Recently the great people at My Trending Stories approached us about contributing some of our unique content – with our honest, quirky and unconventional approach to life – to their growing readership. Our posts have already accumulated far more traffic than any of us expected. Click below to follow us on My Trending Stories.
With all of life’s craziness, I’ve gotten behind on my a number of my popular posts. Here are some I’ll string together for you all into a tidy post package…
November 29, 2015
My courage and bravery were tested this morning when I saw a little black thing move across my kitchen floor and under my refrigerator. I am pretty sure it was a mouse…and I don’t handle those little critters well at all. I get the heebie jeebies just thinking about them. Eek! I finished cooking breakfast on top of the kitchen counters just in case our new home resident decided to come out and play for a little bit. Today I am thankful for my dad. He doesn’t know it yet but he will be setting traps this afternoon to try to catch that little booger. I pray that the mouse is trapped before my dad heads home tomorrow. Catching mice is a man’s job in my book!#myweakness #keepingitreal #morningpanic #mansjob #mice #grossmeout#bedhead #makeupfree
November 30, 2015
How is it going to be December already tomorrow?!? We decided that tonight was a great time to bring a little holiday cheer into our home. I love when the tree and angel are lit up.🎄
The kids and I are entering our 4th week of John being away. Over the last several weeks we have been adjusting to our new normal. It has been a growing experience for all of the Mabry family and I pray we come out stronger because of this transition.
John returns back to the Nashville area on Friday. Being that I have become adjusted to my new normal, I am a little nervous of the upcoming transition of him entering back into our every day lives again. The last time I saw John at the beginning of November was a day I wish I could erase from my memory. He was not healthy, addiction had stolen his soul. I plan to continue living one day at a time upon his return. I know TIME will be our friend as we slowly adapt once again.
Its always hard to know who the person is going to be when they come back from treatment. I am praying that the man I pick up from the airport greets me with clear eyes and a renewed spirit. Hopefully we will both be able to see clearly now that the rain is gone!
Who knows, it could be a bright, bright, bright sunshiny day!
December 2, 2015
I love seeing God’s work in progress. A new circle of friendship has blossomed! This morning I hosted a little get-together with new friends that I met by sharing my journey through Mabry Living. These ladies are walking along a similar “valley” in their own lives. I believe our paths were meant to cross, it was no accident. All of us are wounded and are leaning on our faith by trusting God’s plan for our futures. It was nice to witness our pain shift to power as we sat and encouraged one another with hope. We have already decided to call ourselves, “The Valley Girls.” Like new adventures, I never know what life lessons these new friendships may teach me as we continue to support each other one day at a time!
Today I am thankful for friendships-old and new. Like I used to sing when I was a Girl Scout in the 80’s, “Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other is gold.”
#valleygirls #newfriendship #hope #healing #encourage #onedayatatime#friendship #godsplan #trust
Today marks the Eve of John’s return to the Nashville area from treatment in Texas. I am still anxious about reuniting with him tomorrow morning at the airport. It’s always awkward to see him after treatment. It’s kind of like going on a first date with someone you never met before yet having the guy be your husband and the father of your kids. What will he look like? How will he act? Will we get along? Oh Lordy, I don’t feel ready to ‘date’ again and rebuild from ground zero.
I never liked dating. It was not something I desired…like EVER! It makes me so uncomfortable. Seriously, look at how silly John and I look in this picture! It’s hard to tell if we are siblings on a family vacation or a couple. We definitely respected each other’s personal space. Don’t even get me started on my pants! This was taken on one of our first dates back in 2002 when John lived in San Diego.
From what I heard, a successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. So, cheers to attempting to fall in love for the 35th time throughout 11 years of marriage (that may or may not be an exaggeration). Prayers will be necessary for this love story.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
#wifeofanaddict #loveispatient #onedayatatime #healing #recovery#1corinthians13 #firstdate #addiction #substanceabuse #alcoholism#prescriptionpills #learningtoloveagain #7×70 #forgiveness
December 4, 2015
When I was in college I had a framed picture of John on my nightstand…because that’s what you do when love is in the air. The frame (with hearts on it) joined me in Tx, moved with me to California and then onto Tennessee. Eight years ago, a baby intercom took over the frame’s home on my nightstand. It now resides in a drawer full of other unused framed pictures.
