Tag Archives: life cartography

3 last minute gifts guaranteed to please


It’s the day before Christmas and the stores are packed. What can you give that person you know well? You are wondering the aisles, thinking how meaningless the whole thing is. What do you get to truly express your heart? Or the relative showing up at the party that you know nothing about? Here are 3 gifts that keep on giving…


This may seem counter intuitive, but committing to your personal growth is actually one of the greatest gifts you can give to your loved ones and the world in general. Make a real commitment to the people in your life that you will intentionally work on your character issues and personality brokenness this coming year.

In 2003, I remember meeting Aloys, a pastor in Rwanda. His faith journey began simpy.

“I wanted to be a better husband to my wife, so I gave my life to Christ.”


What amazing thinking! Committing to taking off those rough edges, the impatience and irritability, that’s an expensive gift. It may mean counseling. It may mean asking for forgiveness. Certainly accountability and training will be part of the journey. Let the ones to whom you’ve given “growth” know your process and progress.


We all mess up. We irritate each other.

Amazingly, have you noticed how our tolerance for the faults of others decreases in direct proportion to our intimacy with them? We often accept the foibles and eccentricities of strangers and show none for our loved ones and close friends.

Acceptance of the oddities of others with a commiserate dedication that we will not allow their brokenness to push us away, that is a true gift.

“I’m going to love you. No matter how odd, sharp, edgy, cranky, and broken you are.” Now that’s a gift.


Ok, so I’m pushing the alliteration, but what if for a year you decided that when you see your child in the morning, you smile. When you see your wife or husband, smile at them. Smile at your employer and employees.

A smile is often costly. The requirement is intentionality. Valuing someone enough to smile can be difficult in the midst of the chaos of life.

Let it be genuine. Find a good memory, and every time you see that person, pull up the positive memory. Then give them a smile. Make sure it reaches your eyes.

So there you have it. 3 gifts you can give everyone. And avoid the store.

What gifts have you given like this.

Why the way you apologize is wrong. Life Lesson #23

Learn to apologize.

Saying “I’m sorry” takes practice. For some, the process is akin to extracted impacted wisdom teeth. For others, the words flow out so quickly you wonder if there is any meaning associated.

Ever had someone apologize to you and afterwards you felt worse?

“I’m sorry you are such a jerk and I resented your bullish character, I resented your ugly way of talking. And I hated you for being wrong and not knowing it all the time. I’m sorry.”

Wonderful. I feel so much better.

Another friend told me he recently sat in a meeting of non-profit and religious leaders where someone apologized for feelings of resentment. The apology included 10 minutes of upbraiding masked in half-hearted apology.

You can’t apologize for what someone else did and issuing forgiveness before someone else apologies is simple manipulation.

The ANATOMY of a genuine apology.

The apology.

I am sorry. I wronged you. I …. Then STOP.

That’s it. No blaming, no “the reason I did was this…” No justification or explanation required.

If the person to whom you apologize reciprocates, good. But not required. If the person opens the door to more communication, even better. But not required.

That is hard. Because there is a reason for everything. Just shouldn’t be included in an apology.

Here’s the twitter version

“A cover up always necessitates a cleanup. no cover-up no cleanup. So just own up and get on with it.”