Positive thoughts can make good things happen

Let me begin by telling you what I am not going to talk about in this column today. I am not going to discuss the specifics of what is going on in our world because we all hear enough about that when we read the newspaper, or watch the news on television, or listen to it on the radio … or get the news on our cell phones, or read a magazine article. Suffice to say that the news is most often difficult for all of us to hear these days. And even more difficult, it seems, is to even agree upon what is truly happening and why … and even more challenging to decide what should be done about what is happening.

The one thing that we can agree upon, I think, is that we are passing through a period of our history when once again our country is a divided nation. I am saddened by this, as I am sure most of you are as well. I do not want to belabor this point, but I needed to set the stage for the rest of this column.

I happened to read two very interesting articles almost back-to-back that dealt with the topic of optimism and finding hope in the face of tragedy. While we have very little individual control over what happen nationally or on the broader global stage, we do have control over our reaction to the news of those events. That fact alone I found encouraging; I have control first over how much difficult news I allow into my world and second, what my reaction to that difficult news will be.

The first article I read was written by Amy Morin, a social worker who contributes to the web site Very Well Mind, and was titled, “How to Be Optimistic When the World Around You Isn’t.” She acknowledges that it is difficult to be happy today when there is so much misery in the world around us, but goes on to offer suggestions on how we can avoid getting sucked into the pessimism that seems to also surround us. She stresses that we should strive for an optimistic approach to life because it has been shown to be healthier, both physically and emotionally. She cites studies that proved a lower risk of both heart attack (University of Pittsburgh) and strokes (University of Michigan) in optimistic people. Studies also proved that optimism was, indeed, an attitude that could be chosen — we have control over the activities in our lives that will help to produce an optimistic attitude in ourselves and in those around us.

So, what can we do to remain positive when the world around us seems to be sinking into negativity? First, choose to interact with positive people and to avoid the “positive energy vampires,” who seem to suck all the joy out of every situation. They need no lengthy description — we all know them because we have all felt their effects. Distance yourselves from them to save your own emotional health. Also, limit your media intake for the same reason. When we are exposed to too many tragic news accounts or non-stop political discussions of congressional infighting, it becomes nearly impossible to keep a “glass half full” outlook on life.

Recognize, and then avoid, your own negative thought patterns. Stop yourself from sinking into the quagmire of negativity. Acknowledge that you are only one person and that all you can do is your level best in the confines of your own world. Success is not guaranteed even when you do your best because you do not control every working gear in every situation. Recognize that this is how the world works for everyone. No one wins every time. Take solace in knowing that you will live to try another day, and that the next outcome just may be in your favor.

Be that person who maintains a sunny disposition and passes it along to others. When you notice someone who has done something well, point it out to them and congratulate them for it. I remember the time when my husband and I were out to dinner in Marquette at a very small German restaurant. Seated at a table nearby was a mother and father with their two very young daughters. These little girls could not have been better behaved so, consequently, did not at all infringe upon the enjoyment of anyone else’s meal in that small dining environment. As we left, I walked over and complimented their daughters’ manners and gave these parents kudos as well by adding “… and good manners in children do not happen by accident.”

When you find yourself in your own difficult situation, avoid losing heart by imagining a more positive future. This really works well. Long before my husband and I renovated our old house and long before we had any hope of even saving enough money to accomplish such an extensive project, I would sit at the dining room table and draw up plans and ideas for what we could “do someday.” My husband thought I was crazy, but he never rained on my parade. He never even spoke of his doubts until my dreams were realized, and the renovation was complete decades later. I was so surprised he had not shared my dream because he always participated in the process, contributing his ideas to my grand plan. Bless his heart!

Finally, practice gratitude. Years ago, keeping a “gratitude journal” emerged as a popular activity thanks to Oprah Winfrey. I also remember a movie from my childhood that demonstrated this same principle — “Pollyanna,” starring Hayley Mills. No matter what the difficulty of the situation, she always found a way to be thankful about something. At the end of each day, no matter how great the challenges may have been, take a minute to think of at least three things that turned out well no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. You will be surprised how much better you feel.

The second article I read was the “Monday Morning Memo,” written by Roy H. Williams, a marketing guru. I have kept getting this via email even after I retired because I appreciate his viewpoints. In this most recent memo, he stated that we as a nation were “feeling unsettled again.” He compared it to the national feeling after 9/11 and again in 2008, when the stock market took a nose dive we had not seen since the crash of 1929 that ushered in the Great Depression. I would also compare it to the Vietnam era, during which I came of age and wrote about in a previous column. He comments that we feel unsettled when our beliefs are crushed and our faith is shaken. So far … pretty grim stuff.

