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A tool box for overcoming in uncertain times

NIAGARA, Wis. — I borrowed the title for this week’s column, and many of the tips that follow, from Michelle Obama’s book titled “The Light We Carry.” There is no doubt that we are living through very uncertain times in our collective history; spending any amount of time in front of the nightly television news is enough to send our minds into a whirlwind of worry and our bodies into a restless night of tossing and turning. And, none of us is immune from smaller problems in our own lives that can cause us stress. In her book, she offers advice on how to face our troubles and assures us that we each have the ability to forge ahead despite the challenges we face in our own lives or that are being faced in our broader world.

In the first chapter titled “The Power of Small” Obama explains that when big, complex problems loom so large that they threaten to take over our lives and we have no answers in the moment, we need to go small. We need to find a small task or hobby that we can control and accomplish. The larger world by its very nature will always and forever feel chaotic and incomplete. But we have the power to make our personal world feel smaller and within our ability to control. We can delve into a small project and complete it from start to finish thus allowing ourselves to claim a small victory and to give ourselves the “gift of absorption.”

She advises us to pay attention to our feelings of being overwhelmed because it is our body’s way of telling us to take a break from life for a while. We need to indulge in a diversion to bring balance back into our lives. The only way to meet our larger goals, or to process big problems, is through an accumulation of smaller incremental steps until the larger accomplishment emerges.

In the second chapter, Obama talks about coming to grips with our fears. She stresses that feeling in jeopardy is woven into the experience of being human. Fear can become paralyzing if we let it. We all have fears, but the trick is to become “comfortably afraid,” which she describes as being “awake and aware but not held back.” Obama stresses how important it is to learn to live within a certain amount of fear; if we cannot manage this, we risk missing out on self-growth and “steeping ourselves in sameness.” Fear imposes limits upon us so she advises that “we go forth with a spoonful of fear and return with a wagon load of competence.” Once we identify the fear within us, we have the power to push past it.

In a chapter titled “My Kitchen Table,” Obama talks about the importance of having a support system — whether it is comprised of friends or family — upon whom we can rely for perspective when life gets out of balance. These are people who can be relied upon to see our true self and with whom we can relax and simply be — free from any judgment. It is so important to feel like we belong to this world, that we have a place and that we can do some good.

My youngest son is one member of my kitchen table to whom I turn often for perspective and acceptance. As an example, I was sharing with him in a recent email the difficulties of this past month as it related to car problems. After I vented, I apologized for my rant and moved on to happier topics and asked how everything was with him. He responded and added that I need not apologize for venting to him because — in his words — “Life isn’t all roses, rainbows, and puppies. Family is a good outlet for the thorns, the storms, and the poop on your shoes.” Bless his heart!

Some of you may recall that a defining phrase of Michelle Obama’s was “going high” when confronted with difficulties. She defines that phrase as a form of self-control, a line laid between our best and worst impulses when confronted with a problem. It occurs when we resist resorting to our worst impulses in the face of unfairness or trouble. It allows us to respond to a difficult situation with the very best we have to offer. I share with you her own analogy:

“Because here’s the thing: Emotions are not plans. They don’t solve problems or right any wrongs. You can feel them — you will feel them, inevitably — but be careful about letting them guide you. Rage can be a dirty windshield. Hurt is like a broken steering wheel. Disappointment will only ride, sulking in the back seat. If you don’t do something constructive with them, they’ll take you straight into a ditch.”

I read an article recently that gave advice on calming a troubled mind. I have always been “in my head” a lot. In fact, I have advised my husband to never think that I will automatically “hear” him when he speaks to me because I am invariably lost in my own thoughts; he needs to first get my attention. I find that, given the state of affairs in our world today, I am too often distracted by worry over things I cannot possibly control.

It is important that we learn how to quiet our thoughts — especially during times of unrest. We need to learn to identify what we have the power to change and to let go of what we don’t. This is a slow process and one that requires a lot of patience. But the more we try to quiet our thoughts, the easier it will become. If you find yourself in any of this, the following thoughts may help you move forward to a more peaceful mindset.

