Sunday, December 30, 2012

Running Fool

So as per requests from the masses (actually it was only 2 people, thanks Kathy and Renee) I, Gary will make my first and most likely last attempt at being a blogger. Since part of my problem with writing is not being able to come up with something to write about, let alone something good to write about, I will keep the topic simple. Running. Specifically, the run I went on yesterday evening. Just to clarify before I proceed any further I should categorize my version of running as jogging.

First, I am currently not in running shape right now, and secondly running on the roads around our neighborhood is a guaranteed 4-5 broken ankles per mile. I am sure some folks who are reading this are thinking running, jogging, call in whatever you want Gary, “why in the world are you running in Haiti in the first place?” My answer to that question would be, attempting to maintain my physical fitness is one of the components for me to be a more holistic Christian. Before some readers start backing the bus up thinking that since moving to Haiti Gary is losing his mind throwing some hippie, new age nonsense out there, I will briefly explain. As Michaela and I spent many months preparing to make the move to Haiti I really felt God challenging me to become more well rounded as a person, most importantly as a Christian. I started to realize that if I wasn’t striving everyday to grow spiritually, working toward mental toughness, being emotionally well and physically strong, “holistic” if you will, I may miss out on some of the opportunities God has planned for my life. (Note to self, idea for next blog post: “Keys to Holistic Christian Living”).

Alright moving on, so my run started off a little differently than normal yesterday evening. I walked with Noah to our neighbor’s house, which is on my regular running route, so he could hang out with his friends Jeff and David while I ran. After getting Noah dropped off I began to run. The first mile felt good and had the typical atmosphere during every run I have been on since we moved into the neighborhood. Typical meaning, constant stares of disbelief and curiosity, talking, yelling, and whispering in Creole with the word “blanc” (white) mentioned frequently, as well as laughing, joking, and giggling as I pass by. The kids along the way are generally sweet with big smiles and waves of hello. I will even pick up a running partner for a couple hundred yards from time to time. Commonly at the end of mile one my brain starts wandering with boredom since I choose not run with music here.  Both reasons for running without headphones are safety, first to better hear the crazy driving cars and motos, and second I don’t want my iPod to make me a target that changes my purpose from just running to running for my life. Although, running for my life could add quite an element of intensity in my run. (Second note to self: if missionary work does not pan out, great idea for infomercial fitness program, “Run For Your Life”).  Despite the boredom, the first half of mile two is my favorite part of the run. A quiet neighborhood on one side of the road and a beautiful, well maintained fruit tree grove that extends for about a third of a mile on the other side. On this particular run I immediately notice a larger more eclectic group of animals than usual. There were cows, sheep with bad haircuts, several neurotic goats, a couple donkeys, chickens, dogs, and even a cat. I must admit I was slightly disappointed that on this day I did not make a spotting of the legendary black and white flying duck that inhabits the Santo area. It is kind of like our version of Sasquach, only a selected few have caught a glimpse of the elusive waterfowl. About the time I am leaving the grove, I suddenly realize that subconsciously I am about three animals into singing Old McDonald in my head, so I spent the next half mile trying to unburn the farm song from my brain. As I am coming to the end of mile two and plan to turn around to start the two mile return run home I realize I am in unfamiliar territory since I began the run approximately a quarter mile farther down the road starting at my neighbor’s house. I looked up briefly from concentrating on the rough terrain to see four or five somewhat ominous looking guys starring at me. For some reason I felt like Buddy the Elf walking into the mailroom, “Why does it smell like mushrooms and everyone looks like they want to hurt me?” Thankfully the run continued without incident. I am learning more and more that starring in Haiti does not necessarily mean you are about to receive a beat down or there is food in your teeth, it is just cultural.  Glancing down at my GPS watch and preparing to turn around I discover, to my chagrin, I have gone from familiar, to unfamiliar and back to familiar. I am less than a block from the Good Neighbor Orphanage! My thinking, since I haven’t talked to Johny (orphanage director) since to the birth of his new baby boy Michael on Friday, I should stop by. Once I got to the orphanage and spoke with Sophie (Johny’s sister) I found out Johny wasn’t around, so I started my way back.  I still think Sophie is trying to figure out how I showed up at the orphanage sweaty, slightly winded, and with no vehicle.  The trek back home was breezing along as I approached some teenagers who had started up a soccer game in the road since I had passed through earlier on the way out. I made sure to run out and around them as not to disturb play. Just as I had almost passed the game, a soccer ball with the velocity of a cannon ball went screaming closely behind me. It didn’t take long to figure out from the hysterical laughing that the ball was not an erred shot or pass to get the blanc involved in the game, but a near miss of the imaginary target they had painted on my back. Since I was thankful that they did not own a second soccer ball to reload with and the velocity generated first ball carried it what seemed to be distance of a quarter mile, no foul, no harm, right?!?

