Have you dodged the Swine Flu? Here’s a shirt for you.

I just saw this shirt as I was browsing around the web and I thought that it was pretty funny. If you don’t have the Swine Flu (yet) feel free to buy one of these shirts over here and rock it proud.

If you have somehow contracted the Swine Flu, I apologize for the sarcasm, but not for the awesome t-shirt. :)

Have you ever wanted to start a blog? Hup and Steph use BlueHost.com

I’m not sure if I ever mentioned anything about this before, but about 2 months ago I was really having some problems with GoDaddy.com, who has been my web host of choice for the past several years. Unfortunately GoDaddy was never really that great, but after I was using them for so long I was basically stuck with them since I had so many sites, blogs and what-not that were tied to the account. It wasn’t impossible to move all of my web stuff to another web host, but it was going to take some serious time, effort and planning to get it all done.

Well, after I realized that I couldn’t do some things with this blog that I wanted to do as long as I was still hosted with GoDaddy, I decided to start looking for other options that could do a better job of hosting it. After talking to some of the guys at work and after looking at some recomendations online I finally settled on a web host called BlueHost.com which I wrote a Hub about last night over on HubPages (yeah, that’s who I work for). If you’re ever looking for a great place to host your website or blog, it’s a cheap, secure and stable option that you should definitely think about using.

If you ever have any questions about web hosting solutions, feel free to ask — I’ve been doing this for quite a while now. :)

Ugh…Sick Days…

Yikes, it’s been a rough couple of days for me…

It all started Sunday morning, when I started to feel a little off.  That yucky feeling led to some chills, a fever, nausea, and some other gross things that are related to these symptoms (not fun at all).  I’m typically a healthy person.  I rarely get sick and if I do, it’s just a minor cold or something that is totally manageable.  Certainly not the stop me in my tracks and put me up in bed completely stationary for 3 days kind of sick that I am now.  I’m miserable, and it is only until just now that I’m able to keep my head up long enough to post a short blog about my condition.  I’m begging for sympathy here people, I’m on my death bed.  Luckily I have an amazing fiance’ that has been by my side, nursing me back to health. He’s truly amazing, and I love him more every day :)

All sickness and pity aside, I’m glad that it’s finally seeming to clear up a bit.  Hopefully I’ll be back to work tomorrow.  Since I have a little extra time on my hands today I’ll fill you all in on a bit of news I’ve been meaning to break to you.  It’s sad news, but it’s for the best and it’s always important to find the best in any situation, right?

Unfortunately, Ryan and I will not be welcoming our little Frank into our home as we had expected.  It’s really a strange situation on how it all came about, but basically the breeder that we were buying Frank from turned out to be a bit untrustworthy, and we felt it best to simply ask for our money back.  I felt like I was giving up my baby, and it was a terribly tough decision to make, but I knew it was for the best.  I’d much rather find my Frank from somebody that I trust, or better yet, find Frank from a shelter and rescue him out of a bad situation and bring him into a wonderful home where he’ll be loved and cherished.

My original plans were to go to a rescue anyway, so I should probably follow through with that.  I just wanted to get the news out there.  So, although we won’t have a little Frank pitter pattering around within the next couple of days, he will be around soon, and it will be a better situation than what we were looking at previously.  I’ve waited almost 7 years for my baby, I suppose I can wait a bit longer.

Being responsible or just being lame? You decide. A tough GumBall 3000 decision.

gumball_logoMy life has truly been blessed with some of the most random and amazing opportunities. I’ve traveled to Europe with friends of friends, I’ve taken a 50-foot tour bus filled with 6 of my friends and 2 bus drivers across the entire country in 2 weeks, I’ve had the chance to be on live TV with Indianapolis’ most watched station, I’ve written a book that’s available around the world, I moved to California with the love of my life and many, many other things that I could go on and on about if I had more time before I had to go into the office.

I’m not trying to brag here, but the point I’m trying to get across is that I have somehow been able to do some truly awesome and amazing things that just seem to happen because I either meet the right people or I’m simply at the right places at the right times. These experiences have all helped me become the person that I am today and if I hadn’t been open to giving them a shot (by not freaking out), I probably wouldn’t be where I am and who I am today. They’ve somehow, someway helped shaped my personality and my outlook on life each and every time I’ve been able to do them.

With all of this in mind I wanted to ask you a question about something that happened yesterday while I was in the office. Around 11:30am or so an instant message popped up from my friend Alex, whom I have seen and chatted with here and there since I’ve lived out here on the West Coast. Alex is a tech-geek just like me and he’s an excitement junky just like me as well. He loves car racing and once I started chatting with him I realized just how much he actually did like the life of the fast and furious.

