Coincidence? I think not…

The past few days have been a little crazy around here due to the fact that Stephanie’s family is in town as well as her best friend and boyfriend. We always love having people visit so that we can go do some of the more touristy stuff that we never seem to get around to doing when we’re just hanging out together (as well as stuff we’ve done before, but still love doing again).

I’ll get more into all of this later in posts that are soon-to-come, but I will say that the highlight has definitely been finally getting to go check out Napa Valley yesterday. Napa is an amazing place and the fact that it’s only about an hour or so away makes me wonder why we had never gone before, but thanks to our family and friends being in San Francisco we were able to finally cross it off our to-do list.

The one thing that I wanted to post up really quick (after that somewhat lengthy introduction), is a pic that I shot on my phone as we were cruising through China Town today (which is always a good time). As we were looking though some of the many cheap trinkets, souvenirs and other odd things we found a rack of small, California license plates that you can buy with your name on them. After a few seconds of looking through the racks for our names, we ended up finding them at the same time. See the pic below to see what they looked like.

091129chinatownlicenseplate

Coincidence? I think not. :)

The Gaupers are AWESOME!- the proof is in our wedding photos

The moment has finally arrived.  Our wedding proofs are available for viewing on the Gauper Photo website, www.gauperphoto.com  Go ahead and click here for a direct link to our wedding.

Ryan and I went through the set last night, and we even made a video capturing our reaction to some of the more ‘crazy’ photos that popped up in the mix.  Ok, so there were a lot of crazy pictures in the proofs because that is what the majority of what our wedding day consisted, and that’s just the way we wanted it to be.  Ryan and Holly did such a great job on the pictures.  They truly captured every detail of the entire day, and we couldn’t be happier with how they all turned out.  After looking through the photos i’ve decided that I definitely want to plan another wedding for us next year :)  Now if only I could convince Ryan of this idea…

We’ll post the video that we made later along with a couple of our favorite shots of the day.  Hope you enjoy the pictures as much as we did!

Church thoughts to chew on for November 22nd, 2009: Enduring Love

thoughtstochewonNow it’s my turn to give the church thoughts a shot.  Ryan has done a great job posting the last few notes from our church services, and we have had a great response from all of you.  We’re going to continue on with our reveiws, so be sure to send any thoughts or questions that you may have our way.

This is the last sermon during our iLove series on studying the  the core values of the 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 passage

Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trust, always perseveres.

Today we examined the last sentence of this verse: “It always protects, always trusts, always perseveres.”.

Love - always protects
The first key in an enduring love is to GET OVER YOURSELF.  That’s right, you need to actually be willing to shift your focus from yourself to others. An important question to ask is, “what are you willing to put up with to love?”.  You will never be able to bear all things if you are too focused on yourself.  In 1 Corinthians 9:12b, Paul writes, “…we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ.” If you find yourself to a point in which you feel you are unable or choose not to bear with a situation in love, remember what Christ ‘put up with’ when He forgave you.  Colossians 3:13 reminds us to, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
Here are some examples of how ‘love protects’ applies:

What is God putting up with to love you? It is impossible to get over yourself until you have something greater to move on to.

Love- always trusts
I find this one can prove to be some what of a challenge. In order to trust, we must always BELIEVE THE BEST of a person.  The great thing, however, is that we can put our trust in the faith of the person, not in the person them self.  This is not always the easiest thing to do, and will most likely not be your first reaction in dealing with trusting people.  It’s very easy to pick out the negatives in a person instead of focusing on the positives that will help to continue to build trust.  It is only until you begin to believe the best in people that you will bring out the best.

Love- always hopes
One of the most comforting pieces of this effort in love is MANAGING YOUR HOPE.  Hope is only as important as the object you place it in and when your hope is in the Lord, what can defeat you?  No matter how bad things become, there is always hope beyond this world.  It is also very important to remember that hope does not deny reality.  Hope gives you power for the present.  The constant struggles and hardships of our daily lives are put into perspective when we focus on the fact that, “…the faithful love of the Lord never ends!” - Lam. 3:22

Love- always perseveres
Persevere means to patiently endure, which brings up an interesting question.   How do you respond to the daily challenges of loving others?   The key is to ACCESS YOUR STRENGTH in God.  Our human nature prevents us selfishly to fully love.  Not relying on our human strength but relying on our spiritual strength in God will allow us to experience enduring love for others be it a friend, family member, spouse or complete stranger.  The writer of Hebrews focused on the great power of Christ as He endured the cross for us. (Heb. 12:2-3) He gives us His great power and strength through His love for us, and in turn we are able to love others in the way that He loves.

