Big, Little, and Teeny Tiny Adventures

It’s been a little while since I have written anything. So many things have happened in our lives in the past few months, and it’s a bit daunting to think about putting it all into words. My last post discussed praising God during the storms and trying to follow Him through tough times and decisions.  Well, that is definitely still relevant in our lives today, and I’m sure, will continue to be for the rest of them.  But, boy, do I have a lot of praises that have come from some crazy times!

  1. We built our tiny house!!!

In January, we loaded up most of our belongings and headed down to Tennessee to build our tiny home in a week.  Whew, what a week. That was probably the hardest work week Phil Dirt and I have ever experienced.  We worked 14+ hour days most days, with very little rest at night. It was so worth it! We love our home!

DF318691-01B9-486D-9E35-7DD6730C16A2We built our tiny home with Incredible Tiny Homes.  You can visit their website here

We are still trying to finish up painting the interior, staining the counters, creating storage under the stairs, and more throughout.IMG_1502IMG_1501IMG_1499IMG_1503IMG_1507IMG_1508

  1. We are having a baby girl!

On the way to build our tiny home, I started feeling a little funny.  We suspected that I might be pregnant, but wanted to get through the work week ahead before we thought too much about that! That was a big challenge during that week in Tennessee.  I was light headed a lot, extremely tired, and started having a hard time eating certain foods. I am truly thankful that we did not build our house one week later, because I could barely get through the day without puking my guts up. It was pretty obvious what was going on by then, so we decided to tell our families while we were home finishing up the tiny home (so much fun!). While we were visiting home, our goal was to get the exterior of the tiny home painted and sealed.  I would like to insert here what a wonderful husband I have.  I explained the long work days building the tiny home earlier, but Phil Dirt put in even more hours the next week getting the exterior painted before we had to leave. I was supposed to help with that, but that did not work out as planned. My Phil Dirt didn’t complain a bit.  He just worked, and I sure am thankful for him.

  1. We’re moving!!

About a month after we got back with the tiny house, Phil Dirt finally received conformation that he had been accepted for retraining.  That was on March 1st. We also found out that we had to be at our next base by March 30th.  Needless to say, the next few weeks were a whirlwind!

The trip was long and hard.  It is always a learning experience pulling anything behind a vehicle, and that was definitely true with pulling our new home.  If felt like every time we stopped, we had to fix something, clean something, or move something. For most of the trip, Ruger, our pup, was sick (he gets stressed out from changes), and I was getting sick every time I walked into the house because of the smell of wood. (Phil Dirt would have to go inside and get the jar of pickles for me to sniff as I walked in to keep me from barfing!)  At one point, we hit some speed bumps that we couldn’t avoid. They were the really steep kind, and when we looked at the trailer after the fact, the frame was cracked.  The more we drove, the bigger the crack got. On our last night we stopped at a campground only to find a water leak behind the stove. Thankfully the park had showers that we could use for the night.  The next morning, some men were walking by, noticed the crack in the frame and asked what happened.  After we explained, they gave us the number of a welder they knew in town.  That welder was less than two miles down the exact same road the campground was located on, he was willing to fix the trailer for us, and he did it all in about 2-3 hours. We were finally able to reach our final destination later that day, and Phil Dirt was able to fix the  water leak. We were exhausted and frustrated, but God took care of each and every problem that came our way.  I’m thankful that He kept us sane during that trip!

FullSizeRenderNew Mexico!IMG_1656The Grand Canyon! (A much need break from our trip!)IMG_1712California!

God knew what he had planned for us, and He had set it into motion long before I wrote my previous blog post. It is easy to forget that He knows exactly what we are going through, but He does, and He will lead us through life if we let Him.

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them.

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Praise Him in the Storms.

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This is a really hard post to write. I’m struggling because the last month has literally been a struggle. It is very hard for me to tell others about what is going wrong in my life.  I think that might have a bit to do with my pride.  I mean, who doesn’t want everyone to think they’ve got it together? But this is probably another lesson I am supposed to learn throughout this time, so here I am…talking about the storms in our life.

Our camper caught fire.  We were planning a trip to Ireland for December, and Phil Dirt had ordered a battery pack for us to charge our phones on while we were gone.  We got it in the mail on Tuesday, and it caught our camper on fire on Wednesday.  Dirt had charged it the night before, unplugged it, and then left it on the counter by the bed.  During the day, the pups somehow knocked it onto the bed where it overheated.  Thankfully, our friends were home and were able to get our dogs out of the camper and put the fire out.  Ruger hid on the bunk bed and came out practically untouched.  Remy, on the other hand, decided to hide under the bed that was on fire.  She buried her face in some clothes, but that still wasn’t enough to keep her from inhaling a lot of smoke and getting burns on her head and chest.  Our friends weren’t certain she was going to make it, so one took her to the vet while the other stayed to talk to the fire department.  Dirt went straight to the vet when he found out whathappened, and, thankfully, Remy perked up when she saw her daddy. After about two nights of her continuously coughing and throwing up soot, she finally started feeling better and getting back to her old self. I’ve never been so tired or relieved.

