the big oneBecoming newly single in my 40’s flattened me financially, but the sacrifice was well worth it, to be safe and free.  A whole world of possibilities opened before me, and I was thinking about ways I could live super-cheap and super-simple so that I could get my feet back under me.
dee williamsI read Dee William’s book “The Big Tiny: A Built it Myself Memoir”.  I’m not going to lie – I laughed and wept my way through that book.  At a time in my life when I didn’t think I could do much of anything – here was this fierce and relentless woman building a home in her driveway.  I was absolutely moved and inspired by her story.
I bought a van and asked a mechanic friend to give it a “tune up” (which cost more than the van).  I worked on it after work and on weekends, building out the interior of the van from my parking space at the apartment complex that had become my safe haven.  I asked a friend to help me from time to time, and sometimes I just muddled through knowing that liquid nail or caulk would cover a multitude of sins.  And as my work continued, I thought about Dee’s story, and it gave me the courage to keep going.  If she could do it… then maybe I could also.  Her story helped me move through fear into action.
2 UsFast forward a few years, a new husband (a kind one this time), and a tiny house that we both loved… and I’m still absorbing the stories of the people that I meet in the tiny house community.  These stories still move and inspire me.
Recently, it occurred to me to bring together a group of the people we’ve met and their powerful tiny house stories.  The idea was to share stories with the world that would move us all past the fear into action.  The truth is, if he or she can do it… so can I!  And so can you!  And that’s how “Shelter: Seven Letters from the Tiny House Community” was born.
The seed of the idea began with the word: Shelter.  That’s the basic human need we all have.  Then  the idea landed that the seven letters of the word could also be seven letters written by seven people.  I chose author-friends who were generously sharing their own insights into this weirdly liberating life.  I paid close attention to diversity of experience – from the young vanlife couple to the older couple living in a small home after having lived in a whole variety of tiny situations.  We’ve got single, married, divorced and remarried people.  These folks know things I’m still learning.  These are people who have inspired and moved me.  Andrew Odom of Tiny Revolution, Brynn Burger of The Mama on the Rocks, Jenn Baxter of Live a FAST Life, Chris Schapdick of Tiny Industrial, Michael of Navigation Nowhere and Dan & Rachel Messic of Banana Van Adventures, and there’s me, Carmen Shenk, author of Kitchen Simplicity.

Shelter Final Cover 03092019If you love the inspiring stories of simplicity like I do, then you’ll love this book.  This is not about building your dream tiny house, it’s about building your dream life.  It’s about living intentionally no matter what size your home is.  And if you’re considering simplicity, you’ll find that these stories move you from fear into action.  And that’s the best part of all, because it doesn’t matter where you start – it just matters that you start.

Today I’d like you to join me in bringing these stories to the world.  I love it that this book is written and sitting here beside me on my desk, but that’s not where this book belongs.  I’d really like to get a copy into your hands!  

Help me get this book designed, printed and shipped so that these stories can inspire a whole new generation of folks just like Dee William’s book inspired me.  We are so grateful for every pledge!  My favorite pledge level includes a limited edition copy of the book and a stack of other tiny house books… read more

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