Since John left for treatment, Sawyer has been sneaking into that drawer on numerous occasions retrieving the framed photo. I have observed her saying “Dada” while pointing at his face and then giving the picture a kiss. It’s pretty sweet to witness! I think it’s safe to say that the kiddos are ready to see their daddy!
I got the boys off to school and now Sawyer and I are getting ready to drive up to the airport to get John. Carrie Underwood’s lyrics keep coming to my mind…
🎶“Jesus take the wheel
Take it from my hands
Cause I can’t do this on my own
I’m letting go”🎶
It’s time for me to LET GO AND LET GOD do his mighty work. I’m trusting that he’s got things under control.
***side note…I wrote a lot of this post last night knowing that this morning was going to be hectic. This morning I woke up to TWO people sending me encouraging messages that included the lyrics to “Jesus Take the Wheel.” Coincidence, I think not!
Hey everyone. It’s John. Thanks so much for coming along with Sarah and I on our journey. Up to this point of Mabry Living’s blog, Sarah has done much of the writing from her perspective. But I’m going to start doing more of my own writing and journaling here, too. So see if you can draw something from this one about my fear of protecting my reputation.
As you may know from the video speech I posted recently (which I’ll post at the end of this blog), I openly admit to having deep-seeded issues that can be traced back to my childhood, along with multiple traumas later in life. I have been through more kinds of treatments and therapies than I care to admit. For example, have you ever heard of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)? Yeah, I’ve done that kind of therapy. Ever heard of Brainspotting? Yep, another one I dabble in regularly. But getting to the place where I was willing to go get help and risk my reputation was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
I find it comical now to see that everyone around me – my family, friends, employer, even neighbors – knew I needed help even when I was trying my hardest to keep my problems hidden. I was so reluctant to get outside help for so long in fear of what others would think. And then when I finally decided I needed help I wanted everyone in my inner circle to keep it hush-hush. I would say, “No one needs to know I going to treatment. Let’s keep this between us.” What was the big deal? Why did I need to be so discreet about getting help for myself? A lot of it was probably because it showed weakness and meant I didn’t know how to handle life on life’s terms. I’m supposed to man-up and handle everything on my own, right; the whole pull yourself up by your bootstraps thing.
I am so grateful that today I can openly say that I continue to struggle with anxiety and worry about what others think of me, question if I’m ever going to be enough and continue to struggle with chronic pain. I am proud of the fact that I now recognize the value of admitting faults and seeking help. I think it sets you a part from others and shows great tenacity and courage.
If you’re struggling in any area of your life, please, get quality help. If you struggle with an addiction, find a highly recommended addiction specialist near you. If your thing is childhood trauma or paralyzing fear and anxiety stemming from your childhood, seek the professional help of a trauma therapist who does EMDR or Brainspotting, which can help in processing trauma. Maybe you’re just completely overwhelmed with life. If so, go talk with somebody about it. It shows greater strength to ask for help than to ignore the issue in hopes it will go away. Believe me, it won’t. I’ve tried that approach.
It helps when I use the Serenity Prayer often: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
Here’s my biggest fear speech I made reference to earlier
It’s John, here. Thanks for coming to read this personal story of mine that centers around my journey to face my biggest fear. Keep reading and I think you might find that my biggest fear might actually be yours, too. You probably just don’t know it or, you know it and just don’t want to admit it. Study after study show that most people’s biggest fear is public speaking. Countless people fear speaking in front of a group more than death. That’s extremely profound! The official name for it is Glossophobia. Surprisingly, public speaking is not my biggest fear. It’s my second.
My biggest fear is facing my true self (see video at end of blog of my speech). I have yet to find anything more challenging, depressing and, yet, liberating than digging to the deepest parts of my being to discover who and what I truly am and why I do the things I do. Most people would rather go on making poor decisions about their lives, their relationships, jobs, finances and health than to stop and work backwards for a period of time to discover why they do what they do. I have discovered through literally thousands of hours of medical and psychological care that going as far back as you need to – and many times it’s going back to your early childhood events – can reveal valuable information about what fears currently drive you today.