After we got through the normal hellos and what-not Alex wasted no time in getting to the point. I could tell that he was all excited and in a hurry about something. One of the first questions he asked me was “Hey man, you know about the GumBall 3000?“. To which I quickly answered “Of course!”. You see, the GumBall 3000 is one of the craziest, high-profile, out-of-control car rallys there is in the entire world. It’s basically a bunch of millionaires, entertainers and race car crazies who pay a ton of money to drive 3,000 miles in 8 days in their super-expensive Lamborghinis, Maseratis, Jags, Bentleys and just about any other type of 6-figured, exotic sports car that your pretty, little head can imagine. Here’s a quick video of the start of 2007s GumBall 3000 to help you get a feel for what I’m talking about:

Yeah, that’s the GumBall 3000. Pretty sweet, eh?

Well, Alex continued to chat with me about how we worked on the crew for one of the drivers last year and that he actually has a chance to get a seat in one of the cars this year for the rally of all rallys. I was pretty amazed at this point, as I have been watching the GumBall 3000 ever since I saw the Jackass crew take part in it a few years ago. He then continues to tell me how he can only ride for half of the rally due to some work stuff that he has to be back in town for and he wanted to know if I could hop in the care for the other half (and pay for half of the seat). Whoa.

Honestly, this was one of those times that I get the chills even at the thought of being part of something like the GumBall 3000, but the price was just enough to make me question whether or not this opportunity was worth jumping on. It wasn’t so much money that it would completely break the bank, but enough to probably put Stephanie and I in a situation where we’d really have to watch what we spend for the next several months. But, it is a once in a lifetime type of thing so I still considered it and I told a super-excited and somewhat desperate Alex that I would call Stephanie and ask her about it.

Well, I called Stephanie and she was all about me going and thought that it sounded like an amazing opportunity, so I officially had her stamp of approval (and you wonder why I love this woman?). After getting Stephanie’s OK I asked my boss about taking the crazy trip and he was totally cool with it, too (I just wouldn’t get paid for my time off work). At this point I called Alex and I told him that I was good to go and that I could do this thing. It was crazy and probably not the best decision, but hey — it was an amazing opportunity that I might never have the chance to do again. I was going to be riding in the GumBall 3000 and that was that.

After I called Alex (and made his year), I went and grabbed something to eat, which allowed me to gather some thoughts about the decision that I just made. As I ate my delicious Toaster Over sandwich a million different thoughts started running through my head about some of the possible issues that could arise now that I’ve said I would shell out the cash needed to snag a seat for half of the GumBall 3000. Thoughts such as: my shoulder needing surgery, Stephanie and I getting married this summer, living in one of the most expensive places in the world, the awesome weekends that Stephanie and I love to have, the dog (Frank) that we want to get, the new furniture that we would like to buy and other things that we would probably be all stressed about if I decided to make the somewhat expensive investment that I just agreed to go in on with Alex.

With all of this in mind I started feeling like I made the wrong decision and that I didn’t think the whole thing through, which could be best described as a really weird grinding feeling in the bottom of my guts each time I realized that I had probably made the wrong decision. It’s a feeling that we’ve all had before and every single time it doesn’t feel good.

After I finished up eating I had officially decided that I made the wrong decision and that I didn’t think the whole thing through (which I normally don’t do) and that I needed to call Alex back and turn my best news into my worst news by telling him that I changed my mind and that I can’t do the GumBall 3000 with him, even though I know that it’s going to be A-MA-ZING.

I made the tough call back, explained what I had decided and told him that I wasn’t going to be able to go on the trip of a lifetime. It wasn’t easy, but I felt like it was the right decision to make and I was completely honest with him when I told him why I had made the decision. Needless to say, he was a little upset, but he understood my situation and he appreciated that I called him back when I did and told him the truth.

It wasn’t easy to do, but I decided to ditch the potential trip of a lifetime. Now I’m wondering if this is just a sign of becoming more responsible or simply just a sign of becoming lame. What do you think? Did I make the right decision?

Hup and Steph might get married on the Today Show: What should we do for the 1-minute video?

One of my homies that I’ve met over the interwebs is a guy named Chris (twitter: @CarMaxChris) who runs all of the social media initiatives for CarMax. We met and started chatting over a year ago when he commented on one of our posts that talked about me trying to sell Stephanie’s car to CarMax once we realized we were headed out West to live the California life. Well, I didn’t end up selling her car to CarMax, but Chris and I never stopped chatting and keeping up with each other as time has gone on.

