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.

Reading Crazy Love And Still Being In Crazy Love After One Month Of Marriage

crazyloveThere are a couple of quick things that I wanted to talk about today in this super-awesome blog of ours (at least we think so). One thing that I want to give you all a little information about is the fact that Stephanie and I have joined a small group Bible study-esque type of group with some of our friends that we have met from our church. The group consists 3 other married couples and one of the couples is made up of the super blogging duo Matt and Christen Buman who I talked about over here in this post after we had our first dinner date with them. This is the first meet-up-and-have-a-Bible-study-and-talk-about-God type of thing that I have ever done before and after having just 2 meetings I feel like I’m getting a ton out of the experience.

One of the things that we’re doing that’s pretty cool is we’re all reading a book called Crazy Love together and playing along a DVD that the author, Francis Chan, put together in addition to writing the book. It’s a great way to read/interact through the book and we’re only through chapter 2, but I can already tell that the group, the DVD and the book are all going to spark plenty of interesting conversations around our faith and beliefs, which I guess is the point. Not all of the conversations are easy ones either, but the great thing is that we’re all in this group and this learning experience together, so there’s nothing that’s really considered off limits. I would say that it’s a situation that is pretty rare and hard to find these days, or at least it has for me. I’ll be sure to post some updates of what all Stephanie and I learn and experience in this small group as we move along, so this probably won’t be the last time that you’ll hear about it.

Besides announcing our involvement with the small group, I also wanted to let everyone out there know that Stephanie and I have officially been married for one full month and we are still as madly in love with each other as ever. It’s crazy to think that it’s been over 30 days since we met at the alter and had the best day of our lives together (and, of course, had one of the craziest receptions that anyone who attended has ever seen). So, tonight when I got home from work we had dinner together (stuffed peppers), celebrated our first month as husband and wife and made sure to let each other know how much we still are ridiculously in love. What a great night and what an awesome month. Here’s to many, many more of these to look forward to. :)

yeah, that was a pretty awesome day…

Frank’s first Pug Sunday at Alta Plaza Park in San Francisco

One day when I was walking Frank home from work I ran into a fellow Pug owner who filled me in on a monthly event called Pug Sunday. Pug Sunday is a meet up where all kinds of Pug owners bring out their pups so that they can hang out with each other on the first Sunday of each month in Alta Plaza park here in San Francisco. Well, Stephanie and I looked up the details and ended up heading out to our first Pug Sunday yesterday and let me tell you — it exceeded all expectations.

It was actually really funny because Stephanie and I were way more excited than Frank was, but once we got there I think that he realized just how awesome hanging with some more of his own kind really is.

There was a lot of snorting, pooping, running and sniffing going on there, but of course that’s wall Pug Sunday is all about. It’s a time to let your Pug off the leash so that he can go meet some new friends and of course Stephanie and I have made friends with a few Pug owners too (no sniffing involved, I promise).

Luckily we got some video of the sweet Pugtastic afternoon, so feel free to watch it below.

Hup teaches Frank a new trick

This is whatus guys end up doing while Stephanie is at an all-ladies wine night down in Palo Alto and Nic is out of town at a wedding. We do guys stuff like set up obstacle courses in the kitchen with random pieces of furniture. Hey, no one got hurt and it taught Frank a new trick, so no harm-no foul, right?

Just don’t tell Stephanie, OK? :)

Some surgery fun: Hup fixes his AC Joint separation

Over 3 months ago I wrecked my bike like an idiot (only a block and a half away from my apartment) and jacked up my shoulder something fierce. I don’t get injured a whole lot, but whenever I do it usually happens at the most unexpected times like it did this time. It never happens when I’m do something really stupid like ramping something, dodging a car or racing a scooter down a major city street — it happens when I’m simply riding my bike home from work, just wanting to get home to see Stephanie. Since I wasn’t wearing a helmet (like a real idiot), I’m just happy that I got away with just an AC Joint separation and not some type of head injury. Even though I had the worst possible case of AC Joint separation, it’s still much, much better than landing on my noggin’ and doing some serious damage to that big brain of mine.

