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I am a pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world. -Mother Teresa

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Why It's Ok to be a Terrible Runner

Jordan Fortenboher is an amazing woman as you will see from her guest post below. She has an awesome blog where you'll be able to check out the post I wrote for it today about my experience making pottery. I appreciate what Jordan has to say about finding God in everyday experiences. As someone who used to hate running (& still avoids it most of the time), I enjoyed her honesty here. I hope you do, too!


A few weeks ago, as much as I hate running, I decided to push myself to go for a quick run at a nearby park.  Dusk was approaching and I forgot my headphones.  It certainly felt eerie hearing only leaves rustling in the heat of July.

Let me be clear--I am not much of a runner.  But lately, I have been trying to discipline myself and exercise--plus I have been striving to do so in many areas of my life.

And this striving brings worry.  What if I'm not good enough to run well to the end?  What if people running by think I am weak for only running in short bursts?

And this was not the best day to run.  The heat of the scorching day lagged steamy between the tree leaves.  Each and every air molecule seemed to be bursting with humidity, like a thick mist suspended and still, only cut by the warm skin of those daring enough to journey through it.

I was really trying to run well, but I felt held back.  Hot air sticking in my burning lungs, leg muscles aching, I stopped.  I looked up and around me.  I was alone on this difficult path.

A gentle voice welled up inside of me:  "Be free."

How?  I thought.  I am not a runner.  I am chained down by imperfection and not-enough-ness and...there it was again.  That voice:

"Be free, like the trees who let their leaves dance in the breeze, singing their rustling song to Me.  Be free, child.  Breathe with intention instead of fear."

I closed my eyes and listened to the trees around me, leaves rustling without a care.  My lungs burned but I let go of a sliver of fear each time I breathed out.  And I desperately sucked in God's strength in its place.

The journey of seeking God is not easy.  Sometimes we run freely, other times we have to slow our pace to a walk.  And sometimes we face-plant.  But the command of the LORD is still the same:  "Do not fear; I am with you." (Isaiah 41:10, paraphrased).

"Live with intention and freedom in ME instead of fear" was the message from the Holy Spirit that day.

Suddenly I felt convicted, not about my running, but about my whole life.  All this striving I was doing was taking my mind away from trusting in God.  It was directing my thoughts toward fear.

My heart can get so clenched up in anxiety that I don't even notice until I'm practically falling over on a running trail!  The muscles of faith in my spirit were just as tired as my lungs.  I was only working up worry in all of my effort.

I stood still, breathing in and out, remembering this verse:
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  (2 Corinthians 3:17, ESV)
FREEDOM.  Not panic.  Not perfectionism.  Not chains of worry.  Not slavery to fear.  But freedom in Christ.

And maybe, just maybe, as we let go of our fear and lean in to the strength of Christ, we can start to lean in to the flow of the story He is writing for us.  Maybe, as He orchestrates the symphony of our lives, we can loosen up a little and be free like the dancing leaves of the trees.

Whether life brings a strong wind or a gentle breeze, maybe our lives could be released from our tight, fearful grip and lifted up in a song of praise to God.  Every trip, every stumble, every victory...maybe it's all a song to Him.  Maybe it's all about putting one foot in front of the other, one step at a time, in obedience.

Maybe being brave is all about shaking off the chains of fear and walking freely in trust.

Jordan Fortenboher is a writer, worship leader, and wife.  She lives in the Cincinnati area where she blogs about faith and bravery.  You can read more on her blog, http://jordanforty.me, and connect with her on twitter (@jordanforty) or her facebook page.

Sunday, August 17, 2014


I found these fun facts about Michigan here:

  • The name Michigan is derived from the Indian words "Michi-gama" meaning large lake. 

  • Michigan is the only state that touches four of the five Great Lakes.

  • Anywhere in Michigan, you are within 85 miles of one of the Great Lakes.

These were found here:

  • Colon is home to the world's largest manufacture of magic supplies.  

  • Gerald R. Ford grew up in Grand Rapids and became the 38th president of the United States He attended the University of Michigan where he was a football star. He served on a World War II aircraft carrier and afterward represented Michigan in Congress for 24 years. He was also was an Eagle Scout, the highest rank in Boy Scouts. 

