On our drive into Phoenix, we were able to make a last-minute stop to see my cousin and aunt for dinner in Tucson. It was nice to catch up with them and also get some good recommendations for our upcoming destinations.
We crossed into another time zone as we neared Tucson. It’s a sweet gift on the long travel days when you gain an hour; however, by night time you start to feel the effects of the 25th hour.
Phoenix was going to be a two day stop. We had several goals in Phoenix:
Goal #1 Spend time with family
We spent Sunday and Monday with family – my aunts, my grandmother, and my cousins. We played in my aunt’s pool in 110 degree heat, took silly selfies with my grandmother, played Uno with my cousin’s young kids, and overall enjoyed seeing family that we don’t get to see very often.
I also took a picture of my 15 year old Luke’s continued “Sleep Across America” tour. He has been growing exponentially over the last year – it seems like an inch a month.
Every time I look at him, his eyes are higher. He must be sleeping so much because he’s growing. That’s at least what we are telling ourselves.
We always have to take a picture before we leave family. Did I mention that I love photographs? They become reminders of special memories later in life. We’re getting good at the 10 second timer function on my phone that allows us to take group pictures.
See the orange tree in the background?
Goal #2 Go to church
We’re trying to find a church service to go to on the Sundays we’re on the road. We want to worship God with God’s people all around the country. It’s neat to see the differences in churches in different states and it’s special to meet God’s people – knowing that one day we’ll all worship together in heaven. We went to Sun Valley Community Church in Gilbert, Arizona. Gilbert is a suburb of Phoenix, and where most of my extended family lives.
During worship at the beginning of the service, a young man raised his hands to Jesus and we all got a glimpse of the tattoo he had along the side of his forearm:
No Greater Love
The t in greater was a bolded cross.
It’s encouraging for me to see a young man seeking after the Lord. As a mom, I loved having my boys notice that this cool looking guy they were sitting behind is passionate about the Lord – what a great example for them. Thank you Lord!
On the way out, the brand new youth pastor (just got there a week ago) introduced himself as we exited the service. I think he saw our kids and realized we’d be a good family to pull in. We had to tell him we were just passing through. Jason (if you’re reading this), I pray that the Lord blesses you and your family in your new work at the church.
Goal #3 Get an oil change/tire rotation
Yesterday as I was driving near Tuscon, the “Maintenance Required” notification came on and stayed on. There is also an orange circle that flashes on the dash when maintenance is required. I have a sinful tendency to worry. Once the light came on, my mind started down the path of worry. What if something is wrong with the car? What if we need a timing belt? What if we can’t make it out of Arizona?
God in his grace, quickly brought to mind the sermon I had just finished listening to on the Psalms. On long drives, I like to listen to sermons by pastors all over the country that I like and trust with the Word of God. One such pastor is Brad Bigney, pastor of Grace Fellowship Church in Florence, Kentucky near Cincinnatti. Jimmy and I heard Pastor Bigney speak at our first biblical counseling conference 11 years ago. He’s a very dynamic speaker, a wonderful teacher of God’s Word, and a very practical biblical counseling speaker. Just recently, I started getting on his church website and listening to his sermons as I prepared for my own counseling cases. He has two great series on “Idols of the Heart” and a very interesting series called Holy Sex that I listened to before helping my husband with his recent sermon.
Anyway, I had just listened to a sermon on Psalm 61 by the associate pastor. It was all about what you do when you’re overwhelmed by life. One of the main points of the sermon was to remember the Lord’s faithfulness to you when life begins to get overwhelming. I had to practice that right then in the car. I started praying – crying out to the Lord. I started telling myself how faithful God had been to us in the past. I reminded myself that God was in control, that God has his hand on our finances, that God has always provided for us, that God would take care of us. I asked the Lord to help me believe these things and trust God.
Jimmy took the van to AutoZone and they confirmed what I thought (before the worry set in) – we only needed an oil change. We’d driven 2600 miles at that point. We took the van to a local Firestone and got an oil change, a tire rotation, and a tire fill-up. We’re ready for our next 2500 miles.
Goal #4 Do laundry
I was able to do three loads of laundry at my aunt’s house. Instead of putting some of our in a dryer, I hang them up to dry. I realized that our car was a great spot to hang up wet clothes. In the Phoenix heat, our van became a natural dryer. I just reminded Jimmy to hide the undergarments when he took the van to Firestone. That would be awkward.
A couple other fun things in Phoenix: we ordered Chinese food and ate it in the room while we watched Game 2 of the NBA Championship. The game started at 5 p.m. All the games at home start around 8 or 9 p.m. so it was so nice to get a game in early.
Also, I’d let my Costco membership lapse because I wasn’t super impressed with their prices. But while in Phoenix, I got an e-mail about a Living Social deal for a Costco Gold membership. The deal came with a $20 cash card and a $20 set of AA batteries. So for about $20, I was getting a year membership at Costco. We could now hit up Costcos all over the country for some cheap fast food. For dinner on Monday night, we went to Costco, got our new membership cards, and each of us had a foot long hot dog, a drink, and a churro for dinner. Perfect!
Our Phoenix stop was a good respite on this long journey. We’re ready now to see the Grand Canyon and so much more.