Tiny House Tuesday // A Shield for All Seasons

Tiny House Tuesday

 

I didn’t want insulation used in the tiny ceilings.

It cost more in both time and money, and studios shown on Pinterest didn’t use it (hello, white-washed beams). Need I say more? *wink*

But my husband, being the wise steward that he is, insisted. The hours spent writing + the depth to which I detest feeling hot = a quickly depleted electricity budget, so Brian dressed in his Oompa Loompa outfit and got to work.

Insulation Man

You can see from the door color that he started this project months ago, one rectangle at a time. Now that the exterior is complete (except for my porch light), he’s oompa loompin’ right along.

I may not fully appreciate a prickly-pink shield around the walls and ceilings right now, but I know that day is coming. Stifling southern summers and bitter cold days will ensure this heart ends up grateful to the hubby who made it happen.

 

Receiving protection creates a grateful heart.

 

King David defined a grateful heart in Psalm 3:3:

But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head.

When he wrote this, his son and former friends had turned against him. Some were saying there was no help for him from God because he didn’t deserve it. (2 Samuel 16:8) But it’s for this very reason that Psalm 3:3 sweeps our soul off its feet with the same excitement of a bridegroom carrying his new bride over the threshold.

I love this! David isn’t asking God to be his shield⏤he’s declaring that God is his shield. And in this truth, he finds rest, both spiritually and physically. (Psalm 3:5)

 

David doesn’t allow anyone or anything to cloud his confidence in God’s power of redemption.

 

He knows Whose he is, and that’s a shield of protection that no season in life, circumstance or person can penetrate.

Though the insulation will soon hide behind the walls, its protection will be evident in every season.

“…your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:3

May God’s power and protection be evident in every season of our lives as we declare that He is our shield!

 

 

Deepen Your Prayer Life with On Bended Knee by Crickett Keeth (Win a Copy!)

You know how it feels to meet someone for the first time but instead of the awkward pause, you settle in quickly, like they’re a long lost friend?

Crickett Keeth is one of those people for me. We first “met” on the Facebook Blue Ridge Bible Study Writers page several years ago. From the get-go, I think we both knew we’d discovered a peep for life. We’ve prayed for each other and cheered one another on with all the sis-boom-bah we could muster.

Here’s one thing I know: when Crickett says she’s praying for me, she is⏤there’s no well intentioned fluff here. She’s on the battle lines for women around the world, those in her church, and the participants of her NEW release, “On Bended Knee: Praying Like Prophets, Warriors, and Kings” by Moody Publishers. Notice I didn’t say, readers. In this 8-week study, participants are encouraged to engage with the Word and the questions along the way. The goal isn’t to form a perfect answer, but to allow God to use those questions to probe our hearts and deepen our prayer life.

So without further ado, it’s an honor to introduce you to Crickett.

 

Welcome, Crickett! So tell us, how did you get started writing Bible studies?

 

I led a small group when I lived in Dallas, and we used a number of popular Bible studies on the market. I would add questions to help facilitate discussion and get them to think deeper about the passage. One summer, they challenged me to write our next Bible study. As I prayed about it, I felt God was leading me to say yes. So, I wrote that first Bible study on the characters in Hebrews 11 found in the Book of Genesis. I loved writing it and knew I wanted to continue. And twenty years later, I’m still writing Bible studies!

 

Why did you choose to write a study on prayer?

 

I actually wrote this Bible study several years ago for the Women’s Ministry at my church. At that time, my life was out-of-control busy, and my time with the Lord was becoming more of a ritual than a relationship. Yes, I still had quiet times, and I was praying. But I felt like my prayers were rushed and missing something. I was just going through the motions, but not enjoying that intimate time alone with God in prayer. So, I cried out to God one day, asking Him to change my prayer life and bring me back to that sweet intimacy with Him through prayer that I had previously experienced. He led me to begin looking at prayers in the Bible, and that’s how this study was born.

 

Can you tell us a little more about the study and what we can expect?

 

On Bended Knee is an eight-week study looking at the prayers of eight men and women in the Bible. Each week is divided into five days, and each day has four parts. Looking to God’s Word directs us to the Scripture for that day, guiding us through observation and interpretation questions. Looking Upward challenges us to wrestle with thought-provoking questions and promotes rich group discussion. Looking Deeper encourages us to look at additional passages that will deepen our study. Looking Reflectively focuses on application and reflection of the lesson.

