The Advent of Jesus

The Advent of Jesus

On Christmas Eve, the moment we have been waiting for has finally arrived!  We light the Christ candle to celebrate the birth of Jesus, Lord of Lords, King of Kings, and Saviour of All. 

As we light the Christ candle, we think of the tiny innocent divine human born into the most humble of circumstances.  Praised and adored, vulnerable and helpless, he was a paradox of power and peace personified.  The incarnation of God, dwelling with us.  The light of the world, whose birth was heralded by the light of a brilliant star.  The lamb of God, swaddled tenderly and protectively.  The Saviour of all who loved us enough to carry the burden of humanity, suffering profoundly and giving his human life for us, in order to make a way to eternal life.  Thanks be to God!   

The video below shares a liturgy for lighting the Candle of Love and provides a space and time to think about what Love means to us.  The video allows a few moments to consider, but feel free to pause the video if you want to take more time to contemplate.  If you are watching with others, please pause and take time to share with one another about what Love means to you. 

If you would like to read the liturgy yourself, a document can be accessed here:  Advent Jesus – 2 readers

This Christmas, may your heart be filled with gladness and thanksgiving!  May the light of the Christ candle shine into your heart at this pivotal moment, as the season of Advent comes to a close, and we begin the season of Christmas.  May the warmth of candle glow inspire you to let your own God-given light shine in the world through thoughtful acts of kindness.  May each of us feel connected through the mysterious power of the Holy Spirit, replete in the knowledge that we are part of the family of God.  May God bless you today and always!

If you would like to see the video, or read the liturgy, for the first Sunday of Advent, you can find it here.

If you would like to see the video, or read the liturgy, for the second Sunday of Advent, you can find it here.

If you would like to see the video, or read the liturgy, for the third Sunday of Advent, you can find it here.

If you would like to see the video, or read the liturgy, for the fourth Sunday of Advent, you can find it here.

 



Let’s build something together.

God is weaving a tapestry of care
that connects all of us in Grace.
Come. Be part of it.


© sidebyside.care 2020

The Advent of Love

The Advent of Love

On the fourth Sunday of Advent, we celebrate the Love that God has for us and for all of creation.

As we light the candle of Love, we contemplate the way that God’s love is expressed in our lives through relationships, kindness, and caring; through acts of mercy and caring for strangers; through thoughtfulness and sacrifice.  This is a love that is not bound by space or time.  It is not weak or threadbare.  It is full and rich and it fills the air around us through the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Love itself is a powerful presence in our midst, even when we are not gathered together, and it transforms us from the inside out.  Love moves us beyond ourselves and empowers us to thrive despite great challenge.    

The video below shares a liturgy for lighting the Candle of Love and provides a space and time to think about what Love means to us.  The video allows a few moments to consider, but feel free to pause the video if you want to take more time to contemplate.  If you are watching with others, please pause and take time to share with one another about what Love means to you. 

If you would like to read the liturgy yourself, a document can be accessed here:  Advent Love – 2 readers

As we journey through this fourth week of Advent, may you feel the Love of God as a tangible presence surrounding you.  May that presence give you strength to overcome obstacles, and to withstand distance from those we long to gather with.  May your heart be full with love and light so that your life shines and inspires those around you.

 

If you would like to see the video, or read the liturgy, for the first Sunday of Advent, you can find it here.

If you would like to see the video, or read the liturgy, for the second Sunday of Advent, you can find it here.

If you would like to see the video, or read the liturgy, for the third Sunday of Advent, you can find it here.



Let’s build something together.

God is weaving a tapestry of care
that connects all of us in Grace.
Come. Be part of it.


© sidebyside.care 2020

The Advent of Joy

The Advent of Joy

Today, December 13, 2020, is the third Sunday of Advent.  The theme for this Sunday of Advent is Joy!

As part of our advent liturgy, we light the pink candle, the candle of Joy, and we contemplate the proclamation the angels made “to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah” (Luke 2:11) and all that means in our lives.  When life is filled with challenges it might be hard to access feelings of joy, but remembering that Jesus is “Emmanuel,” which means “God With Us” we have reason to rejoice!!!  No matter what we face, God IS with us. 

The video below shares a liturgy for lighting the Candle of Joy and provides a space and time to think about what Joy means to us.  The video allows a few moments to consider, but feel free to pause the video if you want to take more time to contemplate.  If you are watching with others, please pause and take time to share with one another about what Joy means to you. 

