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Outlook November 2015


C O N C E R T – G O I N G



I T ’ S






Outlook November 2015

November 2015

An Agreement Between Sisters

I remember there was a cool breeze and the sun was shining bright. It was a perfect New England fall afternoon. Perfect day to head out to the woods for a mountain bike ride. Sandy and I were in our driveway loading up our gear and our bikes. We heard the phone ring inside the house. I said the machine would pick it up but Sandy made a dash for it. She emerged with terrible news. Her sister, Janet, was involved in an awful car accident and wasn’t expected to survive. “If anything happens to me, will you please take care of my kids?” That’s what Sandy’s sister would ask us nearly every time we’d see her. Janet was a single mom raising two kids on her own with no dad in the picture. We always answered yes and assured her that nothing is going to happen to her. Sandy believed Janet found comfort in her request. There were no legal documents—just an agreement between sisters. Sandy secured an emergency flight into OKC and was bedside with her sister when she passed away a few days later. I followed Sandy out for the funeral and worked through the legal custody arrangements for our new family members. Jessie, 1, and Juston, 4.

34 My Outlook

Michael Alpert, Alpaca Farmer

We kept those little Okies back east for nearly two years before Sandy and I decided to move to Oklahoma so they (and we) could be closer to family. Our house quickly sold, we packed up a U-Haul and headed to Oklahoma. Within a week, Juston was enrolled back in his school and Jessie returned to her familiar home daycare with Miss Shari.

8 Facts & Figures

The years that followed were filled with family bike rides, school projects, scouts, soccer, dance, Disneyland, kitty cats and trampolines—life got busy.

In Good Taste Local restaurants give back

So here we are now, nearly 20 years later and Jessie and Juston are adults. And both were over for dinner last night—which we don’t do often enough. Juston is 23 and recently finished up four years as a US Army medic. Jessie has a beautiful baby girl, Leia who is almost a year old already. She loves being a mom. Sandy and I are so proud of them. There are some moments in time I’ll never forget. I will always remember standing in my driveway and looking at Sandy knowing we were going to fulfill her sister’s request. Plans are great—I still make them, but I also know that a life’s direction and mission can change in an instant. Or a fall afternoon.

10 Louise

The Sacrifice of Friendship

13 Food

16 Business

Encompass Wellness Estate Furniture & Consignment

28 Seasonal


34 My Outlook Michael Alpert, Alpaca Farmer

Front cover photography by Marshall Hawkins To advertise, contact Laura at 405-301-3926 or


18 A Better Brewhouse

23 Local Lion

26 The Kids’ Place

30 A New Normal

32 Joel’s Photo Ark

The Patriarch offers a gathering spot for craft beer enthusiasts

Jermelle Cudjo keeps Oklahoma roots while playing in the NFL for the Detroit Lions

Local organization helps children and teens cope with grief

Teen Paul Crawford doesn’t let his medical condition slow him down One man seeks to document wildlife, hoping to inspire others to protect the animals

Dave Miller, Publisher/Back40 President


80 East 5th Street, Suite 130, Edmond, OK 73034


Volume 11, Number 11 Edmond & North OKC Outlook is a publication of Back40 Design, Inc. © 2015 Back40 Design, Inc.



PHOTOGRAPHY Marshall Hawkins


DISTRIBUTION The 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.





l o



f a c

Turkey Talk

t s




President Abraham Lincoln declared the fourth Thursday in November to be Thanksgiving. Congress declared it a national holiday in 1941

The largest pumpkin pie ever baked weighed 2,020 pounds

About 20% of all cranberries that are consumed in the US per year are eaten on Thanksgiving

The first Thanksgiving took place in 1621

Statistics provided and


Outlook November 2015

The national Turkey Federation estimates that 46 million turkeys are eaten at Thanksgiving






Around Town

Don’t miss the 13th annual Holiday Bazaar at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Sat., Nov. 14 from 9am-4pm! Located at 308 NW 164th St. (15th St. between Santa Fe & Western in Edmond), this event showcases a variety of more than 80 vendors, door prizes, a Continental-style breakfast, lunch menu and huge bake sale. Mark your calendars for Fri., Nov. 20! Edmond Women’s Club, in conjunction with Janice Winchester Keller Williams and Uptown Grocery, will host an amazing vendor shopping experience at the 4th annual Merry Marketplace from 11am7pm at Gaillardia Country Club, 5300 Gaillardia Blvd, OKC. Register now for the Edmond Turkey Trot and join the fun Thanksgiving morning, Thurs., Nov. 26, from 8-11am in Downtown Edmond. Bring the family and enjoy the new Kid’s Zone plus music, costumes and a raffle. Register for 5K Run or 1 Mile Wobble at Early registration before Nov. 20. Pets are welcome and student discounts are available.