I don’t give a lot of commentary before and after each question because I want to guide you into discovering what God’s Word is saying instead of telling you the answers. I don’t want it to feel like you’re reading a book, but that you’re digging deeper into God’s Word as I guide you. However, some of the questions are challenging and make us wrestle with the answers. So, there is a Leaders’ Guide at the back of the book to walk you through those more challenging questions.

 

Which prayers do you highlight, and why did you choose those prayers?

 

We look at the prayers of Jesus, Paul, Job, Hannah, David, Asa, Jehoshaphat, and Nehemiah. I chose the prayers that I continually go to in my life situations—prayers that have helped me when I couldn’t express what was in my heart. There are many more prayers in the Bible we could have studied, and I wish I could have written on all of them. Maybe that will be a Part 2.

As I “listened in” on the prayers of these men and women, I wanted to look at the heart behind the prayer. What motivated them to pray? How did they approach God? How did God answer? How did their relationship with God deepen as a result of their prayers?

 

Who is this study for, and how will it impact their lives?

 

On Bended Knee is for anyone who wants to go deeper in their relationship with God through prayer. If you’re dissatisfied with your prayer life, wanting to be more consistent in prayer, or looking to deepen your intimacy with God, then this Bible study was written for you.

 

Where can we find this study?

 

It’s available now on Amazon, Moody, Barnes and Noble, and Christianbook.com

Crickett Keeth is the Women’s Ministry Director at First Evangelical Church in Memphis, Tennessee, where she writes and teaches the women’s Bible studies. She is the author of The Gift of Rest, Sumatra with the Seven Churches (co-authored with Sandra Glahn), and her newly released study from Moody, On Bended Knee. Crickett was on staff with Cru for ten years and is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. In addition to teaching regularly at her own church, she also speaks at women’s conferences and retreats. Learn more at www.crickettkeeth.com.

 

Thank you, Crickett, for taking time for this interview, and for offering a free copy of this much-needed study to one blessed reader of mine.

Before you go, is there some way Crickett and I can pray for you today? Share your request in the comment section, or email me privately using the icon in the sidebar, if you like. 

To enter the giveaway, share who you’ve recently met that feels more like a long lost friend.

 

Tiny House Tuesday // Finding Ideas in a Magazine + Starbucks Giveaway

Tiny House Tuesday

With the interior work just around the tiny bend, my abstract ideas need to harden like concrete.

For instance, there will be the eight-foot-long desk but we’ve not yet decided on the materials. There will be walls, but will they be planked or smooth? And the floors, will they be wood of a lighter or darker tone? These are just a few of the questions tapping on my brain when I’m all tapped out.

Pinterest is usually my go-to when searching for new ideas. But last week, while facing a stash of multi-layered eye candy otherwise known as magazines, I spotted two letters⏤Ti⏤peeking out from the left side of a Dwell Magazine. Could it be? Why yes, yes it could:

I rescued the latest issue of Tiny Homes magazine and later turned the pages one by one, hoping to gather ideas into my concrete bucket. Some corners received the coveted fold-over while others were pleasantly ignored.

Here are some of my favorite fold-overs for various reasons:

 

Tiny House Desk

Any time I spot a tiny desk in front of a window, I take note. It seems like many are bar height, maybe because it doubles as a table for those who live in their tiny abode.

 

Tiny House Charleston

These window boxes make the colorful Rainbow Row-inspired siding pop. Let’s just say there may be a patch of pink flowers peering in my windows down the road.

 

Tiny House Community in Greenville SC

I learned there’s a tiny house community only minutes from my house (now I know of two!) Yeah, that Greenville.

 

Tiny Gardens

A garden, be it veggies or flowers, doesn’t require a lot of space to be productive. One day, Lord willing, there will be a garden filled with hollyhocks, foxgloves, and other vintage flowers framing the tiny house. But first, a long strand of free weekends await, something we’ve not enjoyed for over a year. (For more tiny garden ideas, visit my Pinterest boards!)

 

And finally, sometimes it’s not so much about finding what you want to put in your space, but what you don’t want…like, say, these antler rails. Make it stop.

 

When the interior work begins, watch for specific questions on Instagram. I look forward to your feedback!

 

But for now, just for fun…what’s your favorite magazine? Do tell!

