Announcing 2021 Carpe Diem Day Winner

For a #carpediemday celebration, Lee MacIvor leaves her late husband’s huge book collection to a local nursing home.

I’ve been hosting Carpe Diem Day contests throughout the month of February mostly in a selfish attempt to gain followers and recognition for Carpe Diem Day.

I’d venture to say, no one cared about winning the $25 prizes I was suggesting for any of my contests. The few people who were playing, were playing for the fun of it.  I loved seeing the creative photos and captions for both Wear Red Day and Umbrella Day. Picking a clear winner based on quality of entry was too difficult so I went with a “random draw” approach.

With my final contest.. the “big one”… in celebration of Carpe Diem Day.. there ended up being one very clear winner.  Her “entry” into this contest is much more than a creative photo. 

I ended my last blog post with this teaser:

Her story captures the spirit of what I envisioned for Carpe Diem Day celebrations so perfectly..  showing resilience, love, generosity, and the preservation of legacy.

Lee’s story begins over 50 years ago when she met her first love – the love of her life – Brian MacIvor.  They were high school sweethearts at Karachi American School in Pakistan. 

A few years after high school they went on to live separate lives. They reconnected in 1995 after Lee acted upon a dream she had  a few days before by telephoning.  Despite living in different countries, Lee – in a very “Carpe Diem” -like way, seized the day.  She made the bold move from the US to Europe and later in 1998, she and Brian were married.  Who says those romantic movies are unrealistic?

When Brian died tragically in an accident in 2017, the grief for Lee, of course, was unbearable. Grief is an emotion that is indescribable. Though it might remind us that life is precious, ‘seizing the day,’ when we don’t have our partner to seize it with anymore, feels empty. Life can feel meaningless.

But life is NOT meaningless. Brian’s life gave so much meaning to Lee and to countless others. Brian’s art, his poetry, and his amazing, eclectic library of books — these all had meaning. Brian’s passions and joys affected other people. Brian brought love to this world. He made the world a better place. Most notably, he made Lee’s world a better place.

When a loved one dies, we’re entrusted to a legacy that’s more than their possessions. We hold this intimate knowledge of this beautiful soul that changed our lives. When we see their writing, perhaps a signature on an old card..  Or hear their voice, perhaps on an old video.. We want to imprint those memories in our minds and our hearts so they’re never forgotten. We want the world to know this amazing person. We want the world to know this unique, one-of-a-kind genius who we loved..  This person is gone from this world now, but we want the world to be able to experience their magic. 

Lee, holds a gold mine of memories of Brian in her heart. Her Carpe Diem Day celebration is to donate Brian’s amazing collection of over 4000 books to the right home.

Donating a collection of this size, however, is not easy. Donating anything after a great loss is not easy. Lee’s quest for a home for Brian’s treasured collection came with challenges. 

She put a social media post out looking for a home, describing the unusual collection and Brian’s parameters in his selections: 

Brian, a quiet, handsome, and easy to love man from Toronto started collecting books at a young age.  As he grew, so did his passion for books.  He formed his own parameters as to what would be suitable for his personal collection.  The basic genres for his collection were science fiction/fantasy and detective mysteries, although there are many classics in the collection as well.  The books had to be used and in paperback (with a few exceptions allowing for availability and books received as gifts).  Brian would never lend a book from his collection; instead he would generously buy and give a copy of the book to the one who had asked for the loan.

So now I am here to ask for what I need and for what I envision.  I see someone with a big heart and big respect for a book lover’s beloved collection.  I see a person/persons with a plan to receive/retrieve these books and to give/find them a home or many appreciative homes.

Thank you, dear Universe, for connecting me to what I need and want.  It may be through FB, email, phone, or a knock on the door, but somehow your magic will prevail.

Lee received various leads and ideas and helpful communication from book store owners, university library directors, and SciFy/Fantasy book clubs. She had different ideas about donating to youth groups, local prisons, or nursing homes, but all came with complications. Her preference was to keep the collection together, but it was difficult to find a recipient who wanted the entire collection.

When she saw my Carpe Diem Day contest, and that it was on February 26th, 2021, the day after Brian’s February 25th birthday, she was determined to donate the cherished collection in celebration of Carpe Diem Day, despite any complications.

As often happens when we put our intentions out, the Universe provided Lee with an answer on February 23rd. She happily wrote to those of us involved with her story:

Just received a call from Genesis nursing & rehab – they will take Brian’s ENTIRE collection!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so elatingly, heart-pumpingly high! Brian’s books will have a forever home and we may be able to visit! 

