Hammock Reads July 2017

A wide-cast net of recent reads on love, liberty, and shelter . . .

Hacksaw Ridge Deserves an Oscar for Redefining Heroism, Lawrence W. Reed, FEE . . . Happy Independence Day with a little recognition for an unconventional soldier of peace.

Mr. Money Mustache vs. Dave Ramsey, Brian Jones, BrianJones.com . . . Surprise reflections on how Jesus might “live like no one else.”

How to Live Frugally and Save Money: 100+ Genius Ways to Save, R.J. Weiss, The Ways to Wealth . . . Covering all your bases: utilities, food, financial services, taxes, entertainment, work, kids, and travel.

Church Fined $12,000 for Giving Shelter to Homeless, Brittany Hunter, Generation Opportunity . . . Why allow charities to be charitable when the government already does it so well?

Full Tour of my 4×4 Mercedes Sprinter Van Conversion, Kristin Bor, Bearfoot Theory . . . One day when Big Country and I settle the kids into their own homes, we’re hitting the road in a sweet van like this one!

Photo credit: Chris Thompson

Hammock Reads March 2017

A wide-cast net of recent reads to ponder on love, liberty, and shelter . . . 

Why the Liberty Movement in Europe is Rocking So Hard, Jeffrey Tucker, FEE . . . Young classical liberals draw strength from one another in their love of Europe’s tradition of freedom.

How to Use Real Estate Trends to Predict the Next Housing Bubble, Teo Nicolais, Harvard University . . . Learning the historical cycle and timing of recovery, expansion, hypersupply, and recession.

Top Five Regrets of the Dying, Joshua Becker, Becoming Minimalist . . . This beautiful, encouraging post from a thoughtful simple-living writer could instead be entitled, “How My Grandfather Lived a Life of Love and Purpose.”

What American Populism Really Means, David Smith, FEE . . . In times of crisis, populism emerges as a fight for no less than cultural power. Who will defend and who gets to define the American identity?

7 Pieces of Financial Advice That Forever Changed My Life, Joshua Becker, Becoming Minimalist . . . From homes to cars to jobs, simple techniques with profound impact.

Hammock Reads January 2017

A wide-cast net of recent reads on love, liberty, and shelter . . .

How to Hygge, or: 29 Ways to Actually Enjoy Winter, Sarah Von Bargen, Yes and Yes . . . Enjoying the cozy Danish tradition of good old-fashioned sledding, knitted socks, candlelight, mulled wine, and reaching out to friends during the darkest time of year.

Chip’s New Year’s Revelation, Chip Gaines, Magnolia Market . . . During these tough times, pursuing unity and restoration through engaging people with love.

6 Strategies You Can Use to Crush Your Mortgage, Claudia, Two Cup House . . . Ideas from a couple of tiny house-seeking, debt-crushing dynamos.

Why There’s Never Enough Time, David Cain, Raptitude . . . Possibilities for worthwhile pursuits are endless, but a life’s hours are not; time to reflect on what to let go.

Announcing Side Hustle School: A Daily Project for 2017, Chris Guillebeau, The Art of Non-Conformity . . . This looks interesting. Don’t we all need a way to diversify, stretch ourselves, and increase our earning power?

12 Theses on a Christian Understanding of Economics, Albert Mohler, Albert Mohler.com . . . Considering money’s relationship to human dignity, family, private property, thrift, generosity, stewardship, initiative, industy, and investment.

Housing, Job, and Money: Pre-Tiny Ponderings

Although we’ve been living in our tiny house for over a month now, I’ve been thinking back to the early days of dreaming and scheming. Just what were we thinking?!

Well, we did a great deal of thinking in those days about our current housing, job, and finances and what we wanted to change about all three. Spending hours mentally lounging in cozy windowseats on Pinterest was fun and somewhat informative of our final design. But for us, it was always more about banishing student loan debt and freeing up time and money for family, giving, travel, and the like.

If you’re already at the commitment stage of delving into tiny house construction and living (Lord help you!), it’s time to assess what’s really going on with your housing, job, and money and the real choices you have during this next year or two.