{Leave a comment to have your name included in a Starbucks giveaway. Enjoy a cup of coffee while dog-earing your own pages!}

Thank you for spending time at the Tiny House on the Hill today.

 

 

How God Answered My Prayers Through a Man Named Finis

He wasn’t where he was supposed to be on the first night of the conference.

Someone noticed an older man walking in a room that was off limits until it was officially opened by faculty. A few people rescued him with the same fervor one might have when rescuing sailors at sea. Writer’s conferences take sign-ups seriously, after all. *wink*

The man shuffled out of the room and stood nearby like a schooled student. His gray hair and age-worn hands stood out among the rest. I wondered about his story and the spunk required to hone his writing skills at that age. But the first thing I noticed about this man was the black eye that cushioned his glasses.

The following morning, I made my way to the cafeteria for breakfast.

 

I’d barely added grits to my butter when I spotted the black-eyed man sitting alone at a distant table.

 

I walked over, leaned down, and asked if he’d rather wait on someone or come over and sit with us. He quickly responded, “I’d much rather come sit with you.”

He met Dee Dee, along with several other friendly faces around the table for eight and introduced himself as Finis (pronounced fine-us). He drove from Texas despite a recent fall that left him with a black eye and a bum knee. We talked about the places he and his wife have lived over the years, one being my favorite tiny town, Saluda NC.

Over the next few days, I saw him in passing and during the large gatherings. He may have regretted sitting behind me, Dee Dee, and Carlton. But if he did, you would’ve never known it.

One night, we saw him at the Nibble Nook. (For those who watched our Two Peas video a couple of years ago in front of the Nibble Nook, I can attest to the fact that there is now nibbling going on in the nook.) But this time, Finis wasn’t alone. Two older volunteers from Ridgecrest walked through the doors behind him. As it turned out, he and one of the volunteers graduated high school together. It did my heart good to hear laughter coming from their corner.

On the final day of our conference, Finis and I found ourselves in a workshop together. By mid-afternoon, I noticed him packing up his laptop so I assumed he needed to get on the road headed back to Texas. As he walked up the aisle, he took a sharp right and came to tell me goodbye.

 

As we hugged, Finis whispered, “Thank you.”

My eyes felt more like puddles.

 

Meeting Finis was the highlight of my conference and a direct answer to my prayer before I left for the conference. So what did I pray? It went a little something like this:

Father, help me to be sensitive to other’s needs more than my own.

This may sound like a sweet prayer but rest assured, it was birthed from a place of conviction. You see, it’s very easy to get caught up in yourself⏤your appointments, your introductions to the “right” people, and promoting yourself and your books⏤at a writers conference.

I’m not suggesting those things are wrong when done with the right motivation, but I’ve returned from the conference more than once over the last eight years feeling like I missed something, or more importantly, someone.

I wish I could say I lived out the prayer 24/7 while at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. There were still missed opportunities and downright selfish moments, but I hope and pray I’ll become even more aware of those around me in the coming years, Lord willing.

 

Finis may have thanked me but I’m the one who should thank him.

 

He taught me:

  • We’re never too old to start something new or hone our current skills.
  • We never retire from our calling.
  • His willingness to drive hundreds of miles to accomplish this shows me that even as I age, I need to be willing to step out of my comfort zone.
  • And despite his fall (and the black eye badge of honor to prove it), he didn’t let what others might think discourage him from following through.

I hope my path crosses with Finis again before they cross in heaven.

But until then, thank you Finis.

 

Divider

While away at the conference, “Songs of Hope: 31 Days in the Psalms” released! This book includes thirty-one devotionals with reflection questions and short prayers. Twenty-five women, from all walks of life, share their stories of joy and heartache with an underlying thread of God’s hope. BONUS: Receive a FREE journal to go along with your study ordered by June 10th.

I’m both humbled and delighted to be one of those twenty-five women.

If you’d like to find out more information or order, click here! (This is an affiliate link, which means when you order through this link, I will receive the equivalent of a cup of coffee, at no extra charge to you.)

Thank you for stopping by the Tiny House on the Hill today!

 

 

 

Tiny House Tuesday // A Red Door No More

Tiny House Tuesday

Sometimes things don’t turn out as expected.

