Monday, March 3, 2014

Tiny Living, Desire Mapping, and Social Media Breaks

Okay!
Lots of things happening around here.

We are making progress on the tiny home!! Here, enjoy some pictures:

I got some new things this week. My own set of headphones and a speed square!
We've done a ton of work on the walls while they're laying on top of the trailer because we're limited on space.

 
We use an enclosed trailer we have to carry wood and supplies. This week, instead of carrying huge pieces of plywood 100 yards, we decided to cut them in the trailer. At night. In the dark.
...it worked.

The house! Still some outer sheathing to finish, but all the walls are up.

Again, from the inside. I took this picture standing in the little space at the front of the house where a bench/desk will be. So you're seeing from the very front of the house to the very back.


So all of our walls are up!! It's hard to get a full picture of the house from inside the shop, but trust me, they're all up. 

Recently, we realized that we measured the door to the shop incorrectly (womp womp), so we'll have to move the house outside and finish building outdoors. Not the biggest mistake ever, but I'm a little sad to give up the shelter of the shop. 

We've been a lot better lately about diligence and making time to work on the house, and I'm so proud of Robert for doing this. I watch him put all this together and think about all the measurements and numbers running through his head and how smart he is. It's just amazing.

+ + +



I've become a bit of a Pinterest junkie lately. Mostly fueled by my love of Danielle LaPorte and how she's opened my eyes to a lot of new and exciting things.

To be honest, I spend a lot of time in negative mental space. I get eaten up with negativity, worry, frustration, anger, selfishness, etc. I'm human, after all. But the more time I let my mind wander in that direction, the further away my dreams seem. And the days add up to become weeks, months, and years, and sometimes I just sit back and wonder how I've already wasted so much time when I'm only 25.

What I'm learning is that when it comes down to it, the decisions we make on a daily basis are more geared towards how we want to feel rather than what we want to do or become. So I may want to write a short story, but it's because I desire feeling creative and intelligent. I may want to sing my heart out on stage, but it's because I desire feeling inspired and brave. I may want to reach out and have a conversation with someone, but it's because my desire is to be generous with my time and my heart. I may want to wake up a little early and put makeup on or use the prettiest perfume I own, but it's because I desire feeling lovely and soft.

When I search my own heart and really pay attention to the things that make me come alive, I can make choices every day that will give me those feelings. And the more I feel the way I want, I think the more my dreams and vision for my life will come true sooner than I'll even realize.



At the root of things, I want the joy and peace I know God wants me to have. And seeking to feel lovely, inspired, brave, and generous (and all the sub-feelings that come along with those) is a stepping stone on that path.

If you haven't heard of or read the Desire Map, I recommend it highly.

+ + +

A couple of months ago I posted a blog stating why I love being a part of my church and why my husband and I have chosen to remain planted there for 7+ years. Since then, more and more news articles and blogs have come out claiming all sorts of things about our church. Because I have friends on both sides of the Jesus-loving spectrum (evangelical megachurch attenders and those who have seen the depths of hurt in fundamentalism and seek to discount anything that smells remotely like it), my twitter and facebook have been a jumble of love and hate, enough to give me whiplash. 

I'm a social media junkie. A child of the internet age. I can type faster than my parents and grandparents combined, and I'll gladly soak up news and popculture through my handy dandy iphone all day long. 

And that's become a problem.

With all of the "controversy" and just the ability people have to spread opinions and thoughts faster than ever, my brain has been overwhelmed by all that I'm reading. So I've been on a social media fast. The plan is to stay off for two weeks (I'm halfway through now), but I think I may go longer.

In an effort to not miss it, whenever I think "Oh, I want to tweet that," I've been praying instead. I'm trying to curb my desire to over-share with the world and remember to tell God about what's going on in my heart, even when He already knows.

It's been a lesson in privacy, soul-searching, authenticity, and growing my relationship with Jesus, and it's been really refreshing.

+ + +

If you're still reading, thanks for sticking with me through basically three blog posts in one!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

THU (Tiny House Update) Wall Framing

I'm totally just going to pretend like we didn't take a 3 month hiatus on building our house :)
Totally.

So we took a break! Turns out life gets in the way of life sometimes. But we're back at it and building again.

As of right now, we have our sub-flooring completed. Screwed into the trailer and everything! So the last update involved us putting the flashing under the trailer and taping it all down.
After that, we cut out styrofoam insulation (scroll through my instagram: kasummers to find what I think is a really funny video about styrofoam), put some spray foam insulation to make sure it was all secure, and put the plywood sub-flooring down. I'm hoping we'll have some more in-depth videos on our youtube account coming up. In reality, if you're looking to see basic progress, this is the spot. If you're building your own tiny home, our youtube is the place to be (tinyhouselife), though we need to catch up on our videos.

