Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Habitat's Tiny House Dedication – Reality and Imagination

I never went to a certain railroad-themed park as a kid.  So when we took our kids last year I had HIGH hopes for the outing.  We had a lovely time and the kids were appropriately surprised when the good guys and bad guys battled it out – but it was smaller than I had imagined.  Much smaller.  The reality didn’t match my imagination. 

Another time my computer picked up a nasty virus and my husband ended up having to implement the nuclear option.  He wiped it and reinstalled all the software from the ground up.  It took him HOURS to clean up my PC.  I thought for sure he would be angry with me but he wasn’t.  I was so ready for one reaction that was caught pretty flat-footed when it didn’t materialize.  Reality and imagination didn’t align.

Have you ever had that experience – you plan for one thing to the point you can SEE it – and something else happens? 

Last night Barbara Gorman was all ready for the dedication ceremony for HER house.  And, well let’s backtrack just a bit.

Barbara came to Habitat through a circuitous route.  Her marriage had broken up and it looked like her future was breaking down.  She’d planned for her life to look one way, then it was headed in a whole new direction, and it was not positive.  Her health had deteriorated and with the emotional stress of a divorce combined with the abrupt loss of income Barbara’s prospects were, frankly, dim.

When Barbara approached Habitat for Humanity she didn’t qualify for the housing program.  That moment could have been the end of Barb’s tiny sliver of remaining hope.  But wait.

Our mission says, “Guided by God, Habitat Cabarrus transforms lives and our community by uniting all of Cabarrus County around the cause of decent, affordable housing for everyone.”

That’s what our community did.  We United and we Transformed.  

The City of Kannapolis, churches, corporations, colleges, other groups and individuals donated money, materials, and hundreds of hours of labor to build a new type of house (a Tiny House) for Barbara.  There is a whole social movement around Tiny Houses that addresses financial and environmental concerns.

Barbara knows she can afford to LIVE in her house. So she was completely prepared for the dedication ceremony. 

Presentation of the Bible – ok.
Blessing good.
Presentation of keys got it.
American flag presentation all good. 

And then it was time for Barbara to say a few words.  She stood up and faced the 60 or so participants with a calm face and a smooth voice.  Then she saw all the love in 60 faces and felt the good wishes flowing HER way.  After saying a heartfelt thank you, Barbara sat down and wept in joy.  (A few more people may have had damp eyes.)

I’m pretty sure Barbara was surprised by those tears.  She had probably practiced her remarks a few times prior to the dedication and felt confident that she knew what to do and what to expect.  Then emotion overwhelmed thought.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”  New things have come for Barbara. 

Sometimes your reality is just better than what you imagine.

Mary Beth Griffin, Habitat for Humanity of Cabarrus County


  1. This is a wonderful solution for people who need long term housing solutions but, don't fit the usual standard for a starter home. I hope that other Habitat For Humanity offices are paying attention.

  2. I wish we had this in vermont!!! these houses are beautiful!! God Bless you and what you do for people <3

  3. Any chances we can see the floorplan or bluprints for this?

  4. More info please - floorplans, blueprints, HfHI notes... Thanks, in advance...

  5. Floor plan and a YouTube video would be awesome. I'm in a similar situation in SC PA. Thanks.

  6. It would be great to share this with other Habitats. Or for a donation, provide plans to donors.

  7. Are you selling or publishing the tiny house plans?
    I have always thought that purchasing a failing mobile home park and replacing the units with tiny homes would be an ideal situation. The MHP land is already zoned for high density housint the infastricture is in place and the neighbors would probably appreciate the "up grade". In the scenerio I have just proposedsupport services for residents could be centralized om site so that disabled persons could access them easily. Please consider the sceenario and pass it on to anyone who could implement all or part of it.

    Keep on kepping on

    Tash Robb