Finding Joy in Relationships During the Holidays Despite Covid19

Ideas for making the holidays fun with creativity in finding Joy in Connections during the holiday season.

In this week’s Carpe Diem Connections podcast Becky and I continue exploring the Joy Makeover and the topic is Joy and Relationships. We talk specifically about ways to connect with others during this 2020 holiday season when stress levels are high. Many of us are doing Thanksgiving a little differently this year due to Covid 19 restrictions.

Here’s an article I read just yesterday with some creative suggestions for new Thanksgiving traditions.

One new activity that I’ve been doing a lot more of during the pandemic is writing cards the old fashioned way! I had sealing wax as a kid and I wanted to give that a try again and discovered now the sealing wax comes in all these different colors that you can mix together! I also ordered a “Carpe Diem” stamp, ordered up beautiful postage stamps and other goodies, and now I look forward to my monthly cards and letters tradition!

This month, I sent out Thanksgiving cards to my family. Even though I won’t be able to be with them personally, it’s fun to send the cards, and do online games.

Wanna go above and beyond?

You can participate in sending cards to isolated seniors, check out:

Another nonprofit that is sending cards and letters to those in need is

Do you make time for joy?

Do you prioritize joy?

The second episode in Season 2 of Carpe Diem Connections focuses on Time and Joy. Join Becky Burns and me as we do a deeper dive into The Joy Makeover.

Ingrid talks with Time Management guru, Laura Vanderkam in her Joy Makeover video series. Laura gives suggestions about how we can all make some intentional time for joy each day.

The Joy Workbook asks us:

“What would you do if you had an extra hour each week just for yourself?”

I had to laugh a little at this because at this stage of my life, I have so much (dare I say it… too much?) time for myself! I’m an empty-nester and retired from the corporate world and I’ve been isolating (for the most part) for months! I definitely have had more than my share of “me-time”!

I remember the days of being a busy working mother of three, though, and feeling like I never had enough time for myself.

It really is such a JOY to have complete control over my time, but now I’m recognizing that joy is usually much better when shared with someone else.

Tune in to listen to the podcast and let us know how you feel by chiming in on the Facebook Carpe Diem Connections Group page.

Red, Blue or Purple – The Election Brought Anxiety to All

Wow! This was a stressful week. And while, personally, I’m deeply relieved by the outcome, the results were much closer than I’d expected. My news feeds and social circle would have me believe that Biden would be an easy fact, I had thought it would be a landslide. But the results open my eyes to the fact that half the nation feels differently than I do.

I have never felt so divided! This has been especially difficult for me because I like to speak up, debate, and hear all viewpoints… but in this political climate, it’s felt like liberals and conservatives have been at war.

I consider myself a centrist. Beyond wanting to hear and understand all viewpoints, I want us to be kind, caring, and understanding of one another.

In the new season of Carpe Diem Connections, I’m going to be following The Joy Makeover, and talking about Joy. For the first episode of Season 2 of Carpe Diem Connections, my co-host, Becky Burns and I, talk about the anxiety we all were feeling as we were waiting for the results of this close race.

The Joy Makeover Spinoffs – Season 2 of Carpe Diem Connections

Season 2: The Joy Spinoffs


I’m loving participating in the Joy Makeover and I bet you would, too! In Season 2 of Carpe Diem Connections we’ll be doing our own deep dive into finding Joy, starting with finding Joy in the election season! 


About 12 weeks ago I started a podcast, Carpe Diem Connections. I’d procrastinated because I knew nothing about podcasting and was worried that I’d be embarrassed by how amateurish it might sound.

However, with any kind of new hobby, if you go into it realizing that you have a lot to learn, and not having high expectations, you find the learning process and the improvement is usually fun!

When I’d gotten laid off in 2009, a suggestion at a lead’s group was to host a blog and interview people who I admired.  This turned out to be awesome advice and it was how I ultimately got a job as a Site Editor at TechTarget and was able to network with a lot of my industry’s thought-leaders. Ultimately, I ended up with a successful consulting career and a wonderful network of mentors, friends, and colleagues in the world of Agile Leadership and Quality Assurance.

Chapter 3 of Life

Now, I’d like to do something similar in the field of Positive Psychology, particularly as I’m entering a new stage of life.  I’m hesitant to call it “Retirement” or “The 60’s”..   Maybe “Chapter 3”? 

