semblance of normal

semblance of normal 1"But I love this house SO MUCH," our 4-year-old said with tears pooling in her eyes.

It's hard to be four and sell everything you own. It's hard to watch as your favorite leather couch and your treasured playhouse are towed away on someone else's truck. It's hard to see that beyond today and over-the-bend, there will be other adventures.

She's been so good about it all, so strong...but I know that her little heart is aching too.

In between Craigslist postings and RV-viewings and house-showings, Tim & I are doing our best to maintain a semblance of normal for our girls. We play in the sandbox, read chapter books, and buy push-up pops from the ice cream truck.

semblance of normal 2This is THEIR journey too; their sacrifice. There have been tears as we transition. We want to let them grieve through the loss of this season of our lives. [Who am I kidding? I need to do the same thing.]

My heart skipped a beat yesterday when I looked at our empty great room, knowing that our other rooms will soon look the same - immaculate, impersonal.

Not a day goes by when we don't sell or give away something - dishes, clothes, toys, bookcases. It's just "Stuff."  It doesn't really matter (but it sort-of does).

Endings are most always bittersweet. Yet I know...all four of us know...that this is really a Beautiful Beginning.

Random Question: Is there an ice cream truck where you live and what is it like? What are the average prices?

Update: I removed the word "ghetto" from this post after Michelle pointed out that she took offense to the word. Prompted by her comment, I did some reading on the definition of the word and decided that it has a very sad history (one that I don't want to take lightly).

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36 comments on “semblance of normal”

  1. Wow....just wow. The guts of your family! It's really happening, isn't it? My deep prayers are with you and Tim and your wee girls, of course.

    On the ice cream guy note - why are they always SO INCREDIBLY CREEPY? Yuck.

    1. Our "ice cream man" is actually an ice cream lady. She's pretty friendly and her middle-school-aged daughter often rides along with her. :)

  2. I'm really excited for you Steph. You are inspiring me, too. We have always been on a slow journey of simplifying but lately it's been on fast forward and I am loving the peace of the new "space" things and stuff take up, physically and in our lives.

    Ice cream truck- ours is very nice but very expensive. I think a small popsicle is $1 but everything else is like $2-$3 each! One time I bought for my kids and a couple neighbor kids and I think it was like $13!


    1. Although somewhat sad too, it has been very liberating to free our house (and our hearts) of so much stuff. Selling everything is stretching us in wonderful ways.

      P.S. Our ice cream truck is a little less expensive. I usually buy one pop for the girls to share for $.75.

  3. Ah! Time is flying and you will be on your adventure soon! I can only imagine how your head and heart must feel about all of this. Peace in knowing that it is what God wants for you guys right now. Unease in the unknown. Excitement about what lies ahead, etc.! Thanks for being brave. Thanks for being bold. Thank you for being sensitive to the Spirit...and to your girls. It is quite a transition yet I think your girls will do great...and you and Tim will most likely learn quite a bit from them as you walk through this together :-)

  4. What a challenging time you are going through. Yes, they are just things. But with everything, there are memories. Just hold on to those.

    Our ice-cream truck is kind of ghetto but it still brings excitement with the girls. We've only purchased ice cream from it twice. :)

  5. Aw. This post makes me kind of sad. It is just stuff . . . but it does kind of matter, especially when the "stuff" has good memories and hours of fun attached to it. You are so brave to do what you are doing--and you are raising brave kids.
    We don't have an ice-cream truck in our neighborhood. I sometimes have thought (wished?) I've heard one in the distance, but I've never seen it. Funny story . . . when my husband and I were dating, he lived in a rather "rough" apartment building in a strange section of town (lots of police presence). An "ice-cream" truck regularly came through the neighborhood around midnight or 1:00 a.m. most nights, playing the typical ice-cream truck music and everything. We never approached it, but for some reason I don't think it was ice cream they were selling. We still joke about it to this day.

