I grew up in a beautiful mountain valley in a small town in northern Utah. Small towns are notorious for everybody knowing everybody’s business, but by contrast my parents were private people and our business was not to be bandied about. So I learned from an early age to be quiet and listen, not admittedly because I was really interested, but what else does a little kid talk about except what’s happening in her house? Besides, I was naturally shy. I learned quickly the other kids would hang out with me because I was a great sounding board and barely said a word. Soon I found I liked listening. Each story was different and, at the time, much more interesting than mine. I could peek into another world and let my very active imagination fly, making up poems and stories that I would act out mostly with my dolls because they thought I was the coolest. Somewhere in my ‘tweener’ years I started to write down some of my poems. Soon I was writing short stories or teenage diary entries on any kind of paper I could carefully sneak away using all measures not to be discovered. I was terrified that my older brothers would find them, tease me endlessly and shame me in front of anybody that would listen. The next few years found me somewhat bolder and mildly shocked that all those years of listening had given me a deeper perspective on life and a good understanding of human nature. Friends, family and sometimes complete strangers trusted me with their middle-of-the-night stories. Different and the same, but each an anthem to our common humanness. And then it happened. Call it stress, mid-life crisis or frustration at not being seen or heard. One day something snapped and I decided that it was time to be everything I had never been before - live life out loud, carpe diem, throw caution to the wind - and I went for it like nobody’s business. What followed was a time of introspection. It was in these years I found parts of me that I loved, and some not so much. This was the time when I understood what was meant to ‘coming back around to yourself’. I had explored my world and in the end come back to myself a wiser, happier, bolder me. I also came back with a clear understanding, finally, of who I am and what my passion is: bringing people together. All those innocent little-kid stories, teenager’s secret desires, frantic phone calls and mid-life-meet-me-at-coffee-shop rendezvous, gave me the insight to use the gift of seeing all sides and helping bring people together. Now it’s time for me to expand again: to write what I know I must and trust that it will make it into waiting hands.