Conflict is bad. This is often the logic for avoiding conflict. We feel uncomfortable when it arises between two or more people.

In an earlier article I discussed the advantages of conflict. In this article I hope flip to the other side to address the disadvantages of avoiding conflict.


To a conflict avoider the fear is that things may escalate out of control. Raised voices, pointing fingers, threatening and intimidating body posture, and ultimatums lead many to withdraw or shut-down. Rather than risk making things worse, their hope is that doing nothing will be best until the storm has passed.

There is a logic behind that reaction that makes sense. When escalated enough, people say things that they would never say in calmer moments. Certainly, if conflict always ended up this way no one would want to engage in it. Not only do these actions squash dialogue but they wreck any attempt at problem-solving. Avoiding conflict makes great sense when contrasted with disagreements that are consistently dangerously destructive.


There are times when avoiding conflict makes great sense.

As a common example, conflict avoidance is a trait of many alcoholic families where disagreements can be disproportional to the issue at hand, unpredictable and illogical. Arguments just break out spontaneously, seemingly without cause or justification. These kinds of intimidating and demeaning random meltdowns are always destructive emotionally and often worse. The only upside is usually with the one who blows up because everyone else runs away or shuts down.

Children who grow up in these environments are often expert at avoiding conflict. It becomes a natural defense that makes a great deal of sense…in those environments. There are times when the only logical response is to get away or hide until it’s over.

Dr. Janet Woititz, author of the classic book Adult Children of Alcoholics (1983) lists thirteen characteristics of children of alcoholic families. Click HERE to see the list that includes several conflict-avoiding techniques such as lying when it would be just as easy to be truthful, seeking approval and affirmation from others and guessing at what normal behavior looks like.


The problems begin to emerge later in life when workable conflict resolution skills are required for their own family’s life, their work environments and social interactions. Inevitable differences of opinion or perspectives become threatening instead of enlightening. Agreeing with whatever is said is so much easier than expressing a differing point of view. Give in. Go with the flow. Don’t make waves.


When conflict arises we all have at least three options for addressing it. Engage, do nothing and disengage.


Talk about the conflict. Bring it up. Learn to explore someone else’s perspective and gain from their experience. Start a quest to discover what the other person thinks and why they think the way they do. Engaging is a way of honoring the other person; respecting their opinion; communicating that you are invested in them. The key is to avoid trying to fix the problem; rather, consider making understanding a priority, first.


There are times when we need to walk away; but, not with the idea of refusing to come back to the topic. A frequently used “STOP technique” is to call a ‘time-out’ and schedule a better time and place to thoughtfully engage with careful attention to each other. Many times, working to understand one another is more important than being understood by the other. When both people are engaged in making the other understand, no one is listening.


This approach to conflict continues the dysfunction of the alcoholic-like home because it leaves everyone guessing. The illusion is that doing nothing is best because communicating nothing or a neutral message is not provoking. The reality is that doing nothing communicates a message that, in many circumstances, is anything but neutral and unprovoking.

How that unspoken message is interpreted by the other person is dependent upon the status of the relationship. With healthy couples the other partner is more likely to believe the best and give the benefit of the doubt to the silent partner. For example, they may conclude that the silent partner simply forgot, didn’t hear the question or misunderstood.


Conversely, when communications are already strained, silence can be understood in a negative way. This is when relationships can become more stressed because the interpretation is “You don’t care,” or “You are trying to punish me.” Once these negative perceptions become part of the resolving of conflict, they become the primary issue to be addressed. Often, the original grievance fades into the background as couples work to get past the perceptions that may or may not be true depending upon how they are interpreting the other’s silence.

The challenge of any interpersonal relationship is to communicate what we wish to say clearly and consistently. This can be very difficult to do. Which is probably why we do not do it as often as we should: it’s a lot of work!

So, we engage in conversation where one is speaking while the other actively listens and reflects upon what is being said. The energy it takes to truly listen is often worth the time and effort. Managing the complexity of accurate dialogue between two people is a powerful tool for understanding and, ultimately, resolving conflict.

Conversely, addressing conflict with the silent treatment often makes relationships harder than is necessary. This is because there is so much room for mis-interpreting what is not being said.


Conflict avoiders may favor the do nothing approach because they are not having to deal with the uncomfortable nature of disagreement. They just ignore it and move on, tamping down their feelings for the sake of keeping the peace.

