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April Showers Grow Inclusion & Access

Debbie's Hat

Maggie and Joan Chiffer Facilitate Drumming & Dancing Group 4/21/18
Maggie and Joan Chiffer Facilitate Drumming & Dancing Group 4/21/18
Our Saturday, 4/21, Memory Café in the Garden® hosted six participants, five volunteers, and one staff member. Four of the participants were from the L’Arche Community in Haverhill, Dan (staff/driver), Debbie, Ryan, and Donald. Two participants were Topsfield residents, Gloria and Bizzy. The volunteers included Sue, Bonnie, and Penny from the Topsfield Council on Aging, and Joan and Maggie Chiffer, a Topsfield mom and daughter (a high-school student, creator and facilitator of the program “Dance out Dementia“). Topsfield Cultural Council funded the Sun Hat Making activity for our March indoor Memory Café at River Road, which was cancelled due to snow, and rescheduled for our Saturday Memory Café in the Garden®. Raquel helped me as a Program Assistant to set-up, break-down, and provide general assistance during the event.

As guests arrive to our Memory Café in the Garden®, they are able to choose from a few options:

  • Enjoy the gardens/picnic
  • Enjoy Bird Tales (bird observation & play)
  • Enjoy Fish Tales (fish observation & play)
  • Enjoy Drums & Dance (music and movement)
  • Enjoy Flower Fun (craft)

Dan, Debbie, and Bonnie at the Craft Table
Dan, Debbie, and Bonnie at the Craft Table
Bonnie assisted at the “Flower Fun” area. She helped Debbie make a very stylish hat featuring silk flowers and craft butterflies.

Sue speaks with Karl, Karl and Bizzy dress garden beds with compost
Sue speaks with Karl, Karl and Bizzy dress garden beds with compost
When I asked Gloria if she and Bizzy would like to make sun hats (wide-brim hats and ball caps were available to decorate with paint and silk flowers), she suggested another option when she saw at Karl in the distance, working in the garden. “I think Bizzy would enjoy helping Karl with the garden.” Bizzy chose to help Karl and me with garden chores, including dressing garden beds with compost and filling bird feeders.

Drums & Dance is a Favorite Activity
Drums & Dance is a Favorite Activity
Maggie and Joan Chiffer started playing around at the “Drums and Dance” area – Dan, Debbie and Bonnie noticed, and decided to walk over and join. What started as play with percussive instruments, became body percussion and dance moves with song, and finished many minutes later with ribbon wands up, down, and around. This activity was enjoyed by the majority of the group for the majority of the time.

Drumming turns into Dancing
Drumming turns into Dancing
Dancing with Hands in the Air
Dancing & Singing with Hands in the Air
Dancing with Ribbon Wands
Dancing with Ribbon Wands

Debbie and Bonnie Appreciate their Sun Hat Creation
Debbie and Bonnie Appreciate their Sun Hat Creation
Towards the end of the program, having had the breeze blow the sun hat off Debbie’s head, Bonnie suggested she bring the hat back next time to add a tying ribbon. As she climbed back into the van to depart, Debbie expressed, “I love leaving our home to come here for a fun time!”

At our Sunday Stroll program, 4/22, Earth Day, we hosted one volunteer, Marlene, three participants from a NE ARC Group home in Danvers, Fatoumata (staff/driver), Gary and David, and one local Topsfield resident and friend, Darcy Fulton, also a landscape designer. Darcy stopped in to see what was new. Fatoumata assisted Gary (wheelchair-assistance) and David (walking) in getting around and experiencing the garden’s highlights. During their visit, we learned more about non-verbal communication through a communication book Gary shared with us. Gary gave me and Karl two sticks of Juicy Fruit gum, which we enjoyed. Fatoumata was surprised we didn’t have plants for sale, to take home. She suggested this would be nice for the future.

The horticultural event of the weekend was witnessing our first standard-size yellow trumpet daffodils open-up. Crocuses are still blooming, along with Ornithogalum balansae.

