The only way to grow is by pushing through adversity

When you’re a kid, you’re always asked what your favorite color is. Adults ask you, teachers ask you, worksheets ask you, and often, when you’re adult, your answer changes. I think this is true of most things from when you’re a child, which is kind of in a way sad. Kids have this amazing ability to see the world through a bright lens. It’s almost as if the bad isn’t even there, because kids forgive and forget far easier than adults do.

I don’t remember my favorite color from when I was little. On an old project from school, I’d written that it was blue, but I have no actual recollection of it. When I was in high school, it was lavender. A lot of people have held onto that being my favorite color still, because I did really love it when I was a teenager, but when people ask me now what my favorite color is, I can never answer them. It’s silly, really, why I can’t, but I don’t actually have a favorite color, because my favorite color depends on the situation.

If you’re asking me what my favorite color to wear is, it’s black or white. In terms of decorating and our house, my favorite colors are earth tones. My favorite color of flower is coral or peach, nail polish is red, car is bright blue and hair is brunette.

I suppose, though, if I had to pick just one color to never give up, it would be green. This, to many who know me, is an odd choice. There are only a few shades of green that I enjoy in decorating, I own one shirt that is green — aside from Packers gear, obviously — and I’ve never painted my nails any hue of green. But to me, green equals life.

I’ve always loved the changing of the seasons. I’m one of those people who is ready for summer to come after the long winter, and then ready for it to leave come September. Every time the leaves start to change, or the snow starts to fall, my heart leaps, because it is part of my innate self to love the rebirth of the world.

My favorite part about summer has, and always will be, the beginning, when it’s warm but not hot and all the greenhouses and garden sections at stores start to fill up. I love going and picking out my plants to adorn my house, and I usually am so eager that I do it too early and the frost gets at least one poor shrub.

Looking at my house the other day, I was sincerely soothed by the ferns that hung from my porch and the lilacs that colored my tree. All around my house are lilies that don’t actually bloom until late June, but before they do full greens sprout up. My peonies have come from the ground, even though they too have yet to bloom, and while dandelions are definitely a weed, my husband always leaves a few for me when he mows the lawn because he knows how much I love any kind of flower. To me, green equals summer, and if I had to give up green, I would have to give up the lushness of new life.

When I was little, I used to help my mom plant flowers in her rock garden. I remember going out to our back yard and helping my dad prune the tomato plants and pull weeds and throw them into the wheelbarrow. I loved playing with the hose when we watered the hanging baskets and smelling the aroma of freshly cut grass.

I’ve always loved plants, but sadly I’ve never really had a green thumb. Usually, I follow everything by the book. I water, feed, and nurture. I follow sunlight instructions and pruning suggestions, yet somehow, inevitably, my plants typically die before their time. It’s never made sense to me, but it’s the same with my mom. She loves plants, too, and she loves when the summer sun rolls in so she can brighten up her home with blooms — but like me, her plants typically keel over. We both think that it’s genetic.

Over the past weekend, I was reminded of a verse from Romans that I’d nearly forgotten. It read, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.” When I read the words, a part of me smiled and another part of me cringed. The words, though poignant and true, are easier said than done, and far too often I’ve fallen short of having stamina. The verse reminded me of another quote from James that says, “Consider it pure joy when you experience trials of many kinds, because the testing of faith develops perseverance.” That is my favorite and most-read verse.

Often, life is like my love of green. I love what the color green represents, and I love my plants – I put care into them every day – but sometimes the fruits of my labors are sparse. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how much Miracle-Gro I give my petunias, they wither and wilt despite it. Sometimes it’s hard to be patient in affliction, because we’ve tried so many things to make our affliction go away that we feel defeated. I’ll admit, when my ferns browned and dried last year earlier than they should have, I seriously contemplated buying them again this year, but alas, I chose to be joyful in hope.

Recently, I discovered that I have hypothyroidism, a disease many people suffer from. In fact, 1 in 8 women have some kind of thyroid ailment. It also is one of the most-misdiagnosed diseases, as its symptoms correlate with other issues and problems. When I found out the news, so much of the past year seemed to make sense. I finally realized why I’d been so tired, and why I’d felt like I had no energy. I knew why sometimes I’d wake up and just want to stay in bed, even though the sun was shining and my husband was smiling. The dreaded “marital weight gain” had occurred, even though my exercise and diet hadn’t changed, and it felt amazing to finally understand why — and that it wasn’t my fault.

The thing is, it’s a tricky disease, because once your thyroid stops working, it never really starts back up again, and so you constantly have to go through medication changes and blood tests. It’s basically just a really long waiting game, because you have to give any meds you’re on a chance to help, but if they don’t, you’ve spent a couple months trying something to no avail.

