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April 2019

Pools, Plantings & Pergolas

Q&A with Nelson Landscaping’s Andy Nelson

Local Eats: Moni’s Pasta & Pizza

Cricket Anyone?

Still Writing Romance at 81


Features

You see those posts on Facebook, “So-and-so is in the hospital. Pray for them.” I’ve been seeing too many posts like that lately. Friends with failing health and friends undergoing major surgeries. I guess I’m at that certain age. “I’m there for you, buddy,” I told him. My friend had been in the hospital since Christmas. When I’d visit, he’d always ask if I would bring him his favorite lunch special from Sumo on Broadway. I was happy to do that, my job was to simply be a friend. On my last visit, this friend knew that he was dying. And that’s what he wanted to talk about. He knew my story and my experience with the subject. We talked about the here and now, and the forever. We talked about the phases of terminal illness and where he was in all that. We had an interesting exchange while he enjoyed his sushi, tempura, soup and salad both of us totally in the moment. He talked about his family. How it’s time for them to travel for one last visit. About who would take care of his dog (and about how friends snuck his dog in for a visit weeks ago). He said he was grateful for the time he had, to be able to tell people things he wanted them to know - and to say goodbye. And finally, how he hoped his passing could somehow help other people deal with their own mortality. I didn’t get a response when I last texted him. I was hoping to make another lunch run. A close family friend notified me that he had made the conscious choice to be comfortable and was now sleeping and will not wake again. She said he seemed at peace. I believe that. I will remember him as a kind friend who really enjoyed his Sumo.

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ASK EDMOND

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CRICKET COMPANIONSHIP

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Reflections on April 19, 1995 International sport brings Oklahomans together LOCAL EATS: MONI’S PASTA & PIZZA

Handcrafted food, full bar, spacious patio & special tasting menus

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FOSTERING BETTER OUTCOMES

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POOLS, PLANTINGS & PERGOLAS

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THE DRAMATIC LIBRARIAN

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Jennifer Abney’s mission to help children in need Ask an Expert with Andy Nelson Janet Bass brings books to life for young readers 109 ROMANCE NOVELS AND COUNTING

Q&A with Harlequin author Sara Orwig

Business

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QUAIL SPRINGS BAPTIST CHURCH

Welcoming new Senior Pastor, Dr. Stephen Rummage HERITAGE RENOVATIONS

Decades of making homes more beautiful

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LOUISE TUCKER JONES

Please Pray for Jay

Dave Miller Back40 Design President Cover photography by Marshall Hawkins

ADVERTISING l Laura Beam at 405-301-3926 l laura@edmondoutlook.com MAILED MONTHLY TO 50,000 HOMES IN EDMOND/NORTH OKC 80 East 5th Street, Suite 130, Edmond, OK 73034 l 405-341-5599 l edmondoutlook.com l info@edmondoutlook.com April 2019 Volume 15, Number 4

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Edmond Outlook is a publication of Back40 Design, Inc.

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© 2019 Back40 Design, Inc.

PUBLISHER Dave Miller l ADVERTISING MANAGER Laura Beam l GRAPHIC DESIGN Adrian Townsend l PRODUCTION Rachel Morse PHOTOGRAPHY Marshall Hawkins www.sundancephotographyokc.com l DISTRIBUTION Edmond Outlook is delivered FREE by direct-mail to 50,000 Edmond & North OKC homes. Articles and advertisements in the Outlook do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the magazine or Back40 Design. Back40 Design does not assume responsibility for statements made by advertisers or editorial contributors. The acceptance of advertising by the Outlook does not constitute endorsement of the products, services or information. We do not knowingly present any product or service that is fraudulent or misleading in nature. The Outlook assumes no responsibility for unsolicited materials.


LOCALLOOK

Ask Edmond

April 19, 1995 Where were you that day?

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Pam Orendorff Owner of Hip & Swanky Clothing Boutique

James Bowen Retired Superprinter Owner

Aquesha Williams Lead Engineer, Tinker AFB

Elizabeth Guitierrez Independent Hair Stylist at Bella Strada

Jenni Shrum Marketing Strategist National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

I remember the morning of April 19th, 1995 vividly. I was living in Ponca City at the time, and I happened to be home that morning, holding my sixmonth-old baby Kailey. Watching the news images, I remember thinking this could not be real. The most heartbreaking image was seeing the firefighter cradling baby Baylee in his arms. Having my own baby girl close to the same age, I was especially heartbroken for her family. Continued thoughts and prayers for all of the victims and their families, along with all of the rescuers whose lives were forever changed.

