June 2022

Page 1

June 2022

Meet Isa

Gerber’s 2022 Chief Growing Officer

Pawsitive Reading Experience Erase the Hate Out of the Wood Work



JUNE 2022

l

EDMONDOUTLOOK.COM

l

3


4

l

EDMONDOUTLOOK.COM

l

JUNE 2022


JUNE 2022

l

EDMONDOUTLOOK.COM

l

5


6

l

EDMONDOUTLOOK.COM

l

JUNE 2022


I probably got into business for the wrong reason. I simply wanted to help. I’m a creative and I enjoy the creative process. Helping business owners market their businesses with new ideas and new technology was really fulfilling for me. Getting paid was a bonus, but not the reason for my vocation. Over the years, it’s gotten more complicated. All this became very apparent to me in a busy Phoenix Airport terminal last month. I was there for a 2-hour layover. Waiting at my gate, I was relaxed and ready for my vacation. From my calm perch in the bustling airport, through the crowd, I noticed an older couple in front of the men’s room entrance. The gentleman was having difficulty getting out of his wheelchair, his wife was struggling to get him to his feet. People zipped by - too busy to help. I headed over to the couple. I ended up escorting a very unsteady William by the arm to the restroom. I waited on William, guided him back, and carefully helped him back into his wheelchair. Mary thanked me. And I was on my way. I was just there to help. There was no negotiation for services rendered, no allocation of resources, no scheduling, no fussing over who got credit, or discussions if the act “sparked joy” or not. I wish my business could be more like that again, and I think it can be. It’s definitely something to work toward, so maybe I’ll run some numbers on that, and have a meeting or two. Dave Miller Publisher & Back40 Design President

8

10 Features 8

Pawsitive Reading Experience

10

Eddie’s Bar & Grill + Hott Wings

12

A Sommelier of Board Games

14

Meet Isa, Gerber’s 2022 Chief Growing Officer

18

Erase the Hate

20

Out of the Wood Work

28

Hope is Alive Addiction Ministry

30

His Turn at the Wheel

12

Business 22

Kennedy Tire

24

Avenge Pest Control

Columns 7

In Other Words with Dave

26

Louise Tucker Jones

Cover photography by Avenue Photography ADVERTISING l 405-301-3926 l sales@edmondoutlook.com MAILED MONTHLY TO OVER 50,000 HOMES IN THE EDMOND AREA 1024 W Covell, Edmond, OK 73003 l 405-341-5599 l edmondoutlook.com l info@edmondoutlook.com June 2022 Volume 18, Number 6

l

Edmond Outlook is a publication of Back40 Design, Inc.

l

© 2022 Back40 Design, Inc.

PUBLISHER Dave Miller l EDITOR Amber Plaksin l ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Angie Clemens Byers and Laura Beam l GRAPHIC DESIGN Anne Richardson PHOTOGRAPHY Marshall Hawkins sundancephotographyokc.com l DISTRIBUTION Edmond Outlook is delivered FREE by direct-mail to over 50,000 Edmond area 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

Pawsitive Reading Experience By Maggie Murdock Nichols

Bon, a twelve-year-old black labrador and golden retriever mix, wags his tail with controlled excitement as he sits beside his owner Shawn Coughlin. Bon is eager to greet children as they walk in with books in hand. Bon is a certified therapy dog and for the last ten years, has provided comfort for those left in the wake of natural disasters or for the sick in hospitals. Heidi Port, the volunteer coordinator for the Metropolitan Library System, says that therapy dogs enjoy coming to the library as a respite from what can be emotionally taxing work. A Pawsitive Reading Experience The Children Reading to Dogs program began in 2011. Heidi says, “We see kids who need practice, lack confidence, or are afraid to read out loud.” Dogs give reassurance to these readers because there is no judgment, only positive reinforcement. Children have grown up in the program, going from timid, quiet readers to expressive storytellers. The program is back after a lengthy break. The Edmond library began renovations in December 2019 and soon after, in-person programming came to a halt during the pandemic. Shawn says, “Bon and I saw kids make huge leaps in their reading. We’re now seeing a whole new group come through.” Kids greet the dogs with pets and pats on the head, sometimes cozying up and laying their heads down on the dog’s bellies as they read. Children practice reading all week in expectation of reading to the dogs. Heidi says, “We’ve had 8

