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Truth On The Struggle Of Restoration & The Beauty Of The Process

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Hey ya’ll!

If you thought this was gonna be one of those dreamy, Pinterest “viola! everything’s amazing in a week” farmhouse blogs…you’re probably going to be pretty disappointed here. But if you like real life, then come have a sit down next to us because we’ve got more than enough of that to go around!

Newsflash! As much as we all love them, life isn’t mostly a Southern Living magazine and this definitely isn’t a not reality HGTV series.

Also, those things, lovely and amazing as they are, aren’t our reality, and portraying that it is wouldn’t accurately reflect our vision for documenting and writing about our journey!

We wanted to document our lives in a way that shows the truth, the REAL days, the work, the struggle, and the true reality behind the few and far more picturesque moments that happen here and there.

To bring you up to speed, things have been both a mixture of crazy busy remodeling days, and slower days of just enjoying settling into our new place, sitting out on the front porch in our missed-matched rockers and paint chippy wicker furniture we bought an auction for $35, and school days still in our pj’s together.

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I have to admit, remodeling an old house isn’t for the faint of heart. The work is never done. Nor is it anything like what you see on HGTV. I keep asking my husband Anthony, “WHEN is the crew gonna show up?!” Alas, they never do because well, we ARE the crew!

img_6365To be completely honest, farmhouse renovations are coming along even more slowly than I had imagined they would for several reasons.

Mostly because in the midst of it all, we still have to live life! Still, I can’t help but think that endless days just to focus on remodeling would be amazing and we would have come so far already.

Alas, full-time work, school for both the kids and I, activities, and LIFE happens in between the few days a week we have just to dedicate to the house that seem to fly by far too quickly, and come around again far less than we would like.

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In it all, like most seasons in life if we stop to take note, the process is teaching us important lessons that we probably wouldn’t learn if we had unlimited amounts of resources and time…or Chip & Joanna Gaines to just come in do the work for us!

Once again, life is giving us the ever important lessons found in patience, hard work, and learning to let ourselves enjoy the process of the present journey rather than hanging our happiness on some imagined future destination!

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img_5606.jpgAnd so, in between the juggling act of the house work, job work, school, family, and all of life’s other priorities, are the small accomplishments and sweet moments that make life all that it is; all that it should be like Sunday lunch around our unfinished table with faces we love, sweet welcomes from new neighbors, birthday wishes come true, and tiny corners of rooms transformed!

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img_6743I’m starting to understand that the work won’t be finished anytime soon, and since the house is over 100 years old, it’ll likely never end. But that’s okay! The character that is built into our old 1873 farmhouse from long ago, is building lessons of character in us that will last.

Sometimes in my most impatient, frustrated, and impatient moments, I find myself laying on the one couch we have in the one functional living space we have put together at present, wondering if it isn’t really us that’s re-building this old house, but this old house that is building us.

As much as we might have been a gift of restoration to this old place, the lessons we are learning here could very well the new gifts it is offering right back to us.

The deep gifts aren’t really in the end result, they are found in the process.

Because everything beautiful and rich and full of deep character in life, took years and years of slow and steady time to forge.

There is so much beauty to be discovered in the process of restoration.

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Top 10 Best & Worst Of Full-Time RVing / “Light Life” Camper Up For SALE

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Hi friends!

Yesterday afternoon I walked into our camper parked in our backyard (for now) to get something, and something happened that I wasn’t expecting…after two weeks of living in a big ole’ house, the camper still felt so much like home! I felt tears well up in my eyes and so, I decided to indulge my emotions for a bit and sat on the couch and reminisced about the beautiful times over the last three years that were had in that small space. I hate goodbyes, but I guess my heart just needed to say goodbye so that I could let it go. I’ll be telling you what we’ve decided to do with our camper later on in this post!

But now that we have officially wrapped up RV life, we wanted to go out celebrating our 3 years of full-time RVing one last time by writing out our top 10 best & worsts of full-time RV life. Also, we wanted to tell you all what we plan to do with our sweet little Light Life camper now that we are settling down.

