A new addition

Guess who's coming home with us?
We've bought this little fluffy girl but she's still to0 young to leave her mom. She's an almost 7 week old labrador, and we've already named her Samantha (or Sam, as Brian calls her).
We've spent lots of hours at the breeders' pet store lately, watching all the pups and their different temperaments. We knew we wanted a girl, but there are 5 girls to choose from! We finally chose Sam because of her sweet, quiet nature; her sister below is sooo feisty.

Here's Samantha (on the right) and her sister. The cuteness really is out of control!!

Brian's so excited to teach her how to swim in the ocean, run with his mountain bike, and catch a frisbee. I want her to be my running buddy... but all of this will have to wait until she's a little older! Right now we're busy reading up on dog training and collecting all the gear we'll need for her. (If anyone on island is selling a large kennel, please let us know). SO excited to take her home!


Good Morning

I've been listening to Joyce Meyer's podcasts on Itunes a lot lately, and I just love them. I have to confess, I never thought that I would be a fan of Joyce Meyer's preaching because her style is so different from what I am used to. Brian and I usually listen to and enjoy Francis Chan, Rob Bell, and others in that genre. Joyce Meyer has a very traditional speaking style... and she is amazing! Her messages are no nonsense, in your face, and really, really good. Her website is here.

This morning I was listening to her podcast about getting your day started right. Her very basic steps for each morning were something like this (in my words, not hers):

1. First thing after you open your eyes, rejoice in the day. No matter what troubles or worries are going on in your life, this is a day that God made and God gave you. We are instructed in the Bible to rejoice in it.

2. Thank God for all that you can think of. God blesses a grateful heart.

3. Decide that whatever the day has in store, and as crazy as it might be, that I will "keep my peace." (She has another whole podcast on "Keeping your Peace" and it's also great).

4. Put on love.

So simple and so good.

"Your time alone with God is more valuable than any other thing." -Joyce Meyer


Happy Birthday to my mama!!

Happy happy birthday to my wonderful Mom!
Some facts about my mom:
- She is kind to everyone and makes people feel welcome and comfortable around her
- She is wise and gives fantastic advice. Every time I call her with a question about life, future plans, or what I should do about something, she always helps me. She is super smart with those things :)
- She has always been so supportive of me and my brother, and has willingly sacrificed many things for us throughout the years. She's also always given me confidence in myself and my abilities- she has made me who I am today.
- She's a wonderful mother and I'm so glad she's my mom!
Isn't my mom pretty? I think so!
I love you mom and I hope you have the very best birthday ever. And I will be talking to you soon today! Rachel


Biking up to Mt. Topochau

One of the best decisions we've made in Saipan this year was to have Brian's bike mailed to us from America. One of Brian's good friends was so great and took the time to get it out of our storage unit, pack it up, and mail it over here (not such an easy process!). Brian has been on his bike just about every day since!

He loves riding up Navy Hill to the top of Mt. Topochau. When you reach the top, there is a breathtaking view of the whole island of Saipan, including the ocean all around you. I've never biked up there (haha!) but I love driving up there at sunset and seeing the view.

Here's some excellent picture my husband took from up there- I love the ocean view in the background. Enjoy!


