Why We Live Off Grid in a Tiny House, Pt I

Our windmill and bamboo trellis overgrown with cucuzzi edible gourd

Our alternative lifestyle has intrigued many curious folks, encouraged and inspired some, and evoked remarks of disapproval from others. Some of you value the same things we do and tell us we are so privileged and blessed, sharing words of encouragement and visiting when possible. You express envy, hoping to one day do the same. You humble us and remind us of why we are doing what we are doing.

Others have said we are wasting our time, we’re crazy, or we’re trying to earn some sort of special favor with God. That causes us to step back and examine our motives and decisions to make sure we are truly staying on track with the vision and dream God has given us, making changes where needed.

Heading out to the egg-mobile at Full Circle Farm to gather eggs

Butterfly helps gather eggs

Recently we gave a presentation at Full Circle Farm about using windmills to pump water. Sunday morning we shared with their house fellowship our family story, including living debt-free, adoption, a more sustainable lifestyle, and a recent trip to South America. So we examined our journey again, and how and why God has brought us here. Here is the first of a six-part summary sharing numerous reasons for our choice of off-grid, tiny house living.

Early Impressions Shaping our World View

Both Silver Oak and I point to things that shaped our “off the grid” mentality long before we began living free of the electrical grid. Before marriage, my summer in Ecuador with a SWIM team (Summer Witness in Missions) highly influenced my life. It challenged me to follow Jesus’ example in giving my life as His witness. Would Jesus choose first class, or coach? A classy hotel, restaurant, or car, or one like the common people’s? Which “class” did He choose to best identify with the most people?

Washing cleaning rags with a little Quechua girl in the mountains of Ecuador in 1987 in her family’s outdoor sink

Later I went on a choral singing tour, arriving in Romania immediately following the fall of communism. We held a service and proclaimed, “Our God, He is Alive!” in a former city hall where no mention of God’s name had previously been allowed. Their hunger for Truth and Light was extremely moving. The persecuted church leaders fervently admonished us several times to be faithful to Jesus. They pointed out that persecution in Romania had made it very difficult to follow Christ, but in America it is very difficult to live whole-heartedly for Jesus because of materialism.

This was one of many groups of formerly persecuted Believers we sang to in post-communist Romania in 1990

Materialism! What? STUFF? An easy life filled with comforts, pleasures, and material possessions can make it as difficult to follow Jesus as persecution behind the Iron Curtain? Their statements were very thought provoking. If they are right, how do we “escape” the trap that befalls most Americans, rendering its Church lukewarm and ineffective?

As a youth, Silver Oak went on several mission trips to Haiti and other countries, which introduced him to the reality of life in other places. Visiting them affected him deeply. He was a Believer, but not totally dedicated to Jesus, so his heart did not change. However, the seeds were sown, and he really wanted something different. When he was 20 a crisis brought him to his knees, and he rededicated his life to the Lordship of Jesus, greatly changing the direction of his life. Soon after we were married, Silver Oak read a book by KP Yohannan called “The Road to Reality.” It challenged him to think in terms of eternity, rather than with a temporal focus. This also greatly influenced his life.

The “laundromat” in Haiti

When we married, we had a keen desire to be open-minded about the ways of Christ; not automatically accepting the “herd” mentality, the way it’s always been done, or traditions of men, but deliberately trying to see all decisions afresh in light of God’s Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit. First-generation Believers have really challenged us by their simple trust in God’s Word and just willingly following what it says without lots of preconceived religious ideas. Many man-made traditions are beneficial, but shouldn’t be the most controlling factor. Fellowship with other Believers is a priority, but we resist following the crowd over the leading of the Lord.

We have made many mistakes, and certainly don’t consider what we’re doing to be the “only way.” Our choices are often not mainstream.  Our passion has been to raise God-fearing children to pass on the faith and ways of God to future generations, hopefully more “radically” than we have. Many in our generation have washed out spiritually, or are wrapped up in the all-American dream. We believe this comfort-driven, pleasure seeking, materialistic lifestyle may be the idol worship of our day, or at best a “high place” of worship that can easily lead us or future generations astray.