The Light Life’s Top Best & Worst of Full-time RVing:

We’ll start with the worst and end with the best… 😉

  1. RV bathrooms – It goes without much explanation about why tiny RV bathrooms, teeny tiny showers, and camper toilets aren’t exactly the most glam part of RV life. But you DO get used to it and it isn’t really so bad after once you do…until it’s Sunday morning and everybody is trying to get ready to go somewhere at once and you realize there is one person in the shower, one using the sink and 2 banging on the door needing to use the toilet. 😉
  2. Laundromats – Unless you’re blessed to have a small washer/dryer in your RV, then you know that laundromats will inevitably be a part of life for a while. While is a blessing to have campground laundry facilities or a laundromat nearby because well, it beats having dirty clothes. It pretty much goes without saying that laundromats aren’t the most awesome places ever. But they will do.
  3. Frozen pipes – Of course this is only a worry in wintertime. But we’ll just say, unless you’re RVing in Florida, you’ll want to wrapped your water line going into the camper with foam and have heat trace on your RV pipes for wintertime RVing. And of course, if it’s going below 32 anytime, leave your water drizzling…because frozen or busted pipes are SO not fun. Trust us.
  4. Campground bath-houses – Now if you’re temporarily boon-docking, of course this doesn’t apply. But as most are, if you’re staying or living in a campground, you’ll know exactly what I mean. Campground bath-houses are meant for campers of all types to have a place to shower and use the restroom. This means you will likely be sharing a bathroom with tent campers who {ah-hem!} tend to be just a tad bit dirtier than the average person for obvious reasons. Also, not all camp-ground bath-houses are created equal. Which means, some are nicer and more well-maintained than others. Still, we’ve never found one we would want to utilize without our shoes on. 😉
  5. Space – When you’re living in 350 sq. feet of living space or less for more than one person for a longer period of time than a few weeks, it starts to feel well…crowded. This is just an unavoidable fact of RV life that we learned early on to set an appropriate perspective, expectation, and attitude of life in our tiny space, which helped A LOT. But still, it’s just a bit tight! Or as we prefer to view it...super cozy. 😉

On to our favorite part, the BEST of RV life!

  1. Financial freedom – We can honestly say that this past 3 years has been the first time in the 14 years we’ve been married that we were so financially free. I mean, we still have to work to make a living and pay bills, but we were never strapped for money or ever were just barely making ends meet. When we wanted to go somewhere or do something, we could do it! Our space was smaller, but our wallets could breathe easier and there just are no words to fully express how amazing that feels. There was no house anywhere that could have compared to the joy of having the freedom to ENJOY life rather than just stress over how to PAY for life.
  2. Time – Hands down, one of the major blessings that 3 years of full-time RV life gave us back was time together. There were no more out of town trips away from us for dad or everyone running in all different direction. We were together, a lot; and the rewards were so rich in so many ways.
  3. Communication  –The natural benefit of close space proximity and increased time together was that we learned to connect with and get to know one another in a deeper way than just in passing as most families do and as we did before.
  4. Relationship – Often we have people comment on how impressed they are that we survived 3 years living in an RV and still like each other. Inside our heads we are always thinking the same thing, our goal was never to just survive this journey, it was to let it change us and grow us together as a tightly knit family. That is exactly what it did! The financial freedom took away so much stress which gave us time which gave us communication which gave us back rich relationship with one another. You could never put a price-tag on the positive domino effect it had on our lives.
  5. Experiences – The combination of financial freedom and living transiently, mixed with a little bit of an adventurous spirit brought our family more amazing experiences than we could even attempt to count over this wonderful span of time. We have 983,094 million pictures to prove the myriad of experiences that we had in just a short span of time.

As you can see, obviously, the good far out-weighs the bad. And we could go on and on because there were truly so many more….mostly good; but these were just the most obvious take-aways for our family on our 3 year full-time RV journey, and we hope they will enlighten and encourage you no matter where you are in your own journey.

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And so what, what will we do with our sweet little camper home? After much thought, we have decided to put our Light Life home up for SALE, and you guys are the first to know! We’ve had many ask us to inform them if we ever decide to sell it, well here’s your chance! All cleaned out and ready for a new owner to love it and have incredible adventures in it, just as we did.