It’s a lot to chew on this week, but these principles are at the core of every relationship in our lives.  Are we willing to apply these truths when it’s not easy to love or understand?  It’s easy to start something, like loving another, but it’s not always easy to finish.  It takes a lot of hard work and determination to apply these values in our relationships.  In the end it’s our faith that allows us to endure these hardships and love completely.

Getting back into running is HARD (and so is everything else that you don’t pay attention to)

Stephanie and I just got back from a Sunday morning 3-miler and I think that we both realized something about half-way through the ’supposed to be really easy’ a.m. skedaddle (is that even a word?). The thing that we both realized was that getting back into running is hard and getting back into the groove of running is even harder.

At this point you might be thinking to yourself:

and…

Well, the truth of the matter is — yes, unfortunately we are still talking about the same Hup and Steph that should be running a 3-miler in their sleep (yeah, that’s us — in the third person). The truth is, even though we should be able to run 15,840 feet literally without breaking a sweat, the fact of the matter is:

Everything that you forget about or become complacent with will eventually be harder than it should be.

I don’t care if it’s running, a relationship with your girlfriend/wife/best friend or the position that you are paid to do at work. If you let yourself become too comfortable in any type of situation and stop pushing yourself in (or even stop paying attention to) whatever you’re involved in, it’s only going to make it harder in the end.

So, what I would suggest is that you take inventory of what you currently deem valuable or a priority in your life and ask yourself a few questions about them:

After you ask yourself these questions, it’s then time to take action on them and to make sure that you are constantly becoming a better, all around person at the things that you feel are the most important in your life. This goes way beyond running (especially for me) and includes things like work, faith and love among others.

I hope that this makes sense — I’m going to try to articulate and push out some of my more personal thoughts on here and this was my first shot. Don’t worry, they’ll only get better from here. :)

Thanks for listening and feel free to give me any feedback that you have. If you need me I’ll be prepping for the Turkey Trot 5-miler that’s coming up on Thanksgiving (wish us luck!).

Checking out the amazing sign spinners from Aarrow Ads

jumpropecokeOne of the great things about working up here in San Francisco is that I get to walk into the office, which means that I pretty much get to see something that’s interesting, odd, weird, cool, crazy or just down right gross every single day. For some of you out there that might seem like a bad thing, but for me it’s one of the things that makes it awesome to live here in the Bay Area. Pretty much anything goes and just when you think that you’ve seen something that couldn’t possible be topped, it always does — and that’s pretty much the essence of living in SF. After a living here for a while it’s funny how pretty much nothing ever really makes you do a double-take anymore.

Well, almost nothing.

On my way into work each morning I walk past the Moscone Center, which is the HUGE convention center here in San Francisco and every few days there is a new event coming into town that attracts literally tens of thousands of people. Last week the big event to hit Moscone was DreamForce, which is SalesForce.com’s yearly, global conference. Well, if you’re not into the events and conference scene (which, I’m guessing most of you aren’t), basically what happens is a bunch of people pay a lot of money (or their company does) to go meet, mingle and ‘network’ with others who are also in their same line of business so that relationships can be built and some big deals can go down in an old-fashioned, face-to-face sort of way.

Along with the thousands of people who attend these conferences, several businesses also buy up really expensive booths (usually several thousand dollars a piece) as a way to promote their businesses in hopes of working some serious deals as well. It’s a very interesting sort of business eco-system that has gone on for years and years.

Anyways, these businesses that invest their money into getting some booth space are always trying to find new ways to get more and more foot traffic. Some rent semis that pull billboards with their booth number prominently displayed, some hire booth babes to promote their goods and some have even gone as far as attaching tiny banner ads to real, live flies and letting them fly around the convention center (for real).