I tell you all of this because just yesterday Chris sent me over a Tweet that asked me if Stephanie and I were going to enter the contest to get married on the Today Show, which started accepting applictions on April 15th. After he sent it over I went over and took a look at the application process and after researching it a bit I might just have to say that Stephanie and I would be PERFECT for this contest and if we actually got on there we would take the top prize for sure!

Stephanie has talked about this contest before, but now that I’ve actually taken a look at it we’ve decided to give it our best shot and see what the Today Show thinks about your favorite soon-to-be-married couple (that’s us). The application is a little long, but it should be easy to fill out. However, there is one thing that we’ve been going back and forth on and that’s the 1-minute video that we could need to send in with our application. Here’s what they say we need to send in:

Read the application for full requirements and to find out if you’re eligible to be married on TODAY. Then fill out your application, print it, attach a couple photo, along with a one minute  (1:00) video of why you should be chosen and mail it to us. If you think you’re cut out to handle the competition, submit your application no later than May 15, 2009.

Not a whole lot of time to say something that will catch their attention, but we’re hoping to put together some ideas that will be a little, ummm different that will help us stand out from the rest of the couples. If you have any ideas of what we should include in the short 60 seconds that we’re alotted, please leave them in the comments below. We’ll keep you updated on our progress and get ready to vote for us soon — I know that we can win this thing!

Donald Miller and his book Blue Like Jazz - a Hup and Steph favorite

I haven’t really done a whole lot of book reviews here on here and that’s mainly because I almost never finish a book all the way through. I’m not sure if that’s because it’s hard for me to focus for extended periods of time or if I’m just not reading the right books, but the fact of the matter is I just don’t enjoy reading books that often.

But, I must say that Stephanie has helped me find a couple of books that I have somehow read through like I was going to win a lifetime supply of fat-free Fig Newtons once I finished them. This is pretty incredible once you realize that there are only two places that I ever read books: in the bathroom and in bed before I go to sleep. So, the fact that I burn so fast through these books that Stephanie gives me must mean that I really like them (or that I go to the bathroom way too much?).

One of these books that I am currently enjoying reading through is Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz, which he calls “Nonreligious thoughts on Christian spirituality”, which might sound a little odd, but begins to make much more sense once you start reading it. You see, Donald Miller is a full-fledged Christian, but has had an amazing journey when it came to how he eventually became one that he felt was worthy of what God and Jesus Christ have to offer. He’s an amazing storyteller and in this book he is very open about his thoughts on what having a relationship with God actually means, his questions that he’s had along the way and how interacting with non-Christians has made him discover ways to become an even better Christian himself. It’s really an amazing book and although I’m not completely finished with it yet it’s not going to take me much longer at the rate that I’m going. Stephanie is reading it for like the 10th time if that tells you anything.

So, I guess that what I’m saying is if you have ever questioned what being a Christian actually means and whether or not it’s something for you, this book would be a great way to answer some of those questions without feeling too overwhelmed. Just like Donald Miller says in his book, God is doing work in everyone’s heart but he’s definitely working harder on certain people and as a Christian you can practically feel it when talking to them. Is God trying to do work in your heart? If He is, take $10 and go buy Blue Like Jazz over on Amazon and give it a quick read. Or, if you don’t have $10, just let me know and I’ll send you a copy myself. For real.

One other thing — if you enjoy Blue Like Jazz, the next one that you need to ready is another one of Donald’s books Through Painted Deserts (which Stephanie mentions in this post). It’s an awesome read as well.

Love and relationships in the world of social media

picture-48The past couple of weeks have been a little out of control, which is nothing new for Stephanie and I and for some of these reasons we’ve been slacking a bit here in our digital home way from home. Some of the highlights have been moving into our new place here in San Francisco (and not having Internet connected until yesterday), me wrecking yet another bike and tearing up my shoulder (yes, I’m having surgery in May), exploring all kinds of new places here in the city, getting a new couch and getting a ton of bedroom furniture from our homie Ben, who is going to be traveling to Thailand and is chillin’ (working) there for the next couple months. People out here in SF do that type of stuff and it’s actually considered to be normal. For real.

So, yeah — there’s been a lot going on and although that’s not an excuse from me, it is an explanation. I have to keep my peeps in the loop, you know? I’m glad that you’re stopping back by and if you have any other news to tell us about, please do so in the comments below.