In hindsight, the last year has felt a lot like my ferns. Something was wrong, and I didn’t know what, and even though I’ve finally discovered what it is, I still have to figure out how to really fix it. I’ve had perseverance in my trials, but I haven’t had patience in my afflictions, and I definitely haven’t always been joyful in hope. When you’re in the thick of it, and you feel like you’re surrounded by an undeniable darkness, sometimes your hope dwindles, your perseverance weakens, and your patience fades.

I was once asked by someone if I really believe in the verse from James, that trials were important in developing perseverance, and if you should really be happy about going through those trials. I mean, on the surface, that’s what that verse is suggesting, right? Consider it joy when you experience trials, but I don’t think that’s what that verse is really saying. I don’t think it means be happy you’re going through a struggle, because struggles usually cause pain, but rather I think it means to look at your problem, identify your issue, and know that the perseverance you gain from that experience is only going to make you stronger, and choose to revel in the fact that you are growing – choose to find joy in the darkness because the darkness isn’t all there is – darkness can’t exist without light.

So, go ahead, ask me what my favorite color is. I’ll tell you. My favorite color is life. Life is hard and challenging, but life is all you’ve got, and if you don’t live it to the best of your ability, then everything you hate about life wins. I could’ve chosen not to buy my ferns again this year. I could’ve saved the money and put it toward fake plants I know would never disappoint me, but then how would I be able to find joy in the hope of them thriving? My plants could very well be dead come July – my grass is already browning despite attempts to revive it – but my perseverance will have been tested and measured. In life, like my verses and my exhausting ferns, you have to choose to see the light through the darkness, because the one who falls and gets back up is so much stronger than the one who never fell. As Thomas S. Monson has said, of this you must be sure…you do not find the happy life, you make it.




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.; brouhaha, 1:15 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; ice cream social, 3 p.m.

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

Wednesday: Room visits, 10 a.m.; rosary, 11 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; movie & popcorn, 3 p.m.

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

Friday: What’s cooking, 11 a.m.; bunco, 1:15 p.m.; Golden K bingo, 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; room visits, 9 to 11 a.m.; reminisce, 10 a.m.; afternoon matinee, 1:30 p.m.; Church of Christ, 3 p.m.

Monday: Crafts, 9 to 11 a.m.; Resident Council, 10:30 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; Sunshine Club, 2:30 p.m.; bonfire, 5 p.m.

Tuesday: Book club, 10 a.m.; Mass, 10 a.m.; mystery ride, 1 p.m.; wildlife film, 1:30 p.m.; current events, 2 p.m.; comedy movie, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Coffee social, 10 a.m.; Travel Club, 10 a.m.; getting pretty, 1:15 p.m.; Men’s Club, 2 p.m.; night bingo, 6 p.m.

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

Friday: Crafts, 9 to 10:30 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; dress as your favorite song party, 2 p.m.; romance movie, 6 p.m.

Saturday: “Price is Right”, 10 a.m.; volleyball, 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: Just jokes, 10:15 a.m.; morsels & more, 1 p.m.; Protestant church, 3 p.m.

Monday: Movie, 10:45 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; pokeno, 5:45 p.m.

Tuesday: Trivia, 10:15 a.m.; “The Paula D Show”, 2 p.m.; movie and a manicure, 5:45 p.m.

Wednesday: Remembering when, 10:15 a.m.; acoustic memories/Bob Larsen entertains, 2 p.m.; flip five, 5:45 p.m.

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

Friday: ABC game, 10:15 a.m.; Catholic Mass, 2 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.; Catholic Mass, 9 a.m.; Yahtzee, 10:15 a.m.; bingo, 1:30 p.m.; Protestant service, 2:30 p.m.; Christian Fellowship, 5:30 p.m.

Monday: Cheese trivia/tasting, 10 a.m.; nickel jokereno, 2 p.m.; Baptist service, 6 p.m.

Tuesday: Bingo, 10:15 a.m.; Resident Council, 2 p.m.; sing a long, 6:15 p.m.

Wednesday: Bob Larson entertainment, 10 a.m.; drive in movie, 1:30 p.m.; Bible stories, 3 p.m.; bonfire, 6:15 p.m.

Thursday: Catholic Mass, 9 a.m.; Scattegories, 10:15 a.m.; cupcake decorating, 2 p.m.; whammo, 6:15 p.m.

Friday: Rosary, 9:30 a.m.; exercise, 10:15 a.m.; trivia, 10:30 a.m.; happy hour, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Jokereno, 10:15 a.m.; pamper and polish, 2 p.m.; Yahtzee, 2 p.m.

Maryhill Manor, Alzheimer’s Unit 

Niagara, Wis. 

