Friday, July 6, 2012

Previously on Me & Mr….

So, you know how on television shows with story lines that span multiple episodes, they often start out with “Previously On…” and then proceed to show a montage of clips to get you up to speed? These snippets of information are not nearly enough to adequately catch you up on all the details, but gives you enough of an understanding that you can comprehend what is happening in the present.

This is my “Previously On”. For those of you whom I have not seen/heard/hugged recently we will still need a skype date soon (Mrs. Ford, this means you) to fill in the missing sections, much in the same way you know you will have to go to hulu or Netflix and watch the previous episodes you missed in order to fully understand how the characters have come to find themselves in their current predicament.
So, here is what has happened to Me & Mr in the last several months of blog silence.  Grab a snack and settle in, it’s a long one.
1.       MR. RATLIFF IS GETTING A DIPLOMA IN ONE MONTH!!!!! Caps Lock and exclamation points do not give this statement justice. It is seriously the single most exciting thing to happen to us in a long time. I cannot begin to describe how proud I am of him. Clay commented to me recently as I designed graduation invitations not to get my hopes up that many people would be excited by this fact since he “should have graduated 4 years ago” I proceeded to tell him that this is specifically what makes his endurance so admirable.
Where many would have given up after making mistakes that set them behind, my husband decided to go back to school, take the long way to do it right and correct mistakes made the first time around, choosing a highly competitive and difficult major and totally ROCKING IT!
I also find it truly lovely to look at where these “mistakes” have brought us. If he had graduated 4 years ago, we would never have come to Tallahassee. To think of all that we would have missed out on makes me very thankful that we were called to this place at exactly this time. Which brings me to #2
2.       City Church Tallahassee is one of my favorite things…. Ever. They’ve kept us busy as we’ve spent many an hour over the last few months serving coffee for First Impressions, running umbrellas to cars on rainy Sundays, watching some of my favorite people get baptized, and hosting “our kids”, a.k.a. our Co-Ed College Community Group which we held in our apartment. Most of my kids are gone for the summer now and I need them to come home ASAP. I recently found a quote about one of the benefits of hosting a community group being “You get to see the kingdom of God show up on your couch” and I couldn’t agree more! It is truly amazing and I love those young men and women with whom we got to share our Tuesday evenings more than words.
3.        My family is finally here in Tallahassee (for the most part). Kimberly graduated and she and Mom finally live here 7 days a week rather than having to drive back and forth from Niceville for the weekends. Liz will be here in 24 days and I will be able to hug her any time I want! No offense Texas, but I prefer having my sister less than 14 hours away. Heather is the only one I will still have to travel to see but I will have several opportunities to do so over the next few months as we prepare for her wedding. Love being a part of the planning and celebrating this time with my big sis.
4.       Finally, the last few months have been a time of great emotional growth for me. I have been through the wringer emotionally in so many different ways. Some small things, some big things, but they all seemed to come together at once to knock me off my feet. The biggest things I am taking away from it all are:
  • Don’t be selfish! Demanding your way will not ensure that you get your way it only makes you and everyone else miserable.
  • Forgive even if it means you must do so 490 times per day. Do not hold hurt around you like a blanket that will keep you from more hurt. Does anyone else see how that doesn’t work? Well, let me tell you, wrapping yourself up in your own entitlement doesn’t make you feel better.
  • Do not convince yourself that you are too “tired, upset, busy, etc”  to include the people who love you in your daily schedule, when you do this you are not given them the ability to encourage you, and you give yourself no one to focus on other than yourself. Believe it or not you really do come out of your “funk” when you spend time talking to God, family and friends, and care more about them than about yourself. I don’t have it down yet but I’m trying. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
So, now that you’re caught up, I’ll try to update more often.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Every Number has a Face a Name and a Story

It's only 4 weeks until Easter. For the majority of my life this news meant little more to me than the fact that I had to start looking for a new dress. For the past 2 years it has meant that it's time to help plan a truly extraordinary event...

... My first experience with Easter on the Moon began with 2 hrs of sleep + 1 redbull + cleaning up beer bottles, cigarette butts, and who knows what else off of the walls, floors, seats, and tables of a nightclub at 4a.m. You can see why I'm hooked can't you? If you had also seen the service that followed later that morning and the way people's lives were literally changed, you would be hooked too.