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Being my friend is not an easy task. Oh, I’m not that hard to get along with. Well, not completely sure about that. Some might give that an affirmative. But I can truthfully say I am blessed with wonderful friends. Have been all my life. Not just mere acquaintances but true friends who come to my aid when necessary. The reason I say it is hard to be my friend is that I can’t always respond in kind. I am a caregiver. Plain and simple. I care for my 39-year-old son who has major health issues as well as developmental challenges. Though I opted to be a stay-at-home mom when my children were young, retiring early from my teaching career, this is different. Jay and I are home 24/7. When my late husband was home, he provided respite. Today, I hire someone to stay with my son when I have an outside engagement or simply want to have lunch with a friend. It isn’t a bad life. I’m not complaining. But being my friend can be a challenge. You can’t stop by if you aren’t totally healthy because of my son’s compromised immune system. And I may have to cancel on an event at the last minute. But I am thankful for the people who encourage and support our friendship. One girlfriend recently brought her handy husband to jumpstart a car battery for me. Last summer, when I brought Jay home from the hospital, friends dropped off food and even flowers. Some sweet souls have stayed with Jay when I have doctor appointments or go to the hair salon. A few have even met me in the ER when life turned upside down. Several friends phone, text or e-mail to stay in touch while others connect on Facebook. Thankfully, I have been able to reciprocate in various ways, even though true friends don’t really expect that. With Thanksgiving around the corner, some special friends in Arkansas come to mind. In November 2011, Jay and I spent the month


Outlook November 2015

by Louise Tucker Jones

in a small rental house in Bella Vista. The reason? It was the opening of the beautiful Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas where my son, Aaron and daughter-in-law, Amy worked. My husband had looked forward to opening day since the date they started the building. He even had Google alerts on his computer and we were on the grounds in November of the previous year to see what progress had been made. Then suddenly, pancreatic cancer struck and Carl died on May 29, 2011. Now here I was at opening day without him. Not only that, but I had rented the house for a full month which meant I would be there for Thanksgiving. Aaron and Amy usually spent the holiday with her family so I planned to spend the day in our little rental with Jay. However, Linda, Aaron’s mother-in-law, had a different idea. She asked if Jay and I would join their family for Thanksgiving dinner. We accepted. It was still a sad time for me without my husband, but I so appreciated the warmth of fellowship on a holiday that Carl and I had always cherished with family. It has been four years since that dinner in Bentonville, and not only have Linda and I become friends, but we still spend the Thanksgiving holiday together. Through the years, I’ve learned that every good friendship requires a sacrifice of sorts. A little give and take. But oh, the rewards! I hope you have some wonderful friends in your life. As for me, I am bountifully blessed.

About the Author Louise Tucker Jones is an award-winning author, inspirational speaker and founder of the organization, Wives With Heavenly Husbands, a support group for widows. Email or visit


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Outlook November 2015


In Good Taste

by Laura Beam

Local restaurants give back

It’s just another street corner on a busy day. Grateful for a long stoplight, I grab my phone and quickly try to catch up on emails and texts as I take a deep, meaningful slurp of my double-shot latte. The stoplight lingers. I check texts on my personal phone. Family issues tug and press. I can’t deal. Toss the phone into the cup holder and stare mindlessly into the daylight, trying to process it all. And just outside my car, a face arrests my attention. It’s just a man, a scrawny man holding a sign. A sign I’ve forced myself to look past a million times before, unsure of my own disposition at what could be a ploy. I’ve reached out my car window a few times, not really knowing where the money I gave would be spent. I just needed to give, maybe as much for my sake as theirs. Isn’t that the point of a gift anyway—the joy of giving it, the mere act of being generous? Thankfully, many businesses don’t grapple with giving the way we sometimes do as individuals. Community outreach is a key mission in corporate culture today. Many restaurants donate surplus foods to charitable organizations and give of their time and funds through community programs. As consumers, it’s gratifying to know that even

Volunteers for Habitat for Humanity receive free lunch provided by Swadley’s Bar-B-Q

the money we spend when dining out can be a source of giving. Swadley’s Bar-B-Q, owned by Ron and Brent Swadley, has a longstanding history of giving back to the community. Most donations are focused on faith-based organizations, local churches, schools, community organizations and charities. Executive Vice President, continued on next page


In Good Taste, cont.

Curt Breuklander, says, ”Feeding people and getting the opportunity to witness and share God with them is so rewarding. We’ve helped several law enforcement families who have lost loved ones. To support them during their most trying times and be there to provide a hot meal is so awesome and moving.” Swadley’s also supports City Rescue Mission, Celebrate Recovery, Boy Scouts of America, March of Dimes and many women’s groups. Dar and Susan Powers, owners of Jo’s Famous Pizza, donate fresh cooked pizzas and salads almost daily, and donate numerous gift cards throughout the year. Several hundred pizzas and salads are delivered each month to local schools and churches. “We feel that we should give the way God has blessed us. He has blessed us with a thriving pizza restaurant and so we give back to the community through it,” Dar says. For Kang and Mary Nhin, owners of Nhinja Sushi & Wok, donating their soups and rice at the end of the day to the City Rescue Mission is a natural way of giving back to others. Kang comments, “If we can help, give hope and help healing, we do it. And it goes without


