Thursday, March 28, 2013

Super Thankful for March 28th

My very best friend was born 37 years ago on this day.  To celebrate, I'd like to share some little known facts about the birthday boy...

1.  King of the Grilled Cheese.  
Makes the very best, experimental gourmet grilled cheese.  He's a legend in our house.

2.  The designated kid puke cleaner upper.  
He's clutch, and is a rock during barf-fests.

3.  Researches things he's interested in for fun.  
He's the yin to my yang.  Where I'm all impulse, he makes rational, well thought out decisions based on hours of research.

4.  Scared of snakes.  
Screams like a girl, terrified of snakes.

5.  The only stamps in his passport are from Haiti.
Has never been to any other countries except for Canada, if you want to count Canada.  
Also, I have nothing against Canada.

6.  Once received a police commendation as a civilian for helping to save a little girl who had been kidnapped.
True story.

7.  Made a hole in one while playing in a golf tournament.
What are the odds?

8.  Lived in Arizona for 13 years and never once saw the Grand Canyon.
I hope to remedy this someday.

9.  Owns so many gray t-shirts.  So many.
Like 98% of his wardrobe is gray t-shirts.

10.  He's my favorite person on earth, is an amazing and involved father, and I'm so very thankful he was born!  
Thank you God!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

B and P

My parents came for their first ever Haiti experience the day after our visiting team left.  My brother left me this bit of encouragement on Facebook:

Much to the disappointment of the masses, Bob and Pam left no legendary stories in their wake.  If you know my parents and just how many stories they have provided me, this is a record.  I mean seriously.  My dad has a penchant for home improvement projects gone awry, and was a teacher at my high school with a love affair with stone washed jeans and lots of falling.  Lots and lots of falling.  My mom is an amatuer tap dancer, carries plastic grocery sacks as if they were purses, and also falls a lot.  They are a wealth of comic material.

So Bob and Pam, from all the people who were waiting on pins and needles for some epic "The Covingtons" story... thanks for nothing.

But from us Krulls, thanks for coming and spending time with these Crazies.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

They Came, They Saw, They Left

For the last week we had a team from our home church in Arizona visiting.  It was weird and wonderful and hard.  I'll start by just sharing the facts, then I'll get all introspective and junk.

It was wonderful to spend time with people from our church.  I loved getting to know new friends.  I loved having a full house, laughing into the evening and sharing experiences with people new to Haiti. I loved having girl time with friends, something I have not had since moving here.  I loved sharing people and things I've grown to love here in Haiti.

Our main responsibility while they were here was to feed and house them, and keep this joint running.  The team split their time between Good Neighbor Orphanage and a community about two and a half hours south of Port-au-Prince in the mountains of Lespinasse.

While at GNO, the extra hands were able to help with some improvement projects such as prepping an area for a garden, fixing holes in the sides of the dorms, painting the front gate, and cleaning up a pit of nasty, so disgusting, that the men involved had a stench that permeated their skin so that they still stunk after bathing.  How do I know?  One of them was my husband.

Our Pastor has been establishing a relationship with the community of Lespinasse for three years, and committed to help them rebuild their church.  They were able to finish the electrical work,  painting and building of pews.  The whole group drove up on Sunday for the church dedication.  On the treacherous drive up, we discovered the hard way that our littlest Crazy gets car sick.  I'll spare you the mental picture, but it involved copious amounts of audible dry heaving from her mother.  She spent the rest of the day in a diaper.  Also, it was a seven hour church service ya'll.

Johny took the group up to see GNO's new property in Archaiae, a more rural area north of Port-au-Prince along the inner coast.  It is cooler, less populated, cleaner, with a view of the ocean.  The land is more than three times the size of their current set up, with room for soccer, separate dormitories, indoor washrooms, school, and cafeteria.  We are in the very early stages of fundraising for this enormous project.  

We rounded out the trip by sharing the beauty of Haiti, at the beach.  The water is so beautiful, it looks like the fake background they use in touristy pictures.  It is stunning.  The kids were able to find live sea urchins, starfish, sea sponges, colorful tropical fish, and a plethora of shells.  There was snorkling, eating, and a recovery mission to find our Pastor's lost wedding ring in the ocean.  Miraculously, it was found.

I think that people visiting Haiti for the first time got an accurate look at the real Haiti.  From the littered and chaotic streets of Port-au-Prince, to the remote villages in the foggy mountains, to the turquoise beauty of the Caribbean beaches.  There are needs everywhere here, but there is also hope.