Well thankfully to say, I made it back to the neighbor’s house without further incident to pick Noah up. I think that pretty much concludes my first blog post, now Kathy I will be kicking back waiting for the dough to roll in. (wink, wink)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Oh, How I Hate Thee

Alright.  I'm going to take a deep breath and try to type this whole post out without using any expletives, but please know that in my internal dialogue, those bad words are spewing forth.

We have ants.  Not like, "hey, we have some ants that eat our crumbs that fall on the floor."  Although, they do that too.  No like, "WE HAVE {insert bad word} ANTS!!!!"

They inhabit and terrorize every surface of our home.  You could sit or stand in any position in the ENTIRE house and spot some from any angle.  They are in our dirty clothes.  They are in our clean clothes.  They are in our bath towels.  They bore holes in sealed food items.  They climb over clean dishes and dirty dishes alike.  They eat holes in our clean clothes.  They are in dresser drawers, sinks, desks.  They bite us as we sleep.  They climb in distinct black lines up and down from windows, doors, and cracks in the cement walls.  They infiltrate through electrical outlets and under the door.  Nothing is safe from these little jerks.  I hate them.  No, worse... I vehemently abhor them.

We have tried every bug poison available in Haiti to rid our house.  We spend a ridiculous amount of time each day cleaning to prevent them (i.e. following our children around with a vacuum cleaner and sweeping nearly 10 times a day).  We spend hours emptying drawers and shaking out clothes.  Daily.  Sometimes multiple times a day.  

Lucky us, as we were researching ants and extermination techniques, we discovered that our variety of ants are some of the most tenacious and hard to get rid of.  Every search query ends with someone stating that the only way to truly rid your house of them, is to hire a professional exterminator and seal all windows and doors.  Well... neither of those recommendations are going to happen here in Haiti.  

 These ants were crawling on the girls' bedroom wall, transporting eight (8!!!) queens.  That cluster there is ants surrounding one of the queens.  

I have been know to exaggerate.  Some may call it dramatic.  So, I took just a few pictures from the last day to illustrate that I am not, in fact. exaggerating.  Even Gary, my leveled-headed better half, will rant if you bring this particular subject up.

This is one of the most disgusting things I've ever seen.  I get all kinds of twitchy even looking at this picture.  They gnawed a hole in the spout of the olive oil, when I poured some out while cooking yesterday, dead ants began to pour out in huge black chunks.  Barf.

We have another game plan to try to annihilate them.  Krulls are now on the offensive.  How is it, that ants are our biggest struggle in Haiti**? 

**(okay, maybe that's an exaggeration I can admit to, but it's at least on the top five list)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Who Says?

Who says Christmas looks like snow, and fires, and holly, and hot chocolate, and gingerbread houses, and baking, and choirs, cookie exchange parties, and all the lovely looking projects on pinterest?

Is it any less Christmas-time if the temperature outside is 90 degrees with 79% humidity? Nope, just look at these faces!

Last night we spent the evening at Good Neighbor for their annual Christmas party and talent show.  It was awesome!  So much work was put into this event by both the staff and children for the past several weeks.  First was the talent show, emceed by the truly fearless duo of Fabiola and Michelove.  They have quite the gift of public speaking, I was impressed!  All the children were involved in this performance.  There were solos, recitations, skits, dances, group songs, and live nativity scene with a real live baby Jesus stand-in (Johny's nephew!).  It was precious.  Although I understood about 4% of all that was said in kreyol, I loved it.  Some of the children had members from their birth family there to visit.  After the show, everyone was served an amazing meal of Haitian beans and rice, fried plantains, pickliz (like a spicy slaw, Gary's favorite Haitian food!), and goat.  Mmmmm.  Goat.

The Krull kids LOVED the food.  Noah declared it his favorite meal ever (although he says that at least once a week, but it was still a big compliment).

Each child received a Christmas present, and several children cried when the evening was over because they loved it so much.

Christmas day was really hard for us as a family.  We missed the familiarity of our own Christmas traditions.  It just didn't "feel" like Christmas.  Plus, we had been without electricity for several days at that point and were battling trying to save the contents of our refrigerator, entertaining "bored" kids, and trying not to wallow in our own sadness.  It was just a rough day all around.

I'm so thankful for our time with the Good Neighbor kids last night.  It really helped remind me why we're here, and put things into perspective.  Christmas is for celebrating the greatest gift I have ever personally received.  Jesus was born not just for me, but for the entire world.  Thank you God for sending your Son!

Monday, December 17, 2012

So glad THAT'S over...

I wanted to chronicle the events of the crate with a computer generated, multi colored visual aid timeline, but it would really only serve to get me all agitated and riled up again.  So in light of that self-awareness, I'm just going to briefly lay out just enough details for you to understand our frustration, and then huge relief when we were finally reunited with 4'x4'x8' of used goods.