{You can view all the info. pics, and exact specs. on the camper here. Also, feel free to pass this post on to anyone you know who might be looking for a camper!}

Although we are sad to see it go and will definitely be be choking back the tears as it drives away with its new owners one day soon, we know that our run with our Light camper has come to an end and it’s time to pass it on to a new set of adventurers.

Little did we know when we bought our camper back in 2013 that we were gaining so much more than money could ever have bought us. We thought we were buying a camper, but instead we bought back the gift of time.

The gifts of freedom and experiences.

The gifts that we rediscovered all over again, the gifts of one another.

It is our ultimate hope that this beautiful experience we’ve had, our small nuggets of our wisdom along the way, and our little camper home will bring the same all over again for a brand new set of adventurers!

Goodbye little camper home. You sure have loved us well.

While it is true that this is the very last RV post here at The Light Life Blog, it is not the last encouragement you will hear from us to fully embrace YOUR unique journey, and live it out beautifully.

-Anthony, Rachel, Olivia & Jackson Rowell 

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How We Knew The Door Was Closing On Full-time RV Life

img_5460.jpgWhew! What a crazy week our first week in the house has been. Of course I want to tell you all about the farmhouse renovations and what waking up to about 2800 more square feet than we’ve been used to feels like and I will!

But for now, I want to tell you the story of how we got to this sleepy little town we landed in, and how we knew the door was closing on our season of full-time RV life.

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Two questions we’ve been getting a lot lately are, “How did you know it was time to leave full-time RV life behind?” Also, “How did you end up in the place you moved?”And so, because we love you all and we want to answer any questions you have, we will take a shot at giving you our most honest answers to those questions.

While it would sound nice to be able to write a story about how we started full-time RVing because we were financially independent or well-off, and just wanted to go out and see the world, experience new things, and meet new people; that would be embellishing things just a tad.

Truthfully, one of the main reasons we began full-time RV life in the first place was because of my husband’s job had him traveling A LOT (he was gone 3 weeks out of every month) and we were just so tired of the rat race. I’ve mentioned this before in earlier posts, but for those who may have missed it, you can read it here. 

Long story short, we got sick of being apart. And since quitting his job and us becoming homeless wasn’t an option, we just did what needed to be done! We made the both hard and easy decision to sell everything, leave all our families behind, move away from the only town we had ever known, to travel with him and be together! And so, we took a situation that was out of our control, and we chose to make a beautiful season out of it.

Instead of an ordeal, we chose an adventure!

We traveled from state to state for a while and ended up landing just outside of Charlotte, NC two years ago. Needless to say, when you’re moving and traveling, full-time RVing is one thing. But when you’re stuck in one spot two years, it quickly becomes quite another. I doubt I need to describe how easily the walls start to close in and one gets restless when the excitement of moving from state to state is no longer part of the RV life deal. Sure it can be done…we did it! But it just wasn’t ever going to be a long term thing for our family.

Of course, every situation is different and we don’t mean to imply that any of these issues are issues for everyone. But we’ve been asked a lot, and here are a few honest perspectives on why our family knew it was time to move on from full-time RV life:

  1. Our kids are now almost 12 and 10, and although we’ve already been homeschooling for four years and can do that anywhere, we began to know that it was just time to put down some roots in one place since we are obviously here to stay as far as work is concerned.
  2. They are a bit over sharing a tiny bunkhouse bedroom with no privacy…and we really don’t blame them.
  3. We are SO OVER laundromats and campground rules and regulations (which aren’t likely to be a huge issue unless you are living in one for long periods of time as we were).
  4. Space. We are just ready for space again. We doubt anyone could struggle to understand this point.
  5. Growing new roots.
  6. Making a house a home. To be honest, that’s been a huge one for us. Every house we’ve ever lived in we worked together to make it ours, and it’s a huge part of us that we’ve missed for the last three years.
  7. It is time to be able to say say “yes” to joining ball-teams, and groups, and all sorts of extra-activities that we all might like to do without worrying that we might have to just up and leave it all behind. To be honest, we were just a little weary of saying “goodbye” to newfound friends and people we have grown to love.