Delivering books to Genesis / Salisbury Rehab & Nursing Center on February 25, 2021 are (LtoR)Jacobs Gilliam, Captain Cristina Trantham, Willie Downing from The Salvation Army; Heather, Angela Clady, and Ted of Genesis. Angela said they were so happy to receive Brian’s books as they will help make their mobile library a reality.

Delivering books to Genesis / Salisbury Rehab & Nursing Center on February 25, 2021 are (LtoR)Jacobs Gilliam, Captain Cristina Trantham, Willie Downing from The Salvation Army; Heather, Angela Clady, and Ted of Genesis. 

This week will continue to be emotional for Lee, as the whole month of February has been, with Anniversaries and special days that she and Brian celebrated together. I am thrilled that she found a home for Brian’s collection and that his legacy will continue to be shared with the world. Despite challenges and pain, choosing to spread joy, love, and happiness.. choosing to persevere..  Now that is what Carpe Diem Day is all about.

National Wear Red Day Contest Results

Yesterday was the first of my February contests. I asked people to post their National Wear Red Day pictures on my Carpe Diem Connections Facebook Group and tag with #carpediemday.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect. This whole month I’m experimenting with trying to get more exposure for Carpe Diem Day and having fun celebrating various wacky holidays. It’s just so much more fun to be playing with other people.

I picked National Wear Red Day to start with because I figured it should be kind of easy for people to find something red to wear and post a picture. I didn’t put any “rules” around how I’d pick a winner. I wanted to see what people would come up with without much guidance about what “qualified” for a prize.

Here are some of the great entries! I just love the creativity!

Fellow National Days Ambassador Meghan looking bold and sassy!
Lee says: "Red reminds me to celebrate, to stop and smell the (red) roses, to create and give red-hearted valentines, and to party with loved ones until the (red) rooster crows!"

I love Lee's mysterious tease as she peeks out of her long red cape.
John says: “For many years, RED (Remember Everyone Deployed) Friday has been a national campaign to encourage Americans to wear red to show support for deployed military men and women. Red also symbolizes the blood spilled by those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice”
Stephanie says: “I am a Sudden Cardiac Arrest Survivor. I now have an ICD that has saved me multiple times. Everyday is a blessing to me, a gift to wake up everyday.”

Eva’s red shoes walked 10891 steps yesterday. She keeps her heart healthy with daily walking.

Crystal says: “We wear red for CHD awareness❣️❣️
Friend and fellow-theme-dresser Heather says: “I had to work in the lab. But you know I still wore red and all my hearts!”
My sister, Michele said: “Happy “Wear Red Day”!! I’m happy and blessed to have a healthy heart, both figuratively and literally! And red is truly one of my favorite colors. Hooray for Red and Hearts and living life fully!”
Ron posted a Red Poppy in honor of the poignant poem, In Flander’s Field
Tony got his Red Superhero on!

Sean and Jack didn’t have any red, but still get mentions due to their supportive posts. Even though Sean was working, he posted a fun red Gif. And I’m very grateful to Becky and Shirley for passing on the word of the contest! Ashley also posted a supportive heart and has a whole event she’s sponsoring for the month of February!

All who participated (including those who shared the link or shared their support, even if they didn’t post a picture) are going to get a Valentine from me in which I pay them a genuine compliment (in honor of today, Pay A Compliment Day.). I’ll put the Valentines in my special Valentine basket and pull one out to reveal the $25 prize winner!

I had fun thinking about some fun prizes like some red sparkly piece of attire – shoes, mask, bowtie, or shirt.. Or I thought about a $25 donation to the American Heart Association.. Or maybe a Red Carpe Diem shirt? But, I decided to let the winner pick their own prize so they can get exactly what they want!

Now, on to the video for the Big Reveal of the Grand Prize Winner!

Who’s the big winner?

National Carpe Diem Day Contests

Carpe Diem Day!

Seize the Day Every Day

National Carpe Diem Day is February 26th. Throughout the month of February, 2021, I’ll be hosting 3 #CarpeDiemDay contests. The winners will receive a personalized prize designed to help them live more fully and find ways to “Seize the Day” despite the pandemic.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Join Carpe Diem Connections Facebook Group
  2. Post a picture and tag with #carpediemday
  3. You can also post text, describing how you are “seizing the day” despite the pandemic.

