With a grant from the Milford Becker estate, Sharon Springs built a new public library right across from the school. I know a lot of hard work went into planning, designing, and getting the building ready for the community.

After nearly two years of work, the Library had its grand opening November 18, 2017. My high school librarian, Cindy Harold, who's also on the library board invited me and asked me to sign books.

I'm always excited to go to events like this but a little nervous too. Talking to a room of a few hundred strangers? No big deal. I enjoy public speaking. Meeting with a hundred or so people I've grown up around? Well, that's a different story.

My writing is an extension of myself, and I want to make sure I'm putting the best possible work into the world. My goals with my writing is to leave people feeling better after reading my works than they did before they found it. I want to write stories that feel real and honest and make people think. I also know that my audience isn't the entire world. All that to say, I get nervous!

Before the event, I asked my brothers Tucker and Dakota to help me at the event. I'm so so thankful to them for arriving early and helping me set up my table, handle money, and just being there for support. My sister came too with her stepson, and I think my soon-to-be brother-in-law was there too, but I didn't see him in the craziness. Both of my parents also came, even though I know they're busy with work. Neither a 24-hour diner/hotel nor farming are fields where you can just pick up and leave easily. So, thank you!

My siblings and me at the open house. I love these three more than words can say. 

My siblings and me at the open house. I love these three more than words can say. 

Seeing some of the women from Raising the West was also a pleasant surprise! Seeing the women who supported me for my first book and who freely shared about their experiences through history is really special.

At the event, the new facilities were put on display, and some history about Mr. Becker and the project were also shared. He left a wonderful legacy for the community. Of course, I'm partial as an avid writer and reader, but there's something there for everyone. There's a space for children to hang out, stations to work on homework, coffee so people can get together, and conference room for community groups. I wish I had such a nice library growing up, and I'm so happy that kids now will be able to take advantage of all it has to offer.

I enjoyed seeing everyone and getting to see the new facilities. However, going home is always a unique experience. I grew up in the same county for 18 years, and we - the county and myself - have both changed in so many ways. There's a new park, new library, new small businesses, and that's not even to mention that giant flashing digital sign on main street. And then there's me. Two degrees, several moves, working toward my mental health, and figuring out how to be a young, married, Catholic woman and writer in today's world. So much seems different. 

But I'll always be thankful to my hometown for their support of me over the years. From send-offs to state competitions to scholarships to book receptions to library open houses, it seems like I can always find someone in my corner no matter how far away I move or how different I become. So, thanks for inviting me, thanks for having me, and thanks for supporting me. I hope my writing can give to you like you've given to me.