The boys and I have been counting down the days and crossing them off on the calendar for two weeks now in anticipation for our trip to the Georgia Aquarium.  I made my list, checked it twice, and we were on the road to Atlanta at 7:45am.  We also have a longer trip planned for later in the week, so I called my hubby when I got on the interstate and said, “We probably ought to bring the van to the shop tomorrow to have it serviced before we leave on Wednesday.”  Hmmmm…


Everything was going as planned.  The boys were quietly watching their video in the back seat of the van and there was hardly anyone on the interstate.  I had a lead-foot back in the day, so I religiously use cruise control.  We had been on the road for about 45 minutes and I was “cruising” along at 80 mph…when suddenly…my instrument panel on the dashboard shut off and all of the needles went to ZERO!  Smoke started coming out from under the hood and I quickly pulled off to the shoulder.  I turned my car off and tried to crank it again…nothing.   The smoke smelled horrible as it seeped through the air vents and the boys began to cry as they asked what was wrong.  Luckily, the battery was still functioning and I was able to leave the DVD player going to keep the peace inside the van.  I got on the phone with my insurance company, which thankfully is USAA, the best company in the WHOLE world!!  I had no idea where I was.  I do not have on-star, nor GPS, and there were no mile markers in sight.  About one hundred yards ahead there was a small over pass with a street sign on it.  I told the boys to stay put and I jumped out of the van and began running toward the bridge until I could read the sign…”Fire Tower Road”, I told the USAA lady, out of breath and through my tears, she located me immediately and contacted a tow truck and Enterprise.   As we waited, the boys began to cry again as they asked, “Who is going to come and rescue us?”  And each time an eighteen wheeler whooshed past the van, it shook us violently and they cried some more as they feared we were going to tip over and roll down the steep embankment to our right.   It took almost two hours, but we finally got back on the road to Atlanta.  Unfortunately, by this point, I had a nauseous pit in my stomach at the thought of what might be wrong with the van and how much it would cost to bring it back to life in time for our Wednesday departure.

About two miles before we reached our destination, we were stopped again.  This time it was because of some else’s accident.  There was a terrible three car accident in the middle of the intersection and I was not able to pass through to where I needed to go.  NOW WHAT?!?  I don’t know where I’m going or how to get there any other way.  We pulled into a gas station and waited until the wreck was cleared so we could continue on our way.  We arrived at my friend’s house a few minutes later and loaded up her and kids. 

We had a blast at the aquarium.  The children were darn near perfect.  They stayed together, obeyed, looked at ALLLL the exhibits and played in the children’s area where they got to touch sharks and sting rays.  That part of our day could not have gone any better.  Thank you Lord!

At some point in the afternoon, the mechanic called me with our gut-wrenching diagnosis…the transmission was shot and would need to be rebuilt…and the battery was completely dead (thanks to the DVD player…but it was SSOOOOO worth the peace and quiet as we sat on the side of the road awaiting assistance!)  The grand total would be around $1500.  nice.  I was hoping and praying for something around $500!  What a painful and expensive resurrection!!  This van better live for another ten years!  I know it could be a lot worse and certainly a lot more expensive, but it is still a painful sacrifice to make.  Josh asked me if I wanted to just trade the van for a newer one, but to be honest, I LOVE MY VAN.  It is absolutely perfect for us.  Dark blue leather makes for easy clean-up, there are removable bucket seats in the middle that make traveling simpler for a family of five, and I just really really like it.  It would cost a fortune to buy a new van with the same luxuries. 

The good news is, our van will be repaired and ready for pickup this afternoon!  That’s really fast!  AND, because they are SUCH a great company, they threw in the new battery and rotating and balancing the tires for free.  That is Alltune and Lube on Columbia Road, for you locals who need a great mechanic.

I am thankful that we were safe and still able to go to the aquarium.  I am also thankful that we are able to pay to get our vehicle repaired.  In times like these, a $1500 car repair can send a family over the edge, financially speaking.  Thank you, Lord, for always keeping us safe and providing for our every need!  God is good all the time.