Worry can twist a situation’s words, but only if you let it

IRON MOUNTAIN — My mother always used to tell me that it was impossible to think about nothing. When I was young, and I would be staring off into space, she would ask, “Penny for your thoughts?” and I’d respond by saying I wasn’t thinking of anything. That’s when she’d famously tell me the statement I’d just made was impossible. I used to claim that she was wrong, and vehemently deny it. My brother to this day still does, but now that I’m older, I think what she always used to tell me does in fact hold truth.

Usually, when she’d ask me what I was thinking and I’d respond by saying nothing, I typically just didn’t want to talk about whatever was on my mind. Now, if someone asks me and I say nothing, it’s usually because what I’m thinking of has no merit to the current situation. Hence, I believe that it’s impossible to think about nothing, because even if you try, you’re actually thinking about the fact that you’re not thinking about anything, therefore the wheels of your mind are turning.

Shutting my brain off has always been difficult. I’ve struggled to sleep for years because of it. I’ll read a book until my eyes start to sting, yawn for hours on end and try desperately to keep my eyes from closing, and work myself to the bone doing housework or running errands, and yet when my head hits the pillow, suddenly my mind wakes up. For so long I’ve tossed and turned, trying to quiet the noise that is in my head. I’ll wake up and write everything down that I’m thinking of, making lists of all my “to do’s” in hopes my mind will become at ease. Sometimes I’ll wake my husband so that I can talk things out, or text my best friend. I’ll write articles in advance to pour out my jumbled thoughts or write in my journal, and while sometimes the much-welcomed deep sleep does come, more often than not, it alludes me. For me, my lack of falling asleep often has to do with worry. I’m worried I’ll forget to do something important or lapse on paying a bill; I worry about making ends meet or my husband’s happiness; every once and awhile I’ll ponder the future to an extent that I worry because I can’t see past a certain point. Worry is a monster.

One of my favorite sayings is, “Don’t dig up in doubt, what you planted in faith.” This quote, while astronomically true, is so much easier said than done. I will repeat this in my head over and over, and I try to convince myself exactly of what it is that I believe, and yet the doubt still creeps up on me as if I’m its prey. There is an old poem entitled “Why Worry” that reads, “40 percent will never happen, for anxiety is the result of a tired mind. 30 percent concerns old decisions which cannot be altered. 12 percent centers in criticism, mostly untrue, made by people who feel inferior. 10 percent is related to my health which worsens while I worry, and only 8 percent is ‘legitimate,’ showing that life does have real problems which may be met head-on when I have eliminated senseless worries.” The “poem” reads more like a logical list, because the percentages serve to prove the worry wart in us should take a breath and calm down, yet how often, do we worry about the 40 percent? Or the 30 percent? Or realistically, the 12 percent? The issue with worry is that we do it because for some reason, we are unable to find a solution that is acceptable to our minds.

For a lot of people, myself included, bottling up worry is far too common a tendency. We try to push down our fears and our concerns because to voice them would be to give them validity. My mother, as usual, was right. It’s impossible to think about nothing, and it’s even more impossible to move forward while plagued with doubt.

In a study found on huffingtonpost.com in the article “85 Percent of What We Worry About Never Happens,” it was found that “the stress hormones that worry dumps into your brain have been linked to shrinking brain mass, lowered IQ, proneness to heart disease, cancer and premature aging, marital problems, family dysfunction, clinical depression, and made seniors more likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s.”

The same study found that those who were able to handle their worry increased the odds of living a longer, happier, and more successful life. So, with all this information, why do we still worry? Why can’t my brain simply recognize the facts, and let me sleep? As I said before, life is not black and white, and facts and figures on a paper don’t automatically shut the anxious part of my brain off. The reality is that I may never stop worrying; the anxiety that is in me may never fully go away, but that doesn’t mean that I quit trying to loosen its hold on me.

Writing my concerns down doesn’t always work, and neither does talking it all out, but sometimes it does, and when it doesn’t, I look for new ways to conquer my inner demons. There is an old parable that I absolutely love. It reads, “There was a flower that longed for the bees, yet none would come to her. Even so, the flower was still capable of dreaming. When she felt all alone, she would imagine a garden filled with bees that came to kiss her. And so, she managed to resist until the next day, when she opened her petals again. ‘Aren’t you tired?’ someone must have asked her. ‘No. I have to go on fighting,’ answered the flower. ‘Why?’ She responded, “Because if I don’t open up, I wither.’” Worry, stress, anxiety, and life are all sources of pain that try to make us wither. No matter the cost, find your way to fight. Choose to remain open and ready for the “bees” – believe that despite the hardships you may be going through, worry won’t prevail. I can’t tell you that I sleep soundly every night. I can’t even tell you that I sleep soundly most nights, but I can tell you that while sometimes I lose, a lot of times, I win the battle against darkness, because I choose to seek out the light. Maybe it won’t work, but maybe seeing if it does will be the best adventure ever. Don’t wither; fight to ruin worry. Fight to own your own life.




