Tiny House Tuesday // Cut it Out!

Tiny House Tuesday

 

The windows, that is.

 

I couldn’t imagine a more exciting moment on our tiny house journey than when the walls were raised. But I was wrong.

Seeing “windows” punch through solid walls brought out the inner cheerleader in me (and I do mean inner!) I shouted as if it were the last lap of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s career. Oh, you didn’t know I was a closet NASCAR fan? I watch it from my air-conditioned, non-smoky, fuel-free den with a frappe in one hand and a book in the other. I am a fan nonetheless.

But I digress.

It’s one thing to measure, draw, and pluck a plumb line in all the right places. It’s a whole other baby to catch sight of toppling wood chunks the size of windows.

My favorite window, all 8′ x 4′ of it, will sit to the left of the front porch. The desk will run its length to make way for mountain views and guest writers. Here, Brian finished cutting one of the back windows in the reading nook. Next up, the desk window.

 

 

And now, the desk window view, seen from the inside out.

 

 

The windows that will sit to the right of the porch are tall and slender, giving a nod to the windows of yesteryear. It is a Victorian tiny house, after all. {Not pictured}

The three back windows will be larger, giving readers a plentiful place to perch as they turn their pages.

Tiny House Back Windows

Minus one tiny corner gap that was soon covered.

The newly cut “windows” allow the warmth that was once tightly held within the walls to flow outwardly.

 

“…in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippian 2:3b-4

 

First, we look up but then we look out.

All we have⏤health, home, family, spiritual gifts, talents, ministry⏤are to be released, not clutched within the walls of our wants.

I {often} have to ask God to cut through my selfish tendencies that hinder my ability to see those He places on my path.

Is there anything hindering our ability to see⏤really see⏤others?

 

3 Action Steps + A Prayer For Those Days When Disappointment Strikes

When You're Disappointed

Since returning from the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, my days have had more twists and turns than Disney World’s Thunder Mountain.

 

On my ride home from the conference, I could barely see the ground for all the clouds. Two weeks later, I was sniffing dirt.

 

Two weeks after that, I was back to downing coffee, tweaking chapters and polishing an introduction, only to dust the dirt off my dreams once again. I think the word disappointment sums it up pretty well.

 

Somehow I feel like I’m not alone.

 

Disappointment is one of the most common emotions we experience. A dream job fizzles, friends let us down, or life simply takes unexpected detours. One doesn’t have to look far to find unmet expectations.

 

And yet, it’s what we choose to do with this disappointment that determines our next steps, and even our future.

 

“Don’t ever let today’s disappointment cast a shadow on tomorrow’s dream.” – Unknown

From Genesis to Revelation, we read of the disappointed. Moses, David, Rachel, Hannah, and poor Elijah was so downhearted, he asked God to take his life. Disappointment can dim our perspective, resulting in long-term discouragement, the too-early release of a ministry, the loss of relationships, depression, etc.

Perhaps it’s my own struggle with depression that alerts me to its danger, inspiring me to remember the following. I hope in some small way, it will help you too.

 

Tree Divider

BE KIND TO YOURSELF

 

Imagine telling a friend to “get over it” when the disappointment is so new it cries when spanked. So why would we treat ourselves any differently? I gave myself three days:

  • Day 1: Embrace the numbness. It tends to clip the heels of disappointment.
  • Day 2: Engage in prayer.
  • Day 3: Write down the next right thing to do and the specific steps required to move forward.

This structure proved helpful for my situation. Obviously, there are no time constraints for the grieving or 1-2-3 formulas for deeper disappointments.

Maybe you’re wondering why I didn’t devote the first day to prayer? It’s not that I wouldn’t or didn’t want to, but in a way, I couldn’t. Numb is numb. Instead of beating myself up for it (which I’ve done in the past), I embraced it as tightly as I did my heavenly Father’s love.

 

God knows the time required for filtering our emotions down to the point of an offering.

 

PRAY IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION

 

On the second day, and the following few, I noticed how my prayers were laser-focused on writing. Such as, What can I learn from these experiences? How should I proceed with the book? Should I proceed with the book?

There’s nothing wrong with these prayers. And yet at that moment, I realized my focus was more on the writing and less on the Author. I paused, thanking God for reminding me that He’s not nearly as interested in my writing as He is with me, His daughter. It’s my heart He desires above all, not my fingertips.

 

REMEMBER, GOD WASTES NOTHING

 

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

It’s this truth I cling to above most else when struggling with disappointment. When spitting dirt, it’s hard for us to imagine how God might use such an experience for good.

