Tiny living isn’t just about the house

When we started this journey to tiny living 5 years ago, it seemed so obvious. The goal, the end result, was reducing possessions, reexamining our classification of ‘need’ in terms of space and stuff so we could create a simpler life for ourselves and children. It was about simplifying, cutting out the excess. Sure some sort of deepness was there within it. It wasn’t completely about do we need 4 mixing bowls and place settings for 16 but how do we actually live and envision our future life. Is cooking so important it justifies those 4 bowls? Is entertaining a focus to justify the extra place settings?

What I did not count on is how much it actually causes you to examine and learn about yourself on the much deeper levels. Stripping the clutter and chaos of stuff leaves just the basics, the core. It does the same thing internally, mentally. There is less distractions to hide behind. No longer a slave to cleaning the house for 6 hours or working 80 hour weeks. Cleaning is done in an hour tops and 40 hours funds most everything. And then what?

I don’t really know the direction of this blog now. But I know I don’t want it to end. This has been an issue I’ve been toying with for a year. This big project is almost complete. Perhaps that contributed to the extended time off. And then what? What am I if not an off grid tiny house builder? No more projects to research. No more searching for opinions on best practices or neat and inventive design ideas. No more pro cons for each method. No more seeing an issue and finding a creative fix. No more excusable mental clutter. Clutter to hide behind, to distract. Just the core of who we are, who I am.

While I noticed a couple of years ago that as we were building the house the house was building us. What I did not realize is how deep and far reaching that would be. I didn’t have to think about it, I had other distractions to keep my mind focused. Only those past issues and hurts became magnified in the house building process. My obsessive and perfectionistic need with doing things the “right” way, my response to failures and the unexpected. All fall back to one simple thing – my outward behaviors may have changed but my core, the reason I respond in those ways, is the same broken girl. Eliminating the extra allows the core to be revealed. And if allowed, truly healed.

It’s a messy process. A stack of lumber doesn’t magically become a finished home. It is an unrecognizable stack of basic materials waiting for someone to do the work to transform them, to bring about the vision of what it will become. Disorder before the pieces are brought into a recognizable order. Repeat it dozens of times with interior wall coverings, cabinetry and finally detailed finish carpentry work to smooth out the rough seams. With enough persistence, struggle and dedication, it becomes a beautiful masterpeice with no evidence of the blood, sweat and tears that went into the process. Except to those who watched it unfold step by step or have done similar.

Sound familiar? We humans aren’t all that different. And while most of us stop when it becomes painful, when the internal mess is revealed, we should push through, allow Our Father to bring order to the chaos we created, to bring about the beautiful masterpiece He has intended all along. I am broken. But I’m not so broken I am unfixable by Him. Neither are you.

Throwback – July 2015

A busy June ran straight into a busy July. We had crazy summer rains which flooded out our fav lake spot. This is not it but just a local pond. All. That. Rain. Wowee!!

No worries, the rain didn’t stop the heat or the summer fun from coming!

4th of July at the future-in-laws. Kind of hard to photograph that when you are busy trying to direct and feed 15 children who are excited to go shoot fireworks. πŸ˜‚

I got my beautiful 30 day heart monitor. That was kind of a pain, kind of cool too and kind of creepy. πŸ˜‚ Can’t get it wet, don’t take it off for more than 15 min or so, long enough to take a quick shower. The phone must stay in close proximity to the device. Change the leads that seriously irritate your skin every other day. If you feel anything weird push the button. If you don’t, it’s fine, you’re under constant monitoring anyway. πŸ˜„ All in all, it wasn’t bad and told them exactly what they needed to know.

Lady’s 12th birthday! The only thing she wanted was to go to the lake. Like just about every other year. πŸ˜‚ So of course we happily obliged together with the future in laws (I really need to come up with a name for them!). Hot dogs, cake, swimming. A hot but fun day!

Then it was VBS! The bigs were all serving with the children. As for me? Mama stays away from the madness and serves the volunteers up in hospitality. πŸ˜‰ Surely I don’t have to explain why, right? πŸ˜†

‘Jesus is our Superhero’ was the theme. So. Much. Fun! In small doses. And mostly from upstairs. πŸ˜‚ We brought Jenns girls so I tried to sneak down randomly and get some pics for her. πŸ˜‰

Lady was with Purple Team – volunteers Littles who aren’t old enough for actual VBS so they have their very own full of fun stuff to entertain 2-5 year olds. For 4 days. They always do such a awesome job! BabyGirl just wasn’t having it though. Bless her and them, she cried every night. After food was served I would go get her.

Aren’t these the neatest! I probably have 100 pictures so I really hope I have one of everyone! Lady was still with BabyGirl in Little VBS.

Lenten Preparation

A sad sad day is coming. We started Season 6 of the Gilmore Girls. I started it right before the inauguration. The girls joined in. We had a 3 day binge-fest and tried to avoid as much political as we could. I still got sucked into a few “conversations” but not near as many. Job well done!πŸ˜† It’s now become an almost daily habit. And who can say no to a cute 4 year old put up by her older sisters to ask with a sweet voice “mama, can we watch get more, ugh, gimmore, ugh, giiiwl-more girls?”