As with anything else in San Francisco, just when I thought that I had heard or seen all of the crazy ways for these businesses to promote their booths, I ran in to a couple of out-of-this-world sign spinners who were hired from Aarrow Ads, a company that specializes in taking ‘holding a sign’ to a whole new level. After seeing them do their thing for a few minutes, I couldn’t help but stop and get some videos of the guys who were literally causing a scene on the sidewalks outside of Moscone Center. Check out these videos and you’ll see what I mean.

p.s. if you couldn’t tell, the company that was promoting themselves was Jigsaw (who were apparently in booth #1112). I thought that I should at least give them a mention since they paid for the entertainment. :)

Enjoying a beautiful (Satur)day with Stephanie, Zigs and the rest of the Peninsula Covenant Church crew

This past Saturday me, Stephanie and our weirdo (yet really fun) friend from Indiana, Molly Zigovits (her Facebook and Twitter for all of you lovely cyber-stalkers out there) decided to actually do something productive with our lives on a Saturday afternoon. So, instead of doing the normal laying on the couch watching college football while snuggling with the Frankster the 3 of us decided to head down to Redwood City to Fair Oaks Elementary School to help out with what our church calls Beautiful Day. Beautiful Day is an entire day (from 8am - 4pm) of selfless giving that was set up by a group of churches and the local Redwood City school system and it allows people like yours truly to help a great group of people (like a needy elementary school) who needs it, but may never really know who (or how) to ask for it.

The 3 of us ended up getting to Fair Oaks around noon and helped out with all kinds of stuff until around 3:30pm or so. Over 300 people ended up showing up throughout the day and let me tell you something — it’s pretty amazing what all can get done at an elementary school when there are a few hundred people willing to help.

After seeing all of the awesomeness of everyone helping I guess what the famous English writer and poet John Heywood said in 1546 is true: Many hands make light work.

Here are a few shots that Molly took of us all getting our giving on throughout the day. As you can see she’s pretty handy with the ol’ picture box and if you want to see some more of her stuff be sure to check out her blog over here.


There was a lot of painting going on (and I still have plenty of proof on my jeans).


Stephanie was working hard packing up these supplies that were headed to El Savador.


We helped organize and stock over 1,000 books that were donated to the school.


Everyone got involved in whatever way that they could. I thought this lady was cute.


One of the many murals that we painted for the school — the kids loved to help out with these.


We cleaned (most) of this stuff up — sometimes paint can get a little messy.


Most of the manly men chose to do some serious landscaping work (insert growl here)


This is one of my favorite shots of the day and the mural that’s being painted looks amazing!


Of course, it wasn’t all work — me and my new buddy decide to take a break for some fun.


Then it was my turn — push faster!


He was actually pretty strong and after we finished him and his brother played for about another hour or so.


No, Stephanie wasn’t scolding this little boy, she was actually trying to find out his age.

Time to get down and dirty.


Don’t just stand there, get to work!


I love this shot, too — Stephanie was getting after it for an awesome cause.

Church thoughts to chew on for November 15th, 2009: Learning God’s Love Language

thoughtstochewonOne of the things that I really like about our church here in California is that each season we fire up a new focus that guides the message that’s preached for the next couple of months or so. As I think I’ve mentioned before, this season’s focus is called iLOVE, which is all based around the fact that, as a Christian, loving God and loving others is more important than anything else. To emphasize this focus on love and to set some expectations for what all will be covered throughout the iLOVE program we are aligning our message each week with the various points that are found in one of the most common wedding verses, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, which tells us what love is all about from a Biblical and Godly standpoint:

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Before each week’s message the entire congregation stands up and reads this verse out loud so that we all get into the right mindset to learn more about how to love. Stephanie and I almost have this verse memorized, too — it’s a great one to know by heart, that’s for sure.

This week’s big question was What is God’s Love Language?, which our pastor Gary asked all of us after talking about a book that he thinks should be read by all newlyweds, The Five Love Languages (which Stephanie has mentioned that we should read together). Here were the 3 main elements of God’s love language that Gary explained to all of us in further detail, meaning that these are 3 actions that will show God the love that you have for him:

Live from Grace - God giving you a chance to get back in the game. This is how Jesus treated Peter after he denied him and he even called him a drifter, but he still gave him forgiveness. God spells love G-R-A-C-E. The fact that Peter understood and received God’s grace made him feel love. See how God gave Peter grace in John 21.

God’s grace is incredible and nothing shows it more than when he got Peter back in the game after he had severely denied that he had anything to do with Jesus 3 times. By acknowledging God’s grace we are showing God that we love him.

