What Special Gifts Do You Have to Give?

Written by: on Saturday, May 17th, 2014
Young Girl Releasing Bubble Outside

Each one of us has traits that make us unique. Have you taken time to grow—and share—yours?

It was a group activity at one of those personal growth seminars. We were each given a small envelope containing five dried beans, which would symbolize five of the gifts we have to offer the world. After consideration, I identified my gifts on the outside of the envelope: Empathy, Leadership, Generosity, Persistence, and Music.

None of us had told the others what we had written, and we were to approach the other members of the group individually and ask each other in a style reminiscent of the game Go Fish for the things we were looking for. “I am looking for _______  (Love, Forgiveness, Peace, etc.). Do you have any to give me?” If the person didn’t have any of what you were looking for, you moved on.

While I didn’t find others who had what I was looking for, I was more distressed that people didn’t ask for what I had. I WANTED to share my gifts. I saw others smiling as their partner asked for what they had to give and they exchanged beans. One of my gifts is Generosity. I enjoy giving. And yet, no one asked for what I had.

How often do we do this? We have so much to offer, and yet we wait for others to see it in us, to ask us to shine our light. I know so many people (me included), who have yearned for someone to recognize our specialness, to invite us to share what we can do well.

And yet, it is our responsibility to first recognize it in ourselves, and then to find ways to share our gifts with the world. I never got to sing in the choir without first singing, and it’s only through practice and try-outs that I was ever chosen for a solo.

Each of us has something to offer the world, a unique combination of strengths and talents that is ours alone. It is through expressing them and sharing them with the world that we find our purpose and add meaning to our lives.

Are you claiming your gifts? Are you expressing them in your own unique way to serve both yourself and the world? Take some quiet time today to write down the gifts you have to offer to the world; no pressure. If you can only think of one or two—or 100!—write down whatever comes to mind.

Then, your goal over the coming weeks: come up with one or two strategies on how you can cultivate and share this gift with others. Write to me with your thoughts and questions!


Whole Grain Applesauce Bread

Written by: on Friday, May 9th, 2014
Applesauce bread

Top this bread with peanut or almond butter for an even healthier snack.

In honor of Applesauce Cake Day (coming up on June 6) check out my recipe on Playdate Place  for Homemade Applesauce Cake. My family gave it two thumbs up. Still feeling inspired, plus I had some leftover applesauce, I decided to lighten up my mother-in-law’s applesauce bread. She gave me her recipe 25 years ago and let’s just say, it was time for an update. For starters, I cut back on the sugar. To add fiber and grains, I used whole-wheat white flour instead of the usual all-purpose white flour. Rather than butter (I know it tastes so rich), I used heart-healthy canola oil. The makeover was worth it! Thanks to the applesauce and buttermilk, my Whole Grain Applesauce Bread is super moist and still has a buttery flavor. I have no idea who came up with National Applesauce Cake Day but I love applesauce! Check out my recipe for homemade applesauce. It’s so easy and fun to make with your kids. In the mean time, enjoy my applesauce bread. I wonder what my mother-in-law will think?


Whole Grain Applesauce Bread

Makes 12 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour



1 1/2 cups whole wheat white flour

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon baking powder

3 large egg whites

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup canola oil

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup raisins

1/4 cup buttermilk



Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9 X 5-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and baking powder together. Set aside.

Beat the egg whites, sugar and oil. Blend in applesauce and buttermilk. Add flour mixture and stir until moistened. Stir in raisins. Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan.

Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.


Nutrition Information per slice 228 calories, 3.5 grams protein, 33 grams carbohydrate, 9.5 grams fat, 0.5 grams saturated fat, 0.5 milligrams cholesterol, 2.5 grams dietary fiber, 78.5 milligram sodium

Different type of flour to bake with

Try substituting different types of flour in this recipe: We tried substituting gluten-free flour for whole wheat and it worked great.


Alternative to Milk in Recipes

We also tried making this recipe dairy free by taking out the buttermilk—and it worked. We substituted rice milk (you could also use almond milk) for buttermilk and added a tablespoon of chia seeds soaked in 2 tablespoons of water.