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.

 

The Day Eavesdropping Inspired This Titus 2 Woman to Tears

At the cafe

I didn’t intend to eavesdrop.

My sole purpose for being at the The Black Bear Coffee Co. in Hendersonville NC was to write while Brian shopped for vintage vinyl finds, five miles down the road.

On the cafe table, three essentials: laptop, a fragrant cup of non-fat goodness, aka lavender latte, and plenty of napkins. I’m messy that way.

As I tapped the keys to the rhythm of the music, the conversation next to me in our tight corner space, prompted a grateful pause more than once.

One woman did most of the talking as if she might be counseling the other. The tone of her voice reflected the zeal in her heart as she shared the gospel, the importance of remaining pure before marriage, and how a woman should expect to be treated by a Christian man. I marveled at her wisdom and the authority with which she shared it.

 

I couldn’t ignore them any longer.

 

I removed the earbuds, scooched away from my tiny cafe table and leaned over. I’m not intentionally eavesdropping, *smile* but I want to tell you that you are wise beyond your years, and to hear you share the gospel with such conviction warmed my heart.

One young woman was eighteen. The other, twenty-one. Both broke smiles that would rival wide Autumn skies as we began sharing our faith stories. Their enthusiasm was contagious. When I stood up to return to my table, the eighteen-year-old reached out and said, Our generation needs women like you to pour into us.

 

And the tears began to pour.

 

Teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Titus 2:3

Joan Coker was one of those women for me. I was a new Christ-follower when we first became members of the church. We never studied the Word together one-on-one, but I studied her life, her decisions, and prayers, all leaving an indelible mark on me.

I’m still learning what it means to be a Joan Coker. I tend to be overly concerned that I’m intruding in a person’s life, so I step back, wait and watch.

 

At the risk of being dramatic, none of us have that kind of time. Today⏤more than ever⏤we need each other.

 

Since meeting the two young women in the cafe, I’m pondering ways to “pour” into the lives of younger women. Below are a few that have come to mind in recent days.

 

Embrace Community

It’s no secret that I’m a die-hard-introverted-homebody. But how can I pour into vessels that aren’t there? God wired us for biblical community. Yes, even us introverts. Meeting in person is undoubtedly the best way to rub shoulders with someone, and I look forward to these opportunities at our church, but perhaps God will also open doors in a different setting as well. For instance, the nearby university that’s nestled in the mountains. Since our move, I’ve sensed a tug to be involved with the young women attending there. Want to join me in praying for God’s lead on that particular adventure? (I’d love to pray for yours too!)

 

Take Risks

This looks different for us all. Maybe it means reaching out to someone we normally wouldn’t, at the risk of seeming foolish. Perhaps younger women are hesitant to reach out for the same reason. Selma Wilson addresses specific reasons why it’s worth taking the risk in 8 Things Younger Women Need from Older Women in the Church.

 

Live a Great Story

When the eighteen-year-old woman spoke her words, I was struck with both conviction and resolve. Conviction, because I need to steam less and pour more.

Resolve, because:

  • I’m determined to finish the race with as much⏤if not more⏤zeal than when I began.
  • I refuse to fade away from the Church, serving, community, and sharing the gospel just because the age spots darken.
  • I now understand the power of the eavesdrop and I want those who might overhear my conversations to be as inspired as I was that day in the cafe.

I want to live a great story⏤not perfect, but pourable.

 

Lori Roeleveld describes what it means to live a great story (and more!) in her marvelous post, Five Ways to Be an Older Woman Younger Women Can Hear.

 

After leaving the cafe, it occurred to me that I didn’t know their names and they didn’t know mine. My first thought was to return to the hallelujah corner, but then there was this quiet understanding: Jesus was the focus of our conversation and that One name was really all we needed to know.

 

How do you pour into the lives of the next generation? Or, how can I pray for you as you set out on this new adventure?

 

Mustard Seed

It is only when we pour into others that we ourselves are filled.

 

There's more! Here’s what I’m eagerly watching for in my mailbox this week:

Joyful Magazine

Joyful Life Magazine

Oh, the anticipation of it all! I love everything about The Joyful Life: Heart & Home Inspiration for Women. And I loved it long before I became an affiliate for this beautiful site. I’m currently working through their Bible study, Counting it All Joy. More details on that at a later date, but today I want to give you a heads up on the opportunity to pre-order the premiere issue. Shipping begins this week.

**As an affiliate, I will receive a small commission when you purchase products from the site using my links. It doesn’t increase your cost and it helps this coffee lover grab a fancy latte every once and awhile. Most importantly, I only promote products that I myself enjoy and value.

Here’s what you’ll find in this premiere issue of The Joyful Life. (I love that every issue will have a Titus 2 Interview. Pour away, sisters!)