Okay, here are the details that someday I will want to look back on, throw my head back with a hearty laugh and proclaim, "man, those were crazy times, what a hilarious 49 days."
October 24:  Pack crate, send it off on its voyage to Haiti

October 27:  We arrive in Haiti, begin making plans to move into our rental house on November 1

October 30:  Crate arrives in Haiti

October 31-November 5:  Customs agents, with full reign over our belongs, hatch their plot to derail our moving plans

November 6:  We move into the house, our empty house, with high hopes of settling in to our new digs.

November 9:  Customs agent lets us know that they will soon begin to inventory our belongings to determine how much we owe them in customs taxes, fleeting thoughts of the mess of goods inside being pilfered by various customs officials

November 12-December 6:  We continue calling and emailing our customs clearing agent (the guy who has been hired to be our advocate in the customs clearing process) almost everyday, continue to get updates saying "we're almost done, we'll let you know soon what the final cost will be."

December 7:  We receive their final invoice, they have determined that we must pay a HUGE amount, equal to about a 400% rate, rather than the supposedly "standard" 40% rate... their amount was based on how much they determine the items in the box are worth.

December 7:  We contest the amount, they offer to start the process of inventorying the contents again, and mention by the way, that we have been charged a daily storage fee that will continue to build as they start the process over, we elect to just pay the amount rather than risk maybe getting the fee reduced, but paying more in storage fees... did I mention that this was the first we had heard about the daily storage fee?!?  They are closed on weekends, so we will wait until Monday to start again.

December 10:  Gary goes to try to get money from our bank in Arizona... is gone roughly 7 hours.  In that 7 hours he accomplished cashing a personal check, and opening a Haitian back account so we could get a cashier's check to pay for the release of our crate.  Errands take a really long time in Haiti.

December 11:  First thing in the morning, Gary delivers our check.  They say our crate will be delivered that afternoon.  Delivery truck never shows up, and the customs clearing agent stops answers any phone calls or emails.

December 12:  Gary goes down in person to figure our why our stuff wasn't delivered.  They tell us it is because we first must guarantee payment for delivery and another customs fee, plus storage fees, totaling over $1000.  Gary works with shipping company to figure out guaranteeing payment.  They assure Gary it will be delivered that afternoon.  Delivery truck never shows up, phone calls go unanswered once again.

December 13:  Gary goes back downtown.  Confronts customs clearing agent once more.  Is assured the crate will be delivered this afternoon, by 2 or 3 in the afternoon.  Delivery never shows up.  Now we begin to wonder if there is really a crate left at all... lament the fact that we are totally being taken advantage of.

December 14: Totally fed up... coming to terms with probably having to go through another weekend without our stuff.  Gary makes plans with Johny (our Haitian friend and orphanage director) to go back down in person and not leave without our crate... prepared to get it in the back of Johny's truck if need be and bring it home themselves.  Following Haitian Murphy's Law, Johny got detoured and had to pick someone up from the airport and deliver them to a distant part of town, wouldn't be available to help until 3:30, not enough time to get there before they close at four.  We resign to starting again on Monday.  I may or may not have said a couple of naughty words.  Gary continues to call, without luck.  At 1pm, we receive an email saying the crate will be delivered at 3pm.  We laugh and don't believe this guy for one single second.  At 4pm, we get a call saying the delivery truck is coming down our road, and to meet it so we can show the driver where to go.  WHAT?!  We throw everyone into the car, and fly down our dirt road.  With only a reasonable amount of damage, everything has been accounted for!

It's true that it was very difficult living in a nearly empty house for the last six weeks.  We were lucky enough to have mattresses on the floor, borrowed sheets and towels, and two borrowed pots to cook in.  Our bodies are pretty sore from sitting on the tile floor for every meal and all the times in between meals.  Our kids did relatively well managing to entertain themselves with some legos, two baby dolls, some coloring books, and all the treasures in our yard.  The physical discomfort of coming from a place so plentiful with creature comforts, to the starkness of an empty house in Haiti was hard.  Even harder than that though, was knowing that we were being taken advantage and treated unfairly, yet there wasn't anything we could do about it.  That was super hard.  Hopefully we have learned what to do, and what not to do, if we ever receive a shipment in Haiti again.

I'm hoping that we won't forget that discomfort, and will remain as thankful as we are today for the things we have.  In the wise words of Mylie, "Sitting on this couch is so fun!"  Yes... yes it is.  

Friday, December 14, 2012

Noah's Shop

Need a last minute Christmas gift?  Noah has been busy setting up a shop in the guest house.  Inventory is a bit sparse right now, smashed bottle caps, sea shells, and rocks.  But the prices are reasonable.  I snagged 10 bottle caps for 10 kisses.  Stop on by if you're in our neighborhood :)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Heard Around the House: November 2012

Noah, to Mylie:  "Mylie put that rusty nail down... do you want to get tetris????"  (tetanus)

Presley:  "Hear ribbit ribbit.  Frog probably."

