Try a Sober St. Pats Day; 8-week Self-Care Series Pilot; DCG Living Hx Mobile Museum and School; Event in Topsfield, MA, 3/18: Grow Spring! EXPO; In April, a Weekly Memory Café Begins;  marymac missions' monthly newsletter - 56th Edition - March, 2017.  Feel free to comment or forward this to friends.

March 2017

Dear Friends,

Happy, Safe & Sober Spring!

Try A Sober St. Pats Day

Each of us has an opportunity to come clean... what's yours?  Whether or not you or a family member struggles with addiction... 

Now is a good time to look at our habits.  
Now is a good time to consider how we are influenced by ethnic heritage and family of origin.  
Now is a good time to befriend a secret or shameful or shadow-side of self.  
Now is a good time to try an alternate approach towards living lighter, with greater serenity.

"It's about time we change the image of the drunken Irish man and Irish woman," says a woman on the video on the homepage of the website Sober St. Patrick's Day.  This holiday is about our celtic heritage and awesome culture!! You can't play a fiddle or the harp when you're drunk. You can't dance a jig when you're drunk.  You can't sing a ballad when you're drunk.  You can't do much of anything when you're drunk.  

Now, try this - replace every mention of the word "drunk," with the word "chronically stressed," "chronically fatigued," "chronically depressed," or "chronically anxious."  Isn't it interesting how similar the experiences of being drunk and being a caregiver fatigued to a point impacting function are?

I'm learning more all the time from the caregivers I support about how they are coping with caregiving stress.  I just learned about this initiative and organization that champions responsible drinking on St. Pats Day.  Here are a few bullets from their website:

  • Sober St. Patrick’s Day®, a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, has brought family friendly events, celebrating the best in Irish entertainment, to both sides of the Atlantic for 6 years. 
  • We provide a healthy and safe experience for family, friends & people in recovery and others.
  • We're not against people having a drink or two to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. We're simply against people using St. Patrick's Day as an excuse to get drunk.
  • "Reclaim the true spirit of the day" and honor our heritage.

If you are an individual choosing alcohol or another addictive substance, as a coping mechanism for life’s stressors… there is help.

If you are a child or teen of an alcoholic (COA) or an adult child of an alcoholic (ACOA)… there is help.

If you are a spouse of a person who chooses a substance, over time with you and family on a regular basis… there is help.

If you are a grandparent, taking care of a grandchild, because the child’s parents are suffering from addiction, 
or in an early stage of recovery… there is help.

Helpful resources: 

From Source: 

"You need to find a recovery program that you are comfortable with.  If you don't like the program, you aren't likely to participate enough to get the help you need.  Here are some alternatives to Alcoholics Anonymous:

  • SMART Recovery - A self-empowering addiction recovery support group based on scientific research.  They follow a 4 point system of building and maintaining motivation, coping with urges, managing thoughts, feelings and behaviors and living a balanced life.  They have meeting in the community and online.
  • Rational Recovery - A self-guided form of recovery based on education and learning to control addictive thinking.  It does not have support groups and is available through the Rational Recovery website.
  • Moderation Management - A program of behavioral change and support group for moderation or abstinence.  It differs from other programs in that it does not advocate an abstinence only approach.  
  • Life Ring -  A peer support group based on abstinence.  It follows the principle that each addict has an "addict self" and a "sober self."  Peers support each other by reinforcing the "sober self."
  • Secular Organizations for Sobriety - A non-religious alternative to 12-Step recovery.”

8-week Self-Care Series Pilot

We've completed an 8-week Caregiver Self-Care Series Program up in Concord, NH at Havenwood Heritage Heights, a Continuing Care Retirement Community for people over age 62. The participants of the A group felt so supported during the program, that they are now in a transition-time of learning how to continue the group on their own, without me as a facilitator. I'm staying with the group during this transition time, offering direction, assistance, and a sounding-board.


DCG Living Hx Mobile Museum and School

Each month, a new interactive exhibit featuring an artifact from a real dementia-caregiver's journey, invites dementia caregivers to share common themes and stories on paper and around the exhibit table.  These topics, frequently hidden, are broken open for fresh and honest discussion, that is then brought into the sharing small group circle.  Each exhibit promotes bringing group awareness, witness, and sharing around a challenging universal dementia-care topic, and also supports discussion of healthy coping approaches.

This month, March, the topic is "Lucky vs. Unlucky: Holding Paradoxes."  The interactive exhibit is 4 Lucky T-shirts, A green purse, and a Hawaiian Lei.

In February, the topic was "Love, Marriage, and Family Dynamics."  The interactive exhibit is 3 Wedding Dresses.

In January, the topic was "Planning Goals and Dreams."  The interactive exhibit was a 2-Year Planning Calendar (wall-hanging).

My early observations of this new activity, is that the creation of the DCG Living Hx Museum and School is inviting more voices than my own to witness and record the dementia-caregiver experience.  It's promise and hope is to become an expressive therapeutic outlet that offers education, validation, humor, and healing to:

1. The general public
2. Dementia caregivers before a diagnosis
3. Dementia caregivers after a diagnosis
4. Survivors of a dementia-caregiving experience

Topsfield, MA Locals: Save the Date: 3/18, 10am - 3pm: Grow Spring! EXPO

Look for the "Rest.Stop.Ranch Respite Retreat Center & Accessible Gardens" educational & interactive 8-foot table exhibit, at the Emerson Center or Gould Barn on 3/18.  Learn & experience the therapeutic activities we offer at our Seasonal (April -October) Memory Café & Sunday Strolls programs, for people with disabilities and care-partners, specializing in Alzheimer’s/dementia-care. Our “Dementia-Care Musical Theatre” integrates horticultural, art, music, dance, drama, and play therapies.

