Tiny House Tuesday // Building an Ark

I love the idea of having a house by the lake⏤just not a tiny house.

When we chose the place where she’d perch, we took a lot into consideration⏤which direction to face, what views not to block, and how to prevent our galvanized roof from blinding our only neighbor. One thing we did not take into consideration, however, was the direction of the river that flows down the mountain behind us, over a berm, and directly by the tiny house.

Once the house is finished we’ll find a way to re-route the river in order to make way for the cottage garden that will include old-timey plants and an iron gate, Lord willing. But before I get too ahead of myself…

Our winter plan included finishing out the exterior by installing the soffits, corner trim, siding, and painting the front door. Brian managed to squeak in soffits and trim despite the downpours, but without a decent stretch of sunshine, the Tyvek continues to show and my front door still stands well-worn red.

Yet all is not lost. Inside the tiny house, wiring for electricity and insulation have begun and once the exterior is finished, we’ll move indoors full-time. Now that it’s lighter longer at day’s end, we’ll extend our weekend warriorship to an occasional weeknight.

Although the Ark-worthy rain has tested every ounce of our patience, it’s also set a simple but significant truth before us and that is the weather is completely out of our control.

 

And this realization prepares the knee to bow to God’s sovereignty.

 

Because here’s the thing. He knows the excitement that rumbles through my heart like a freight train at the thought of using this tiny place for His grand glory. Either I trust His timing or I don’t.

Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    he enables me to tread on the heights.

Habakkuk 3:17-19 NIV

And I do.

Dot Divider

So, this is usually the spot where I share the latest picture of our progress, but without any noticeable changes in the past several weeks, serious consideration was necessary for choosing a *tiny* picture for today’s post.

Okay, maybe not too serious.

Insulation Day

Insulation Man

Oompa Loompa Doompa Dee Do…

Gotta love a man who dresses up Willy Wonka style to prevent bringing the insulation fibers into the house. Thanks, babe.

 

I realize that trusting God in the timing of a tiny house build is a small act of faith compared to what you might be facing today. If so, I welcome the opportunity to pray for you. Simply leave your request in the comment section below (so others can also pray for you), or feel free to email me confidentially using the envelope icon on the home page.

Thank you for sharing a few minutes of your day with me⏤it’s an honor.

 

  • Did you miss last month’s Tiny House Tuesday // A Tale of Two Gothic Windows? Check it out here.
  • Subscribers! Don’t forget to print out your spring/scripture inspired tags created just for you. It’s included in the March Monthly Letter from the Tiny House on the Hill.

 

 

Tiny House Tuesday // A Tale of Two Gothic Windows

At least that’s how the story began.

Last April, before May floods meandered their way over the Swannanoa banks, we headed to the Antique Tobacco Barn in Asheville NC, in search of a Gothic window. We explored aisles of primitive ladders, glass knobs, and bird egg blue cabinets until we spotted the distinctive curve peeking over nearby antique relics.

 

Or should I say curves? Turns out, there were two.

 

We asked to buy just one, but the seller wouldn’t budge⏤purchase the pair, or nothing at all.

A Gothic window isn’t an easy find, especially on our budget, so we paid the money and skedaddled back down the mountain.

We decided the now two windows could bookend the tiny house. One in front, perched over the porch, and the other, nestled in the back. Because we were nowhere ready for installation, (which begs the question why did we go shopping for them in April?), we wrapped the windows in beach towels and leaned them on my great-aunt’s bed frame in the garage.

Finally, on a bitter cold day in January, we introduced the windows to their forever home. Brian, aka, my Genius, devised a way to frame the window without having to cut curved pieces of wood, saving valuable time, and dare I say, frustration.  *wink*

 

Gothic window

 

 

Brian installed the first Gothic window over the front porch. Around the same time, we needed to decide where to install the split unit for heating and air. While compact and uber-convenient, the interior part of the unit takes up a bit more space than expected, leaving us with only two choices: mount the unit over the antique mantle, or on the back wall.

 

Let’s just say the mantle won.

 

I couldn’t imagine having a split unit hovering over the vintage mantle, especially when two lovely alternatives are vying for that space. The second window was returned to the garage until further notice.

If this weekend warrior is learning anything during the building process, it’s to be flexible and to always have a Plan B. Notice I said learning, as in, the struggle is real.

 

Now, the Tiny House on the Hill sits with the Gothic window in place⏤a space designed just for her.

 

To have a tiny space to call our own is good for the soul. It doesn’t have to sit on a hill out back. It can be as simple as a cozy corner in our home, a closet where we create, or a place in our garden where we meet with God.

 

Tiny House on the Hill

“You’re my place of quiet retreat; I wait for your Word to renew me.”
Psalm 119:114 MSG

 

So, where’s your space⏤the place you go to create, rest, and recharge?

 

*Tiny subscribers, if you missed February’s Letter, you’ll want to check out the exclusive video of Brian installing the Gothic window.