Silver Oak and Evensong visited this country church on a recent trip to South America

Our values often put us “outside the box,” not connected to “the system.” It is an “off-the-grid” way of thinking, naturally setting us apart in this culture. The encouragement of like-minded Believers has been invaluable to us, as well as criticism of those who don’t see everything the same. We need both for accountability and for balance. Obviously not everyone sees things the way we do, and we respect that. Each is accountable to God for what we are given.

Can you guess which country this is in? See my answer below.

Since we live in America, but have not adopted the “All-American” way, our values and practices naturally tend to go against the flow. Our priorities and dreams are just different. This is portrayed in other reasons for our off-grid lifestyle, which I will share in upcoming posts.

If you would like to receive future posts, be sure to click here.

Blessings,

How Does Our Homestead Grow? Part II

Note:  Credit must be given to Silver Oak for editing, critiquing, commenting on, and offering Scripture for what is written. This is his vision (as well as mine), and he blesses me for taking time to write it down, freeing him to answer the many projects calling his name “out there.”

Photo:  Taken in FL, in front of our homestead.  Couldn’t resist this rather foreign-looking scene of Silver Oak and Farmer Boy taking Buttercup and her calf to graze at the neighbor’s.

Linked w/Natural Living Mama, Chicken Chick, Barn Hop, Growing Home, Backyard Farming Connection, Down Home Blog Hop, Frugally Sustainable, Homemaking, Wildcrafting Wednesday, HomeAcre Hop, Old Fashioned Friday, Little House in the Suburbs, From the Farm Blog Fest, Farmgirl Friday, and Heritage Homesteading.

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12 thoughts on “Why We Live Off Grid in a Tiny House, Pt I

  1. What an interesting post! I love reading about why you’re doing what you’re doing. It sounds like God has given you a similar vision as He has us of purposefully seeking and doing His will for us, even though it may be different than for many others. I also just read your post on debt-free living. God also convicted us to “owe no man anything but to love one another”. We don’t own this property, but we have a lifetime lease for which we pay no property taxes. We just have to finish fixing up the house and maintain the property. Right now we are taking the plaster off the log walls in our schoolroom and chinking the walls for a truly log room. We also feel that the economy is going to collapse and are seeking God’s will in how we should prepare. We feel God is judging America and we’re praying for revival. It’s so encouraging for me to see that you are following God how He leads though it may be different from anyone else. We also do not fit in any box that I know of. I saw you and either two or three of your daughters in a live streaming video of orchestra camp today. My nephews, Isaac and Zachary Mullet were there also. I really enjoy your posts. Cathy

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    • So good to hear from you Cathy! I enjoyed learning to know your nephews a bit, and Orchestra camp was so uplifting! I have also loved what you guys have shared on your website…lots of likeminded things. I will drop you an email soon. Blessings to you!

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  2. Thank you for your gentleness in expressing the way The LORD is leading you and your family. I believe The LORD has been gently and consistently to being A food reserve. By GOD’s grace I have started although I’m not sure how well I’m doing, I trust Him to be faithful and continue to lead the way.
    I confess the stuff all around me is intoxicating and sufficating choking the good seed sowed. May The LORD GRANT MORE GRACE AND MERCY, we desperately need HIM. May the Lord continue to bless and use and sustain you and your family and the fellow believers there where you are. Your sister in S Fl

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  3. Thank you for sharing your journey. It is nice to know that we are not alone in our journey, although we are on a different, mostly parallel path to the same destination.

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  4. You have to follow your heart. Keep doing what you are doing. Forget about the naysayers, they’re jealous and don’t understand. I love hearing about your progress as well as your failures. It is a breath of “realness” in this day and age. Thanks for coming back.

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