But the kingdom of God specializes in the redemption of dirt. Jesus spat on it to create mud that healed the blind man in John 9:6. Nothing is wasted when God is in the mix.

 

A Prayer for the Disappointed

 

Heavenly Father,
You know the words that linger in my mind but have yet to be spoken.
Nothing I say, think, or feel catches You by surprise.
You know me full well…and love me still.

Transparency is a glorious privilege. Every speck of disappointment, confusion, and frustration is not only heard but also received, and molded into glory.

Take all my expectations, Lord — the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Tuck them safely beneath Your authority,
the only place where they find true purpose, redemption, and rest.

Amen.

 

My disappointment quickly faded and I’m now working on new projects. Every word is for His glory regardless of the type of book that holds them. And if I had to do it all over again, I’d still climb into the rollercoaster because some lessons can only be learned from a heavenly perspective.

  • How do you handle disappointment? Please share in the comment section. Encourage away!
  • If you’re the one struggling today, know that I would count it a privilege to pray with, and for you.
  • Or maybe you know someone who would be encouraged by this post. Feel free to forward it and/or share.

 

Thank you for stopping by!

 

Tiny House Tuesday // The Walls We Build

Tiny House Tuesday

 

The tiny house sat flat on the hill.

It sat this way for a few months. We didn’t want to rush the foundation and who could forget the tropical monsoons that blew through our area in May?

 

But then came June and with it, the first wall.
Tiny House Wall One

With one hefty hoist, the tiny house began to take shape in all of its 9′ x 16′ glory.

 

Then came the second wall and with it, the first corner of the house.

Tiny House Wall Two

 

This is the corner where I’d planned to place the mini-fridge and above it, the mini K-cup coffee machine. But it quickly became evident that this corner would give just enough room for the kids to climb the ladder to their loft, and no more. It’s funny how space seems so much larger on graph paper than in real life.

 

A week later, the third wall and with it, my 8′ window facing the mountains.

Tiny House Wall Three

 

This hoist was the heaviest of all because of the bracing required for that size window. Thank goodness for our neighbor who was kind enough to come over and help.

 

And finally, the day came. The fourth wall was put into place, and with it, a dream began taking the shape of reality.

Tiny House Wall Four

 

Sometimes our circumstances can feel like walls. They close in, suffocating the very life from our lungs, not to mention the peace from our mind. At every turn, we’re reminded of the what if’s, the could be’s, and the plan B’s. It’s often when we feel surrounded with no way out that we look in the one direction where our circumstances don’t cloud our vision: Up.

 

To you, I lift up my eyes, to you whose throne is in heaven.  Psalm 123:1

 

I recently had back-to-back situations where I felt enclosed by my circumstances. In the first situation I was completely helpless. I’d done all I could do to fix a situation but the results were out of my control. After a day of pure panic, I finally looked up. And what came down was a strong sense of security, strength, and peace. Being assured of God’s love and presence allowed me to not only scale the wall of circumstances but to also tear them down.

 

Are there circumstances in your life that feel like they’re closing in? Lift up your eyes, my friend!

 

 

 

Balancing Summer Months with Your Calling

At Home with Kids During the Summer

Notice the title doesn’t say How to Balance Summer Months with Your Calling.

That’s because I’m still learning. But I hope by sharing my struggle we can face the fact that it’s not easy and that’s okay.

 

So how do we leverage the blazing days of summer for God’s glory?

 

I remember being a mom of young boys during the summer months while also teaching a Women’s Sunday School class.

I was intentional in spending time with the boys when they were out of school for the summer. Mostly because I just loved the pudding out of them (Southern saying) but also because I wanted them to have good memories of their childhood. Maybe it’s because I was an only child who was rarely around small children and never really babysat that I felt I had to be more intentional in making this happen. So at the beginning of summer, I made a plan.

One year, the boys and I wrote out a variety of chores and put them in a jar. They would draw one or two each day and if they completed them, they earned points to redeem for staying up later at night, a meal of their choice, or other fun things.

We went to the library, visited my grandparents in the next town over, adventured on unknown backroads, swam in a variety of public pools, and rarely missed an opportunity to stop by the local TCBY on the way home. Being the best mom that I knew to be for my boys was my second calling (with the first being a godly wife — or at least trying to be.)

 

But I was also called to teach.