We’ve been able to keep the addiction on the acceptable level. Mostly. Except for the last few days when it was pushed into hyper drive. Saturday marathon βœ” Monday half day βœ” Tuesday half day complete with a Gilmore spread βœ”

We may have a problem.

And here we are, 45 episodes to go (including the newest released update ones) and feeling like we need to slow down and savor the one-sided relationship that we quickly see coming to an end. Pretty sure it’s going to feel like a break up. Or a moving away. Or something just as tragic after spending some 157 hours with them in a 6ish week period (if we continue the same pattern we’ve had). Maybe we have a problem. I refuse rehab.

No worries – it can’t last forever. The next round we can savor it more and look for deets we missed the first go. And next Wednesday is Ash Wednesday. The begining of Lent. So that’s going to slow it down a lot because for some crazy reason I got an equally crazy idea.

I’m giving up news and Facebook.
For 40 days.

Not because I’m addicted to FB, I turn it off for days with no issue. But it’s inevitable I will see a political something I don’t have a full knowledge of, have to go learn the sides, then come back and discuss it. Which is never really the intention from the original poster. And then I have to try and understand their side, make my point and attempt to find the agreement points. Which is basically pointless on the social media platform. I know that. And yet continue. Sad huh?

Politics and world events is to me like coffee is to Lorelei. And it’s not good for me to let it take so much of my mental energy or time when the truth is, I can’t do anything about any of it. So I’m giving it up. Fasting from it. For 40. Whole. Days.

But what will I do to divert my never ending mind you ask? I’ve been trying to figure out my “take up”. And think I found it.

Finish the house and land that God arranged for us. It doesn’t sound like a spiritual thing to take up and bring me/us closer to God, honestly my first thoughts were it’s rather selfish. But He didn’t put us here for nothing, it’s part of His plan for some reason. We haven’t done our part. We’ve had a year off, plans for longer. Time to implement it all. Plans are currently in the works for each week and day. Whirlwind is the goal. Transformation will be the outcome. Or at least “finish the million and 1 half and almost done projects that have built up and the accompanying mental drain by seeing them daily”.

I have secured a mother’s helper for the week of Spring Break and am in the process of finding what I need to bribe 2 teen boys with. More if I can find a few extra victims willing helpers. Even better if I could aquire a tractor for a day or two. Yeah, I’m that serious. 😁 Let’s hope the rest of the fam is in agreement and helps out. πŸ˜—

After the 40 days, we can sit back, enjoy and wait for the next step to take. I’m so ready! I think. 😜

Throwback Thursdays- June 2015 – San Antonio

Now let me continue our insane summer adventure from Part 1 cause it’s just getting started… πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

So we left Nashville with the Busa Crew and headed home, finally making it somewhere around 3am. I took a short nap, we repacked and headed off to San Antonio. Remember with 2 puking children. No worries, soon after the trip began, Mr Littlest and Missy were not alone in their misery, BabyGirl joined in on the fun. I called and let them know what we were dealing with so they could figure out sleeping arrangements.

The first part of the trip wasn’t to horrible. We stopped every 2 hours or so for potty, trash can emptying and cleanups. I left prepared with plenty of snacks and drinks. πŸ˜‰βœŠ At one point, almost to Greenville, something told me to get off the interstate to get lunch and gas even though it was earlier than planned. The sky was looking crazy and fighting to do that in a rainstorm didn’t sound fun. Good thing to because the interstate was shut down outside of Greenville. That little voice popped up again, get off the interstate. So I did.

Lesson learned – listen to that voice even if it doesn’t make logical sense at the moment.

We crawled on the access road for about 30 min to find out all the roads were flooded and closed. A K turn became a 15 point turn trying to turn the beast of a vehicle on a tiny country access road around. No data signal, spotty call reception. And no clue how to get around the city. Finally got a call out to Mr to find me a new route. While he’s looking I asked a nice older gentleman who pointed me in the right direction. It was only a few hour detour north and around to Dallas through some pretty country scenery.

Couple hours past Dallas, I pulled into a truck stop, parked us with the 18 wheelers, hung up some sheets and blankets over the windows, piled up bags between the front seats and laid my butt across it for some sleep. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Exhausted didn’t describe my state. Delirious may have been an appropriate term by that point.

The next morning we finally made it. Have I told yall what amazing awesome Travelers our children are? Seriously I don’t think I could have asked for a better bunch to go with my wanderlust self. They are so adaptive and portable and just roll with whatever adventures we come across in our journeys. They had been in the van for a combined 30 driving hours in a 72 hour period. The bigs helping the younger sick ones when needed so I could drive and not have to double the times we did pull over. Had to brag on them for a minute. πŸ˜‰

We spent the first day doing last minute prep and hanging out with family. Then the hard day began.