Contest 1: National Wear Red Day on February 5, 2021

Contest 2: National Umbrella Day on February 10, 2021

Contest 3: National Carpe Diem Day on February 26, 2021

  1. Examples include any inspirational pictures or stories of people helping or finding ways to celebrate, adapt, innovate, be creative, connect, and have fun in safe, healthy, positive ways.
  2. Help me spread the word! Please share and retweet.

Websites and Social Media

CarpeDiemDay Website: www.carpediemday.com

Carpe Diem Connections Facebook Pagehttps://www.facebook.com/carpeDee

Carpe Diem Connections Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/carpediemconnectionsgroup

Carpe Diem Connections Podcast: https://anchor.fm/carpediemconnections

Why?

National Carpe Diem Day is February 26th.  However, of course, we want to make every day meaningful!

I’ve made it my mission to actively promote and help others celebrate and create a “Carpe Diem Mindset.” I think this has been especially important in when the world has been struggling with the challenges of the Global Pandemic.  I’m especially keen to get National Carpe Diem Day recognized in 2021 while people are still struggling. We don’t need to wait for our challenges to be resolved in order to celebrate each day. It’s more important than ever to celebrate in spite of the challenges!

I’ve created this Website (www.carpediemday.com)  that shares many other Websites and resources aimed at helping others live full and meaningful lives and fostering deep and meaningful connections. 

I host a weekly Carpe Diem Connections Podcast aimed at sharing ideas and talking to guests aimed at living a full and meaningful life. I also manage an active Facebook community of others who are living fully and sharing ideas and deep connections.  

The Inspiration

In 2010, I lost a good friend, Craig Dunham, to ALS. Craig taught me the importance of living each day fully, despite the challenges we’re facing in our lives. I’ve written and spoken a lot about Craig. Passing along his message helps me to keep his spirit and legacy alive and pass forward his personal message of living fully: 

I especially appreciate the opportunity to show my children how life can be lived without anger, resentment, bitterness or regrets.  I have purged all of that from my life and intend to leave this life with nothing but love, acceptance, forgiveness and compassion in my heart.  I am so ready to live life to its fullest, I only wish I would have thought to do it sooner.

~ Craig Dunham – upon learning of his ALS Diagnosis

Since his death in 2010, I have used “Carpe Diem” as a mantra in his honor, and as a reminder to live fully despite the challenges that life throws you.  CD are both the initials of Craig’s name as well as the initials of Carpe Diem and form the emblem of Super Carpe Diem Woman, who leads the Walk to Defeat ALS.

I was honored on my 60th birthday after a 60-week Carpe Diem project to be gifted with National Carpe Diem Day by my family and friends.

Ways to Celebrate Carpe Diem Day

  • Pay tribute to those who have died by spending the day doing something they loved or that you loved doing together
  • Share your passion with someone you love
  • Make amends with those you love
  • Take a small step toward meeting a big goal
  • Dress in costume and have fun
  • Creatively enjoy theme-based celebrations throughout the year using unusual special days as prompts
  • Give yourself a positive affirmation
  • Set a goal that will bring more love into your life
  • Get a makeover
  • Take a picture with someone you love
  • Send a surprise letter to someone you love
  • Do something kind for someone
  • Reframe a rejection
  • Celebrate your age
  • Say “thank you” to someone in your life
  • Go on a nature walk
  • Sign up for an event that benefits a charity
  • Cook a new recipe
  • Learn a new dance move
  • Reach out to an old friend
  • Have a virtual reunion with friends from all over the world
  • Look through old photos
  • Meditate
  • Sing, play, or listen to music that inspires you to live life fully
  • Host a virtual theme party
  • Learn about a new place and make plans to visit there once there are no restrictions
  • Read a bestseller or recommended book
  • Watch an Oscar-nominated movie
  • Clean out old clutter
  • Research and accomplish a DIY repair job
  • Buy something fun from an online store
  • Contribute your time or dollars to an important cause  like the ALS Association

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!

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!

Resources:

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!

Resources:

Hammocks Make Me Happy

No, it’s not “National Hammock Day,” but today I’m talking about hammocks, anyway, just because they make me happy!

One of my favorite pictures of me with my Dad is this one that was taken around 1965:

Dad and me in our back yard – 1965

Today my friend, Becky, sent me a photo of me that she took while we were having a Zoom call and I was enjoying my new hammock swing .

Me in 2020 talking to my friend on a Zoom call

Between 1965 and 2020, there have been plenty of other hammock pictures, so I set out to create a little collage of some of my favorites… What fun memories!

Do you have a favorite hammock picture?