Scenes and sounds, 11:45 a.m. Monday through Saturday.

Sunday: Uno, 1 p.m.; dunking donuts, 2 p.m.; church, 2:15 p.m.

Monday: Pretty nails, 10 a.m.; library cart, 11 a.m.; line dancers, 1:30 p.m.; ice cream, 3 p.m.

Tuesday: Crafts, 10 a.m.; gardening, 11 a.m.; reminisce, 1:15 p.m.; Kentucky Derby, 2 p.m.

Wednesday: Special service, 10 a.m.; rosary, 11 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; Golden Throats entertain, 2 p.m.

Thursday: Reading buddy, 10 a.m.; Bible study, 11 a.m.; what’s the word?, 1:15 p.m.; bingo with Carol, 2 p.m.

Friday: What’s cooking?, 11 a.m.; Mass, 2 p.m.; happy hour, 3 p.m.

Saturday: Meet and greet, 10:30 a.m.; spinning records, 11 a.m.; Daily News, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Iron County Medical Facility

Crystal Falls

Room visits, 1 p.m., Monday, Wednesday, Friday.

Exercise, 11 a.m., Monday, Wednesday, Friday.

Sunday: One to one church visitors, 8:30 a.m.; room visits, 9 to 11 a.m.; high rollers, 10 a.m.; matinee with popcorn, 1:30 p.m.; Church of Christ, 3 p.m.

Monday: Memory books, 10:30 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; Sunshine Club, 2:30 p.m.; bonfire, 5:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Book Club, 10 a.m.; Mass, 10 a.m.; Chicaugon Lake, 10 a.m.; wildlife film, 1:30 p.m.; current events, 2 p.m.; comedy movie, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Travel Club, 10 a.m.; Apostolic Lutheran 1:15 p.m.; wedding party, 2 p.m.; night bingo, 6 p.m.

Thursday: Puzzler, 9:30 a.m.; bowling, 10 a.m.; travel film, 1:30 p.m.; United Lutheran, 2 p.m.; happy hour, 2:30 p.m.

Friday: Crafts, 9 to 10:30 a.m.; Wii fun, 2 p.m.; web browsing, 2 p.m.; musical movie, 6 p.m.

Saturday: Puzzler, 10 a.m.; you be the judge, 10 a.m.; geri gym, 11 a.m.; intergenerational social hour, 2 p.m.



Wet your whistle, 9:30 a.m. daily.

Movie, 10:45 a.m. daily, and 3:15 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Gathering place, 11:40 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, and 11:40 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Popcorn Day Fridays.

Protestant Church service, 3 p.m. Sunday.

Exercises, 10 a.m. daily.

Sunday: Wet your whistle, 9:30 a.m.; just jokes, 10:15 a.m.; inside out visits, 1:30 p.m.; Protestant Church, 3 p.m.

Monday: Did you know?, 10:15 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; pokeno, 5:45 p.m.

Tuesday: Who am I?, 10:15 a.m.; family picnic, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Lutheran church, 2 p.m.; movie and a manicure, 5:45 p.m.

Wednesday: Remembering when, 10:15 a.m.; Birthday party with Jim Edberg, 2 p.m.; flip five, 5:45 p.m.

Thursday: Crosswords, 10:15 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; crafts, 5:45 p.m.

Friday: Finish lines, 10:15 a.m.; Mass, 2 p.m.; chips n’ chatter, 2:30 p.m.

Saturday: Current events, 10:15 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; movie, 3:15 p.m.

Maryhill Manor

Niagara, Wis.

Rosary, 8:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Parachute, 1:30 p.m. daily.

Monthly support group for grief and loss, 2 p.m. second Monday of the month.

Weekend pet visits.

Sunday: Rosary, 8:30 a.m.; Mass, 9 a.m.; help your neighbor, 10:15 a.m.; bingo, 1:30 p.m.; Protestant service, 2:30 p.m.; Christian fellowship, 5:30 p.m.

Monday: You be the judge, 10:15 a.m.; word scramble, 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Bingo, 10:15 a.m.; Resident Council, 2 p.m.; courtyard concert with The Maynards, 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Jokereno, 10:15 a.m.; Chaplet of Divine Mercy, 3 p.m.; fireside, 6:15 p.m.

Thursday: Mass, 9 a.m.; Scattegories, 10:15 a.m.; prayer shawl, 2 p.m.; whammo, 6:15 p.m.; Music in the Park with Vicki Bourassa and Dave 6:30 p.m.

