Unexpected gifts from a tiny house journey

It is a rainy and cold early november day her in Ithaca, the perfect day for being inside and writing a post. I have 5 days left in my indiegogo campaign and am only $600 away from my $7,000 goal! SO close! And ironically, I am also SO close to finishing laying down my floor! I hope with one more warm work day (when I don’t already have other paid work lined up) will be enough to finish it:


As you can see, we have set up a hoop house structure over my trailer now that we can pull a tarp over to protect it from the weather. It kind of feels like a big tent and and I am tempted to sleep out on it once my floor is done:



But anyway, what I really want to share about in this post is all the unexpected gifts that have come from this journey. When I started building this tiny house I knew the purpose was bigger than just me but I couldn’t quite articulate in a clear and succinct manner how or why it was bigger than me. I still can’t put it into a neat and tidy sentence, but I have to say that almost every day I have had some wonderful interaction with someone sparked by my tiny house project.

One such beautiful interaction happened as myself and two other young women gathered around a fire near the last new moon and shared our journeys of creating homes for ourself. One woman has set up a yome and is settling into it for the winter with her partner. The other is at a similar stage to me with a tiny strawbale timberframe: she just finished her deck and has tarped it and is waiting until spring to keep building. As the three of us gathered around the warmth of the fire we shared how spirit had called us in different ways to make these homes for ourselves. And we shared about the vulnerability and emotional journey of growth and healing that comes with creating ones own space. As we share a sisterhood of mutual support develops and it is truly a powerful, healing, and often humbling experience.

From my now over 60 donors I have shared many touching and heartfelt e mail interactions. One woman wrote,

“Good luck. I can’t remember if we have met in person, where I know you from – but your goal touches my heart, as a fellow Builder and also someday I will also build my home. ❤ Blessings to you for doing the work that calls your heart. For as you follow your heart, so too are others able to heal and follow theirs.”

Another shared her blog and I immediately resonated with her post that spoke of how terrifying it can be to make the first cuts for fear of messing up. But the truth is that is the only way to learn, and rarely is something beyond being able to be fixed- a lesson that applies to all of life. And others have told me about their plans to build a tiny house, purchase a house with friends and turn it into a cooperative, and other awesome and innovative dreams.

A couple weeks ago I returned to heartwood and had a blast taking a cabinetmaking course. After a full and satisfying week my teacher gave me this heartfelt endorsement that truly touched me:

“I met Miwa last year when she Apprenticed at Heartwood School, first as her Instructor during “Fundamentals of Woodworking” and then as a fellow student when we both took the Country Windsor Chairmaking course during another Heartwood School course offering.

The thing that has impressed me the most about Miwa is her quiet confidence in herself and her determination to pursue her passions. One such passion is her Tiny Home Dream.

I would like to help Miwa by introducing her to my friends who, hopefully will introduce her to others and perhaps we can all help her out in some way. I, in addition to a financial contribution, will be offering the use of my woodworking shop and expertise (as needed) when Miwa builds her kitchen cabinets. I imagine the use of my truck to deliver the cabinets will also be part of my contribution!

My feeling is that we are not donating money towards a project, but are donating money towards a future mentor to future generations.” – Kirk Fox

And it seems the universe is gently supporting me to step slowly from student to teacher (although we are all always learning) as when I returned from Heartwood I was contacted by Maria of Hammerstone school: Carpentry for women and just finished my first week working with her. Maria is a powerful woman with a passion for tackling the creation of a more gender neutral environment in the trades. For now she is “just” teaching carpentry for women classes, working on building an apprentice program and creating a women’s contracting crew, and teaching afterschool carpentry classes at some of the local school. I am already inspired and excited about what we can do together as we collaborate more. From learning about the documentary, Hard Hatted Women, to reading this woman’s story of a Hard Hat Life, I am realizing the importance of this issue and am excited by the many avenues for creating impact-full social change that are possible.

Sometimes I dream of creating a habitat for humanity like model of building tiny houses in community, specifically for women in need of such a refuge and support, whether they are on a journey of recovery, working to get out of prostitution, escaping a battered home, or trying to raise children as a single parent, through the process of building ones own home I think a sense of pride and identity can be rebuilt, but also, perhaps more importantly, communities can form and these communities have an immense power to heal.

Once again, although I may not have my path all planned out, I have trust and faith and feel supported and guided by spirit on a journey that continues to amaze me each day. For now I lay my foundation, but as I do so I plant many seeds for the future and wait eagerly to see which ones come to fruition.



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