Mylie:  I haven't watched Elmo in like seven years.
Me:  How is that even possible?  You're five.
Mylie:  (shrugging shoulders)  Magic.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Seven Things

Here's a rundown of seven things from the last seven days...

1. We found this guy in our yard.
After consulting our tarantula expert friend, we found out that this is a Haitian Brown Tarantula, probably about 10 years old.  

2. We washed clothes by hand
A lot of clothes.  A lot.  I have a healthy respect for people who do this every day, for all the days of their lives.  This is a full time job ya'll.

3. We found a lot of these loud little suckers
Some were only the size of my thumbnail.  They are so very cute, and obnoxiously loud.

4. We celebrated Thanksgiving with about 60 other missionaries and expats from around the world all living in Haiti.
 Turns out if you get a bunch of Americans and put them in a third world country, they will still be able to scrounge up enough turkey and pie and potato dishes to make you feel like breaking out the fat pants when you're done eating.  

5. We waited patiently for our shipping crate.
Still not here.  

6. I made about eleventy million dozen homemade tortillas.
 You can't get tortillas in Haiti.  Oh the travesty!  Thanks be to Pinterest for saving the day.  They were so very tasty.

7. These guys arrived in Haiti from Arizona yesterday and are helping us buy a car and get our crate out of customs.  
They also served as mules, bringing lots and lots of treats from friends and Grammy.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Wanted- One Very Important Box

October 24th

This was the last time we saw this important cargo.  This 4'x'4x'8' packs a hefty punch.  Packed tightly within the walls is nearly all of our earthly possessions;  pots and pans, towels, sheets, home school curriculum, toys, artwork, chairs, futons, odds and ends.  We are doing our best waiting patiently for it to be released from customs here in Haiti.  Looking outside of our high concrete walls makes it easier to wait.  Well... maybe not easier, but certainly offers a different perspective.  Our neighbor's home, which collapsed nearly three years ago in the earthquakes, still buzzes with activity.  We're not sure where they sleep, or how they go about living.  On the other side of us sits an unfinished house, one we thought was vacant for the first three days we were here.  It's not.  A family lives there, lives within barren walls.  Their children can still be seen playing in the yard, their life goes on.  

So here we are, 26 days later, still waiting.  Waiting on God to provide, waiting to start to get settled.  Waiting on transportation so we can buy groceries and drinking water.  Transportation so we can begin the work that God called us to Haiti to do.  It is very hard sitting in a nearly empty house, with no where to go.  We are wondering why God is having us wait so long.

We are not only praying for our crate to be released from customs and a vehicle to purchase, we're praying for God to reveal His plan to us.  We are praying for God to give us some direction so we know just what He wants us to do.  

This continues to be hard.

Friday, November 16, 2012

2012 Gift Guide with a Purpose

I'll be the first to admit that the lure of the glittering aisles of Target are almost too luxurious to resist.  Walking the aisles and stumbling upon deals so good that when you get compliments on that cute pair of shoes, you can't help but also offer up that they only cost $4.98.  But more and more I can't ignore the story behind each item we purchase and bring into our home.  Where was it made?  Did the person who made it make enough money to feed his children?  Did the woman who works at this factory give her child to an orphanage because she felt that she could not provide for her?  I cannot separate trying to be more like Jesus with what I purchase.  Will my purchase take advantage of someone living in poverty, or contribute towards modern day slavery of any sort?  It is a heavy burden, to be sure. 

To read more about fair trade and the truth behind the barcode, 
click {HERE}, or {HERE}, or {HERE}

Christmas gifts are a great way to provide for a family AND buy a unique item with a great story behind it.  Here are some of my favorite sources for buying a gift with a purpose for 2012...

{Click on the names of each shop for a link directly to their websites}

3 Cords is a social enterprise founded in September 2010 to train, employ, and empower Haitian women and their families.  Our mission is to provide opportunities for physically handicapped women, and to show them that they are both beautiful and valuable.  We do this by training the women as artisans in a loving, community oriented environment. 

Wallets for Water
Buy a wallet made from upcycled ties, help bring fresh water to communities
without clean drinking water.

The ApParent Project
Amazing accessories handmade by gifted artisans in Haiti.  Buying from ApParent Project helps keep families together by employing parents to earn an income to care for their families instead of giving their children to an orphanage.  Jewelry parties are available to host in your own home.

Noonday Collection
Buy stylish accessories and provide jobs that create a pathway out of poverty for families. A stable income means a family is less likely to abandon their child.  Noonday Collection also offers opportunities for trunk sales you can host in your own home.  

 Punjammies, by the International Princess Project, are created in after-care facilities for women who have been rescued, released or escaped from a life of forced prostitution. Their lives have been marked by a message – you are a commodity – to be used for others' gain. 

