What Happened to You?

Posted by on Nov 3, 2015 in Breathe, Recent Posts, Remember | 25 comments

What Happened to You?

After the little move up the hill into the big house, I went silent. That’s what happened. My fingers got dirty from sorting things out of boxes I packed 7 years ago. Not one dish broke, but some mice made a nest in the bowls. I uncovered a message I wrote seven years ago on the inside of one of those boxes. When I opened the cardboard flap and saw those capital letters, I cried. “SEE WE KNEW IT’D BE AWESOME.” It is awesome. We built a tiny house and a big house and they’re all ours.

I packed that box when I didn’t know it’d be awesome, but I wanted to believe it’d be awesome. I wrote that to convince myself, but I signed it -Mommy.

Those were dark and scary times, but they were also bright with faith, trust, and connection.

Looking back, I can see my own courage. I can see Karl and myself holding each other up, even though our words were harsh at times. I can see us believing we were doing something awesome even when we loaded the moving truck after we got the eviction from the purple house. I can see us pretending it was an exciting adventure for our kids. I can see that pretending makes it so, but it’s exhausting.

After we moved into the big house, I collapsed on the couch for a few days, and then I buried my hands in those boxes we stored in the shed. I uncovered some treasures and some things that went straight to the thrift store. (Why did we keep this!?) I spent most of my August and September moving things in and creating systems for how we live in this house, and I closed the curtains.

I mean not real curtains, we don’t need to hide from these trees, but I closed the view from the outside world–I silenced my online voice. As much as I enjoy sharing and interacting with you, my Tiny House Family community, I needed to go within, and I didn’t have any energy to share. I was confused about my new need for privacy. I didn’t expect it, but I went with it.

And suddenly I felt afraid. Who am I now? The tiny house was a big part of my identity. I wasn’t the only one. One night, Archer was sad. “I miss the tiny house.”

“But it’s right down the hill.”

“It’s different. Our stuff isn’t in there, you guys aren’t in there. Now we won’t be on TV anymore. We’re just a regular family.”

From the mouth of babes.

We are just a regular family who keeps doing regular things to reach extraordinary heights. That’s what I know now.

Last week a friend of mine said, “I see your tiny house experience as the birth canal. Things were dark and quiet, and you were compressed. Now you are out. What will you do?”

Maybe that’s it. It’s easy to be defined by the dark compression of 168 sq. ft., and quite another to define yourself.

What will I do? I will go with it, as I always have, and see where I’m led.

Many folks have asked for pictures of the big house. I will share more pictures in the coming weeks.

After helping over 250 people get started on the path to mortgage-freedom, we've learned a lot more about what it takes, the pitfalls, the tricks and triumphs of living a zero-debt life of intention. We're taking what we've learned and creating a whole new series of courses to help even more of you reach your dreams. Sign up for our newsletter to get first dibs on the limited seats in our new course.


  1. Such potency here. It’s a powerful time when one is able to slow down, reflect, assimilate and question–deeply question. I feel you. Achieving that place of mortgage freedom coupled with the security of the home one has wanted to create is like a tonic. It feels so safe. But even if we have a practice of observing the present, we humans have a tendency often to be looking to the future, asking what will I/we become now? Am I satisfied here? Do I need to create something else to feel even more safe (or free, fulfilled, satisfied, loved, etc.)?

    I’m thinking of your journey, and how raw it must have felt, and for how long. I think of people who have gone through massive, life-altering trauma in their lives, and how after the adrenaline of survival recedes, there is a need to create somewhat of a cocoon in this new limbo between this challenging period and what comes next. It’s like the sleep we need between each day. It’s a time of healing, digesting and rebooting. I believe it is essential.

    I see so many parallels here, like the colder, darker seasons of the year, and how many of us slow down in some ways and look inward–it’s a time of partial pause. There is potency there as well. But that doesn’t mean it’s as restful as sleeping. It stirs up questions, challenges assumptions, and asks for growth, sometimes these things are painful or bittersweet.

    I like the analogy of being birthed from a tiny compressed space. I also see the construction of the big house like a whirlwind summer of excitement, anticipation and intensity. And now, that season is closing as you finish settling in, just as the autumn grows darker around us. I admire the journey you’re taking, and that you’re honoring your need to sit in silence and blanket yourself in privacy. Only you can decide where this journey will take you next (and it sounds like you have some ideas brewing!).

    Whatever comes, I know it will come from the beautiful, complex alchemy of mind and soul. Love to you!

    • Thanks, dear Wynne. You are a great listener and you reflect things back beautifully. I’m grateful for you.

  2. Dear Hari, Thank you once again for your honest sharing. You inspire all of us who are following in your footsteps! 🙂 Linda

    • You are doing such a great job, Linda! We are proud of your progress and determination!! Keep up! 🙂

  3. I just sent you a press request through your site. I am so happy for you and your family and I am very thankful you shared your adventures with the world. You are an inspiration.


