Rock Bottom Gave Me a Solid Foundation

Addiction is a family disease. One person uses but the whole family suffers. This statement holds true for our family. I may not be the addict, but addiction has messed with my thought process. I know I didn’t cause the addiction, I can’t control it, and I can’t cure it. However, addiction has often times left me feeling like a worthless failure of a mom and wife because my family was deteriorating in front of my eyes.
My heart was broken back in November when active addiction sneaked back into our home. I knew it wasn’t a choice to crumble as I had three kids who needed me to be strong. Hitting my rock bottom gave me a solid foundation to start rebuilding my life. I was determined to direct my energy to an area in which I believe I am gifted in, art. Art is very therapeutic and something I thoroughly enjoy. No longer was I going to allow addiction to hold me prisoner of JOY. I was set free with my big dreams.


So here I am two days away from launching my ‘Sarah Turnbaugh Mabry’ paintings at a local craft show. These paintings were all inspired from the HOPE, FAITH, and DREAMS I leaned on during a low season in my life.
“On Christ the rock solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”

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HOPE in the HOME

Lately I have been pondering this thought,
“Is it possible to be a happy-sad person all at the same time?”  
If so, I am going to self diagnosis myself as one of the happiest-saddest humans due to the varying range of my emotions. When John relapsed six months ago and moved out, I told myself that I WILL seek JOY through this storm. For the most part I remained hopeful and positive, but there were plenty of moments where I felt great sorrow. In those low moments, it was really hard to feel God’s goodness and presence in my life.
This morning at church I was reminded to see the JOY in life’s trials and to continue to trust God’s plan. Although our marriage and faith were once again tested, both John and myself feel that we are supposed to continue sharing our family’s journey.  
“And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28


Today a new chapter begins as John moved back home. As our story continues to be written I will remember what I learned through these past six months: that through God it IS possible to be a happy-sad person and feel JOY all at the same time.
#marriage #healing #recovery #painkillers #alcoholism #newbeginning #addiction

#hope #seekjoy 

Diamonds in the Rough

A friend of mine posted this saying on her Facebook page today…
“TODAY is a GREAT day to have a GREAT DAY!”

How simple and accurate is this quote?!? It’s not too late in the day to choose happiness and joy.


This morning my family went on a treasure hunt at what I consider to be my “happy” place in Sawyer, Michigan.

  It was just our family as we walked quietly along the wide open beaches. The sun was not shining and mist filled the air but the atmosphere was just as beautiful as it always proves to be…according to me! ☺️


We scanned hundreds of thousands of wet dark rocks in hopes to find a few shimmering ‘diamonds’ in the rough…a.k.a. beach glass. Please understand, beach glass is as precious as diamonds up here in Michigan. We filled our pockets full of loot and filled our hearts with joy in the middle of overcast gloomy weather.


Today turned out to be a great day to have a great day!
HOPE is being able to see the light despite all of the darkness.


#seekjoy #happiness #hope #followthelight #greatlakesgreattimes #treasure #nature

Make Shift Art Therapy Session Sent My Blues Flying Away

    Most of the morning I was feeling uneasy. I have so much to do around the home but I didn’t feel like doing anything. My mind was wrapped around yucky feelings and thoughts. I wanted to get rid of them but I didn’t know how to make them disappear. Then I remembered my main trick to makes my blues fly far far away…PAINT!
    I headed out to my garage for a make shift art therapy session with my two furry buddies, Cubbie (White) and Finley (Brown). I turned on my car radio and I listened to uplifting music while my hand guided the paint brush. Before I knew it, i was painting white feathers and boy do I LOVE me some white feathers!
    White feathers are another God/Angel sign for me. Yes, I know that most of the white feathers I spot are from my down cushions but I believe there is a deeper meaning to the simple piece of white fluffiness. Every time I spot a white feather, I choose to see it as God letting me know his angels are near. Here is a little tidbit I found on white feathers:
“Finding feathers on your path is one of the more commonly known signs of the angels. Feathers of any color are a beautiful reminder that your angels are near, loving and supporting you from behind the scenes. When you find feathers in a place which is somewhat abnormal is an especially powerful angelic sign. When you find white feathers they’re almost always a sign from your angel… Even when you’re in a place where white birds are present.”
    I may not have gotten my chores done around the house, but my soul is filled back up with HOPE and positive thoughts. Today I am thankful for Sawyer’s afternoon nap because it allows me to have “Sarah” time to do what makes me happy. I am also thankful that God created me to be an artist…he knew how therapeutic painting would be for me in this earthly life! AND…of course I am thankful for my untrained amputee therapy buddies, Cubbie and Finley, for always being right by my side and attending to my every emotional need.
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#hope #arttherapy #seekjoy #doglover #onedayatatime #happiness #paintmybluesaway #whitefeather #godsign #angels

Home Is Where A Lot Of My Hope Is Found

Today I am thankful for all of the encouragement, love, and inspiration I am receiving from the comments people are leaving here on Mabry Living!

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The other day I received this comment:
“Back in my journalism days, I met the wife of a recovering meth addict. When he was in the throes of addiction, he would become abusive when she tried to share the Bible with him…but she would write verses behind the pictures hanging on the wall, tape them under table tops and even wrote verses in Sharpie all over his pillow, hidden under the pillowcase. I’ve never forgotten her powerful witness at having the word of God literally blanketing her home. When I met her husband, he had accepted Christ…and refused to trade in his pillow. smile emoticon Cling to those verses, sister!”