Outlook November 2015

saying that City Rescue Mission does all three things.” Gregg Janes, owner of Twelve Oaks Restaurant, gives generously with gift certificates for charity auctions to the Salvation Army, Turning Point Ministries, Anna’s House Foundation and Edmond Women’s Club, among others. Janes notes, “We also support the Taste of the NFL Kick Hunger Challenge by partnering with one of our wine suppliers. Approximately two meals are donated for every bottle of selected wine we sell during the promotion.” In addition, Twelve Oaks supports Stan’s Ride against childhood hunger, with all proceeds benefiting the Regional Food Bank. Perk Place Café, owned by Natalie and Jeff Meyer, provides free coffee Monday-Saturday from 7-8am, with 25 cents of each transaction donated to Oklahoma Regional Food Bank Food for Kids Backpack Program. At their Crossings Community Church location, 25 cents of each transaction goes to Water4. They also support Lifetroops, Free to Breathe, Autism Oklahoma and Limbs for Life. Natalie recalls a special moment when the café was spotlighting Edmond AMBUCS and they had a tryke on display. “A young girl said her sister rode one of those when she went to therapy. Because of that interaction, we were able to connect her with Edmond AMBUCS and her sister received a tryke of her very own that was modified to fit her needs.” During this season of thanksgiving, it’s heartwarming to know that something as simple as a cup of coffee at a stoplight or in a cafe can make a difference. Laura Beam is a business and food writer and 20-year advertising and marketing executive in radio, newspaper and magazines. Share new business tips and trends with her on LinkedIn or email














Dealer Quality Service at Fair Prices Certified Auto Specialists

Full Service Maintenance and Repairs for All Makes and Models Getting your car ready for cold weather and holiday travel doesn’t have to drain your budget and try your patience. The technicians at Certified Auto Specialists are successfully beating the stereotype that having your car repaired includes false or needless charges. Want proof? “Our ticket has no hidden costs,” said owner Tim Hayali. “You shouldn’t be

charged for shop supplies—that’s part of doing business. And have you ever been charged an oil disposal fee? There are several companies that perform this service at no charge.” The greater proof, however, comes in the form of reputation. Hayali has been pleased by the number of customers who’ve followed him to his new shop, which has now been open for one year. “My name is important to me,” said Hayali. “I’ve been working on cars in Edmond for 25 years. When I work on your vehicle, my name is on that vehicle. And I want a good name.” Hayali knows customers can be taken advantage of because they don’t understand the technology of their vehicle. He speaks in layman terms and will email pictures to his clients so that they have an understanding of each repair. Working directly with Hayali is Kyle DeForest. Originally from Topeka Kansas, he moved to Oklahoma in 2008 to pursue a career

as an automotive technician. Prior to his move, DeForest graduated at the top of his class at WYO TECH in automotive technology and chassis fabrication with high performance engines. While working in Oklahoma for the last eight years, DeForest became ASE Master Certified as well as Nissan master certified. In the spring of 2014, DeForest left a local dealership to work with Hayali. Certified Auto Specialists is proud to offer a clean shop, but above all—they are proud of their reputation and their good name. Call 753-4113 to schedule your appointment today.

Certified Auto Specialists | 405-753-4113 | | 13841 N. Lincoln Blvd

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Encompass Wellness by Morgan Day Erin Files, APRN-CNP, and staff at Encompass Wellness

The road to getting healthy and staying healthy isn’t paved with prescriptions; it’s about getting to the root of the problem and reversing it with diet and lifestyle modifications. That’s the philosophy Erin Files and her team at Encompass Wellness follow, and it’s a method of health care that’s changing lives for the better in the Edmond area. “My passion is for helping people. Not just finding out what’s wrong with them, but also why,” said Files, a certified family nurse practitioner whose outlook on health and healing changed drastically during her nurse practitioner training. She said the traditional approach to healthcare focused on treating with medicine without acknowledging the body’s ability to heal itself or acknowledging that people want a different option. Sometimes the answer is medication, Files said, but in most cases, it’s not.

At Encompass Wellness, Files helps patients find which road to health and happiness is right for them. The center offers services for hormone replacement therapy, thyroid management, aesthetics, general health, weight loss and cryotherapy, or the use of cold-temperature therapy to treat injuries, rehabilitate muscles and can even be used for weight loss. While Encompass already has a full spectrum of services, Files seeks to eventually bring in a personal trainer and a nutritionist to offer nutritional counseling. That way, patients have the resources to not only learn about what they should do to be healthy, but have an extra push to follow through with it. “I want this to be somewhere people can come and get healthy in every aspect of their lives,” Files said. “That’s my vision.” One of the services growing in popularity

is aesthetics. The center’s aesthetician helps patients with fine lines, wrinkles, acne scars, varicose veins and more. Those seeking laser hair removal, waxing, chemical peels and botox will find what they need at Encompass Wellness. Open since June, Encompass Wellness is making its mark on the Edmond area. Its books are filled with appointments for patients who are eager to make changes in their lives. Files hopes patients who visit Encompass Wellness leave feeling like they’ve just confided in and received advice from a trusted friend. “They can tell I love what I do and I genuinely care about making them better,” Files said. “And they really care about me. It’s like I’m seeing my friends every day.” Encompass Wellness is located at 910 NW 139th St. Parkway. Visit to learn more and book your first appointment.