And so, we landed in the location we are in in this tiny town in South Carolina about 40 minutes outside of Charlotte, NC for a few very important reasons:

  1. When we began this whole journey, we specifically asked God to direct every step of our journey, to open and close doors, and this was the door that was most obviously opened for us to walk through! There were so many reasons we knew it was the right time and the right place.
  2.  The company Anthony does contract work for expressed that they want him here indefinitely, so we stay where the good job is that allows us to live the life we have chosen for our family which is to be a one parent income so that we can invest in and home-school them while they are growing up.
  3. The farmhouse we bought was essentially a half price farmhouse. Long story short, we got a DEAL. Or as most would call it, a project. 😉
  4. It’s in the country. Need I even say more? Far removed from the hustle and bustle of big city life, yet close enough to still have everything we could ever need.

We are monumentally grateful for the last three years and all the richness life offered us in that season. And we are overjoyed and sure that this new season will bring more of the same, just in different ways of course!

img_5560.jpgAs if I needed more proof, I just knew we had made the right decision when our daughter Olivia said to me the other day,

“Mom, I just can’t believe it! I still feel like I’m in a dream that we get to live in this house in this small little country town. Can this be our forever home? Like, I mean one I get to grow up in and come back home to after I’ve grown up and moved out? At least that’s what I’ve always dreamed of.”

Right then and there I knew – fulling embracing the memories of three beautifully amazing years of living transiently, we are home to stay.

 

 

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Sometimes Life Gives You A Big Ole’ “Welcome Home”

round logoHey ya’ll!

Welcome to the “new” Light Life Blog! We promised we weren’t going anywhere, just getting off at the station to board a different train that will take us in a new direction.  😉

Although we are no longer living our full-time RV life journey, we felt that our name was still equally as fitting and so, we kept it!

So why The Light Life?

Because we believe that regardless of who we are, what we do, or what we live in, we live our lives as lights that shine brightly into a dark world. That has become our family’s mission statement – LIVE the light.

And so, we will stay The Light Life Blog!

I realize that some of you may be disappointed that we won’t be sharing our RV life posts these days. However, we’re willing to bet that you might find sticking around for this leg of our journey to be well worth your time too – at least we sure hope so!

13654255_878327102311846_5489519023965512515_nAs of this past Friday, we moved out of our sweet little camper home to settle into an old 1873 farmhouse in a quaint little southern town in South Carolina just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina!

While the house itself has been lived in and updated here and there through the years, it needs quit a bit of TLC to bring it back to life. As you know, old houses need constant care and are always a work in progress. But we will be sharing more of the history as we go!

13775889_880227538788469_1907651864583726424_nLike much in life, we know that this will be a marathon, not a sprint. It is a journey we have chosen to take knowing that it will take time, which will teach us patience…because we are just regular folks who definitely aren’t Chip & Joanna Gains, we aren’t financially independent (so somebody still has to go to work everyday) and we don’t have an entire crew helping us knock out our long punch-list.

We don’t have unlimited funds and will be remodeling this house on a pretty tight budget, so part of the story will be how to live well without being born with a silver spoon, winning the lottery…or robbing a bank. 😉

For the most part, it will be the four of us working hard together to make this sweet old southern house, our forever home.

I’m not gonna lie, it would nice to hire a crew to just come in and do it all for us and then move in, but part of the reward in it in the end will be that we did it together, we made a house our home – together; just as we made our little camper home together for the past three years… only now we have an 3,000 additional square feet of work and space.

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This is only the beginning, and we have so much to do and so much to share! A tour of the inside will come soon!

Mostly, we want our readers to know that we just adore and appreciate you, and the last thing we desire is for this blog to just be a place to document our farmhouse journey; that’s not what we’re going for at all. We want to connect with you, to share our lives with you, to encourage and inspire you to LIVE the light in your own lives, wherever you may find yourself.

There is a long road ahead and so much more to come. We hope you’ll discover the beauty there to be found in your life, as we share ours.

Welcome again friends old and new to The Light Life Blog! As we begin this new chapter, we’re so blessed you’re a part of our story too.