I was at the print shop I owned on 63rd and Shartel talking to one of my buddies in Edmond on the phone. Halfway through our conversation, I heard a loud boom and couldn’t help but yell some four-letter words. Three seconds later, I heard the boom on the phone and my friend screamed too. I immediately went to the back room and turned on my tiny black and white tv and radio. My coworkers and I sat there in complete silence for the rest of the day and I closed the shop for a couple of days. During that time, we didn’t believe things like this could happen, so the mixture of shock and fear made it difficult for everyone to work. We all just wanted to be with our families.

I was in the 6th grade in Putnam City. I remember our desks started shaking. Almost immediately, we heard a loud ‘BOOOM’ and my teacher explained that we had just heard a sonic boom. About an hour later, the principal announced on the intercom that all students with parents who worked downtown were to report to the office. At the time, my father worked at Southwestern Bell, downtown. I jumped at the opportunity to get out of class, but my excitement was quickly replaced with anxiety and disbelief. I found out my dad was okay, but other phone discussions were not so pleasant. I could hear another student crying and wanting answers. We later found out that her mom suffered bad injuries from the windows shattering, but was okay. Today, I see the resiliency of Oklahomans, and we will forever be known as the “Heartland.”

I grew up in California and I was in 5th grade. I remember this day so clearly because I pretended to be sick so I could stay home from school and watch TV all day. I planned on watching The Price is Right and talk shows, but a few minutes into it, a breaking news report came on about the bombing. I did not understand the magnitude of the situation at the time. Once my mom got home, she asked me how everything was going and I said, “Fine, but there was some kind of bombing in Oklahoma.” Little did I know that more than 20 years later, I’d consider myself an Okie and I’d know so many people whose lives were impacted by this tragedy.

I was working on the 4th floor of The Oklahoman building on Broadway Extension. We heard and felt the shake of the ground. My original thought was that a News Channel 4 helicopter hit the building since we were located next to the station. I saw a huge cloud of black smoke and found out one of my friends who took classified ad calls, had a strange call from a man saying something about a bomb prior to the blast. She ended up speaking with the FBI. Time seemed to stand still and phones wouldn’t work. Once we found out there had been a bombing, I knew many friends’ and coworkers’ lives would be touched. I just didn’t know until later how many Oklahomans and Americans would have their lives changed forever.

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FEATURELOOK

By Amy Dee Stephens

Cricket Companionship Did you know that Oklahoma City has a championship cricket team? A better starting question might be: What exactly is cricket? It’s a bat-and-ball game dating back to 16th century England, then called “creckett.” The modern sport resembles baseball, except that the “batter” is also protecting a wicket behind him. Imagine a magnet in Oklahoma City, strong enough to attract cricket enthusiasts from playing countries around the world. The formation of the first local team happened rather like that—except that instead of a magnet, a newfangled invention called the Internet drew the players together in the early 2000s. Nearly every player on that early team represented a different country. Cricket is a common, competitive sport internationally, but it is just starting to catch on in the United States. Oklahoma was an early adopter. “It happened organically. Cricket players moved to Oklahoma for jobs and started Google-searching for players in the area. They found each other,” said team player, Nathan Kerswill. That was in early 2000. The first team was comprised of players from places as far as India and Bangladesh. Now, Pakistan, Granada, Sri Lanka, England, New Zealand, the Caribbean and other countries are represented as part of the team known as the Strikers Cricket Team. Nathan, a more recent player, is one of only a few players born in the United States. “I first learned about cricket when I was channel surfing in Australia. I got the basic idea of the game, and it stuck with me. Back in the U.S., I came