  6. We are going through something similar, in anticipation of a move in the new year. I've tried to involve my girls as much as possible, letting them make choices about what to keep and what to sell at our yard sale and on craigslist. Moving and getting rid of "stuff" is a very hard concept for a four year old. She has no point of reference to even begin to understand it. But she will learn a lot and will come away from your adventure with a unique perspective. You're a brave woman!
    Oh, and our ice cream truck is always parked at the park and is very ghetto - prices average $2 - 3.

  7. Glad to hear you are buying from your ice cream truck. I remember you telling me long ago it was ghetto! :) Still, I'm sure your girls love it! I know mine do! Praying this time of transition is an easy one in your lives. I'm sure one day she will look back on this adventure with fond memories.

  8. Our ice cream truck is so ghetto it plays a Christmas song in the summer time. I won't even go near it. Fortunately we have Dairy Queen about 10 minutes away! :)

  9. I did the same thing years ago. I decided to move to New Mexico and realized I could not take all the "stuff." I knew I could rebuild. So I called a local domestic violence shelter and asked if there was a woman who was moving out who could use all the furnishings of a home. Glory be! There was a woman who got her first apt. and would need stuff that next week. I was not really ready to give it up sooo soon, but it was mean to to be. Even her 16 year old son got my beautiful red bike. He had something that was just his own and the bike was the proper fit etc. Again it was meant to be. I ended up sleeping on the floor and sitting on a milk crate for several weeks, but it was all good. Before I moved I had a dream that I felt like a caterpillar in a cocoon hanging upside down from a tree branch, swaying in the breeze....and so I was. It is not easy being caught up in the unpredictable cycle of birth, death and is a bit scary and unpredictable.

  10. We have a super ghetto ice cream truck so I refuse to buy from them. I really wish we had a nicer one and I could form those kinds of memories with Lily. Oh well, we have lots of other great memories.

    We gave away over half of all of our possessions to move to CA and it was hard. Luckily Lily was too little to know what was going on. I can only imagine how much harder it would be for a 4 year old. You are all in for a beautiful adventure.

  11. I've actually never seen an ice cream truck in my neighborhood. I wish there were one though!

    This must be so hard on all of you. Hugs!

  12. I can't imagine how freaked out my older daughter would be if we were selling everything. It is really brave of all of you!

    On the ice cream truck, can I just say I HATE the term ghetto? I do know what you mean but I find the term offensive.

    1. Thank you for bringing up your offense to the word "ghetto." Prompted by your comment, I did some research on the definition of the word (and the history behind it)...and decided to remove it from my post.

      1. :-) I'm really glad to hear this. I've always thought of you as a thoughtful, intelligent person so it threw me for a loop when I read that term here.

  13. i always hear that kids are resiliant. i'm sure it's hard to see all of your things go, but they are just things. i'm sure in the long run, they will know that having such kind, caring and considerate parents is so much more important. they are very lucky little girls.

  14. We do have an ice cream man. I know you already read about it, but for those other commenters, here it is:

    I'm sure the next few months will be difficult, hopefully it is all worth it in the end. I know moving was very hard on our oldest daughter. She was only 18 months old, but it was tough, not knowing where we were going, where our stuff was going. She definitely had some major control issues. Hopefully things are a bit smoother for your girls.

  15. My girls are experiencing the mother of all transitions right now. Thankfully, there are some things that I have been able to keep "normal" and I am so grateful for those!

    The ice cream truck has come down our street once in the 6 years we have lived here. I wish it would come again b/c I do have very old memories of getting treats from the ice cream truck!

    1. I think of you daily, Nancy! One of these days, I hope to have an opportunity to actually sit down and talk with you. {hugs}

  16. btw... i just went to the site and teared up (in a good way) when reading the answer to the FAQ what compels you to do this. i am so thankful for your family and your attempt to really live for Jesus. i'm certain it is not easy (as described in your post) but i am encouraged.

  17. Oh, how sad for a mama to see her children hurt. You are a wise woman and are taking it so well.
    We do not have an ice cream truck now, but we did when I was growing up here. It was clean and nice looking, not gaudy, not hand-painted, but it was professional least to my little 8 year old self. I was allowed to get ice cream on Tues. Thurs and Sat. nights. One memorable spanking I received was a result of running after the ice cream truck.