“You cannot wait for an untroubled world to have an untroubled moment… In the meantime, it is best to grab what wonderful moments you find lying around.” — Lemony Snicket

“That’s all you can do in this world, no matter how strong the current beats against you, or how heavy your burden… you keep going.” — Robyn Schneider

“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything — anger, anxiety, or possessions — we cannot be free.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

“Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.” — William S. Burroughs

“I drew a little green monster on my shoulder that… tells me all these things that aren’t true. And every time I listen to it, it grows bigger. If I listen to it enough, it crushes me. But if I turn my head and keep doing what I’m doing — let it speak to me but don’t give it the credit it needs — then it shrinks down and fades away.” — Emma Stone

“I now understand that life, and living it, is more about being present. I’m now aware that the not-so-happy memories lie in wait; but the hope and joy also lie in wait.” — Viola Davis

Overthinking. Anxiety. Restlessness. Whatever we call it, we’ve all had those moments when our thoughts turn into something more difficult to control. Given the unpleasant and scary history that is being made all around us makes it even harder to turn off our worries. Our concern for the future makes it more difficult to be present in the “now” of our lives let alone find the peace and calm we so desperately need.

When you feel overwhelmed, I hope that today’s column has helped give some perspective and some tools that can be used to become more centered and grateful for the good that is still all around us. We have faced troubles before and have found our way through them — individually and as a nation.

——

NURSING HOMES/SENIOR LIVING FACILITIES

Freeman Nursing and Rehabilitation Community

Kingsford

906-774-1530

They welcome anyone who would like to entertain residents. Volunteers are also needed to help with crafts and other activities.

Sunday: Church on TV/coloring/residents’ choice,10 a.m.; trivia, 1 p.m.

Monday: Rosary, 10 a.m.; room visits, 10 a.m.; music, 11:45 a.m.; baking, 1:30 p.m.; “Jeopardy,” 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Halloween party with staff — wear a costume.

Wednesday: For the love of nails, 10 a.m.; music, 11:45 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Thursday: Room visits, 10 a.m.; trivia, 11:45 a.m.; shut the box, 2 p.m.

Friday: White board game, 10 a.m.; music, 11:45 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Resident choice; visit with coffee at the nursing desk.

Iron County Medical Care Facility

Crystal Falls

906-874-1501

Sunday: Room visits, 9 a.m.; Scattegories, 10 a.m.; chair exercise, 11 a.m.; room visits, 12:30 p.m.; Green Bay Packer tail gate, 1 p.m.

Monday: Coffee social/bingo, 9:30 a.m.; exercise, 10:45 a.m.; pumpkins due, noon; spooky stories, 2 p.m.; Yahtzee, 6 p.m.

Tuesday: Costume prep, 9:30 a.m.; exercise, 10:45 a.m.; costume parade, 1 p.m.; Halloween party with music and treats, 2 p.m.

Wednesday: Just friends, 9:30 a.m.; Catholic Mass, 10 a.m.; exercise, 10:45 a.m.; Dan’s songs for seniors, 2 p.m.; night bingo, 6 p.m.

Thursday: Puzzler, 9:30 a.m.; bowling, 10 a.m.; Bible study, 1 p.m.; wildlife film, 1:30 p.m.; happy hour with music, 2 p.m.

Friday: Memory books, 9:30 a.m.; exercise, 10:45 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; mystery ride, 1 p.m.; current events, 2 p.m.; activity council, 3 p.m.; comedy movie, 6 p.m.

Saturday: Room to room bingo/room visits, 9 a.m.; Yahtzee, 10 a.m.; geri-gym, 11 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; social hour, 2 p.m.

Optalis Healthcare (formerly Manor Care/ProMedica)

Kingsford

906-774-4805

Sunday: Manicures, 9:30 a.m.; devotional, 10:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; witch toss, 1 p.m.