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across a cricket match while looking for a soccer game. I thought, ‘Why isn’t everyone watching this?’ It just got into my blood.” Like the other players, Nathan found the team via the internet—and cricket is now a big part of his life. Not only does the sport satisfy his need for athletic involvement, he’s part of an international collective that has opened his eyes to cultures around the world. “It’s interesting, really fantastic, to be part of such a diverse group of people,” Nathan said. “During lunch breaks, I might have the chance to sample homemade foods from India or another country. The best part is how welcoming everyone is to anyone interested in trying cricket or just watching.” Not only do the Strikers players have great camaraderie, they have succeeded in winning two league championships against other states. “We are an all-amateur club, but we are competitive,” Nathan said. “Hopefully we’ll bring home another trophy for Oklahoma this year.” The team currently practices at Douglass Park in Oklahoma City each Thursday evening at 5:30. Cricket games, especially playoffs, can run many hours long, so the players’ time investment is lengthy. Since many of the players have families with young children, it is common for family and fans to drop by for only portions of the game. “We all have daytime jobs and families, so we are fortunate that they are willing to allow us to play. It’s because of them we can play this sport we love,” Nathan said. “We love having the public watch us play this fantastic game. Maybe they will catch the cricket bug too.” To learn more visit www.okcstrikers.com or International Cricket Council.


FOODLOOK FEATURELOOK

Moni’s Pasta & Pizza Handcrafted food that surprises and delights By Laura Beam Owners John and Rachel Foster

What happens when a web developer at a non-profit robotics organization and a classically trained French chef decide to buy an Italian restaurant? Food magic, that’s what. In 2014, John Foster and wife/chef extraordinaire Rachel saw an opportunity they couldn’t resist when they took over Moni’s Pasta & Pizza in Edmond. True to form, this dynamic husband and wife duo, who met while volunteering on a hospital ship in Africa, embraced the chance to take their careers in a new direction, together. Nestled in a residential hub on North May Ave., Moni’s is a cozy eatery that reminds you of that fantastic restaurant you discovered on your last vacation and haven’t stopped talking about since--that one where the food was amazing, the service was spot on and the mood just seemed to beg you to sit back and soak it all in a little longer. “We are passionate about handcrafted food and excellent service,” Rachel says. “Our motto is ‘better, every day.’ It’s our approach to business, people and food.” The menu certainly reflects the Foster’s standard of excellence, with decadent pasta dishes, steak, seafood and gourmet pizza selections all showcasing chef Rachel’s elevated culinary touches. You can just tell this food is special, from the first bite. Forget what you know about Fettuccine Alfredo. Moni’s will forever spoil you with their rich, creamy sauce, generously clinging to each satisfying bite of pasta. “One thing we hear nearly every day from customers is that the Fettuccine Alfredo is the best they’ve ever had,” John comments. “Another item people come back for is the bread.” Once you taste the oversized, airy yeast rolls with a hint of garlic on the crusty top, you’ll see why. “They’re made fresh daily. It’s a labor of love but definitely worth it,” Rachel adds. The zuppa di shrimp and sausage is another chef recommended item. “The soup with angel hair pasta features lots of big flavors in a light lemon seafood 12

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broth, and is a really pretty dish, too,” Rachel notes. Also a favorite is the gourmet, New Jersey-style pizza. The crust, the sauce, the cheese--once you try it, you can’t stop craving it. Recently expanded, Moni’s now seats 180, has a full bar, spacious patio and a chef’s table featuring special tasting menus. Also a recent addition is a new menu highlight--the charcuterie boards and boxes. They feature an exquisite sampling of salami, prosciutto and deli pepperoni on skewers, along with Pecorino Romano cheese, gorgonzola, walnuts, dried cranberries, toast points, a tangy whole grain mustard and chocolate toffee pretzels. Beautiful on the table to enjoy over a glass of wine, the charcuterie is also the perfect to-go indulgence. Moni’s does a robust catering business, and corporations, event planners and everyday lunch and dinner guests are eating up the delicious convenience of these flavorful boxes. If you don’t save room for dessert, do yourself a favor and get the Limoncello cake to-go. Its light texture and tangy zip, layered with billowy citrus mascarpone, is the ultimate finish to a hearty Italian meal--even if you eat it in your comfy pants once you’re home. Visit Moni’s at 17200 N. May Ave. or www.monisokc.com.

Laura Beam is a writer and advertising manager with 25 years in radio, newspaper and magazines. Connect with her on LinkedIn or Facebook.