Moving forward with a listening heart,
vision, inquiry, and action,
~ Mary

Debbie's Sun Hat Creation
Debbie’s Sun Hat Creation
This Event is Sponsored by Topsfield Cultural Council A-Frame Sign
This Event is Sponsored by Topsfield Cultural Council A-Frame Sign
Bizzy and Karl Talk
Bizzy and Karl Talk
Bizzy helps to fill the bird feeders
Bizzy helps to fill the bird feeders
A Non-verbal Communication Book

Yellow Trumpet Daffodil

Purple Crocuses

Ornithogalum balansae
Ornithogalum balansae
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Happy Spring! Stations + March-April Flyers

Narcissus Bulbs Weather Storms

Narcissus Bulbs Weather Storms
Narcissus Bulbs Weather Storms
Our fourth Nor’easter is amounting to four additional inches here at our home. I include a few fun photos from this morning, as well as one from yesterday showing Dave’s Septic Accessible Port-a-Potty has been delivered! As of yesterday, we had significant spring melt, and with 50 degree weather coming soon, the snow shouldn’t be staying long at all.

For a first time, I’m inviting friends tomorrow, 3/23, and next Friday, 3/30, 5pm – 7pm, for “Stations & Chowda.” Experience the contemplative practice of walking or sitting 15 Stations: 6 Ways (inclusive for people of any spiritual tradition), based on the Catholic tradition of praying the Stations of the Passion and Resurrection. The hour-long practice (may be experienced outside or inside), will be followed by fellowship inside over a simple fish chowder meal. If interested, please e-mail or call me. All are welcome, free-of-charge.

Please join us for these events, starting tomorrow (Two flyers are attached – please share with friends):
March 23: 5pm – 7pm, Stations & Chowda
March 25: 7am – 7pm, Spring Cleanup Day – We need your help!
March 30: 5pm – 7pm, Stations & Chowda
April 1: 11am – 2pm, Sunday Stroll, Bulb Parade (Opening Day, Easter)
April 7: 10am – 4pm, EXPO, Topsfield Common
April 21: 10am – 12pm, Memory Café in the Garden®
April 22: 11am – 2pm, Sunday Stroll, Bulb Parade
April 28: 9am – 1pm, EXPO, Peabody Council on Aging

Moving forward with a listening heart,
vision, inquiry, and action,
~ Mary

Miss Honey Loves the Snow
Miss Honey Loves the Snow
Spring Melt Coming Soon!
Spring Melt Coming Soon!
Dave's Septic Accessible Port-a-Potty Delivered
Dave’s Septic Accessible Port-a-Potty Delivered

2018 Stations & Chowda Flyer

2018 Spring Programs Flyer

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1st Snowdrops in the Rainbow Garden!

Window Boxes Filled with Sweet Daffodils and Hyacinths
Window Boxes Filled with Sweet Daffodils and Hyacinths
Window Boxes Filled with Sweet Daffodils and Hyacinths

First Snowdrops in the Rainbow Garden

First Snowdrops see the Rest.Stop Bench!
First Snowdrops see the Rest.Stop Bench!

This Saturday: March 3, 10am – 12pm, Memory Café at 124 River Road, Topsfield

Make an Easter Bonnet/Sun Hat to wear at our April 1 Easter Sunday Bulb Parade, 11am – 2pm.

March Fridays – Pray the Stations, 5pm – 6pm; Eat Chowder, 6pm – 7pm
Christians or anyone interested in this spiritual practice, might enjoy “Praying the Stations of the Cross” in the gardens here at our home as the gardens come alive during March… In 2015 our 15 Stations were blessed by Rev. Ken Himes OFM from Boston College. The Stations are a symbol that Karl and I feel supported in our ministry to serve people impacted by long-term-care, and our intention is anyone connecting with or “Praying the Stations” might also feel supported with their life struggles. If you are a person in recovery from a life trauma, this practice may also offer you deeper personal healing. Our stations are wheelchair-accessible. Each station offers an opportunity to sit or kneel.

If you are interested in this opportunity (free-of-charge and open-to-all), please join me:
March 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 (Good Friday)
5pm – 6pm Stations; 6pm – 7pm Chowder

Moving forward with a listening heart,
vision, inquiry, and action,
~ Mary

Questions? Call or e-mail me!

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An Inclusive Partner Yoga Memory Café: Take-aways

Small Group Names & Motion

Parallel Chair Set-up
Parallel Chair Set-up
Our Saturday Memory Café had 16 participants (8 partners) join us for Partner Yoga fun. The room was set-up with two parallel chair lines, and guests quickly found partners if they hadn’t arrived already with a partner (spouse or sibling). Memory Café Guests enjoyed fellowship and Valentine’s-themed snacks before and after the facilitated Partner Yoga program.

