ways. I was excited to find SOHP.Com and many of the other happiness efforts and ways she’s been active since 1998.

I was a nervous about inviting her to be a guest on my Podcast since it’s so new and raw, but I thought it would be great if I could talk to her in August. I’m so thrilled that she graciously accepted my invitation despite being in the midst of a recent move, not to mention all the extra Happiness activities happening this month!

Take-aways and things that went well

  • So fun to meet up with a Kindred Spirit!
  • I loved that Pamela complimented “Purple People!” She was talking politically, but didn’t realize how purple I really am! (Both politically and because it’s my favorite color!)
  • I really liked how Pamela commented about the adaptability of Bucket Lists (towards the end of the interview). Adaptability is key to an Agile mindset!
  • Loved reading the 31 Kinds of Happiness and being reminded of how many different types of happiness there are and how happiness is contagious.
  • Pamela gave me some advice about how I could promote Carpe Diem Day.
  • I really enjoy the different challenges (like the current #SmileStarter challenge), the Newsletter, the SOHP app, the Facebook group, and all the fun community activities and opportunities there are to connect with other people who celebrate happiness!

What could have been better

  • Still terrible with Audacity and editing audio (or video). I’m afraid this will be a standard bullet item in my “What could have been better” list for awhile. I might try GarageBand for my next Podcast episode.

Even though I’m a newbie at podcasting, it’s so exciting to be meeting people like Pamela who I consider a true “Happiness Hero”! The Smile Starter Challenge for today, August 30, is to celebrate others success and I am certainly celebrating Pamela’s great success in promoting happiness to the world!

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Interview with Tom Johnston of Ageless Explorers

First Interview for Carpe Diem Connections Podcast

I’ve been so excited about my new Podcast for several reasons:

  • I’ll be meeting with like-minded, positive people, learning from them and making new friends
  • I’ll learn how to podcast, and more about social media in general
  • I’ll continue to discover what kinds of things I want to do in this next chapter of life!

Tom Johnston is also in transition and figuring out what’s next in his life. He started both a Meetup group and a Facebook group called Ageless Explorers. His target audience are people like me… energetic people over 55 who care about health and wellness, wanting to live a meaningful “Chapter 3.”

It was awesome that Tom was the first guest on my Carpe Diem Connections podcast and that I could be the first guest on his new Meetup! (I spoke about using Agile practices during Covid19.)

What I’m learning from Tom

  • I’d never heard of the 7 levels of energy taught in Energy Leadership Coaching. Something I want to read more about!
  • I really liked how Tom knew that his first priority, his purpose, his “why”.. is to be a good father and that this is what guides him. It’s important to understand and live by our values, but not always easy.
  • Tom and I are catering to a similar demographic, so whatever we end up doing, we might be able to network and share leads and connections.
  • Tom does a great job of hosting Ageless Explorers. He’s consistent, a strong facilitator, created an inspiring logo, and has interesting content in his Meetup. We share interest in coaching and positivity. I can see that he’ll be a valuable business connection and new friend!

What worked well

  • Tom was a very flexible, go-with-the-flow guest. He didn’t mind being the first guest on my podcast, despite my amateur status.
  • Very nice that Tom and I were reciprocal guests on each other’s new ventures.
  • I like that I was able to record a Zoom video and have content for both a YouTube video and a Podcast audio recording at the same time.
  • It’s nice that I haven’t had to spend a dime on equipment or software (though, if I want to get serious, I should invest in at least a better mic, so they say.)

What could have been better

  • It was unbelievably difficult for me to figure out how to just do a simple split of audio using Audacity! I have a lot to learn about audio-editing.
  • Between my lack of skill and equipment, I’m kind of embarrassed by my podcast’s low quality.

What’s next?

  • Interview with Pamela Gail Johnson, Founder of Happiness Happens!