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FEATURELOOK

Fostering Better Outcomes By Amy Dee Stephens

Jennifer Abney wants Oklahoma kids facing troubled lives to have better outcomes. She wants it fiercely. So fiercely, in fact, that she started an organization for foster children that smashed previous success rates and has mobilized the whole state of Oklahoma in the process.

a couple who had just become certified foster parents following a frustrating series of delays which had occurred due to a delayed cat vaccination tag. Arriving at the shelter, we found out about a nine-year-old sibling. At that same moment, I got a text that the new foster dad had experienced the suicide of his own father when he was nine, but the foster dad said, ‘He can stay with us, too.’ That’s why that cat vaccination had taken so long. The timing was right.”

It started with one child—the child she didn’t have. “My husband and I tried to have a child for 13 years, but it didn’t happen, so we decided to become foster parents. We fostered Desi for two years in California and then adopted her. During that first week of adoption, we found out we were pregnant with Kate.”

Timing has recently led Jennifer to an ambitious group of women who are new to the non-profit scene, but are ferociously driven to open a crisis nursery in Oklahoma City. They haven’t even secured a building yet, but they already have 800 volunteers lined up to help as soon as they do! Jennifer is mentoring their team through the non-profit process. Their nursery plan coincides with her own ambition to open a day care that caters to foster children.

The family moved to Oklahoma and discovered the state’s foster care system was facing challenges. Jennifer wanted to see improvements and decided, “If not me, who?” So, she started Angels Foster Family Network in 2011. The agency has helped 3,500 children find permanent homes within only 8-12 months. Additionally, Jennifer created a huge network of non-profits who help each other by filling specific needs for these children, from safety to trauma care. The work is extremely gratifying. “Foster children look haunted and hollow at the time of placement. They’re pulled away from everything they know. It’s up to me to get them with an amazing family. Literally two weeks after placement, they look like different kids. They look happy and peaceful, like they belong. That’s what love can do in a short period of time.” Jennifer works hard to match the perfect families, but she believes in divine timing. One Christmas Eve stands out in her mind. “I got a call about a murder/suicide case in which a baby needed emergency placement. I called

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“Finding childcare is a huge roadblock for foster parents. I’m still looking for the right solution, but the more non-profits in Oklahoma working together, the better. These ladies are doing a phenomenal job developing the crisis nursery as a place where parents in an emergency or abusive situation can leave their child in safety. In a state with high rates of child abuse, this fills a huge need,” Jennifer said. “I love partnering with people who want to fix issues for our vulnerable children. I feel rejuvenated as we build this awesome path toward healthy families, piece by piece. Together, we are creating better outcomes for children.” For more information or to get involved visit Angel Foster Family Network at www.angelsfosterokc.org and OK City Crisis Nursery at www.crisisnurseryokc.com


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HOMELOOK

By Anne Richardson

Pools, Plantings & Pergolas Ask an Expert with Andy Nelson

Spring is here in full bloom and it’s time to get outside! Outlook visited with Andy Nelson of Nelson Landscaping to get the best tips on outdoor living. What are some of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when putting in a pool? A common and big mistake homeowners make is not planning the small details well enough. This includes things like not enough of a shallow end, minimal deck space around the pool or not installing a pool heater. Also, going with the cheapest bid... there’s usually a reason it’s the cheapest. When doing a pergola, when should it be attached to the house vs. freestanding? We like to attach pergolas to the house when possible. Whenever you use a freestanding, four-post design, it makes for an awkward space on patios. Attached is a better option and generally it looks nicer.

When choosing a landscaping company, what should homeowners consider? - How long have they have been in business? - Does their website show proof that they can create the outcome you want? - Does the company have a backlog? If they can start the next day, you should be cautious. Nelson Landscaping usually has a 4-6 week wait time but on occasion can accommodate a client with a more pressing deadline. - Do they have good reviews online and on social media? - Are they punctual, especially for the first meeting? That’s an important first step to ensuring deadlines will be met. Call (405) 202- 4120 or visit them online at www.NelsonLandscapingOK.com.