l

EDMONDOUTLOOK.COM

l

JUNE 2022

teachers reach out to parents to ask what they are doing to improve their students’ reading. The only thing that changed was that the child had been reading to dogs.” Library Programming Reopens for All Ages The Edmond branch of the Metropolitan Library Systems is the busiest library in the system, circulating more than one million books and other materials annually. The renovations and modified services due to the pandemic make the comeback of programming all the better. This summer, the library will open in-person, indoor programming for library patrons five years and younger. Since the fall, storytimes have been held outdoors and are well attended. The staff is excited to bring storytime back inside with a whole new group of soon-to-be readers. The staff has witnessed preschoolers who attended storytime as babies, confidently walk their younger siblings in to show them all that can be discovered at the library. Avoid the Summer Slide The Summer Reading Program will be held from June through July. Rewards and prizes earned through the Summer Reading Program help prevent what’s referred to as the “summer slide”. The summer slide occurs between school years when kids do not read or otherwise work to retain what they learned in school. Kids who don’t take a break from reading during the summer fare better when school is back in session. Children Reading to Dogs takes place on the first and third Tuesday of the month with two sessions. Storytimes are held at various times throughout the week. Registration and more details for all events can be found at metrolibrary.org.


JUNE 2022

l

EDMONDOUTLOOK.COM

l

9


FOODLOOK

Eddie Wrenn III

Eddie’s Bar & Grill + Hott Wings By Laura Beam Meet Eddie Wrenn III–the namesake behind some of Edmond’s best-loved food experiences. This third-generation restaurateur is passionate about serving his community and creating dining destinations with outstanding menus and moods to match. And after 30 years in the biz, his distinct Edmond restaurants–Eddie’s Bar & Grill, two Hott Wings locations and The Lounge–are buzzing with foodie fans who can’t get enough. Having grown up in a large family that got together every Sunday at his grandparents’ 300-acre property in upstate NY, it’s only natural for Eddie to pass on that same goodtime, close-knit vibe to his customers. You’ll see him in the restaurant every day, visiting with guests and recommending certain dishes. “I’ve been in food service my whole life,” Eddie comments. “It’s all I know. Being a restaurant owner is more than just a business acquisition, it’s a daily personal passion.” Exceptionally Eddie’s Eddie’s first venture was a successful catering business and then in 2015, he opened Eddie’s Bar & Grill by UCO. Now in its expanded location at 2nd and Coltrane, Eddie’s has a Cheers-like feel where you’ll almost always run into a friend. A delicious made-from-scratch menu features hand-cut ribeyes, fresh fish, decadent pastas and Eddie’s famous Buffalo Wings. A favorite appetizer is the Okie Twinkie—pulled pork with cream cheese stuffed in a fresh jalapeno wrapped in blackened bacon. It’s a mouthful that gets better with every bite and sip of your craft cocktail! 10

