Tag Archives: Tiny House

THoW Reality Check

I went to the hardware store, wrote down some prices, and spent some time at the pro counter discussing a full sized trundle bed. I can’t float the bed over the existing drawers as I was planning, and I may waste more space under the raised floor than I can afford to. That is, unless I can figure a way to access all the nooks and crannies between 6″ floor joists without crawling into the space reserved for the stowed bed. I’m still plotting that one. I do like the ability to access storage from the outside. Continue reading THoW Reality Check

Tiny (Traveling) House

I’ve mentioned it in a few other articles, it’s been near the forefront of my mind for a couple of years, and it’s been a topic of conversation (sometimes debate or denial) since I graduated.  It’s still the plan – I still intend to design & build a house, that looks like a house, on a trailer that can be towed without a CDL license & wide load escort.  I will rent or borrow land in different areas of the country as I find myself there, and I will own my house, and my tools and cherished things will be always within my reach.  It’s not going to get done next week, or next month…although, I’m carrying hopes that it’ll be well underway by this time next year.  There’s another article, “In a word”, that addresses why I won’t be taking any of the conventional routes (which were once unconventional, I might add) others have suggested.  Feel free to offer suggestions, but skip the ones that revolve around “what if you marry and your husband doesn’t like it?”.  There will be another article on the tyranny of ‘what if’, I just haven’t typed it yet. This article is a growing list of what I intend. 

General

  • Open floor plan, areas clearly defined by their contents.  Of course the bathroom will be enclosed, and a couple of pivoting bookshelves can create a private guest room with a Murphy bed. A freestanding decorative screen will create a private dressing area without permanently consuming floor space.
  • PVC pipe affixed to the underside of the trailer will hold electric feed lines, with ‘T’s at designated locations to bring electric up through the floor of the house. Daisy-chained batteries and an inverter unit will provide energy when house is not plugged in to an electric feed.  Solar energy will be an option as finances permit.
  • Tunnel Lights, a variation on sunroofs, will provide general ceiling lighting. There will be windows, and specific work lighting for kitchen, crafts, and reading as needed.
  • Electric fireplace for heating, seated centrally along a long wall. A unit that serves a room of 200 sq ft should be enough, I have over 23 blankets & throws at last count.
  • Hardwood floors throughout, with rugs as appropriate.  As far as I know, I have enough wood flooring in storage, left over from the house I once owned.
  • Large screen monitor mounted on the wall, likely above the fireplace, for digital artwork, photos, movies, and computing.  This is where my Terry Redlin gallery will show up. A few well-placed speakers will ensure music throughout.

Kitchen

  • Toaster Oven & Microwave fixed in a vertical stack with sliding shelves for occasional appliances like the crock pot and mixer.  Cabinet will have micro fans along the side for venting as well as a series of outlets up the back, in alignment with the shelves, where appliances will be always plugged in & at the ready. Door or closure will be fabric or hinged plexiglass that will recess into the cabinet when appliances are being accessed.  Sliding shelves will have a locking mechanism for travel.
  • Sink faucet & sprayer on a vertical bar shared with the shower on an adjoining wall.  Sounds funky, but it’s practical.  I’ll either be working in the kitchen or washing myself in the shower, never both simultaneously.  If the nozzle is on the right side of the wall, it serves the kitchen, and on the left, it serves the shower.  (or, left/right) The passageway will be sealed on both sides, so jumping germs won’t be an issue.  Plumbing is thus confined to one area.

Master Bedroom

  • Full Mattress & Box in a loft at one end, accessed by a drop-down stair.
  • Rope lighting in the ceiling and a direct lamp for reading.
  • Nooks & ledges where the roof meets the floor for cell/tablet charging, bedside needs like tissues & cough drops, and the book(s) of the current reading phase.
  • Clothes, lingerie, jewelry, etc will be in a closet/dressing area on the main floor.

Craft/Guest Room

  • 98% of the time, this area will be used for whatever project I have underway.  It will be open to the rest of the house and at the opposite end from the kitchen.
  • A modified Murphy bed (Full size mattress) will house a folding table in its frame.  When the bed is closed into the wall, the surrounding frame will hold the mattress in place, while the central portion of wood, on a separate hinge, can be dropped down as a waist-high work table.  Support legs for the table will be hinged and stored within the table framework, at the top.  When neither is in use, the whole mechanism folds into an exterior wall, likely covered with a lightweight tapestry or creatively mounted nature mural.
  • My sewing desk will be in this area, near but not in the way of the Murphy.   My sewing machine, when not in use, fits below my sewing desk and the accompanying chair. 