It is our hope that this place of sharing our story will be like a big ole’ southern front porch where life quiets for just a while and you sit a spell with us until your soul is encouraged and your weary heart is lifted with a warm and gentle embrace that says,”Welcome home. You are so loved.”

Here we go!

Much Love,

Anthony & Rachel

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We invite you to connect with us on Facebook & Instagram!

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On The Ending Of Our Full-time RV Journey

Hello friends!

It’s been so long…so very long since I’ve written. Although I can say that I’ve missed you all something fierce; my sweet readers who have so faithfully followed along as our family has taken this three year journey of full-time RV living, at one point I had to decide that personal growth and building a life with my family was more important than building an ever-growing online presence and blog readership. I had to learn to find balance in it all. With that, you will hopefully understand why I have mostly been MIA from this blog over the last year or so. 

It was time to write to let you all know that after three incredible years, our family’s light life journey of full-time RV life is coming to a close.

Our life season is changing and it is just time to settle down and grow deep roots again.

I have to be honest and admit that I’ve been spending the past few weeks looking back over the last three years and being reminded what a crazy, wonderful, amazing experience of life it’s been and realized, I wouldn’t change a single thing. Not even all the times we banged our heads on a cabinet in the camper, or the toilet was backed up…AGAIN, or the shower floor filled up to overflowing because someone forgot to open the grey tank. 😉

As I have reminisced over the past few weeks or so, I have given a lot of thought about what RV life and living small has taught us. And although many things, I attempted to narrow it down to just a few.

  1. Gratitude. – The whole world just grows bigger and brighter when you intentionally strip your life of frills and time suckers and live simply for an extended period of time. Besides, when you live small and simply, you appreciate EVERYthing that most of the world doesn’t even notice.
  2. Family. – Not having the crushing financial pressures of many American families, gave us precious time together, along with the spacial closeness of camper life has knit our hearts together in a way we had never experienced before.
  3. Experiences. – I probably don’t have to explain why and how RV living fosters myriads of ways to experience life in unique ways.
  4. People. – We’ve met so many fellow humans of all walks of life along our journeys, living in different campgrounds, ect. They have made the journey rich in their own unique way! We will never forget your faces and how you  have graced us with your presence and brightened our journey no matter where we were.
  5. Home. – Even in our tiny little 300 sq. feet of living space that got cramped at times, it always, always felt like home. Because we learned that home isn’t a house or a location, it is where ever you are fully loved and accepted and free to be yourself. We found that home truly is wherever we are together.

All of this and so much more that can’t be listed on a blog, has grown us, stretched us, and made our lives so incredibly rich in ways that we could never have bought with money or found within that big ole’ house we lived in back then; and for that…and for all we’ve discovered about ourselves and about life and humanity that is good, we will forever be grateful and will carry with us always.

As this chapter comes to a close to give way to a new one, we want you to know that this is not “goodbye,” but rather just a turn of the page.

And still, we invite you to continue to join us in the next chapter of our brand new journey! Because it just wouldn’t be as fun without you all.

And so, on Friday of this week, at 9 am we sign papers to make this 1873 farmhouse jewel our very own.

Home.

In a brand new town we’ve never lived before, filled with neighbors we’ve never met before.

We could never have imagined almost three years ago to the day, that our journey would lead us to a completely new place and home. But it has, and we are grateful…and for all the things that have brought us here.

I could tell you the story of how we ended up here and how we aren’t exactly sure of all the reasons why we are being planted here. And I could also tell you that our hearts are strangely confident that this is where we are supposed to be at this place and time. We can’t wait to see what becomes of our lives here and how we get to be used to breathe fresh, new life into this old place that has been the same for years.

New life.

New beginnings.

New experiences.

New lessons.

“For everything there is a season…”

Change and growth is what living is all about isn’t it?

It means we are alive! We are changing, growing, expanding, and moving forward.

And so, as you read this, we are living our very last day of full-time RV life.

And I know that when I walk out of our tiny home for the last time as “home” and close that little camper door, I will smile a smile of complete gratitude and peace as I reflect back on this journey we have taken together, from beginning to end.

I put together a collection of just a few of the many highlights of our journey and the memories we take forward with us to share with you all below….

We did it.