For those of you who are thoroughly confused at this point, let me explain what Easter on the Moon was. The church that we are proud and blessed to call home does not have adequate space to hold the large number of people who come out for Easter in Tallahassee. So we started holding holiday services at The Moon, a local nightclub.

Those of us who get to be a part of the event show up really early to pick up the mess of Saturday night and get the place ready to celebrate on Sunday morning. We've seen incredible things happen in that place. As much as we've loved our time there, we will not have Easter on the Moon this year.

We will have Easter at the Civic Center! Last year we had the opportunity to welcome  approximately 3,000 people and we ran out of room. We are praying that this year we double that number... And to do so we are gonna need a bigger boat.

It really is not about numbers... at least not because we think higher numbers make us a bigger deal or anything dumb like that.

But in a way it is all about numbers because every number has a face, a name and a story and every one of them  matters to God.

Every person who walks into the arena at the Civic Center, 4 weeks from now, gets to experience the love of a Father who gave more than I can comprehend to establish a relationship with them, and the love of a group of people who really get the concept that Found People find people.

If you are in Tallahassee, or are a short drive away, you should come experience it for yourself. If not please help City Church prepare by praying for a few specific numbers. The 130 people we will need to welcome and serve those who join us that day, the 50 volunteers needed to share their love and energy with the kids who attend, the approximately 25 members of the band, staff and production team, the 1 pastor who has the great responsibility of leading and speaking, and the  7,000 seats we hope to fill.

Every number has a face a name and a story and every one of them  matters.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

An Audible Expression of Inward Joy

I really love laughing. I love watching the people I love laugh. When my mother laughs really hard she just shakes uncontrollably in a state close to hyperventilation because she can’t breathe and just when everyone starts to get worried she gets a breath in and wipes the tears that are rolling down her face. When my sister laughs really hard she has been known to snort once or twice which usually sends the rest of us into laughter too. When my husband laughs really hard it makes my day. It doesn’t happen often (although the most common stimulant for Clay’s uncontrollable laughter is Pixar movies) so when it does I revel in the glory that is watching my usually reserved husband give in to uncontrollable giggles.

I made him laugh like that twice last weekend, I consider this a fairly astronomical feat.
I recently became consumed (there is no other word for it, I read 3 books in 4 days) in a book series called The Hunger Games. If you have read it you know what I mean; if you haven’t read it, you are missing out. Last weekend I sat in an armchair in our apartment unable to break away from the story. Clay told me later that at several points he would just watch me reading and marvel at the terrified expression on my face. At the conclusion of book 1 I came over to where he sat at the computer and asked how many dollars we had in the bank and could I please use $15 to go buy the next book. Apparently I had such a desperate sound in my voice and crazed expression as I pleaded my case for why I needed to go get the book right that minute that Mr. couldn’t contain it anymore and started laughing. It was such a wonderful thing to watch. Especially because I knew that he laughed like that because he enjoyed watching me enjoy something so much. After finally catching his breath he said “I haven’t laughed that hard since Tortilla” which sent us both into another fit of giggles. Less than 24 hours later I again set down book 2 and just came and sat on the floor by his chair. Before I could get a word out he started laughing again and said “we have $15 more dollars, go get book 3!” I could still hear him laughing as I nearly ran out the door to do so.
I love that we laugh a lot, I hope we always do. I hope we raise a family that has fun together. I think we will because he’s my best friend. We really just enjoy spending time together and truly find the other person funny. But mostly I think it’s because we know how blessed we really are. Mr says often that good theology shapes the way you live. For example: When you know that you really should “Rejoice in the Lord always” you find more reasons to be joyful. You more naturally respond to the humor and the happiness around you.
Laughter is an audible expression of an inward feeling of joy.  I hope you are joyful today and encounter something beautiful or ridiculous or hilarious enough to make you laugh until your sides hurt.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

They’ve put up lights in the trees in downtown Tallahassee, and every night when I pull out of the parking garage at the DoubleTree I take a moment to stop and smile at how pretty they are. It also reminds me that Christmas is less than 3 weeks away!

