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Wow!  I can’t believe it has already been over two years since I last posted.  I know all the reasons why this is true, just doesn’t seem possible that it has been so long!

I’ve decided it is time to dust off this site and put it back to regular use.  Why you might ask?  We are on another great TRANSFORMING adventure!

Introducing our biggest renovation yet…

Front GateCOOPER RANCH

Two days ago, my in-laws closed on this lovely 38 acre ranch needing much TLC.  This exciting opportunity will be a huge undertaking for 3 generations of our family (grandparents, parents and children) with the renovation of 4 homes, 4 barns and a swimming pool to boot!

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Isn’t the pool fun?!

I’m looking forward to having a place to document the journey.  There will be many stories to share, from the discovery of the property’s history to all the projects we encounter along the way.  Time to roll up our sleeves and get busy.

Let the restoration adventure begin!

A note from my daughter…

Today after our Jesse Tree devotional, my oldest daughter asked me if I still had my blog.  When I said yes, she quickly asked if she could post something today.  I have to admit that I am cautious in how I respond to some questions (especially with my children), not wanting to get stuck in some agreement that I can’t back out of.  I told her she could write something and then I would see about posting it.  She quickly started working.  I have to admit I am a humbled.  I am proudly posting it today, just as she wrote it…

December 19 2012 

I am Anastasia and I am 11 years old.  Last year for Christmas we each got one present.  But this year my mom came to me and asked “Anastasia this year for Christmas, as a family, I think we will do something different. What if we gave instead of receive?  To show others Gods love.”  I was so excited.  Because to see someone smile because I made a difference means more to me than getting a toy that I will soon forget about.  A toy can not change my life but someone else can.  Small things leave big impressions.  I can do something as small as giving a hug and the smile I will remember.  Sometimes I think we get too carried away in buying Christmas presents and seeing Santa that we forget the real meaning of Christmas.  God has given us the best present ever, eternal life. This gift will last forever.  When I am struggling and having a bad day I can call on Him.  If you don’t know Jesus and you want to know him just say this prayer with meaning lets pray    “Dear Jesus thank you for your gift.  Thank you for dying for me.  Forgive me of my sins.  Make me who you want me to be.  I believe in you. Please change my life and thank you for making me a new person, amen.” God loves you and I pray He will bless you.  Merry Christmas!

 

She has pretty big plans for changing the world.  I think she might just do it!

A Transformed Christmas

When I think about the name God gave me for my company over 10 years ago, I marvel at how appropriate it is even today.  It seems He continually “Amazingly Transforms” so many areas of my life and home.  The latest transformation is in how we are celebrating Christmas this year.  I am so excited about it and already feel the relief of peace that it is bringing.  This year there won’t be any pressures in the area of gift giving because we are choosing to only give gifts to Him this Christmas.  I know it sounds like a radical approach and yet it is already becoming the best Christmas we have ever experienced.  “How do we give gifts to Christ?” you might ask.  It is simple really.  According to Matthew 25:35-40, Jesus says…

35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

We have already begun this journey and it has been so special.  Just tonight, one simple act brought joy to others as well as to us.  I loaded up the car with the five kids and our family friend from Kenya and we went to the neighborhood nursing home.  My older daughters invited to sing with the children’s choir from church and I decided it would be fun to bring the little ones along for the ride.  After the kids finished singing and headed to eat pizza with their friends, the three little ones and I stayed behind to visit a few residents.

kids in wagon

I simply pulled them in their wagon up and down the halls and stopped to greet anyone who might be in their room.  The little ones had so much fun looking to see if someone was there and then would wave and smile.  This simple gesture brought the most beautiful smiles to their faces and ours alike.  I left thinking to myself, “Why have I waited so long to bring my children?”   This gift was only a small sacrifice of time but the value was priceless!

I’ve been reminiscing a lot lately.  Can you believe that 10 years ago this month a very shy, 29 year old girl launched a business called Amazing Transformations?!  Me either!   And boy have I been TRANSFORMED!

Here is just a small sampling of how my life has changed over the past decade:

1.  Met my trainer, mentor and dear friend JoAnne Lenart-Weary who encouraged me to follow my dream to create beautiful spaces.

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2. Launched my business Amazing Transformations.

