Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Am I Lucky?

I've seen this graphic shared a few times over the last few days. It resonated with me a great deal. I spent far too long trying to shoehorn myself into a life that was practical but not very nourishing and I suffered for it.

So, because this graphic reminded me of my own experience I shared it on my social media. Of course, various friends commented on it but one comment was particularly concerning.

"It needs one more circle. You're lucky."

And I would argue, luck has very little to do with it. 

Since I started this blog I came to realize my own life philosophy was rooted in Deliberate Living, an idea I co-opted from Thoreau. The premise is that you can't just let life happen to you, you need to make deliberate choices - whatever those choices are - to live the life that fulfills you.

I have worked extremely hard since 2009 to get to the point in my life where I am today. There were literally blood, sweat, and tears spent in the building of the tiny house. The tiny house gave me the confidence to quit my day job and start working for myself in 2012. I spend the next three years building my business through a combination of marketing, hard work, and sheer will power. Today I make a comfortable living and love the work I do every day.

I was not lucky. 

Saying I was lucky minimizes all of the work I put into what I have built over these years. It suggests that I was merely in the right place at the right time and doesn't account for much more. To say I was lucky allows others to believe in their own excuses and not make whatever life changes they need to do what they've always wanted to do.

I would say I am fortunate, but I don't believe that luck and fortune are the same thing.

Fortune is when you have something to do with it.  

I can't tell anyone else how to live their life. All I can do is share my experience. And when I was only focused on "you are paid for it" with a little "your are great at it" (profession) I was slowly dying inside. While it was good to be able to pay bills, I had to realize that those bills were self-imposed and what I needed was a catalyst to propel me toward the middle of this diagram. And I think everyone is capable of it - it isn't just about being lucky. You can create your own fortune.

So - what would you do if you could do anything?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy Anniversary, Life in 120 Square Feet!

5 years ago today, on St. Patrick's Day, I started this tiny house blog. 

Before that, I had been sharing our build progress over on LiveJournal. (I think that might show my age!) The only place you could see photos was on my Flickr page (now a link at the top of this page.)

But then in early 2010 a little blog called The Tiny Life shared some photos and a small piece of our story. Suddenly I had other people - people I didn't even know - asking me about my build.

March of 2010 was still pretty early in what is now the Tiny House Movement. People knew Jay Shafer and Dee Williams but there weren't very many online resources about how to build a tiny house or stories of average DIY builders who did it themselves. The few that were out there were huge resources for us so I figured it might be a good idea to share my story as well.

And so I wrote this:
If you're just tuning in, my husband Matt and I are building a Tarleton, designed by Jay Shafer.  It really all started a few years ago.  Matt has always been interested in building and especially sustainable or self sufficient building.  We spent time researching other types of alternative building including Cordwood Masonry and Earthships.  Then one day our friend Nicole told us that she saw this guy on Oprah who built a tiny house on a trailer.  And our love of the Tumbleweed Tiny House began.  We had the pleasure of meeting Jay Shafer at a workshop in Asheville about a year and a half ago and after talking with him about the building and our ideas we knew the house was for us. We bought plans for the Tarleton and got to work on the 15 acres we owned in Western North Carolina.  You may see that we named our mountain after my husband. [Mt. Matt]  He is a funny, funny guy. 
I can't believe it has been 5 years since I started this blog and 6 years since we began building. I am so grateful and fortunate for every opportunity this journey has given us.

Thank you for reading.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Conferences A-GoGo

I am super excited about the upcoming Tiny House Conference.

Matt and I spoke at the first event in Charlotte last April. It was pretty amazing. We got to meet some great people we had only previously known online. We camped in the cold along with Drew Odom and his dad.

That is actually the back of Matt as he talks to Teal Brown

We spoke on two topics at the conference: Building Basics and Off Grid Living. We're excited to bring both of those talks back to the Portland event.

Right before we leave for Portland we'll be in Gastonia, NC speaking at the Schiele Science Cafe. I've been to similar events in Atlanta and am looking forward to that as well.

Matt and I enjoy telling our story. We believe that sharing our motivations, the process, and the results are an important part of the Tiny House process. We want others who may be considering such a bold move to understand that it is completely doable, even as a beginner like we were. We also feel that the message is important even for people who may not want to live tiny. We believe that Deliberate Living is a philosophy, not a type of building. We truly believe in what we're doing and want others to live as fully as possible as well.

Speaking of conferences, I am also participating in a big conference in October. It has nothing to do with Tiny Houses, but my involvement wouldn't have been possible without our journey. A couple of years ago I began blogging for The NotMom, a website for women without children. I am childfree by choice and as I began looking for freelance writing jobs I came across quite a few companies looking for Mommy bloggers. I wasn't upset by the existence of mommy blogs, but wondering if there was an audience for women without children as well. Serendipitously, I discovered The NotMom and began working with them. And out of that, I am helping the founder develop the first ever NotMom Summit which will be in Cleveland, OH October 9th and 10th. I've always wanted to help organize a conference and without the steps I took to become a freelancer, including building a tiny house, it wouldn't have been possible.