SERRV is a nonprofit organization with a mission to eradicate poverty wherever it resides by providing opportunity and support to artisans and farmers worldwide.

for more amazing fair trade companies!

To find a Bible study about why Christians should care about fair trade, click {HERE}

Sunday, November 4, 2012

First Haiti Date Night

I think it is a true talent, to be able to watch for ways you could go out of your way to bless someone, or even simply meet a need.  I can't say that I have this talent, but I want it.

Melissa and her husband Ryan run the Heartline guesthouse, where we have been staying the past 8 nights.  If you know our kids in person, you know that they came by the nickname "The Crazies" honestly.  They are crazy.  We have been living in communal spaces, so we have been on high alert trying to keep our kids:

1.  contained within the 4 walls of the guesthouse yard
2.  out of other people's bedrooms
3.  from complaining about being hot, hungry, bored
4.  respectful of others during mealtime
5.  from climbing on the roof via the ladder and outdoor balconies
6.  from chopping coconuts with the guards' machetes, unsupervised at least
7. fighting with each other about e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g

All while also teaching them about not using tap water to brush teeth,  bathing with cold water (this is only an issue for Presley), treating mosquito bite itchiness, sleeping in the same room together, allowing the little gal to nap, no access to a car, no access to a TV,  and parenting with an audience.

Thankfully, we're doing okay, but there are moments when I want to poke my eyes out.  

Ryan and Melissa planned a movie night on Friday night for the kids.  They were so excited!  Ryan invited some other families over, set up a projector and couches, and Melissa made cookies.  Plus, it was pizza night at the guesthouse, so everyone was pretty excited.

Hours before the main event, we were totally surprised with an official invitation for a date night out.  I really could not believe it!  Ryan and Melissa's apartment is next door to the guesthouse, where Melissa set up the most beautiful balcony date night.  Back at the guesthouse, they fed our kids, put Presley to bed, and entertained the two biggies at the movie night.

It was so nice to eat uninterrupted, to be able to talk and catch up.  What a gift!  We have been seeing God in the little things, and this was a pretty blatant reassurance from God that He's with us, and not only will he meet our needs, but help us to thrive here as well.  Thank you so much Ryan and Melissa for a wonderful date night, and a chance to feel normal!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Krulls Have Landed

I have wanted to post an update for several days now, but just couldn't find the words.  I'm going to be brutally honest here, but I don't want this to scare you away from obeying what you feel God is calling YOU to do.

October 26th came, and we loaded six trunks, four suitcases, one carseat, and our precious Crazies onto a plane headed for Port-au-Prince.

I was so sick with fear.  I could not sleep, I could not eat, I burst into tears in the middle of the Miami airport Chilli's (just to name one of the many places I burst into tears).  

We made it to Haiti and battled our way through customs and baggage claim, and fortunately, all of our luggage made it out with us.  Our kids were champs.  We were picked up by Ryan and Josh who work with Heartline in Haiti, and they took us to the guesthouse where we are still sleeping as of tonight.  That night I was in a daze.  I was pretty useless to poor Gary.  The next morning we went to our new church home, Port-au-Prince Fellowship, and I just cried through each worship song.  I missed my friends and family and church family.  The thought of being away for so long was too much to bear.  

I felt like I was in a really dark place.  I felt trapped and lonely.  The emotions were so overwhelming, I felt so weak and broken.  There was nothing left for me to do but pray.  I prayed for the strength to make it through one more hour, one more afternoon, one more night.  I prayed almost constantly, in between caring for our three.  I could not eat, yet I was hungry.

Gary and I prayed together a lot.  I prayed alone a lot.  Friends and family from all over lifted us up in prayer a lot.  Emails and facebook messages of prayers and encouragement poured in.

Two days ago, while sitting at the table in the common room at the guesthouse, I was fighting tears and praying through the moment.  An overwhelming peace just washed over me.  It was not gradual, but all of the sudden.  God graciously lifted me out of that place of discouragement.  I felt better, normal, full of hope.  I knew God was with me, here.  With us.

Honestly, I knew I was growing, being stretched, being molded.  I thought I would be in that place for longer, but am so glad I'm not!!!

It is very scary stepping out into a really uncomfortable place, whatever that place might be, that God has called you to be in.  I'm learning that I cannot let fear and discomfort hinder me from obeying God. Asking God to meet ALL of my needs is not a sign of weakness, but of surrender.  The prayers from many were real to me.  I am a real person in need of a Savior.  I do not take lightly when someone says they have prayed for me.  If you were one who joined in prayer for me, and my family, please know that your prayers were heard, they were important, they were needed.  I am thankful for you.  Please continue to remember us when you pray, this is only the beginning!

