All good goals come with frustration. That was certainly the case today with our small house project. Our large (in our town’s standard) lot of .83 acres is not large enough to plan for a potential larger house later down the road if we, or the next owner, decide one is needed. This is due to setbacks and other county mandated zoning issues. 

Ultimately we decided that the likelyhood of us ever building a second house was small enough to not worry about it. It also beat the suggestion of putting our house as close to the neighbors as possible, which I’m sure they will appreciate.

We also learned an important lesson: don’t trust the professionals to get things right. You have to double check their work. In looking at the placement of our septic system, we realized that the professionals put the system about twenty feet further west than it should be placed. This essentially places our septic tank in the middle of the main water flow area of our property. Not good. 

Tomorrow, I get to call the county and see what needs to be done to move the septic to a more appropriate place. Hopefully it won’t involve a costly redesign, but if this project has taught me anything, it is that every hurdle just means another check has to be written. Maybe that is a bit too pessimistic… But those are my feelings tonight.

Not the right place to put a septic tank

Plan B

Plan B

About two weeks before we found out that our architect was moving to Alabama for a job (congratulations to him), our county passed new regulations for tiny homes. These new regulations essentially eased some of the restrictions on how ingress and egress function as well as allowing for ladders to loft spaces. This was allowed for any building under 400 square feet. My husband  and I quickly decided that since we both work and are not exceptionally gifted in construction that a tiny house would be the way to go. Since we had a great experience buying our shed from Tuff Shed, that was the first place we looked. They were able to draft a 14 x 28 building on a permanent foundation that we really liked.
I’m sure the first question you will have for me is: why did you decide on a house with a foundation vs a towable house or a manufactured home? The answer to this is simple. In our zoning, those homes simply are not allowed. Based on experience, I do not think that this type of home could fly under the radar for very long without major issues with the county and a couple of or neighbors. Additionally, a foundation allows for a wider building. As it is, we will have a sturdy home with concrete floors, a metal roof and 2″x6″ construction.

Knowing that we are in a six inch sheet flood zone, the representative at Tuff Shed recommended a company as a “permit expediter.” Basically, this company knows how to do the necessary drawings and regulations to keep the permit project moving along. The permit expediter sent our initial sketch to the county building department who said that since our loft was larger than one third of the overall floor space, it counted as living space and pushed our house over the tiny house limit of 400 square feet. Bummer. Chris and I discussed the ramifications of modifying our plans and decided the extra living space (which will eventually include a second bedroom) will  be worth the additional expense and regulations.

The next step was financing. Financing our new home has been the hardest thing to do over the last year. We tried numerous banks before we finally found someone to lend us enough money to get started. This leads to question number two: why didn’t we go with a construction loan?

The answer is: we really wanted to. However, we needed to get a down payment on the house and needed cash to do it. Additionally, we found construction loans difficult because they prefer you to use a contractor (which adds a lot of cost) and want to have full drawings, budget, etc. These of course are good to have, but full drawings were going to take time, and I was going to need the cash before then. Finally, many construction loans only loan 70-80% of the total project cost or value (depending on the loan). His includes paying off the note on the land and would have made our budget very tight. Many loans also require large payments upfront (we were looking at one that had four points which added up to thousands of dollars). Additionally, the size of house and construction by Tuff Shed for the shell was likely to be an issue. Be forewarned all those wanting to follow in our footsteps! 

The site of our future home

Needless to say, we were approved for a personal loan last Friday and will deposit the check in the bank soon! Last week, we also made the payment to get our water meter installed. This week, we are working on findin someone to install the septic. Tonight, the permit expediter sent us preliminary drawings, and I finally get to say: Our house is FINALLY on the way!

Hope and Strength to Change

Food addiction is a struggle. Often, when I am stressed, I feel the need to have something in my mouth constantly. This has been true this week. God however has called us to more. We know that he has called us to more than addictions with drugs, alcohol, and pornography… Why not food? And if food is my struggle, why shouldn’t I treat my daily struggle of eating too my as something that is as serious as someone who has anorexia? Both food issues cause life-long health complications. Both issues are caused by deep rooted control and self-esteem issues. Now that I am admitting this issue, I can begin seeking the truth behind why I am over-eating and begin the process to recovery. God calls us to more, more than our addictions and gives us hope and strength to change. Ephesians 1:18-19 says:

I pray also that you will have greater understanding in your heart so you will know the hope to which he has called us and that you will know how rich and glorious are the blessings God has promised his holy people. And you will know that God’s power is very great for us who believe. That power is the same as the great strength.


I got a text tonight from a young lady who struggles with self harm. She bought more razors after throwing her old ones out and said that part of her doesn’t want to change. I told her that while I care about her, I can’t help her until she wants to change.

About an hour later, I was repeating the same old prayer of “God, please help me change.” I was reminded that I can’t be helped unless I want to change.

Bucket list

Discussing a potential work trip with my husband last night quickly turned into a teary divulgence into my deep seated desires to complete my ridiculously long bucket list, preferably this year, while taking time to stop and smell the roses. This thought is inanity. Trying to complete my bucket list in my lifetime will be difficult, if not impossible. Additionally, I find my daily life to be so hectic that the only roses I will smell are those I have picked and pinned to my clothing so I can smell them on the go. If I happen to be stopped while smelling them it is probably because I am at a red light.

So, after I stopped my pity party, and forgave my husband for having a much cooler job, I decided that my goal is to write up my bucket list and set a goal of one or two items per year, depending on the time involved in each item. This way I get to gain momentum, and I may actually get to smell the roses.


Focus and discipline are what I lack.

I have such a long list of goals! My bucket list is longer than I honestly will ever accomplish. Yes, so far this post sounds like it has been marinating in pessimism. It probably has been. However, it is honest.

I also know I struggle with setting goals that are too lofty, so maybe this post is more of a reminder to myself, an online sticky note, to take it easy. It is great to have goals, but with the limited resources of time, energy, and money, it is impossible to accomplish all of your goals at one time. As my all-too-wise husband likes to remind me “if everything is a priority, then nothing is.”

So, I must constantly ask myself, what are my priorities?