Then he turned it around when he defined serendipity and talked about magic and miracles. Williams explained how if tragedy is defined as the arrival of the unexpected bad in life, then serendipity is the arrival of the unexpected good. He stated that preparing for the unexpected bad is to be cautious, and there is nothing wrong with caution. But to anticipate the unexpected good is to be hopeful, and there is great power in hope.

It is important to believe in times such as these that there is still magic in the world and that miracles do still happen. Yes, miracles tend to happen slowly … but patience is, indeed, a virtue.





Scenes and Sounds, 11:30 a.m. Sunday through Saturday.

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

Monday: Room visits, 10 a.m.; resident council, 11 a.m.; library cart, 1:30 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; ice cream social, 3 p.m.

Tuesday: Crafts, 10:30 a.m.; reminisce, 1:15 p.m.; Kentucky Derby, 2 p.m.

Wednesday: Room visits, 10 a.m.; rosary, 10:30 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2:00 p.m.; movie and popcorn, 3 p.m.

Thursday: Reading buddy, 11 a.m.; Bible study, 1:15 p.m.; pokereno, 2 p.m.; “Lawrence Welk,” 4:30 p.m.

Friday: Catholic Mass, 11 a.m.; parlor games, 1:15 p.m.; sing along, 2:30 p.m.; happy hour, 3 p.m.

Saturday: Meet and greet, 10:30 a.m.; daily newspaper, 11 a.m.; oldies but goodies, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; evening news, 6 p.m.

Iron County 

Medical Facility

Crystal Falls

Sunday: One-to-one church visitors, 8:30 to 11 a.m.; room visits, 9 to 11 a.m.; you be the judge, 10 a.m.; bingorama, 2 p.m.

Monday: Cooking, 9 to 10:30 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; DT luncheon, noon; room visits, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; sunshine club, 2:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Room visits, 9 a.m.; book club, 10 a.m.; Catholic Mass, 10 a.m.; wildlife film, 1:30 p.m.; music with Bill Jamerson, 2 p.m.; western movie, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Coffee social/high rollers, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; spelling bball, 2 p.m.; night bingo, 6 p.m.

Thursday: Puzzler, 9:30 a.m.; bowling, 10 a.m.; Bible study, 1 p.m.; travel film, 1:30 p.m.; St, Mark’s church, 2 p.m.; happy hour, 2:30 p.m.

Friday: Crafts, 9 to 10:30 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; color tour, 1 p.m.; volleyball, 2 p.m.; activity council, 3 p.m.; comedy movie, 6 p.m.

Saturday: Room-to-room bingo/hangman 10 a.m.; geri-gym, 11 p.m.; intergenerational social hour, 2 p.m.

Manor Care


Wet your whistle: 9:30 a.m. Sunday through Saturday.

Exercise: 10 a.m. Sunday through Saturday.

Movie: 10:45 a.m. Sunday through Saturday and 3:15 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Popcorn Day: Every Friday

Sunday: Just jokes, 10:15 a.m.; company’s coming room visits, 1:30 p.m.; Protestant church, 3 p.m.

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

Tuesday: Trivia, 10:15 a.m.; bowling, 2 p.m.; movie and manicure, 5:45 p.m.

Wednesday: Sharpen your senses, 10:15 a.m.; bocce, 2 p.m.; flip five, 5:45 p.m.

Thursday: Crosswords, 10:15 a.m.; good neighbor bingo, 2 p.m.; magic moments music, 5:45 p.m.

Friday: All about October, 10:15 a.m.; lucky 13, 2 p.m.

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

Maryhill Manor

Niagara, Wis.

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

Sunday: “Family Feud,” 10:15 a.m.; music bingo, 1:30 p.m.; Protestant service, 2:30 p.m.

Monday: Shopping outing,10 a.m.; spelling bee, 10:15 a.m.; nickel jokereno, 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Current events, 10:15 a.m.; bingo, 2:30 p.m.; Yahtzee, 6:15 p.m.

Wednesday: Pictionary, 10:15 a.m.; jokereno, 2 p.m.; Bible stories, 3 p.m.; Jan & Gino: Soundz of Time, 6:30 p.m.

Thursday: Catholic Mass, 9 a.m.; Scattegories, 10:15 a.m.; St. Francis of Assisi video, 2 p.m.; whammo, 6:15 p.m.