We're going into this next week hopeful that we will be able to move into our house, hopeful that we will find a car, hopeful we will have the money to purchase a generator so that we will have power to our home when the city power goes out (at least several times a day, if not more).

Tomorrow I hope to blog about our first date night in Haiti!  It was amazing!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Heard Around the House: October 2012

I think all three of my Crazies are hilarious, but for some reason this month I only remembered things The Boy said, enjoy!!!

"For Uncle Michael's birthday, can you make a video of me doing something dangerous?  Uncle Michael likes dangerous things, so I'll do something really dangerous in honor of him."

"I've had like a million great days in my life."

"Mom, thank you sooo much.  And dad, thank you sooo much.  You're equally thanked."

"I drank from a real coconut today.  It's official, I'm like an explorer"

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Most Stressful Game of Tetris

Last night I woke up no fewer than ten times thinking about how there was just no way we were going to fit all that needed to fit, inside our 4'x4'x8' shipping crate.  We have spent the last five months since moving out of our house whittling down our possessions until they all fit in this space.  Each time I took a load to Goodwill, I thought, "okay, that is it... we only have the most important stuff.... there is nothing left I can part with."  And then we whittle again.  And again.  Culminating in today:  Crate Packing Day.  

We made it!  Actually we made it with room to spare and a trip home to gather a few things from suitcases to add.  It was amazing!  The next hurdle is to actually receive the crate, WITH all the contents in Haiti.  Getting through customs unscathed seems to be the tricky part.  Yes, we can live without any of these items, but they sure would make our lives much easier, and our kids much happier if everything makes it all the way to Santo 11.  

This will be my last post for a while.  We leave bright and early on Friday morning, but won't move into our house until after the 1st.  We will need to figure out our electricity and internet situations... along with about a dozen other important things such as eating, drinking clean water, and trying to get our children not to drink the bath water.  

Holding onto this truth tonight as the nerves are really starting to set in:

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your needs to God.  And the peace of God, which goes beyond our understanding, will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4: 6-7

Monday, October 22, 2012

This Girl

Miss Presley, you are TWO years old today!  You are a little piece of sunshine, truly, and I am so glad God gave you to our family.  It doesn't hurt that Mama is your favorite, and you give me endless "kith-ez" and "huggies".  No fewer than four people cater to you daily.  You're taking after your Sissy's sweet tooth, and your Brother's wild streak.  "Prilly" dresses, Mickey Mouse, shoes belonging to other people, and the color orange are some of your favorite things.  You're pretty much just sweet sweet sweet.  And funny.  Really funny.  You have a huge vocabulary and always shock us with what you say and remember.  You've started asserting your opinion about what you wear, and it usually involves you picking out a dress and bow, then making the rounds to Noah and Daddy for compliments.  Oh boy, I'm not sure what this means about your teenage years, but you'll be getting lots of love and self-confidence from the first two special guys in your life.  So that means you won't have to seek that approval elsewhere, got it?  You are the friendliest little gal I've ever known, and you can get a smile out of just about anyone when you tell them, "Helloooooo".  Because of this, I hear by nominate you as the Krull Family Ambassador to all we come in contact with.

We love you Sweet Baby Girl!  Can't wait to see who you grow into this year!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

More Like George

It's been a while since I've posted.  It wasn't because we have been so crazy busy that I couldn't find the fifteen minutes in a day to jot down an update.  We were busy, but not that busy.  It was that there wasn't any new news to write.  I didn't want to write.  We felt discouraged, in a rut.  We didn't know what to do next.  I know that isn't a problem unique only to us.  Lots of times a task seems so supremely humongous, that it's hard to even know where to begin.  Much like how I feel when I clean out my kids' closets, times a billion.

So here's where we left off on September 26th...

We were unsure of where the money from a vehicle in Haiti was coming from.  We didn't know how we were going to get our shipping crate from Arizona to Port-au-Prince.  We didn't even have a shipping crate.  The house we were going to rent fell through, and Gary was scheduled to leave for Haiti the next day to sign that lease.  We were living with my parents.  Marital tensions were running high.  We didn't have a departure date.  The Crazies were at constant odds with one another (the biggest two at least).  We were burned out and we hadn't even left.  We were praying weak prayers of "hey God, what gives?"

So here's where we are at today...

Our shipping crate is being built on Wednesday, then packed and sent off next week.  We have plane tickets to depart on the 26th.  On Gary's short four day trip to Haiti, the one where he was originally set to simply pop down, sign a lease, spend some time at Good Neighbor, then fly home, turned into a four day whirlwind of looking for a new house.  Thanks to the help of a new friend and fellow missionary, he was able to find a new house that is even better than the other option, and signed a lease.  As of today, several truly generous people have answered our prayers in providing the money for a car.  Gary and I have been able to grow closer, and even work out some better communication with one another.  We both know that without a strong marriage, centered on God, we don't have a chance in Haiti.  This has been a priority for us, to grow stronger and closer, not divided.  We've been rejuvenated in our walk with God.  Our faith has been tested.  It has been rough and icky, and there were days that I just wanted to fast forward through the rough patch.  

