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:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8USoOuZy-A&feature=youtu.be

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyvlpbTemp0&feature=youtu.be

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VMkXz22uPs&feature=youtu.be

Here’s an additional promotional video from FamilyLife – hilarious AND SO TRUE!:
https://youtu.be/zYwT1-5RaPU

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

http://preview.tinyurl.com/l5m95kd

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!

Blessings!

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Silky Whipped Body Butter

body butter, calming, Christmas, clean, cleanliving, cream, crunchy, diy, diy lotion, do-it-yourself, essential oils, health, Holiday, home project, homemade, homeopath, homeopathic, natural living, non-gmo, pure, recipe, salve, soothing, wellness

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 Winter in Chicago is pretty darn cold!  Between the below-zero windchill days, and the strong winds off of Lake Michigan, it is almost impossible to stay moisturized throughout the winter months.

I have tried numerous body creams and lotions, and while some commercial creams work pretty well, none are as luxurious as this do-it-yourself whipped body butter – or as pure.  Frankincense essential oil provides extra skin-soothing support, and I highly recommend you add it to this recipe.  (See my blog on Frankincense HERE.)

Rather than purchasing creams from the drug store, which contain parabens, mineral oils, formaldehyde, sulfates, preservatives, animal fillers, petrolatum, GMOs, etc., you can make your own all-natural body cream and actually nourish your body, rather than fill it with toxins.

My husband’s job causes him to wash his hands with a very harsh scrubbing soap, which leaves the tops of his hands dried out, red, rough and cracked from the lack of moisture.  I applied this body butter to his hands before bed, and by morning they were much softer and less irritated.

**Quick Tip!  If you have a mason jar or glass container that still has a price sticker on the bottom, any citrus essential oil will remove it, including all sticky residue, within a couple of minutes!  No need to purchase Goo Gone anymore once you have these oils.

I am always amazed at how having essential oils in your home can eliminate almost every store-bought cleaner.  (See my Essential Oils Cabinet project HERE.)

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Voila! No sticky residue left on the glass!

So, let’s get started!

First you will want to gather your ingredients (see recipe below):

In a double broiler or glass bowl, combine all ingredients except sweet almond, shea or jojoba oil and essential oil/oils.

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Bring to a low-medium heat. Stir constantly until all ingredients are melted.  Remove from heat, add your shea/almond/jojoba oil and stir to combine.  Allow to cool for 30 minutes.

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Place your bowl in the freezer for 30 minutes, or in the fridge for a few hours, until the oil is opaque and somewhat solidified.  It should no longer be a clear liquid.  (Sorry, I forgot to take a picture at this point!)

Once your oils have solidified, remove it from the fridge and add your essential oils. Using a hand mixer, whip for 10 minutes.  Body butter will become fluffy and look like whipped cream.

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Scoop into a glass jar, or if it is a gift, use a piping bag to give it more of a design.

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My piping design didn’t look so pretty….  So, I just filled the jar completely, tapping it on the counter each time to make sure it filled every space of the jar.

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If you are giving it as a gift, find some cute labels and ribbon and beautify it!  I think I will be giving one of these to all of my bosses this Christmas. It makes a thoughtful and budget-friendly gift for anyone.

SILKY WHIPPED BODY BUTTER

Ingredients:

1/2 cup raw shea butter
1/2 cup raw mango butter
1/2 cup cold-pressed coconut oil
1/2 cup sweet almond oil, jojoba oil OR shea oil
20-30 drops essential oils of choice
10 drops of frankincense oil (optional – fyi, frankincense in creases the potency of other oils)

(*Essential Oil Variations, depending on your health needs:  Copaiba, cedarwood, heluchrysum, geranium, melaleuca, peppermint, lavender, chamomile, cassia wild orange, rosemary, eucalyptus, grapefruit.  NOTE:  If using any citrus essential oils, DO NOT go in the sun for up to 12 hours.  It could cause severe burns.  They are “photosensitive oils”.)  (See Note in red below)

Directions:

In a double broiler or glass bowl, combine all ingredients except almond/shea/jojoba oil and essential oil/oils.  Bring to a low-medium heat. Stir constantly until all ingredients are melted.  Remove from heat, add your almond oil and stir to combine.  Allow to cool.  

Move bowl to the fridge and allow to cool for 1 hour.  This is important because you do not want to add essential oils to hot oil, or it will decrease it’s wellness benefits.  It should look slightly opaque and soft at this point.  Remove from the fridge and add your essential oils. Using a hand mixer, whip for 10 minutes. Body butter will to become fluffy and form stiff peaks.  Store in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid.

I HIGHLY recommend this body butter to anyone with dry or problem skin.  It has become my favorite body cream!  For extra added skin soothing, add frankincense and/or helichrysum oils to your butter.

Also, the types of base oils or butters that you add to this body butter makes a huge difference if you have eczema or sensitive/irritated skin.  I would recommend: raw shea butter, raw mango butter, almond oil, jojoba oil, apricot kernel oil, hemp seed oil, borage seed oil, evening primrose oil, calendula oil, kukui nut oil, carrot seed oil, safflower oil, peach kernel oil, sea buckthorn oil, rosehip oil, tamanu oil, sesame oil, walnut oil.  They are all very soothing for eczema.

FYI – Not all essential oils are created equal.  Most oils are adulterated, contain fillers and contaminants and come from Lord-knows-where.  The oils I use give full disclosure of their countries of origin, and they are third-party tested for absolute purity.  They are 100% pure, therapeutic-grade, and extremely potent.  If you would like to use this brand, please comment below and I’d be happy to point you in the right direction.

**[PLEASE NOTE:  According to the compliance rules of the FDA, I am unable to disclose my favorite oil company’s name in the body of this blog, but you can comment below with your email address, and I’ll send you the link, along with some great educational materials on essential oils.]

Until next time – stay moisturized!