When Phil Dirt called me, my initial reaction was to go straight to panicking.  At the time, I had no idea if Remy was going to make it or if we had a home anymore.  That worry was one of the worst feelings of my life. I knew if I continued to head down that road, I was going to make myself sick.  So, my second reaction was to pray.  It’s the only other option I had.  I couldn’t change what had happened.  I couldn’t make Remy better.  God was my only source of relief.  He got me to the vet safely and without any tears (if you know me, no tears was a miracle within itself).  I think I stayed in shock until I had to tell my mom the news. Then the tears came in full force.  There were so many unknowns, and all I could feel was overwhelmed.  Which lead me to one of my favorite verses: Psalms 61:2.

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Throughout the evening, I forced my mindset to begin to change.  I had to focus on the positives or the negatives were going to steal my joy, and I NEEDED joy. Our Remtin was alive, and we had the means to take care of her.  Our friends were home, able to save the pups, and put out the fire before it could do more damage.  Our camper may have burned, but ONLY the camper was damaged by the fire.  All of our clothes were covered in soot and smoke, but I was hopeful that we could get them clean.  Our friends let us stay in their guest room and they got us pizza, so we didn’t have to worry about where we were going to sleep or what we were going to eat.  I asked God every day to remind me of these little things, so that I would remember that life could be worse and that He still had us in the palm of His hand.  I had to rely on Him for strength and courage because I was not strong enough to handle this storm on my own.

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Have I stayed positive this entire time? Nope. Not even close for a few days.  I had to say prayers and read scripture constantly to keep from crying or becoming discouraged. Even then, I didn’t always succeed.  Dealing with insurance, trying to decide if we should build our tiny house sooner, huge assignments due in school, the pressure of not having a job and not knowing if I would be able to get one immediately after graduation, possible job changes for Phil Dirt that could cause us to move, and more were on my mind at every turn.  They still are.  All I know is that God is in control, and He has a plan for our lives.  Even if we don’t know it yet.

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So, we are stilling working toward His plan.  God is preparing us for something, and I can’t wait to see what it is.  My daily prayer is for His will to be done, because right now, we have no idea what is best for us.  I’m just thankful for his blessings, and I will do my best to praise Him in the storms.

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Pray for us! Our crazy selves need every prayer we can get!

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Pros & Kind of Cons

It has been a little over two months since we have began our tiny adventure.  I was planning on doing a pros and cons list so that everyone could see the positives and negatives of living in the camper, but every con I added to the list hasn’t been a big deal for us.  Hence the title.  Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely some negative aspects of this tiny life style (which I will discuss in this post), but when you are living in God’s will none of those seem to matter.  He just gives us joy through the good and the bad, and I think that means we are exactly where He wants us to be.

Now for the list!!

Pro: Price

Living in the camper is extremely affordable.  Maybe the following will put this into perspective: I quit my job in July so that I could put all of my energy into my student teaching semester.  We make more money living in the camper without me working than we did while we were living on base and I was working part time.

Con: It is a small space.

Living small is exactly that: living small.  There isn’t a lot of storage or extra space in our itty bitty camper.  To be honest, this is only on the list because I know it would bother most other people.  We don’t mind how small the space is.  We have made it work for us, and we are thoroughly enjoying living small.

Pro: Adventure

The possibilities are endless when living in something that you can take with you.  We have explored more while living in the camper than we were ever able to do before.  It’s also pretty nice not to have to pack anything!  We can just hook up to the car and head out!

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One of our mini adventures! We got a canoe!!

Con: No washer, dryer, or oven.

This also could be a huge negative for most people, but we just happen to have wonderful friends who allow us to use their washer and dryer when we need to wash clothes.  So far I have been able to keep it down to one load a week, unless we need to wash bedding.  Honestly, this actually works better for me because I am more productive with the laundry instead of letting it pile up.  The oven also hasn’t been a big deal.  Our friends also let us use theirs if we need to, but I try really hard to keep our meals to ones that I only need the stove for.  We also plan to purchase a Traeger grill, which will also us to bake whatever we need to.

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The usual folding clothes party.

Pro: Cleaning

It takes me a total of 30 minutes to clean the entire camper.  That includes dusting, washing windows, sweeping, cleaning the shower, etc.  You can’t really beat that!  Below is the cleaning list I follow.

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Con: Shower

We have a very small hot water tank since we are living in a very small space.  Because of this, while showering, we have to turn the water on and off to conserve hot water.  Also, the shower head cannot be adjusted for height so I have to turn it off every time I put shampoo in my hair or wash my face.  Phil Dirt, on the other hand, does not have this problem with his height of 6’1.  I will confess that I had a mini melt down on one occasion that I couldn’t just take a shower without all the extra work, but other than that, it’s been working for us.