Friday: Mass and adoration, 10 a.m.; ball toss, 10:15 a.m.; short stories, 10:30 a.m.; happy hour/Denis S., 2 p.m.

Saturday: Crafts, 10:15 a.m.; pamper and polish, 2 p.m.; bingo, 5:45 p.m.

Victorian Pines

Iron Mountain

Juice time, 10 a.m. Sunday through Saturday.

Exercise, 11 a.m. Monday through Friday.

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: Left-center-right, 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.

Morning news, 6 a.m. daily.

Beauty shop open Tuesday

Snack cart, 7 p.m. Tuesday thru Saturday

Sunday: Bingo, 10 a.m.; family/friend social time

Monday: Bingo, 10 a.m.; store open, 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Flippo, 10 a.m.; coffee and chat, 11 a.m.; cookie craft, 2 p.m.; trivia, 3 p.m.

Wednesday: Minute to win it, 10 a.m.; coffee and chat, 11 a.m.; bean bag toss, 2 p.m.

… Think positive

Thursday: Pastor Jason, 10 a.m.; s’mores/Hershey’s trivia, 2 p.m.; room visits, 3 p.m.; homecoming bonfire, 7 p.m.

Friday: Catholic church service, 10 a.m.; coffee and chat, 11 a.m.; manicures, 2 p.m.; homecoming parade, 3:30 p.m.

Saturday: Bingo/family and friends visit, 10 a.m.

Pinecrest Medical Care Facility


Sunday: Grace Church, 10:15 a.m.; trivia, 10:30 a.m.; ladder ball, 2 p.m.; reminiscing, 3:30 p.m.

Monday: Life connections, 9:45 a.m.; sensory, 10 a.m.; busy bee, 12:45 p.m.; song service, 1:30 p.m.; rosary, 2:30 p.m.; sensory, 3:30 p.m.; Yahtzee, 6 p.m.

Tuesday: Employee of the Month meeting, 10 a.m.; resident council, 10:30 a.m.; busy bee, 12:15 p.m.; sing along, 2 p.m.; reminiscing, 3:30 p.m.; room visits, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Casino outing, 10 a.m.; busy bee, 12:45 p.m.; cards, 2 p.m.; trivia, 3:30 p.m.

Thursday: Exercise, 10 a.m.; busy bee, 12:45 p.m.; bingo, 1:45 p.m.; cards, 3:30 p.m.; one-to-one visits, 6 p.m.

Friday: Catholic Mass, 10:30 a.m.; busy bee, 12:45 a.m.; trouble, 3:30 p.m.; one-to-one visits, 6 p.m.

Saturday: Rummy, 10 a.m.; bunco, 10:30 a.m.; social circle, 2 p.m.; manicures, 2 p.m.


Note: All centers ask for 24-hour advanced reservations for lunch. Those who have meals delivered who will not be home should notify the center.

Alpha-Mastodon Center


Meal at noon every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Amasa Center


Open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Lunch at noon.

Bingo on Tuesdays.

Free meal drawing on Thursdays.

Menu for the week:

Tuesday: Beef roast, mashed potatoes, carrots, broccoli salad

Wednesday: Sloppy joe, baked beans, salad

Thursday: Pasty, mixed vegetables, cole slaw

Breen Center


Meals Monday through Friday.

Pasty sale every third Saturday of the month, except on holidays.  

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.

Menu for this week:

Monday: Spaghetti, meat sauce, green beans, garlic bread

Tuesday: Chili, sandwich

Wednesday: Boiled dinner, cabbage, biscuits

Thursday: Night meal — meatloaf, mashed potatoes, gravy

Friday: Baked fish or barbecue pork, potato wedges, green beans

Soup, salad and dessert are offered with every meal. Reservations for meals are encouraged. Walk-ins are welcomed.

Crystal Falls Center

Head cook: Lucy Korhonen


The center is not just for seniors – bring a friend.

Suggested meal donations are $5 if older than 60, $6 if younger than 60; $1 extra for take-out

To reserve meals, call the center by 1 p.m. with name and number of people.

All dinners include the soup and salad bar, homemade dessert, tea, coffee and milk

Open: Monday-Wednesday, 4:30 p.m. – soup and salad bar, 5 p.m. – dinner

Mondays: Basket Weaving after dinner – all are welcome for dinner and/or class. Beginners can make their first basket with materials provided.

Menu for this week:

Monday: Cabbage roll casserole, boiled potato

Tuesday: Unavailable

Wednesday: Unavailable

Crystal Lake Center

Christine McMahon

906-774-2256, ext. 235

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.; with crafters, scrapbookers and others also welcome; knitting and crocheting class, 1 to 3 p.m.