The structure of the facilitated Partner Yoga program began with a large group warm-up. Participants were invited to mingle using eye-contact and shaking hands with new friends to the song, “Getting to Know You” sung by Julie Andrews. We then moved into two smaller groups and repeated the same warm-up exercise (Names with a Feeling Motion: “I’m (name) and I’m feeling (motion); Group repeats, “(Name) is feeling (motion)!). Participants reported feeling safer and a sense of greater comfort in the smaller groups.

Small Group Names & Motion
Small Group Names & Motion

Participants were then invited to stay in the small grouping and sit across from their partner for a fun feather boa push and pull game to the song, “Getting to Know You” sung by Julie Andrews. Once finding a comfortable distance, the partners set the boa down and picked up sparkly pipe cleaners to further play around with levels of closeness and distance, to the song, “Brass in Pocket,” by the Pretenders. The prop was particularly helpful for friends who desired to be close, but not too close. Some participants also enjoyed the “glamour” of the props.

After, the partners were invited to find their “better side” (seeing and hearing), with the help of their friend humming on the left and right side of their head. When they each found their “better side” they matched up their chairs to sit better-side by better-side. Partners were invited to find one plastic heart bracelet under one of the chairs. The partner “with” the bracelet was invited to notice their feelings as they “offered their love (via the bracelet)” to their partner. The receiving partner was invited to notice their feelings as they “received the love (via the bracelet)”. The partners were invited to find a comfortable way of holding onto the bracelet together with their better-side hands. Many partners found a way to fit both wrists into the bracelet comfortably. Some found it comfortable to grab one side with a finger, and the other with the other partner’s finger. One partnership formed the tinsel pipe cleaners into canes, hooked the bracelet with the canes, and enjoyed a fun comfortable distance. The partners relaxed together, in their chosen positions with the heart bracelet, side-by-side, to the song, “If it’s Magic,” by Tuck & Patti. Finally, the partners were invited to choose their favorite prop(s) (feather boa, pipe cleaners, and/or bracelet) to dance side-by-side, to the song, “Side by Side” by Kay Starr.

Our next Inclusive Memory Café will be March 3 and will offer a fun horticultural therapy activity.

Moving forward with a listening heart,
vision, inquiry, and action,
Mary
Creative & Clinical Director,
Topsfield Memory Café
funded by MA DDS and Topsfield Cultural Council!

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Today! Memory Café and Mid-Winter Mardi-Gras Burn

2018 Mid-Winter Mardi Gras Burn Invite

Join us! All ages welcome.

TODAY: Feb 3, 10am – 12pm
Where: Trinity Church, 124 River Road, Topsfield, MA (Wheelchair-Accessible)
What (Title): Memory Café: Share the Love with Partner Yoga
What (Description): Learn & Experience Body-Based Non-Verbal Communication Skills (bring a friend or come alone) Funded in part by Topsfield Cultural Council and MA DDS.

TODAY: Feb 3, 1pm – 4pm
Where: Rest.Stop.Ranch, 202 Haverhill Road, Topsfield, MA (Not Yet Wheelchair-Accessible)
What (Title): Mid-Winter MardiGras Burn
What (Description): Enjoy fellowship and a bonfire at the Caretaker’s Cottage at our home, Rest.Stop.Ranch. We are celebrating spring arriving soon (see also: Mardi-Gras, Imbolc, Candlemas; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imbolc )

Bring your self as-you-are: your love, your laughs, your light. Below is a flyer for our Saturday events.

Moving forward with a listening heart,
vision, inquiry, and action,
~ Mary
Interfaith Chaplain

2018 Mid-Winter Mardi Gras Burn Invite
2018 Mid-Winter Mardi Gras Burn Invite
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Reminder: Feb 3 Memory Café and Mid-Winter (Mardi Gras) Burn

Mardi Gras Season is Jan 7-Feb 13, 2018.

Mardi Gras Season is Jan 7-Feb 13, 2018.
Mardi Gras Season is Jan 7-Feb 13, 2018.

Please join us tomorrow, Saturday, Feb 3
In Topsfield: At Trinity Church and/or At our home, Rest.Stop.Ranch,
to celebrate LOVE and HOPE via a non-verbal communication workshop and a Bonfire!
(details below)

Thanks to the Topsfield Cultural Council for funding me as the Creative Director of our Topsfield Memory Café at River Road this 2017-2018 winter season!