INSIDE THE JOYFUL LIFE:

  • Heart & Home Inspiration
  • Spiritual Growth Articles
  • Honest Stories of Real Women
  • Stunning Original Images
  • Lifestyle Features
  • Seasonal Inspiration
  • Creative Pursuits
  • Lists and Journaling Prompts
  • Recipes
  • Gift Guide
  • Featured Product Reviews | In Every Issue
  • Titus 2 Feature Interview | In Every Issue
  • The Lost Art Series | In Every Issue
  • & MUCH MORE!

Wouldn’t this make the perfect Christmas gift? Pre-order your copy, or yearly subscription, here.

 

Thank you for spending time with me on the hill today! Hope you’ll join me next week for Tiny House Tuesday.

Subscribers to The Tiny House on the Hill: Be sure to check this month’s letter to download your copy of “30 Slips of Gratitude” to enjoy throughout this month. It’s never too late to start! 

 

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

 

 

Temperaments and Marriage: Guest Post by Andrea Merrell

I’m delighted to welcome Andrea Merrell to the blog today. We met in 2010 when I attended the Blue Ridge Mountains Christians Writers Conference for the first time. Her quick smile and warm demeanor made me feel right at home. Only recently, however, did I realize we live only twenty minutes away from one another.

As you can see from her bio, Andrea is one talented lady. Today, she’s sharing an excerpt from her latest release, Marriage: Make it or Break It, published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Enjoy! I hope you’ll show Andrea some love by taking a moment to leave a comment, letting her know which tempermant you suppose yourself to be.

Arrow

Make It or Break ItBy Andrea Merrell

One experience that helped save our marriage and enabled us to understand each other was learning about the four basic temperaments: Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholy, and Phlegmatic.

Have you ever wondered why your wife burns whatever she cooks, loses her purse, and can’t remember where she parks? Maybe your husband shows no emotion when plans go haywire and doesn’t care when he has a black sock on one foot and a blue one on the other. Your spouse might be friendly but forgetful, dependable but moody, or confident but a little impatient. Depending on the situation, he or she might exhibit little quirks that make you want to ask, “What planet are you from?

Studying the temperaments, which first originated with the theory of the Greek historian Hippocrates (460-370 BC), gave us insight into the behavior of our children and helped us see others in a whole new light.

If you’re struggling to comprehend your spouse’s thoughts and behavior, let’s look briefly at the temperaments, along with a few of the strengths and weaknesses of each.

Sanguine (Extrovert/Talker/Optimist)
  • Strengths: bubbly, outgoing, sincere, enthusiastic, friendly, talkative
  • Weaknesses: scatterbrained, forgetful, naïve, disorganized, talkative
Melancholy (Introvert/Thinker/Pessimist)
  • Strengths: detailed, loyal, dependable, creative, analytical
  • Weaknesses: perfectionistic, sensitive, critical, negative, moody
Choleric (Extrovert/Doer/Optimist)
  • Strengths: confident, independent, self-sufficient, capable leader
  • Weaknesses: bossy, impatient, indifferent, rash, lacks compassion
Phlegmatic (Introvert/Watcher/Pessimist)
  • Strengths: calm, patient, happy, peaceful, well-balanced
  • Weaknesses: lazy, unmotivated, indecisive, hardheaded, resists change

Do you see yourself—or your spouse—in any of these categories? In the same way most people have a primary love language, they also have a primary temperament, usually with a close second. I like to say that Jesus has a picture-perfect blend of all the temperaments—all the strengths and none of the weaknesses. He has the storytelling gift and sincerity of the Sanguine; the sensitivity, organization, and loyalty of the Melancholy; the confidence and administrative ability of the Choleric; and the calm, peaceful, well-balanced nature of the Phlegmatic. His strengths are the perfect combination. This is why we’re to look to Jesus as our example and standard, refusing to compare ourselves to anyone else.

When we find out what motivates us, we can work to build on our strengths and eliminate our weaknesses. But once you discover what motivates you, refuse to use it as a weapon or an excuse. I’ve heard people say, “That’s just the way I am, and if you don’t like it, tough!” The purpose of the study of temperaments isn’t to put ourselves in a category; it’s to help us understand our strengths and weaknesses so we can become the best version of ourselves we can be.

Don’t ever underestimate your Creator. He knew what He was doing when He lovingly formed and fashioned both you and your spouse. You are His special creation, gifted with unique talents and abilities that no one else possesses. Your spouse is a one-of-a-kind individual with a God-given purpose and destiny, just like you. There’s not another person on earth exactly like you … or your spouse. This is God’s design, His perfect plan. **

** Excerpt taken from Marriage: Make It or Break It by Andrea Merrell published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Used by permission.

 

Andrea MerrillAndrea Merrell is an associate editor with Christian Devotions Ministries and Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She is also a professional freelance editor and was a finalist for the 2016 Editor of the Year Award at BRMCWC. She teaches workshops at writers’ conferences and has been published in numerous anthologies and online venues. Andrea is a graduate of Christian Communicators and a finalist in the 2015 USA Best Book Awards. She is the author of Murder of a Manuscript, Praying for the Prodigal, and Marriage: Make It or Break It. For more information visit www.AndreaMerrell.com or www.TheWriteEditing.com.

 

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