Monday: Spooky crafts, 9 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; Halloween bingo, 1:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Witch’s brew, 9 a.m.; move your bones, 9:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; Halloween party, 1:30 p.m.; costume contest, 2 p.m.

Wednesday: Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, 9 a.m.; file and style, 10 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; shop op, 2 p.m.

Thursday: Wet your whistle, 9 a.m.; chair yoga, 9:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; hangman, 1:30 p.m.

Friday: Chips and chatter, 9 a.m.; reminiscing, 9:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; music with Jim, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Coffee delivery, 9:30 a.m.; exercise, 10 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; bracelets, 1 p.m.

Maryhill Manor Nursing Home

Niagara, Wis.

715-251-3172

Family members are invited to daily scheduled activities.

Sunday: Coffee and tic tac trivia, 10 a.m.; delivery of communion, 12:30 p.m.; rummage bingo, 2 p.m.

Monday: Rosary/communion, 9 a.m.; pamper and polish, 10 a.m.; joker-eno, 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Rosary/communion, 9 a.m.; spooky stories, 10 a.m.; Halloween bingo, 2 p.m.; Chaplet of Divine Mercy, 3 p.m.

Wednesday: Rosary/communion, 9 a.m.; Yahtzee, 10 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Thursday: Rosary, 9 a.m.; Catholic Mass, 9:30 a.m.; exercise, bag toss, 10 a.m.; Scrabble, 2 p.m.; Chaplet of Divine Mercy, 3 p.m.

Friday: Uno, 10 a.m.; C&R happy hour, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Morning mingle/spelling bee 10 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Florence Health Services

Florence, Wis.

715-528-4833

There are no group activities at the present time.

Victorian Pines

Iron Mountain

906-774-5158

Sunday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; Bible study, 1:30 p.m.

Monday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; Halloween party, 4 p.m.

Tuesday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; Halloween candy prep and refreshments, 1:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; left-center-right and refreshments, 1:30 p.m.

Thursday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; bingo and refreshments 1:30 p.m.

Friday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; music with Crystal, 1:30 p.m.

Saturday: Juice time, 10 a.m.

Pinecrest Medical

Care Facility

Powers

906-497-5244

Sunday: Karaoke, 10:30 a.m.; Packer party, 1:30 p.m., game starts at noon.

Monday: Crafts, 10:30 a.m.; movie, 2 p.m.; social circle, 3:30 p.m.; one-to-one visits, 6 p.m.

Tuesday: Ping Pong, 10:30 a.m.; North Central trick-or-treating, 1:15 p.m.; Halloween costume contest, 2 p.m.; social circle, 3:30 p.m.; crossword puzzles, 6 p.m.

Wednesday to Saturday: No information available.

SENIOR CENTERS

Alpha-Mastodon Center

906-875-3315

The center at 415 Main St. is open four days a week, serving soup and sandwich meal from noon to 1 p.m. Thursdays, fish fries from 4 to 7 p.m. Fridays, pizzas from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturdays and dinner from 2 to 3 p.m. Sundays.

Amasa Center

906-822-7284

Menu for the week —

Tuesday: Boo-berry pancakes, haunted hashbrowns, scrambled brains (eggs), orange juice.

Wednesday: Chicken dumpling soup, grilled cheese sandwich, side salad.

Thursday: Cheeseburgers, French fries, pasta salad.

Breen Center

Kingsford

906-774-5110

Open for dine-in eating Monday through Thursday, serving at noon. Friday and night meals are on hold indefinitely. Carryout meals are available. Soup and salad bar are also available. Menu for the week —

Monday: Beef stew, biscuit, Jell-O cup.

Tuesday: Boo-berry pancakes, haunted hashbrowns, scrambled brains (eggs), orange juice.

Wednesday: Pasty pie, beets.

Thursday: Breaded chicken on a bun, macaroni and cheese, baked beans.

Note: All meals served with a choice of skim milk or juice and fruit.