Thursday: Happy Quilters, 1 p.m.; two-person team cribbage, 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Friday: Smear, noon.

The kitchen once again is open and serving meals. A new lunch program is offered from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. every Wednesday. Meals cost $5 for those younger than 60 and a $4 donation for those older than 60.

Home-delivered meal menu for week:

Monday: Cabbage rolls, dinner roll, peas and carrots

Tuesday: Creamy broccoli soup, biscuit for National Vegetarian Day

Wednesday: Stuffed green peppers, stewed tomatoes, dinner roll

Thursday: French toast bake, oatmeal, sausage

Friday: Barbecue pork, potato wedges, mixed vegetables

Center-based meal menu for the week:

Wednesday lunch: Vegetable beef soup, sloppy Joes, salad bar

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.

Menu for the week:

Monday: Chili, dinner roll, applesauce

Tuesday: Cheeseburger macaroni, green beans, peaches

Wednesday: Cod, rice, corn, apples

Aging and Disability Resource Center of Florence County, Wis.


Director: Tiffany White

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

The ADRC can assist area seniors and those with disabilities with transportation Monday through Friday.

Menu for the week:

Monday: Split pea and ham soup, bread sticks, fruit cup, pumpkin bars

Tuesday: Hash brown egg casserole, fruit salad, blueberry muffin, tomato juice

Wednesday: Pork chops, baked potato, candied carrots, scalloped apples

Thursday: Mushroom swiss burger, sweet potato fries, cauliflower/broccoli salad, fruit

Friday: Shepherd’s pie, green beans, pears

Fence Center/Town Hall

715-336-2980 — RSVP for meal at 855-528-2372

Meal at noon Wednesdays only – Same menu listed under ADRC of Florence County. Reservations are requested. Cribbage and cards are available.

Florence Community Center/Town Hall

RSVP for meal at 715-528-4261

Home-delivered meals are available. Meal is served at 11:30 a.m. at this center Monday through Thursday, with the same menu listed under ADRC of Florence County.

Tipler Town Hall

715-674-2320 – RSVP for meals.

Serving lunch at noon on the second Thursday of the month only, with the same menu as listed under ADRC of Florence County.

Hillcrest Senior Dining Center, Aurora

715-589-4491 – RSVP for meals

Meal is served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, with the same menu listed under ADRC of Florence County. Transportation arrangements can be made to and from the meal site.

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.

Enjoy friendly interaction with other crafters.

Iron River Center


Meals served 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; a $4 donation is encouraged from those 60 and older, and a $5 payment is required from those younger than 60. Thursday meal, 3:30 p.m. soup, 4 p.m. salad bar, with dinner 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Home-delivered meals are available — call 906-774-2256 ext. 235 or ext. 230.

Menu for the week:

Monday: Biscuits and sausage gravy, peas and carrots, cranberry sauce, fruit, milk

Tuesday: Cabbage rolls, Italian vegetables, roll, fruit, milk

Wednesday: Hot dog, potato salad, calico beans, fruit, milk

Thursday: Pork roast, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, dessert, milk.

Niagara Northwoods Senior Cafe and Center

Meal site manager: Corrie Maule, 715-251-1603

Senior center director: Jill Anderson, 715-251- 4154

Noon meals served Monday through Thursday. Transportation is available to the meal site for those living in the Niagara, Wis., area. Any senior groups that would like to use the meal site as a meeting place are welcome — join us for lunch, then stay for a meeting or social time. 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 on Tuesday, 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 drawing.

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

Menu for the week:

Monday: Finnish pancake, sausage, hash browns, strawberries, muffin, salad bar, orange juice

Tuesday: Chicken parmesan with penne pasta, green beans, garlic bread, soup and salad bar, fruit, juice, dessert

Wednesday: Pulled pork sandwich, sweet potato fries, emperor blend vegetables, salad bar, fruit, juice, dessert

Thursday: Beef stroganoff over egg noodles, winter blend vegetables, soup and salad bar, fruit, juice, dessert

Cards are played daily after the noon meal.

Craft and exercise classes: Mondays and Thursdays.

Ceramic and art classes: Wednesdays.

Sagola Center


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

Cards: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

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

Menu for the week:

Tuesday: Cheese ravioli, sauce, carrots, tropical fruit, bread sticks

Wednesday: Pork chops, mashed potatoes, broccoli, pears, bread

Thursday: Barbecue chicken, sweet potato fries, cole slaw, apricots, roll.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)