Well, like I said, it’s been nearly 3 months ago since my wacky accident happened and about 3 weeks ago I had surgery to fix the AC Joint separation that I unexpectedly gave myself during the first week that we lived up here in San Francisco. The surgery went great and I’m finally healed up enough to sit at a computer for longer than 20 minutes, which means that I can thankfully start making some videos again (they take a little bit o’ time to put together).

To celebrate the fact that I’m finally healing up and that I can start playing seriously on the interwebs again, I thought that it was only necessary to put together a video of my fun surgery experience that Stephanie snagged some clips of before and after I went under the knife.  Check out the video of my surgery fun below or over here on YouTube and be expecting more and more videos from us again now that my shoulder is officially on the mend (and now that we have Frank!).

Holy Clavicle, I’m having shoulder surgery today!

Oh. My. Goodness. The time has come. The time to get patched up by a sugeon that I’ve only met once (I mean, he seems cool). It’s time to make right what went wrong just a couple of months ago when I somehow shoved my foot into the spokes of my roommates bike and flipping me over it’s handlebars all while riding the last block and a half to my spankin’ new San Francisco apartment. What a great way to welcome yourself into the big city, eh? Nothing says ‘this feels like home’ like a few torn ligaments in my shoulder. :)

Read all of the details of my accidental dare devil dive onto the streets on San Francisco over here in this post.

So, tomorrow at 7am I’ll be on the operating table with the goal being to fix my shoulder by drilling two holes through it and reattaching it with a cadaver’s (a dead dude’s) tendon. Yep, I’m going to have a dead man’s (or woman’s?) tendon in my shoulder from here on out, which really only makes me think about how I hope he or she had some great karma. I mean the well-being of my shoulder practically depends on it.

Ok, who am I kidding? This thing has Hanna Montana horror movie written all over it. My shoulder is going to turn into Jamie Lee Curtis and make me eat Activia yogurt so that my digestive system doesn’t act up (see video embed below).

All I really need is some sympathy, people. Is that too much to ask? I don’t think so.

Tomorrow I’ll be a whole new man. Well, a whole new man who’s going to be on some really strong pain killers. Wish me and my nurse Stephanie good luck and be sure to keep us in your prayers. May the force be with my clavicle.

More soon…

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!

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!

Hup and Steph (and Nic) are moving to San Francisco!

Now this is some exciting news! I’m so freakin’ excited that I’m about to pee my pants, for realz! (if peeing your plants is cool, then you can call me Miles Davis)

OK, so I’m not really going to pee my pants (this time), but I am definitely getting excited about the fact that Stephanie and I are going to be leaving our cute, little cottage here in Palo Alto and will be making the big move up to the wonderfully awesome city of San Francisco this week! We’re moving up to a HUGE, 3-level apartment that’s located in the SOMA (south of Market Street) district, which is about a 20 minute walk away from my office. So, not only is it going to be a bigger and better place that’s located in one of the most amazing cities in the world, but it’s also literally blocks away from where I work so I’ll be saving about 2 hours per day by not commuting from Palo Alto to San Francisco every day on CalTrain. Besides the obvious time that it’s going to save me every day, it also saves me about $160 in cash each month since I won’t have to buy a monthly train pass anymore.

The outside of our new place – what are we going to do with all this room?

Another uber-radicalicious part of moving up to the city is the fact that Stephanie and I are going to have a roommate now and he’s going to be the best possible roomie that we could ever hope for. His name is Nic Engel and he has lived down the street from us here in Palo Alto since we moved in a year ago and ever since we first met him both Stephanie and I have both become really good friends with him. He’s going to have the bachelor dungeon downstairs of our new apartment all to himself and he’s currently trying to find the right type of dancefloor that he can install in front of his huge closet mirrors so that he can bust out his dance moves at any given time. Nic is definitely one of a kind and you’ll be hearing much, much more about him as we start to blog all of the upcoming adventures that all 3 of us are sure to be having together.

We like to call Nic ‘special’.

Well, that’s about all I can tell you about our move for now, but we’ll be updating you more about it as we make our way up to our new home in San Francisco. Yeah, I said it — ‘our new home in San Francisco’!

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