The mission of Mabry Living is to “serve others by using our unique gifts and outrageous antics to ignite creativity, growth and laughter in the world, with an emphasis on fitness, simplicity, truth and love.” Fulfilling that mission entails communicating effectively through the various mediums Sarah and I use to express ourselves (i.e. this blog, Facebook, Vine, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube). Public speaking is a part of what we do to share our experience, strength and hope about our real world struggles.
In an effort to be best prepared to deliver clear, effective and moving speeches to groups about my life’s journey, I joined a local Toastmasters group to help coach me to be the best public speaker I can be. For those of you who don’t know, Toastmasters empowers individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders and is accomplished by having members work through a number of speeches that are critiqued by your group.
My journey toward addressing my second biggest fear – public speaking – started by first pressing the “pause” button on life to seek out my true self, which was completely disjointed and mangled. Honestly, excavating through the minefields of my past was the most fearful thing I have ever done. It was more frightening than making the decision to amputate my leg. I never knew what I would find in counseling sessions, inpatient treatment and through working the 12-steps of a recovery program. At any moment a bomb from my past experiences could blow up, causing me to react in anger, fear, disappointment, loathing, jealousy, disgust or self-hatred. I, like most people, don’t want to turn over the wreckage of my past because it is too painful and takes too much time and effort. I have found, however, that what initially looks like taking steps backwards by stopping to deal with your true self – which is many times broken and closed off – actually yields profound results in moving forward in one’s life. Like I said before, I think many people out there are actually more afraid of connecting with their brokenness than anything else. If that strikes a nerve with you, watch the video below.
To help demonstrate the difficult, yet rewarding, journey toward unearthing my true self, I would like to share with you a version of my very first Toastmasters speech. The goal was to introduce myself to the group through a 4-6 minute speech about me. The title of my speech was “Public Speaking Is Not My Biggest Fear.” Here is a video of what I presented to the audience. Life is too short not to offer the world your best. I hope you will find some inspiration that you, too, can overcome any obstacle that stands in the way of connecting with your true self.
SPOTLIGHT: JOHN MABRY
LIZZIE DURKIN | 06.04.15
Original article from:
John with his two amputee rescue dogs.
In 2000, as a senior in college at Baylor University, John Mabry found himself in a tragic car accident that left him with a horrible leg injury. Over the next year he had 14 surgeries in an effort to save his left foot. Eventually, due to constant staph infections he began to consider amputation. While researching this option, he began to reach out to the amputee community and was amazed at the positivity and strong responses he received. Mabry decided to go through with the amputation, and 6 weeks later, he walked at his college graduation and received his degree while using a temporary prosthetic.
After graduation Mabry felt a strong calling to help other people in similar situations to his own. Mabry enrolled in a Master’s program in Rehab Counseling that focused on helping people with disabilities get back to work. For the first time in his life, he decided to leave Texas and move to California to pursue the master’s program.
Mabry’s desire to help people is truly remarkable, yet, he soon came to realize, it was at his own expense. He was so focused on helping others with their struggles that he never paid attention to his own.“I kept running from my trauma and my fears. I covered it up with trying to accomplish things… I thought, I am going to go skydiving, I am going to run triathlons but I was just running from myself.” At the end of his Master’s Program, Mabry realized,“I couldn’t go help people I needed to help myself”.
In 2008, it all came crashing down and Mabry and his family made the decision to return to the South to begin focusing on his personal healing. “The biggest part of my journey is addressing me, and working on myself emotionally and mentally, the physical part is what is easy.” Addressing oneself does not come naturally. Whether you are a mother, father, friend, or partner, it is innate to want to care for others. We are taught selfishness is ugly and it is better to be selfless. But in order to be truly successful, we must remain most faithful to our own being in order to then help others. Mabry says, “The point I like to tell people is to get support for whatever you are doing so you don’t have to do it alone, and ask for help. That is okay.” Mabry relies heavily on his support team, including other amputees, his physical therapist, and his family.