What are some of the trends this spring in outdoor living? People are truly starting to utilize outdoor living as another living space. This means bigger patios and decks, and fire pits and fireplaces that add design and comfort to the space. One of my favorite trends is an automatic screen system which we professionally install. The retractable screen is controlled by a button on your phone to provide shade and protection from insects while enjoying the fresh air. How does maintenance determine your design for clients? The #1 request from clients is that the landscaping be low maintenance. People are busy, so when we create a landscape design, we include elements like types of plants that don’t require monthly trimming. We are happy to accommodate this request and it’s a good choice to make. What are some of the biggest mistakes people make when installing a water feature? Many times, people don’t put in a big enough reservoir of water, so they have to constantly add water to it. This can be a hassle, which often leads people to stop maintaining it. When we design a water feature, we make sure there is a big enough reservoir. We can also tie the water feature into the sprinkler system so there is always a water supply automatically added. The homeowner can sit back and enjoy it.

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Andy Nelson, owner of Nelson Landscaping with wife, Keirsten and daughter, Isabella.

Nelson Landscaping started in 1995 as a small lawn service company and has grown into one of the largest design+build landscaping companies in the OKC Metro. They pride themselves on the quality of work their team provides each client and always strive to deliver excellent service in a timely manner.


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FEATURELOOK

The Dramatic Librarian By Amy Dee Stephens

If you know about Fancy Nancy books, you must have a little girl in your life. The wildly-popular illustrator, Robin Preiss Glasser, recently dedicated her book, Fancy Nancy: Bubbles, Bubbles and More Bubbles, to Edmond school librarian, Janet Bass. Why? Because during each of Glasser’s author visits to Janet’s library, the reception included an over-the-top performance. “I once dressed up like Fancy Nancy and brought in a ballet bar with little girls practicing in their tutus for her mermaid ballet book. The illustrator was rather taken aback,” Janet said. “I was shocked when I received her new book, and it was dedicated to me! I ran down the hall to the kindergarten teachers and said, “Is there anyone who can jump for joy with me?’ So we did, and we hugged and cried. I’m not anybody special, but it was so touching that she did that for me.” Edmond author, Tammi Sauer, has also experienced Janet’s overwhelming talent for making books come to life. “Not only does she give authors the star treatment, she creates an unforgettable experience for the students. Janet kicked off my Christmas book by dancing across the stage dressed like a Christmas tree, complete with blinking lights and gift bags for footwear. Oh, I love that lady.” As a former drama student, Janet is unafraid of acting silly in front of an audience. She has dressed up as everything imaginable, from a dinosaur to a pigeon. She’s hosted book breakfasts, book-themed field trips, and book skits performed by the parents. Janet also reenacts historical characters such as suffragette Nell Richardson and Edmond’s Kentucky Daisey because Janet believes strongly that history touches the present day and impacts the future. For all Janet’s dramatic flair, especially in front of the 487 children she works with at Oklahoma Christian School, she is humble about her role in attracting some of the biggest-named authors in the business, including Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, and Eric Litwin, author of the Pete the Cat series. “All librarians like to personally meet the authors and illustrators who make books for their kids. I value the fact that they consider children an important audience for their talent.” Janet has worked as an educator for 29 years, first as a 2nd grade teacher and now, 19 years as a librarian. Her goal is to make the library a go-to for children as their curiosity is piqued by current events or pop culture. “They are interested in monarch migration and hurricanes right now. My lesson plans change to accommodate what’s relevant to them. I like kids to see that they are part of a world community, not just Edmond, America. We participate in global book readings and make Skype visits around the world.” Janet is also co-founder of a successful Twitter chat called Sequoyah Chat, which celebrates the yearly Oklahoma Children’s Book Award. Janet invites nominated authors to answer questions about their books so that librarians, teachers and parents can be better informed. “Being a librarian is not about sitting behind a desk checking out books, it’s about introducing children to the world of stories. They don’t have to find a book on their grade level—they just need to find the right book for them.” And chances are, Janet is already brewing some wild idea to bring that book to life, because as she likes to say, “I’ve never met a book that can’t be accessorized with a good costume or hat.”

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BIZLOOK

Quail Springs Baptist Church and Pastor Dr. Stephen Rummage By Maria Veres

After just a few weeks in Oklahoma City, Dr. Stephen Rummage already feels right at home. “The people are so kind and gracious,” says Dr. Rummage, the new senior pastor of Quail Springs Baptist Church. “It’s been a great welcome and a great beginning for us.” Dr. Rummage replaces Dr. Hance Dilbeck, the longtime senior pastor of QSBC. The thriving church is a familiar landmark in the Quail Springs area. It’s been there longer than many of the businesses and neighborhoods that now surround it. “When we moved here 37 years ago, there was hardly anything around,” recalls Mary Criner, Director of Communications. The church began as a small congregation in Nichols Hills and moved to its current space in 1982 when it needed more room to expand.