Gary and I try to spend time in the evenings, after The Crazies are asleep, doing devotions together, reading the Bible, praying together, and generally debriefing about the day and making a plan for the following day.  A few nights ago, Gary reminded me of George Muller.  He is a wonderful example of a life lived by faith.  George had a home for orphans.  He prayed for God to provide everything, and trusted God completely to actually provide it.  

My favorite story of his complete trust was how he fed the children in his care.  One morning, there wasn't one piece of food in the entire house.  Not even a slice of bread.  There was no food, and no money.  All of the children were waking up and beginning to come down to the breakfast table.  The nannies were beginning to freak out.  They didn't know how they were going to feed them that day.  George simply prayed.  He asked God to provide breakfast.  Now, this is the part in the story that cracks me up.  The ladies were all running around, panicking, and probably wondering why the dummy George was just praying and not actually doing anything to help.  George was calm, he just told them to set the table.  Have the children sit down.  And was completely confident that God would provide them breakfast.  So that's what they did.  The table was set, the children were seated, and then there was a knock at the door.  Someone arrived, with breakfast in hand, telling George he got up that morning and just felt like he was supposed to bring breakfast over.  Hello folks, that was God at work!

So Gary and I are trying our best to set the table.  We are inviting and trusting God to show up.  Even in the eleventh hour.  

And He is.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

In the Meantime...

We're still working on the final details of the move.  Gary is in Haiti right now getting things set.  We're hoping to buy our plane tickets when he gets back.  This waiting thing is really hard, so we're keeping busy...
 Girls' Night Out
Always at least one incident of almost peeing my pants from laughing

 Fancy Dinner out

 Celebrating Pappy's birthday

THE BEST cupcakes in the world
Almond Joy cupcakes via Your Cup of Cake
Mine don't look nearly as pretty as hers, but I bet they tasted just as delicious!

 Last Sunday at Church
We were prayed over, and we said some goodbyes.  We love our church!

 Boys getting into mischief
We had three services at church where we needed to be on stage as they announced our departure and prayed for us.  In between the second and third services, the wheels came unhinged.  Our boy decided to dump 10 gallons of water over his head (???) and the little lady got her forehead painted.
 Our children kind of looked like a wreck while we were on stage the last service.  Oh well.  
You might wonder why they were just running free between services... 
Gary and I were manning our station during "Serve the World" week on the church patio.  So, yes, they were just running free and clearly can't be trusted.

I ran the 1st Annual Grove Barefoot 5K, my very first 5K in fact.  I had so much fun!  It was so well organized, I hope this becomes a tradition for our church.  And in case you're wondering, no I didn't run the whole thing barefoot, just the last 100 meters or so.  We left our shoes to be donated, and will be taken to Liberia and Malawi next summer.  You can read more about it {HERE}.
And somehow, Noah's lucky streak of always ending up on the Jumbotron continues... He and Mylie were selected to stand on the dugout and lead the crowd with "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the 7th inning stretch at a Diamondback game.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Auction is Live!

And by live, of course I mean "active online"... although it would be pretty fun to try my hand at real live, honest to goodness crazy talk actioneering.  If "auctioneering" is even a real word.

In case you have no earthly idea what I'm talking about, let me catch you up.  We are raising money to purchase a vehicle in Haiti.  We need reliable transportation to get to and from the orphanage each day, as well as up to to the mountains to continue our relationship and construction process with the church in Lespinasse.  Having a vehicle in Haiti is a lifeline.  This is the last major piece in the puzzle before we purchase our one way plane tickets.  Please help us get there by bidding on one of the amazing items below!

Go {HERE} to Bid

Here's what's up for grabs...

My favorite go-to place for baby shower gifts and headbands for my girls... Kari's fabric choices are amazing, the quality is impeccable, and I LOVE her style!  

Two Scentsy gift packs are available, generously donated by to great women!  

My friend Erin and I go way back to PLNU days, and she now has a totally rad job working at Ponzi Vineyards in Portland, Oregon.  Not only is she lovely to look at and gets to live in my dream city, but she's also so very generous, also, she is crafty... and I like that about her.  

It's good to have creative friends.  I highly recomend getting some.  Chris and I go way back to junior high youth group, and I also like to take credit for playing matchmaker for him and his wife.  He has donated two handcrafted pieces of steampunk jewelry.

It is really hard to hate someone who is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside.  Kacie is one of those women.  I have great memories of kayaking in Hawaii with her when we were young, childless, and tan.  She is the designer and owner behind the beautiful keepsake jewelry of Simply Been.  She has graciously offered up a $50.00 gift certificate to her shop!

Arizona Cardinals
Two tickets to ANY Arizona Cardinals game, home or away!  Great seats too!!!