    • Hi Deirdre,
      I got your request and will send a reply in a few minutes. Thank you for your interest in our adventures! They keep coming!!

  4. So wonderful to hear from you, Hari, & glad you’re moving on to your next phase. Looking forward to hearing about your additional courses!

    • As exciting as it is, it’s also hard to close chapters in life. I’m getting more settled into this new phase, and it feels good! I look forward to hearing how your plans are developing.

  5. Before we were married my husband lived in a 2 headroom, 2 bath falling down trailer and I lived in a three headroom falling down house made from a trailer. We were married sept 30′ 2014 and began to down grade the way we lived. We now have two 30’x12′ barns and a small bldg for the kitchen & etc…

    We may not have gone tiny but for two old people (he is 76 and I am 66) we’re doing great. Each of us has cut cost of living in half. We live in South Georgia and have decided to use part if our land for a tiny house village so that others can enjoy the experiance of throwing away the chaines of consumerism and get healthy.

    Our bodies and minds are healthier and we expect to live years longer because our living room is out the front door.

    Huge thanks to all the pioneers that make this possible

    May all be blessed,


    • Thanks for sharing your story with us, Vicki! It sounds like you are living life on your terms. Yay!!

  6. I am so happy to hear from you again. I must admit I was starting to worry about you all. I always looked forward to reading about your Little House journey. I understand why you unhooked for awhile. Stay well and welcome back.

    • Thanks for noticing my absence, Frann! 🙂 I’m glad to be back.

  7. Wonderful.

  8. Yay! One thing I definitely know I will miss about my little house when I move into my “big house,” is being able to clean the entire house in 15 minutes or less. 🙂

    • That’s a for sure 🙂 I felt pretty overwhelmed by the time it takes to clean when we first moved in, but I’ve gotten my routines down and it’s not taking too much time all at once. I had to create patterns in my daily life, so I keep up with the cleaning and don’t have to spend an entire day doing it. Keeping only essential belongings helps. We still live a minimalist lifestyle.

      Our kiddos are helping out a lot, too!

  9. This is wonderful. Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

    • Thank you, Gabriella! I’m grateful you took the time to read my words.

  10. i live in a 300sq ft box
    it is part of a low income seniors complex
    i have struggled with it for 9 years
    i spend 3 hrs a day cleaning and trying to stay organized
    i long for some extra space and think i would be fine in 400 sq ft or that if i designed my own tiny home it would be fine because i would be the designer,and have control rather than the organization that runs the place
    i am very active in many organizations and have grandchildren so what i need is a little more space to be creative in
    If there was a shared commons space that would work for me to do things i enjoy being involved in

    • Having space for creative projects was one of the things I missed the most while we lived in the tiny house, so I can relate. Can you carve out a corner of your space to dedicate to your creativity, so that at least it has some space? Is there someone you can talk to about creating a shared commons space in your complex? I bet it would help many people.

  11. Estou muito, muito feliz por você! Felicidades na nova casa! xx.

  12. Wow…just Wow. The imagery of the birth canal, compelling and insightful. Thank you for sharing. The still quiet voice inside is True North! Blessings to you and yours. scott

  13. The end is of course always a new beginning, but I’ve found it is important to mourn and reflect the end of seasons. Take all the time you need to do so, or you will never truly have a new beginning, but rather a continuation of the old.

  14. You are no longer the family living in the Tiny House. You are now the family that was determined to own your own house, and you made it happen on your own terms by giving up luxuries that most people will never decide to live without. Your success after working hard for so many years is a testament to the great power of the human spirit. You are a timeless inspiration because you succeeded, and with two kids!! Although I haven’t tuned into your blog for a year or so, I think about you often. You have left a lasting impression on me that is likely to affect every financial decision I make for the rest of my life! Thank you so much for your generosity in sharing your life.

  15. Don’t forget: your square footage may be closer to “normal” (though it’s still below the average size for this country), but we are not measured by our square footage. The race to the bottom—less stuff, less space—is as artificial as the race to the top. You are not your house.

    The way you live every day is still radically different than the way most people here live. Who gardens? Who raises most of their own food? Your relationship to money, to work, to time is so atypical as to be revolutionary. THAT is your lesson, your example.

    As for how you represent yourself to the world, none of us is so one-sided as to be ‘just’ “Tiny House Mama” or “Sing Every Day Guy.” You know this. It’s convenient for us to package ourselves thus (because the world has no attention span), but it’s not the truth.

    So here’s a radical idea: Be Okay. Show the world, show us, show me, what it’s like to be in this new relationship with money and work and time, and to be okay. I know it’s something I could still stand to learn (I even blogged about it— http://amadomusic.com/dream-a-little-dream/ ).

    All my love to you and the whole fam.

    • I love me some Amado! Thanks, dear.