  • The Packard Motor Car Company in Detroit manufactured the first air-conditioned car in 1939. 

  • The Kellogg Company has made Battle Creek the Cereal Capital of the World. The Kellogg brothers accidentally discovered the process for producing flaked cereal products and sparked the beginning of the dry cereal industry.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I Was Homeschooled But My Child Is Not

 I'd like to introduce you to my new friend, Mindy, who has so kindly allowed me to share this post and also to do a guest post for her blog. Check out what I had to say on her health & wellness blog, and enjoy her story here.
Hi everyone!  I am a recently thirty-year-old person, and I also happen to be a wife and a mother. I'm a day-jobber with a freelance writing addiction.  I like moderate exercise resulting in a maximum of moderate amounts of sweat, the color purple, discussing science with my six-year-old daughter, and food.  If you want to read more about me, or read more of my posts, come visit me at www.mindyminix.wordpress.com
Thank you, Megan, for blog swapping with me!  You are an amazing lady, and this has been a wonderful experience!
I was an odd child, or, at least that is how I felt growing up.  My mother homeschooled me and my two brothers.  Homeschooling has grown in popularity since I was a kid.  I dare say it is almost cool to homeschool your children these days.  When I was a child, though, the only other homeschoolers I encountered were generally odd, to say the least.  Because every homeschooler I met was odd, I just assumed that meant I was odd, too.
When people find out I was homeschooled most of my childhood, they usually have questions.  It is so hard to produce succinct answers, though.  I will try to sum up my homeschool experience here.
I look back on things, and I try to keep in mind that I am looking through the eyes of a child.  I wasn't an adult experiencing this, or even (initially, anyway) an older child.  My first memory of learning something significant was when my parents taught me to tie my shoes.  It was a joint effort, both mom and dad encouraging and working with me.  I remember learning to write my name, and then learning to write my middle and last name as well.  I don't remember these events taking much cajoling or significant effort on my parents' parts.  I wish I could say it all stayed that way.
In my experience, there are definitely some families that make homeschooling look easy.  There are other families that obviously have difficulties, but they stick to a schedule and they push through together.  From where I sit right now, it seemed messy, chaotic, and unorganized compared to those families.
Mom let us sleep until we woke up, and then she fed us when we said we were hungry.  Sometimes that meant she cooked three separate times just for breakfast.  If I could knock out an entire day's worth of workbook material in less than two hours and get each answer correct, I was done.  If I insisted I wanted to play outside first before completing any of my work, that was okay, too.
Some days if the weather was beautiful, we would go to the park for a few hours and play and hike and picnic.  When we finally started looking bored, she would bring out some random curriculum.  One of us would sit at a picnic table and work with mom while the other two kids played.  We took turns as she taught us.  I don't remember ever going over every subject in a single day.  We usually focused on just one subject matter each day. I always had a spelling test on Tuesdays, though.
Something I have said that usually makes people laugh is that I didn't learn to read until I was at least seven-years-old.  Sadly, I'm not kidding.  My mother tried teaching me to read at age three, four, five, and six, and she tried many different approaches. But the problem was me!  I wasn't interested.  I was a stubborn, headstrong, self-absorbed brat, and she was NOT going to make me learn.  I look back on this and shake my head at the child I was all those years ago.  I didn't learn to read until my best friend was reading every book, sentence, and word we came in contact with everywhere we went!  How ridiculous of me!  How did my mother not strangle me?  Let's just say, Hooked On Phonics worked for me.
My brother has dyslexia.  We didn't know he had dyslexia until he was almost an adult.  He was a slow reader, but he was good at everything else he did.  I remember within a year of learning to read, I passed him up in reading.  I was reading stories much longer and more complex, and in a fraction of the time.  He was three years older than me, too.  My mother didn't hold me back from reading three to four grade levels higher than I should have been, and she also didn't stop my brother from learning high-school level math at age twelve.  Eventually, I helped my brother with reading, and he helped me with math.
I get asked a lot would I homeschool my child.  My answer every time without hesitation is a resounding no.  I used to resent that I was homeschooled, that I had a different story than most people.  I hated that I didn't have yearbooks, or school pictures, or friends except for those I met in church.  Those are all the reasons I would have given for not homeschooling before my daughter became old enough for school.  Now, as a parent that is finally understanding where my mother was coming from, the answer is still no, but for different reasons.
I look back at what looks like chaos and I see an overwhelming pattern emerge. My mother was loving, patient, and she didn't take any crap. She taught us everything, including common sense. The most important part, the overwhelming pattern, is that she was there.
I graduated high school from a real school. It was small, but it wasn't school at home and it wasn't GED class. I graduated top of my class. I also have the best little girl in the world that is kind and loving and smart. I learned from my mother how important it is to be there for your children.
I wouldn't homeschool my child, though. It just isn't for me. It just isn't for my child, either. I would readily support any homeschooling family, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for an alternative lifestyle. It gave me so much more time with my family.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