If you would like to read the liturgy yourself, a document can be accessed here:  Advent Joy – 2 readers

As we journey through this third week of Advent, may you experience effervescent joy that bubbles up in your heart and soul, bringing praise to your lips and inspiring you to sing with the angels”Glory to God in the Highest…” (Luke 2:14). 

If you would like to see the video, or read the liturgy, for the first Sunday of Advent, you can find it here.

If you would like to see the video, or read the liturgy, for the second Sunday of Advent, you can find it here.



Let’s build something together.

God is weaving a tapestry of care
that connects all of us in Grace.
Come. Be part of it.


© sidebyside.care 2020

The Advent of Peace

The Advent of Peace

Today, December 6, 2020, is the second Sunday of Advent.  The theme for the second Sunday of Advent is Peace.

As part of our advent liturgy, we light the candle of Peace, and we contemplate the coming celebration of the birth of the Christ child.  Our experience of the world these days holds much change, much turmoil, much difficulty.  As we face challenges that we have never faced before, it can perhaps give us insight as we imagine how Mary and Joseph might have felt as they sought to follow God’s will for their lives.  

The video below shares a liturgy for lighting the Candle of Peace and provides a space and time to think about what Peace means to us.  The video allows a few moments to consider, but feel free to pause the video if you want to take more time to contemplate.  If you are watching with others, please pause and take time to share with one another what Peace means to you. 

If you would like to read the liturgy yourself, a document can be accessed here:  Advent Peace – 2 readers

As we journey through this second week of Advent, may you experience a deep peace that is rooted in the knowledge that you are beloved, and the ongoing assurance that God is with us.  May God bless you in quiet moments of stillness throughout the coming week, granting you strength to meet each challenge you face. 

If you would like to see the video, or read the liturgy, for the first Sunday of Advent, you can find it on last week’s blog post here.



Let’s build something together.

God is weaving a tapestry of care
that connects all of us in Grace.
Come. Be part of it.


© sidebyside.care 2020

The Advent of Hope

The Advent of Hope

Today, November 29, 2020 is the first Sunday of Advent.  It marks the beginning of a new church year. 

As part of our advent liturgy, we light the candle of Hope and contemplate the Hope that we have in Jesus.  The wonder that we feel when we contemplate Emmanuel, God with us.  God coming into the world as a tiny child, dependent on those around him for survival.  So vulnerable and yet so glorious!!!

The video below shares a liturgy for lighting the Candle of Hope and provides a space and time to think about what Hope means to us.  The video allows a few moments to consider, but feel free to pause the video if you want to take more time to contemplate.  If you are watching with others, please pause and take time to share with one another what Hope means to you. 

If you would like to read the liturgy yourself, a document can be accessed here:  Advent Hope – 2 readers

May your heart be filled with hope as we begin the season of Advent.  May you nurture seeds of hope in your heart and protect them as they grow, thrive, and bloom into fulfillment!   May God bless you abundantly!!



Let’s build something together.

God is weaving a tapestry of care
that connects all of us in Grace.
Come. Be part of it.


© sidebyside.care 2020

Fall and Harvest

Fall and Harvest

As we approach the end of October, we are nearing eight months of learning how to live in a pandemic reality. For families living with dementia, many supports evaporated as day programs closed in order to ensure safety from transmission of the novel corona virus. Following a period of lock-down, we have gone through varying degrees of re-opening, but for many who are at high risk of a severe outcome, the lock-down has essentially continued. It’s my prayer that as families cope with and adapt to this new world that each family member will feel the presence of the Holy Spirit surrounding and comforting when most needed, and that all will find help and encouragement along the way. My heart goes out to all who are struggling.

In the hope that it helps it some small way, I have added some new word searches to the list on our Program Resources page. These are dementia friendly, with large print, and no words in reverse. Topics include Fall Holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving, Gardening and Harvest, and a few others. For easy reference, here is a list of the new files, by category.