This week we started framing our walls. They look a little bit like this:



The first collection of pictures is one of our incomplete side walls, the giant saw I learned to use this week, me and my tool belt taking selfies with the convenient space heater, and our incomplete rear wall.

To be fair, Rob is doing most of the work, as will be the case throughout the whole thing. BUT I am great at cutting 2x4's and am helping the best I can. It took us pretty much an entire day (maybe 5-6 hours?) to complete the one side wall. It's all nailed together, we just need to cut the pieces that go across the middle that act as support and fire-stops (literally, in case of fire, it's a piece in the wall designed to slow the fire from spreading). 

I'm proud of Rob. He's putting together everything and getting all the measurements and making huge decisions, and I think he's doing a great job. I fully trust him, even though neither of us have done anything like this before. 

This week we'll continue framing the walls, add certain necessary strengthening hardware, and then put sheathing on the outside (I think) of the walls. Then, they'll go up! I'm really excited to stand on the trailer and be walled in, to really get a feel for the space.

We'll be updating soon!

My goal coming up is to blog about downsizing and our preparations for moving in (even though that's not anytime soon).
Also, we are on Pinterest overload right now. We both have been using it for house ideas, and while it's great, it also makes things a little more difficult. Mainly because it plants all these amazing ideas in our head that we then want to integrate into our house. But really, there's only so much space. So maybe it's time for a Pinterest break :)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Why I Love My Church

{Code Orange Christmas}

Oh, internet. What used to take weeks to circulate now takes mere minutes, thanks to you.

If you don't know, our pastor is building a large house. And a lot of people have a problem with it. A couple of Charlotte news sources have done stories on it, one of the big ones breaking last night. I'm not angry about it, but I'm a little sad because of the way the media puts a specific spin on their reports. It's to be expected. It did lead me to write out a little of why my husband and I choose and love our church. I wrote this in my personal livejournal (which I'm pretty sure no one reads, thankfully), but I wanted to share it. Like I said, I'm not angry or bitter or trying to be defensive. But I do love and honor my pastor for his work in preaching the Gospel of Jesus. I'm thankful for the influence he has had on my life, and I know that being of part of this church is a blessing from God.

+++

i have records, pages, entire notebooks filled with the evidence of how God has worked in my life through elevation church.

it's a church made up of imperfect people. it will never be a perfect place. we'll never get it right all the time. we can only do the best with what we have and do whatever we can to honor God and give Him all the glory.

rob and i evaluate and talk about why we love and attend elevation on a pretty regular basis. we're smart people. we're not sheep, blindly following humans who are able to make mistakes and fail us. we trust God and what He is doing and we follow Him in a way that allows us to have an amazing community around us. we talk about it. we pray about it. we listen to the Holy Spirit. we analyze what we see. we discuss. we move forward. in 7 years, we have never come to the conclusion that this body of believers is bad for us, that pastor steven cannot be trusted or that he's selling us anything other than the word and truth of God, that we shouldn't be here anymore. if we thought for one second that pastor steven was full of himself and was only doing this for his glory and his praise, we would be out the door in a heartbeat, no questions. this church, these people do not follow a man named steven, we follow God. BUT pastor steven is possibly the best and most charismatic, powerful speaker i've ever had the privilege of hearing. he communicates the word of God with power, conviction, and passion. i believe he is anointed by God to preach and teach God's word and that he does it with the utmost excellence AND humility.

i love this church. through it, God has reshaped my life. from a broken, lonely, confused college student, to someone who is growing and learning who they are in Christ. 7 years ago, i was scared. i was a bad friend, i was cutting myself consistently, and i felt like i had no direction in my life. 7 years later, i'm changed. God has done some amazing things in my life. and i'm not saying those things couldn't have happened without elevation. but i'm so glad that i've had this body of Jesus-followers surrounding me, pushing me, encouraging me, and loving me.

i completely understand that the evangelical megachurch is not for everyone. there are people out there that have legitimate reasons to not want to attend a church like elevation. one of my best friends is pretty vocal against some of the core practices of a megachurch. we still love each other, and i don't get offended when i meet people that don't like elevation (except for the people who bash it but have never stepped foot in the doors or given it a chance. that's a bit unfair). i want people to meet Jesus and worship Him in a way that makes sense to them. if that's at a megachurch with multiple campuses and egroups, great. if that's at a small church with 50 members, awesome. whatever fits your life.

we love elevation. we tithe to elevation, not because we feel pressured, but because we know we are giving to God and giving to see more people reached by the Gospel. we volunteer our time and resources, and we've spent years pouring into the community and being poured into.

elevation isn't perfect, and neither are we. God's glory is all that matters, and His grace covers us when we fail. we don't agree with every single detail of what happens at elevation, but we trust that the heart behind it all is to serve and worship God. at the end of the day, we follow God and the Holy Spirit, and for the past seven years and in this moment, He is allowing us to be a part of this amazing movement. and until He tells us otherwise, this is where we will stay planted

Monday, September 16, 2013

Our House, In the Middle of Our Garage

We are building a house!!

