Monday, December 15, 2008

Snowy Weekend

It started snowing on Friday morning here... and I was scheduled to go to Seattle on Saturday. Which from here means driving over the mountains. Fun. I was checking the weather on every site I could think of, but I decided to go anyway.

The drive over wasn't too bad... if you consider driving 25mph in alternating slush and solid packed snow not too bad! I was thankful there weren't many people going my way because at one point I looked in my mirror and watched someone nose in to the guardrail (over a cliff) and then bounce off and do a 360 in the road. I was so glad they were behind me because there's no way I could have avoided them if they were in front of me.
Oh, and I also passed 30 tour busses (yes, I counted) headed for Leavenworth and the Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony. I was definitely glad I wasn't one of those drivers!

I made it over in plenty of time and was surpised to see that it was actually clear and sunny in Seattle. I was headed to the Michael W. Smith Christmas concert at Overlake Christian Church in Redmond. I went to help staff the Compassion International table.
The concert was nice. I got to stand in the back for part of it and there were TV's and speakers in the lobby so we didn't miss much. Unfortunately my biggest impression of the day was how commercialized the church was. It's a mega-church. Seriously, they have a shuttle bus system for their own parking lot!
Anyways, the tickets for the show were really expensive (read: I wouldn't have gone) and once inside the church there were about 10 different things going on. The kicker though was the Verizon Wireless booth in the lobby right outside the sanctuary. I guess that was part of the sponsor for the concert... but there was also a very permanent Lifeway bookstore there just next to the doors as well as food/coffee vendors. Reminded me a bit of that story about Jesus and the money-changers in the temple...

So, the concert went well, there were many children sponsored and I had fun talking to the other advocates about their trips to visit their sponsored children (I'm only a little jealous...).

Then I met my friends from college, Katrina and Andy, at the Olive Garden for dinner. Poor choice. First we had to wait half an hour just to be seated. Then we had a very indifferent waiter. Then... oh, this is the best part!
I ordered Chicken Carbonera. The picture showed it with something red but I didn't look too closely and it wasn't listed in the description. My dinner came. It had RED PEPPERS in it!!!
This is kind of an inside family joke, but I really really really don't like red peppers (or really any peppers) and my mother really really really likes them and puts them in just about everything she makes! So it was only fitting that my dinner should have red peppers in it. OY!
I was just going to pick them out and sort of eat it, but Katrina asked the waiter if they were listed on the menu and when he said they weren't she asked him to bring me a new dinner! Unfortunately I should have realized that bacon makes things greasy and really the whole thing was a bit more than I could eat. Drat. Strike three for Olive Garden.

And then I was quite happy to have Katrina ride with me to their house since I had never been there and it was dark and there were a lot of turns. They live down a really steep windy hill that scared me a bit since, hey, it's still snowing! But we made it and I got the grand tour. The house has a very um, interesting, layout. But it's nice and they are fixing it up and they have 4 bedrooms!

In the morning we went to church and oh, I was wishing I had brought my camera! It was sunny and all the trees were outlined in snow and it was just gorgeous! My camera probably wouldn't have done it justice though.
Then since we were close to Redmond Town Center we had to go shopping after church.

I got started late for home, but it was much better driving and it was so sooo beautiful with the snow and the sun shining on the mountains!

In all, a fun weekend, but it was good to get home to my boys!


  1. I've just never been a big "OG" fan and would rather chose a mom and pop type Italian or another chain that I think is better.

    Interesting about the mega church. The shuttle for parking didn't surprise (I live in Texas, probably the mecca for Mega churches) but the "vendors" in the church is interesting. I try to stay away from the Megas if at all possible.

  2. Anonymous7:22 PM

    Sounds like you had a nice but cold weekend! I was in Portland and we got stuck on the plane because they closed the runway due to snow. :-(

  3. I, too, stay away from mega churches! We have visited some and it is like walking into a movie theater rather than a church! As Peter puts it, they put on good "productions" rather than sincere worship services.

    But perhaps some people like that.

  4. Anonymous7:13 AM

    Wow - sounds like you had a great weekend! OG tends to be tricky for me too! I know the feeling of enjoying yourself and then feeling glad to be home with the boys!

  5. One comment about Overlake: you were there for a concert, which is a commercial production. Most of the vendors there were there specifically for the concert, as you would see at any concert in a large venue. Vendors allow the church to be able to host events like this.

    It's true that the LifeWay bookstore is permanent. The fact that it's part of a national, non-profit retail chain probably means it has a lot more resources than most church bookstores (which aren't uncommon in the small churches of my experience).

    And if your concern is sincerity, I would encourage you to attend an actual church service at Overlake. Mike Howerton is one of the most sincere pastors I've ever listened to. Stick around after the service and talk with him--he may surprise you. Also, if the main sanctuary makes you uncomfortable because it's so large, try out the 6pm service in the chapel. It's a smaller, more intimate room, and some people find it suits them a lot better.

  6. Mega churches kind of scare me, but on the other hand, they offer so many ways to get involved, they're great for people who are new to town!

    Sounds like your weekend was jam packed. I swear that every time I go to Olive Garden, I say I'm never going back. They must have the market on indifferent waiters.


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