I have three unfinished documents saved in my computer that I intended to be blog posts. They all start similarly: “It’s been one week since we arrived in Phoenix.” “It’s been 3 weeks since we arrived in Phoenix.” “Today marks 7 weeks that we’ve been in Phoenix.” Finally, after the third attempt, I came to the honest conclusion that I was wasting my time. I just wasn’t ready to unpack my heart here yet. It was all I could manage to unpack our stuff, keep my kids from killing each other in our 600 sq. ft. apt, not die of a heat stroke, and get a decent but cheap meal on the table every day. We were in survival mode, so I gave myself permission to just survive.
Now, today is our 11 week mark. Things are beginning to feel a lot different. We are in our house and not an apt; I have the phone numbers of a few new friends in my phone; it’s been two whole weeks since my kids have cried any tears over leaving Africa; and the high today is supposed to be only 95 degrees as opposed to 105!! I think we are over the first hump. Undoubtedly, there will be many more humps to come, but I’m ready to breathe deep after this first one.
I have also concluded that it’s not necessary to write one, long, comprehensive blog post where I analyze how much we miss Uganda, our present love/hate relationship with the First World, our dreams and plans for ministry here in Phoenix… aren’t you relieved?? Not that I won’t feel compelled to publically share all that in the near future, but, for today, I think I will just share some first impressions of this place we now call home. So, let me introduce you to Phoenix…
- She has a population of over 4 million in her metro area, making her the 6th largest city in the U.S. (Do any of you remember my husband saying he never wanted to live in a big city? How ironic is life?!)
- She is called the “Valley of the Sun” because she gets over 200 days of sunshine a year, and the other days are only partly cloudy. (that's what I'm talking about!)
- And because she is in a valley! There are mountains on the horizon no matter which direction I drive, and, with the palm trees in the foreground, I find it a stunning combination.
- She is conveniently located 5 hours from Las Vegas, 5 hours from L.A., and 3 hours from a lovely beach on the Mexican coast… I mean … just in case we take a notion and want to be somewhere cool before bedtime.
- She is laid out in a beautiful grid-pattern so that even a directionally challenged person like me would have a hard time getting lost. (To truly appreciate what this means to me, you would have to look at a map of Kampala, Uganda, which is laid out like a plate of spaghetti noodles!)
- Her summers are brutal, but (I’m told) the rest of the year is sublime.
- And she is wonderfully diverse! Hispanics, African-Americans, Asians, Middle Easterners… we still feel like the minority and we ABSOLUTELY. LOVE. IT.
A few other random things I’ve learned here that you might find interesting…
- In the summer, the taps on the faucet are not “hot” and “cold,” but rather “hot” and “hotter.”
- It is simply a MUST that every time you leave the house, you take a bottle of water. And, if you have three kids, you might as well just pack a cooler.
- That you really don’t want to touch that cactus…
- That my driver’s license won’t expire until 2074??!
- That it is perfectly acceptable here to spread gravel all over your yard and call it landscaping.
- And that it is also perfectly acceptable to just. Survive.
So, if you also find yourself in a season of just surviving, allow yourself to create some margin and don’t feel guilty about it! Not every season of life is meant to be poured out for others. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that our value is never measured by the amount of our output, but only by the value God says He puts in us… which is infinite, by the way!
So, my theme verse for this season –
Dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. (ESV) Psalms 37:3
Grateful to be dwelling here in the Valley of the Sun,