l

EDMONDOUTLOOK.COM

l

JUNE 2022

Some Like it Hott Three years ago, Eddie took his famous Buffalo Wings to next-level notoriety, opening Hott Wings at The Railyard. And fans rejoiced! The trendy spot in Downtown Edmond offers an extended selection of fresh, authentic Buffalo style wings, smoked and grilled to perfection, or boneless wings that are battered and flash-fried. “The Premier Pickle Wings are the number one favorite,” Eddie says. “They’re marinated in pickle juice and tossed in our salt and vinegar breading.” A creative choice of sauces like Salty Caramel, Bourbon Barrel and Mango Habanero, along with dry rubs, lets you tap into a world of unique flavor combos you never imagined. A few months ago, Eddie opened another Hott Wings location, adjacent to Eddie’s Bar & Grill at 2nd and Coltrane. This spacious sports bar exudes energy with 10 TVs and a chic industrial design. Not only do guests enjoy all their favorite Buffalo Wings, but also true NY-style pizza with a thin, foldable crust. “In NY, pizza is judged by its ‘pull’–how far the cheese pulls–and ours is a 14-inch pull,” Eddie explains. Time to Lounge When it’s time to chill and wind down with your favorite people, The Lounge is the place to be. Opened last year on 2nd Street in Edmond, it was inspired by Eddie’s grandparents’ basement in upstate NY. The classic Hollywood style décor and menu are a nod to some of your fondest childhood memories. Think rotary phones, velvet chairs—a swanky place where you want to linger over a good conversation as much as you do the Chilean Sea Bass, steak or salmon. Whatever your appetite or mood, Eddie says he “strives to create a remarkable, memorable, one-of-a-kind experience you’ll only get with Eddie’s.” Stop by Eddie’s Bar & Grill and Hott Wings at 2nd & Coltrane, Hott Wings at The Railyard in Downtown Edmond, The Lounge at 3601 E. 2nd Street, or visit edmondeddies.com.


JUNE 2022

l

EDMONDOUTLOOK.COM

l

11


FEATURELOOK

Dallas E. Caldwell

A Sommelier of Board Games: Dallas E. Caldwell By Maggie Murdock Nichols “I like to think of myself as a Sommelier of board games,” Dallas E. Caldwell says, surrounded by shelves of neatly stacked board games. Just as a sommelier recommends wine to a dinner party, Dallas has his own recommendations for board games. After considering experience level, game difficulty, and player interest, Dallas is able to browse his selection of board games to find the perfect pairing. His motto being, “there is a game for every player and a player for every game.” “Fandom and passion are better when they’re shared. I was into nerdy stuff all my life; now lots of people are into it,” says Dallas. With more than 400 games, his collection runs the gamut. Dallas has a refined palate, he likes games with a theme and favors the worker placement genre: a game style where each player has a team of workers, which they may choose to place on different actions. His wife Jenny says, “Dallas explains games in a way that’s easy to understand. He’ll even lend strategy tips at the expense of his own.” Connection through Competition Dallas and Jenny have three children Evy, Aya, and Norrin. They’ve watched their kids go from novices to expert strategists when it comes to role play board games. Their kids benefit from the counting, reading, and problem-solving 12

l

EDMONDOUTLOOK.COM

l

JUNE 2022

necessary for playing. Games engage the mind, invite friendly debate, and provide a unique form of connection among those who play. Dallas is the Southern Regional Champion of the game, Wordsy. He won this title at TokenCon which included an invitation to compete at Gen Con, held in Indianapolis in August. He has also designed three games inspired by his fantasy novel series, 144. Dallas will soon host his own annual board game convention, Dallas Caldwell Board Games (DCBG). This year is particularly special as it is his fortieth birthday. Dallas enjoys being the host and facilitates an environment that ensures everyone has fun with the game at play. Reviews, Rants, and Raves In 2019, Dallas started a platform called 90 Second Nerd. He and Jenny, along with close friends, Nick and Bekah Shipley, play a game and offer a 90-second recorded review. They’ve reviewed games of their own choosing and have received games from companies and board game startups. In addition to finding great games through the process, Dallas has discovered a new way to connect to board game enthusiasts like himself. There are some games on the shelves that haven’t been played, but most have been played at least one time. Dallas and Jenny hold a yearly ‘ten by ten’ challenge. They play ten board games ten times. This allows them to get to know the game and sharpen their strategy. Dallas says with a wide smile, “A common question alluded to and not directly asked is how much I have invested in this.” He compares the cost of a night out to the movies with his family where they’d each sit in a seat watching a screen. “A game costs far less than that, plus we get to keep the game and board gaming is all about connection around the table.” 90 Second Nerd board game reviews and Dallas’ musings can be found on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube under @90secondnerd.


