Often when things are going well and past struggles are forgotten, we tend to forget those who were instrumental in lighting a fire and encouraging us along the way. I've told this story before but wanted to have a dedicated place to record it.
In 2001, I was a homeschool mom of an 11 year old boy. When this boy was in kindergarten, I discovered a curriculum called Five in a Row which introduced us to learning with real, living books. In my excitement I began collecting books and accumulated a couple of thousand in a few short years. So in 2001, my family attended a living books event at the "back side of nowhere" in Tennessee. That event changed my life.
One of the guests at this event was a homeschool mom, history curriculum writer, and private library owner. Her name was Michelle Miller. I knew Michelle would be there because I had just bought her wonderful history curriculum, TruthQuest History, which was hot off the press. Michelle emailed me and asked if she could bring the guides to save me shipping! At the event (which is also where I met Jan Bloom for the first time!!!) Michelle and I were talking books. When she discovered that I had a passion to collect books, she sweetly asked if I would be interested in opening a library of my own.
Poor Michelle, I emailed her so many times with questions. She patiently answered my questions, encouraged me, offered advice, prayed for me. I continued to collect thousands more books with my new goal. I was no longer collecting for one boy but for every child who might walk through my doors. Boxes of books piled up around me faster than I could deal with. In 2003 another son was born and we moved later that year. I began to wonder if my dream would ever become a reality. Finally in 2008, with lots of hands-on help of some friends (thank you, Cottrills!) who were once members of Michelle's library and two very special exchange students (merci, Clem et Francois!) who helped me to literally turn my house upside down, my library opened. I am now serving 35 families in my community.
Michelle continues to offer encouragement and wisdom to those of us who are on this path of sharing our collections with our communities. Her knowledge and humility are a blessing. I praise God that He gave her this vision so many years ago and that she has extended that vision to many of us. I've never had the privilege to meet Michelle in person again, but I'm forever thankful for her guidance and willingness to be a vessel for the King. Thank you.