Nonetheless, the silence can be deafening as people draw their own conclusions such as “he doesn’t really care” or “she’s mad at me.” In this case, silence is not golden. Silence can be more deadly than the conflict itself.

A great place to start learning the necessary skills for better communication is ePREP training coupled with a licensed marriage and family therapist who is specially trained in interpersonal communication practices.


Traumatic experiences can come in many forms in the life of a child. There are incidences that just happen such as accidents, natural disasters and sudden illnesses. For these we are all vulnerable and at risk of encountering. Through no fault of anyone in particular, traumatic things just happen to people. It is one of the hazards of life.

Then there are traumatic experiences that happen to children that are due directly to the irresponsible, neglectful or evil actions of adults. It is not necessary to detail all of the terrible things adults do to–or in the presence of–kids. We’ve all seen the news stories, read the papers and we all know of people who have gone through difficulties in their upbringing.


As therapists, when we address traumatic experiences of children at the hand of adults, often we first inquire about adult drug or alcohol abuse. When defenses are down due to intoxication people often do things they would never consider doing when sober. Taboos disappear, common sense evaporates and a license to act irresponsibly is assumed.

A great deal of wealth and energy has been spent to help people manage and overcome their addictions or to eliminate the perceived causes. From rehabilitation to prohibition, laws have been written and enforced in hopes of curtailing the curses and consequences of chemical addiction.


Marriage and family therapists are concerned about the same issues. A unique quality of MFT’s is their attention to the dynamics of the family system. Some of the questions a therapist might ask include:

  1. What family dynamics may contribute to the addict’s belief that chemical abuse make sense as a coping tool?
  2. What family factors may contribute to the perpetuation of the dependency?
  3. What affects have been wrought upon the family due to the actions, words and behaviors of the person controlled by their addiction?
  4. How can the addict’s family emerge from dysfunctional patterns of behavior to more mutually nurturing and supportive actions?

ALANON and other AA-type organizations are excellent resources for dysfunctional tendencies that families employ to give others the appearance of normal. Each family member devises their own ways of coping to both survive and to protect the family’s public image. The realities in the home become ‘the big secret’ that no one talks about.


So many people have successfully kept the family secrets–and the trauma associated with them–beyond their childhoods. Many manage to get through the earliest stages of the family life cycle without obvious impairment. At some point along the way, however, the defensive coping skills learned early begin to break down. As their own children enter adolescence, for example, more sophisticated coping skills are needed.

As childhood defenses begin to fail under pressure, relationships come under stress without obvious explanation. Sometimes, surprisingly, in periods of peace and tranquility, painful emotions begin to surface. They seem ‘out of the blue’, without warning or explanation.

Dr. Janet Woititz, author of the classic book Adult Children of Alcoholics (1983) lists thirteen characteristics of children of alcoholic families. They are:

1. Adult children of alcoholics guess at what normal behavior is.

2. Adult children of alcoholics have difficulty following a project through from beginning to end.

3. Adult children of alcoholics lie when it would be just as easy to tell the truth.

4. Adult children of alcoholics judge themselves without mercy.

5. Adult children of alcoholics have difficulty having fun.

6. Adult children of alcoholics take themselves very seriously.

7. Adult children of alcoholics have difficulty with intimate relationships.

8. Adult children of alcoholics overreact to changes over which they have no control.

9. Adult children of alcoholics constantly seek approval and affirmation.

10. Adult children of alcoholics usually feel that they are different from other people.

11. Adult children of alcoholics are super responsible or super irresponsible.

12. Adult children of alcoholics are extremely loyal, even in the face of evidence that the loyalty is undeserved.

13. Adult children of alcoholics are impulsive. They tend to lock themselves into a course of action without giving serious consideration to alternative behaviors or possible consequences. This impulsively leads to confusion, self-loathing and loss of control over their environment. In addition, they spend an excessive amount of energy cleaning up the mess.



This list of 13 characteristics is not intended to itemize every common characteristic. It simply points to many common traits that both point to their origins in the family and to explanations for the current challenges adult children of alcoholics face. As each is identified and verified a skilled therapist can assist people as they assess their coping skills and begin to develop new ones.

Before You Marry – Premarital Counseling

Marital Bliss

Weddings often cost thousands of dollars and involve tens if not hundreds of people. Families, friends, and co-workers all come together to celebrate these special, once-in-a-lifetime occasions. Gifts, food, flowers, rentals, tuxedos, matching gowns and dresses…the list of expenses can be huge. Question: What gift outlives most gifts when you marry? Answer: premarital counseling…the gift that keeps on giving.