Some days I'm terrified.

Some days I'm really excited about it.

Some days I'm just feeling lazy and don't want to do it.

Most days, it's a combination of all of those things.

And yet,

Here we are. Building a house!

On this:




We picked up our trailer a couple weeks ago and have started building. The silver you see on the trailer is the flashing that goes underneath everything to help keep rodents and bugs out. On top of that will go the insulation, followed by the plywood for the floors. Then, we'll start framing our walls!

We've been working on and off for a couple of weeks. I'm hoping we'll find a good rhythm soon. Last week we didn't get any work done because I had some church events and Robert was getting ready to go racing. Hopefully this week, we'll be more productive.

We've also been building a shed at the shop. We've built this partially for practice in building and mostly to have some storage space at our shop. You can see inside the bays in the first picture, and that's just a small glimpse at all of the stuff we have back there. It's a lot. So we made a shed to store it all in. We just need to finish painting it, and it's all done.  Here are some pictures of the building process of the shed.

Important notes: felt paper is the same thing as fiberglass insulation. It will get in your skin and stick there. So don't work on it in shorts and a t-shirt. Just saying...



And here's some of our progress on the trailer. In this first picture, I'm putting down duct tape (think waterproof, higher quality than the kind we used to wrap our bibles in high school) on all of the seams of the flashing. I'm wearing giant ear muffs is because when Rob was drilling all the bolts into the trailer it was hella loud. No thank you.


So that's our update for now. If you're following any or all of our various social media updates, then this is nothing new. It feels weird to be updating everything. I don't want to be redundant or annoying in our updates, but dangit if I'm not excited about this tiny home.

Pinterest has been a massive help through this process. We've created an account specifically for our tiny home that has been helping us gather useful and innovative ideas. Check it out to see what we're thinking.

Other ways to keep up with our progress:

Tumblr
Instagram
Pinterest

The process has been good so far. I've gotten to talk to a lot of people about our decision and our process, and it's really cool. People have been encouraging and interested all around, and I'm excited to keep moving forward!

Another picture, unrelated, included just for funsies.


These ladies!! These are the ladies of my egroup, and I love them. They've made the last year of my life so much richer and happier, and I'm unendingly grateful to have them. That's all :)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Tiny Home Update

A lot has changed and a lot has stayed the same in the last 4 months. Four months ago I posted some pictures of a tiny home we saw in Asheville and how we weren't planning on living in anything quite so small.

Well...

Things have changed.

Our house will be bigger than the 117 square foot Lusby (see previous entry) but not by much. We're planning on building a mix between the CypressFencl and Linden models that you can see at the Tumbleweed website. We have purchased the framing plans for the Cypress 20, but we're going to design the inside however we want (once we figure that out).

Some rough details to start:

-the house will be roughly 144 sq feet
-it will be built on a trailer that is roughly 8x20ft
-we plan to build it at the shop that we own, drive it from there to the property we end up with, and then leave it stationary there
-we plan to live there semi-permanently (a couple of years) until we decide to build a bigger home
-we're super excited!!

We put a down payment on our trailer this week. We purchased a custom built trailer from Kaufman Trailers here in North Carolina. Our trailer should be finished in 4-6 weeks, during which time we'll be collecting raw materials and getting our general plans together for the layout of the house. Our goal is to begin working on the trailer as soon as it gets here.

Today, Robert and I went around to a couple places to get some ideas for materials, decorations, and plans. There are a couple of Habitat for Humanity ReStores in our area, and we also went to Lowe's. In a lot of cases, the prices at a bigger store like Lowe's are similar to what you can find repurposed. It all depends on what you're looking for. The beauty of building a tiny home is that even if the individual materials are just as expensive (if not more so in the case of custom windows and doors), you need less of them!

We're both really excited about moving forward with this. Our family is moderately to incredibly supportive. Our finances are mostly in order. The next step is to start getting rid of some things and keep looking for materials so we can start building soon!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tiny Home, Big Adventure

In my last post, I talked a little about the changes Rob and I are hoping to make in our lives this year and the beginning stages of that.
This weekend, Robert and I spent 2 days in Asheville at a Tumbleweed Tiny Home workshop. We sat in a room with 100 other people, just like us, with similar dreams regarding their home, and we learned more about what it means to build and live in a tiny home. And it was awesome!!