Like everyone else in the world (with the exception of a few curmudgeony Grinches and Scrooges) I love Christmastime. I love all of the exterior indicators that the holidays are upon us, such as the ability to wear scarves and boots and pretend that we live somewhere cold enough that they are necessary. I love seeing that tonight should get down to 30 degrees and saying things like “what if it snowed?” although I haven’t seen it snow here in the 11 years I’ve lived in Florida. I love Christmas Blend coffee and cheesy Christmas songs that give you that warm fuzzy feeling ….
…. And then I start to panic at the thought of Christmas shopping. Take a girl who hates shopping but loves a lot of people and wants to buy presents for all of them, give her a significantly tight budget and the overwhelming force of American holiday consumerism, and what you get is a near miss with a full out anxiety attack and then the sigh of relief that comes with online shopping….
…. But to get back to the warm fuzzy feeling. Call me crazy but there truly is something special about this time of year. And I think that try though we might, we haven’t been able to kill it with the crazy distractions we’ve created through the aforementioned choking fog of consumerism, or the creepy claymation movies that someone once decided were festive. I think that there is a sheer moment by moment joy and focus that we get to experience during this time because our Heavenly Father chooses to let us. What better time to remind us of things like Love, Joy, Peace, Comfort and Hope than now. We don’t have the capability to have those things on our own, but He gives them to us and He gives us the opportunity to enjoy them and extend them to others.
So take some time today to smile at how pretty the twinkle lights are on the trees and houses in your neighborhood. But, how about we also take a minute and smile at the people in your office or the girl serving you your Christmas Blend coffee? Not out of a sense of “holiday cheer” but just because we have Christmas because God chose to give us a gift a few thousand years ago that cost a lot more than we’ll ever really understand and offers us more Love, Joy, Peace, Comfort and Hope than we know what to do with.

Monday, October 24, 2011

We're On An Adventure!

When I was growing up we would often pile the whole family of 6 into the minivan and embark on trips. Sometimes they were short trips and we knew exactly where we were headed; but sometimes they were long trips that took us to unfamiliar places and we would hear Mom and Daddy talking in low voices in the front and pulling out the map, and when we asked “where are we?” Daddy would cheerfully respond “We’re on an ADVENTURE!” In the McMahon family, We’re on an adventure = We’re lost.  Liz especially hated this and would often respond with “I don’t want to be on adventure” (even at a young age being lost stressed her out, and she hasn’t changed a bit).
I, on the other hand, often liked adventures; at least while Daddy was driving. I trusted that although he didn’t know where we were at the moment he knew where we were headed and I had absolute faith that he would get us there successfully.
Me & Mr are about to step into our next adventure. I’ve been offered and have accepted a new job. It is at the Doubletree hotel here in Tallahassee, and I will start next month. I’m excited to step out into a new place with new people and new challenges. I feel very strongly that God led me to this decision and put all of the pieces in place to make it happen. So I guess I have to still trust that my Daddy will get me through my next adventure successfully. Like any adventure it’s a bit scary stepping out of the comfortable into the unknown but I’m excited about it. I’m certain there will be things I miss about the place I’ve spent the first two years of our time here in Tallahassee but as I step out into the next chapter I expect to see really great things in store for us.
Our church family is also embarking on an adventure. City Church is growing so quickly that we need more seats. What an incredible problem to have! Our pastor has called each of us that call City Church our home to give above and beyond what we normally do to help us add onto our space. Any of you that have talked to Clay and I in the last few months know that we’ve had a large number of unexpected financial hurdles, but we had no doubt that God wanted us to be a part of this endeavor. We are excited to see the ways He will repay our faithfulness even when it’s sacrificial. This doesn’t mean that if we give $50 to City Church that I will find a $100 bill on the ground tomorrow, in fact we may just be $50 shorter than usual in our bank account. But think of all the people who will hear the truth about a God who loves them just as they are and has given everything to redeem them to Himself. Think of the lives that will change because they can come into our building and hear this. What a great return on our investment!!! If you want to be a part of this please join us or just get more info at It’s going to be a great adventure to be a part of.
Henry David Thoreau says “We should come home from adventures, and perils, and discoveries every day with new experience and character”. I think he’s right. What adventure are you going to set out on next?  