Our story doesn’t match this example completely, but hearing how another wife dealt with addiction gave me the inspiration to blanket my home with powerful scripture even it if can’t be seen.

After receiving this comment, I check my email and another friend sent me this bible verse…

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Psalm 34:18 (NIV)

It only made sense to make this verse part of our home. The kids and I decided that the coffee table was the best place for this verse! It was a family activity although Sawyer (my 17 month old daughter) wasn’t too helpful smile emoticon.

11261529_743142359164243_5810817918760687980_n I also created two other pieces (the LOVE sign above and the “M” piece below). I am going to add a wood frame to both. I used the bible verses that people have sent to me inside the “M.” This weekend I will be working on my large statement piece to go above my tv. I am thankful that I can find a little spare time in the middle of chaos to create!
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Thanks again to everyone who has been praying and sending positive energy our direction! Feel free to keep sending verses so the kids and I can graffiti our home with uplifting words.

Thought you knew everything about us? Here’s our story of presented in a way you’ve never seen or heard it

Check out this short, powerful video the amazing people at Redemption City Church put together on the struggles and redemptive nature of John’s journey. Life throws us all extremely difficult choices and we don’t always make the right decisions when faced with adversity. But, we can be forgiven by a God who loves us more than we can comprehend. Grab a tissue and click PLAY.

Redemption Story

This Taboo Addiction Almost Wrecked Our True Love Fantasy

Have you ever felt the need to put up a plastic, pretentious appearance like everything is fantastic in your life? There have definitely been times when I felt like I had to become someone I was not in an effort to disguise the truth of what was really going on behind closed doors. I absolutely hated that phony feeling! Here is a part of John’s and my journey that describes a taboo subject most normal married couples wouldn’t dare talk about publicly. But, as you know by now, we’re not normal.

Before we had kids, John and I lived in Los Angeles for several years. John pursued an acting career while I taught preschool at a church in Bel Air. We came across as a happy all-American couple, who drove luxury cars, lived in a beautiful condo, and, of course, owned the quintessential white fluffy lap dog – all which are necessary to pull off a Hollywoodesque lifestyle, right? We played the part for a time while indulging in parties at the Playboy mansion and hanging out with people who were considered a “big deal.”Playboy Pic

Many people referred to us as a real life Malibu Ken and Barbie. I’d like to point out that I’m not using the Ken and Barbie analogy to say, “hey, look at us,” but to show the extreme contrast of what people saw of us on the outside when we were really tormented by inner demons on the inside.

Yes, I admit that our plastic, doll-like smiles put off an amiable persona. But the reality was that life within the walls of our home resembled more of a cross between the outrageous Osbournes and the crazy Kardashians. So, basically complete chaos. John was in the midst of an intense battle of addictions – one which was fueled by living in the San Fernando Valley, which is the adult entertainment capital of the world. This taboo addiction almost wrecked our true love fantasy. He admits that his addictions controlled his life. And I’ll admit that they stole all of my trust and security in him and our marriage to the point that I almost left on several occasions.IMG_7152

The Ken Doll of a husband that everyone else saw on the outside would transform at home into a hollow soul whom I didn’t even recognize. My heart, and all my hope, was completely shattered as I observed my husband’s life quickly come unhinged and slip into a downward spiral of selfishness and immorality. Our relationship crumbled as I was left emotionally abandoned.

John’s addictions made me feel forced into trying to live up to unattainable LA-LA Land expectations that were in complete opposition of who I truly am. At my core I am a simple conservative girl with a lot of self-respect. When you take this kind of person and force them into the life I described above, you can begin to see the depths of my struggles. No longer did inner self-respect matter. Life was about outward appearance and materialistic belongings. Confusion consumed me.

Living in the City of Angels was more like living in the City of Devils. Temptations were everywhere. There were several years there where, as hard as I tried, I never felt pretty enough, skinny enough, or trendy enough for my husband. I tried my best to compete with the smut-filled industry but it was too much to handle for this innocent girl from the Midwest. There was no way I could ever live up to the huge chested bleach blond girls that spent their days at the gym while their feminine body parts bounced around like kittens desperately seeking an escape. Contrary to the classic Barbie song, trying to keep up a Malibu Barbie charade is NOT fantastic. It’s complete hell! It still hurts my heart as I recall all of these thoughts and emotions.IMG_7151

This subject is difficult for John and me to expose publicly. But we know that countless people, maybe even you or someone you live with might have similar struggles. If you feel forced to portray a Barbie or Ken-like façade to cover up any kind of addiction, you’re not alone. Our hope is that anyone reading this that is struggling with addiction or suppressed emotions would find comfort in knowing that you don’t have to remain consumed by it. Overcoming for us required that we reach out for help from family, counselors, a 12 step program and ongoing therapy. In a crazy way, writing this blog is therapeutic for both of us.

Everyone is on their own journey. John and I will tell you that our journey is never finished, but we feel blessed to be at a point today where we can speak our truth. We encourage you to express your truth and let people know the real you and what’s really going on in your life. It’s like they say, the truth will set you free.

So when you see us smiling today you know the truth that our life is not always fantastic, but our smiles are not plastic.

Please share if this strikes a chord with you in any way. Thanks – John & Sarah

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