Tiny House Tuesday // Come Sit a Spell

Come sit a spell.

It’s an invitation to come on over, take a seat, and rest awhile. It’s a saying my spinster great-aunts spun while rocking on the front porch that hugged their century-old home. Family, friends, and those strolling on the nearby sidewalk were invited to join them for conversation while they shucked corn and popped peas.

 

That was over forty years ago, but the charm of the front porch remains.

 

And it’s one of the reasons why I chose a Victorian style tiny house.

Turns out, our *tiny* front porch was one of the easiest projects to date. Or maybe it just seems that way because it came on the heels of the toughest. The best part of building the porch? Brian kept both feet on the ground and it was completed within a couple of Saturdays.

The porch floor was added earlier so searching for the right columns and roofing were our only to-do’s. Early on, I’d imagined columns with some heft to them. You know, the kind you can hold onto and swirl about? But since I swerve more than swirl these days, we decided to bypass that requirement and go for full-on character, which the smaller ones offered.

The porch roof was an interesting undertaking. My engineering husband put his skills to the test as he researched ways to build a slanted roof while making room for the Gothic window that will soon perch just above the porch. It was a happy day at the Baker’s house when he discovered a galvanized roof like the main one, but with deeper channels to keep the rain flowing in a downward direction.

The left image is from November’s Tiny House Tuesday, and the right is December’s. Oh, the difference a porch (and door!) can make.

 

Two Views of the Tiny House

Now all she needs is a bit of frill in the form of Victorian scroll work in the corners of the posts.

I doubt my *tiny* porch will offer enough space for the large wooden-slat rockers like my great-aunt’s way back when, but the door will always be wide enough for friends and family.

So come sit a spell, won’t you?

 

Come Sit a Spell

Tiny House Tuesday // Her First Snow

Okay, so it was more of an ice event. Still, it was a milestone for the Tiny House on the Hill.

Tiny House on the Hill Snow Pics

 

In 2018, we’ve seen her bare naked, dressed in walls, and covered in wrap. But this is her first clothing of white. She wears it well, don’t you think?

Tiny House on the Hill's First Snow

Before the first line was drawn on the tiny house plans, my mind ventured into the future, imagining a space the size of a twin bed tucked within her walls. There, we pile in with the grandkids, blankets, and books to snuggle and watch snow fall outside the surrounding windows.

Perhaps this will come to fruition before winter folds into spring.

But today, the tiny house is bare and bone cold. Vacant walls can only dream of the Decembers to come, Lord willing.

So they dream.

She wears her finest hand-me-downs borrowed from Christmases long ago: Antique postcards clipped on cords, stretching from one end of the eight-foot window to the other, a silver pom-pom aluminum tree adorned in Shiny Brites and a pink vintage ceramic Christmas tree that casts a warm glow on God’s goodness.

 

Dreaming of future Decembers in the tiny house is a delight. But it’s the honor held in the here-and-now that holds my attention.

 

On this day, I join in the silence and wonder of the season as I’m reminded of another small space that once stood vacant. It didn’t hold dreams. It held my Deliverer⏤and yours. One who traded splendor for skin, bearing our sins, and equipping us to move beyond simple dreams that we might embrace a new reality, Christ in us.

“Once in our world, a stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole world.” – C.S. Lewis

Christmas 2018

 

Merry Christmas from the Tiny House on the Hill!

In celebration of the first snow, I picked up this “dashing” Starbucks gift card. Who couldn’t use a warm cup of coffee or tea this season? Simply leave a comment below to be entered in the giveaway. Thank you for being a part of this *tiny* journey. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us all in 2019. Blessings!

 

 

Tiny House Tuesday // With A Little Help From My Friend

I mean, how hard could it be to install a metal roof?

We were convinced it wouldn’t be that hard⏤even with a roof that points to the sky like an arrow. Brian calls it a 14/12 pitch. I call it crazy steep.

Over the last several weeks, we’d framed, lifted beefy plywood via sheer willpower, and purchased more nails than groceries. Laying galvanized metal on top of twelve weeks of work felt like tucking a toddler into bed. The exhaustion was behind us, and now all we wanted to do was have a little fun.

 

Tiny House Roof Cap

 

But the roof cap was a party pooper.

 

This eighteen-foot-long piece of metal shaped like a pop-up tent was the last piece to apply to the roof and the toughest. Brian tried traipsing up the slick metal with the supposed “right” shoes but they turned out to be all wrong. We needed a professional.

 

But he wasn’t the friend.

 

That would be Shana. She is the person who “happened” to mention how she’d just had metal roof work done on her barn. I’d never seen Brian jot down information as fast as I did that Sunday morning.

 

But here’s the best part.

 

One issue stood between us and sanity: convincing this busy roofer to take time to do our small job. So when he called saying he could fit us in the following Friday afternoon we were surprised. Turns out, the roofer had Shana down for that time to finish up her barn.