Friday: Trivia, 10 a.m.; ball toss, 10:30 a.m.; happy hour, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Baking, 10:15 a.m.; pamper and polish/coffee social, 2 p.m.; Yahtzee, 5:45 p.m.

Victorian Pines

Iron Mountain

Exercise, 11 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Coffee clutch, 9:30 a.m. daily.

Shopping days: 10 a.m. Tuesdays and Fridays, must sign up.

Sunday: Bible study, 1:30 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Monday: Bingo, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Tuesday: Tenant meeting, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Wednesday: Bingo, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Thursday: Crosswords, 2 p.m.; Rosary, 3 p.m.

Friday: Bingo, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Saturday: Movie and popcorn, 2 p.m.

Florence Health Services

Florence, Wis.

Sunday: Bingo, 10 a.m.; Kings Corners card game, 2:30 p.m.

Monday: Bingo with Bette, 10 a.m.; music with Crystal, 2 p.m.; social hour, 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Football craft, 10 a.m.; Jan and Gino, 2 p.m.; creamsicle party, 3:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Card games, 10:30 a.m.; football craft, 2:30 p.m.; one on one time, 3:30 p.m.

Thursday: Pastor Jason, 10 a.m.; manicures, 2:30 p.m.; Packers vs. Steelers, 7 p.m.

Friday: Catholic communion, 10 a.m.; table top bowling, 2 p.m.; room visits, 3:30 p.m.

Saturday: Bingo, 10 a.m.; war card games, 2:30 p.m.

Pinecrest Medical Care Facility


Life connections, 9:45 a.m. every Monday.

Busy bee, 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Rosary 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Sunday: Grace church, 10 a.m.; beauty shop, 10 a.m.; Rummy, 2 p.m.; Lutheran service, 2 p.m.

Monday: Tea party, 10 a.m.; worship and communion service, 1:30 p.m.; rosary, 2:30 p.m.; bean bag toss, 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Fair outing, 10 a.m.; bingo, 1:45 p.m.; Pictionary, 3:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Outside social, 10 a.m.; birthday party, 2 p.m.; Rummy, 3:30 p.m.

Thursday: Gardening, 10 a.m.; bingo, 1:45 p.m.; cards, 3:30 p.m.; one to one visits, 6 p.m.

Friday: Mass, 10 a.m.; happy hour, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Karaoke, 10 a.m.; exercise, 10 a.m.; trivia, 2 p.m.; sensory, 2 p.m.


Note: All centers ask for 24-hour advanced reservations for lunch. If you have meals delivered and will not be home, notify the center.

Alpha-Mastodon Center


Meal noon every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Amasa Center


Open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Lunch at noon.

Bingo on Tuesdays.

Free meal drawing on Thursdays.

Breen Center


Meals Monday through Friday.

Pasty sale every third Saturday of the month.

Cards and games available 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 2 p.m.

Hostess on duty Monday through Friday.

Treats and coffee, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Center retail store is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday; volunteers and donations are welcome.

Birthdays acknowledged every day.

Evening meals are on the first and third Thursday of the month. Salad bar opens at 4 p.m., with dinner at 5 p.m. Donations are $4 for those 60 and older and $5 for 60 and younger.

Crystal Falls Center

Head Cook, Lucy Korhonen


Meals will be served on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 5 p.m., with the salad bar opening at 4:30 p.m. The dinner donation is $5 for those age 60 and older and $6 for those younger than 60. There is a $1 charge for take-out containers. All are invited.

Cribbage will be played at 1 p.m. Wednesdays and be concluded in time for dinner.

The center is closed Thursday through Sunday.

Monday: Soup, salad, French dip, oven fries, and homemade dessert.

Tuesday: Soup, salad, cabbage roll casserole, boiled potatoes, and homemade dessert.

Wednesday: Soup, salad, potato sausage, sweet potato dish, and homemade dessert.

Thursday: Soup, salad, Italian grilled chicken, buttered noodles, vegetables, and homemade dessert.

A site council meeting takes place at 3 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month.

A blood pressure reading can be taken by request at any time while the center is open.

Crystal Lake Center


The center is closed on weekends.

Monday: Woodcarvers, 10 a.m.; mahjong in dining hall, noon; Les Artistes Art Club, noon; Bridge Club, 12:15 p.m.

Tuesday and Thursday: Pinochle, 12:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: Billiards, 9:30 a.m.

Wednesday: Spinning Spools Quilters Guild, 1 p.m., crafters, scrap bookers and others also welcome; knitting and crocheting class, 1 to 3 p.m.

Friday: Smear, 12:30 p.m.

Last Saturday of the month: Music jam starting at 1 p.m. Admission is free.

