Category Archives: Uncategorized

Family Care: The Value of the First Call

As ‘problems’ go most of us move through a wide variety of them daily without much fanfare.  Who is going to pick up the kids after practice and when do they need to be there?  What to toss into the crock pot for dinner tonight or checking the bank account balance before picking up the laundry.  Squeezing in a workout while trying to decide whatmeworrywhere to eat between work and soccer practice for the kids.

Problems come and problems go.  Then again, there are those problems that linger.  Nagging resentments, annoyingly repetitive behaviors, bad habits, frustrating neighbors, overbearing bosses.  These problems nag at us; but, in general, we learn to live with them.  We must learn to live with them because more important things overshadow the urgency of addressing these things.

Then there are those significant problems that pound on the door for our attention.  These challenges don’t care about whether or not their timing is convenient, nor do they pay attention to whether or not you are ready for them.  They are here.  You must deal with them. You cannot ignore them.  Deal with them, NOW!

This is not to say that we do not try to put them off for a more convenient time or when we feel that we are ready to address them.  We workaround them, change our behavior patterns, elephant_in_the_roomseek out new relationships or drop old ones.  The problem becomes the elephant in the room that we have walked around, ignored, avoided and refused to talk about; but, it is still there, growing, devouring our resources, smelling, making more messes and behaving rudely.

Sometimes delaying action on problems is wise. Indeed, Aaron Burr is credited for contrasting the maxim ‘Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today’ with ‘Never do today what you can as well do tomorrow.’  While often used derogatorily in reference to the procrastinator’s excuse, his logic was that premature action may cause regret when a better option may have materialized by delay.  There is wisdom for timing the intervention.

Nonetheless, in the end, there comes a time when we must deal with our challenges and there are times when we need help.  It’s ok.  Oftentimes, it is that first dialing of the number of a trusted friend or family member, pastor or counselor that truly indicates that you are moving in the direction of resolution.  That first phone call or the first conversation about the problem can be among the healthiest signs of all.



Catch and Release Update

Au Sable Fly Fishing near Grayling, MI.

“Catch and Release” is one of those bittersweet expressions that is common in the fishing community.  Careful to remove the barb from the flies used in trout fishing, among other regulations, the whole point is that the pleasure of the sport is in catching the ‘big one’ and leaving it for another to enjoy.  The bitter part is the temptation to bag the whopper you just caught in order to drop it in the black skillet for dinner.  It’s almost too much to bear.  Yet, to allow someone else to enjoy the sweetness of the singing reel means carefully removing the fly with hands pre-wetted in stream water and releasing the trout back into the water with minimal trauma.

When we first came to Trenton back in the summer of 1999 our intention was to leave the barb in the hook and bag this one to take us home.  Looking back, it was important for us to learn the lesson of the ‘catch and release’ principle.  In truth, I have learned that the journeys of life rarely leave you where you ‘entered the stream’.  Taking the metaphor a little further, things that enter the Lord’s streams and stay in the same place for very long are often inanimate…things like deadwood and boulders.

For several years the Lord has been guiding us through a journey that has reminded us that His stream is ever flowing.  While He takes us as we are, He never leaves us there as He shapes and molds us into His image.  First, however, He must break us to prepare us for the journey because a necessary ingredient to being a faithful disciple is wholly selling out to His leadership, His will, His discipline…and, when the time is right, He will open the door to move us to where He wants us.

It is in these times of transition that ‘catch and release’ takes on a new meaning more associated with Jesus’ words about the plowman who is always looking back to see where he has been instead of looking forward to where he is headed in Luke 9:26.  I like the way the message paraphrases the verse: “Jesus said, ‘No procrastination. No backward looks. You can’t put God’s kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day.’”  In this case we look back to catch our bearings and then set our sites on a door that is opening before us and release ourselves into His leading.

Stated clearly, at the end of June Pamela and I will once again join together in ministry at the St. Joseph Church of Christ in St. Joseph, Michigan.  We trust that we have caught the leading of the Lord as he as gently guides us to this new beginning.  Consequently, Southshore Counseling, LLC, my private practice here in Trenton, will be closing at the end of June.


Fortunately, after losing my last provider I was able to maintain my email address and website.  Also, I will continue to provide counseling services at my Trenton office until the end of June.