Embrace Your Geekness Day

Embrace Your Inner Geek

Today is a day that’s MADE FOR ME! Embrace Your Geekness Day! I am a geek every day, so it’s great to have a day that celebrates “Geekness” (and I also like it that “Geekness” isn’t even a real word!)

Of course, there are a lot of different definitions for what it really means to be a geek.. someone who like techie stuff.. someone who likes to dress in silly costumes.. someone who is kind of the opposite of “cool”.. someone who likes crazy holidays that most people have ever heard of… all of those definitions apply to me.

When I was young, I was insecure about my geekiness. Of course, I wished I was “popular” instead of the weird kid who preferred to hang out in the library at recess rather than play outside. But now, I realize how freeing it is to just be myself… I’m much happier enjoying my quirky personality than trying to be “cool.”

Here’s a quote by CS Lewis:

“Be weird. Be random. Be who you are. Because you never know who would love the person you hide.”

Another variation:

“Don’t Change So People Will Like You – Be Yourself and the Right People Will Love the Real You”

So yeah, I’m a proud geek! How about you?

Happy Umbrella Cover Day

Umbrella Cover Day
Covered by an umbrella hat under my new umbrella hammock swing

As owner of National Carpe Diem Day, one of my self-assigned responsibilities is to let you all know about interesting and quirky “celebration days” throughout the year.

umbrella hammock
My new umbrella hammock

Right after I bought this fun umbrella hammock swing, I discovered that today, July 6th, Is “Umbrella Cover Day.” I’m choosing to be creative in interpreting this as a day to have umbrella’s cover us rather than celebrating the covers of the umbrella, which apparently was the actual intent.

By the way, today is also International Kissing Day, but for those of us who are single and social distancing, let’s focus on umbrellas. Stay positive, people!

Yes, there is actually an Umbrella Cover Museum in Peaks Island, Maine… the only Umbrella Cover Museum in the whole world! Nancy 3 Hoffman wrote this book and is the director and curator of the museum and I’m guessing, the one who originated the special day! Here’s a picture of her book and as you see, she also enjoys umbrella hats, like me, so it’s not JUST about the umbrella covers.

What I love about these special days, my new bright green palm-tree-like hammock, Nancy’s middle name (3!), the museum, and umbrella hats is that they are all whimsical!

Whimsical is defined as “playfully quaint or fanciful behavior or humor.” Yes, whimsy is definitely something that makes me happy!

The description of Nancy’s book says the museum “celebrates the mundane in everyday life” and finds “wonder in beauty in the simplest of things.” Wow! That is exactly the essence of what I’d like to capture with my Carpe Diem Day philosophy!

I think umbrellas themselves are very fun and can be so colorful and unique. I just heard a story about how the Queen gets color coordinated umbrellas and is using them to keep the social distance guidelines. (I’m very interested in the Queen these days because I’ve been watching, The Crown.)

The Queen’s pretty color coordinated umbrella helps her maintain protection!

And, of course, I’ve always loved cute little beachy, colorful cocktails adorned with little umbrellas!

I’m going to have to check out Nancy 3’s book and see if I can maybe even get an interview with her, but for now, I’m relaxing, happily covered with my whimsical umbrellas.

Introducing Kazi – My adopted flamingo from Sarasota Jungle Gardens

Kamikaze “Kazi” #38 from Sarasota Jungle Gardens

I’d wanted to blog about this on National Pink Flamingo Day, but I’m afraid I’m a day late. But that’s OK because what it says on that site is to celebrate by putting out of those cheesy lawn ornaments.. but what I’m about to reveal is much better. Flamingo-lovers out there, rejoice, because now you can adopt your own real-live pink flamingo! (Note: A bunch of other animals are available for adoption as well.)

While I was in Sarasota, I really wanted to see the flamingos at Sarasota Jungle Gardens, but, of course, it was closed like everything else because of Covid-19.

However, I found out for a $50 donation, I could adopt my own flamingo!! I help the Gardens, adopt a flamingo, and they take care of it! How cool is that?

Not only are they taking complete care of Kazi, but they sent me a great packet of information about flamingos, a Certificate of Adoption, a flamingo magnet, an 8×10 photo of Kazi and a personal letter, even congratulating me on my “Carpe Diem Day Movement!” (I told them that flamingos were my Carpe Diem Day mascot!)

Adopt a flamingo
Kazi from Sarasota Jugle Gardens

This is a wonderful opportunity and I can’t wait to visit Kazi when I get back to Sarasota.