And it has been our honor to have you join along with us for this leg of the journey.

There will be much more, so much more to come…

(page turn) <3

 

{more pics of the house, what we plan to do next with our sweet “Light Life” camper, and stories of our old (new) farmhouse journey to come…}

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Light Life Stories: The Odoms

This is a very special family whom I’ve still yet to actually meet in person, but our hearts have knit together on each of our own “Light Life Journeys.” Meet Andrew and Crystal Odom and their adorable little girl, who are former “tiny house dwellers” and are in the process of making the switch over to full time RV life. Read about their story into debt and their current journey out and how they are reclaiming their freedom and their lives through living light. They remind us all to live intentionally, that it is possible live small and love it, and the importance of  reclaiming our lives back from the grip of American culture and it’s pre-occupation with status and defining our lives by material possessions. I know you will find their lives and their story so encouraging and inspiring, just as we have.
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The first home I owned cost just at $52,000. For that price I got a 2-bedroom, 1-bath, fixer-upper that was on .35 acre in the middle of a post-war neighborhood in Norfolk, VA. It was built in 1953 at a time when America was reestablishing itself. Men had returned home from the war and were now firmly rooted in their post-war career. Women were homemakers and mothers, not CEOs and business owners. Homebuyers were encouraged to look to the future and stretch themselves as far as they could to buy a house. It made more sense then.

Fast forward to 2009.

The nation had been in a recession for nearly three years and unemployment hovered at a thirty year high. The real estate market had recently tanked and homes were considered a risky investment if not a ridiculous one. Many homeowners were waking up to find themselves stuck in a vicious cycle of working to pay for the house they sleep at at night and live in only long enough to get up and do it all again the following day. The average home size in the United States was a bloated 2,670 sq.ft. and in 2010 we would see 2,871,891 foreclosures alone! The world had indeed changed from just a decade or two before.

Somewhere along the line the American Dream became defined by owning more stuff than your neighbor and having more than those around you. Many times that meant relying on credit cards with lofty interest rates. But was that the way to go? Was that the new truth? Did my new bride and I need a bigger house, a better car, or a large salary to find happiness? And just what was this elusive happiness we had been conditioned to believe in? Would it come about when we sacrificed our dreams for the pursuit of stuff?

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On February 21, 2009 I married Crystal in the mountains of North Georgia. It was a small wedding in what would be one of our first financial decisions together, as a couple. We invited less than a handful of people and got married in front of the fireplace at the cabin we were staying in. Our officiant was a lifelong friend of mine and an ordained minister. Our photographer doubled as my best man. My sister was the maid of honor and our reception was little more than finger food found locally and a bottle of champagne. Our total cost was just under $1000 (including my wife’s dress which we found on eBay). At that point though saving that $1k was a huge deal. Along with my hand in marriage and a promise of for better or for worse I also came with just over $40,000 in consumer debt. For the past 14-16 months I had been trying to keep a struggling business afloat, living off credit cards, and using retail therapy to help me cope.

I was a financial mess and being so would color our immediate future.

Almost immediately after getting married we began to figure out our next step. Both being raised in the South we felt like a good truck, a “starter” house, a kid or two, and perhaps a membership in the local congregation would be the ticket. We were stopped short though when we searching for the house. We had found a cute little bungalow in town that was listed at $86,000. It needed work but we were up for the challenge. When we sat down with the lending agent though we could sense things were about to change. With my salary of just $10/hour for 40-hour weeks and Crystal working only seasonally at the local college we weren’t prepared to hear that we had qualified for a home loan of $179,000. It was a dream come true! As a man I was beside myself with pride knowing I could buy the house my wife and I wanted and provide as I had been taught to do. After just 48 hours though my wife told me she had good news and bad news. I opted for the good news first. She told me we could buy the house. I couldn’t imagine any bad news then. Turns out we could buy the house but we would have to sell our car, eat just 3 meals a week, do without lights, and possibly shower at the local gym because water would not be an option for us. The American Dream had let us down and was even willing to suck us in even more. We did the only thing we knew to do. We started praying about a new situation; a new opportunity!