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Outlook November 2015

Estate Furniture & Consignment by Kent Anderson Bruce Stieber, owner of Estate Furniture & Consignment

Bruce Stieber had an idea. After a career in sales, and having operated a booth at an antique mall for several years, he was looking toward a new venture—a business that would showcase his love for antiques and quality furniture. Just one problem: he hadn’t been able to find the right location. Then, one Saturday evening he and his wife Dianna drove past a vacant building at 2100 S. Broadway in Edmond. They decided to take a look, and Dianna discovered that the front door to the empty building was unlocked. “I called the lease number on the sign,” Stieber recalls with a smile, “and told the man that the door to the building was open. He said, ‘I’ll be there in two minutes!’ He came down and said, ‘While you’re here, you want to look inside?’ So he showed it to us.” Stieber liked what he saw, leased the

building, and Estate Furniture and Consignment opened for business in February of 2015. Stieber channeled his passion for antiques and preowned, name-brand furniture into the business, and soon the once-vacant building’s 4,000+ square feet of space was filled. “I like things that are well made and can stand the test of time,” Stieber says. “I want people to know that this place has quality items. We don’t fill it with junk. Anyone can do that. We have quality, name-brand used furniture, at a good price.” Stieber lists top-selling items as leather furniture—including chairs, sofas, and barstools—along with antique armoires, pairs of matching chairs, desks and sideboards. With his background in antiques, Stieber has an eye for quality and for what he can sell. The process for Estate Furniture and

Consignment is straightforward: he asks those with furniture to sell to send him a photograph, either via text message or email. If he likes what he sees, he’ll talk price with the seller, and once they agree on a sale price, he picks up the item–at no charge–and places it in the store. When it sells, store and seller split the proceeds evenly. Stieber has been pleased with the rapid growth of his customer base, and enjoys the challenge of bringing in a steady supply of fresh and unique merchandise. “The most rewarding thing is finding pieces that we can bring in, sell at a good price, and make someone happy,” he says. “Finding the pieces, and then being able to satisfy that customer’s need, is the best of all.” More information about Estate Furniture and Consignment is available at 726-9499 or 740-8212, and at


by Heide Brandes

It’s a crisp autumn evening. Patio tables line the backyard, vintage string lights hang above. A folk singer plays a cheerful ditty while laughter and chatter fill the air. A group of friends cheers their glasses full of craft brews. Best part? It’s all happening right here in Edmond. Welcome to the Patriarch. It’s the newest gathering spot for locals north of the metro. Bryce Thompson and Steve Russell, both of Edmond, shared not only careers in construction, but a love of homebrewing beer as well. A chance meeting at their church led to a friendship, but little did the two know that in a few years, they would change the thriving urban corridor in Edmond by opening up the city’s first hyper-local, craft brew-centric pub and gathering house. The Patriarch, a hot new pub on the northern end of downtown Edmond, doesn’t just offer local craft beer and long, sturdy tables perfect for conversation, but everything the city was looking for to expand the popularity of its downtown area. “The city had hired a consultant on how to revitalize the urban district,” said Russell. “They were specifically looking for businesses that could thrive in the northern pocket of downtown Edmond. The Patriarch fit eight of the 10 things they were looking for.” Thanks to the love of craft beer, the perfect economic atmosphere and the lure of a historic old house, The Patriarch is now Edmond’s beer-lover’s dream. Since May, the pub has seen overwhelming support from customers and surrounding businesses, fulfilling the Patriarch’s mission of “Community Through Beer.”

AN IDEA BREWS “Bryce and I are both avid homebrewers,” said Russell. “We found out we were both passionate about beer and became friends. One day, we made a passing comment about the lack of places in Edmond to get good craft beer.” That one comment planted a seed. In March 2014, Russell happened to drive by the historic Hunt House, a 2,100 square foot home built in 1903 by the co-founder of the Citizens Bank of Edmond, William Hunt. “The property wasn’t even for sale,” said Russell. “But I


Outlook November 2015

got an idea of what it could be used for. Out of the blue, Bryce contacted me and we started talking more about Edmond’s lack of craft beer places, so I showed him the house. We decided then to just go for it.” They pestered the owner until they agreed to sell, closing in September 2014. “After buying the house, we had to go to the city planning and

zoning commission and the city council,” Russell said. “We showed the house to Mayor Lamb, and the city council was favorable for the zoning.” Local businesses in the area were also supportive, said Steven Viljoen, general manager. Even a competing pub, Sweeney McGann’s, spoke at the council meeting in favor of the Patriarch. “He made the comment that a rising tide lifts all boats,” said Viljoen. “All the businesses in downtown Edmond are pretty close-knit,” said Russell.

COMMUNITY THROUGH BEER When the Patriarch opened its doors in May, the response was immediate. Visitors filled the old Hunt house and its courtyard backyard. Long wooden tables in the yard encouraged conversations with strangers, while the house gave the business its friendly, attractive home feel. “From day one, our plan was to keep the house as original as possible,” Thompson said. “For instance, the bar top was in the house and we repurposed the walls that we tore down.” “We wanted to promote this as a place in Edmond that you can have a conversation at and encourage dialogue among strangers,” Russell said. “At the same time, we wanted it to be homey and comfortable too.” This is a place for friends. Picnic tables in the front and back yard add a community-style congregating point. A ping pong table and cornhole game set offer opportunities to have some friendly competition. The atmosphere lends itself to meaningful and fun conversation. The beer menu is colorful and bright, hand-drawn in chalk. The 48-plus beers on tap at The Patriarch show off the different styles of ales available. Of the beer, 75 percent of the choices are from Oklahoma breweries. Try the newest Coop seasonal or go with a traditional ale from Mustang brewery. Can’t decide on just one beer? Try one of their many flights, a 4oz sampling of four different beers. Feeling adventurous? Have the bartender pick favorites to sample. They update their beer list nightly, so each visit may offer unique flavors. The Patriarch also offers pint nights regularly, with the chance to receive a free beer glass, specifically designed for the brews being poured. Each night, the Patriarch also invites local food trucks to serve delicious offerings to the patrons. “We really wanted to showcase how good Oklahoma beer is,” said Viljoen. “We wanted to support local breweries and show Oklahomans what they have to be proud of.”

