Over the past few months I have posted some pics of the very slow construction of our new “tent” house but with no explanation of what exactly we are doing or why we are doing it. I am also realizing that once we are finished I may want to have a more consistent record of how things went down so I will try to be more intentional about taking picture as the process continues.
What are we doing? Well, that is a good question. We are attempting to construct (and I use the word “construct” loosely) a 320 sq. ft. temporary dwelling. We now live in a 1300 sq. ft. home with a mortgage. We are planning on selling our current home and moving into the tent home full time. It will be framed in much like a regular house but the walls will be vinyl. The entire thing will sit on a platform we built out of 2×6’s and donated (thank you Richard & Sam Frost) plywood. We had the tent itself pre-sewn to fit so that it will slide over the frame once it’s done. We also framed in a regular sized glass door and we will cut holes to put in a couple windows towards the end. We probably have as many or more questions as you do but I will try to answer some of the more obvious ones.
How will it be cooled? Yup, it’s gonna be hot! We will have one or more wall air conditioning units depending on the need. We are going to start by insulating the roof with a radiant heat barrier and then if we need to we can insulate the tent walls as well, not sure what we will use yet.
Will it have a kitchen and bathroom? We will have a little kitchenette with a small fridge and a two burner propane stove that we use in our pop up trailer. We will not have a bathroom. The tent house will be situated in the backyard of my parents rental home and we will share a bathroom with them as well as the washer/dryer.
Will you store all your stuff? We are storing some of our things, but for the most part we are downsizing and just getting rid of stuff.
Why are we doing this? This is a good one. I am asking myself (and Jeff) this over and over again. The main reason is to take a big step toward becoming debt free. We are Dave Ramsey converts although his values are not really new or revolutionary, just sound, Biblical and plain old common sense. The rich rule over the poor and borrower is slave to the lender. Prov. 22:7. No we don’t aspire to be rich and rule over the poor, although, ain’t nothing wrong with being wealthy. We really focus on that last part, the borrower is slave to the lender.Jeff and I strongly believe God never intended for us to live under the burden of debt. Debt for school, credit card debt, car debt, even a mortgage. There are enough stressors in life already that the additional weight of monetary debt and the trouble it can cause should be avoided whenever possible. Maybe it’s just me but I stress out pretty quickly so life with minimal bills and possessions is appealing to me. Less to clean, organize and care for. More time for kids, family and friends. I don’t think people that incur debt are evil terrible people. In fact, in the end we may need to take out a small building or land loan. Sometimes debt is inevitable, especially with the lifestyle we are accustomed to in the United State. We just believe that we can do more, be more flexible and be a bigger blessing to people without financial baggage.
Another reason we are doing this is for the uncertainty and adventure it will most certainly bring. Just last night I began worrying over whether or not the house will sell, where we should move permanently, should we purchase land, and if, in the end, we will have to take out another mortgage. This is paraphrased but Jeff said, rather bluntly, “You are taking all the adventure and joy out of this.” And he was, absolutely right. It is only a house and it is just money and I was forgetting the point.
So as we do our thing and build this thing and live here and go there, I hope we can truly learn what it means to trust God to provide for us and guide us even as we make mistakes. I am working through a study with a close friend by Beth Moore on insecurity (which I highly recommend) based on the truth that our security lies not in houses or money, what we do for a living, our talents or even our families, but as followers of Christ is forever tied into the person of Jesus. It is a gift unearned and it can never be taken away. Please remind me of this if you see me wringing my hands.
Let your roots grow down into [ Christ Jesus ], and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. – Col. 2:7