That opportunity came in the form of a 190 sq.ft. house built with rustic charm and set up on a tandem axle trailer. Pictured on the website of Tumbleweed Tiny Homes it look near perfect for us. After all, we had met as missionaries and had for years lived in backpacks, guest rooms, and questionable accommodations. This hand-built mini-mansion would allow us to skirt around a mortgage, have an interesting and stylish home, be mobile, and work towards better financial decisions (which by this point meant paying off the debt I brought to the table).

From late-2009 until even now my wife and I have worked hard at simplifying our lives. We have minimized the number of clothes we own, the types of food we eat, our dependency on cars, the number of square feet we need to exist indoors, the amount of books we surround ourselves with, the number of CDs and DVDs we buy (largely for one-time use), and the overall debt we have amassed.

In this exchange we have maximized our quality of life, our love for each other, our concern for the world around us, our ideas of entertainment, our health (mentally and physically), and our general dispositions. Things didn’t stop with just a dream though.

310490_10150870938305151_1906189448_nIn 2012 we broke ground (or should I say rolled in our trailer) on what would become our home. After researching a number of tiny house trailers, small homes, cottages, tee pees, yurts, and other non-traditional structures, we settled on a single-level, 240 sq.ft. tiny house trailer built on a 30′ long by 8′ wide, tandem axle trailer. We were also working on the size of our family having added our daughter to the mix in 2011. Our debt had been over half paid off, I was working a new and more lucrative job, we had spent much time in prayer and meditation discerning need -vs- want, and we had saved money to begin our build.

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3The entire process took nearly 14 months and is intricately documented over at Tiny r(E)volution but on January 3, 2013 we officially moved in to our tiny house. Our dreams were coming true and while the real estate market had been steadily bouncing back and the job market was getting better we were focused on a new American Dream. We were focused on OUR American Dream.

In the definition of the American Dream by James Truslow Adams in 1931, “life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement” regardless of social class or circumstances of birth. Ours sounded more like “life will be better for us because we realize that our life is a gift from God meant to be lived investing in others and the world around us. Our opportunity should be one without monetary value and presented to us in accordance to our giftings and our passions.” We had been passionate about getting out of debt so we honed in on the problems, outlined a solution, and dove in. We had been passionate about a home that fit our needs so we created plan and built a house. We had been passionate about having a small family so even in our mid-30s we enjoyed the blessing(s) God gave us as a couple and then in the form of a beautiful baby girl. None of these took place because we are holier than thou or because we worked harder than anyone else or because we are in anyway more exceptional than anyone else. They took place because we believed in them, we believed in ourselves, and we wanted a life free of obligation and consumer stress.

10494740_574324878336_7099352784910747276_nAs I write this we are now living in our “new to us” 27′ Aruba travel trailer preparing to become full-time nomads (my employment allows me to be location independent) and experience the nation as God lays out for us. We have reduced our consumer debt to just a handful of payments (I can literally count them on one hand), a small loan for our travel trailer, and a truck payment for the beautiful and reliable truck we just financed to tote us around the US. Our living room has become wherever the sun rises and sets and we have found in each other a love deeper than we ever thought possible. Our daughter is about to turn 3 and has no idea that we aren’t exactly….well, “normal.” She is smart and well adjusted and is slowly learning the lessons it took her old man thirty years to catch on to.

Money can’t buy happiness. Credit can’t change your mood. But friends, love, and laughter – all blessings from above – can make your days worth living and your adventures more exciting!

 

AboutDrewFounder of Tiny r(E)volution and author of the popular book ‘Your Message Here :: GAINING CORPORATE SPONSORS for your tiny house project‘, Andrew Odom is a social media strategist and content crusader amongst other things. He is also an accomplished photojournalist with work seen in Details, Relevant, South, Kitchen Drawer, and Tiny House Magazine. His proudest accomplishment however is his adoption and current advocacy of the tiny house/small house/unconventional house community as a designer, builder, and dweller. Having recently sold their 240 sq.ft. tiny house Andrew and his wife (as well as his 3-year old daughter) live and travel in a 27’ Aruba travel trailer.

You can follow them on Instagram @tinyrevolution

We welcome you to leave any questions, comments or well wishes for the Odoms in the comment section below!

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