I’m going to shift gears here really quick and talk about the topic that I titled this blog post with — love and relationships in the world of social media. This is a very familiar topic to Stephanie and I as we’ve documented most of our relationship together over the past year or so (our first post) and have broadcast it out on the web for all (who care) to consume and view for themselves. We’ve kept up this blog for over a year, we’ve put together tons of videos and we’ve practically talked about all different aspects of our relationship together. I’m not really sure why we started doing this, but I’m really glad that we have as it has helped us do things and meet people that we would have never been able to connect to if we hadn’t been so out there and findable.

Putting our relationship out there has been a great way to let friends, family and complete strangers know about who we both are, what we’re about, our beliefs, our faults, our ups & downs and all things in between. Oh, and we’ve had a TON of fun doing it.

I bring all of this up because as I logged into the blog a few minute ago for the first time in a week or so, I saw that a blog post was linking back to us. The blog post was written by a woman her in SF named Stephanie Gerson (her Facebook) and it’s titled Love and relationships in the era of social media and as I read through it I saw that she referenced our Hup and Steph blog towards the end. The blog post is interesting and it talks about a relationship that she had with a guy that lives across the US, whom she kept in touch with via Skype and then blogged (most of) the details for the world to see. The blog is still live on the web — it’s aptly titled this might be a love story and as you start scrolling and clicking it becomes awful addicting.

As word of her long-distance social media relationship got around the web, CurrentTV showed some interest in producing a piece called Video Chat Love Story on Stephanie’s story and the video below is what they ended up with. Hopefully I can get to know Stephanie a little better now that I’ve learned a little bit more about her. I can’t wait to talk more all about this stuff. I think it’s all so interesting, especially since Stephanie and I are right in the middle of it.

Growing up and buying our first couch from SOMA Sofa in San Francisco

Some people see buying a couch as just that — buying a couch. I would guess that it’s probably something that most people do before they hit the age of 25 or so, although it took me until the ripe, old age of 29 to finally cave in and buy a ‘real one’. I say ‘real one’ because I’ve owned (and borrowed) several couches in my lifetime, but the truth is each one of them were never even close to being new and none of them have ever cost me more than $100. They have made up of either rag-tag groups of hand-me-downs from friends, dorm rooms and dumpsters or leftovers that the person renting the place before me didn’t really feel like dealing with. Whether it was an older brother or sister or just someone who had decided to move out of the place that I was moving into, their growing up and moving on was always to my benefit and hey, I was always cool with that.

Even when Stephanie and I packed up and moved out here to California nearly a year ago we ended up buying the couch that the person before us was leaving in the cottage. It was actually part of a $250 package that included a wicker hamper, a sweet toaster oven, a TV with a stand and of course a 20 year-old floral print couch that came with a maroon cover and a surprisingly comfy pull-out bed. The only thing that didn’t make it to our new place here in San Francisco was the couch, which actually ended up fitting nicely into our friends living room down the street over at the Homer House. A handed down hand-me-down if you will (and the circle of life continues).

I think that they now honestly have a couch for every single person that lives in the Homer House (and that’s 8 people!).

So anyways, the fact that Stephanie and I have decided to buy a couch together means first that we (and Nic + friends) will be lounging in comfort once it makes it way into our ridiculously large living room, which will be a good thing considering that up until now all 3 of us have been crashing and hanging out on the window sill cushion, which is the only comfortable place to sit at the moment.  (If you don’t believe me, just check out how all 3 of us fell asleep the first night that we stayed the night together up in SF):


Believe if or not, that thing is super comfy

Secondly, the fact that we’re buying the couch together also signifies that there is some major commitment to our relationship. If you think about it, what says ‘I love you’ more than buying a nice piece of furniture together? I guess that some would say the fact that I proposed to Stephanie and gave her an engagement ring and all that stuff has commitment written all it, but to me nothing says I’m sticking with you for the long haul like the purchase of a brand-new, stylish sofa sectional. :)

We decided to buy the couch from a fun and funky furniture shop called SOMA Sofa that’s a few blocks away from where we live now. It is an amazing store that’s full of the most wild and creative furniture that you’ve ever seen and even though the particular couch that we ended up buying doesn’t necessarily look like it came off the set of BeetleJuice like some other the other stuff they had, it’s still modern-looking, stylish and of course, comfortable (which I love and Stephanie could really care less about). The furniture selection was great and the owners were really cool, so we decided that it was the place for us.

Here’s the style of couch that we decided to go with — it’s called the Benson. If you’re ever up in our neck of the woods in San Francisco be sure to hit us up so that you can stop by and test it out for yourself.


