So, in the social justice internet circles and books I read, “comfortable” is usually a dirty word. “Comfortable” is a sign you’ve sold out, you’ve bought into the American Dream, you’re valuing your own comfort over the justice that is required for the broader community. “Comfort” is right there next to “Convenient” and these are behind all the air conditioning, global warming, pre-packaged food, slave-labour priced clothes and CEO wages that lead to inequality. Comfort is bad*.
But this week I’ve been thinking about comfort. And how necessary it is.
My view these days
Blessed are the efficient, for theirs is the Kingdom.
If you can’t tell, I’ve been wondering about this idea lately.
First, Jesus never said that. I think maybe he said several things to the opposite- things like the Kingdom is as small as a mustard seed, we cannot take the Kingdom by force… also he tended to say crazy things that scared lots of followers away, (like sell all your possessions, or embrace suffering). He took time for children, the ill, the social outcasts…generally not a very efficient guy. Continue reading
End of pregnancy and early baby nursing days has meant Netflix for me. And for some reason, the shows I am obsessed with all revolve around cooking. COOKED. The Great Family cook off. Salt, Fat, Heat, Acid.
This obsession with cooking has arisen at the same time I’ve been involved in our local REKO group – a local farmer’s exchange system, where small-scale farmers (really, anyone with a small garden) can post what produce they have available, and local buyers can pre-order it, then come collect it in person at a meet-up point once a week. Continue reading
At the beginning of July, we welcomed the second tiny to the tiny house! It’s still early days, and I’m sure our living situation (and calmness/chaos) will evolve as both kids grow, but right now we are doing well with two in the tiny house. Continue reading
“Sad. Ouchies. Crying. Jesus sad. Pushing him. Ochies. Sad. Broken. Sad.”
This is the litany I have listened to for the past month every morning as my almost-two-year-old son sits with me to read the Jesus Storybook Bible.
It started about two months ago. We had a book about a bear and pig who were friends, and the pig was sad and missed the bear when he left. My son was obsessed with the last page, where the pig forlornly sits alone, missing the bear. I, being the emotionally intelligent parent that I am, thought I handled it pretty well, letting him talk about the page as much as he wanted. All emotions are okay. Some things in life are sad. Plus, this is just a phase.
But then when he discovered the “Jesus dying on the cross” story in his picture Bible and every morning began flipping to that one page, I could feel my frustration mounting. Continue reading
Since we’re coming into a new year, and getting close to 9 months of living in a tiny house with a toddler, we’ve been doing a little reflecting on how we feel about the tiny house. Now that it’s daily life and totally normal, it’s easier to notice the small details that either make or break it. So here’s our take:
Cheap cost of living is still a major win. We installed a ceiling fan, and even with running all of our appliances and fan, our electricity bill is super low. Of course, rent is basically zero as well. This has allowed us greater flexibility in our time and work, which we’re thankful for!
Living in a house built by us has been BOTH rewarding and frustrating. It’s been great to enjoy some of the design features we wanted, and it’s great to know we can add a shelf, or paint a wall when we feel like it. It’s also frustrating when the kitchen sink leaks, or we have a GIANT rain storm and have water seeping onto the floor and there’s no one else to blame (or fix it!) but David. I have way less stress than David does, since I did hardly anything construction-wise. But in giant storms or small issues, David carries a lot more emotional (and time) responsibility than I do. Continue reading
How to celebrate Christmas in a tiny house, with a toddler:
- Keep the decor minimal: We put up twinkle lights, and had some Advent candles for him to blow out during Advent. We only hung up the stockings on Christmas eve.
2. Get an outdoor tree or a small tree: Our tree DID have more decorations, but toddler liked to play with them…
3. If you need more intense Christmas spirit — visit family with bigger houses (and more storage space) who have lots of Christmas decorations and a big Christmas tree.
4. (Probably most important) Live in the Southern Hemisphere, and spend all your time outside, playing in the sprinkler, playing soccer, visiting the beach, or digging in the sandpit. And only give outdoor toys (and edible snacks!) for Christmas presents. 🙂
But seriously, one of the wonderful things about a tiny house is you can’t go crazy spending lots of money on seasonal decor you then have to figure out where to store, or lots of toys and gifts. Christmas becomes a lot simpler and a lot more about making food and hanging out with family (and Jesus, you know) than about all the stuff. Sometimes I did feel a little sad we couldn’t have a bigger tree…but at the end of the day it was still Christmas and it was still fun. 🙂
Here are a few more FAQ’s about our tiny house… feel free to leave a question in the comments!
Where does your baby play?
Our one year old mostly plays outside. It’s winter here in South Africa, which means most days it’s between 55-75F and sunny outside. At night it can get down to freezing (maybe only 2 or 3 weeks out of the winter) and some early mornings we have frost. So early mornings are probably the hardest, since we’re cooped up inside before it warms up enough to play outside. Our 14 month old entertains himself inside with his toys and our tupperware/pots and pans cupboard mostly.
Since we knew from the beginning we’d have a toddler when we built the tiny house, we tried to make it as child-friendly as possible. When you have a small space, you can’t just block off part of the house to make it baby-friendly…and spending your whole life saying, “No! Don’t touch that!” is not very fun either. So we tried to design things so we could minimize the amount of “nos” in the house. Here are a few examples:
All our plugs except for two are high up on the wall.
We’ve officially lived in our house for 6 weeks now. We love it. We’ll see if we still love it 6 months from now, but I have a feeling we will. When we were researching tiny-house living, I didn’t see much about families in tiny houses. Mostly single people, or couples. I figured other people might be interested, since inevitably when people hear we live in a tiny house (with a one year old) they say, “But how do you….(insert normal daily activity here)”.
So this is an attempt to answer that. It also feels very strange writing this, since we live in 16m2 house with two lofts and only one child… when very many people in our country live with more people in equally small (or smaller!) spaces, and no one wonders how they do it. Living in a smaller space than our income appears to afford seems strange to people… but living in a small space is the norm for lots of people, and we had the privilege of choosing this, when they don’t. Continue reading