Are You Thinking About Coming To Our Marriage Intensive? Here's Why You Should Go...

Can you believe we're actually posting a video?!? We know...we know...it's been a while, it's just that we haven't had access to a video camera for a loooong time and our son has graciously let us use his for a bit so we're taping like crazy over here!

A lot of couples We wanted to talk with people about why they should go to one of our Marriage Intensives; you know...things they may be struggling with, how their marriage may look (or not look) right now, the kind of help they may or may not be getting and how that plays into their relationship. Then we talk about what they'll receive at our workshop, the biggest plus ~ in our opinion ~ is being taught by a couple who's actually living out what they teach.

We recently read that about 75% of couples who go to marriage counseling end up worse than when they started or divorced. That's a troubling statistic and one that we can attest to being a part of. Nothing at all against counseling, though the reason this often happens is because counselors treat the couples as individuals instead of as a couple. Interesting.

We hope you'll watch and be blessed by what we have to say and that to know that you can experience change in your marriage. Oh! And please be sure to click the Facebook "Like" button at the end of this post to share this with all of your friends.



Why Go To A Marriage Intensive...

We recently heard a surprising statistic; that 75% of marriages get worse or end in divorce in spite of marriage counseling. We can definitely say that we fell into that category despite two years of secular and non-secular counseling. We literally spent thousands of dollars trying to get help for our marriage only to watch it free fall towards hopelessness. What we needed was a biblically-based alternative to counseling that didn't address us individually but as a couple and we found it at a Marriage Intensive.

Couples who attend have relationships that suffer from many of the following reasons:
  • they're engaged and experiencing problems with their fiance
  • there's a lack of affection
  • they have issues that always seem to resurface without any resoltuion
  • they're secretly miserable
  • they've become roommates without benefits
  • their needs are ignored
  • they're hardly ever have sex
  • there's been physical or emotional adultery
  • they're feeling controlled and manipulated
  • they resent one another
  • they have discussion that escalate into arguments or screaming sessions
  • they're struggling with addictions
  • they're experiencing verbal, emotional, physical or spiritual abuse
  • they're bored
  • they're staying together because of their family, social pressure, the church, financial reasons, etc.
  • a lack of appreciation
In our bad days, we could lay claim to just about every one of these issues and we were completely battle scared when we stepped into our Intensive on that first day. By the end...we both went home with a sense of hope we hadn't felt in years!

Marriage Restoration Intensives aren't large counseling sessions. You won't be asked to participate in small groups, break-out sessions or have to take homework back to your room each night. Instead, you will receive marriage-transforming principles, based on God's word, that you can take home and apply to your daily lives that will strengthen and renew your marriage.

If you're feeling drained and frustrated or are dangling on the edge of divorce, we urge you to consider attending our next Intensive....it's time to learn how to transform your marriage.

Join us for the next Marriage Restoration Intensive which takes place June 9-12 in Anaheim, CA. Just connect with us to find out more information and to sign up.

It's time...


Coconut Oil Deodorant...

I absolutely love handmade spa and beauty products; making my own face masks and body scrubs....it's fun, wonderfully economical and I love the herbal smells that fill my bathroom and shower when I use them. There's also the added benefit of actually knowing what the ingredients are that I'm putting onto my skin and since I've heard a lot about the aluminum salts used in many deodorants (to block the pores so you don't perspire) can get into breast tissue and has a potential link with breast cancer. This, in my opinion, makes the use of a natural deodorant even more appealing.

Knowing this, I've tried several over the counter natural deodorants (won't name any names here) that haven't worked for me at all ~ not as far as odor is concerned anyway and who wants to be dry but still smell? "Not I," said the Little Red Hen.

Okay, segue into my journey with raw foods and using coconut oil in my diet for it's many health benefits and I find that it's also used as a beauty product and.....as an ingredient in natural deodorant which you can easily make yourself.