Links and References:

Ageless Explorers Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/911958189307379

Ageless Explorers Meetup Group: https://www.meetup.com/Denver-Career-Network-Meetup-Group/

Carpe Diem Connections Podcast Interview: https://anchor.fm/carpediemconnections/episodes/Tom-Johnston-Interview-eig2o1

YouTube Interview (My unedited full interview with Tom): https://youtu.be/b93CaCLXuzA

YouTube Recording of Agile during Covid19 at Ageless Explorer Meetup: https://youtu.be/U_y1AqXUtd0

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So long, Sarasota

My lyrics to the tune of “Shallow” – sung by Brian Thulson

My time here in beautiful Sarasota is nearing an end.

Here are some of the good things I’m grateful for during this unexpected lockdown:

  • My friend, Becky, for sharing her lovely home and life with me
  • My friend, Brian, for singing Shallow (with my rewritten lyrics!)
  • The beautiful weather I’ve enjoyed the whole time I’ve been here
  • The gorgeous beaches, sunsets, trees, birds, moon, water, parks of Sarasota
  • Hosting a virtual dance party
  • Taking part in Seniors with Skills video chats
  • Zoomba!
  • Long phone calls with friends
  • Long walks
  • Making new friends
  • My family
  • Getting my Mom on Zoom!
  • My friends that joined my Carpe Diem GISH Scavenger Hunt Team!
  • Virtual games
  • Virtual dates with my new virtual man friend, Gregg
  • Getting cards and letters in the mail from Jackster, Michael B, Sonja, and Lisa
  • Creating my CarpeDiemDay Website
  • Learning iMovie and all the slideshows I made
  • Getting Gregg’s CD in the mail
  • Learning Spanish (Conversation Exchange with Jhonny, Conversa, Duolingo, Stella, reading with Becky, Pimsleur)
  • Netflix (Binging on Unorthodox, Tiger King, After Life)
  • Online grocery shopping
  • Chocolate
  • Book Club and CD Club with Gregg
  • Reading positive stories about all the people helping others
  • Adopting a flamingo from Sarasota Jungle Garden
  • Snuggly little Jack
  • Arbor Day Tree Slideshow prize of a Blue Spruce
  • Getting interviewed for a podcast
  • Helping Sara Dance get introduced to Zoom
  • Agile coaching with Becky
  • PacoPita, the Parrot

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Help an Isolated Senior

As a tech-geek, I have been quite enamored with this age of social media and collaborative team tools.  My mother, on the other hand, and many others in her generation have not been so quick to embrace new technologies.


However, due to our current situation, my mother decided to put aside her resistance and give Zoom a try.  The result meant she was able to see all her children and great-grandchildren together for the first time in an extended family Easter party hosted on Zoom.

Jaya Manjunath is helping to make this scenario a reality for seniors everywhere.  She’s the founder of Seniors with Skills , a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to ending the social isolation of senior citizens in North America.

Manjunath, a university student with a passion for helping the elderly, founded her nonprofit in 2018 with various programs including those to teach seniors how to use smartphones, computers, and technologies allowing them to be able to communicate with loved ones even when they aren’t physically present.


With the onset of Covid-19 and physical distancing, Manjunath is focusing on the Online Buddy program allowing seniors to engage in video-chats with volunteers.


The organization has had an influx of volunteers and continues to get more people who are eager to help; however, at this point, there are more volunteers than there are seniors who are signed up for the program.


SWS’s Online Buddy program includes any isolated seniors – whether they are in residential facilities or living on their own. We need your help in spreading the word!

Here’s how you can help:


Join the Online Buddy ProgramIsolated Seniors:

Do you know anyone who is facing social isolation who might want to join the Online Buddy Program?  Please have them contact SWS at volunteering@seniorswithskills.org.


Senior Facilities:

Do you know of a senior facility that houses seniors who would benefit from receiving video chats and might want to be part of the Online Buddy Program. Please have them contact SWS at volunteering@seniorswithskills.org.


Volunteer:

Do you want to volunteer to be an Online Buddy?  Fill out this form.


Spread the word

Do you know anyone (news, blog, social media?)  who might be interested in featuring this story to raise awareness of this cause, and encourage more seniors living at home who are facing social isolation to join the Online Buddy Program?

Please share this post with your network

Contact volunteering@seniorswithskills.org for a news story or blog post.


Donate
GoFundMe to help provide iPads to senior facilities.

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