While reading WiseBread, I came across a company which builds these amazing little homes. The Biensi is their smallest at only 70 square feet! You may ask, who on earth would want to live in such a small house?!? There is a growing community of people who are rejecting excess stuff--clothes, dishes, collectibles, etc--for a simpler lifestyle. As you might imagine, it doesn't take much to heat and cool these teensy dwellings, and that's also great news for the environment. I love the above picture. My question is, who wouldn't want to wake up to a beautiful sight like this? Those who purchase such a home spend around $40,000. It may seem pricey, but take a look at the craftsmanship and love put into each of them and you will see why. I'd imagine Tumbleweed homeowners only spend a quarter of what most traditional homeowners spend (heating/cooling, house payments, insurance, taxes, etc). This would make it possible to either get out of debt fast or spend a lot less time working. Less time working = more family time, volunteer time, or whatever you think is important.
About the material goods. You wouldn't be able to keep many of them. Last summer we moved to our new house which is about half as large as the one we rented. It was difficult to pare everything down, but it was incredibly freeing; I don't miss anything we purged and I still feel our house is too full. Reading about these little houses made me realize I don't need more space. I just need less stuff. I've been thinking about how it's "easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" (Luke 18:25). To me this means we should not grow attached to our earthly treasures. Giving away some things we don't need will not only help others, but will help us focus our lives on God. We aren't about to sell our house and buy a Biensi, but it gives us something to think about. Everyone knows I am a shopper, but I am taking babysteps to fix that--the first one being that I avoid shopping at superstores and patronize local businesses instead (or buy secondhand, which usually equates to supporting charities).
To that end, family and close friends: Please don't be surprised if, instead of a material gift, you receive something like this from Jordan and me this Christmas. The Heifer Project is a cause I believe in because it doesn't offer just a temporary fix for impoverished families. Instead, it empowers them to help themselves, which is emotionally healing. Most of you have more stuff than you can fit into your houses, but the gift of a flock of geese will give a family the opportunity to feed their children protein-rich eggs and perhaps even make a little extra money to buy things they need. That's a gift you can feel good about for a long time! Instead of wasting my time trudging through crowded stores, I think I'll just sit at my computer and pick out an animal for most of the people on my list. Then I can spend the time I save with my family, which is what we ought to be doing at Christmas anyway.