Spending many late nights up with a large pot of tea or coffee discussing, reflecting, researching, crunching numbers, and wrestling with these questions could save your finances, marriage, sanity, and maybe your life…it’s that important.

coffee or tea late at night

  • What is my housing situation currently?
    • Do I anticipate rent, mortgage payments, utilities, or other housing costs increasing within a year?
    • Am I under the gun to get the tiny house done so I have a place to live?
    • At what stage of the build do I see myself moving in? How will this work with the climate and season?
    • How will moving in before completion affect the progress of the build, both positively and negatively?
  • What is my job situation currently?
    • If full-time or overtime, can I begin the discipline of carving out regular time to diligently focus on tiny house preparation? What does this mean for how long the build will take?
    • If part-time or seasonal, how will the increased time but decreased earnings balance out to meet both the funding and schedule of the build?
    • If unemployed or on hiatus from a job, how many hours can I conceivably work on the build per day or week without burning out, so that I maximize this time off work and don’t run out of money?
  • What are possible build materials and costs?
    • Search out several lists from good, thorough tiny house blogs, such as Tiny House Giant Journey, Tiny House Build, and Love Liberty Shelter of course (an ongoing work-in-progress, as the build continues on!).
    • Print out, compare, cross off and add materials based on your design needs.materials and tools to build a tiny house
    • Price out everything you can. As you do, consider the following:
  • What materials and tools do I anticipate . . .
    • borrowing?
    • salvaging, such as pallets from an alley or recycle center, or furniture from curbside?
    • buying second-hand, such as through Craigslist or Habitat for Humanity?
    • buying new at Home Depot, Lowes, local lumber supply, or a hardware store?
    • buying new on Amazon and other online sources?
    • buying at a premium, either locally or online, because of aesthetic, green, or other considerations?
  • Which aspects of the build will require . . .
    • extensive research, practice, training, and/or specialized tools?
    • working alongside a pro or knowledgeable friend?
    • hiring out?
    • examples: welding for trailer modification, framing, electrical, plumbing, wood stove, etc.
  • Based on all the above, what is the budget for the build?
    • How much do you currently have saved?
    • How far do you anticipate this will get you in the build?
    • Do you anticipate more income going toward the build in the coming months?
    • How much money do you think you should have saved before beginning?
  • What is the plan if money runs out before completion?
    • What are your backup sources of funding?
    • How do you really feel about using these?
    • Would it depend on how far in the build you have progressed?

Tiny house building and living could be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. The scope, energy, funds, time, and commitment this kind of complex project requires is immense. At the same time, if an unskilled couple with little kids can do it, so can you! Seek out the right people, resources, and tools, keep the big picture crystal clear, and never stop learning, flexing, and being thankful.

Hammock August 2016

A wide-cast net of recent reads to ponder on love, liberty, and shelter . . .


The Most Important Home Buying Advice You’ll Never Hear from a Realtor, Joshua Becker, Forbes . . . Asking yourself the right questions in pursuing shelter, not necessarily the ones the housing industry wants you to focus on.


A Physician’s Journey into Minimalism, Juan Cuebas, Minimalist Doctor . . . Awakening to the root causes of overwhelming physician burnout and declaring a 180 degree shift toward simplicity.


Frugality is Not Deferred Spending, Mrs. Frugalwoods, Frugalwoods . . . Meticulously scrimping while daydreaming about the next big purchase, or embracing an attitude of “spending only on what matters most to you and only in service of your longterm goals”?


8 Ways to Have More Time, Chris Guillebeau, The Art of Non-Conformity . . . Smart, simple ways to focus on the best and keep on sleeping eight hours a night.


Debt Free, Joshua Fields Millburn, The Minimalists . . . Sipping an Americano paid with cash and reflecting on the journey to simplicity and financial freedom.

Hammock July 2016

A wide-cast net of recent reads to ponder on love, liberty, and shelter . . .

highland coast


How to Build Confidence in Your Frugality, Mrs. Frugalwoods, Frugalwoods . . . Navigating the contentiousness of money opinions and celebrating your choices for less, and more.


8 Countercultural Decisions to Find Financial Freedom, Joshua Becker, Becoming Minimalist . . . Reflecting on who you are, what you need, and what you can give instead of outside expectations for your life.


Who is God’s Candidate? Dr. John MacArthur, Grace to You . . . A sweeping history of God’s standard for the blessing of nations, the character of rulers, and the charge of believers.


Gone Fishing, Sarah Skwire, Fee . . . “I am of the mind, lately, that the most radical thing that anyone can do in this election season is to watch baseball, hang out with friends, make jam, read to a child, or go fishing. Insist on the importance of other things . . . ”


Why You Should Quit Your Job and Travel the World, Chris Guillebeau, The Art of Non-Conformity . . . Thoughtful questions from a young man who has traveled to every country about life’s priorities and making it happen.