 

When I became a Christ-follower at the age of 27, I couldn’t tell you where to find the book of John in the Bible. So even though I was growing in the Word by taking Precept, it still took me longer than most to prepare my lessons. I also liked to add a creative element here and there, which also took a lot of thought and prep time. Most of the year, I spent hours every day preparing for my class. I loved it! So when the boys were home for the summer, I had to figure out how to balance these two callings, while keeping the boys as my top priority. People always say that children grow up before we know it, and they’re right. Now the boys have families of their own and I couldn’t be prouder of them. {Glory to God!}

 

And yet, the struggle was real.

 

So I made a plan and adjusted a few things to help keep my priorities in order:

  • I designated mornings and early afternoons to activities with the boys.
  • Mid-afternoons were “free” time where they could play with Ninja Turtles or shoot hoops.
  • During their free time, I studied.
  • I incorporated videos by Kay Arthur and Wayne Barber of Precept Ministries into the Sunday School time to lighten my load.

 

Did it always go as planned? Nope. But I had three goals for my summer: Have meals ready for Brian when he got home, spend quality time with the boys, and to do my best in preparing the lessons, trusting the Lord to fill in the necessary gaps.

 

Nailing Down My Goals Helped to Keep My Priorities in Order

 

Today, I am blessed with grandchildren, two in town and two in Ohio {Pass me a tissue!} One of the reasons we chose our home almost two years ago was for the pool. We knew the grands would enjoy it, and they do. Few things in life bring more pleasure than grandchildren. Pure joy!

 

Grandchildren

Not my grandchildren but aren’t they cute?

The Calling Has Morphed into Writing But the Struggle Remains

 

Yes, it’s different. I’m not directly responsible for raising the sweet munchkins and they don’t live with me but I still had to find a way to balance swim time with the calling to write. Sometimes I struggle to keep the energy level up in the afternoons so I need to work during the times when I have the most clarity.

 

So I Made Another Plan

 

  • Reserve the mornings and all day Friday for writing.
  • Keep the afternoons free for the kiddos to swim whenever they want to ride up.
  • On the day I keep them each week, bring the swimsuits!

 

Obviously, this is a fluid schedule, open for changes at any time but having a little structure in place helps to keep my priorities in order. I want to be the grandmother God and I desire me to be, as well as the writer⏤in that order. {And yes, having Brian’s meals ready when he gets home from his now one-hour drive is still a priority. *wink*}

It’s not a perfect plan, never has been. But most mornings before I begin my day, I open my hands to the heavens, palms up.

 

This simple act reminds me that this day is not mine. It is God’s to do with what He wills. And His plans never fail.

 

I would love to learn from you. How do you juggle your priorities during the summer months?

 

© Can Stock Photo / goldenKB

Tiny House Tuesday // The Waiting

I stink at waiting.

But I knew waiting was part of the deal when we set out to build our pocket-sized paradise on the hill. We are weekend warriors, after all. But it was the month of May that put me to the test.

 

So, why the wait?

 

First, God opened the floodgates last month. Then, my week-long writer’s conference quickly followed, and finally  we needed to wait on the tax refund check to help with the window purchases.

Ah, the windows. We finally decided to go with two panes over one, a shorter width and a longer length to give it the desired vintage vibe. (I’ll share pictures on Instagram when they arrive.)

While all the windows are energy-efficient due to the books and papers to be stored in my creative space, there are two favorite components which will be vintage: the front window and door. See what you think!

First, the window (minus the wreath), which will sit to the left of the front door. We’re trying to decide if we want to paint it white to match the others. But I love the patina on this window so I’m leaning toward keeping my one black window. Thoughts, anyone?

Tiny House Front Window

 

And then, there’s the front door. I love the larger-than-normal four panes in this old find. Once again, the patina tugs at this old soul but I’m not sure I want a multi-colored front porch. (The Underground Salvage Store in Brevard, NC for the win!)

Tiny House Front Door

Here’s the thing.

We would’ve preferred to continue working on the tiny house but instead, we had to wait. And yet, it was the wait that freed us to discover our vintage treasures.

 

Sometimes we see treasures in the wait that normally escape our notice. Click To Tweet

 

As I type, I await a phone call. Thankfully, it’s not a medical issue⏤and yet, it is an issue, to say the least. I can’t see how something good could come out of this situation if it goes south, but God is meticulously grand at this sort of thing. So, I bow the knee…and trust.

 

I suppose you could say I continue to find treasures in the wait.

 

But these treasures aren’t constructed of wood or glass. Instead, they are truths, gathered from hard lessons that are undergirded in hope.

 

“…that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:2,3

 

What treasure(s) have you discovered during a waiting period in your life?

Pin It on Pinterest