Once he addressed his own identity and trauma as an amputee, he and his wife began to address themselves as a duo, as parents, and as a family. Through self-examination and revelation he realized we both have, “goofy, quirky personalities, and a big sense of humor. We don’t fit in the mold of suburban family.” Mabry said to his wife, “I think it would be really therapeutic to be who we are and quit caring what the neighbors think of us.” So that is what they did—they began to be their truest selves.
Mabry, his wife and their three kids spend weekends creating skits and YouTube videos. Their days are filled with family bonding, face painting, and being creative. You can read about their latest adventures, such as driving through a drive-thru dressed as a cartoon character or spicing up date night with prank wars, on their family blog, https://mabryliving.com/.
Ever since Mabry began to “address me” he has felt his life get back on track, he volunteers at the Vanderbilt Trauma Center as a member of the peer support group, and he plays around with the idea of writing a book. He now sports the Alzette UNYQ cover in blue and white and says, “it is part of my new identity…it’s like my tattoo and I am proud of it.” UNYQ is thrilled to be part of Mabry’s journey and grateful that he took the time to share it.
Huge thanks to John and his entire family, they are truly filled with love and laughter!
We are all familiar with the insanely successful ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which raised over $95 million last year. Like giving money, the expression of gratitude from one person to another has profound benefits on both the giver and receiver, while injecting more love into the world as a whole. We are all guilty of talking bad about people around us, whether it is a coworker, someone on the PTA or on our kids’ sport team, someone we went to school with or, a lot of times, it’s the people we live with and our immediate family that we bash the most. So, in the spirit of the Ice Bucket Challenge we are launching the Mabry Living Ultimate Gratitude Challenge to help lift people up and spread more love into this broken world!
Here’s how the Ultimate Gratitude Challenge works:
1. Think of one or more people who have made a positive impact in your life
2. Write down or shoot a short video clip thanking that person(s) for what they have done for you
3. Post it on social media and tag them in the post
4. Whoever you call out is required to pay it forward by doing the same thing to someone else
5. Lastly, tag Mabry Living in your post after you LIKE our Facebook page
Not too long ago, I would lay in my bed weeping as I begged God to perform a miracle. My family was falling apart because addiction had entered our home and the demon-ridden disease was trying to demolish what God had put together. My heart was breaking as I saw my dreams of a healthy marriage and family life being crushed. Was God not hearing my prayers? If God knows everything, didn’t he see what was happening in our home? Why wouldn’t he just make the insanity stop? Clearly, an intense spiritual battle was going on and the Mabry’s were losing…so it seemed. I wanted to run. I wanted to disappear. I didn’t want to live in the nightmare that entrapped me for over a decade any longer. However, my heart was telling me the opposite. I can’t explain it, but God somehow kept delivering clear messages to me to stay strong, put my spiritual armor on, fight the fight, and in the end it will all be worth it. So I remained faithful to my marriage, and to God, even when there seemed to be no relief in sight.
Dressed in my invisible (thank goodness) armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18), I made the choice that there was absolutely no way the devil was going to win the battle. No matter what life handed my family, I was going to obey God, make the most of every situation, be true to myself, and enjoy life as best I could! So I have hung on to Ecclesiastes 8:15. If there is one thing the devil doesn’t want to see or hear, it’s probably my family laughing together because he has given us so many reasons to cry and be resentful. By making these choices, my husband and I decided to start our blog in hopes to inspire others to laugh more and worry less…and that’s how Mabry Living was born.
With that being said, here is one of the ways we recently ate, drank and enjoyed life according to God’s word. Back in October we won a one night stay at a local hotel at a silent auction supporting our son’s school, Oak View Elementary. With the expiration date quickly approaching, my husband called and booked a room at the local Hilton Garden Inn. We packed our bags and loaded the car. However, a Mabry family road trip (even if it was just a 10-mile drive) wouldn’t be complete without some tacky window paint.
The traffic and weather cooperated and we miraculously didn’t have any potty accidents. We unloaded the car, checked in, and lugged the bags up to the room. Sometimes I find it amazing how much is required for a one night stay! Do you like my Spiderman backpack?
