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As you may have read in a few of my recent posts, I have been lucky enough to have been given true gifts of love by my husband of 10 years and our three kids. The first was winning an unforgettable mommy makeover from Extreme Makeover: Mabry Edition. The second was being treated like a Princess for a Day when my son asked to take me on a date to the mall where I had to dress up like Elsa from Frozen and he dressed up like Superman. Both were super special to me so I thought it would only be right to pay it forward and let my husband, John, be THE KING for Valentine’s Day this year. I can’t wait to reveal the details and photos of our oddest celebration yet, which involves John dressed as Elvis, Costco and 4 lbs of king crab legs. But before I do, let me explain how my marriage has barely survived and how I’ve come to truly LOVE this holiday.
To me, Valentine’s Day is one of the most important holidays for several simple reasons that most people, maybe even yourself, never fully grasp in their lifetime. But see, I look at life totally different from most; almost backwards in a way. The way I see it is that LOVE is probably the most highly demanded commodity on the planet. And the nifty thing I’ve discovered is that it’s absolutely FREE! It doesn’t cost anything to give your spouse or loved ones a compliment, a hug, or simply to look them in the eye when you’re together instead of your TV or smartphone.
So why is Valentine’s Day so special to me? By every “normal” person’s standard – or the world’s standard for that matter – I should not still be married. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but there were several years I thought John and I might not ever celebrate Valentine’s Day together again because of our rock and roll marriage. After stumbling down several rocky paths, we both hit our rock bottoms. Luckily, God’s gracious hand kept the door from shutting completely. We have both fought hard to overcome these obstacles so it is an honor that we can celebrate our love for one another once again on February 14, 2015. That is why today I am so adamant about giving this day the respect it deserves.
Like Elvis, John has struggled for over a decade with alcohol and prescription drug abuse due to several traumatic events that occurred in his life. Along with the substance abuse came lies making it hard for me to trust him and left me “All Shook Up.” Truth be told, there have been plenty of days where I thought, “He Ain’t Nothing but a Hound Dog,” due to some of the stunts he pulled. I figured that he would be dancing himself right into the “Jailhouse Rock” in his “Blue Suede Shoes” while I moved out and sobbed my way to the “Heartbreak Hotel.” I don’t know if you know anyone who has suffered from alcoholism or addiction, but it is a relentless disease. It can fade into the background for a while but sneak back up on you in the blink of an eye. By the grace of God, he never ended up in jail but the ongoing rhythm and blues of addiction was an all too common reoccurring theme in our home.
I still struggle daily with my “Suspicious Mind” and often find myself wondering if the demon-ridden addiction has entered back into our home without me knowing. After the last few relapses I would let him know that “It’s Now or Never” to get his addiction under control before he was living by himself in a sober living facility. Unfortunately, it got to that point and we separated…while I was pregnant. Elvis had left the building. We might not have lived together for several months but we still saw each other and talked several times a day. As we lay in our separate beds at night and talked on the phone we would both usually ask, “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” The answer was usually a yes. Since he moved back home we have both made the choice to pour our “Heart and Soul” into our marriage while focusing on the positive blessings and not the negative curses.
Anyways…the point of Mabry Living isn’t to stare at our past in the rear-view mirror of Elvis’ “Pink Cadillac.” Our primary focus is on the present moment and having a positive outlook on the future. Although we’ve had our share of marriage mishaps, my cup is over flowing for my Hunk-a-Hunk-a Burnin Love this year as we gratefully celebrate another Valentine’s Day together. OK, so enough of this sappy stuff. Let’s have some fun and see how this year’s unforgettable V-Day extravaganza unfolded…
The day started out with me giving THE KING his gift. Although this particular gift wasn’t free I knew it was something extra special that would catch John off-guard. I mean, what better way to say “I love you” than with a random gift of a wig, for THE KING. As I suspected, John loved his new gift.
In keeping with our annual V-Day tradition of cooking crabs legs and watching a movie at home,
John THE KING had to go to Costco to buy crab legs. He decided it would be a great idea to wear the wig while shopping. Let’s just say he looked more like a Las Vegas performer than a father of three kids buying fresh seafood for a romantic dinner with me. Seeing a one-legged Elvis buying crab legs at Costco made me think, “I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You.” Seriously, how could I possibly resist that!
Even Sawyer couldn’t figure out why her dad was wearing a wig (check out her face). Honestly, Sawyer, there is absolutely no good reason. It’s just your dad being dad.
Have you ever seen the email forwards titled, “People of Walmart?” Well, we might have just started the Costco Crazies and THE KING will be the first one. I think it will be a hit. Look, people were lining up to take pictures with him.
Never in my wildest dreams would I have expected Elvis to buy ME Costco flowers for Valentine’s Day with his precious entourage. One of his peeps, my sweet Austin, might have been too busy eating a Styrofoam cup to help select the perfect bouquet. Austin may have earned a spot as the second Costco Crazy.
John cooking is always an event in our home, but THE KING took it to a whole new level.
I was starving after getting the kids to bed and started feeling crabby. So I told Elvis, “A Little Less Conversation,” so we could finally sit down to eat while watching our movie fireside. We ended up watching the Academy Award nominated film, Boyhood. Then John noticed something lodged in my teeth. He said, “Hey babe, you’ve got some crab meat “Stuck on You.” Luckily I had a toothpick handy. I’m so grateful for being able to spend another Valentine’s Day with John. I don’t think we’ll forget this one anytime soon.
Considering all we’ve been through I believe we have arrived to our own personal Graceland, at least for today. Marriage isn’t easy. I have gotten furious at GOD often for continuously giving me signs as why I should stay in our marriage when I really wanted to call it quits. However, I trust that the best is yet to come for the Mabry family if we can continue to put LOVE for God and our marriage above the distractions of the world. “How Great Thou Art!”
Have you experienced any marriage-threatening events and wonder how you’re ever going to get through it? If so, you’re not alone. Finding support through trusted family members, a counselor, your church or this forum can help you get though it one day at a time. I would love to hear from you in the comments section below if you’re willing to share.
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