FamilyLife Marriage Retreats – Restoration Is Possible!

divorce, love, marriage, marriage help, married couples, redeem, redemption, relationship, renew, restoration, restore, retreat, spice it up

So, I know my blog is for essential oils, but I just HAVE to share my experience at a FamilyLife marriage retreat with you.

How many couples do you see who invest in everything else BUT their marriage?  Sadly, way too many.  People will save up their money for the latest video game console or iPad, but they won’t spend it on something that can truly improve their marriage.

My husband and I recently went to one of FamilyLife’s many “Weekend to Remember” retreats (for the 2nd time) and had a wonderful time learning about what makes a good marriage, all while enjoying the hilarious speakers (and an equally hilarious video on intimacy and SEX!  The men loved it.  haha)  They had such down-to-earth, transparent speakers, who just told it like it is.  It brought us tears and laughs and most of all, it brought us closer together by the end of the trip.  A month later we renewed our vows with a bunch of other couples at a combined marriage renewal ceremony our church was having.

These retreats go on throughout the year, every year, all across the country.  They have marriage experts, top speakers, fun couples merchandise (‘Discovery’ bedroom game – ooh la la) and tons of relationship books.  It was like a mini getaway, and we so needed that!

We decided we would try it out, just to get away for the weekend and invest in what is the most important relationship we will ever have in our lives.  Our marriage!

We haven’t had a vacation in a while, and while we are still happy after many years together (and the many trials and hard work!), we knew could always stand to learn something new.  For some reason, staying in a hotel always seems to stir up romance – at least it does for me!  Woo wooooo!

The retreat starts out at the hotel on a Friday evening, for the first/intro session of guest speakers.  The 2 guest speakers at our retreat were AWESOME!   So funny!  One was a married couple, and the other was a married man whose wife doesn’t like to speak on stage so he spoke solo.  We were laughing so much all weekend it was such a great release of those daily stressors.

Here’s us when we first got to the hotel room…feeling a little goofy and laughing hysterically at who knows what:

Saturday morning, after you have breakfast, you go to the morning session.  Here’s our view during breakfast.  So serene… (except for the goose that kept attacking another goose, because apparently the pond wasn’t big enough for the both of them!  You can’t see them, but I swear to you, they are real):

After the morning session,  they break for lunch.  After lunch, there is an afternoon session.

Then they let you have the evening off to go on a “date night.”  My favorite part!!  You are supposed to make reservations somewhere ahead of time, and have a romantic evening with your spouse during that free time.  We loved the restaurant we chose – maybe a little too much – because we came back to the hotel WAY too full to enjoy the rest of our romantic evening.

Sunday morning, after breakfast, there is a morning session.  We skipped this one because it was a session where they split up the men and women, and you listen to designated speakers of your own sex.  I am sure it was as great as the rest of the retreat, but we didn’t want to separate.  God has done some intense healing in our marriage and we we’ve been feeling like newlyweds lately (sorry if it makes you gag…it is just great to feel so happy again).  I am thinking we will stay for this part of the retreat next year for sure.

The stories we heard from the speakers were eye opening and touching.  They told us of some couples at past retreats who came there with divorce papers in the car…and left feeling they should give their marriage another try.  How beautiful is that?  It is so worth giving it a try.

Here are some testimonials created by FamilyLife of real life couples who’ve benefited from these retreats:

Here’s an additional promotional video from FamilyLife – hilarious AND SO TRUE!:

We loved the retreat so much that we decided to become volunteers for FamilyLife, and spread the word about their retreats so that more couples can experience God’s restoration, revival and redemption of even the most broken of marriages.  These retreats are by no means only for couples in trouble.  It’s for anyone who wants to learn some tools that are helpful in having a successful marriage.

If you’re interested in investing in your marriage, or if you’re having marriage troubles, or if you just want to get away from the crazy kids for a weekend!!…you should definitely check it out for yourself.  I highly recommend it!  We will definitely be back again next year.  With my volunteer status, I can save you $100 off registration, so it won’t be so hard on your pocketbook.

The PROMO CODE below will get you $100 off registration at any retreat, in any state, any year.  This code will not expire as long as I continue as a volunteer with FamilyLife.

Just click the link below and type in this code:  TwoAreOne

If you go, please be sure to come back here and leave me a comment.  I’d love to hear your story, and/or if you loved it!  I know from experience that God is a miracle worker, and He loves to restore marriages or spice them up, in order to glorify Christ!



Hi, I’m Karen, and I’m an addict

aromatherapy, clean, cleanliving, cooking with essential oils, diy, do-it-yourself, empowerment, essential oils, female, feminine, healing, health, holistic, homemade, homeopath, homeopathic, immunity, marriage, mental, natural living, nutrition, pure, wellness


It’s true.  From the moment I tried lavender oil on my feet before bed, and slept like a baby, I was hooked and needed all of the oils I could get my grubby little hands on.

My hope is that my blog will provide you essential oil education, and the many benefits/uses of essential oils for improving your lifestyle, uplifting your mood, relaxation, promoting wellness in your body and mental focus.  You’ll find cooking and baking recipes with essential oils, and do-it-yourself personal products that can save your family money.  And I may toss in a few other blogs in there just to keep you on your toes.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, there is a LOT of buzz in the world of essential oils right now, and their many health benefits.   From my sources (I have sources!), we apparently haven’t even scratched the surface of their many benefits.  There is so much to learn and I will be a student for life.  I will also be sure to provide you with as much information as I can on the safety in using these potent oils the correct way.

