Category Archives: Personal

4 Surprising Things I Learned Living in a Tiny Honduran House

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Guest post by: Lukas VanDyke

There’s little place to escape when you only have 360 square feet.

Suzy, Wilder and I  just passed the two week mark of our two month foray living in a tiny house in the mountains of central Honduras. We have been spending time visiting villages where the houses are all made of mud, have a single spigot in the front yard for water, and the bathrooms are a made of a couple blankets hanging around a bowl and pipe that drain into the river.

For us, however, although the space is small as you might note in the photos, we do have all the modern conveniences. Electric stove, fridge, sink, bathroom and shower etc.

What is interesting though, is that most of the things for our little house were brought in from America, shipped down in suitcases with missions teams one piece at a time. Things that are difficult to find here include doorknobs with locks that work, sinks and faucets that don’t leak, bathroom fixtures, curtain rods, or pretty much anything else that can’t be easily fabricated from scratch. There are some furniture stores, but since they also import a majority of their inventory the costs are exorbitant.  Want a curtain? You better know how to sew. Need a table? Well pull out your hand saw and try your hand at wood working. In fact after visiting over a dozen stores I just came to the conclusion that if I wanted a lamp I was going to need to make one.

So although our space looks very normal, it was quite the feat for the missionaries who put it all together. Each and every aspect needed to be shipped from the states and assembled together with the rest of the pieces fabricated by local craftsmen or visiting teams who came down here. No quick runs to Home Depot for a missing doorknob.

In fact one of the big things I have been working on here is building a lot of different furniture for various spaces. A few of the pieces I have been working on include the table, desks and lamp you see in our little house which after we leave will be used by visiting speakers when they come down. I’m also working on things for the dorms for students attending the seminary, and furniture for the offices and other ministry related spaces. If you’re interested in helping fund different projects you can click the link. The more wood I have, the more things I can make while I am here. 

But enough back story. What have I learned from living in a 360 square foot house?

  1. You can’t escape. There is no retreating to a far side of the house to be alone. You are there, husband and wife and child, forced to work out your differences and talk things through right away. Although this can be a little difficult at times (especially since Wilder can’t talk) It’s really good! It forces you to be one with each other and on the same page all the time! I recommend everyone try this.
  2. It’s easy to clean. At home I know it’s easy for us to let the dishes pile up. But when you only have three plates there is nothing to pile up. You need to wash them if you want to use them again. You also can’t just close the door and move into another room and leave your projects spread out. You need to clean up each and every project as you go. Two-thousand square feet also means two-thousand square feet to dust, mop, sweep and vacuum. Three hundred and sixty square feet means… well you can do the math.
  3. Simplicity is freeing! When you have one meals’ worth of dishes, one week’s worth of clothes, one shelf for books, a single coffee mug, and one chair for sitting, all of a sudden a lot of decisions related to stuff go away. You’re left  so much more free to LIVE YOUR LIFE instead of spending time managing all your stuff.
  4. You can still do ministry. So far we have had a number of meetings, Bible Study small groups, as well as coffee dates and meals with people here. Somehow it all seems to work. Just because your space is small doesn’t mean you can’t have people over! 

Over all for me I feel such a freedom from the chains of being tied to so much unnecessary things and space.  

It’s a breath of fresh air. 

– Lukas VanDyke

{Guest blogger & husband of Suzy VanDyke!}

Do you live in a small house? What are the struggles you face? What are the blessings you see? We would LOVE to hear from you in the comments below!

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My {unedited} Struggle with Being a Mom

I sat on the little couch trying to nurse him, but he screamed and pushed me away, flinging his head back.  Right then my blood sugar dropped (I have hypoglycemia) and I got a weak spell and felt like I could barely move.

Lukas was working on a wood project on another part of the property here where we’re staying in Honduras, and I wondered if I was going crazy because how in the world could one little baby make me feel so exhausted?

Two of my neighbors here have 7 kids. Why couldn’t I take care of one?

Did I really need help? Am I going crazy? Taking care of one baby should be easy! 

As I started feeling worse, I decided I really did need help, and was able to take Wilder to the house next door where he could play with friends for an hour so I could take a quick nap and reset my blood sugar.

Earlier that day I was astounded that it had taken me 45 minutes to make applesauce and feed Wilder. 45 minutes??! Peeling, cutting, steaming, mashing apples. Giving tiny little bites to a tiny little mouth.