JUNE 2022

l

EDMONDOUTLOOK.COM

l

13


FEATURELOOK

Isa Slish, 2022 Gerber Chief Growing Officer

Gerber’s New Spokesbaby By Amy Dee Stephens

When John and Meredith Slish submitted their daughter’s photo for the Gerber baby photo contest, they simply hoped their sweet baby Isa would make the judges smile—they aren’t sure why they felt so shocked to receive notification that Isa was a finalist. “We entered her because we think she personifies the Gerber mission of a happy, fun baby. Everyone who meets her falls in love with her. She has irresistibly contagious laughter.” The judges agreed, finding her “overwhelming happiness and bright, shining personality” a winning combination. Media Baby Gerber’s newest Spokesbaby is a girl of few words, but lots of smiles—even when she’s on national television. In May, the Slish family visited the set of the TODAY show, where the newscasters announced that Isa was the 2022 winner! Sitting on her mother’s lap, Isa took the announcement in stride as she gazed around the studio with interest. “I would describe Isa as an observer,” John said. “Honestly, there was so much happening in that studio that wasn’t seen on camera, even I was distracted. She was taking it all in.” Although Isa is unaware that she now holds the lofty title of Chief Growing Officer, her parents will ensure that she carries out her new duty of taste-testing new baby products. “She’ll be trying new baby foods and snacks, and we’ll let Gerber know her reactions,” Meredith said. “Currently she’s a fan of sweet potato puffs.” 14

l

EDMONDOUTLOOK.COM

l

JUNE 2022

Awareness Baby Isa is now an advocate for the March of Dimes, whose mission is to lead the fight for the health of all moms and babies. Isa was born with a missing femur and fibula in her right leg. Meredith was just 18 weeks into her pregnancy when an ultrasound revealed the missing bones. “Our doctor was wonderfully reassuring, and we’ve had an outpouring of love and support,” Meredith said “We immediately began educating ourselves about limb differences. We know that Isa will grow up differently than other children in all aspects, so we selected the name, Isa, which is a German word for strong-willed. That’s what we want for her.” John and Meredith have exhibited strength themselves, as they adjust to the many changes that have occurred since last year when they found out that they were going to have Isa, their second daughter in addition to four-year-old, Temperance. Baby Isa arrived in September, and two months later, the family moved from Oklahoma City to Edmond. Now, the Slish family finds themselves in the national spotlight, with a rush of media opportunities. “We are excited to represent Oklahoma, and we hope Isa’s story can create greater inclusion for children like her,” Meredith said. Although Isa has the responsibility of food-testing and modeling that is unique to most nine-month-old babies, the Gerber company has generously awarded the Slish family with sponsored products and a cash prize of $25,000, which the family intends to save for medical expenses. Additional money was donated to support the March of Dimes. “We are grateful to Gerber for celebrating all babies and choosing babies that represent the beauty and diversity of the population,” John said. “We hope Isa will raise awareness and help normalize limb differences in children.” Based on the melting response of everyone who interacts with baby Isa, this Chief Growing Officer’s public relations skills are already well developed. Visit gerber.com/photosearch to learn more about Isa’s journey.