Imagine this in a dark gray color with really funky green pillows

Have you ever bought yourself some brand-spankin’ new furniture? How did it go? I’d love to hear some of your stories.

World Help and the Children of the World

He is Risen!… He is Risen indeed.  Happy Easter everyone! :)

What an amazing day we had to celebrate  our living Savior.  Ryan and I headed to church this morning and besides the wonderful fact that it was Easter I was also very excited to see the Children of the World choir perform.  I had seen the children perform a few years ago at my Alma mater, Cedarville University back in Ohio, and was blown away by their amazing performance and story behind their ministry.  I couldn’t wait to see their performance today and I was eager to show Ryan what the ministry was all about.  When we arrived at church we visited the various World Hope tables set up to promote the Children of the World Choir ministry.  They have a great team of volunteers that work to promote the focus of the ministry and helped to introduce us to what the ministry is all about. Check out one of the Children of the World Choir’s performances below or over here on YouTube.

The focus of the World Hope is to “fulfill the Great Commission and the Great Commandment through partnering, training, helping, and serving, especially in the unreached areas of the world.”.  One specific outreach that this ministry focuses on is Children of Hope.  Through this ministry, a team of children is taken out of a lifestyle of poverty and devastation due to being orphaned at a young age.  The HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa is a critical issue during these times.  Some 42 million men, women, and children are living with HIV/AIDS in Africa at this time, and of those 42 million, nearly 70 percent live within sub- Sarahan Africa.  The vision of the World Help, Children of the World campaign is to give one million children impacted by the HIV/AIDS crisis a better life through support and provision while instilling the all sustaining love of Jesus Christ in their hearts.

There are basically two ways in which anyone can help to support this cause.  You can help by supporting the building of a Village of Hope or through sponsoring a hurting child.  It’s such an easy thing for us to do, and it takes so little to make an impact.  It’s a challenge for us all…Check out the World Help website and see what you think.  They’re already making an incredible impact in the lives of Children within a hurting nation.

All this to say, Ryan and I were, of course, intrigued by this ministry.  After talking with a few of the volunteers we met a wonderful couple, Mike and Christa Hahn.  They are basically the “parents” of the 15 children in the west coast, traveling choir team.  For 10 months they travel with the childrens’ choir and guide and direct the little ones while they are embarking on their fantastic mission.  It’s an amazing opportunity to have an impact for Christ in the life of a child, and they have been doing just that for 4 years now.  After talking with them briefly and sharing our passion for missions and desires to reach the world for Christ, we decided that this is another opportunity that we need to seek more fervently.  Ryan and I would love to be “part-time parents” for awhile and travel the country in order to support a ministry such as this.  What an amazing adventure and powerful ministry to impact the country for Christ and support children in need who are so desperate for our help and the love of our Savior.

It’s something that will definitely be prevalent in our prayers through the next up-coming months and we’re asking you to pray for us as well as we continue in this endeavor.  I recently read a great quote, “Missions isn’t waiting until God says GO, its GOING until God says stop.”.   That’s a powerful statement, and it gives me butterflies when I think of it. :)

So here we go, let’s see what happens!

Surprised by some late night San Francisco fireworks after the Giants 2009 home opener

After dinner and some chit-chatting, Stephanie, Nic and I headed to our bedrooms to eventually crash for the night. Stephanie and I had helped Nic cook up an AMAZING Italian dinner a just a couple of hours earlier and it was all we could do to not pass out once we hit our bed. But, just as Stephanie and I started to get comfy, we heard some odd gunshot-like noises coming from outside.

BOOM! KA-BOOM!

“Ummm, what is that?”, I asked Stephanie.

“I have nooooo idea..”, she said.

KAAAAA-BOOM!

“Either someone is setting off fireworks or we’re in the middle of a civil war”, I said as I ran downstairs and looked out the window.

“NIC! DO YOU HEAR THAT???”, I yelled down to Nic, who was chillin’ in his downstairs dungeon.

K-K-KABOOOM!

“Yeah, I hear it.”, he said. “It must be some fireworks??”

At this moment we both were both looking out the windows in the living room and as we looked at each other I yelled, “Let’s go up to the roof!”

We got up there just in time to see about 10 minutes of some solid fireworks that were being let off just a few blocks away at at&t Park. Nic pulled out his camera and got some amazing time-lapse shots of the explosions, with my favorite being the one of Stephanie and I watching them explode over the buildings in the distance. Notice that she has my coat on and I have my super-sweet splint on. These shots are A-MA-ZING.

Here are some other people’s thoughts on the fireworks. Well, at least the people who are on Twitter.

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