In a word…

I’ve had some interesting conversations lately  – they tend to sound the same, with little changes in wording and sequence.  So, for the benefit of those who haven’t been privy to these rapid fire dialogues, I’ll recap…

You’re buying WHAT?                Box-truck
Whatever for?                              Mobile-home
Why?                                             Economics
Where will you park?                  Anywhere
But it’s cold outside!                  Insulation
That’s not enough…                   Blankets
…and when you’re dressing?    Space-Heater
All day??                                        Public
How will you heat food?             12v appliances
…and keep it cold?                       12v cooler
Not everything is 12v…               Inverter
That burns batteries…                 Alternator
That burns gasoline…                 Backups
They drain too…                           Water
Bathroom?                                     PortaPot
….everybody poops…                  Businesses
Shower?                                        YMCA
You can’t be serious!                  They also have a pool 🙂
Ok, fine – why not an RV?           Parking fees, custom furniture
Mobile home park?                     Budget
Apartment?                                   Budget, packing, setup, repeat
House?                                          Mortgage & Market
Keep boarding?                            Time’s up
Board elsewhere?                        Mooch
Why not move back?                   Job’s here
Everybody leaves jobs…             After 2 months? Not responsible
This isn’t the job you trained for…  debatable, in another article
How will you see anything?!        LED & battery lighting
What about internet?                  WiFi
Physical address?                       USPS
PO Boxes don’t count!                Policies have changed
Safety?                                           Prudence, and my ever present Help

You sound determined. Do you know what you’re looking for??

~16′ box truck, over cab ‘attic’; side door, pass-through, or swing back doors; gas; frp box; decent make, mileage, and year; $6k or less, reasonably close to North Indiana.  (incidentally, frp = fiberglass reinforced plywood, about 3/4″ thick, fiberglass skin on both sides)

As I was saying, the conversations have been pretty much the same.  Several of you would argue that this means y’all are right and I’m stubborn.  All it really means is that y’all agree and I’m looking into something unconventional (which is odd for a staunch conservative).  For one perspective on decisions by committee majority, check out the story of Joshua & Caleb. For a perspective on following the way things are done by reasonable people, look at what Lot lost by choosing the well watered plains and populated cities.  For a perspective on trusting God to provide for us in a manner that others deem appropriate, check out what Jesus said to those who would follow Him – “no place to lay my head”, “sell all you have”, “take no provision for your journey”, “it’s easier to get a camel through the eye of a needle than a wealthy person into heaven”.

I still like how Jim Elliot put it:  “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

I have a mansion with impeccable decor and an awesome view in a perfect neighborhood full of truly joyful people.  Until I get there, I’m just a traveler, and don’t actually need to take up a lot of space here.  The absurdity lies in believing that the world is not changing rapidly and I can just revert to status quo, thereby wasting all the effort that has gone into the transition of the last four years and discarding the goals for which I began this pursuit.

What is she Thinking?!

It’s beginning to look a lot like…er..wrong topic… It seems to be getting about time to start paying attention to some of the apocalypse movies I grew up on in the 1970’s & ’80’s. No, not the ones with brain-eating zombies and androids covered in living tissue, or even the ones where pod aliens replaced sleeping citizens. I’m actually referring to the ones where people were forced to make do with unusual arrangements in a land where the price of a sandwich is equal to three days’ wages. That is, of course, if you could find the sandwich and/or the employment. Now, I’m not a doomsayer, so you’ll have to find another website for all that – fortunately (or unfortunately) there are many to choose from. I am, however, looking into alternative ways to bring the income and outgo into a more cooperative balance.

