6:00 pm (ish): Meet my new driver friend (whose name I still can’t pronounce) in front of my hotel. Call Steph to get the address for Buckhead Christian Church. Driver enters info into his GPS, which apparently works way better than Google maps, because Google maps sure didn’t help Steph get to Buckhead very well.
6:30 pm: Arrive at Buckhead.
So, I don’t really get Atlanta. Buckhead is not downtown Atlanta, but it sure feels like it should be downtown. I suppose it’s like Houston in a way, in that we have lots of places that have tall buildings. But in Houston, the only place that really “feels” like downtown to me is downtown Houston. But I digress…
I suppose I should have mentioned on my previous post that I spent a fair amount of time at North Point shoving a paper doll in the hands of random people and then asking them to pose for a picture. If you attended Catalyst One Day, you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Oh yeah…I remember her now. Boy, was that chick annoying!” Thanks. It’s a gift, really. Anyhoo, when I arrived at Buckhead Church, I continued to take pictures of people posing with Zeke. I also met a couple of people who also have blogs, and it’s cool to put a face with a name, like Ben Arment and Nick Carnes. I was early, and basically sat around waiting for Steph. I also had the opportunity to meet Jon Acuff’s mother-in-law and his wife Jenny (who is stunning, btw). I did not get a chance to meet Jon’s dad, but boy, do they look alike!
It was starting to get crowded, and the band was rehearsing so no one was allowed in yet. Pete Wilson was nice enough to put Steph’s giant booty (bag) between 2 seats in the front row, thereby saving our seats. I enjoy asking popular pastors from large churches to do little errands for me. It’s just one more thing that makes me so very endearing. Not unlike when I asked Brad Lomenick, who is the Executive Director of Catalyst to pose for a picture with Zeke. When he asked me what it was for, I said, “Don’t worry about that, just pose for the picture already!” Yeah. People dig me. Oh, where was I? Oh, yeah. They start letting people in. Steph is no longer lost, but now cannot find a parking space. Which is weird, because they have at LEAST 10 parking spaces designated for an event that has about 150 attendees. Go figure.
Steph finally arrives. We exchange hugs and settle into our seats. Pete Wilson introduces Aaron Keyes and friends, then we are lead in some praise and worship songs. I am lamenting the fact that Aaron Keyes has better hair than me, and wondering if he uses a flat iron or does he just have a really good stylist. He is also a big fan of the book of Psalms, which is cool, cuz me too. He also quotes a scripture about breast feeding and mentions that he has 4 kids and his wife is breastfeeding. Now I’m thinking, “Okay, let’s move on.” At one point during all of this, Steph accuses me of interfering with the Holy Spirit just because I suggested that she randomly shout out, “JESUS!” during this time. She was definitely interfering with my spiritual gift of sarcasm. But I’ve prayed about it, and I’ve forgiven her ungrateful heart. There is barely enough room on the front row to hold Steph, me, and our combined sarcasm.
Pete Wilson gets back up, introduces Ann Jackson, Carlos Whittaker and Jon Acuff, during which time the three of them are awkwardly trying to set up 4 stools on a very small stage. Jon is sitting on the end with his stool butting up to a mic stand. Rather than moving the mic stand off the stage, he settles for sitting VERY CLOSE to Carlos Whittaker. I thought I was the only one who notices this, but clearly, this does not escape Jon’s attention. Which is just one more reason why that guy cracks me up.
Ann, Carlos and Jon proceed to “Go First”. What this means is that they shared some very personal, potentially embarrassing situations that they have struggled with in their lives. (Did I mention that Jon’s parents and in-laws were sitting in the audience?) When they finish speaking, Pete asks them a couple of questions and then opens it up to the audience. So how many people do you think raised their hand? Yes. You are correct. Approximately none. Well, I’m chock full-o-questions, and fear of making a fool of myself has never really been a big deterrent for me in the past. So, after three famous bloggers bare their souls to a crowd of strangers, I ask the following questions to Pete Wilson courtesy of my friend Helen of Random Musings:
What makes a blog comment worthy to you?
How many blogs do you check out per day?
What have I got that Helen hasn’t got?
Why do you never comment on her blog?
Why do you make your wife freeze by keeping the thermostat too low?
Buy her a snuggie already!
If you and Jon Acuff had a fight with fists tied behind your backs, who would win?
After the third question, there was an audible hush in the room, as if to say, “Who in the hail is this person, and why is she asking those stupid questions?” But at that point, I was committed. I’m pretty sure Steph is slouching down in her seat in an attempt to become invisible – which totally didn’t work. Pete very kindly saves the moment by saying, “In the interest of time, I’m only going to answer one of those questions.” He answered the blog comment one, saying that if a comment seems to come from the heart, he often felt compelled to answer it. Of all the people sitting on the stage, Carlos Whittaker is the only one who has absolutely no idea who I am. I’ve never commented on Ann’s blog, but she works for Pete, so she sort of knows who I am. I think his mouth was literally hanging open during that exchange.
After I broke the ice. Well…after I smashed through the ice with a high powered sledgehammer, a couple more folks asked questions. Here’s one that I thought was kinda special: “What goes through your head right before you throw up?” Now, see…for me, that would be, “Gross. I’m about to throw up.” But whatever…
The evening was not what I expected, but it was very cool. I was able to talk briefly with Carlos Whittaker and Jenny Acuff who were both very gracious. I also gave Carlos Whittaker a copy of a CD made when I was at another church and an autographed copy of a little book called “Making Your Mark: How to leave long, annoying comments on other people’s blogs” by Wordy McTypealot personally autographed by yours truly. So, I’m pretty sure I made his month, if not his entire year.
Steph and I walked approximately 42 miles back to where she had parked. We then proceeded back to Alpharetta and back to my luxurious suite at the Comfort Inn where, instead of interfacing over the Internet, we were able to really get to know each other…NOT! We both had our laptops and were commenting on The Fellowship of the Traveling Smartypants blog, which is more of a geeky chat room than it is a blog.
Also, I had Cheetos for dinner.
I will now open up the floor for questions. Anyone? Anyone?