Happy Anniversary! 3 years and 3 countries

Today we're celebrating three years together! 6 years ago I walked into Tulakes Church, where I was starting my freshman internship, and met Brian. I was attracted to his sincerity, kindness, the way that he always treated me with respect, and how he loved to have fun. He still has all of those wonderful qualities and as we've spent the last three years living and traveling together, I've discovered so many more that make me fall more in love with him each year. I love you, baby!
A snow day in Oklahoma City. I remember snuggling up in his apartment on campus and watching movies, cooking, and drinking red tea during this snow day my sophomore year of college.
A roadtrip to St. Louis the summer before my junior year. We took countless roadtrips back when we lived in the states- something I'm really excited to do again one day. When we moved to Taiwan, those roadtrips turned into scooter trips, where we'd spend all day on our scooter exploring the mountains and towns of Taiwan.
Hiking in Mt. Scott- one of my first and favorite pictures of the two of us.
My senior year at a banquet dinner for the church I interned at.
Senior year- getting coffee at the Red Cup with our friend Holly.
In the airport getting ready to move across the world for the first time. It was a scary and exciting feeling to pack most of our things in a storage unit and the rest into our suitcases, to move to a country where they didn't speak our language. Now, we both agree that we wouldn't have traded moving to Taiwan for anything. Traveling was a huge passion and so important to both of us, and I'm glad that I went right out of college.
Halloween at Hsin Hu Kindergarten, the school I worked at last year.
And finally... moving to Saipan. We're here to stay on this little tropical island until we find a job in the states.
Happy Anniversary Brian, and I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you!


Taste of the Marianas

Taste of the Marianas is awesome. It happens every Saturday evening during the month of May, and is held on a big field at American Memorial Park. It's similar to Street Market, where local hotels and restaurants open up stands and sell their delicious local food. Lots of bbq'd meat, lots of fresh fish and seafood. Delicious!
When you first arrive, you buy tokens for your meal. Each plate is about 5 to 6 dollars, and has a main entree with some sides. Here, the chef is grilling squid and bbq skewers (a favorite in Saipan).

Another stands with ribs, etc. The stands are all decorated really cool- island style- with tiki torches, palm leaves, and lanterns.

Many of the booths also sell local crafts and jewelry. Below are some hand-made flowers to put in your hair. These are SO popular in Saipan. Girls wear flowers in their hair all the time here- some real, some fake- and it always looks so pretty and natural. These come with a bendable "stem" for you to tuck behind your ear or into your hair.

Taste of the Marianas also has a stage with live performances every Saturday, ranging from pre-school ballerinas to these local dancers. This performance was amazing and the crowd always shouts, whistles, and just gets really into it.

The hula costumes are amazing, especially the headresses
Rice croquettes are one of my faves at Taste of the Marianas- filled with cheese and smothered in hot marinara sauce. This week, Brian decided to try one with squid ink mixed in for flavor (also very popular here, but look gross to me)- he said it really was tasty.
Local vendors selling homemade crafts: handknitted purses, jewelry, hats, lanterns...
Almost happy 3 year anniversary to us!!! (tomorrow)
Delicious fish frying on the grill
These dolls are carved from coconuts
Fifields, Grosenbachs, Kyonkas, Buchers, and us (Brian's taking the pic)


Cool look what I found

I came across some pictures of me and Brian's first little apartment together back in the states. It was on our college campus at SNU in Chapman apartments and we moved in right after we got married almost three years ago.

I loved this little apartment and it's cool seeing all the stuff we have waiting for us in our storage unit in Oklahoma City. We've lived in three apartments since this one- two in Taipei and one in Saipan- and we haven't really bothered much with decorating while we've been overseas and on the move. I have a huge list of DIY projects I want to do for our house in the states (whenever that may be) and it will be so fun to pull out all of our belongings and get started. (Although looking back at these pics, my decorating taste has changed a lot! Poor Brian- this apartment was a bit girly looking...)

The things I'm most excited about:
- our super comfy down comforter and duvet set my mama got us (see above- isn't it lovely!!)
- curtains... how I miss cute curtains hanging in our windows
- A crock pot. If we end up staying in Saipan another year, we should just buy a new one, but Brian's mom got us a great one that's waiting for us in the unit.
- Our target dish set
- Our fluffy, squishy, huge target bathtowels
- Brian's longboard (says he)
- Central heating and AC- that's going to feel so wierd


Happy Mother's Day!

Dear Our Mom's, we love you very much and want to wish you a great and awesome Mother's Day!  We miss you and wish we could spend this day with you.  Saipan is filled with flowers everywhere you look.  Today we picked these flowers just for you.  Happy Mothers Day - We love you Mom!