My young adulthood also included another media trend that has soured the minds of the American (if not world) public, and frankly gives me hives (metaphorically). There was a time when every week would reveal another televangelist who had stuck a gold-plated foot into his newly facelifted mouth… You may remember tales of air conditioned doghouses and 24k gold faucets paid for by faithful little old ladies who gave their last two coins for the Lord’s work and found it intercepted by a seeker of comfort rather than a seeker of souls. While I will gladly and thankfully accept any donations people may be inclined to make for loan repayment or ministry expenses (or even living expenses, if one is inclined to send gift cards), I just can’t bring myself to actively ask for financial support. Fortunately, there is the story of a minister in early 19th century England who shared his bills only with God, and watched them get paid. If/when I receive ministry donations, I can assure you they’re not going into a gated mansion with golden fixtures – well, not on this planet, anyway 🙂

For a little history… I did the American Dream thing, complete with the white picket fence, minus the husband and frequent buyer points for diapers. I got my points on cat litter & vet bills. I left the computer world to return to school and a long-standing calling to be a missionary to the few hundred thousand deaf people in America. I signed loan papers to the tune of $39,000 and satisfied the requirements for a Bachelor’s degree and had an Associate’s thrown in for good measure. I learned a little more and a little less than what I intended to, but all that is for other posts. I also knew what I was prepared to do to honor my commitment to pay back the loans, and now that the loan has come due at $500 monthly, so has the time for my next lifestyle change.

In the past year, I’ve been encountering (and actively researching) a growing phenomenon referred to as Tiny Housing, Full-Timing, and the like. Many people in America have made the decision, for a variety of reason(s), to do some extreme downsizing. Changes in technology and policy have made this not only possible, but comfortable. A few more changes would make it a bit more comfortable, of course, but my point is that those who choose this lifestyle aren’t at the level of cardboard boxes under bridges, and in a crazy-like-a-fox sort of way, they’re ensuring that they won’t be. That is my thinking and objective – mobility, economy, and the ability to keep a few large items that are really dear to me.

There is, of course, a counter argument – responsible people are supposed to live in solid houses on stable foundations in safe neighborhoods. I understand this perspective, and offer the following rebuttal: search for yourself how many people have lost their lives and homes to thieves, murderers, floods, storms, and earthquakes. Go ahead & limit it to 2012 if you like. Or, you can go back a couple of centuries and take it from Jesus Himself “store your treasures in Heaven, where moths and rust do not corrupt, and thieves do not break in and steal”.

So when you ask my family “What is she Thinking?!”, I trust they’ll remember to point out this article, and you won’t look at them sideways for having an eccentric in the family.

After Graduation, What? (updated)

The short version:

I will not be an active interpreter. Instead, I will communicate with deaf people in their language while providing other services, such as computer assistance and biblical studies – I have done both while in Indiana.  I’m in the process of identifying ministries to apply to, with the intent to spend some time in internship/apprentice mode as I transition to the role of active missionary to the deaf in America.  I’m not certain where or how that path will take me – one woman’s journey is described here.  She went from being a service provider to the director of an outreach & education mission in Honduras.

Immediate plans:

It is my goal to have the rest of my coursework completed this weekend.  One paper is due Monday, one Tuesday, and one Friday.  Once those are checked off, I’ll be diving into the tasks of sorting, cleaning, and packing the apartment.  Whatever is next, I’m moving out of my current place mid-May, and downsizing what has become a hefty rent payment.  I’ll also be downsizing the years of paper build up from fascinating articles to school notes and beyond.  That task alone could take two solid weeks.

Minimize:

I’m starting to look into the growing Tiny House trend, especially since I’ve known all along that I don’t know where I’ll land next, nor exactly when ‘next’ will be.  I’m sure Dad’s been just itching to dive into another new project where he can use his creativity and power tools.  The fragmented life of things hither, thither, and yon has reached its expiration point with me – I’m ready to have everything in one spot, just, significantly less of it.  Until that all gets decided and done, most of my retained or unsorted things will join their fellows in the Pataskala barn, where the spiders will do their best to help me let go.

Income:

One thing that will stay with me, absolutely, is my sewing machine.  I’ve got a purse and two baby blankets to make, at a minimum.  Once I get back in the stitch, I expect I can start selling, especially since there’s a big market for fabric bags these days.  I’m also anxious to get JJ’s new balloon & trick bag made – I’ve had the design for years, and believe it to be salable, but, first things first.

Yes, the clowns have returned to semi-active duty.  This is one of several ways where I can combine signing, ministry, and income.  Several other ideas come to mind as I recall the days of the DCSC Clown Corps teaching important things in fun ways to elementary school children.  We’ll just add those to the list.

The other thing that will stay with me, absolutely, is my computer.  How else am I going to keep writing and publishing?  Unlike it’s most recent three years, though, I plan for it to spend a lot more time out in the big world, in coffee shops and libraries, where the people are, and where modern authors write.  Somehow, there’s a focusing power to being surrounded by the bustle of people rather than the sink and laundry basket and too-tempting-tv.  (There are some fascinating new shows out nowadays!)  