Live into your Unique Design - once you are saved you are a masterpiece of God, so we need to treat ourselves like a masterpiece. We need to break out of the everyday culture of this world and live differently. Also, to be a masterpiece you must spend time with your master (we need to spend time learning more about God in the Word, community, etc.). Until we spend time and open up to God’s love we won’t be able to fulfill our unique design.

As Christians we all need to remember not to get sucked into what is accepted by today’s culture and instead we need to live by what’s acceptable to God. Also, this reminds us that God feels our love whenever we spend time with him through reading the Bible, community groups, evangelizing, praying, etc.

Follow Jesus Faithfully - You will be lead to places by Jesus that are not all going to comfortable. In fact, many of the places most likely won’t be comfortable (apologizing, giving, hard conversations, etc.). How are we going to follow Jesus this week?

This reminds is that we also show our love to God by faithfully following Him to wherever he leads us, even when it’s not where we feel comfortable or where we were expecting to go.

As a final note, Gary passed along this little bit of wisdom to all of us:

When we get busy we go from grace to legalism (love-based relationship to rules-based relationship). What are we too busy doing to remember that we are loved by God’s grace?

What this means is that when we fill our lives with so much stuff (other that God) that we get way too busy, we tend to turn our relationship with God into a checklist of rules (legalism) as opposed to a relationship that is full of love (grace).

Thanks again for reading and as always, if you have any questions or comments to share, please let us know in the comments!

A New Thanksgiving Tradition — Taking on the Turkey Trot

I’m all about traditions.  Now that I have a little family of my own, I think it’s about time to start some of our own traditions.  This Thanksgiving before we stuff ourselves to the brim with juicy turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole, and mounds upon mounds of cool-whip (ok, maybe that’s just me) I thought it would be a good idea to get a nice run in to work up an appetite sufficient to tackle the feast in our Thanksgiving day future.  I found the San Francisco Turkey Trot to be our best pre-feast day option.  Early in the morning (WAY early, like 7:00am) we’ll lace up our tennies and conquer the 5 mile trail in Golden Gate Park .   According to the past years’ photos, it looks like we’ll have at least one giant turkey to chase, and even Santa Clause will be along for the run.  I must admit, the part I’m most excited about is the fact that the course is completely on grass and dirt.  No more running on the street!  It’ll be just like old times in cross-country… man I miss those days.  sigh.

Looking over the results from last year, Ryan and I might have a shot at placing in the top 5 in our age categories.   After our performance at the Juana Run back in February, I think we have more of a feel for the pace of a 5 miler. It’s  a tough race, not short enough to go all out, but not long enough to really hold back much.  Of course, our training hasn’t exactly been as consistent or to a level that we’re totally comfortable with so I think we just might make this run into more of a ‘fun run’. :)  Besides, we’re going to have 2 super-awesome cheerleaders cheering us on to the finish!!  My bestie, Megan and her main squeeze Steve will be gobble gobble gobblin for us as we run our little turkey lovin hearts out that morning. I’m excited. :)

See… they’re pretty cool…

Church thoughts to chew on for November 8th, 2009: Helping Carry Others

thoughtstochewonLet’s face it, we all live in a very self-indulgent culture and believe me, I’m no exception. Sometimes I feel like the hardest decision of my day is whether or not I’m going to stop by Starbucks in the morning before work. To break it down more simply, that’s basically deciding whether or not I’m going to go spend about $5 bucks on a few ounces of heated soy milk, chai flavored syrup and some water. Yeah, it’s really rough sometimes.

Anyways, during church today we all had the privilege of having a guest speaker, Lisa Orris, who is currently the director of evangelism at the Evangelical Covenant Church in Chicago, IL. She had some interesting stories to tell from back when she was the chaplain at a hospital in Illinois, such as one night in particular where she remembers having to use her strong faith in God to help a seemingly hopeless woman who, due to her circumstances, had lost much of her own. She told this story as a way to show how Christians are bound together by a welcomed burden of always thinking of others, praying for others and loving others before we do the same for ourselves. This isn’t real easy to swallow and the fact that we’re living in a culture that is constantly telling us to think about ourselves first and others last, it’s something that all Christians need to constantly be reminded of and acting on as much as possible.