Fall Holidays

GIVE THANKS Word Search

CANADIAN THANKSGIVING Word Search

HALLOWEEN Word Search

HALLOWEEN COSTUMES Word Search

Gardening and Harvest

BOUNTIFUL HARVEST Word Search

HERBS and SPICES Word Search

LOTS OF LETTUCE Word Search

YOU SAY TOMATO Word Search

Other

ANTARCTICA Word Search

FAVOURITE THINGS Word Search

HORSE BREEDS Word Search

PENGUINS Word Search

SHOES Word Search

If you are in a congregate care setting and would like to provide spiritual care to your elders, I highly recommend http://spiritualeldercare.com where Chaplain Elisa Bosley provides ready-to-use resources for Bible Studies, Worship Services, and Hymn Sings. Check out the Spiritual Eldercare YouTube channel for Videos of Worship Services, as well as Hymn Videos with Lyrics.

Lifting up continued prayer for all families living with dementia, and all living in congregate care settings.

Love in Christ,
~Alice



Let’s build something together.

God is weaving a tapestry of care
that connects all of us in Grace.
Come. Be part of it.


© sidebyside.care 2020

Memorial Day and more…

Memorial Day and more…

In response to a special request from Lori from MN, who took time to send me a message of encouragement, I have added word searches for Memorial Day and Independence day on our Program Resources page. Thank you Lori, for your message and for your suggestions!

As usual, these are large-print word searches, with no words in reverse. In addtion to USA holidays, there are word searches for Faith and Family, and A Spring Walk in the Park.

USA Holidays

INDEPENDENCE DAY Word Search

MEMORIAL DAY Word Search

PEACE Word Search

UNITED STATES of AMERICA – A to L – Word Search

UNITED STATES of AMERICA – M to N – Word Search

UNITED STATES of AMERICA – O to Z – Word Search

Faith and Family

FAITH Word Search

FAMILY Word Search

PETS Word Search

SIBLINGS FOREVER Word Search

A Spring Walk in the Park

A WALK IN THE PARK Word Search

BUTTERFLIES Word Search

DAFFODILS Word Search

DRAGONFLY Word Search

FLOWERS GALORE Word Search

HIKING Word Search

SPRING Word Search

If you are looking for a word search on a theme or topic not included on our Program Resources page, please let me know what you are looking for by writing to me here and I will do my best to create and add a word search for the theme you are looking for.

Thank you to all who are caring for elders and for families living with dementia! You are a blessing!

Love in Christ,
~Alice



Let’s build something together.

God is weaving a tapestry of care
that connects all of us in Grace.
Come. Be part of it.


© sidebyside.care 2020

More Word Searches

More Word Searches

I have added some new word searches to the list on our Program Resources page. These are large-print, with no words in reverse. Topics include The Month of May, Father’s Day, Scripture and Other . For easy reference, here is a list of the new files, by category.

The Month of May

THE MONTH OF MAY Word Search

MOTHERS DAY BOUQUET Word Search

MOTHERS DAY Word Search

TRIBUTE TO MOM Word Search

Father’s Day

FATHERS DAY Word Search

Scripture

BEATITUDES Word Search

JESUS AND THOMAS Word Search

PRAISE THE LORD (PS 150) Word Search

PSALM 23 Word Search

PSALM 91 Word Search

PSALM 116 Word Search

Other

COMPASS Word Search

ROMANTIC GETAWAYS Word Search

WEDDINGS Word Search

I am sorry to be a day late in posting Mother’s day word searches!! That said, every day can be a celebration of the relationships we treasure, one of the most precious of those being our moms!

A quote that I have found meaningful recently is:

Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you CAN do.
— John Wooden

I cannot turn back the clock to post this sooner, but I CAN post it now!

While there is only one Father’s Day word search listed here, the following two word searches, which are already listed on the Program Resources page, also fit for a celebration of Father’s Day:

A FATHERS LOVE Word Search

THE LORDS PRAYER Word Search

If you are in a congregate care setting and would like to provide spiritual care to your elders, I highly recommend http://spiritualeldercare.com where Chaplain Elisa Bosley provides ready-to-use resources for Bible Studies, Worship Services, and Hymn Sings. Check out the Spiritual Eldercare YouTube channel for Videos of Worship Services, as well as Hymn Videos with Lyrics.

Lifting up continued prayer for all families living with dementia, and all living in congregate care settings.

Love in Christ,
~Alice



Let’s build something together.

God is weaving a tapestry of care
that connects all of us in Grace.
Come. Be part of it.


© sidebyside.care 2020

Word Searches Added

Word Searches Added

If you are looking for some things to do at home during the pandemic, why not try some word searches?