The small business online (WebEdits) hasn’t moved forward very far, yet.  I have served one client, and haven’t done very well at tapping into his network while school has been the priority.  I just received payment for some typing work through the state, and will be checking back with them about other clients of theirs who need the same help.  The few web projects have turned out to be an adventure, but I’m learning.

Deaf Ministry?

By now, you’re probably wondering why you haven’t seen the word ‘deaf’ yet…  After all, I turned the world upside down for my family and our closest friends based on a call to be a missionary to the deaf community. Well, wonder no more.  All along, it has been my objective to find deaf people and tell them about Christ, and location has been a question to answer later.  It’s later, and the two answers I have available right now cause frustration for someone.  Such is life.

Columbus!

One answer is to return home to free room and board and two churches anxious to welcome me back.  There are ministries, resources, and networks, and Columbus has the second largest deaf community in the US (unless that has changed since I last looked at the statistics).   There’s a way to bring deaf ministry to my home church in Whitehall, very near a few government facilities that employ several deaf people.  That same way can be employed to bring deaf ministry to my parents’ church in Pataskala, very near one deaf person my mom and I have known casually for many years.

Columbus has a Deaf Church, active and growing, within a few miles of OSD (Ohio School for the Deaf).  I looked at their website yesterday, they’ve made some long strides since I was last with them, and the pastor’s kids are all grown up!  (Yes, they met JJ, a long time ago)  Columbus has an apartment complex and assisted living/nursing home complex that focuses on the needs of deaf clients and residents.  As an area with lots of deaf people in it, Columbus is well served, unlike more than 250 other metro areas across the US.

Enter Proverbs 18:17, where Solomon tells us the first to speak sounds right, until the second steps forward.   Who’s on first, what’s on second, and I’m firmly on third base with “I don’t know”.

Not Columbus?

Remember, my objective all along has been to build relationships and introduce people to Christ, strengthen their understanding of scriptures, and move on to the next group as assigned.  This isn’t rocket science if I were under the authority of a missions organization where a council would move me around territories of French, Spanish, or Chinese speakers.  When I say I’m going to be in America, seeking out the over 90% of sign language users who get nothing from their local hearing churches, it’s suddenly a new frontier complete with the threat of coyotes, wild bears, and angry indians.

Yes, I am looking into getting an official assignment with a real missions organization and a strategic praying council.  The first group decided they’re not ready for this new frontier.  The second group has a dead email address, but I can get in contact with them through my network up here, it’s in progress.  The other groups that I’ve found online, I intend to systematically contact, as soon as I check off to-do items like school and apartment.  My network here will be immeasurably valuable in that effort.

Then Where?

Back to the point – find people, teach them (also stated as, Go and make disciples).  Here in Indiana, I’ve been doing that, and expect it will expand if I stay.  I’m already up-close-and-personal with two people who struggle to understand the scriptures.  Weekly, I go to one home where we’re reading through the Bible, currently in Joshua. Almost weekly, I go to another home, where we’re reading the ASL Bible, a resource of Deaf Missions, and we’re currently in Luke.  We started with Luke because it’s full of stories of Jesus interacting with people, individuals, often by name.  There’s another project in the works, a telling of the great stories of faith in the 20th century, in the language and manner of the Deaf Culture.  My church is enthusiastic about making these resources available, while everyone’s busy juggling everything else their lives are currently full of, like children, health issues, etc.

Maybe God has a different plan…

Can someone else step up and fill my spot in these ministries?  Can God bring a better resource into this place?  Of course He can – but so far, He hasn’t.  So far, I’m the one who has been granted favor among this group of people, and I have the capacity, desire, and time to be their missionary for right now.

Can I learn whatever else I need to know, like how to best sign certain concepts, in another place, from other people?  Can God grant me the same favor among a new group of people? I don’t doubt it.  But the relationships that we’ve been nurturing here are in a place where we’re all starting to see growth.  There’s a freedom to the questions, answers, and insights that takes a long time to develop, and we’ve invested that time.  There’s a trust – I trust their theology and they trust my heart.  We’re at a new phase of internship, it was almost thwarted, and a lot has gone into regaining lost ground, but I’m not quite prepared enough to be thrust into an unsuspecting deaf world just yet.

Did God say that?