The Patriarch, located at 9 E. Edwards St. in Edmond, is open from 3pm to midnight Monday through Wednesday, from 3pm to 1am on Thursday and Friday and from noon to 1am on Saturday. Visit for more information.



Outlook November 2015

Local Lion

by Austin Marshall

Cudjo, an imposing presence at 6’2”, and just over 300 pounds, is a blend of swiftness and physical prowess. He registered a 5.10 second 40-yard dash at the Oklahoma “Pro Day,” which allows athletes to showcase their bona fides to NFL scouts. This strength and speed is fortified by his spirituality, which he discovered after he joined the Only nine out of 10,000 high school seniors—0.09 percent—will NFL. ever set foot on the field as a player in the National Football League. “When I went pro, I realized I couldn’t do this without God. I never A Lawton native—he was a standout at Lawton MacArthur High know where I will be the next year, or if I’ll have a job or be sitting at School—Cudjo excelled at the home waiting on a call. University of Central Oklahoma If I didn’t have my faith, and is now a defensive tackle the unknown would for the Detroit Lions. Through it drive me crazy. Through all, Cudjo and his wife Kandyce my faith, I have hope keep their native roots and live and reassurance that in Oklahoma during the offno matter what, God is season. taking care of me and “Oklahoma is home. Our my family.” friends and family live in Although Oklahoma. When we are home, he’s now a pro, Cudjo’s it’s easy to put all the worries of success wasn’t always football aside and just enjoy the guaranteed. He went time we have with our friends undrafted and had to and family,” Cudjo explains. work his way onto an Despite living in the Detroit NFL roster. He signed Cudjo, #99, makes a tackle against the San Diego Chargers area during the regular season, with the St. Louis Rams Photo by: Detroit Lions he never gets too comfortable. as a free agent in 2010 “I have friends in the different after a series of players cities I’ve played, but at the end of the day... it’s where I work. I will on the roster suffered injuries, giving him his big break in the NFL. always go back to where I came from.” “A few of the starters on the Rams’ roster got hurt. That gave me

Jermelle Cudjo has accomplished something that, statistically speaking, is close to impossible.

continued on next page


Local Lion, cont.

Kandyce & Jermelle Cudjo at the Lions’ training camp this summer


Outlook November 2015

a chance to showcase my skills. I made sure to take advantage of that opportunity when it was given to me.” He played with the Rams for one season before being released in May 2014. A brief stint with the Kansas City Chiefs followed before he signed with the Detroit Lions in January 2015. Cudjo stresses how important his Oklahoma roots are to him. “I want to leave a legacy. I want people to know that being the underdog, being from a smaller school like UCO, doesn’t predict your future. Especially football players who are from UCO, if you have a big dream, you can achieve it.”

Cudjo’s schedule during the season is a testament to his grit and determination. “During the season, it’s pretty much 7am to 5pm with one day off. Weights twice a week, meetings before and after practice. We watch a lot of film of past games.” Despite the grind of professional football, he insists on placing family first. “My wife and I try to make sure we have date night every week. If we don’t intentionally make time for each other, football season can take over.” The off-season is a little more forgiving. “I work out for about three hours Monday through Friday, varying between weight training and interval training. After that, I just chill. I try to find active things to occupy my time. I really like boxing, bowling and just hanging out with friends and family.” Going pro has made Cudjo a better man. “I have grown as a person. I have to be more responsible, disciplined and hungry to be successful so I can provide for my family. God has blessed me with success and with those blessings come with more responsibilities. Even when I don’t feel like working out, I have to give it all I’ve got. There aren’t really any sick days in the NFL.” Regardless of his success, Cudjo is still a humble Okie at heart. “I’m just a normal Oklahoma guy who happens to play football.”

