Island music, fresh papaya, soul-warming sunshine, breathtaking waterfalls and seascapes, and the scent of lush, tropical greenery, salty ocean, and coconut oil…we celebrated all five of our senses on our trip to Hawaii! God is so gracious to have given man the ability to experience life in ways that stir our emotions to such depths. It’s one of the reasons I love essential oils so much!

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But, I have to confess: before winning the trip to Hawaii, I wasn’t in favor of even going. While my husband kept an eager eye, multiple times a day, on our place in Young Living’s Drive to Win contest, I kept reminding him that we weren’t going, even if we won the trip. 
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I pictured a painfully long plane ride (this part turned out to be true!), obnoxious commercialism, too much time away from the children, and the temptation to spend more money than we should. I also wasn’t in favor of sitting on a crowded beach with a bunch of naked tourists. Yes, this was pretty much the extent of how I pictured a Hawaiian vacation.

So, I can honestly say that I absolutely did not try to win this trip. We were just doing what we always do – sharing with others about the amazing benefits of essential oils and helping our team to do the same. But that alone resulted in ranking 19 out of the 60 Drive to Win winners. So, after looking into my husband’s eyes and seeing palm trees swaying in the wind, I agreed to go…to please him. What I didn’t realize was how much the trip would bless me too!

It was late evening in Kona when we arrived at the Hilton Waikoloa Village resort, so we decided to have a light dinner. We found a seaside restaurant at the resort and planned to share a salad and appetizer before heading to bed. We were surprised to be seated at a quiet outdoor table over looking the ocean. 1939442_10203025521137458_1842753097_n

It was a beautiful welcome to the island.

James and I had arrived a day early to acclimate ourselves to the time difference and to get to know our surroundings (okay, we just wanted an extra day of R&R). And the first thing we did was pick up the convertible Camaro we rented!

Thank you American Express points! Here is a clip taken a few days later showing how much we enjoyed the wind in our hair!

The morning after our arrival, we woke up early to join Scott Johnson (director of U.S. sales for Young Living) for breakfast. The picture below is the early morning view from our room.

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The early morning view from the balcony in our room.

Every breakfast at the resort was wonderful! Stuffed omelettes expertly prepared and other “regular” breakfast items, but my favorites included the sweet tropical fruit, guava juice, and rich Kona coffee. Wow! And fresh papaya may be my new favorite fruit of all time!

Scott Johnson is a great guy with a lot of vision and a good head on his shoulders. We enjoyed getting to know him and the whole management team better. Travis Ogden, chief operating officer, Jared Turner, chief sales and marketing officer, and others were attentive, warm, and confident. We left feeling very encouraged about the direction and leadership of the company!

2014-02-26 12.15.08Later, James and I jumped into the convertible and headed to Waipo Valley to enjoy the view. Wow! You could only go down the road in a 4-wheel drive (not even all-wheel drive allowed). We sure would have loved to explore the beach down there! But, alas, we had to enjoy from afar. We considered a hike, but my Tom’s weren’t up for the job! Maybe “next time.”

Later, at the resort, we visited with other distributors at a NingXia Red reception by the pool, after registration. It was fun getting to know other essential oil-lovers and hearing their stories. Amazingly, some of the winners were brand new to Young Living, starting mid-contest; and they still won the trip! This is really an amazing company with not only amazing products, but also amazing opportunities!

The next morning, we were greeted before breakfast with fresh-flower leis by Travis and Scott. So pretty! During breakfast, there was a lot of whispering about an upcoming “surprise.” I love surprises!

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There was much anticipation, until…finally! Travis announced that Young Living had gifted each of us with the coolest of cool shades…Maui Jim’s!

2014-02-27 17.10.32Decked out in our new shades, James and I drove to Hilo and visited Akaka Falls. So many beautiful sights! More photos HERE.

We enjoyed dinner in Hilo that evening and headed back to the resort for much needed rest.

The next morning was our sandalwood adventure. While the rest of the crew had fun on the buses winning great prizes and gleaning essential oil wisdom from Gary Young and others, James and I indulged in an open-air excursion–we made the trek to the farm in the convertible! Sometimes we’re rebellious like that.

Here’s a picture of us leading the bus pack! You can almost feel the breeze!

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Here is the sign we saluted as we entered the farm! We will be soon be posting a more thorough account of our amazing Hawaiian Sandalwood experience, so stay tuned!

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Saturday, Young Living provided us with three options for adventure: snorkeling in the ocean, zipping down a ridiculously high zip line, or horseback riding through the mountains. We initially elected for the horseback riding, but later decided to simply relax at the resort and walk along the coastline. This proved to be a great decision, as we needed a day of rest.

While looking for a private spot to sit and watch the ocean, we discovered an empty cabana with an amazing view, equipped with two massage tables and two empty chairs!

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We determined that the cabana was probably set up for the resort’s spa, but since nobody was using the chairs, we sat down and enjoyed the privacy and the awesome view. Together, we rested there for hours, sipping tropical drinks, enjoying the sound of crashing waves, and inhaling the salty aroma of the great Pacific.

As the afternoon waned, James noted what seemed to be a small path meandering along the ocean shoreline. We decided to follow it for a while. It took us off the resort property as it twisted south along the Pacific. The shoreline was filled with black and white volcanic rock from an ancient eruption of perhaps Mauna Loa, which just happens to be the largest volcano on the earth!

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Perhaps because of the rocks or lack of modern amenities, most of the tourists ignored this beautiful path, electing instead to gather around the artificial pools and well-stocked bars. So, to our surprise, we discovered our own private beach – our own tropical paradise! We enjoyed some time walking in the ocean water, our feet sinking into white sand. The water was so warm, so refreshing; and the view was simply breathtaking!

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There are so many things we could share! We experienced the camaraderie of Young Living, the beauty of the Big Island, and the intimate bonding  time that is so crucial in a good marriage. But most of all, we rediscovered the reality of God’s providence. We had long conversations where we marveled over all that God has done in both of our lives – all that He has brought us through. And we celebrated as we realized that so many of our dreams for the future are becoming a reality.

Not only is God using Young Living to bless our family with health, He is opening up a new door for us financially. We love the way it is quickly becoming a “generational business” for each of our adult children. Not only do we all have our own individual businesses, they are intricately tied together in a unified organization through the business model of relationship marketing.

God has blown us away with the growth of The Common Scents Mom. Every month, we are more and more amazed by how much larger and faster our Common Scents team is expanding! Every. Single. Month.

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1901762_10203025522497492_379182078_nI guess it’s the law of multiplication, but it just keeps getting better. And what that means for our team is that our Common Scents families, many of them one-income, Christian homeschooling families, are experiencing a financial freedom they never thought they would have! I love that! As I shared HERE, this is the most homeschool-friendly business we could have ever imagined!

Check out this vignette of what all 60 Young Living Drive to Win contest winners experienced in Hawaii. Young Living will announce a new contest on March 15! Maybe you’ll be the next winner!