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Some days you just need Bagelheads coffee

Some days you just need Bagelheads coffee. At least I do. I sat at my desk yesterday morning and nearly fell asleep. I’m not kidding. And it’s not because my job is boring or I didn’t have anything to do. I just needed something to kick start my day and get me going. For me that something is usually Bagelheads coffee. So I went and got some.  
I’m not sure if it’s the tantalizing aroma that fills your car as you drive off with a warm cup in hand or simply a chemical addiction to the caffeine that makes it so inviting, but that first cup of coffee is inexplicably good. Then the rush kicks in and you feel like you can accomplish everything on your to do list that day; and since you are moving at the pace of the Energizer bunny you do get about 60% of it done in the next 3 hours.  
Of course by the time it wears off and then you eat lunch you’re back to slow motion by mid afternoon. However, I still count the day a success because for a brief period of time you were operating at full capacity. Sometimes I wonder what I would do without the liquid consciousness that coffee provides.
I’d probably be un-employed.
This morning I came into work feeling pretty good about the day ahead of me. I was awake and alert ready to tackle my to do list with determination and a good attitude… and then I turned on my computer. It’s kind of amazing that my computer has lasted as long as it has. Based on its performance levels I’m fairly certain it was made in 1982. From 8:02 to 8:11 it turned on and woke up enough so that I could click on Microsoft Outlook to read my emails for the day. At 8:17 my emails were finally able to be viewed and read. At 8:29 when I was still waiting for it to open the property management system that allows me to do my job I decided to take a short break and head out to Bagelheads for more coffee.
It’s kind of amazing how coffee can be stimulating at times when you just need to wake up, and at other times it can have a very calming effect and keep you from beating your computer with a baseball bat.
I’m headed to bed fairly early and will get a full night’s rest but I can already tell tomorrow will be another coffee day. Not that I mind. They make really good coffee.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Word Of The Day

 Several years ago my dear friends Ashley and Sarah Miller bought Clay a “Word-of-the-Day” Calendar for Christmas. It was full of 365 astonishingly ridiculous words to improve his vocabulary such as: Ubiquitous, Sagacious, Flummox, Crapulous (yes it really is a word), and Vicissitude.
We still have that calendar. It’s on a bookshelf behind some things, and periodically we run across it and read a few words and giggle at how silly they sound. Thank you, Millers, for years of entertainment (literally).
I have what most would call an extensive vocabulary, and perhaps a weird obsession with words. If you’ve met my dad you understand why. I love words and the depth of communication they can convey when you understand their multi-faceted meaning.
One of my favorite words is Faithful. Many people take this word for granted. I did for a long time. If you ask someone for the definition you will most likely get “Faithful means they don’t cheat” (which is a sad commentary on our culture, but that is another soapbox for another blog and another day).  If you ask Webster you will find that Faithful means:
·         steadfast in affection or allegiance : loyal
·         firm in adherence to promises or in observance of duty : conscientious
·         given with strong assurance : binding  
·         true to the facts, to a standard, or to an original
I’ve come to love this word. I love that every day my husband says to me “I was faithful to you today, because I love you” assuring me that he is loyal to me in his words, thoughts and actions. I am encouraged to be faithful to my family, friends, and coworkers by being conscientious and observant to fulfill the promises and responsibilities I hold in my relationships with them because they count on me to do so. I am so thankful that my Heavenly Father is faithful in His promises and that I can trust they are true and binding, because He is the original, He sets the standard and he is Immutable (this is another big word meaning incapable of change) I can always trust His promises because He never wavers.
Lately I’ve had a few minutes, hours and days where I got caught up in worry; mostly about finances, because things are really tight right now. But I am reminded so often that God is Faithful. His faithfulness shows up in some obvious ways such as the check that arrives the same day as an unexpected expense; but He also shows His faithfulness in the simple fact that we are still here. We live a life that is so blessed, surrounded by love and grace that we don’t deserve. We deserve to be consumed with the guilt of our sin and the ugliness of the things we choose to love more than God but instead we get soooo much! We get to experience love, security, surprise, exhilaration and even cachinnation.
“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
P.S. – You get 10 cool points if you stopped reading to look up any of the words in today’s blog. J