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3.  Made weekly/monthly appearances on NBC56 news in Tyler, Texas.  (Yes this very shy girl actually asked to be on live television and they said yes!  Not sure if I would be able to do that now. :))

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(No, I did not have the opportunity to decorate the set.  I sure would have liked to!)Image

4.  Had the privilege of working in all levels of homes across the country.

Here are a few examples:

Before…

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After…

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Before…

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After…

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5.  Opened 2 different studios (one in Texas and then one in Oklahoma) to teach decorating classes.  Oh how I loved that season of my business!  It was so fun to share so many decorating tips with my friends and clients.

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6. Started writing Transforming Tidbits on a weekly basis in 2007.  I continued to faithfully write almost every week for about 3 years straight!  But because of #7 (see below), my ability to write as frequently, dwindled quickly.

7. Went from longing to be a mom (and having great difficulty becoming one) to becoming a mother of FIVE! (through the gift of adoption and fostering)

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8. I began the homeschooling journey with my oldest two daughters.  I have to admit, although I never saw myself ever even considering being a homeschool mom, I can’t imagine my life any other way now!  I have enjoyed growing closer to my daughters and learning along with them.  I will say, this year certainly has its challenges with also raising three little ones 2 and under.  You can usually find them right on top of the dining room table while I work with the older girls.  At least I know what they are doing, right?!🙂

9. About 1 1/2 months ago, I rid my home of almost all processed foods and started a very challenging but exciting adventure of eating whole foods.  As you might imagine, eliminating processed foods leaves one having to do a lot more work in the kitchen.    You may be asking yourself…”Why in the world would this open adoption, fostering, homeschooling, decorator mom even think about adding this to her already full plate?”  I know it is crazy, but I am finding it is totally worth it!

You see, about 6 months ago, a very dear friend who is just a few years younger than me was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Through her journey, she shared with me how much the food we eat affects our health.  She made the choice to fight this ugly disease through diet and I am pleased to say she is winning!

Once you learn information in life, you are then responsible with what you do with that information.  Well, what I learned has motivated me to make a huge change in the way my family eats.  It was tough changing at first, but now I can’t begin to express how amazing it makes me feel!  I have renewed energy, my clothes are much looser (woo hoo!) and best of all, my husband says I am more beautiful than ever before!

10.  And probably the most significant change, I am content with who I am.  For a long time, I was driven to be “known”.  Known as an amazing decorator, known for working with people I highly admired, known for writing an amazing blog, known by the world.  But now, 10 years later, I couldn’t be more happy.  Now I am a wife, a mom, a teacher, and a homemaker who occasionally decorates and I wouldn’t change this privilege for the world!

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As I enter my 39th year of life, I can’t wait to see what the next decade has in store.  I have a hard time imagining being able to top the last 10 years!

I am so thankful for my camera.  Without it, I’m not sure I would have remembered everything that occurred this summer!

Here is a pictorial glimpse of our whirlwind summer:

First Ballet Recital

Oompah Loompah in the local summer Children’s Musical Theater performance of Willie Wonka

So fun and so proud!

Fun with New York Cousins

Water sprinkler fun and

an occasional sip from a bird bath.

(Yes, I did run for the camera instead of wash him up right away.  I figured the damage had already been done.  Might as well laugh, right? )

There is oh so much more to share!

How did you enjoy your summer?

One year ago today this little man was born…Image

and then something happened,

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He GREW!

He is such an adventurous, sweet boy!  And he loves playing outside and eating…Image sticks and

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and flowers and

Imagelots of leaves and

Imagean occasional cheerio!

Happy Birthday my beautiful son!  Looking forward to celebrating you all day!

Mirror Turned Chalkboard

I find I am inspired almost every where I look these days.  Creative people and ideas are everywhere if you simply stay aware of the world around you.  Although I have been rather distracted lately by 5 beautiful children, I do find that I have the opportunity to discover a treasure from time to time.   (I actually see much more that I get to write about. )

A couple weeks ago, I joined my husband on a little road trip to experience his 20th high school reunion.  Instead of having to stay in a hotel, we had the privilege of staying in the amazing home of one of his classmates.  What a treat!  His friend and classmate is much like me in that she never received a degree in decorating or design, but boy is she talented!  (Now if we could just convince her of this truth! :))

She gave me permission to snap a few photos and I just couldn’t wait to share this idea with you!  Just look what she did with a discount mirror…

Isn’t it a cute chalkboard!  So clever!  I love the whimsical shape.  This arrangement is on the left side of the kitchen near the breakfast nook.  What a great place to keep notes or simply greet your family with a sweet message for the day.

Thanks Jill for opening up your home and making us feel so welcome.  I so enjoyed the “inspiring” weekend!