There are recipes all over the net for making this but the recipe is generally the same all around:

4-5 tablespoons of melted virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup cornstarch or arrowroot powder (I use cornstarch)
10 drops of your favorite essential oil (I like lavender, tangerine and lemongrass)

Mix everything together (it will have the consistency of thin pancake batter) and pour it into a re-purposed deodorant container or into a small lidded jar. That's all there is to it! Just be sure to keep your deodorant in the refrigerator as coconut oil liquifies in warm temps. When I'm going to need it, after I shower for example, I simply take it out before I get in so that it softens up a bit and goes on easily (be sure to put it back into the refrigerator when you're done). You could also just keep it in a jar in your bathroom, scoop out a small amount when you want to use it and rub it on.

A couple of things to note:

* you may need to rub it in a bit before you get dressed
* a bit of white may get on your clothes if you don't rub it in
* this deodorant works so wonderfully that you can easily go longer than a day without using more. I know this may gross you out but it's totally true.
* it smells WONDERFUL! I remember having my husband smell me several times throughout the day when I first started using it - I was SO amazed by it!

Add a pretty label to your container and make some for yourself to feel pretty and healthy and make some for your friends who will be just as amazed as you are by how well it works!

p.s. a little side note. i've been using this for about two years now and i'll never, ever, go back to store bought - even store bought natural deodorant. they just don't work as well as this. serious!

When He's Not Responding The Way You're Told He Will...

I was visiting Sheila Gregoire's blog today ~ To Love, Honor and Vacuum ~ because every Wednesday she does a little something special with regards to marriage called "Wifey Wednesday" (kinda like our Wellness Wednesday posts) and while I was checking out the responses to what she'd written, I stumbled upon a comment left on another blog that made me prick up my ears....or...er...I guess that would be my eyes.

Anyway, it was this part of a specific comment really resonated with me and I wanted to address it today.

"Stating that it’s a wife’s job to make clear (as in understood by the man) that he IS valuable and safe with her can place a tremendous amount of stress when she’s following all the prescribed rules of wifely behavior and he still doesn’t respond the way she’s told he will."

IMHO, this is the very reason why the word 'submission' imparts an immediate (proverbial) punch to the stomach for so many woman. for so long, the church and books and women's bible studies, etc. have taught wives to have a quiet and gentle spirit towards their husbands, submit to their authority over her, and be sure you have sex with him whenever he wants because 'your body is not your own'.

If this worked, then I daresay the divorce rate within the church would be a lot lower.

In the context of marriage, there's no where in the bible that a wife is called to unconditionally love (agape) her husband or to lay down her life for him; that's a husband's role towards his wife. A husband is called to be many things for his wife and then she's called to respect him and with respect comes submission. And when a husband is fully submitted to God and to his wife, it's an organic response for his wife to be submitted to him and God as well. He needs to go first, though - not the wife. He is a source of life for her just as Adam was a source of life (literally) for Eve.

We once heard someone ask this question: "What would make a bigger difference in the furthering of God's kingdom - 10,000 evangelical events or 10,000 husbands loving their wives with a Christ-like love?"


And this is why: Michael loves me whether I deserve to be loved or not. Unconditionally. I don't always have to be on my game for him or only talk with him about an issue when he's in a good mood; he lives with me in understanding. I'm a proverbs 31 wife because I have a proverbs 31 husband (yep, he's there and I encourage you to reread that proverb with fresh eyes). I respect Michael and am submitted to God and him because he lives his life respectably and in submission to God and me. He pursues me every day as a groom pursues his bride and we are completely safe places for one another.


Back Rubs & Baked Goods...

Let me tell you a bit about my husband.

He's totally low maintenance
He's an incredible father ~ very caring
He eats everything I cook, even the experiments, and raves about it
He tells me I'm gorgeous every day
He's a really good friend
He does most of the housework and he does it really well
He's sexy as hell
He totally knows me
He takes time out for me whenever I need/want him to
He's great at his job
He once bought me a horse
He never turns me down when I want to make love and doesn't pressure me when I don't
He washes my hair
He's not the least bit pretentious
He's as happy with little as he is with a lot
He loves me like crazy
He knows how to sail
He can get you organized faster than you can say 'rip van winkle'
He'll change poopy diapers and clean up vomit at 3am
He knows how I take my coffee
He can never remember the date of my birthday (for paperwork and such) but never forgets the actual day
He's equally capable wearing a white collar or a blue one; whichever is required to get the job done
He kisses and hugs me in public and admires my cleavage whenever he gets the chance (even in public) sighs heavily when he glances away; knowing my gifts are his and his alone
He drinks milk at every meal, even at a restaurant when we've also ordered a fancy bottle of wine
If I wake up anxious in the middle of the night, he wakes up with me and holds me and prays over me
He rubs my hair every night before bed. Serious. EVERY night.
He knows that I prefer to eat with a salad fork instead of a dinner fork
He washes, folds AND puts away the laundry

Yeah...he's alright (she says with a small smile).