The Kids’ Place Helping children cope with grief

by Amy Dee Stephens

Townsend understands this firsthand, as she attended Kids’ No one goes through life without experiencing the death of a Place as a child. Her father passed away when she was twelve, and she loved one—but sometimes it’s a child who loses a parent, sibling, and her sister participated in the peer-support group for several years. friend or other family member. The Kids’ Place: Grief Support Center Later, in adulthood, Townsend was invited to become a facilitator was established to offer them a safe setting to express feelings of anger herself. It has not always been easy, but it has been rewarding. and sadness, to provide coping skills, and to assure children that they “These families have been dealt a are not alone in their mourning process. Life is never the tough situation. I hand them a tissue “Our aim is to allow children to learn that it’s okay to get same after you’ve and take one myself,” Townsend emotional and to feel what they feel,” said Jen Foster, administrator lost someone. But said. “By the end of most sessions, of Kids’ Place. “We are not a counseling center, but we are a place you move forward, where small groups of kids can talk about their feelings through one day at a time & I feel better, though, because I gave guided peer discussion with other children their own age.” things get smoother these families a chance to have this positive experience they need. Many The Kids’ Place formed in 1995 in response to children who of them come in angry or closed off, but as they attend meetings, they lost loved ones in the Murrah bombing. Since then, nearly 400 families see others facing the same problems and start to find their own ways have attended, seeking help for children who’ve faced death due to to cope.” natural disasters, car wrecks, suicide, disease and so on. Because Because grieving looks different to a four-year-old than a ten-yearKids’ Place is a non-profit organization, there is no fee for its services, old, the children are broken into very small groups by age. Two adult facilitators lead themed discussions, which cover topics ranging from mourning techniques to dealing with holidays. They talk about how it feels on Donuts with Dad Day or Muffins with Mom Day at their school. Some children attend a few times, others attend for years. Although Kids’ Place is focused on children, parent support systems are held in conjunction with the children’s sessions so that adults can grieve separately. Caregivers or parents who have lost a spouse have to learn healthy mourning techniques for both themselves and their children. It’s common to find that while parents are putting up a good front to protect their children, the children are also hiding their emotions to protect the parent. As the administrator, Foster understands that this process never really ends. “Grief is never over,” she said. “You live with it, but hopefully, over time, things get easier, and you learn which triggers to avoid and how to face them. It’s okay to feel sad and to talk about your lost one.” Foster’s infant son, Brett, passed away in 2006. She shares the story of driving past a cemetery five years after he died. “I had a nervous breakdown, crying hysterically,” Foster said. “I called my husband and said, ‘I have a baby in a cemetery, and I don’t know how to handle that!’ You never know when grief and although the Edmond Church of Christ has oversight, there is no is going to strike.” religious preference or pressure. The facilitators are trained volunteers “The facilitators can make sure that families are having healthy who have helping hearts and a willingness to serve others. reactions by giving them tools for their emotional toolbox that can last Rex and Micki Carney have volunteered at Kids’ Place for nearly a lifetime,” Foster said. 20 years. “We don’t have a magic wand and we can’t rescue them—but “Life is never the same after you’ve lost someone,” Rex said. “But we can walk with them on their journey,” Rex said. you move forward, one day at a time, and things get smoother.” “Grieving is not a process you go through and then you’re done,” “The best thing is when a family says they’re ready to go,” Foster said facilitator, Teresa Townsend. “It’s a slow process of finding a ‘new said. “We love them and miss them, but we know we’ve done our job normal.’ Until then, people need to know that they’re not crazy for successfully.” The Kids’ Place is located at 2 E 11th St in Edmond. feeling devastated.” Visit to learn more.


Outlook November 2015














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said owner Cary Small, an Edmond native. “If the cabinets need altered or fixed, if you need plumbing hooked up, a backsplash—everything. We’re like a one-stop shop.” Fossil Stone eliminates the need to deal with multiple contractors, saving the homeowner the headache of juggling bills and timelines. While running his countertop business, Small realized homeowners found that dealing with a handful of contractors for one project was a nightmare. Seeing a need for better service, Small started growing his team and business to cover more of the homeowners’ needs. Not only do the home or business owners eliminate dealing with multiple tradesmen, they see a higher quality of work because the project is overseen solely by one company. Consolidating the construction and installation process ensures a more cohesive plan and fluid project completion. Small also attributes that high quality of

work to his skilled team of eight full-time workers. They have about 60 years of combined experience in granite, tile, cabinets and paint and special finishes. The company has seen such success in the past few years, it’s now moved into a new, larger facility in Edmond. The building will house a tile design center and more product displays, all with a professional atmosphere and on-site consultations. An official grand opening for the showroom will be happening soon. Small said customers are wowed by his crew’s attention to detail and desire to leave them with the best quality product. Plus, while other companies might slack on customer service after the sale is made, Fossil Stone shines. “Our service after the sale isn’t the standard one-year warranty,” Small said. “If you call three or four years after the sale with an issue with the workmanship, we’ll fix it. We really stand by our stuff long term.”

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Outlook OutlookNovember November2015 2015


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A New Normal Paul Crawford doesn’t let his juvenile diabetes stop him from being a regular teenager, and instead tries to help others understand

Teenager, Paul Crawford, defies stereotype. He doesn’t eat French fries. His standard fast-food order is a burger, salad and water. Things might be different if he hadn’t been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes as a second-grader. Since diabetes doesn’t run in the family, the diagnosis was unexpected. That pivotal moment forced the entire family to make life-style changes. “I was shocked and scared,” said Alissa, Paul’s mother. “I knew it was serious, and it had something to do with food and blood sugar, but I had no idea how all-consuming this health condition would be for the whole family.” In Paul’s eight-year-old mind, he thought he would undergo a cure and be done. The reality was more evident when he got home from the doctor’s appointment and wanted a snack. Suddenly, he had a whole new regime that included checking his blood sugar and monitoring his food intake. By the end of second grade, he taught himself division in order to calculate sugar amounts. “He was so excited, but it was hard to be excited about my child having to do that. Until you live with diabetes, you don’t realize—it never goes away.” Alissa said. “He can get very sick, very quickly. His insulin pump can malfunction. Growth hormones change everything. It’s something we constantly live with.”