Unlike the promptings, release, and surrounding circumstances of my life four years ago, I do not have a release to leave this area right now.  I’ve wrestled with the decision, looked at it from a myriad of angles, and I keep coming to the same conclusion.  I’ve just spent an entire term going over the Book of Acts, repeatedly, in detail.  What it says, in short, is that God makes assignments, both long term and short term, and He arranges timing and provision in intricate ways that may seem strange at first, but later are recognized as a stroke of genius.  He is, after all, God.  It also reiterates that He knows how to get His point across to us, sometimes by committee, and sometimes individually, but at all times clearly.  He has found more than a hundred different ways over recent years to do a ‘sound check’, to guarantee that when He has something to say to me, I can hear it accurately, whether low stakes or high.  I won’t dare to say I’m always obedient, but when I’ve obeyed and when I haven’t, I’ve still gotten confirmation that I heard Him right.  I love what one of my current professors said, in response to a “What If” question:  “I have confidence in my competence.”  My confidence is in God, who hasn’t failed to surprise me, provide for me, protect me, or lead me, and won’t.

Not Columbus.

This is not to say that central Ohio won’t see me again.  As a matter of fact, I have a graduation to attend there, where my first niece is making similar decisions about where she’ll go for college, the next four years of her life.  I will wish her well and encourage her to live faithfully, not only in the ‘obedience’ definition of the word, but also in the ‘trusting’ definition.  Live, dear one, full of faith – He who created you is faithful and can be trusted.

My next stop, around mid-June, is a national deaf event near Nashville, and a week of undiluted hand-speak (well, maybe diluted a little).  After that, a week in Kentucky for my annual ration of hugs and heritage.  Next on the agenda is a week in Louisville, for another national deaf event, and the opportunity to distribute resumes in person to organizations and ministries from Maine to New Mexico.  Two weeks later, it will be a toss-up between a wedding in Wisconsin and another national deaf event in Las Vegas (I’m sure Mom wouldn’t mind accompanying me on that trip).  I’ll be in a tent, a home, a hotel, and a who-knows.  Thus the appeal of the Tiny House on wheels, mentioned above. I expect the travelling will slow down after July, and I’ll be settling in somewhere.

But, Columbus is Home…

Every missionary has on their to-do list the task of deputation.  It means reporting on progress (I did that a couple of paragraphs ago) and accepting financial support.  It also means, and this is the part I can look forward to, educating congregations about other people in the world and how God is working among them.  I’m anxious to tell hearing people that God knows, and honors, sign language among the people He designed with deafness.  Have you counted the healings in the Bible, how many were blind, how many crippled, how many lepers, and how many deaf?  I haven’t officially, but I’m going to, because I think the deaf stories number no more than two.  Did Jesus ignore them, was He unaware of them, or did He see them as a language group equal to Samaritans and Ethiopians, perhaps disregarded by their peers, but no more in need of a physical change than someone with light or dark hair?  It’s a question worth pondering.

I’m in a unique position with a mountain of resources among my hearing contacts.  I’ve been blessed with a set of pipes that, though in need of a little cleaning, haven’t rusted out yet.  I have songs to sing and I’m ready to be invited to places to sing them – and we can talk about the people who have yet to enjoy God’s song, in their language.

So rest easy friends, the hearing world hasn’t heard the last of me, but the deaf world is my new home.

Michiana for now, but How?

That leaves one tandem question unanswered – “Where will you live in Indy, and how will you afford it?”  Well, now that the decision is made, I can apply for local work.  Somewhere in my stack of current papers is an application for serving mentally limited clients, in a group home setting, where residence is an option.  Jobs are open right now, the workload varies, and I have suitable experience and a reference who already works for them.  There’s an opening for a church secretary.  There are several openings for light industrial work, where I can either meet deaf people or advocate for them to potential employers.  There’s a lady whose guest room is about to be cleared out, and it’s entirely possible that she’ll be calling for someone to be as handy as the person who’s been staying with her since a life-restoring miracle a year ago.  There’s another lady, daughter of a friend, who has a few rooms to rent out.  They both have my number.  There’s another option, ideal and preferred, that I’m in the process of checking into – the arrangement would be immeasurably beneficial to me, and hopefully, beneficial to the homeowner.

That’s a whole lot of ‘maybe’…

Here’s what Jesus said about the matter, in Matt 6:19-34:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own.

What kind of disciple would I be, or Bible teacher, or missionary, if I go against that?