Pro: Visiting Home

The original reason we purchased the camper was for when we visited home throughout the year.  We have two huge pups, and let’s face it, not everyone is willing to let those wild, yet adorable, dogs into their home.  So instead of worrying about it, we decided to purchase a camper.  This has been a huge positive!! When we visit home it can be an extremely overwhelming schedule of seeing everyone, and the camper allows us a little retreat from all the chaos.  Also, it is much cheaper to stay at a camp ground than in hotels.  Before the camper, if we had to stay in a hotel with the pups, it would get expensive.  Some hotels charge a fee per dog per night, and that doesn’t count the cost of the room itself.  In addition to that, lots of hotels are not pet friendly, so it would make it very hard to find a place to stay.  This made the camper purchase well worth it.

Con: Dumping

Since our camper is so small, the tanks are also very small.  This means that unless we have a sewage hook up we have to dump fairly often.  This can be a bummer, but this is one con we are willing to live with since we are saving so much money.  Right now we do plan to purchase a dry flush toilet for both the camper and the tiny house which will eliminate this problem completely. The dry flush option is a bit more expensive, but the convenience of it will be worth the extra money.

So, there it is! The pros and cons list so far!

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Making the Camper Long-Term Livable

Welcome to blog post #2 on our tiny living adventures!

As you know, until we are able to build our tiny house we are living in our camper.  To make this possible we had to make a few adjustments for long-term living.  First, let’s start off with a few before pictures from right after we purchased our camper.

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Uhh!! So bland, brown, and BORING as you can tell from Ruger’s face in the last photo! We had to put our personalities into this camper if we were going to be staying in it for any amount of time.  So, now I’ll show you some of the changes we made to make this little camper livable for us!

We began by adding shelving to all of our cabinets.  This made a huge difference because our storage space has doubled!!  We also added shelves into the closet for all of our shoes.

If we did this, then where would we put our clothes?! No need to fear!  Next, we converted the lower bunk bed into our closet by putting in a rod to hang all of our clothes.  This gave us 6 ft. of hanging space we did not have before.

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Then, we knocked out a tiny wall under the bunk bed to create access to the storage area underneath.  This made for great additional storage.

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Dirt is really crafty, and I love mason jars, so he made a mason jar holder for our silverware and cooking utensils.  We also hung a spice rack that we got from World Market.

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Along with the other changes, we added a lot to the little bathroom.  First, we found a shower curtain that we loved to liven up the place!  We got storage baskets from World Market to store our bathroom supplies and our towels.  Dirt made mason jar holders for my hair dryer, straightener, and curling wand, and I made cute little magnet boards for my make-up.  We also added a spice rack to the back of the bathroom door for my nail polish and odds and ends, and I got a cute little cosmetic bag to hold other bathroom products.  We made a necklace holder with extra wood and nails we had lying around, and we will soon be adding mason jar holders for q-tips and cotton balls.  Then, we added lots of command strip storage into the shower to keep all of our soaps and shampoos in one place when we are moving.  Finally, we replaced the original bathroom mirror with an antique mirror I had bought a few years ago.

In addition to all the functional improvements we made, we also made some cosmetic changes.  We re-covered all of our cushions and window coverings.  We also got a cute quilt for the bed, cute sheets for the bunks, and we added lights above the bed.  We changed all the knobs on the cabinets to fun ones we found at Hobby Lobby.  In order to make the camper feel more like home, we added decor pieces throughout the camper to tie it all together.  Functionality for long-term living is definitely important, but I can’t express how much easier it was to picture us living in this tiny space once it was our style and had character.

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Also, just in case you didn’t know, it is extremely hard to make a bed that is against 3 walls.

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Without all of these changes I know we couldn’t be living in our camper for an extended period of time, so I am extremely glad we took the time to make them!  It’s funny how small things can brighten up a space and just make you feel happy! Life is too short to have boring/bland surroundings!

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Leap of Faith

 

We took a leap of faith.  We decided to move out of our 3 bedroom home and into a 16 ft camper.  Are we crazy??? Maybe a little.  Why on earth would we want to cram two adults and two dogs into something so small?!?  Well, because we want to be in our very own TINY house within a year!

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Here is a little background on us.  I’m Beej, and I’m married to the wonderful Phil Dirt.  We have two adorable weimaraners named Ruger and Remy.  We have been married for a little over three years.  Dirt is in the U.S. Air force and plans to be until he retires. That and the fact that we love to explore and be outside largely fueled our desire to live tiny.

We have heard many positive and many negative comments about our decision. We know that everyone would not be able to or even want to live like this.  God has lead us to this decision and we plan to follow through.  We do not want to depend on things of this world to make us happy, and after living in our camper for three weeks, I have realized that I have all I need.  Has it been a cake walk? Not the whole time, but it sure has been an adventure.  This opportunity will allow us to explore the world that God has created for us, meet new people, spend time with the people he has already placed in our lives, and keep what is most important in our lives at the fore front of our minds.

So here we go! There is no turning back now, and I wouldn’t want to even if we could!

Every few weeks we plan to write posts explaining all of the positives and negatives that we experience through this little adventure.  I mainly wanted to write this to document our time through this process and to keep track of everything we go through, but if this encourages others to take a leap of faith and chase after their dreams, that is an additional bonus!  God’s plan for our lives may look completely different from everyone else’s, and that’s ok. We just want to encourage everyone we can to seek God’s plan and follow it. He will never steer you wrong.

 

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