Carmen and her husband Xaver were working all hours and missing each other. So, in the fall of 2014, they sold their 3,000 sq ft restaurant and bought a 125 sq ft tiny house. At first it was cozy and cute, but then the space started to feel confining. In the autumn, Carmen wanted to make apple pie – but didn’t have space or an oven to do so. She learned some lessons the hard way through that transition, some were practical, and some were philosophical. The things she learned she put in her first book, Kitchen Simplicity. Come hear Carmen’s take on what it requires to cook and live in a tiny house without sacrificing flavor or contentment.
PAIN, PIE, POVERTY, and PURPOSE
Xaver and I owned a 3,000 sq ft restaurant, but we were newlyweds and he was busy restoring pipe organs and I was busy running the restaurant and we were working crazy hours and missing each other. We’d finally found each other, and now our schedules kept us apart. It wasn’t what we wanted.
We sold the restaurant, bought a tiny house, and moved in. It was cute, it was mortgage free, I could drive with my house down main street and I loved it.
Until the day I wanted to make a pie. We had a range but the oven didn’t work right. We had a toaster oven, but you don’t bake a pie for an hour in a toaster oven. So I got grumpy and depressed. I started to list all the things I wanted to do but could not do because we lived in a tiny house. I wanted PIE!
In our culture, we have a word for people who don’t have much stuff. We call that poverty. I was looking around at my tiny little house and it looked like poverty to me, and I hated it. (here we are at pain again!) Poverty is a very real thing – but it can also be a mindset and I sure had it and I was miserable.
We were invited to host a meal for 20-30 people and we could use the professional kitchen on site. I made chicken soup (the old school way that I could not do in my tiny house). Xaver baked bread. And guess what we served for dessert? That’s right, home made apple pie. Creating that meal for those folks put me back in touch with my sense of purpose. I’m here to work to make the world a better place in whatever way I can.
Though poverty and simplicity may look the similar – they are not the same thing. When I began to focus on my sense of purpose instead of my poverty, everything changed. I began to evaluate the things we had based on whether or not they served my purpose – which helped me make peace with some losses and let go of other things. As I grew into purposeful simplicity, I focused much less on what I wanted that I didn’t have and much more on what I had to give and ways I could serve.
We learned some very practical things also – like asking a friend if I could come bake a pie at her house (and bake an extra one for her). Who would turn down that deal?! I also learned that the key to tiny house living is purposeful simplicity. Tiny House minimalism makes room for big dreams!
My transition from Pain to Purpose wasn’t an easy one, and I learned some things the hard way. That’s why I wrote Kitchen Simplicity, to help folks navigate the transition to life in a tiny haven-home. I hit every single pot hole in the road (so you don’t have to).
All my best,