1. Table-top Sensory Garden (See, Hear, Smell, Touch, Taste) –– With table-side interpretation & facilitation.

2. Take-home Flower Fun (while supplies last) –– A demonstration/DIY horticultural-art-therapy craft project.

3. Bird & Fish Tales –– Interactive play, with puppets, throughout the day (based on “Bird Tales: A Program for Engaging People with Dementia though the Natural World of Birds,” by Randy Griffin, R.N., M.S. HNC, with Audubon Society).

4. Drums & Dancing –– Participate in a 5-minute music, movement, drama & play session (offered each hour, on the half-hour).

5. Memory Café Education –– Lecture & Q+A: What is a Memory Café? (5-minute lecture offered each hour, on the hour; Reading from the 2016 book in which we are featured: “The Alzheimer’s and Memory Café: How to Start and Succeed with Your Own Café,” by Jytte Fogh Lokvig, Ph.D.; Q+A offered throughout the event).

Topsfield, MA More Snow Days

Shown above: Icicles and a lopsided backyard bird-feeder.

April 1, a Weekly Memory Café Begins, Saturdays, 10a-12p 

We support families impacted by long-term-care, in an inclusive, friendly, judgement-free, and joy-filled indoor/outdoor environment, once-a-week, Apr-Oct.

1.  Our Dementia-Friendly Garden/Memory Café program will welcome visitors with dementia and their care-partners on Saturday mornings, from 10am - 12noon, April - October.

2. We hope the increased options for visiting will enable more caregivers and loved ones with dementia to visit us more often during the growing season, ideally building into the Saturday morning weekly routine a "visit to the gard," either as the first or last stop.

3. We will continue to prepare our gardens once-a-month for "show" and for best "wheelchair-access," on typically the 2nd Sunday of the month.  This will continue to be our "Sunday Stroll" day, for anyone using a wheelchair, independently or with their care-partner.  

We welcome members of our local community to help us with offering this weekly hospitality ministry.  Many volunteer options exist.
Learn about our Memory Café in Topsfield, MA >

Find a Memory Café around Greater Boston > 

SEEKING VOLUNTEERS AGE 14+ (hospitality hosts, activity leaders, horticulture helpers...)
If interested, please e-mail or call me to discuss, and/or:
Learn more about volunteer opportunities >

Please feel free
to schedule with me
a Come and See... Tour & Tea
at a time convenient for you.

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

Mary E. MacDonald
Foundress & Director/Owner, MaryMac Missions LLC

mobile: 978-887-4202
local: 202 Haverhill Road, Topsfield, MA 01983

I am available for speaking, training, and retreat engagements. Please e-mail me to discuss your future planning (caregiver support groups and conferences, professional meetings and continuing education, and day/weekend retreats).

Consider how you might support- This Week - a nearby family-with-dementia you know.  
- Might you invite someone with dementia to your home for a cup of tea?  
- Might you provide an hour of respite for a weary caregiver?  
- Might you lend a hand with a maintenance job around their home?


- Might you offer a portion of your practice as pro-bono legal, financial, or mental-health support services to a weary caregiver, or a family impacted by Alzheimer's/Dementia? 

Our Practice

Please click on one of the images below to learn more about how we rest, dance, and pray with the long-term-care topic:


You are receiving this email because you are a friend, a subscriber, a programs participant, a professional who serves families affected by Alzheimer's or other long-term illnesses, a spiritual leader who counsels families affected by long-term illness, a team member, supplier, partner, mentor, or advisor who is helping to grow the social enterprise Marymac Missions, and/or a social change leader.  Please feel free to unsubscribe at any time or change your subscription preferences using the links at the bottom of this email.  Please share with family and friends now journeying with long-term illness who may benefit.

our vision: 
Care givers and receivers feel and know the presence of caring communitee companions throughout and beyond the long-term-care journey; they are empowered to love themselves and each other in balanced ways; they experience universal comfort, respite and recreation in local natural places of hospitality.
our values:
Creative, Accessible, Sustainable
our mission statement:
Champions for caregivers and adults living with extended illness, we: meet people where they are (locally, financially, physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, spiritually); provide positive experiences, strategies, practices, coping methods and skills through the cycle of health, illness, loss, recovery and renewal; raise public awareness and facilitate communitee alliances between individuals, families, businesses and communitee organizations to reach, include and care for care givers and receivers who become marginalized because of the systemic effects of illness; lead and participate in research that aims to understand the effectiveness of care giver and receiver health programs; support research that aims to illuminate and eliminate the root causes of disease; and adapt to best serve current care giver and receiver needs. 



Try a Sober St. Pats Day
8-week Self-Care Series Pilot
DCG Living Hx Mobile Museum and School
Topsfield, MA Locals: Save the Date 3/18
Topsfield, MA Snow Days
April 1, a Weekly Memory Café Begins


March 18  Grow Spring! EXPO, Topsfield, MA
April 1  Memory Café, Topsfield, MA

View our entire events calendar here.


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Our Reach

We meet people where they are via six channels: mobile, online, onsite, print, product, and place.  

Learn more about our access channels and why they matter to us >

Annual Report 2015 >

Annual Report 2014 >

About Mary E. MacDonald

A successful web design consultant, Mary lost her career, income, home, belongings, friends, personal health, and mom to dementia in 2008.  Surviving this experience, Mary founded the social enterprise Marymac Missions LLC in 2010.  

Mary is a certified Life Coach, Group Leader, and Kripalu Yoga Teacher.  She holds a Master's degree in Pastoral Ministry from Boston College and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Rochester with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and German.  Mary lives in Topsfield, MA, USA with her husband, Karl, and yellow lab, Miss Honey.

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