Set Free Apparel
Cool, not lame, Christian t-shirts.  Where were these when I was in high school?

Also:  sports memorabilia, gift cards, DATE NIGHT (can I get an amen?!), two ipod Shuffles, and a baby boy gift basket!!!

Go {HERE} to Bid
Auction runs from September 23-29

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Live Auction

Many (many many many) have asked us, "So, when are you leaving."  or "Hey, I thought you would be gone by now!"... Let's just say we wish we knew, we had hoped to have made the move earlier in the month.  But, alas here we wait.  I liken it to the last few weeks of pregnancy when every.single.person you see asks when you're due, says you look like you're gonna pop, or wonders aloud why you haven't gone into labor yet.  Then you go home and cry, kick your cankles up on the couch, and google "how to induce labor".  

The only thing holding us back is securing the funds to purchase a vehicle to use in Haiti.  In the grand scheme of things, this is a drop in the bucket.  We know God is fully able to provide, and we're having to wait to see how He does it.  So far, people we know, family, church family, and even strangers have joined in by supporting us financially.  Each person has a role in us serving in Haiti, and we just couldn't do it without the many people who are sacrificing financially to send us.  We are grateful!
We are planning an online silent auction to raise money for the vehicle.  As donations come in, we are preparing for the auction to go LIVE, Sunday, September 23rd!  It will run through September 29th.  Some items will only be available for local pick-up, but several will be available to ship anywhere in the U.S.  We will post a link to the auction here next Sunday.

We are still working on securing some final donations, but are you curious about what's up for grabs so far?  You are!  Here's a little sneaky peek:  2 tickets to ANY home or away Arizona Cardinals game (amazing seats too!!), Bottles of wine and cookbook from Oregon's Ponzi Vineyards, Scentsy gift baskets, Adam's Blankie items, a Date Night package, sports memorabilia, Simply Been gift certificate, and more!!!

Updated to add:  Go {HERE} to view the auction, runs from September 23-29th

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Beard

It would be remiss if I didn't document the rise and fall of Gary's beard.  It has become a joke around these parts.  Some dared him to just let it grow for the next two years, some applauded my mad wife skillz by not nagging him to shave, some simply asked what his plan was.  There were some comparisons to fringe extremists, lumberjacks, and my personal favorite, Jesus.  Whatever, after 10.5 months of hairy bliss...

Before                                                                 After

Let me just state the obvious, m'kay... my husband is one foxy man.  In my world, he's the most handsome in all of the lands.  I truly did not care one little bit if he was beardy or clean shaven, but it was pretty exciting to see his face again.  I really really like his face.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Calling All Donations

Hi all!  As we're busily preparing for the move, we have also realized that we're coming up financially short to purchase a vehicle in Haiti.  Having a vehicle will be a necessity for us, as we will be traveling to the orphanage almost daily, and also going up into the mountains to visit the construction project of the new church in Lespinasse.  Having a reliable vehicle to help us get from place to place safely is important to us.

We are organizing an online silent auction.  We want to make this fundraiser accessible to friends and family all over the United States, not only here in Arizona.  We would like to begin next week, but are still in need of more donations.  I would love to get donations from all you creative Etsy shop owners, small business owners, gift certificates, the sky is the limit!

If you donate something, I would love to promote your business here through my blog, as well as via facebook.  Please email us at garyandmichaela {at}, and I will send you more information.

Please pray with us that the money will come in, one way or another.  This is final piece that needs to fall into place before we buy our one way plane tickets!

Once we have it organized, I will post the information here for anyone interested in what is up for grabs! 

Thank you!!

Edited to add:  Go {HERE} to view the auction, runs from September 23-29

Monday, September 3, 2012

Final Countdown

The past month has been a whirlwind of sleeping in strange beds, eating out way. too. much.  Lots of driving and packing and unpacking and laundry.  In the past month, we have traveled to California and back, to Michigan and back, Gary to Haiti and back, to California again and back, and around and around the Phoenix area.  Good news:  Gary found a house for us to rent in Haiti.  Yay!  We are currently on the edge of a logistical free fall as we figure out how to get our selves and our stuff to Haiti.  We're navigating goodbyes.  We have lots of dinners and coffee dates mixed in with our regular stuff and our moving to Haiti stuff.  I'm tired.  Here's a little peek into our San Diego trip.  It was so much fun!  
 Presley's "Cheese Face" face has begun.  It happens to every child, and I think it's hilarious.  At times I just wanted a picture of her sweet face, but got this every single time.  
 My campaign to convince our children to pick my alma mater as their college choice began, starting with the soccer field that overlooks the ocean.  


 We totally did this, despite every one's resistance.  I may or may not have almost taken out a crowd when it was my turn to steer.
This was one of the best parts of the day for Noah... he LOVED the starfish!