“If you don’t understand how valuable you are, you will always accept what is given to you.” These are the words of Celina Caesar-Chavannes from her book “Can You Hear Me Now?”. The sky opened up when first I read them. Her next thought aims straight at us. “We (meaning women in particular) are often humble people who find quantifying our skills and experience—our worth–daunting.”

As far back as grade school, I remember side stepping the ball so someone else could have a go. I was too afraid to kick and miss. So many times since, I’ve likewise avoided social situations that may require me to offer an opinion. Admittedly not a newspaper reader, I’m not equipped to weigh in with fact-based commentary about politics or economics. As I mature, I realize, my wisdom lay in other areas. I have different skills to offer—introspection, imagining, reflection, writing stories that explore our humanity. Even if I did none of these things, I’d still have worth. The story I tell myself has changed. Visit Gardiners Multiple Intelligences to see your own brand of brilliance if it’s in question.

Too often, we rate our own capabilities lower than their real value in spite of proof to the contrary, our accumulated know-how, and other people’s praise. Confidence is important to seeing our value. Like Louisa Jewell, author of Wire Your Brain for Confidence: The Science of Conquering Self-Doubt, “I do not pretend to be the most confident person in the world. I believe that achieving confidence is not a one-time thing. As you go after a bigger life, your confidence will be challenged.” Sometimes when I approach a task, anxiety brings me to a skidding halt. What if I kick and miss? By doing the work of mastering self-doubt on a series of smaller tasks and interactions, the blinders have fallen away and I see my value as a writer and human being more clearly. The little victories do add up.

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I love the company of curious people. Our conversations leave me feeling lighter and joyful. New ideas tumble inside my head after we part ways. In correlation to curiosity, they are introspective and keenly interested in other people’s view points. Ideas, humanity, and the natural world light them up. They extend the pleasure of their discoveries to others. Upon reflection, in detailing attributes of an interesting companion, I’ve also described a writer.
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 The Last Hoffman  is a poignant family drama featuring a multilayered cast of tightly woven characters in a fractured northern community. It will restore your belief in second chances.“For all the novel features characters that are alone, it is a story driven by human connections (…) With vivid descriptions, natural dialogue and in-depth characterization, Tuinman compels us to look beyond the surface. The ending is triumphant.” –Historical Novel Society

“The environmental component is relevant to our times, the struggle to be heard over greed and ignorance and other people’s agendas is real. (…) This book would lend itself to be made into a movie.” ~ Canadian Author Association Reviewer