We are so in love…

It is so easy to start out thinking that we can work through our difficulties because we are so in love. So, we decide to go ahead and get married, trusting that our love for each other will be strong enough to weather any storm, to iron out all of our idiosyncrasies and differences of opinion. Far too often marriages fail because there had not been enough advanced planning about the things that really matter years after the wedding is a distant memory.

Win/win for the two of you

Compared to the cost of a wedding there are just too many relatively inexpensive tools available not to spend a few hundred dollars on premarital counseling. The Marriage and Family Therapist has access to diagnostic assessments and therapeutic tools that can help a couple address their challenges before they tie the knot. Pre-marital counseling raises the flags in relationships before the seemingly minor differences between people become sources of tension and hostility. By addressing our challenges up front therapists help couples develop the skills to help them resolve their problems as win/win scenarios long before they ever become win/lose battles for power and control.

I do…

Before you say “I do”, set up a free initial consultation with a Marriage and Family Therapist.  Anticipating the opportunities and challenges that are unique only to you and your partner may go a long way towards helping your family get off to a great start.

Conflict in Marriages and Families

Conflict is a good thing.  It is a necessary part of life, progress, growth and movement.  Conflict is a part of marriages and families that holds great potential for growth and maturity.

In Psychology Today (March 23, 2017) Elizabeth Dorrance Hall observes that there are least three reasons conflict is a good thing in relationships.

  1. Conflict signals a need for change.

The biggest room in anyone’s life is the room for improvement.  Conflict pushes us out of comfort zones and wakes us up to opportunities and challenges that enrich our lives and equip us for bigger challenges.

2. Conflict celebrates our interdependence.

Relationships are fascinating mixtures of independent people trying to work together in mutually beneficial ways. Our unique personal preferences, priorities and goals will conflict with those qualities of another unique individual.  Healthy relationships learn to celebrate the differences that push us to grow beyond ourselves.  They do this by identifying the points of conflict, working to understand each other’s perspective and collaborating to discover new and different ways to compensate for those differences.

3. Conflict is almost never about that which it seems to be on the surface.

In marriage and family therapy we often see conflict as the symptom that is calling attention to the real problem.  Everyone is enriched when we  push past the conflicting symptom to discuss the deeper values and principles that at stake.


Metaphors abound in nature to illustrate the benefits of conflict.

  • Chicks necessarily pecking to exit their eggshells.
  • Germinating seeds that push through the dirt to find the light.
  • Road graders that must push aside the soil for a highway.
  • Students trying to push through assignments before deadlines.
Conflict handled in a mutually beneficial manner holds so much potential for good.  It is unfortunate that many see conflict as more of a threat than an opportunity for growth.
Sometimes we are more interested in making sure our issues are heard and understood than we are in considering the viewpoint of the other person.  It does not take much time or effort to be misunderstood.  Conversely, understanding and being understood takes time and focused attention.


The truth is that there are few ‘simple’ solutions easily applied that readily result in positive outcomes.  At the same time there are some general guidelines that may be helpful.

  1. Seek to understand rather than to be understood. Listening is a skill to be learned and practiced.  It is particularly challenging to practice our listening skills when we strongly disagree with what is being said by the other person.  Conflict is easier to manage when we take the time to listen and reflect so we can respond carefully.
  2. Observe the “STOP” rule to avoid destructive conflict.  When the destructive communication begins to emerge, each person should be given the right to call a ‘time out’.  Follow this immediately with agreeing to meet at a better time and place and try again, applying Guideline 1 (above).
  3. Seek win/win solutions.  Win/lose and lose/lose situations rarely succeed in resolving feelings.  When one person ‘wins’ an argument by intimidation, the ‘loser’ is left to come up with a way to resolve feelings that can be pretty intense .  Lose/lose situations occur when each person compromises, losing something in order to win something else.


Work to achieve solutions where each person feels that they have been heard, understood and respected.  Everyone wins when we spend the time and energy to arrive at mutually beneficial solutions to conflict.

Routines in Marriages and Families

One day last week I got up as usual and showed up at the gym at the usual time as part of my daily routine.  There was only one problem.  I forgot that it was Saturday.  The gym opens 30 minutes later on Saturday mornings.  I knew that; I just forgot.  So, I put gas in the car and came back, checked messages on my phone.  No big deal.