  18. aw... moving is hard to do. in general, change is hard.

    ice cream truck - yes! in the city there are so many mr. softies... i always get a vanilla cone with crunchies. delicious. :) i think they're pretty ghetto but i don't mind too much since i've never gotten sick from an ice cream truck's ice cream!

  19. hmmmmm....all that transition with the girls has to be was EASY for just andy and I to get rid of everything. But we also didn't have the history with the "stuff" your family has.

    such a random question!! no ice cream truck here...kinda wish there was!

  20. Wow... I can't even imagine.

    We do not have an ice cream truck. Well, we have the Schwan's truck... that's bad enough. My boys have made a lifelong friend through our Schwan's man and he is always bringing them a treat. Then we buy a box because the boys and their Dad have a very soft spot for ice cream sandwiches.

  21. I can imagine that this would be a change filled with emotions. Completely bittersweet, for everyone concerned. Even friends and family that live near you.

    If we ever move out of the home we live in now, I know we'll all cry and have bittersweet emotions about, even just to move into another house. Let alone moving from a home into an RV adventure!

    So this is happening soon, I take it?

    Exciting for all of your readers... can't wait to follow your adventures.


  22. No ice cream truck where we live, we are too rural and have dirt roads. But we started to make our own ice cream. The kids love to help and we are always trying new flavors. I really liked grapefruit cherry and prickly pear lime! So good.

  23. "only stuff....but it does matter"

    You are so brave! It is a beautiful beginning...I think you are inspiring all of realize that it is "only stuff".

    We don't tend to buy from the ice cream truck, but we do buy from the ice cream man that pushes the little ice cream cart by foot.... do you get those where you live?

    Not the ones that have commercialized ice cream....but the ones that have "Mexican" or "Latino" pops ( : No preservatives or colors or that stuff we are used to eating here in the US?

    They are so good..just milk, sugar and fruit...try them (hopefully they come around your area)! If not, I am sure you will get to try during your travels ( :

    1. Marcela,
      We mostly have the ice cream guys on foot or by bike, like you! But, I have yet to buy from them. You've motivated me to try it out!

      Stephanie, so sad about poor big sister. That is hard. :( I am praying for you guys. Change is hard.

  24. I read this and sighed {in a good way}. Again. Because I just can't fathom the sacrifice you're making. I'm in awe of it, I mean to say; I'm not sure that I'd be able to push myself to that limit. And I know that my 4 y/o would FREAK if one of his treasures was being hauled off without him. It's an amazing lesson.

  25. We have an ice cream truck - but we've never bought anything from it so I don't know if it's ghetto or not :)

    As for your four year old - as an adult who spent her childhood in transit - literally uprooting and moving almost 30 times I will say that your adventure is going to give her a very unique perspective on life - she'll have life experience beyond her years. At the same time she is going to miss out on the stability of having her neighborhood, her friends, her playset, her bedroom - and that is a big deal. If you only do this experiment for a year or two and then resettle down somewhere she'll still have that - but if not you will have to make it a point to give her that somehow.

  26. We sometimes have an ice cream truck, but it is GHETTO! It's usually an old run down van with the side door open and just a sign on the side so you know it's "supposed" to be an ice cream truck. And the really loud tinny music. Most of the time they drive too fast for you to get to them anyway and they are always driven by Mexicans. I really have nothing against Mexicans in general... but these guys are not doing anything to make me want to buy ice cream from them!

    PS. It occurred to me that your husband is a pastor... what is he doing about his job/church for the time you are gone? What kind of income will you have to live on for a year? (and why do I think this is a year long thing... am I right or is the time kind of undefined?)

    1. Tim is the Connection Pastor at our church (not the head pastor). He will work w/ the church through Thanksgiving and then we will say our good-byes.

      We are committing to a year on-the-road, but we can see ourselves continuing longer than that. Only time will tell. ;)

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