But here’s a little background story about me.  I mean, most people will probably never read this post…so I could basically say that I am an alien named Bork from the planet Pluto (is it still a considered a planet?  At first it was, and then it wasn’t, and I think we are back to it being a planet again?)  Anyhoo, my point is, while no one may read this, I still want to share my thoughts.  It’s therapeutic, you know?

In about 2010, I was suffering from all sorts of symptoms, and basically felt like I was falling apart.  I visited a nutritionist, Dr. Mitchell, for over 2 years (2-3 times per month), who detoxed me from mercury and a plethora of other toxins that build up in my body over the years.  Like many Americans, I was pretty abusive to my body thanks to a horrifying diet of McDonald’s, well, basically all fast food, and those horrible $2.00 frozen meals-in-a-box.  Oh, and I can’t forget to mention all the Slim Fast shakes I drank daily and daily desserts thrown in the mix.

Dr. Mitchell taught me healthier eating habits, and it did help some of my symptoms.  For a while.  But then my family had some hiccups, major ones, that brought back the horrible anxiety and depression I had suffered years before.  I had been off of my meds for 4 years, but it looked like, at this point, that I needed to go back on them.  I wasn’t jumping for joy about that, but the meds did help me feel normal again.

Some years went by, still on these 2 drugs, and my sugar/carb cravings grew insanely intense.  I’d find myself buying cookies, ice cream, etc., everyday, multiple times per day.  Anything coated in sugar, or made with sugar, or even turns INTO sugar when your body metabolizes it (like breads, potatoes, cheese, etc.), was my true love.  It was sickening really, but also frighteningly hard to overcome!  I had gained 20 lbs, and my health was declining again.

Long story short, I’ve had multiple tests from various doctors on my gastric system, my blood, my thyroid, etc., but no doctor could figure out what was wrong with me (unfortunately, I’m still paying for those tests…and probably will be for a long time…can I get an Amen?  Or perhaps a check made out to me for $5,000?  Thanks.)

Then a lightbulb went off – my symptoms were not from any specific health problem…they were side effects from Viibryd (my anti-anxiety medication).  Viibryd was pretty new to the market when I started it. Despite all the horrible reviews, I gave it a try….for 4 years.  While it did help my mood and nerves, it had the usual laundry list of side effects, that slowly crept up on me until I didn’t realize they were side effects anymore, and thought I was just very unhealthy.

I’ve listed the lovely laundry list of side effects below (and added some of my own notations, which I believe Phizer should add to their warning label:

SIDE EFFECTS MAY INCLUDE:  actions that are out of control, anxiety (Really??  Because I thought by taking this drug I would not have that problem anymore.), burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, “pins and needles”, or tingling feelings, chest pain or discomfort, extra heartbeat, fast, irregular, pounding, or racing heartbeat or pulse, irritability, shakiness in the legs, arms, hands or feet, talking feeling, and acting with excitement, trembling or shaking of the hands or feet, diarrhea, dizziness, dry mouth, nausea, trouble sleeping, abdominal or stomach pain, abnormal dreams (MORE LIKE DEMONIC NIGHTMARES!!), aching or discomfort in the lower legs or sensation of crawling in the legs, acid or sour stomach, belching (Um, belching ALL DAY LONG, EVERY 5 MINUTES would be more accurate), blindness (Seriously, now why would a pesky little side effect like BLINDNESS be a problem for anyone?), bloated or full feeling, blurred vision, change in taste, difficulty with moving, drowsiness, dry eyes (They forgot to mention “SEVERE” dry eyes, as in needing a prescription of Restasis to combat side effects of my prescription.  Make sense? I didn’t think so either), excess air or gas in the stomach or intestines (more like so bloated you appear 9 months pregnant), feeling jittery, headache, severe and throbbing, heartburn (as in, needing a prescription of Prilosec to fix it.), increased or decreased appetite (YA THINK?? 2 cookies with breakfast, a dessert at lunch, and then ice cream after dinner is borderline Compulsive Eating Disorder, in my honest opinion), increased sweating (more like, move to North Pole or never feel dry again!), indigestion, loss in sexual ability, desire, drive, or performance, loss of appetite (yeah…okay…), muscle pain or stiffness, night sweats, not able to have an orgasm (Um, I won’t go there), pain in the joints, passing gas (HAH! More like a hot air balloon will quickly fill your intestines and any one in the room will feel the vibrations, if you catch my drift?), restlessness, sleepiness or unusual drowsiness, stomach discomfort or upset, unusual tiredness or weakness (more like, you will be dragging yourself through life by the skin of your teeth) and vomiting.

Ok, so I may have been a little dramatic….but come on, that list of side effects is ridiculous.

I can proudly say, that today I am fully weaned off of Viibryd (yay!).  Thanks to healthier food choices, natural products, natural remedies, etc., I am getting by just fine.  I’ve gotten sick only once in the past 3 years, which was unheard of for me!  That in itself is a miracle.

It has taken me years to incorporate healthier foods into my diet, remove bad foods from my diet, and to attain a love for using/making my own products.  I’ve had a poop-load of failures along the road, but I feel I am on the right track…finally.  It’s not easy, but it’s worth it!!!

I hope my blog can give you ideas to improve your lifestyle, improve your mood, make you chuckle and just feel plain alive again. 🙂