I'm Tonia and this is my family. There's Hubs, my wonderful partner; Bug, my darling daughter; and Boo, my charming son. We are the Collins clan. We are a homeschooling family who try our best to live out God's will for our lives every day. There are lots of stumbles along the way, but we love each other and this little life we're carving out for ourselves. Recently we found ourselves called to make some big changes in our lives so we're packing up the McMansion and moving out to a little farm in need of a lot of TLC. We have tons to learn and tons to do and we invite you to share the journey as we turn our not-so-new heap into a home.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

You're Doing What?

It all started when a friend announced she was looking for a house- a really, really cheap house...with land. I don't know why it had not occurred to me until then that it was possible to downgrade housing just like it is possible to upgrade, but it hadn't. When I told the Hubs about it he was as intrigued as I was. In short order, we had decided that a cheaper place was just what we needed. It would enable us to live on one income and free me of trying to juggle homeschooling and running a daycare. I was elated. Finally, I would be a truly stay-at-home mom! We crunched the numbers and figured out what we could afford on his income. After a month of painting and repairing we had the McMansion ready to go on the market.

Once the offer came in it was time to start looking for our new place. We had our max price in hand and our dream amenities in mind. Sure, there were those homes that were really cheap, but they needed a ton of work, or didn't have enough bedrooms, or were otherwise undesirable. No thanks. Besides why would we buy something like that when we could afford more?

The Hubs was enchanted by the idea of an earth contact house that was on the market. You know what an earth contact house is, right? The houses that are built right into a hill so that when you look at them from the back it appears there is no home there? Yeah. Those. Ugh. They are, according to the Hubs, very energy efficient and exactly what he wanted. I was not so enchanted, but I do love my Hubs so I dutifully went out to look at this beauty. It was priced way, way below our agreed upon budget, but the Hubs assured me we could build on top of the existing house in short order so I was at least open to thinking about it. It was a total mess, but we both agreed that if we could build a house on top of it we could make it work. We'd have the land we wanted, he'd have the earth contact he wanted, and I'd have all the space I wanted.

We figured we'd take out a loan for the amount we agreed we could afford and use the "extra" money to build the new house with. Terry set to work figuring out how to get the loan and I set to work folding laundry.

And then came the moment. You know the one- where everything changes and you realize you're not going to ever be able to go back to the moment before. Ever.

A tiny whisper in my mind.... "What kind of difference could we make in the world if we weren't so busy building up treasure for ourselves in the form of a mortgage?"


What!? No, that didn't come from me. I like my big house, my bedrooms, my STUFF.

But, there is no going back when you know God has called you to change. Suddenly everything I've worked for, collected, treasured seemed so incredibly foolish. Why are we, a family of 4, living in a house with 4+ bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, 2 full kitchens, and 2 full living rooms? What in the world are we doing?

A 3 bedroom, 2 bath house would seem like a palace to a lot of people. And we could have that palace for a low enough price that we could own it straight out. No mortgage. Freedom to do what we wanted to do, freedom to help people when they need it, freedom to give freely without worrying about all the bills we have piling up.

Freedom to change our world.

We didn't end up getting the earth contact house, but the dream remained and in due time the Heap came to us. We closed on it today. It's ours. There is lots of work in store and I'm sure lots of frustration and exhaustion, sweat and probably even some blood (power tools are dangerous you know!) but there will also be great reward and family coming together to build a life that is about so much more than stuff. And for that chance, we are eternally grateful.



  1. Love your story!!! I will be eagerly awaiting more. :)

  2. Thanks Carody! We are so excited to get started :)