Outlook November 2015

by Amy Dee Stephens

Understanding Diabetes

Like many people, the Crawfords had little grasp of the differences between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, which share some symptoms, but are completely different diseases. Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disorder in which the body stops creating insulin, so an outside source is required. Without it, one has less control over emotions and can exhibit extreme hunger or fatigue, headaches…the list goes on. Paul’s twin brother, Joel, doesn’t have diabetes—but he has become Paul’s best watchdog. If they are playing, and Paul’s emotions start escalating or he acts differently than his normal happy-go-lucky self, Joel stops and says, “I think your blood sugar is high. Go check it.” “I know he’s saved his brother’s life several times,” Alissa said. “Our normal is clearly not anyone else’s,” Alissa said with a laugh. “Paul goes through a lot,” Joel said. “Sometimes when he’s high, he gets really angry at me, but we work it out—because we’re brothers, and we love each other.” Alissa remembers Joel’s reaction the day of Paul’s diagnosis. “He said, ‘I know what my job is—to give him hope.’ He doesn’t realize how much he does for his brother.” The Crawford’s normal also means that the whole family made

dietary changes. They learned that potatoes cause Paul’s blood sugar to skyrocket—so no French fries, baked potatoes or mashed potatoes allowed. “Which makes Thanksgiving interesting,” said Alissa. The Saturday donut tradition went out the window, and he sticks to diet sodas and sports drinks. “Coke tastes like syrup now.”

Helping Others

Despite the constant focus on Paul’s health and diet, Alissa has seen her son turn his daily battle into a blessing for others. She’s so proud of his compassion toward other kids with illness. “He knows what it’s like to carry this burden all the time,” Alissa said. “He’s astute at noticing when other kids have diabetes, because they all have a signature pump bag of needles, meters and emergency supplies. He goes over and starts talking to them, and they instantly have a bond. He walks them through the shock of it.” “You just talk to them,” Paul said. “It might not seem like much, but that’s what I do to help others.” This year, Paul attended a diabetes camp, which allowed him to meet groundbreaking doctors in the field. He learned improved ways to control his blood sugar, and became aware of a rising concern for kidney cancer. “As Paul gets older, he’s taking on more responsibility for his condition,” Alissa said. “I’m thankful for our healthcare provider for understanding the ins-and-outs of the disease, and likewise for knowing that I understand the ins-and-outs of my child. Our combined knowledge is helping him become who he wants to be.” While at camp, Paul decided that he wants to be someone who helps people with diabetes. Now, he plans to pursue a career in diabetes research. He is very active as an advocate, host, and

guest speaker for fundraising events for the Children’s Hospital Foundation, and he was featured as their calendar kid in 2011. Volunteering is often a family affair, with his parents and brother all participating. “He handles his disease amazingly well, but there’s never a moment to relax,” Alissa said, becoming emotional. “I’m incredibly proud of him. I really wish he could have a day where he didn’t have to deal with it.” “Camp helped me learn that it’s not just about me,” Paul said. “With all the concern and attention I get, it’s easy to become subconsciously self-centered—but it’s a team effort, and I want to help others understand that they aren’t alone in this struggle.”

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Joel’s Photo Ark by Amy Dee Stephens

He’s been chased by wolves, polar bears and elephants—and it’s part of his job. Joel Sartore has spent more than 20 years contributing wildlife photographs to popular journals including National Geographic and Newsweek and traveled on assignment to every continent. However, his true life’s calling began ten years ago—to photograph every captive species of animal, before it is lost.

The Photo Ark

the animals are posed against backdrops of paint, paper or cloth. “Hopefully by meeting the animals in an intimate eye-to-eye way, people will care enough to wonder what they can do to save the species,” Sartore said. “You don’t have to save the whole world, but you can do something in your own backyard like planting milkweed for the monarch butterflies.” Being a world-renowned animal photographer isn’t nearly as exciting as it sounds. It sometimes involves hours of prep work and then more waiting for the animal to move into the right position. He’s endured frigid cold and blazing heat. During his last visit to photograph animals at the Oklahoma City Zoo, which included bison, lungfish and the oriole warbler, the heat index was over 100 degrees. Temperature, however, is not enough to diminish Sartore’s joy while at the camera or his overriding goal to expose people to nature.

Of the 5,800 species he has currently documented, some have already become extinct. The Costa Rican golden toad and the Columbian Basin pygmy rabbit are now gone forever. In some cases, his photographs are the only proof that these animals even existed on earth. This knowledge has fueled his desire to keep Sartore’s parents raised him to care going and to work about the natural world. He grew up faster. In the past hunting, fishing, attending zoo classes year alone, he has and carting home wild animals to photographed become family pets. “I would have 1,500 different gone into biology, but I couldn’t handle species. It’s a the math and chemistry, so I became personal mission, Photo by: Joel Sartore/National Geographic Photo Ark a journalist instead—and that’s what so he does it on his enabled me to see the world,” Sartore said. own time and raises his own funds through grants, writing books and Sartore was born in Ponca City, but he moved to Nebraska during speaking fees. He calls his work the Photo Ark. his childhood years. As a result, Oklahoma seemed like, “a distant, “It’s important to keep building the ark and bringing species on exotic place of red earth and southern accents.” He now strives to board,” Sartore said. “Hopefully some of them can be saved from the teach people that all states, including Oklahoma, have rich biological extinction crisis.” treasures in terms of species diversity, and that, “there’s more to the His style has become iconic. Highly-detailed, look em’ in the eye Great Plains than deer, turkey and bass.” photographs of animals against black or white backdrops. It’s not the work of computer graphics, either. With the help of animal caretakers,