One of my biggest gripes so far in this process has been the lack of support from just about everyone. Our families think we're a little crazy for wanting to live in a smaller-than-"average" home, and our friends seem like they support us and are excited for us but we realized after talking to more people about it that they still thought we were a little weird for wanting to go this route. So sitting in a room with dozens of people who know exactly what you're talking about and where you're coming from is super refreshing!

So, what does tiny living look like?

Well, reeeeally tiny living looks like this:





This is the Lusby. It is a 117 square foot home that you build on a trailer. You can leave it stationary if you want, but most people build them to have some added mobility in their lives. There is a loft for a mattress above the two tiny rooms, and there is space for small appliances, such as a mini refrigerator and stove. If you are prepared to strip down and live simple, I would imagine 2 people could live in this with very little problems.

This is not the house we want for ourselves, it's just the model they brought to the workshop. And honestly, I'm hoping that if we show more people these pictures, they will be less appalled, shocked, and generally pessimistic when we show them our own plans.

Either way, I'm learning more to be excited about what I'm excited about with less apologies. So a tiny home is unconventional? Still excited. So our families think we're a little crazy and haven't thought through everything? Still excited. So I just cut my hair really short and my husband may not love it? Still excited.
Not directly related, but it translates, I promise.

So we decided to drive to Asheville for this workshop because we're ready to start planning and don't want to wait, but the great news is that the Tumbleweed Workshop is actually coming to Charlotte in June! I would love to meet more people who are on the same path that we are in this. Just meeting like-minded people this weekend was enough encouragement in itself. If you think you might be interested at all, you should go! It's not just about the novelty of living in a small home. There's so much more to it than that. There are factors like environmental impact, the benefits of simpler living, and the freedom of having less stuff and less space to manage.

Ella was the presenter for the workshop and she has her own tiny home: The Fencl.
Check it out! And let me know what you think, even if you don't ever want to live in a tiny home.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Out With the Old, End of Story

A couple of months ago, a salad changed everything for us.

No, but really. I was eating a salad for lunch one day, and I turned to Rob and said, "I don't want to keep living the same way we are now."

I had already been thinking about the implications of changing our perspective and living differently, but for some reason, that salad just pushed me over the edge. It sparked new conversations and dreams for Robert and I, and we've been on a new path ever since.

That was a few months ago, and this week we've finished moving out of our apartment and into my mother-in-law's house. We'll stay there while we save money and find some property to buy, and hopefully in 2013 we'll build a house. And a tiny one, at that. Yes, we are on a journey to simplify!

For me, that fateful salad really represented my desire to change the way I live daily, mostly in terms of food. Right now, we eat crap, we don't pay attention to where our food is coming from or what is in it, and we're not being responsible for our foodie decisions. Because we run our own business, the easiest thing each day is to grab fast food and eat it quickly before moving on to the next things, and it's just so awful. I want to change the way we see food and the way we eat it.

Along with my desire the change the way we eat, I want to change the way we live altogether. More and more, I am convicted about all the "stuff" we have. All the junk, the garbage, the pointless bits and pieces. We hold on to so much stuff!! "Stuff" has quickly become a four letter word in my mind, and I want to get rid of it all. So as we moved out of our 1200 sq ft apartment, we made a real effort to let go of some of the things we've held on to. For us, we had a second bedroom filled with things that we forgot we even had, but somehow it was still hard to let go of some of them. Because we've been trained to want more stuff and keep it all. Thankfully, in the end, we were able to give away about two cars full of things to Goodwill, plus 5-10 bags of trash. And that is only scratching the surface. We moved the rest of our stuff into a 10x15 storage unit, and the plan is to go back every so often and keep pruning.

The process has been disappointingly difficult. I'm sad that we care so much about the things that we own. I'm sad that we own so much and that it's so hard to give away. I'm sad that the hardest part for me will be training myself to not buy new stuff every time I see something pretty at target or convince myself we don't have enough. I'm sad that living simply/minimalistic is unusual in our part of the world. I'm mostly sad at the shocked/horrified faces of others when we tell them we want to get rid of all our crap and live in a tiny home.

I didn't realize until this year that as an adult, I can do any freaking thing I want to. I really didn't get that. But now I do. And now I want to do something awesome. I want to live a better life with my husband. I want to dream big, even when others don't understand or aren't along for the ride. So this is where we start. Getting rid of the old stuff, changing the way we buy new stuff, and rebooting the way we live. I can't wait to update more on our next steps!