Bread making, noon daily.

Chicken soup, Communication Program, 4 p.m. daily.

Sensory Group, 6 p.m. daily.

Movie, 6:30 p.m. daily.

Sunday: Table ball, 9 a.m.; puzzles, 9:45 a.m.; Bible stories, 10:15 a.m.; sing-a-long, 12:15 p.m.; bowling, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; balloon ball, 3:30 p.m.

Monday: Table ball, 9 a.m.; spelling bee, 9:45 a.m.; Bible stories, 10:15 a.m.; old TV shows, 12:15 p.m.; Animal Kingdom, 1 p.m.; pamper and polish, 2 p.m.; kickball, 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Play dough molds, 9 a.m.; puzzles, 9:45 a.m.; table ball, 10:15 a.m.; sing-along, 12:15 p.m.; foot soaks, 1 p.m.; creative art, 2 p.m.; balloon ball, 3:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Play dough molds, 9 a.m.; spelling bee, 9:45 a.m.; coloring, 10:15 a.m.; old TV shows, 12:15 p.m.; through the years, 1 p.m.; pamper and polish, 2 p.m.; golf, 3:30 p.m.

Thursday: Table ball, 9 a.m.; puzzles, 9:45 a.m.; Bible stories, 10:15 a.m.; sing-a-long, 12:15 p.m.; foot soaks, 1 p.m.; men’s group, 2 p.m.; parachute, 3:30 p.m.

Friday: Play dough molds, 9 a.m.; spelling bee, 9:45 a.m.; coloring, 10:15 a.m.; old TV shows, 12:15 p.m.; creative art, 1 p.m.; happy hour/music and memory, 2 p.m.; kickball, 3:30 p.m.

Saturday: Table ball, 9 a.m.; puzzles, 9:45 a.m.; Bible stories, 10:15 a.m.; sing-along, 12:15 p.m.; foot soaks, 1 p.m.; bowling, 2 p.m.; parachute, 3:30 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: “Wheel of Fortune”, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Wednesday: Golden Throats, 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.

*Due to an activity director change, please contact the home for June activities.

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.; shopping outing, 10 a.m.; life stories, 2 p.m.

Monday: Song service, 1:30 p.m.; rosary, 2:30 p.m.; one-on-one visits, 3:30 p.m.; bowling, 6 p.m.

Tuesday: “Say Yes to the Dress”, 10 a.m.; bingo, 1:45 p.m.; Scattegories, 3:30 p.m.; one-on-one visits, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: “Say Yes to the Dress”, 10 a.m.; outside social, 2 p.m.; one-on-one visits, 3:30 p.m.

Thursday: “Say Yes to the Dress”, 10 a.m.; bingo, 1:45 p.m.; cards, 3:30 p.m.; ball toss, 6 p.m.

Friday: Mass, 10 a.m.; fish fry, 11:30 a.m.; movie, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Coffee social, 10 a.m.; crafts, 10 a.m.; mind joggers, 2 p.m.; sensory, 3 p.m.

Victorian Heights

Crystal Falls


*Activities director out on leave. Please call the home for additional information.


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.

Blood pressure and blood sugar testing every fourth Wednesday.

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, baked chicken and stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, veggies, homemade dessert.

Tuesday: Soup, salad, Italian beef, homemade buns, potato salad, veggies, homemade dessert.

Wednesday: Soup, salad, grill out with brats, hot dogs, corn on the cob, potato chips, 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. 

Dances take place from 7 to 10 p.m. on the second and fourth Fridays of the month. Admission is $6; coffee is free. 

The Photo Club meets 1 to 3 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month.  

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 — join them for lunch and then stay for a meeting or social time.

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

Other activities are in the works — suggestions are always welcome.

Those who have not been at the meal site/senior center are invited to give it a try. Those who haven’t been here in a while are encouraged to come back.

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.

Puzzles always in the works.

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

Telephone reassurance is available for any senior who doesn’t get out much and would like a friendly daily phone check to see that all is well.

Monday — Noon meal with pork chop suey, Asian veggies, salad bar, fruit, juice, and dessert.

Monday — Dinner at 5 p.m. with stuffed pork loin, mashed potatoes, gravy, veggies, soup and salad bar, and dessert. Bingo and prizes with 50-50. Please make reservation in advance.

Tuesday — TEFAP quarterly food distribution, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Iron Mountain Senior Center.

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

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.

Note: Ask about the Medicare Savings Program. This program helps people pay their Medicare part B premium. You may be eligible. The local MMAP counselor can be reached at 1-800-803-7174, or dial 211.

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.

A puzzle table is available to enjoy.

Volunteers are always welcome.