How to Decide if You Should be a Nanny: 9 Simple Questions

"Were you born before or after World War II?" 

That's what "my" 9 year old girl asked me one night before bed. 

I've been a full-time nanny of four (ages 6, 9, 12, 16) since January of this year. 

And I'm realizing there's an endless supply of hilarious things they say. 

If you've ever considered being a nanny (or know someone who has), then I hope this post will help in the decision of whether or not it's something to really pursue:

1. Are you okay with working 2nd shift? There have been weeks where I didn't see my mom even though I live with her because she was asleep when I got home and gone to work when I woke up. It's definitely something to keep in mind when considering being a nanny. Many children are in school, so you'll probably be on a different schedule than the 9 to 5 crowd. For me at least, the hours are fairly flexible. I can go in early to buy groceries, prep a meal, clean rooms, do laundry and dishes, or I can just be there in time to pick them up from school or get them off the bus. Then I can finish things up after they've gone to bed. Some days I'll go in at 10am then others at 4pm.

2. Do you not mind being made to feel old? Besides the WWII question, these kids can make me feel old. Last night I told the boy that I was his age twenty. years. ago. They've also never heard of things that were a big part of my childhood. Speaking of my childhood...

3. Do you want to feel guilty for your behavior as a child? I thought I was the easiest kid to raise ever. I never broke a bone, never did drugs, always made good grades. Yeah, that's great, but kids are still a lot of work and responsibility. It takes brainpower to teach a kid to be respectful while also making sure they do their homework that gives them "a headache," eat their supper that's "disgusting," and go to sleep because it's an hour passed their bedtime. I'm sorry, Mama.

4. Do you love adventure? Every week, if not every day, is an adventure. Sometimes it's a walk to the pond to throw rocks, or a visit to their school book fair, or a trip to Chuck E. Cheese, or almost an entire day in the Apple store because someone dropped her phone. Every day is different enough to be fun, but enough stays the same (like the kids' names and where their house is) so that it doesn't feel like it's my first day again. Not that my first day was bad; I just didn't know where anything in their house was or what their routines were.
Another unexpected adventure was making an adorable Dorothy outfit for her "dress up as a book character" day at school.

5. Do you like the idea of getting paid to read and be read to? My boss' secretary told me that the only thing he's said to her about me is, "She stays a little later than other nannies, but she reads to my kids and I like that." I was just doing what they asked me to, although I do read more than one book a night. Reading is important to most parents (& teachers), so it's a huge plus if you enjoy it!

6. Do you genuinely care about people you just met? The mom told me with tears in her eyes that it's so hard to find someone like me who really cares about their children. I didn't feel like I had done anything special; it's just natural for me to care about people. That will make your job so much easier. If you don't care about people, don't waste your time or theirs. I've had a job where they told me maybe I care too much about the kids, so there are jobs where you don't have to care so much. Being a nanny is not one of them.

7. Do you love to laugh? The 6 year old went outside in his PJs to get his dad from the barn. So when he got back, I asked him to put his shoes away. I went upstairs searching for crayons for their upcoming vacation. He finds me in the laundry room later and says, "Megan, I have something funny to tell you. I just walked all around the house looking for my shoes! Then I realized they were on my feet the whole time." It's a good lesson to learn now, buddy. I'm glad he was such a good sport about it. And I love that he wanted to tell me; otherwise I wouldn't have had that great laugh. They do and say things daily to make me laugh. Every single one of them has cracked me up! Not only is is good for you if you like laughing, but it helps them be in a better mood and see you as more approachable.