Routines are helpful parts of our usual day because they allow us to execute mindless tasks while thinking of other things or talking to other people at the same time.  Think of the mindless tasks we execute every day when we dress, eat or brush our teeth.  Multitasking is enabled by simple routines.  Routines are helpful.

Establishing routines can be an exercise in efficiency.  For example, I know that when I use my key to open the trunk of my car, I will, without thought, leave the key in the lock.  This way I won’t lock my keys in the trunk…like I used to do…until I learned a new routine.  Now, I don’t have to waste time waiting on a locksmith to open my trunk so I can get my keys.

I like to keep routine office hours.  This way, people know when they can come to my office and have a face-to-face conversation without having to bother with an appointment.  I do my best to maintain those regular, predictable office hours; but, there are exceptions.


In marriages routines are important ways to establish and maintain  trust.  Regular, predictable behaviors and attitudes over a long period of time build relational strength and flexibility.

For example, when one partner knows the other will be at a certain place at a certain time it becomes an expectation.  It is part of the routine.  A simple text message or phone call when the routine is changed can assure partners that all is well; no worries.  However, repeated disruptions of routines without warning can erode trust; a key to lasting relationships.

Partners tend to choose to believe the best when routines are maintained and they are informed about sudden changes.  Unexpected changes in routines without clear lines of communication can lead partners to begin to question their choice to trust.  If left unattended, trust in one’s partner can become a serious question.  In decaying relationships, partners can actually begin to believe the worst, even for the most innocent of alterations to routines.

Routines are important.


A common refrain I hear from the self-employed business owner is that good help is hard to find.  When asked what the most common problem they must face with new employees I often hear that they are not dependable.  In other words, their routines have not adapted to show up for work on time rested and ready to be productive throughout the work day.

A potential employee may have a predictable routine of staying up late at night playing video games, sleeping later than most in the morning and being sluggish throughout the day.  Nonetheless, as comfortable as the potential employee may be with similar routines, they will likely have to change when a typical day-job with responsibilities comes along; that is, if they wish to in crease the probabilities for lasting employment and a good reputation.


More than just something to do over and over, routines can be keys to trust in your relationships.




How we interact with those we love is based upon a lifetime of experiences and understandings. Painful experiences have taught us what not to do or say.  Pleasant and rewarding interactions have led us to establish ways to communicate our affections to and for others.

Family relationships are the crucible in which both painful and positive experiences mix together to make us who we are.  They influence how we act and react to others.  They inform us about the type of people we enjoy being around as well as those we stay away from.   How our parents and siblings treat each other affects how we fit into each other’s worlds.  They also impact the relationships we seek out and those we avoid.

Family relationships can be complex, multi-dimensional and personally challenging. The influence of our peers, our friends at school, work and church just adds to the list of experiences that make us who we are. Each person is intensely unique.  Though we may find similarities and commonalities with others there are inevitable differences and contrasts that will exist.

When we consider the complex nature of relating to one another it is no small wonder that we are able to form enduring marriages, long-term work agreements or sustainable friendships.  Just the ups and downs of living with all of its opportunities and challenges and the many rewarding and painful experiences contribute to the complexity that make up each and every individual person.


Long-lasting, sustainable relationships in the midst of these uniquely individual and diverse complexities is hard work.   Sometimes we are attracted to our opposites because of the way the other person completes us.  At other times we are drawn together because we share similar endeavors or values within which we find a commonality.

Whatever the attraction, in time we will move into areas that require a set of specific skills to help our relationships endure. Conflict and disagreements are inevitable.  The skills we use at those times draw upon our uniqueness as we place each ‘tool’ in our relational tool bag.

Carrying the metaphor a little further, every tradesman has his unique tool bag for his or her specialty.  The plumber has his tools handy for plumbing tasks, the carpenter has a tool bag with both similar and different tools for his trade.  Ask the plumber to use the tools in his bag, for example, to do the work of an electrical engineer and there are going to be problems.


In relationships we all carry our own unique tools in our relational tool bag.  Some of our bags are swelling with more tools than will ever be necessary.  Others of us have just enough to get the job done.  Some of our bags only have one or two tools that we use for everything.

Having the right tools in our bags is very important.  For example,  a hammer is not a very efficient tool for changing a spark plug.  Nor were a set of pliers designed to change a car tire.

Similarly, when we are in relationships our communication tools are adequate most of the time.  Then there are the times when they are not adequate.