“Chapter 1” was childhood and college, “Chapter 2” was career and raising children. Now, in “Chapter 3,” I’m a 60-year-old empty-nester, grateful for the opportunity to discover and experiment with what it means to live life fully. 

I left my full-time contract at USAA in November, 2018, shortly after getting some bad news about degenerative back conditions. After a review of my finances and lifestyle, I came to the conclusion that, thanks to my ultra-frugal ways (and paying house-mates), I could afford to “retire.”  (I wasn’t sure I really wanted to retire since I loved my job but..  I also wanted more time to travel, visit friends, and be as active as possible while I still felt healthy, energetic, and pain-free.

I had an awesome 60-weeks-until-60 set of celebrations, full of traveling, adventure, and new experiences. My kids and family surprised and honored me on my 60th birthday, Feb.26, 2020, by gifting me with “Carpe Diem Day,” officially proclaimed in the National Archive of Days! 

Carpe Diem Connections – Season 1 – Interviews with Happiness and Connection Experts

As the proud recipient of Carpe Diem Day, I promptly bought and have experimented with social media and activities related to”seizing the day.”  I also started a Carpe Diem Connections Facebook GroupCarpe Diem – Single Snowbirds Facebook Group– and, again, 12 weeks ago, the new podcast.

During this past 12 weeks, I used the same strategy I’d used in 2009…  I looked for guests who I admired and were living life fully.  Most were coaches or somehow involved in the field of Positive Psychology. I’m very excited and grateful to those who I met and interviewed! It’s been enlightening to hear their thoughts on what it means to them to live life fully and foster deep meaningful connections, particularly in the midst of the pandemic.

Carpe Diem Connections – Season 2 – The Joy Makeover Spinoffs

On Tuesday (Election Day!) I flew back to Sarasota, Florida, for “Snowbird Season.” I’m so lucky to be staying, once again, with wise and witty Becky Burns!  It seemed the perfect time to also start a new season on my podcast, hopefully, with continued learning and improving over Season 1.

Becky has agreed to be my co-host as we talk about Finding Joy.  I’ve become enamored with Ingrid Fetell Lee and her recent Joy Makeover workshop. She offers a workbook and a very interesting set of interviews, digging deeper with topics about things such as how our joy is affected with 11 different topics starting with time, money, and relationships.

Becky and I are going to do our own deep dive into these topics and add a few more that are particularly relevant for the times or for us.  For example, this week, we’ll talk about Joy and Politics since the election is causing so much anxiety for so many people.  As I write this, the vote is still undecided. I find it interesting that the uncertainty is causing so much anxiety, both with Covid and the election..  Uncertainty and its affect on Joy might also be part of that first podcast of the season.

Getting Feedback

In order to learn and improve, we need feedback! One of the few things I don’t like about podcasting, is that it’s difficult to get feedback.  We base results on how many people listen or subscribe, so, of course, it’s helpful to see those numbers go up.  However, what I really want is listener comments and feedback!!

I know that many of us listen to our podcasts when we’re out and about, so it’s not a very convenient medium for giving feedback.  

However, I would appreciate any feedback you’d like to send my way by email:,  by using the “message” button from the podcast Website, or by commenting or IM’ing me on Facebook.

Rick Davis talks about, “The Furnace of Leadership Development”

Integrity is key to strong leadership!

Rick Davis talks about the importance of integrity in the first chapter of his book, The Furnace of Leadership Development.

Rick is the latest guest on my podcast, Carpe Diem Connections. I feel lucky to have met him at a Global Happiness Summit that we both attended recently.

Rick Davis is a retired battalion chief from the Loveland Fire Rescue Authority (LFRA) in Colorado. He still is finding ways to serve and contribute his skills and in fact, is quite passionate about giving back to society.

At about 17:24 into the YouTube video, you hear Rick say: “I don’t want the typical western idea of retirement. You go off and hunt, fish, go off to the ball games. NO! I have a duty to give back!” His message to retirees: “Go out and look for someone you can help.

As someone who is also in a transitional semi-retired time of life, I agree that helping and giving back is a big part of finding happiness and purpose in life. I was talking to a friend recently feeling a little purposeless now that my kids are grown and I’m no longer working in a traditional type of job.

He was surprised I felt this way and reminded me that even talking about living life fully (which I admit, I do quite a bit!) was bettering the world. Even smiling at someone can start a chain of positivity! I really hadn’t thought much about that, but it did motivate me to carry on with my Carpe Diem efforts!