8. Are you ready to be able to relate to nine-tenths of the things moms say? "I miss my kids already, and I just left them. And I'll see them again in 2 days." I never thought I'd say that about my own kids much less anyone else's. I've also caught myself thinking, "I'm excited to fold laundry because I get to sit down." I read a post of things about being a mom, and one of them said, "You run toward vomit instead of away from it." I had just done that the week before. Cleaned it up & also did the whole "hold her hair back while she's bent over the trashcan" thing. This was so unexpected for me.

9. Can you handle being treated like family? This includes being ignored, locked out of the house, and complained to. The day after I wrote the first draft of this post, one kid said, "I'm glad you're not going to the beach with us," because I had to make her clean her room before they left. Being a nanny can be hard on your emotions. You have to be able to let stuff go and remember you are awesome even when the kids don't think you are. But being treated like family also includes being invited to lunch at school, having inside jokes, getting an unexpected hug, and being given a valentine card with a note from each one! They'll break your heart, but they'll also melt it.

If you answered yes to most of these questions, I highly recommend signing up on Care.com which is where I found this job as well as other part-time babysitting jobs. There are lots of opportunities according to zipcode, & it's easy to use. Oh, and it's free! I'm happy to answer any questions you have about it or about being a nanny in general.

If you've been a nanny, what questions would you add to this list?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Get Your Fun Mail Postcards Here

Today is the last day to help Chris on his cycling trip from Seattle to NYC. And if you donate $10, you get a postcard from one of the states they travel through. If you donate $15, you get 3! Thought you might like to know. :)

Read more about it here, & sign up for my newsletter if you'd like to be sure not to miss similar posts.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Best Advice I've Received Without Knowing It

"Never go on a diet," & "Be careless!"

They both sound like really bad advice at first. But...

When my sister told me to never go on a diet, I had no idea how helpful this would be for me.

I'm guessing I was in middle or high school. We were walking around the track. We had seen our mother diet, like many others, with great success only to re-gain all of the weight.

Around that time, my very overweight father told me that he used to wear jeans in "slim" sizes, too, when he was my age.

So what did I do to avoid becoming like my parents (at least in terms of being overweight)?

I did not go on a diet.

Instead, I made small choices to drink more water (where I'm now to the point of never drinking soda), try new vegetables, and make sure I continue doing things I love that are active (swimming, climbing trees, walking). It has led to me also finding new things I love (kayaking, backpacking, rock climbing, contra dancing).

At that moment, neither of us had any idea that I would remember that conversation with my sister 10 or 15 years later. I'm the same size as I was then (which also means, yes, I'm short!) and have never been on a diet.

"Be careless."

My dad used to say this to us as children all the time. I loved it! While the rest of the adult world (and even sometimes other children) was screaming, "Be careful!" he gave permission to make mistakes.

He seemed to really use it as reverse psychology and a joke. I loved the playfulness of the phrase as if he was saying he didn't care if we got hurt, but I could hear in his voice that he did. It wasn't as annoying as hearing someone say for the thousandth time to "be careful." When they said that, it seemed to mean, "Stop whatever you are doing and do something that involves less risk because I don't want to have to take you to the hospital if you get hurt."

For me, his phrase to be careless has so much more meaning.

In that one phrase, I would hear also:

  • Be careful, while you continue to try this somewhat dangerous/scary thing you are doing because I don't want you to get hurt, but I do want you to have fun and grow and learn new things.
  • Be carefree. Don't worry about if other people think it's too scary. Trust yourself, and know your limits. But also test them because if you don't, they will always remain your limits.
  • Be sloppy. It's ok sometimes. Don't be a perfectionist. Don't fear showing your weaknesses. It's hard to make anything without making mistakes. Learn from them, fix them when you can, but make them. And with them you will make memories, and friends, and beauty.

I don't think this is exactly what my siblings heard when he said this; they may not even remember him saying it. But until I watched this excellent interview with Grant Cardone in which he mentioned that he told his nanny not to tell his kids to "be careful" but to "be dangerous," I didn't realize what great advice (that he probably didn't even consider to be advice) my dad had given and how it may have affected the choices I make even today.