Next, Lisa pointed us all to a verse, Luke 5:17-20, which tells a story about some men who were carrying their paralytic friend to see Jesus in hopes of getting him healed. After trying several times to make their way trough the crowds to Jesus (they were carrying their friend on a couch), they took their efforts to the next level by carrying him up a flight of outdoor stairs to the roof of the house. Once they had made it up there with their friend (who was still, of course, on a couch), they dug a hole through the tiles of the roof and lowered their friend down right smack-dab in front of Jesus. Yeah, they dug a hole through the roof!

You wanna know what Jesus had to say after he saw this random dude on a couch show up in front of him? Was He angered? Nope. Was He worried about the roof? Nope. Was He happy to see him? OH YES HE WAS. So happy, in fact, that He not only healed the paralytic, but he also forgave all sins of the other men that had gone through all of the trouble of getting him lowered down into the house. He was pleased to see the efforts of the friends who had enough faith in Jesus that they would even dig through a roof to get to him.

This ‘digging through roofs’ is what Lisa told all of us in attendance that day to do for other Christians who are looking for help, guidance, friendship, counseling, love, faith or anything else that we could potentially provide for them. No, it’s not always easy (lowering a person on a couch through a roof rarely is), it’s what we, as Christians are called to do for one another (and others who aren’t Christians).

So, what this tell me is that I always need to be ready to help carry others, even if it is an inconvenience to me and my perfectly scheduled day and yes, even if it means that I don’t get my $5 Starbucks for the day. :)

What are your thoughts on carrying others? Do you feel moved to help others or have you ever missed a chance to carry someone that you probably should have? Feel free to share your experiences with us in the comments if you feel comfortable to do so.

Church thoughts to chew on for November 1st, 2009: Learning To Forgive

thoughtstochewonI’m trying something new today with the blog after I thought of an idea that I wanted to try out. As most of you hopefully already know, Stephanie and I are dedicated Christians and we’re always looking to live a life that gives praise to God in as many ways as possible. We’re by no means perfect (no human being is), but we have placed the Bible, the life of Jesus and our relationship with God at the center of our relationship, which has only allowed us to become an even more awesome couple over time. I won’t take up too much time at this point with all of the details, but if you would like more info on what being a Christian is really like you can email either of us anytime — we’re always available to chat with you, no problem. I digress…

Anyways, I wanted to open with all of this information because the idea that I had today is a way that will hopefully help me better communicate some of the great things that Stephanie and I get out of our church service each week to all of you who might not have had the chance to go to church this week (or who don’t go at all). My fairly simple, yet highly effective idea was to take notes on my Blackberry during church today instead of writing all of them on the sheet that is given out each week. I thought that I would try this out because it allows me to email myself all of my notes that I jot down during the service so that I can have them somewhere other than on a piece of paper that I don’t ever end up looking at again after I leave the church for the week. Then, what I’ll do each week is post some of these notes so that first, I can think about all of them again and second, so that you can check them out if you’d like to see what we focused on for any particular Sunday. So, here are the notes that I took during this week’s service and if you’re in the bay area and would like to check out our church on an upcoming Sunday, just leave us a comment or send us an email and we’ll figure out how to get you there.

Anyways, the theme of this week’s message as Learning To Forgive and here are the notes that I took for the week — if you have any questions, please leave me a comment and I’ll get back with you asap.

- we can’t love enough (people are built self-serving), so we must kill our natural motives and let God love through us

- we must be prepared to to give reasons to those who ask about why we have the hope that we do.

- if you’re keeping a record of wrongs, then you’re not actually forgiving

- we must trust the word of God more than we trust our emotions

- wherever God guides, he will provide — He will give us the energy and courage to forgive

- forget about the past. Forgive and press on towards the goal of living a life for God

- forgive as the Lord forgave you (he made the ultimate sacrifice by dying on the cross)

- forgiveness is given, trust is earned

- forgiveness is the intentional act of giving grace (”they don’t deserve it” < this is the point) forgiveness is not reconciliation

- forgiveness is letting go of our resentments

- 4 ways to forgive

* deal with it immediately
* determine to go first
* remove revenge from your vocabulary
* do good to those who you forgive

I hope that this gives you a good sense of what we discuss each week at our church and if you have any comments or questions about any of the notes in the list, please let me know!

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