The complexity that we bring must match the complexity of the other person if we are going to be effective.  Problems arise when we are pushed to extremes through tragedy, bad choices and other traumatic events in life.  To push through those times is often hard work that require a set of skills that we have not sensed the need to acquire before.


Stephen Pylkas – Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

Licensed Marriage and Family TherapistOne of the advantages of Marriage and Family Therapists is that we are familiar with the needed tools of relationships and we are constantly in the process of picking up new tools along the way.  The complexity of people we encounter requires a constant retooling and re-thinking how old tools can be used in new ways.

Most families get along most of the time.  Then again, every once in a while, something comes up that just changes everything.  The old tools suddenly start failing us and we get stuck because we don’t know what else to do.

Sometimes it is helpful to talk with someone who helps people explore new options and possibilities.  Many times we know the answers to our problems; we just lack the motivation to do what needs to be done.  It is only with creative tenacity and sometimes someone else’s insight or observations that can push through to the other side.

Marriage & Family Therapy

Marriage & Family Therapy is an important tool for “helping people manage transitions, overcome obstacles and reach their potential.”  This is more than a purpose statement for my private practice as a licensed marriage and family therapist in the state of Michigan.


For almost 40 years I have been focused upon this one goal as both a minister and a counselor.  Working as a minister at local churches my task has often been to help people discover their spiritual gifts and use  them in meaningful works of service.  At the same time I was going to graduate school and counseling people pastorally, as a spiritual guide.  My entire career has been built around helping people because Jesus helped people.


So many events happen in our lives that do not give us fair warning, a personal RSVP invitation or a heads up.   At other times we can anticipate changes ahead and begin to prepare for them such as when children attend their first day of school or when adults change jobs.  Life if filled with transitions which, most of the time, we manage without a second thought.  There are other times when we are forced to make transitions because of a sudden death, divorce or traumatic event.  Depending upon how prepared we are for what we must face it is sometimes worth considering sitting down with someone who can help you work through the pros and cons of choices that must be made to manage a transition that is particularly challenging.


While many super heroes are able to simple burst through brick walls with ease, most of us have to find ways to go around, over or under them.  In life brick walls often come in the way of unresolvable conflict, stubborn attitudes and hostile takeovers, for example.  The dynamics of brick walls can be very unique to a marriage or a family.  Sudden changes in our health status can change simple, effortless activities into impossible tasks that require herculean efforts.  Brick walls don’t move; they force us to adjust our course or walk away.  Navigating the least painful of unpleasant options can sometimes be aided by a listening ear, timely advice or just a different perspective.


Truly, this is what helping people, managing transitions and overcoming obstacles is all about.  Helping a family make choices that will help them down the road of reaching their maximum potential is where much of the joy for the journey comes from in counseling others.  Sometimes the change can surprise us with a sudden insight or new way of looking at a problem.  At other times solutions require careful thought and consideration as we weigh options, eliminate unnecessary baggage and make thoughtful choices. Often, just having a plan that is ready to adapt to best- and worst-case scenarios can give peace in the midst of incredible storms in life.


When people schedule appointments with a marriage and family therapist it is not always because they don’t know what to do.  Sometimes the actions required are obvious and plain for everyone to see.   So, we set goals, work to discover what makes them difficult to achieve; what feelings need to be resolved.  Then we work together to start moving towards the goal in a way that respects family systems, marital dynamics and interpersonal challenges and opportunities.  That is when a marriage and family therapist can make all of the difference.

Questions? Fill out the confidential form below and I will try to respond within 24 hours.


Lost Connections

In his most recent book, Lost Connections, Johann Hari shares his own personal journey in the treatment of his depression and anxiety.  He had been prescribed several anti-depressants from age 18.  This was necessary, he was told, because of a chemical imbalance in his brain that the medications could treat.

When he was 31 Hari came to a personal crisis that led him to investigate the veracity of his doctor’s chemical imbalance

Lost Connections by Johann Hari

assumption.  This research led him to question the effectiveness of the medications and to wonder about alternative research into other causes of depression and anxiety.   Finally, his investigation explored current research into causes, treatments and potential solutions.

His conclusions strike a familiar chord for marriage and family therapists because of the emphasis upon interpersonal, relational systems.


Marriage and family therapy is at the front lines of helping individuals, couples and families wrestle with mental and emotional health issues.  Depression and anxiety are influenced by life-cycle stressors, social interactions, familial relationships and communication patterns.