One morning on the way to our now second home, Lowes, I asked, “Can we brainstorm some ideas for a tiny house name?” (Here in the South we name everything—RVs, cars, property, and tiny houses. It gives us the opportunity to feel all warm and fuzzy about things that are anything but.) It didn’t take long for Brian to blurt out “Lil’ Red Writing House.” Immediately, I began scanning the Internet to see if the name was available. I wanted to claim it as my own because that’s what only children do. It’s our love language.

The Lil’ Red Writing House was perfect, except for the fact my tiny house would not be red, or even close. I had envisioned a white Folk Victorian with all the fancy trimmings, reminiscent of my great-grandmother’s home. Hers sat on the corner of a Mayberry look-alike street with the town’s country store next door, which worked to my advantage on Thanksgiving afternoons when my cousin and I traded coins for candy.

The name Lil’ Red Writing House could work if I incorporated a red item—sometimes obvious, sometimes not—in every Instagram post. Red plastic tape outlined the dimensions of the house, a red clipboard clamped down design drawings, and a red arrow pointed to the mantle stored in our barn.

In addition to the red snippets of color in the tiny house images, I considered painting the front door red. Surely that would nip the my-tiny-house-will-never-be-red issue in the bud.

 

But there’s something about a front door. It’s the first thing the eye is drawn to when looking at a house, especially a tiny one.

 

And this front door wasn’t just any door. For the sake of energy efficiency, it was one of only three vintage exterior pieces that Brian agreed to install.

Vintage doors sell locally, but during a prior visit to my favorite salvage store in Brevard, NC, we discovered a covered outdoors section full of old doors and windows. We took note of our find. A few months later, we returned to select and fetch our door.

Along one long wall, doors lined up stiff and straight like soldiers. I knew what I wanted in a door, and Brian knew what we needed. Glass and character topped my list. Door width and price topped his. Details, details. Because the space along the front of the tiny house is tight, the chosen door needed to play nice with its only neighbor, a black-paned antique window. From the window’s size, unique design, and well-worn texture, it was obvious that she was accustomed to attention, leaving little room for the practicality of a common door.

The wall offered up a nice assortment—ornate doors, ordinary doors, and even 1960’s doors with the three tiny rectangular peek-out windows arranged like stairsteps. After flipping through dozens of common-colored doors, a barn-red “soldier” stood to attention. Her size was spot-on, the price was better than expected, and the top-half, divided into four glass panes, paid homage to the past.

We loaded our find in the van and headed home down the windy mountain roads. Oblivious of the amount of time it takes to build a tiny house, I assumed the door might spend a month or two in the barn—not the time required to bring life into the world.

In the weeks that followed our trip to Brevard, one truth became apparent. The door felt like home, but the color choice felt forced. Though a catchy name, Lil’ Red Writing House never captured my heart. It’s not that I have anything against the color red. I love the color red in ripe cherries, rubies, and red velvet cake, but not so much on the vintage door I planned to enter every morning.

 

When I walk up the hill, unlatch the iron gate, and step onto the front porch, I want to see a color that not only catches my heart but also makes it downright giddy.

 

From past experience, I knew this color to be chartreuse. I’d chosen it for the back door of our former century-old home. Without fail, this whimsical color made me smile, even on the grayest of days. If I still wore my mood ring from the 70s, it would morph into pink at the sight.

Months after our trip to Brevard, the day finally came to rescue the red-door-no-more from the barn. A forecast predicting several inches of snow encouraged us to build the frame indoors. New doors come with their own frame, but the oldies don’t. In this moment, Brian second-guessed our decision to go vintage.

A kit from our local building supply store helped, but like most vintage finds, the door was quirky. Both the locking mechanism and hinges were topsy-turvy. Brian removed and adjusted the hardware so the door would swing inward from the left, opening up to the main space of the tiny house.

The following weekend, we took the red-door-no-more off the hinges and hauled her down the hill. She had an appointment with Sherwin William’s Frolic SW 6703. With one dip, the paintbrush took on the appearance of a lemon-lime Popsicle. Slow and steady, every crack and crevice filled until she became what she was meant to be—a vintage-chartreuse-half-glass-chock-full-of-character front door for the Tiny House on the Hill.

Giddy up!

 

Tiny House Door Color

Alas, she only wears one coat of paint, but soon there will be two.

 

Have I told you lately how much I love having you along on this journey?

 

 

Tiny House on the Hill

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