Evening meals are usually on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month. Salad bar opens at 4 p.m., with the meal served at 4:30 p.m. A donation of $4 is accepted for seniors age 60 and older but not required.

Home-delivered meals are for seniors 60 and older can be delivered seven days a week. Suggested donation is $4 per meal. For information, call Chris Tramotin at 906-774-2256, ext. 235.

Transportation is available from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call the center to book a ride.

Felch Center


Meals served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Wednesday.

Bingo after lunch on the first and third Wednesday of each month.

A congregate jigsaw puzzle is done daily.

Aging and Disability Resource Center of Florence County


Director: Tiffany White

Suggested donation for seniors older than 60 is $4 per meal. Residents younger than 60 must pay $7. Reservations and cancellations needed 48 hours in advance.

The ADRC can assist area seniors and those with disabilities with transportation Monday through Friday. Transportation reservation should be made with meal reservation.

Four senior dining locations are listed below:

Fence Center/Town Hall


Meal at noon Wednesdays only. Reservations are requested. Cribbage and cards are available.

Florence Community Center/Town Hall


Meal is served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Jigsaw puzzles, cards, cribbage and board games are available. The coffee is always on as well.

Senior Dining Center-NWTC, Aurora


Serving lunch at 11:30 am, Monday through Thursday

Tipler Town Hall


Serving lunch at noon on the second Thursday of the month.

Hillcrest Senior Dining Center, Aurora


Meal is served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday. Jigsaw puzzles, cribbage, cards and board games are available. The coffee is always on as well.

Hermansville Center

Coordinator: Pam Haluska


Meal is at noon Monday through Friday. Suggested donation is $3 for age 60 and older and $7 for those younger than 60.

Morning coffee is available daily.

Fifteen games of “fun bingo” are played each Tuesday and Friday, along with a 50/50 drawing.

Tuesday: Bingo, 12:45 p.m.

Wednesday: Cards played in the afternoon. Call ahead to see if a game will be going on.

Friday: Bingo, 12:45 p.m.

Monday through Friday: Walking in the gym, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A treadmill also is available.

Friendly interaction with other crafters.

Iron River Center


Meals served 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; a $4 donation is encouraged from those 60 and older, and a $5 payment is required from those younger than 60.

Thursday meal, 4 p.m. salad bar, with dinner at 4:30 p.m.

DICSA operates all meals and transportation out of the Iron River Center. Rides are $2.50 donation for age 60 and older, and $3 required for younger than 60. Call 906-265-6134 to schedule a ride

Niagara Northwoods Senior Cafe and Center

Corrie Maule, meal site manager, 715-251-1603

Jill Anderson, senior center director, 715-251- 4154

Noon meals served Monday through Thursday.

Transportation to the meal site from the Niagara, Wis., area is offered.

They welcome any senior groups that would like to use the meal site as a meeting place.

Wii games, cards, puzzles and board games are available to play.

Norway Center

Director: Susie Slining


Monday through Thursday: Meals served at noon, with salad bar. Soup also is available at 11 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Milk, juice, bread, fruit, tea, and coffee served daily. Meal donation is $5. Reservation for the meal should be made in advance.

Two special-themed meals take place each month, with bingo, prizes and a 50-50 drawing.

Two evening meals offered at 5 p.m. on the first Monday and third Wednesday of the month, with bingo, prizes and a 50-50.

If Norway-Vulcan are schools are closed due to snow days, so is the senior center. If the schools are on a two-hour delay, the center remains open.

Cards are played daily after the noon meal.

Craft and exercise classes: Mondays and Thursdays.

Ceramic and art classes: Wednesdays.

A senior coloring class meets daily. All are welcome. Some materials will be provided.

Monday — Center Board meeting at 10 a.m.

Tuesday — CSFP (Green Card) good distribution from 8:30 to 9 a.m. at the old Northland building.

Wednesday — Blood pressure clinic from 11 a.m. to noon.

Wednesday — Noon meal with chicken and Asian vegetable stir fry, rice, salad bar, fruit, juice, and dessert.

Wednesday — Dinner at 5 p.m. with barbecue ribs, mashed potatoes, gravy, vegetables, soup, salad bar, and dessert. Bingo, prizes, and 50-50 available. Sign up early.

Thursday — Birthday club meal with beef stroganoff over egg noodles, green beans, soup, salad bar, fruit, juice, and birthday cake. Add your picture to the birthday wall of fame for August.

Note: A CSFP food card (green card) is available to income-eligible seniors. Make an appointment to get signed up. File of Life packets available at the center.

Sagola Center


Meals: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 11:45 a.m.

Cards: Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday.

Commodities every other month and quarterly commodities are every three months.