What's the best advice you've ever gotten?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

3 Reasons I'm Glad I was $25k in Debt

This is the letter I received after my first of 5 student loans was paid off. And it felt awesome. First reason I'm glad I had debt?

1. Accomplishment. The feeling of accomplishment is not enough to make the debt worth it. I could have also felt accomplished if I'd saved all of that money to buy land. But it is great being able to look back at how much you owed and measure how much of your goal you've reached.

It's a great confidence-booster and teacher of discipline. It has helped me develop good financial habits and minimize bad ones. This will help me in my future endeavors, which include saving up to buy that land I mentioned earlier. Now I know it's possible not just for some people to save $25k in less than 3 years, but it is possible for me to do it.

As I said, though, that accomplishment alone is not enough to have made the debt worth it. So I shall continue.

After finding out how much I owed in student loans while in my last semester of college, I remember singing "Oh, praise the One Who paid my debt..."

I began to think about how I would treat someone if they paid that $25,000 debt for me.

I'd be so thankful and feel kind of guilty and embarrassed. I'd be amazed at their kindness. I would probably talk about it in whispered tones of wonder and almost disbelief.

My love of handwritten letters would cause me to write a thank-you note first.

Then I'd want to live my life in such a way that they wouldn't regret paying the debt for me. This would mean working hard to take care of myself, not being wasteful, and paying it forward by helping others. I'd also want to stay in touch with that person to let them know what their sacrifice helped me do and become. Staying in touch would also allow me to know what ways I could be helpful to them in return even though it would be nowhere near what they did for me.

This leads us to my second reason for being glad I had that much debt.

2. Gratefulness. I'm grateful to all of the people who helped me along the way by giving me a place to live, a job (with free delicious and usually healthy food!), and encouragement and advice.

I'm also grateful for the friends I have who "confessed" that they continue to defer their loans. My boss has even told me most people never pay theirs back as if I shouldn't either. Although I don't agree, there is a debt that I can't repay. As my friend said about her student loans, "I just keep hitting 'defer, defer, defer.'" It seems like such a hopeless place to be. The debt always hanging over your head, lurking in the back of your mind as you try to enjoy your life. You're just not really free. You're trapped knowing there's nothing you can do to pay it.

Then Someone pays it for you.

That sin I know I can never work hard enough to erase? Yeah, Someone paid that debt for me. That bigger debt. (Luke 7:41-43 & 47) That's gratefulness. That's freedom. And that's what hit home when I was  $25k in debt. If I would do all of those things for someone if they had paid my financial debt, why not do them for the One Who paid my spiritual debt?

Maybe $25,000 doesn't sound like much to you. Now that my debt is less than $5k, it doesn't seem like as much to me either, especially when I hear stories of people who have paid off $250k. I'm learning not to compare that way, though. They might make over 4 times more than I do. But that still doesn't mean it's easy for them. Or they could have 3 kids. But just because I don't have any children doesn't mean I haven't had to sacrifice.

Which leads to my third reason I'm glad I had so much debt.

Photo by my 12-year-old niece, Grace

3. Inspiration. I've been so caught up in the sacrifice, the giving-three-fourths-of-my-income-to-pay-off-student-loans that I didn't even stop to think that this part of my life could inspire others. Maybe a little but not really. I was excited for myself to be out of debt, but I didn't think I could help others until mine was completely paid off.

Then I shared the basics of my story with a group on Facebook last month.

Their responses were all it took to change my outlook. It's the reason I've written this post. I want to encourage you in practical ways as others have done for me.

No, paying debt isn't all about sacrifice and discipline, hard work, and being deprived. I have gone on a trip out of the country every year since I began paying my debt! I would be without months of these amazing memories if I'd let my debt keep me back:

  • I spent Christmas (and 2 weeks!) in England with three lovely friends visiting Jane Austen & C. S. Lewis/J. R. R. Tolkien sights & so much more. 
  • I went on my first road trip which was with my younger brother for 40 days! From Georgia to Alaska through Canada
  • A few months later I was invited to raft the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon (which I had never seen) for 17 days. I actually considered not going because of finances. So glad I went anyway! 
  • The next year I raised over $1,000 thanks to generous friends to go on a mission trip to Thailand where I had so much fun playing with children in an orphanage.