How about you? What are ways you can give back?


Amy Sargent explains why emotional intelligence contributes to happiness

Learn more about Social and Emotional Intelligence and get information about free Webinar.

This week’s guest on Carpe Diem Connections is Amy Sargent, Executive Director at the Institute for Social and Emotional Intelligence.

Amy does a great job of explaining how emotional intelligence helps us understand and process our own emotions as well as those of others. By processing our emotions and really asking “why” we’re feeling a certain way, we have more power to choose our reactions to the world around us. Amy explains how this, not only helps with our own happiness, but helps us understand others which leads to better relationships.

I was happy to hear that there’s a free Coaching for Social and Emotional Intelligence Webinar on November 6th at Noon ET. Tune in to learn more and to receive an assessment for attending.

Amy also reminded me of a free assessment you can take via the VIA Institute on Character to discover your strengths. I’ve done this before and it’s a great first step in helping you discover purpose and helping you prioritize your time. My #1 strength, by the way, is Love of Learning.

One of Amy’s key strengths is Appreciation of Beauty. She took a radical step last year and is now living the RV life, giving her the ability to regularly surround herself with beautiful beaches and scenic vistas throughout the country! I’ll be excited to talk to Amy more about her adventures as I move into Snowbird Season myself!


Aparna Saligrama – Quiet Value Woman

Find out more about Quiet Value Woman and how you can become part of the community.

Aparna Saligrama talks about her new community site: Quiet Value Woman

This week’s guest on my Carpe Diem Connections podcast is Aparna Saligrama, a woman who has a passion for collaborating with other women in discussion, mentorship, and support for one another.

Aparna had long been thinking about creating a community for women, and when Covid hit, she felt that this was the right time. What better time than now to provide additional opportunities for people to gain support and connect with one another?

She created Quiet Value Woman: An Intellectual Lounge for Women. The network is free, yet it provides priceless value. When I first joined, I was supporting a non-profit, Seniors With Skills, started by a young woman who has been helping seniors well before Covid hit. I put out some posts on QVW and received immediate help and advice for the organization.

I’ve found that the people in this network are kind, compassionate, helpful, and supportive. Aparna is an inspiration and I appreciate her dedication in bringing Quiet Value Woman to our ever-changing world.


Jonathon Stalls – Walk2Connect & Intrinsic Paths

Jonathan Stalls talks about his Journey

Jonathon’s “journey” is not typical. It includes a 242-day walk across America in which he learned the beauty of experiencing America at its core, walking and connecting with others.

Jonathon has since created the Walk2Connect Cooperative, which inspires others to walk side-by-side and Instrinsic Paths, an artistic, creative, and innovative series of projects and events.

I was honored to have Jonathon as my latest guest on my Podcast, Carpe Diem Connections, and to hear more of his thoughts on what creates meaning and connection in life.

I’ve especially been enjoying being part of Walk2Connect. Jonathon and the other Walk Leaders are so creative in their approach of really combining two of my favorite things: Walking and Connection!

For example, I’ve been participating in a WALKtober Bingo Challenge for the month of October. Each morning, participants are greeted with a beautifully written email and a challenge for the day.. it might be a mindful meditation that helps us connect with nature, or a suggestion to take a moon-lit walk.

I feel so grateful to have met Jonathon, to learn from him, and to be part of the communities that he leads. His example is an inspiration for all of us to mindfully connect with nature and with one another as we move through life together.


Hats on for Mad Hatter Day!

I love silly hats!

It’s Mad Hatter Day! And since I have a big collection of silly hats, I’m well-prepared!

Hats are great way to liven up an otherwise dull Zoom meeting or just to help you out if you’re having a bad hair day.

A bit of history about Mad Hatter Day:

In 1986 some computer-folk in Boulder, CO celebrated a general day of silliness, inspired by the drawings of the Mad Hatter by John Tenniel in Alice In Wonderland. It was announced that year on computer networks, becoming more popular as people realized its value – some people did less damage by celebrating silliness than if they had done their jobs.

Boulder, Colorado! That’s where I live! And I’m also a “computer-folk”! Funny, that I’m right here, where it all began, and I hadn’t even heard of it until this year.

However, now that I know about it, you can bet your mad hat that I’ll be celebrating every year… and any other day I get a chance!