I’m so grateful for the love from my sister, Michele.
I have lots of wonderful pictures of Michele, but I picked this one because when we have our hair the same length, we look so much alike, and people ask if we’re twins! That makes me happy, because I’ve always admired (OK, I’ll just say it… been jealous of..) how pretty my sister is.
In the month of August, I want to blog daily about things I’m grateful for… things that make me happy, things that I don’t want to take for granted.
The most important thing I don’t want to take for granted is the love and acceptance I feel from the people I love most.
Here’s a list of 63 Reasons I love Michele.. I made the list with 62 things last year for her 62 birthday, but since she just had her 63rd birthday, added one more: You listen to me!
63 Things I Love about You, Sis!
You leave mints on my pillow when I visit
You can find treasures at flea markets
You patiently teach me how to take better pictures
You introduce me to your fun friends
Tú hablas español conmigo
You look out for me
You laugh at my jokes
You love to celebrate birthdays (including mine!)
You find fun, creative, things to add to theme parties
You keep yourself pretty and healthy
You will talk to me while I’m walking
You like learning new things
You are empathetic of the troubles and joys of others
You like surprises
You love your Golden Retrievers
You’re a caring mother, sister, daughter, wife, friend… and person!
You love family
You’re a great cook
You send me pictures of purple flowers
You are a talented photographer
You are a founding member of The White Bathrobe Club (and include me in meetings!)
You are very flexible with your yoga poses!
You bring me joy
You’re a talented gardener
You are friendly and a popular neighbor
You are playful
You find the perfect presents for me
You like the smell of lavender
You’re relearning the piano!
You like massages
You’re great at interior design and home improvement
You can confidently advise me on paint colors
You love old books
You love new books!
You love bookstores!
You like to try new things
You can balance an oar on your chin!
You influenced my early music tastes: James Taylor, Jim Croce, Van Morrison, Chicago, Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young
You’re my confidante
You’re a wonderful hostess
You like celebrating goofy holidays
You care for Veterans
You likes to play games
You built a successful food photography business
You’re a confident driver
You’re a scuba diver
You participated in my virtual Academy Awards Party
You had a Royal tea party
You’re stronger than you realizes
You’re continually improving yourself
You introduced me to Ham/Apple/Brie Panini
You surprise me with flowers and little gifts when I visit
You make strong drinks that put me in a happy, mellow place
Yesterday was the first in-person family get-together I’ve had in two years. Last summer, my youngest son, Scotty, had moved to Dayton, Ohio because of his job. Between that and all the Covid restrictions, this was the first time I was able to physically be with the people who are most important to me – my kids and grandkids.
Since I love a good theme party, I checked the “special days” on July 8th (Scotty’s birthday) and July 13th (the party day.. and his due date):
Be a Kid Again Day – July 8
Coca Cola Day – July 8
Math 2.0 Day – July 8
National Freezer Pop Day – July 8
National Ice Cream Sundae Day – July 8
National Milk Chocolate with Almonds Day – July 8
SCUD Day (Savor the Comic, Unplug the Drama) – July 8
Video Games Day – July 8
Embrace Your Geekness Day – July 13
Any of these would match Scotty’s personality!
However, the ultimate theme was just to have the party be “All About Scotty.” My youngest son unabashedly loves to be the center of attention. As a Mom, who has been missing having kids at home, I capitalized on the “Be a Kid Again” theme with plenty of low-budget party treats and games.
I enjoyed printing out photos of Scotty at various ages and told everyone to come dressed in his typical attire – sports shorts and a T-shirt and then we all held up one of the photos for an “All About Scotty” family portrait.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
Eva’s red shoes walked 10891 steps yesterday. She keeps her heart healthy with daily walking.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!