And then, seemingly out of no where, came the tears as I said goodbye.  I didn't know I would be this sad when they left.  Hosting our church, at this particular point in our transition, has brought up some strange feelings.  For the last five months, we've been pushing through the discomfort to settle in here.  The busy-ness of our days leave little room to really think about our feelings, or how we're really doing.  So when this flood of familiar came, and then subsequently left, I think I finally started thinking about what the last five months have been like for us, and the truth is, it has been really really hard.  Not the kind of hard where you should feel sorry for us, just hard like being refined and shaped and bent.  Maybe like a baby bird being tossed from its nest by the mama bird who knows what the baby bird is capable of, and that it can help the baby bird if it gets to be too much, but there's going to be a whole lot of terrifying flapping before it actually catches some air.

When you're living in that place of holy crap I don't know what the heck I'm doing (self censoring:  did you see what I did there?), the only thing you can do is rely on God, and trust that He's going to come through.  Being self-reliant is a quality that is celebrated and encouraged in our home culture.  It is also not the way God wants us to live, and a really hard habit to break.  Learning to live both for God, and in His strength, while also being in a foreign culture away from what feels comfortable is totally kicking my butt.  I am praying that I will become a stronger, wiser, more loving version of myself, and that my actions will speak louder than my words.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

An Update, in Bullet Form

How can it be that it has been so long since an update?  I don't write... I don't call... oy.

There, I guilted myself for you.  

*  Presley is in the throws of full fledged potty training.  Although she exhibited signs of readiness many months ago, we thought it in her our best interest to wait until after the three local and one international moves.  I know she won't be a ten year old still wearing diapers, so the only thing we're missing out on is bragging rights for how early our little genius was potty trained.  Bravo to all you parents out there whose M.I.T. bound offspring beat our 29 month old to the coveted milestone.

*  We have a generator now, thanks to some generous friends and family.  In true God-like fashion, our generator was installed, and then the very next day city power decided to get really sparse and unpredictable.  We were able to fire up that bad boy and continue on with life as usual.  Thanks to our new power machine, we can flush the toilet and turn on the lights any darn time we please.  

*  We're finding ourselves at a crossroads, ministry speaking here.  There are so many needs, but also so many cultural differences, that we must tread lightly to find our place.  Many days, the way God uses me is not how I expected to be used.  Please pray for a friendship that is quickly turning into a discipleship type relationship that I feel woefully unequipped to represent Jesus in.

*  We are hosting our first team from our home church next week.  There is nothing, NOTHING, that gets this procrastinator to finish up dangling projects than impending guests.  I am excited to share what we have learned in Haiti so far.  Also, I am excited to eat the Cadbury Creme Eggs that my dear friend is mule-ing in for me. 

*  Yesterday Mylie told me she was cold and wore a sweatshirt.  It was 85 degrees out, and a little overcast.   I have to admit, I curled up with a cup of hot chocolate and crawled under my blanket after the kids went  to bed.  I guess we've acclimated to this sticky island heat.

*  Last week we took the kids on a field trip with several other homeschooling missionary families.  It was amazing!!  We were out of the city, and up high in the mountains.  It was brisk out, for realz.  We toured a farm and nature preserve, learned much about living green in Haiti, and hiked with the prettiest view.  Noah and I share an extreme fear of heights, and we both successfully made the drive without wetting ourselves.  Noah announced when we were back on flat land that that was the most horrific drive he had ever experienced, and that he thought we were going to die, but that it was totally worth it for the fun we had.  True dat.

*  This week I worked out for the first time since moving to Haiti.  Don't judge.  I ran one mile, in circles around our house.  That's 25 laps around our house, in case you were wondering.  
Pros:  1.  I can exercise in the safety of our yard.  2.  I can exercise while the kids play in the yard.  3. I got to listen to my music, uninterrupted.  4. I get to not feel gross from a sedentary lifestyle.

Cons:  1. I ran 25 laps around our house, and it was so freaking boring.

Pros win.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Heard Around the House: February 2013

Presley, after being called 'Peanut': "I not a peanut, I just a lil' girl!"

Presley:  "I wanna go to Good Luck Neighbor and play with the kids." (On a clearly unrelated note... we've been watching a lot.  A lot. of Good Luck Charlie)

Presley to Gary:  "You the best guy ever."

These two Crazies have been playing "Street Vendor"...

Incidentally, I just paid $2.50US for some scrap lumber and two seashells. They run two separate shops, but share their profits.  It's kinda adorable.  Mylie even carries things on her head and tells me she's being a "Haitian lady."  First step to becoming Third Culture Kids?  Check.