Crystal Falls Center

Head Cook: Sterling Peryam

Assistant Cook: Bitsy Peryam

906-875-6709

The center is open on Mondays and is serving meals for dine-in or takeout — call the center by 1 p.m. to make reservations or place an order. All food is purchased from local vendors. All dinners include warm vegetables, salad bar, soup, homemade desserts, coffee, tea or milk. Salad bar begins at 4:30 p.m. and dinner is served at 5 p.m. Pickup for takeout meals is 4 p.m. — call ahead and leave a message with phone number. A volunteer will deliver meals to homebound citizens only.

Menu for the week —

Monday: Sloppy Joes, oven brown potatoes.

Tuesday: Pork chops, mashed potatoes.

Wednesday: Chili mac, corn bread.

Home Delivered Meals (prepared by DICSA — independent from above menu) —

Monday: Pork chops, garlic mashed potatoes, peas, applesauce.

Tuesday: Mummy dogs, cauliflower brains, spooky rice, ghostly pudding cup (vanilla).

Wednesday: Chili with beans, cornbread, side salad, fresh fruit.

Thursday: Corned beef, cabbage, green beans.

Dickinson-Iron Community Services Agency

DICSA

Iron Mountain

906-774-2256 ext. 230 or 235

This is a Meals on Wheels program only. Home-delivered meals only — call to make arrangements. Menu for the week —

Monday: Pork chops, garlic mashed potatoes, peas, applesauce.

Tuesday: Mummy dogs, cauliflower brains, spooky rice, ghostly pudding cup (vanilla).

Wednesday: Chili with beans, cornbread, side salad, fresh fruit.

Thursday: Corned beef, cabbage, green beans.

Friday: Cheese omelet, hashbrowns, cinnamon applesauce.

Note: All meals include a choice of skim milk, juice, or no beverage.

For more information, call Christine McMahon at 906-774-2256.

Crystal Lake Center

Iron Mountain

906-828-1776

Schedule for the week:

Monday: Les Artistes’ Art Club, noon to 4 p.m.; woodcarvers, starting at 9 a.m.

Tuesday: Cards, pinochle and cribbage, noon to 4 p.m.; Happy Quilters, noon to 3 p.m.

Wednesday: Bingo, 1 to 3 p.m.; cards cost 25 cents with 10 games played.

Thursday: Spinning Spools quilting, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Friday: Cards, smear, noon to 4 p.m.

Felch Center

906-246-3559

Open for dine-in eating — call for serving times. Carryout meals also available. Menu for the week —

Monday: Pork chops, mashed potatoes with gravy, carrots.

Tuesday: Scary Swedish pancakes with strawberries, haunted hashbrowns, ghost fingers (sausage).

Wednesday: Burrito, Mexican corn, refried beans.

Note: All meals served with skim milk or juice.

Home delivered meals —

Monday: Pork chops, garlic mashed potatoes, peas, applesauce.

Tuesday: Mummy dogs, cauliflower brains, spooky rice, ghostly pudding cup (vanilla).

Wednesday: Chili with beans, cornbread, side salad, fresh fruit.

Aging and Disability Resource Center

Florence County, Wis.

715-528-4890

Director: Tiffany White

Menu for the week —

Monday: Mushroom Swiss burger, western baked beans, broccoli salad, fruit.

Tuesday: Spook-etti with meat sauce, spinach cranberry salad, vampire’s garlic bread, poison apple pie.

Wednesday: Liver and onions or chicken breast, mashed potatoes, candied carrots, birthday cake.

Thursday: Biscuits and gravy bake, bean medley, side salad, fruit.

Friday: Baked fish, oven baked potato wedges, coleslaw, fruit.

Note: All meals served with whole grain bread, butter and milk.

Fence Center/Town Hall

715-336-2980

RSVP for meal at 855-528-2372

Same as ADRC menu, served at noon on Wednesday only.

Florence Community Center/Town Hall

RSVP for meal at 715-528-4261

Same as ADRC menu, served at 11:30 a.m., Monday through Thursday.