One of the first things we had to do was to break in the pool! Can you relate to this…you can stay at an expensive resort with gigantic pools filled with waterfalls and fountains (which we’ve done), but sometimes kids just need a simple, indoor rectangular pool to be happy. Our boys were able to use their imaginations to come up with fun games to play. Seeing them freely express themselves without all the hoopla of a fancy pool made my heart smile!
John was sweet enough to run out and pick up dinner for us in the pouring rain. John and I had a dinner from Siam Pad Thai and the kids got spoiled with McDonald’s. Only on rare occasions do they get to eat McDonald’s. We transformed the hotel lobby into a fine dining experience, leaving our mess for the lucky staff to clean up…sorry guys.
After dinner we went up to the room so we could continue our family battle of Yahtzee from our Spring Break trip two weeks ago. Somehow, Austin, our youngest, always takes first place and I’m always stuck in last. I don’t even try to lose, I just do. Everyone got a Yahtzee but me. This mom can’t catch a break! With all the work and love I pour into this family you think they’d let me at least come in third place. Not fair!
Then it was time for John to wrestle the boys on the bed. The boys’ absolute favorite thing in the world is wrestling with their daddy. While wrestling Austin, we noticed an object in his mouth. What could it be? Just then Larson noticed the stone in our set of Easter Resurrection Eggs, which represents the stone of Jesus’ tomb, was missing. We had finally solved the 2,000 year old question of who moved the stone…it was Austin.
What family trip would be complete without a baby waking up screaming hysterically in the dead of the night? Well, consider our trip complete because that’s exactly what Sawyer did. I snapped this picture of John trying to ignore the commotion. Typical Dad behavior. If you look closely, you can see my profile and Sawyer’s blue sleeve touching John’s head. This is where the “Drink” part of Ecclesiastes 8:15 comes in – we needed extra coffee the next morning to overcome our baby hangover which started abruptly at 5:43 a.m. After feasting on our complementary breakfast at the hotel at 7 a.m., the boys wanted to go for another swim. So at 7: 30 a.m. we were already at the pool. Surprisingly, no one else was there at that hour! John and I might as well have gone swimming with as much as we got splashed simply trying to soak our feet in the hot tub. At first glance, the hot tub picture may look like it was professionally taken. But the finger covering the right side reveals our sweet Larson took it.
We shot upstairs for the boys to quickly change before we had to check out of the hotel. What could possibly go wrong, right? Apparently, Austin’s bathing suit wasn’t quite done swimming. I found this gem of a discovery as I walked in the bathroom to find Austin dipping his swimsuit in and out of the toilet. I mean, why wouldn’t this be happening? Got to love sweet Austin’s incessant need to twist a simple task of changing clothes into a messy adventure filled with hotel toilet water. I sat Sawyer in the crib to clean up Austin’s mess. Before I could get back to her she had conveniently found a coffee creamer laying close by and decided to use it as a pacifier. At least she wasn’t crying! Just a typical Saturday morning with the Mabry’s.
When October rolls around again next year and I’m on the prowl at the silent auction looking for amazing deals, I will have to see if I choose to bid on another hotel room. Don’t get me wrong, we had a blast making Mabry memories but this mamma likes her sleep, and sleep was not an important part of this staycation according to the kids. Yet, we did have fun obeying God’s word. We ate. We drank. We enjoyed life. Most importantly, we went home with happy, yet tired and exhausted, hearts.
Life is hard. It’s easy to feel defeated, especially when you see everyone’s best moments on social media. When you are thrown curve balls in life, I urge you to stand tall, dress in God’s armor, and pull out all of your Godly military weaponry that you may not even know you have within your soul. Fight to find God’s purpose through life’s trials and do NOT let the enemy take away your joy. In between spiritual battles, I highly recommend that you find time to eat, drink, and enjoy life! Remember, the devil despises laughter and happiness. I have found those two skills to be some of my most powerful secret attack mechanisms for conquering the devil’s plan. Whatever your battle is or how long it lasts, always remember that God’s angel army is right by your side protecting and fighting for you.