A Born Naturalist


Outlook November 2015

Animal and Artistic Influences

He’s been touted as the modern-day John James Audubon, the influential 1700s American naturalist known for his bird paintings, but Sartore denies the comparison. “Audubon observed birds and drew them in incredible detail, from memory! He’s my hero,” Sartore said. “Audubon’s paintings and testimonials—like descriptions about the behavior of the passenger pigeon. He could see even then that some of these vibrant animals were in trouble.” Sartore also admires the efforts of portrait artist, George Catlin, who saw the looming demise of Native American cultures in the 1800s. Catlin’s paintings document the clothing and customs of tribes that no longer exist. “The work of Photo by: Joel Sartore/ National Geographic Audubon and Catlin is amazing, and it’s Photo Ark all that we have.” Whether Sartore admits it or not, he’s following in their footsteps. An animal doesn’t need the beauty of a parrot or the appeal of a monkey to capture Sartore’s attention. He’s photographed invertebrates, fish and rodents that elude most people’s interest—at least until they are captured by Sartore. A few years ago, Sartore visited the Palm Beach Zoo to photograph the rare Pondicherry vulture, a not-so-pretty bird with wrinkled pink skin on its bald head. “The zookeepers said that nobody had ever come to photograph him, even though he was the only one living in North America,” Sartore said. “It’s one more example of a species dangerously close to extinction in which there is scant evidence of its existence. That’s why it’s my job to document these things before they are gone.” To propel his awareness efforts, Sartore has published several books, including Rare: Portraits of America’s Endangered Species. A changing gallery of the photographs he took while in Oklahoma are on display in the Oklahoma City Zoo’s Patricia and Byron J. Gambulos ZooZeum and Noble Aquaticus Center. “At best, we’ll save some species,” Sartore said. “Maybe we’ll embarrass the government to protect flora and fauna or get a corporation here and there to do the right thing. At worst, the Photo Ark will be a record of what we squandered.” Learn more about Joel Sartore’s work at

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MY outlook

Michael Alpert, Alpaca Farmer by Bethany Marshall

How long have you been an alpaca farmer? We have been raising Suri Alpacas since 1999. How did you get started in alpacas? I bought a small acreage in SE OKC in 1998. I saw an ad for “Alpacas—The Huggable Investment” then went online and learned more. Found a breeder in Earlsboro and made an appointment to see the alpacas. Took one look, and I was totally smitten. We purchased our first two from a ranch in Washington, and the rest is history. We now have a herd of 63. Why alpacas? They are small enough to be very manageable, and are gentle on pastures. Alpacas have a soothing, almost magical quality. They are wonderful just to be around. Alpaca fleece is our annual “harvest,” and we are a Made In Oklahoma business for alpaca yarn and products. What service do alpacas provide? Alpacas produce the finest natural fiber (fleece) in North America. It is hypoallergenic and feels like silk. Other than fleece, alpacas produce more alpacas. How do you process its hair? Our blanket fleeces are sent to a sorter who sorts it by color and micron size. The lower the micron, the finer the fleece—there are six grades of fineness. The sorted fleece then goes to a mill. The mill spins the fiber into yarn, or leaves it at the last stage before spinning. This is called roving, and it is used by hand spinners and for felting projects. Is this more of a job or hobby for you? This is an agricultural business, not a hobby.


Outlook November 2015

What kind of personality do alpacas have? Alpacas are gentle and curious. They have a soothing quality, and will often hum. Haltertrained alpacas are very easy to manage by children, and are often used in performance competition at alpaca shows. What makes working with alpacas unique? They are easily managed on a small acreage. Typically, you can have 8-10 on an acre—because they do not have top front teeth, they are gentle grazers. They don’t pull out the grass roots, so pasture maintenance is much easier than with horses and cattle. Do you breed your alpacas? Where do they come from? Yes, we breed our alpacas. We have three nationally recognized stud males that are available for breeding. Alpacas are originally from Peru, Bolivia and Chile. They are native to high elevations in the Andes Mountains. Is it a lifelong commitment? Depends on if you get passionate about alpacas. It is a terrific lifestyle with some very nice people along the way. We travel to approximately eight shows a year, all over the country. Do alpacas make good pets? There are pet-quality alpacas that can be lots of fun. Typically gelding males make excellent pets. The only requirement is that you have to have at least two. They are social animals, and a single alpaca will not thrive. Learn more at the 2015 Alpaca Blast-Off Show November 14-15 at the Lazy E Arena. Find details at

80 East 5th St., Ste. 130 Edmond, OK 73034

Profile for Outlook Magazine

Outlook November 2015  

The Outlook is a monthly, full color, glossy magazine mailed free of charge to 50,000 homes in Edmond and north Oklahoma City. Since 2005, w...

Outlook November 2015  

The Outlook is a monthly, full color, glossy magazine mailed free of charge to 50,000 homes in Edmond and north Oklahoma City. Since 2005, w...

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