Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I'm happy to report that everyone is well and back at school, and today is my first official day of freedom! It's not that I don't love the little boogers and feel so privileged that I get to stay home and take care of them, it's just that, you know the saying "Absence makes the heart grow fonder"? Well, I need a little absence so my heart can grow fonder. It's true, and makes perfect sense, at least to me. And, I have to tell you, I had to work extra hard to get today all by myself. Last night Levi was having a terrible headache, and went to bed at 7:00. This is not normal for him. And this morning, he said he was still feeling bad, so I told him to go back to bed, and then I walked out of the room and wept real tears and banged my head on the wall. And then I went back in the room and said comforting things to him like, "I hope you are really sick, because there will be no TV and no video games. You will stay in your bed all.day.long."

And then Sam threw in there, "And you won't get to eat breakfast or lunch." And I may or may not have corrected him. So I convinced him to just get up and get ready and go on to school, and I would write him a note that said he could go to the nurse if he wasn't feeling good later in the day. Please, please, let me get no calls from the school today!

So, I got the boys off to school, and I was taking the little kids to their preschool, and I managed to slam Joey's hand in the car door! Yes, I am the mother of the year! So, his poor little thumb was all red and the skin was broken a little, and he was bawling his little eyes out. But we wrapped it up in a wet paper towel, and he managed to recover, and I left, feeling as is I had dodged two major blows. So here I sit in my home...reveling in the silence...ahhh! That's nice.

But this is not at all what I started out here to write. I have a different story to tell. Our church is doing this program called Outflow, that I really love. It's about letting God fill you up so completely that you can't help but overflow that love into other people's lives. So Sunday night we were having this party with a comedian and food and you were supposed to invite people to come who might not have a church home. Well, truth be told, I just don't know that many people who don't go to our church. So, I didn't have a friend to invite, but that was okay, me & the kids were heading up there anyway, and as I was driving down Big Spring street, I see this woman walking along pulling a suitcase behind her. She looks like she could use a party, I thought to myself. But I kept driving, because really, who picks up homeless people with a car full of kids and invites them to come to a party at church? Nobody I know. Well, I got almost to church, and I just had this feeling that I needed to turn around and go ask her. I thought about how Jesus would hang out with the people the rest of society shunned. I knew that I would be miserable for days afterward if I didn't turn around, asking myself, What if?

So, I turned around. Immediately, the kids were asking me what I was doing.
"Well, I saw this lady walking down the street, and I thought I would ask her to go to church with us."
That seemed perfectly fine to them. When I got back to her, she was crossing the street, so I had to go past her, and then turn around to go to where she was going. The kids were acting like we were tracking big game, "Hurry, mom! There she goes! Oh no! I lost sight of her! Hurry! Turn around!" I'm thinking, she's an old homeless person pulling a suitcase, and we're in a car, I'm pretty sure we'll be able to track her down! Nevertheless, the kids were quite relieved when pulled into the parking lot where she was.

Okay, I thought, this could be awkward. I was wishing I was wearing my regular outfit of capris and a t-shirt instead of the cute new top that I had been so proud of. Somehow, I felt like that would help her relate to me better. Oh, who am I kidding? It doesn't matter what I'm wearing, we couldn't be more different!

I finally just took a deep breath, went over there, and stuck my hand out, "Hi! My name is Alayna. What's your name?"
"Hi, Lois! Our church is having a party, and I was wondering if you might like to come with me?"
"Well, okay, but I was just going to run in here and get me some chicken. Could I do that first?"
"Well, there'll be food at the party. Will that be okay?"
So we go back to the car, and I throw her suitcase in the back and introduce her to all the kids,who immediately start to chat it up with her like their mom picks up homeless people all the time. I love kids.
The first thing she tells them when she gets in the car is, "Don't worry! I'm not going to take your mama!" Good to know.
When we get to the party, I'm introducing her to everyone I see, and I have to give people credit, not one person batted an eye. Everyone was very friendly, like it was the most normal thing in the world for the pastor's wife to bring a homeless person to church with her. Maybe it should be.
She helped me get the kid's food, and we all ate, and she was nodding off during the comedian, although he was very funny. She told me about her kids and grandkids and that she had even been to college for a couple of years. I have no idea what happened to get her to the place where she was homeless. It was hard to follow her conversation sometimes, and she told me she had had to see a psychiatrist before. When the party was over, we went back and filled her up a couple more boxes of food to take with her, and she asked if I knew of any shelters where she could spend the night. None of us could think of any. Midland is not a great place to be homeless because there just aren't that many homeless people, and so there are very few places that help them.

I ended up taking her to The Deluxe Inn, and if that was the deluxe version, I don't want to see the regular one! But that is where she said was a good place to sleep. As we were driving there she was pointing out which buildings had good places to sleep, but that she didn't have a blanket and she just got scared sometimes. My throat started to tighten up, to be honest, I'd have been scared to stay at the Deluxe Inn, and this was security for her.

I got her settled in her room, and gave her a big hug and told her she mattered to God. I told her to come by the church tomorrow and they would give her a list of places that could help her, and I would have a blanket there for her too.

I walked back to my car, and took my children home and tucked everyone into their own beds, and the boys said that Lois could have slept in their bottom bunk if there wasn't any rooms at the Deluxe Inn, and I smiled. I'm glad they felt so generous, and at the same time I hope they never do anything to compromise their safety. Although I guess most people wouldn't pick up homeless people that they don't know with their kids in the car, but I never felt unsafe. I know God was asking me to pick her up, and he would take care of us.

And as I looked through my linen closet to find a blanket and a coat for Lois, I saw all the abundance we have - blankets to spare, and food in the fridge, and TV's to watch. And I felt blessed and also guilty. Why do we have everything we need while others go without? I know Lois may have made the choices that put her in that place to begin with, but she is a grandmother who has to find places on the street to sleep, and she is scared. That's not right.

God be with Lois today, and all the people who live on the street that we so easily look away from because we are not comfortable around them. And help us remember that while we may feel so very different from them, we are alike in the only way that matters - we are all your children, and you love us all the same.


  1. Thanks Alayna. What a great lesson to teach your children. And friends. :)

  2. God be with Lois.

    What a great story!

    I'm glad you had a day to yourself also :)

  3. My wife is the Best!!!

  4. Wow!!! That made me cry and I loved it! What a great testimony Alayna....Thanks for sharing!!
    Holly Underhill

  5. What a good deed and great story. I wonder if the opportunity is there if I'll ever do the same thing. Made me think of Arrested Developments song Mr Wendall. They all - we all - have a story and they do too. But I generall think there story is the street corner they are on.