Having that to look forward to keeps me going when I have to give up smaller things or even other big things like having my own place to live (instead I live with family for now).

Don't give up everything that's important to you in order to pay your debt.

Some sacrifices aren't worth making.

*Update: I have now paid off my loans! Click here to read about what I didn't expect after paying off my debt.

Though I'm not an expert, I do have some experience. So let me know if you have any questions. I'd love to help you if I can!

Do you have any different reasons you've been glad you had your own debt?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

DIY home for less than $3500

"Do something today that your future self will thank you for."

I wrote this on my hand after a friend shared it on my facebook page. Although I've decided to wait until about August to buy my trailer & start building my tiny house, I'm not waiting until then to "do something." By the 1st week of July, I should be able to have my student loans paid off, and then I can save money for the trailer. It seems so far away, but I know it will be worth it. So for now I'm still coming up with ideas, meeting new people, & reading all the awesome links people are sending me now that they know I'm going to do this. I'm already at the point of thanking myself for things I've done in the past.

This is the video that first inspired me to undertake this task.

After seeing other houses being built, I had begun to think that my goal of spending less than $5000 was
absolutely impossible. I didn't even remember that this one had only cost $3500 until my aunt posted it this week, & I watched it for the 2nd time...& the first time since I decided to start building this year. I'd love to build it for even less, but I also want to be realistic & not limit myself to the point of making it un-enjoyable. I also believe it's a valuable learning experience...& let's just take a moment to
think about the fact that I spent 5 times that much on a college degree that did not come with a house.

This week I also decided to try selling these headbands (with a heart!) that I crochet in order to raise money for missions.


I love going on mission trips myself, so I also love supporting others. I have many friends currently in other countries & many more going soon. This year I have already been able to give to people in Tanzania, Israel, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Thailand, & India for a total of $205. I'm also making a donation this week to a woman in Rwanda. I would love to do more! If you'd like more information about these mission trips (some are long-term, some short-term), you can email me at mcstarbuck{at}gmail{dot}com. I'd be happy to answer any questions. If you know someone who might be interested in...

(1) Supporting missions

(2) Buying crocheted items

(3) Gaining support for a mission trip they are taking

(4) Selling crocheted items

 ...you could really help me out by spreading the word. This way I can still give while building a tiny house.

I also created a facebook page to make it easier to keep up with these little things I'm doing. Please go "like" it; I only post to it a couple of times a week, so it won't overtake your feed. :)

This is me doing something TODAY that my future self will hopefully thank me for. What will you do today?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Tiny House, Lots of Stuff

Memphis, here I come! I've gotten off work & sent in half of my payment for the tiny house workshop. I also worked this weekend in addition to my regular hours in order to help pay for that trip without getting behind on my student loans. 

Unfortunately, the Home Depot workshop was disappointing. I might try it again some other time because the person who led it mentioned that someone else normally does it. There were 10 people there trying to listen to him speak quietly over the bustling of the store behind us. What I could hear was really good information as far as knowing what materials to use & what's the best price for what you want.  I would bring a notebook & pen next time. There was no hands-on work done, though, which is what I thought it was supposed to be. 

Other than that, I haven't done much this week, which is really a relief after all of the time this project took up last week. I'm taking it much slower now, knowing that a lot of the questions I have will be answered at the workshop. I've looked at some other houses to gain ideas. 

Here's my favorite! I've definitely seen windows at antique shops that I've wanted but didn't have a use for...til now.

I also decided to count my stuff. Space is obviously something to consider when moving into a small house, & I've read about people getting their possessions down to a certain number. I've wanted to do this, but didn't know where to start. I have no idea how many pieces of clothing I have in order to determine what number to get it down to. So I've decided to count them. For now it's still just an idea, but perhaps you'll hear about it in the next few weeks. 

Speaking of space, my younger brother had the brilliant idea of measuring my room at my mom's to see how big of a trailer I should get. We decided something like an 8x10 would be good so that with the loft it could be about 100 square feet. I plan to keep kitchen stuff in my mom's house since I won't need it until I build my 2nd tiny house.