Reservations for a meal onsite need to be made 48 hours in advance by calling the above number.

Tipler Town Hall

RSVP for meals at 715-674-2320

Same as ADRC menu, served at noon on second Thursday only.

Hillcrest Senior Dining Center, Aurora

RSVP for meals at 715-589-4491

Same as ADRC menu, served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Hermansville Center

Coordinator: Barb Peters

906-498-7735

Center is open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Meals are served through the Menominee-Delta-Schoolcraft Community Action Agency in Escanaba. Meals-On-Wheels program is available for those who are homebound.

Monday: Turkey ala king over mashed potatoes, Key Largo blend vegetables, tropical fruit, whole wheat bread.

Tuesday: Goulash, green beans, salad, whole wheat breadstick, pumpkin whip.

Wednesday: Beef and bean enchilada, Spanish rice, Mexicorn, tropical fruit.

Thursday: California medley soup, pickled bologna spread with whole wheat sandwich bread, celery sticks, fruit cup.

Friday: Hamburger gravy over mashed potatoes, corn, fruit cocktail, whole wheat bread.

Iron River Center

906-265-6134

Open for dine-in eating, serving at 11 a.m. Salad bar is available. No night meals at this time. Carryout meals also available. Menu for the week —

Monday: Tacos, fiesta corn, refried beans.

Tuesday: Boo Berry pancakes, haunted ham, scrambled brains (eggs), orange juice.

Wednesday: Tater tot casserole, green beans, dinner roll.

Thursday: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes with gravy.

Niagara Senior Center/Cafe

715-251-1603

Dinner is served at noon on Monday through Thursday. Reservations are required one day in advance. Suggested donation is $5 for those older than 60 and $11 for 60 and younger.

Bingo played on most Wednesdays. Transportation is available.

Monday: Boneless chicken with Alfredo sauce, noodles, broccoli, breadstick, dessert.

Tuesday: Ghoul-ash, eye of newt (Brussel sprouts), mummy hot dogs, boo-berry crisp.

Wednesday: Ham and cheese sandwich, BLT pasta salad, baked beans, chips, cookie.

Thursday: Beef stew, dinner roll, pears, dessert bar.

Join us for Bingo on Mondays and Wednesdays this month.

Norway Center

Director: Joyce Olesky

Head Cook: Brian Gutkowski

906-563-8716

Open for dine-in eating beginning at 11:15 a.m. Salad bar is available from 10:30 to 11 a.m. Takeout meals will remain available for pick-up from 11 to 11:30 a.m. Let staff know if planning to dine in or pick up. Menu for the week —

Monday: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, vegetables.

Tuesday: Chicken pot pie.

Wednesday: Beef stroganoff, egg noodles, vegetables.

Thursday: Chicken patty on a bun, tater barrels, vegetables.

All meals include milk, juice, fruit, bread and dessert.

Board meeting on Thursday.

Center activity schedule:

Mondays and Thursdays — Exercise at 10 a.m. and card bingo after the meal.

Monday through Thursday — Card game 101 from noon to 3 p.m. Call Joe at 906-563-5587 for information.

Tuesdays — Quilting and sewing.

Wednesdays — Ceramics and crocheting.

Last Monday of each month — Book club at 9 a.m.

Second Thursday of each month — Birthdays and bingo.

Sagola Center

906-542-3273

Open for dine-in eating — call for serving times. Carryout meals also available. Menu for the week —

Tuesday: Boo-berry pancakes, haunted hashbrowns, scrambled brains (eggs), orange juice.

Wednesday: Italian sausage sandwich, dill baby carrots, tuna salad.

Thursday: Hearty beef stew, beets, biscuit.

All meals served with an option of milk, juice or no beverage.

Home delivered meals —

Monday: Pork chops, garlic mashed potatoes, peas, applesauce.

Tuesday: Mummy dogs, cauliflower brains, spooky rice, ghostly pudding cup (vanilla).

Wednesday: Chili with beans, cornbread, side salad, fresh fruit.

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