This was the first time I had to deal with a close death up close and personal. But I had a focus. Make it not scary for the children, be strong for my sister and dad. Easy peasy. Mostly. Until the service. Grandma’s church had a lovely lunch for the family before the service. It was nice to be loved on during the crazy emotional ups and downs. As the preacher started talking, I began to lose it. The drive to the cemetery was long but a welcomed break in between crying sessions. Then more tears. Beautiful service for a lovely lady.

She may have entered my life when I was 7 but she never made me feel less than part of the family. Never using the word “step”. And funny enough, a few of the cousins found out for the first time that week that we weren’t bio. That’s how inclusive she was from the very begining. Family was always #1 for her. Long talks on the porch. Stories. Always lots of stories. A gem she was.

A couple of days later we met up with my bio dad and visited the ranch we lived at before. Driving around after so much had changed in life was surreal. It was so familiar but so different. I had changed much in those few years. We spent a few hours playing Ingress. Like always, shocked there were so many amazing places we had passed a million times yet had no idea was there! Then we started the uneventful drive back home, from the whirlwind to a few days of rest and processing.

Throwback Thursday – June 2015, Persepolis Anomaly

This was one crazy month. Summer and all of its crazy started in full swing. Bou turned 17, our girls were staying with Jenns girls all the time. Like everyday. For weeks. πŸ˜‚ You know that is a special kind of relationship when you have 3 girls that match up perfectly with 3 more and they can be together for days and weeks and not have it fall into mean girl ugliness. Even more awesome when you have a mama that is totally good with having the extras, even saying it brings sanity to her life and asks for them! πŸ˜‚

We had an Ingress anomaly weekend trip planned to Nashville on the 20th then one of my Grandma’s passed away. Expected but still so hard. We weren’t sure of arrangements but it turned out, we would have a whirlwind of a week. We could go to the anomaly but would have to leave late Saturday night when it was over, drive home, repack, then the children and I would head off to San Antonio Sunday morning. Ready, set, go!

We took off Friday after a half day for Mr and drove the 6 hours. We had the truck serviced before we left. Thankfully Mr was with us on that leg because when we got there we noticed it was leaking oil. Not good at all. Thankfully it wasn’t to bad, they didn’t put a plug in right or something, Mr was able to fix it and add more oil.

It was a crazy insane but fun event. Mr was colead for our team. Our team consisted of us plus Busa’s crew – him, Jenn, the 3 girls and Pman and some other people that I didn’t have much (any) time to talk to. So let’s just picture this for a moment – 1 dad who had 100 other tasks to do, 1 dad who would be with us or Mr depending on need, 2 mama’s, children aged 2,3,6,8,8,11,12,12,13,17. One of the 12 year Olds slit open the bottom/side of her foot the day before in a bike accident but insisted she wanted to go and could walk the 6 hour, 10ish mile day, the 6 and one of the 8 year olds were starting to not feel good that morning. Oh dear.

We did all the preanomaly meet and greet stuff, got some Swag, checked the map to determine routes. I was thinking we could drive most of it, was denied by higher ups, they needed us on ground. Grr but ok. Double stroller loaded with 2 children, snacks for each child and each measurement, water, blankets and napkins. Single umbrella stroller for the other little one with the diaper bag of more “might needs”.

The first 2 measurements went well. We were able to maneuver our large crew around the city fairly well and do our thing to hold control of the portals. The 2nd cluster ended with a kind of cool kid walk as the portals were inside a secure courtyard in the middle of a building that our little team had been given access to. After holding the portals and walking out the doors through the other teams crowd who did their best from such a distance but just couldn’t gain control… yeah, it was a high moment. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd cluster (3 hours into it), it all started to fall apart. πŸ˜‚ cut foot was having a hard time walking. “Girls, put her arms over your shoulders and be her crutches.” While at the 3rd cluster, 1 of the 2 upset bellies puked. Puked yall. It’s ok, it was on the sidewalk, rinse it off with some water, clean her up. We still got this. Not 5 min later, the other one. In the stroller. All over the place. And we had 15 minutes to get to the next cluster. In downtown Nashville.

Ahhhhh!

We (I, since it was my child lol) quickly cleaned him up, check the map and decided the truck was a much better option being only a slight detour from the route needed to get to the next cluster. So we beelined. Bolted as fast as our sick, injured and weary crew could go then drove to the next cluster. Happy to report, we made it on time *and* held the portal. πŸ˜πŸ‘ŠβœŠ

And decided we would never walk another anomaly again.

The after party was at the Parthenon replica. And apparently our battle weary puking, injured but still made it crew was a topic in a few conversations. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Sadly it was Saturday after 4pm so it was closed but we got to walk around the outside at least. Beautiful!! And huge!

Final results – Resistance (that’s us) won the Persepolis Anomaly event and the series. πŸ’™πŸ’™

We hung out for a little bit, got some dinner together and then started the *longest drive home eva*!

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