I have added some new word searches to the list on our Program Resources page. These are large-print, with no words in reverse. Topics include Birthdays, Camping, Lent, and Easter. For easy reference, here is a list of the new files, by category.

Birthdays

BIRTHDAY GIFTS Word Search

BIRTHDAYS Word Search

BIRTHSTONES Word Search

Camping

CAMPING 1 Word Search

CAMPING 2 Word Search

THE HAPPY WANDERER SONG Word Search

THE NIGHT SKY Word Search

Lent and Easter

LENT Word Search

SPIRITUAL PRACTICES FOR LENT Word Search

HOSANNA Word Search

HOLY WEEK Word Search

EASTER JOY Word Search

Other

HOLLYWOOD Word Search

I hope these are helpful and fun to do! Stay tuned for more word searches to come! In the meantime, I am lifting up all care partners in prayer, asking for blessings of strength, comfort, patience, grace, faith, and peace. If you have an idea for a word search topic, let me know by clicking on the “Get in touch!” below!

~Alice



Let’s build something together.

God is weaving a tapestry of care
that connects all of us in Grace.
Come. Be part of it.


© sidebyside.care 2020

Walking Alongside Families Living with Dementia

SIDE BY SIDE


Many of us know families living with a dementia diagnosis. Dementia is a group of symptoms rather than a specific disease, so even though we most often hear about Alzheimer’s disease, there are actually over 150 illnesses that can cause the symptoms of dementia. There are those living with an early-onset diagnosis, but most frequently we associate dementia with older adults because the incidence of dementia increases as we get older.

Alzheimer’s disease has been referred to as “The Long Goodbye” because it’s a progressive disease which often takes many years to run its course. Currently, there is no cure. A diagnosis entails an uncertain journey that is characterized by change after change; loss after loss. In the midst of this loss, it can sometimes be difficult to remember that there is still life — life that can be lived well — for many years following diagnosis.

Each person living with a diagnosis is unique, with a unique life history, and different lifestyles or life situations. Their journey with dementia will also be unique to them. But there are also things in common:

  • Each person is beloved by God.
  • Each person is a gift in the lives of those who love and care for them.
  • Each person’s value is not dependent on their health.
  • Each person living with any illness is undiminished in the unique essence of their lived experience, and in who they were created to be.

Most of all, it’s so important to recognize that as we journey, there is still room for joy, kindness, smiles, praise, love, thanksgiving, friendship, beauty, wisdom, meaning and presence!

As we journey, there is still room for joy, kindness, smiles, praise, love, thanksgiving, friendship, beauty, wisdom, meaning and presence!

It’s clear that the effects of a diagnosis are far-reaching, impacting family members, friends, and whole communities surrounding the person experiencing the effects of the disease first-hand. It changes relationships in ways that can be difficult to navigate. Family care partners take on unfamiliar roles, and often feel alone and isolated in their journey as they are constantly called upon to adapt.

In this blog, I hope to open a conversation about how churches can seek faithful ways to respond to the needs of families living with dementia. In particular, I hope to offer information and resources to assist churches with providing a structured fellowship program tailored to the needs of people living with a dementia diagnosis. In providing fellowship and meeting the need for social contact, we can also enable care partners to take some personal time for self-care. We are friends and neighbours, and we have the ability to help, especially in the earlier stages when fear of stigma can cause withdrawal into isolation.

Let’s open a conversation about how churches can seek faithful ways to respond to the needs of families living with dementia.

In the coming weeks and months, we will talk more about ways that churches are really well-suited to hosting respite programs. We’ll also look at some of the more practical elements of getting started, such as establishing communication with the families you hope to serve, and providing for safety considerations.

If you are interested in starting a program, please connect with me and let me know what questions you have.

Come with me as we explore ways that faith communities can walk “Side by Side” with families facing the challenges of living with dementia!!



Alice was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, and has called St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Calgary her church home for as long as she can remember.  She has served as the Side by Side Program Coordinator at St. Andrew’s since early in 2013, and is continually amazed by, and grateful for, the loving hearts, willing hands, and the thoughtful, caring kindness she encounters every week at the St. Andrew’s Side by Side program. 


God is weaving a tapestry of care
that connects all of us in Grace.
Come. Be part of it.

Let’s build something together.


© sidebyside.care 2020