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 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 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 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.

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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.

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