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Quail Springs Baptist Church has a long commitment to outreach, both globally and in its own backyard. Dr. Rummage shares the vision of serving the community around the church. “My goal is to get to know the congregation, staff, and lay leaders, and to get to know OKC and show Christ’s love to this community,” he says. Dr. Rummage is well qualified for the task. He received a call to preach in college and has been in ministry ever since. “We’ve served some smaller churches and larger ministries, and in every circumstance we’ve been blessed,” he says. He taught for several years at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and he has a national daily radio broadcast, Moving Forward. He’s the author of several books, including Praying with Purpose, a popular 28-day prayer guide co-authored with his wife Michele. Through all his years in ministry, Dr. Rummage’s mission has stayed the same. “My goal is to open the Bible and to give a message from the Bible that speaks to people’s lives,” he says. “I believe God changes lives through the Bible.” Quail Springs Baptist Church offers three Sunday morning services, each with a different musical

Dr. Stephen Rummage, Senior Pastor

style, and a Sunday evening service. Members can also participate in Sunday morning Connect Groups and many ministries during the week. Everyone is invited to attend Easter services on April 21. The church has many special activities planned for summer, including Vacation Bible School (June 24 –28 for grades Pre-K – 5th) and youth camps. Family-friendly “Movies Under the Stars” will take place on the lawn every Wednesday in June. “We want to be known for reaching out to the Quail Springs area,” says Mary Criner. Visitors are always welcome. Quail Springs Baptist Church is located at 14613 North May Avenue. To view service times and upcoming activities, visit www.qsbc.org. Dr. Stephen Rummage’s radio broadcast, Moving Forward, can be heard Monday-Friday at 7:00 p.m. on 95.7 FM.


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BIZLOOK

Heritage Renovations By Maria Veres

Dan and Leslie Peake have spent decades making Edmond and OKC homes more beautiful, but they haven’t lost any of their enthusiasm for their work. Whether it’s a simple kitchen-cabinet upgrade or a major multi-room renovation, Heritage Renovations manages each project with care and pride. The company specializes in kitchen and bath remodels, but Dan and Leslie have expertise in many other types of construction. “We’ve covered the whole gamut from building houses to concrete work and framing. We also do a lot of attic renovations and room additions,” says Leslie. Once they enter into a contract, Heritage manages the project from start to finish. “We build cabinets in our own facility, so they’re all made custom for

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each individual job,” says Leslie. “We do our own painting. We create lots of specialty finishes for cabinets and walls.” Jobs are completed by a team of professionals who work exclusively for Heritage Renovations, giving consistency and high quality to every project. “They’ve been with us for years,” says Leslie. “They’ve been trained to do the job the right way, protecting the rest of the house and keeping the area clean.” Dan brings a lifetime of experience to his work. His father poured concrete and did framing, and he began learning the construction trade when he was barely old enough to hold a hammer. Leslie, a trained interior designer, works with clients to plan the renovations and use a home’s existing features to their best advantage. A recent attic remodeling project included a shelf that she and Dan designed together to fit around a large pipe. Dan designs the architectural details of each project, drawing up detailed blueprints and plans for clients to review. The Peakes use a 3D modeling program to demonstrate exactly how the finished renovation will look. “It helps everyone envision what is going to be added,” says Leslie. “It’s a really helpful feature.”

Before

After

Heritage Renovations has worked on many different buildings during its long run in the OKC area, including both homes and businesses. But the Peakes are hard pressed to name a favorite project. “They’re all our favorites,” says Leslie. “As you develop and build and see them come to fruition, it’s very rewarding for us, our team, and the homeowners.” Dan and Leslie are proud that they have many clients who return to them whenever they have renovation needs. “They become friends,” says Leslie. “We’re not just there for the sale, we’re there afterwards. We want a relationship with our clients, and we want all our clients to become longterm clients. It’s an honor to be called back.” Learn more about Heritage Renovations and view photos of recent projects at www.HeritageRenovations.net.