Why does feeding him take so long? Why can’t I take care of him and get 17 other things done? Why do I feel like I’m not doing enough and not doing a good job?

I had all these thoughts going on in my head, and struggled with feeling guilty that I wasn’t doing a good job. Frustration, doubt, inadequacy…

When I’m feeling conflicted, all I can really do is stop and ask God what HE thinks about the situation. And ask Him to give me HIS perspective. I’m so thankful God’s Word gives us truth about whatever situation we are in!

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is TRUE …think about such things.” -Philippians 4:8 (emphasis mine)

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Basically at the root of the struggle, here are the lies I was believing:

  • The stuff I wanted to do was more important or meaningful than taking care of Wilder.
  • I should be able to do everything and if I don’t I’m a bad mom
  • I should be able to do it without help.

SO after sorting through these things…here is the truth I have to remind myself of (daily!) when these struggles pop up…

  1. “Children are NOT a distraction from more important work. They are THE MOST important work.” 

I love this quote from John Trainer, MD. Tending little hearts and needs is a calling from God for mothers- a calling so much more important than emails and to do lists!

Titus 2:4 emphasizes the importance for women to LOVE their children, and to keep LEARNING to love their children more…

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” – Titus 2:3-4

2. False GUILT is not from God.

The feelings of false guilt I get for needing help sometimes is NOT from God. The feelings of false guilt from never being a “good enough” mom is NOT from God.

False guilt is very “me-centered,” instead of being God-centered. It focuses on me not being a good mom instead of God’s grace covering my shortcomings.

I don’t have time to get into it here, but here is an excellent article I found on the difference between false guilt and true guilt.

The cure for false guilt is to go back to the gospel, to go back to what Jesus accomplished for us at the cross. Romans 8:1-2 says

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”

From there I need to stop the “me-centered” thoughts of inadequacy, and focus on the “God-centered” thoughts of Jesus making up for my inadequacy. Jesus is enough!

3. It’s ok (and good!) to ask for Help.

God wants believers to help and serve eachother…

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”     – Galations 5:13

It is easier for me to serve others than have them serve me. Why should I not receive others blessing me? Usually pride or false guilt keeps me from asking for help.

So today… today I rejoice. I still feel these struggles rising up inside me, but now I know the truth I need to remind myself of. And there is so much freedom and peace in that.

If you’re a mama who struggles with feeling like you’re not getting important work done, feeling like you’re not a good mom, or if you’re just plain tired and need some help… I hope these words encourage you.

REST in His grace. And press on doing the important work of being a mama that you are called to.

Even if it takes you 45 minutes to make applesauce and feed your baby 😉

With big hugs,

Suzy

If this encouraged you in any way, I would LOVE to hear from you in the comments below!!! 

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my-real-struggle-as-a-mom-honduras_0003.jpgWilder LOVES playing in the wide open spaces here in Honduras
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How great is this frameable art from Handwritten Word? You can buy it here!

We Made it to Honduras! + A Few Family Photos

After an exciting red eye flight, and layover in San Salvador, we made it to Honduras! We only arrived hours ago, but I already have a few fun memories.  Delicious dinner with our sweet missionary friends, Christy and Mark, and their awesome kids. Walking back over to the house where we’re staying, in the POURING rain thinking it wouldn’t be a big deal (We got soaked. And yes we had a big umbrella. Funny how the combo of wind plus rain makes umbrellas not quite as useful.)

The warm air on our skin, the crash of thunder and streaks of lightning – all while I’m laughing my head off and Lukas is clutching the umbrella tight around us as we try to avoid the growing streams and Wilder is unsure of the whole situation we got him into.

Then lighting the candles in our cute little guest house all prepared for us, and snuggling on the bed in fresh dry clothes listening to the thunder crash in the flicker of the glowing orange light…

I’m so excited for what is ahead. And Lukas and I feel so loved and cared for by all your kind messages and prayers for us – thank you! Please keep leaving us comments and staying in touch! <3

If you missed it, you can read more about what we will be doing here in this blog post 🙂

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Wilder was excited to start the adventure 😉 going-to-honduras-01

The stunning Lago de Yojoa we saw on our drive from the airport to Siguatepeque…

Now that we are here, I can’t believe just two weeks ago we were at the Showit United conference in Arizona.  We modeled for one of the shoot outs, and I just HAVE to share some of my favorite images from the shoot! 🙂 Thank you everyone who joined us, fun times!

Thank you Rachel Zee for these images!

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Thank you Ann Keen for these images and putting the shoot together!

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