Hence, a value of this book to people who struggle with depression and anxiety is that it encourages the reader to explore  options that may have been significant contributing factors.  In addition, there are other options for treatment that very closely align with familiar marriage and family approaches.  Finally, the simple listing of chapter headings reveals familiar Christian teaching, in spite of the fact that the author himself is an atheist.


Below is a list of the book’s chapters under the theme of “Disconnection” as Part II.

  1. Disconnection from Meaningful Work
  2. Disconnection from Other People
  3. Disconnection from Meaningful Values
  4. Disconnections from Childhood Trauma
  5. Disconnection from Status and Respect
  6. Disconnection from the Natural World
  7. Disconnection from a Hopeful or Secure Future
  8. The Real Role of Genes and Brain Changes


Conversely, if the problem is disconnection, it only makes sense that the ingredients for successful coping with depression and anxiety would be “Reconnection”.  This is the theme of Part III of the book.

  1. Reconnection to Other People
  2. Reconnection and Social Prescribing
  3. Reconnection and Meaningful Work
  4. Reconnection to Meaningful Values
  5. Reconnection with Sympathetic Joy and Overcoming the Addition to the Self
  6. Reconnection by Acknowledging and Overcoming Childhood Trauma
  7. Reconnection by Restoring the Future


While each person must make their own choices about their own history and treatment for depression and anxiety Hari does provide a rich list of alternatives to consider.  While medications are a matter for patients to consider with their doctor, it just makes sense that a  broader strategic approach to common mental health matters may increase the likelihood for relief.

Hari, Johann.  Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression–and the Unexpected Solutions, 2018.


Welcome to Shoreline Counselor, LLC’s website. Formerly known as Southshore Counselor in Trenton and St. Joseph, Michigan, the name change represents my move to Muskegon in the summer of 2017.

My office is located in the Shoreline Church of Christ’s building at 525 W. Barney Ave., Muskegon, MI 49444, where I also serve as the preaching minister of the congregation.

My purpose is to provide the counseling support of a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist to individuals, couples and families in the Muskegon area.  As I begin updating the website I will also be taking new clients in the new year.


“A man’s gotta know his limitations” says Harry Callahan.  The admonition makes sense  as one crosses the fine line between competence to incompetence.  Dirty Harry remarks frequently about the incompetence he sees in his superiors making for some great one-liners.

Sometimes people are advanced up the ladder of success only to find that their previous, stellar performance has little to do with the challenges they face in their new role.  Known as the Peter Principle, they fail because sufficient consideration was not given to whether or not they were indeed competent for the demands of the advanced position.

Similarly, the Icarus Syndrome describes the super-competent person who exceeds expectations at every level and knows it, exhibiting a confidence, self-assurance and hubris that borders on narcissism.   These people advance quickly without the necessary emotional and psychological discipline that empowers them to endure the stresses that come with added responsibilities.  Like Icarus who fell to his death because he flew too closely to the sun, their failures can be cataclysmic.

Through education, life-experience, training and discipline it is so important to develop a wisdom that is able to examine one’s self, to discern between good and bad counsel and to keep praise and criticism in perspective.  Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits for Highly Effective People offers a great model for proceeding through life with these reality checks based upon one’s values.  A man does need to know his limitations but he must test them and, in many cases, exceed them.



At the other end of the spectrum is the motivational challenge to “Reach for the stars”.  My inspiration for this article came when I happened to catch a recent commercial for a lumber store!

I loved the ingenuity of their presentation, taking a job that might be perceived as common, every-day work and catapulting it to a level of second-string astronaut that inspires, challenges and celebrates the value of the individual…the kind of person we’re looking for in our company.  Great commercial!


Navigating through life requires the kinds of skills that are able to deal with limitations both from without one’s self as well as within.  At other times opportunities arise that allow us to exceed limitations.  Sometimes the most limiting of all limitations are those we create for ourselves; i.e., those little voices within that tell us we’re not good enough, not smart enough or not gifted enough.

The truth is that this inner battle is the locus for the power of the Gospel found in the first and second Beatitudes that form the basis for most recovery programs.  In the face of a “Higher Power” who knows no limitations outside of the human heart we are immediately confronted by our own incompetence to save ourselves.  The ultimate cosmic paradox rests in this observation by the apostle Paul:  “Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent….” (2 Corinthians 3:5-6).