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ALOOKBACK Jay delights me every day with his singing and dancing and his daily trip to Sonic for a Coke. Doesn’t want a burger, fries or ice cream. Just a medium-size Coke to keep him company while he watches a little “Gunsmoke” on TV at home. But right now, Jay’s health is in jeopardy. For almost a year we have dealt with infections and major dental issues. He is in pain at times and needs extensive dental surgery even though anesthesia is a risk to his life. Therefore, he requires a hospital setting—OU Medical—with a cardiac anesthesiologist and cardiac backup team.

Please Pray for Jay

By Louise Tucker Jones

My column this month is not my norm. It concerns the health of my son, Jay, who has Down syndrome, a communication disorder, and severe heart disease. Doctors never gave us hope of seeing this child live into adolescence, yet here he is turning 43 years old on April 7th. I call it a miracle.

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The dentist being considered for this surgery estimates a 4-5 hour procedure or longer—too long under anesthesia. I’m praying she can accomplish what is needed in 2 hours or less, lessening the risk of anesthesia. At the time of my writing an exact date has not been set but will likely be mid April. As you probably suspect, I am frightened. I have wept and prayed for months over this situation. I have begged God for healing and mercy for Jay, and I trust He will answer that prayer. My husband went to heaven 7 years ago, so I feel a huge responsibility as a single parent of a challenged

adult child. I pray diligently for direction for myself and for medical personnel. Over the years, I have enjoyed receiving email from readers. Some especially love Jay. So today, I ask you to pray for a miracle of healing for my son. Pray for protection during surgery, for a remarkable recovery and even a Happy Birthday. Thank you for your faithfulness in following my column and for the kind notes you send. And thank you immensely for prayers for my son. Jay is such a beautiful blessing!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Louise Tucker Jones is an award-winning author, inspirational speaker & founder of Wives With Heavenly Husbands, a support group for widows. LouiseTJ@cox.net or LouiseTuckerJones.com.


FEATURELOOK

109 Romance Novels and Counting Q&A with Harlequin author Sara Orwig

Eighty-one may seem like a good age to retire, but Sara Orwig has other plans. With a garage filled with books instead of cars, Orwig has dedicated the majority of her life to reading and writing and doesn’t plan to stop. With 109 under her belt, Outlook visited with this Harlequin author to learn more about her books, writing process and future plans. Why did you pick this genre? I used to read mysteries often and still love them. Once when I was home alone, I tried to write my own mystery, but as I wrote the first chapter, I got so frightened that I had to stop writing and leave the house. That was the end of thoughts of becoming a mystery writer. I spent one summer reading historical romances by Barbara Cartland and her books inspired me. I felt like I had found my niche. How did you get started with Harlequin? I had written four unpublished historical romance novels when I got an agent who sold my first two to a California publisher. She sold the next two historical romances to Harlequin through their UK publishing division, Mills & Boon. I then sold to other publishers as well as Harlequin. Now, I write exclusively for Harlequin and in January I had my 71st Harlequin novel released (my 109th published book.) Out of your 109 books, which one is your favorite and why? “The Fairfax Brew” is my favorite. It has more humor than most of my books. It’s set in the 1800s. I wrote it before I was published, for myself more than for a market, and it became my 4th published book when Harlequin bought it and brought it out as a Harlequin Regency Romance.

Where do you get your inspiration for each book? My husband likes to say it’s him! I get my inspiration from my imagination. I like thinking of characters falling in love and the pitfalls and problems they have to overcome. Do you plan on retiring? I’ve always said I never wanted to retire. I think maybe God was listening. How closely do your plots reflect real women’s lives? Everyone has problems to deal with at some point in time. I try to write strong, compassionate women who love and are loved by determined, exciting men—two people who are attracted to each other, solving the problems they encounter and finally—as the old saying goes, “love conquers all”—have a happy ending. I had a strong mother and have had strong women in my life. I think my plots reflect these real lives even though the characters are imaginary. How long does it take for you to write a book? I’ve written larger historical romances that when published were over 500 pages. With mainstream fiction or historical books, the research takes more time. Family Fortunes was mainstream fiction and took a little over six months. My romance novels often take three to four months, depending on my schedule. How do you choose your character’s names? To choose my characters’ names, I keep lists of popular baby names. I also keep books of names. I try to avoid family and friends’ names. Most names I choose are popular ordinary names. For more information on Sara and her books visit www.saraorwig.com

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