Please share these events (Free of Charge) with people who may enjoy and/or benefit.

Date: Feb 3, 10am – 12pm (If snow storm, our Alternate date is Feb 17)
Where: Trinity Church, 124 River Road, Topsfield, MA (Wheelchair-Accessible)
What (Title): Memory Café: Share the Love with Partner Yoga
What (Description): Learn & Experience Body-Based Non-Verbal Communication Skills (bring a friend or come alone)

Date: Feb 3, 1pm – 4pm (If wind prohibits a bonfire on Feb 3, our Alternate date is Feb 11)
Where: Rest.Stop.Ranch, 202 Haverhill Road, Topsfield, MA (Not Yet Wheelchair-Accessible)
What (Title): Mid-Winter MardiGras Burn
What (Description): Enjoy fellowship and a bonfire at the Caretaker’s Cottage at our home, Rest.Stop.Ranch. We are celebrating spring arriving soon (see also: Imbolc, Candlemas; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imbolc )

Bring your self as-you-are: your love, your laughs, your light. Below is a flyer for our Saturday events.

Moving forward with a listening heart,
vision, inquiry, and action,
~ Mary
Interfaith Chaplain

2018 Mid-Winter Mardi Gras Burn Invite
2018 Mid-Winter Mardi Gras Burn Invite
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Feb 3 Memory Café and Mid-Winter Burn

Mid-Winter Burn Pile: Ready to Light!

Mid-Winter Burn Pile: Ready to Light!
Mid-Winter Burn Pile: Ready to Light, Feb 3!

Please join us on Saturday, Feb 3
In Topsfield: At Trinity Church and/or At our home, Rest.Stop.Ranch,
to celebrate LOVE and HOPE via a non-verbal communication workshop and a Bonfire!
(details below)

Please share these events (Free of Charge) with people who may enjoy and/or benefit.

Date: Feb 3, 10am – 12pm (If snow storm, our Alternate date is Feb 17)
Where: Trinity Church, 124 River Road, Topsfield, MA (Wheelchair-Accessible)
What (Title): Memory Café: Share the Love with Partner Yoga
What (Description): Learn & Experience Body-Based Non-Verbal Communication Skills (bring a friend or come alone)

Date: Feb 3, 1pm – 4pm (If wind prohibits a bonfire on Feb 3, our Alternate date is Feb 11)
Where: Rest.Stop.Ranch, 202 Haverhill Road, Topsfield, MA (Not Yet Wheelchair-Accessible)
What (Title): Mid-Winter Burn
What (Description): Enjoy fellowship and a bonfire at the Caretaker’s Cottage at our home, Rest.Stop.Ranch. We are celebrating spring arriving soon (see also: Imbolc, Candlemas; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imbolc )

Group Support for Caregivers, under age 65
Our support groups are now 1 year old. We have space in the groups, and are recruiting caregivers under age 65, caring for loved ones under 65 living with young onset Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) or Frontotemporal Degeneration (FTD).

“FTD Boston North” and “Topsfield Younger Onset” Caregiver Support Groups, at our Rest.Stop.Ranch Caretaker’s Cottage, typically meets the 2nd and 4th Thursdays each month.
Next Meeting: February 8, 5:15pm – 7:30pm

Individual Support for Caregivers, age 8-88+
Schedule with me a mutually convenient time:
– A Supportive Spiritual-Care Session (30 min. – 60 min.)
– A Private Respite Retreat (2 hours)

All programs are free-of-charge. Donations gratefully accepted. For more information or to register, call 978.887.4202 or e-mail me.

Moving forward with a listening heart,
vision, inquiry, and action,
~ Mary
Interfaith Chaplain

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Advent, Weeks 2 and 3 ~ Joyful Connections

All are invited to my version of a community holiday party: I’m facilitating drum circle tomorrow, Saturday, 10am -12pm, at 124 River Road, Trinity Church Topsfield, in the “COA room”. Come as you are. All ages and abilities are welcome. Bring your favorite drum! We will also provide a choice of instruments. This space and adjacent bathrooms are wheelchair-accessible.

Moving forward with a listening heart,
vision, inquiry, and action,
~ Mary