Today is his birthday. He's 45. And he doesn't mind me telling you so it's all good. When I asked him what he wanted to do he said, "just stay in bed all day". I so get that. It's what I did for most of my birthday too and super nice when you're on the go all the time.

I made him a killer breakfast this morning with homemade blueberry, lemon and ginger scones. Heart-shaped.

And when I asked if he wanted a German chocolate cake or red velvet cream cheese brownies, he chose...

Actually, he does want a back rub which will happen later tonight. He wants to fall asleep while getting it. Hey. I aim to please.


Natural Is Best...

OMG...two Wellness Wednesday posts back-to-back. That's just crazy people! I will relate it to marriage restoration in that Michael absolutely listens to my heart by completely indulging my craftiness in all it's many forms and praising everything I make - my Proverbs 31 husband!!!

So, I love trying homemade skin care recipes and this is my most recent find and since our skin is porous and what we put on it get's absorbed into our bloodstream, I think what goes on our bodies is just as important as what we put into them. Just like the natural deodorant that I make and use. Have I mentioned that yet? It's awesome!

But today, I have a handmade lotion for you so let's get right to it. I don't remember exactly where I found the recipe but the ingredients go like this:
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp grated beeswax
  • essential oil (optional)
As always, I changed it up. I replaced 1/3 of the water with rose water (you can use rose water, orange flower water or brewed tea like peppermint, chamomile or hibiscus - the latter will give a delicate pink color). Instead of evoo, I used a mixture of organic coconut oil and organic avocado oil and I added about 6 drops of tangerine essential oil.

Heat the oil, sans essential oil, in a double boiler using a glass bowl. Add the grated beeswax to the oil and mix until completely melted. Carefully remove the glass bowl from the double boiler and let cool for about 5 minutes.

Put the water into your blender and turn it on. While it's whirling, take the plastic center from the top of the blender lid and slowly pour in the oil and beeswax mixture. It will immediately begin to emulsify. Blend about 30 seconds more then add any essential oil you may be using. You may have to stop and stir/loosen your lotion a couple of times but that's normal and it mostly depends on the strength of your blender.

This lotion is wonderfully creamy and smells soooo good. I use it everyday, even on my face as a mask to moisturize my skin and it's also a great makeup remover!

If you have a local farmer's market that you go to and there's a honey vender there, they probably sell the beeswax. That's how I got mine. This is a whole food product and should last about 3 months at room temp. I don't expect ours to last that long but if you make it and aren't going to use it right away just be sure to refrigerate it.

Tomorrow is Michael's birthday and he's asked for an hour-long back rub. Guess what I'll be using?


Beach Day...

One of the greatest blessings in our lives is that Michael and I both work from home and we highly recommend it to all who want to try rearranging their lives so that this can be your everyday. I can honestly tell you that we didn't always like working together; it used to be heartbreakingly painful for us both. Our lives are so different now though and we've really come to treasure the time we spend together. We're able to see our boys off to school and be home when they are, we can go for coffee together in the morning, spend a few hours at Disneyland, make love in the afternoon, see a movie, nap, minister to couples, read. Of course, we don't do all of these things every day (someone needs to make money after all) but often enough to enjoy.

Today we took a few hours out of our day to take Daniel to the bay and just relax and play.

We had so much fun and just look at Daniel! He loved being pulled on the boogie board by Michael. I can remember Kathy telling me a while back to give myself permission to enjoy Michael and our kids and I really struggled with that. I know that sounds silly but I needed to hear her say that because I was holding myself back.

Sometimes I still do.

Not that often anymore, though. Definitely not today!

Hope you'll be joining us on the call tonight - we'd love to say hello!