 

But she gave up her slot for us.

 

What made her sacrifice even more special was that we’ve only known Shana for a short period of time. Something like this might be expected from a seasoned friend, but for someone to do it simply because she knew we had a need made it feel like a hug from above. It’s true, isn’t it?

 

Sacrifice is at the heart of friendship.

 

I fail miserably at sacrificing for others more often than I’d like to admit, but I’m thankful God never disappoints. He gave up⏤sacrificed⏤His Son so that we could experience the joy of being in relationship with Him for an eternity (beginning now!) and Jesus laid His life low so that we, in turn, could be lifted to this new life.

No friendship compares to the friend we have in Jesus. No one loves us as He does⏤no one possibly could.

 

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

“We measure the love and friendship of Jesus by the price he paid for us.” -John Piper

 

Mustard Seed

Sacrifice and friendship go hand-in-hand.

 

Name Your Fears For What They Are and See What Happens When You Do

Name Your Fears

I’ve never been a fan of anything that slithers.

Having lived in the burbs for most of my life where the outdoors consisted of crumbling asphalt and the occasional stray cat, I wasn’t sure what country life would bring. I know what it brought our first night⏤a colorful snake coiled up next to the steps in our garage. That went over well. (But the swarm of honey bees that swept across our backyard on a warm summer day was a sight for these city eyes.)

There’s only one thing I dread out here and that’s moving anything outdoors⏤flower pots, deck chairs, outdoor rugs, etc. With even the slightest movement, some creature inevitably dashes (or slithers) away. Let’s just say that my tightly wound shrieks have become as common as the cock-a-doodle-doo next door.

So earlier this year, when a lizard matching the color of mulch darted in front of me, I did what any 6-year-old-at-heart would do. I named it. What once caused fear now prompted a smile. How could you fear a lizard named Ricky? (Lucy, Ethel, and Fred soon followed.)

 

The simple gesture of naming my fear weakened its ability and strengthened mine.

 

Some fears are easier to name than others. Snakes and lizards are visible, but others bury down deep refusing to surface unless they’re called out by name. Like the time not so long ago when Hurricane Florence pounced the Carolinas. Reality set in that the tiny house could buckle under the high winds even though we fastened her down the best we could. All the what-if’s kidnapped my peace.

What if the tiny house is destroyed? What if she’s damaged and requires even more time to complete it? What if I can’t minister as planned?

 

If I wasn’t careful, the name of this fear would soon become idol.

 

That was hard to write, and an even harder truth to swallow. What begins as a godly desire to build a tiny space to write, play, and minister, can quietly slip beyond its well-intended boundaries without warning.

 

Anything⏤including good, godly things⏤if held too tightly can become an idol.

 

When I recognized my fear of losing the tiny house and more importantly, the why behind it, I named it⏤called it out⏤before the Lord. With that confession came a speechless comfort. And yet, I knew I needed to put a few safeguards into place to prevent it from happening again. So I sat down with my Bible, pen, a sheet of paper, and my recently humbled heart {ouch!} and put these three grace-laced steps into place:

 

Safeguard the Heart

 

 

Start mornings with Psalm 139: 23,24.

This is one of the first verses I memorized but haven’t paid nearly enough attention to in recent months. He longs to show us the way and help us get back on the right track.

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

 

On an index card, write a scripture verse that speaks to the issue, one biblical quote, and a scripture verse on God’s forgiveness and mercy.

I try to bookend the cards with scripture because the point of confession is not to receive an emotional “beating” but rather, to reconcile with a loving heavenly Father. The enemy would prefer us to believe otherwise, so putting this safeguard into place serves as a constant reminder to rely on truth, not feelings.

My current cards include:

Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 1 Corinthians 10:14

“It (idolatry) means turning a good thing into an ultimate thing.” – Tim Keller

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

 

Pray a tiny {but powerful} prayer.

Memorizing scripture and seeing truths can change the trajectory of our days. But prayer instantaneously melds our desire to be on the right path in one breath with the power of God, the One who makes it happen, in the next. For me, it was as simple as⏤You alone, Lord, You alone.

 

Mustard Seed

To name our fear we must first recognize what lies beneath it.

 

Do you have a go-to verse when you need to be reminded of God’s love and forgiveness? If not, that’s okay! I encourage you to find one, memorize it, and take it with you wherever you go.

 

Thank you for making your way up the hill to hang out with me for a little while today. You’re always welcome here.

 

This is the final week of giveaways in celebration of The Tiny House on the Hill blog launch and I saved the best for last. After all, what better gift to celebrate the blog than these beautiful artisan *mustard seed* earrings?

To enter the random giveaway, simply share with others. For every share, you receive an entry. If you’re a subscriber, you receive two entries for every share. Be sure to tag me!

 

Mustard Seed Earrings

 

 

Tiny House on the Hill

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