Anyway, I also watched this fun interview with Grant Cardone (I'd never heard of him, but he quickly gained my respect & gave me an even greater respect for my boss). And no, I don't plan to be a millionaire. He says to make your goal 10x what you want it to be because you aren't gonna reach your goal anyway. So, maybe I'll try building 20 tiny houses. :) Who wants one? :)

Apparently I did more than I realized this week. I hope your week is full of inspiration & ideas for whatever dream you have!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Tiny House, Big Dream

A week ago I decided this was the year for me to build myself a tiny house.

My reasons:
  • More independence. I'm living with my mom & whoever else will have me but am ready for my own space. I want to be more self-sustained & do things like have my own land & garden & do some sewing & crocheting.
  • Money. My student loans will be paid off by August, & I don't want to go back into debt. I imagine it will be a slow process, but I want the freedom to travel (without a mortgage to pay) & still have a place back home for all my stuff. I also want to use the money I earn to give to missions & other projects.

My findings:
  •  http://www.relaxshacks.blogspot.com/ This website is where I found a 3-day hands-on workshop that sounds just like something a beginner like me needs! Not only will I (if I get to go) be able to tour several tiny houses, but I will also be able to build & ask questions & network. This one's in Memphis but there are others in different locations although they aren't all hands-on. They teach how to build a house on a trailer & just on the ground.
  •  This TED Talk My house doesn't have to be perfect. I want it to be cheap & not moldy or falling apart or letting the weather damage my stuff, but it doesn't have to be just a smaller version of other houses common today in the U.S.
  • FREE Home Depot Workshops These are weekly & another way to get hands-on experience especially if you're a beginner like me. (The only thing I've built is a crate out of pallets.) I haven't been yet, but I'm signed up for one tomorrow. I'll have to post about that next week.
 I spent about 7 hours researching to find this stuff, so I'm hoping to help others save some time. (There are other resources I've found but haven't looked into enough to give an opinion on.) I wanted to find a blog like this where someone could walk me through the process. This is the closest thing I've found. It's a lot to sift through because she's almost finished with her house. She also spent $25k which I don't plan to do. She's downsizing whereas I don't have my own house to downsize from. I found her through participating in Jon Acuff's 30 Days of Hustle, which brings me to some advice I have for anyone else wanting to do this (or some other Big Dream).

My advice:
  • Find other people doing something similar. After sharing about my goal with people in 30 Days of Hustle, I found several others with the same goal. We're all at different places in our journey (some have land or chickens, some are on a 3 year plan), but we started a group for 11 of us to share ideas, advice, & experience. We're spread out across the U.S., but I have a feeling some of us will meet at some point. It's difficult doing something big alone. Don't make things harder on yourself!
  • Have a plan. This is some advice I read early on, so I started a notebook to keep my findings & ideas in. This is where I'm getting most of the info for this post. I wrote down my 
    1. Time-frame (by my birthday on March 1, 2015...we'll see!)
    2. People I have in mind to help me (always thankful to have 3 brothers!)
    3. Reasons for doing it
    4. Financial investment I hope/think it will take (I gave a range & realize that I may go over it, but that's ok since I've never done this & have no idea.)
    5. Other sacrifices (such as time, comforts/conveniences, brain power, sweat...& blood & tears?)
    6. Things to research (salvage yards, Craigslist, house plans, materials, blogs/videos)
    7. Small goals to help me along the way (post a blog a week, spend 5 hours a week researching)
    8. Ways to keep it fun (read Little House on the Prairie series, which I haven't read since elementary school...the influence has stayed with me, though! I also plan to visit her house/museum in Missouri. And finish reading Thoreau's Walden.)
    9. People who know more than me to talk to about it.
            Having this notebook will give you something to refer to & remember why you started out. Plus you can use all the information to help others wanting to start. I'm sure I'll forget lots of these details after I've gotten started on other steps. The plan will  make it easier for you to share what you really want in your house & not just what other people want it to be or think is best or easiest. Then you can decide what you are willing to give up or change. It will also keep you more organized.

This post is getting long, & I really hope to keep it manageable. So, until next week!


P. S. What is your big dream? Are you interested in doing something like this? Do you know anyone else who wants to build a tiny house or already has? Do you know any good resources I missed or have any other advice? Would love to hear it!