JUNE 2022

l

EDMONDOUTLOOK.COM

l

15


16

l

EDMONDOUTLOOK.COM

l

JUNE 2022


JUNE 2022

l

EDMONDOUTLOOK.COM

l

17


Erase the Hate

FEATURELOOK

By Amy Dee Stephens An ill-placed tattoo can have lifelong ramifications—especially if it relays a message of prejudice, hatred, or gang affiliation. Tattoo removal is possible, but very expensive, so options are limited for many people who have taken a new path in life but continue to display an offensive message on their skin. In 2019, Oklahoma Plastic Surgeons offered a summer-only trial program to remove highly-visible, hate-related tattoos, at no cost, to a select number of applicants. They invited the public to submit their tattoo photos, along with a description of why the tattoo’s removal would improve their life. Dr. Clinton Webster and his laser technician, Rebel Hudson, were shocked to receive 200 applications! “Everyone makes mistakes, but a tattoo can be a permanent symbol of someone’s past decisions,” said Hudson. “It could be a swastika or a foul word or a prison tattoo. We wanted to provide this service for people in financial need, who had changed the direction of their lives.” Mistakes On Display According to Hudson, the most troubling location for hate-related tattoos is the face, neck, or hands--places that can’t be hidden. In one situation, Hudson removed an old boyfriend’s name from a woman’s neck, but too late to avoid his name being prominently displayed in photos of her wedding to someone else. Many of their applicants have struggled to get jobs because even though employers are more lenient toward tattoos than in the past, offensive messages can impede business. “Last year, we had a woman with face and neck tattoos apply to the program,” Hudson said. “Although she had a job in a call center, she discovered that she was unable to set up playdates for her toddler. She said, ‘No one wanted to play with him because of what they saw on me.’ After a year of treatment, she got a better job, moved out of her parents’ house, and was no longer trying to live a life of covering herself up. Her happiness was evident, and it made me happy to help her.” The Ink of the Matter Hudson, who has worked as a laser technician for 27 years, is surprised by how much she loves working with Erase the Hate clients. She’s found them to be gracious and thankful. It takes months of 15-to-45 minutes office visits to completely break up the ink, so she gets to know each person pretty well. “They all tell me their story about how they made a dumb mistake, and they’re tired of being judged for it.” The laser process is painful and causes swelling, so not everyone can tolerate it, but those who do are ecstatic with the results. The laser removes tattoos by obliterating the ink so that the body excretes it. Once the ink breaks up, the skin tissue underneath is normal, not scarred. Black ink is the easiest to remove, but blues and greens take longer, and white ink does not come off. “One man wanted to get into the Army, and a year later, I got a thank you message that said, ‘I got in!’ It’s heartwarming to hear those stories, and I’m so glad Dr. Webster is doing this service for the community,” Hudson said. “Erase the Hate has become my favorite part of the job!” To apply for 2022, submit a photo and story to ops@cwebstermd.com by June 10th.

Technician Rebel Hudson with patient

18

l

EDMONDOUTLOOK.COM

l

JUNE 2022


JUNE 2022

l

EDMONDOUTLOOK.COM

l

19


FEATURELOOK

Ryan Joyce and Zach Welton

Out of the Wood Work By Amy Dee Stephens Put one physicist and one chemical engineer together and you get…a sawmill? Ryan Joyce and Zach Welton are amused by this result, themselves. Neither one aspired to build a sawmill until a year ago when friendship and conversation came together during the pandemic. Cuttin’ to the Story Zach and Ryan both grew up on farms. Ryan’s hobby is woodworking and Zach, who has dabbled in metalwork since high school, got the woodworking bug a few years ago as well. Last year, an acquaintance of Zach’s mentioned that his company, near Ada, Oklahoma, was going to burn a 300-yearold pecan tree. Zach said, “Don’t burn it, I’ll come get it.” His chainsaw, however, was hardly up to the task. He invited Ryan to help, and during their multiple weekend trips to cut wood, they discussed their options. “Chainsaws weren’t cuttin’ it,” Ryan said. “The price of lumber had gotten super high, and I had a harebrained idea. I said, ‘Zach, it’s too expensive to buy wood, so let’s make our own? Why don’t we go in together and buy sawmill equipment that can handle this?’” After some online pricing, they found a YouTube vlogger who demonstrated how to build a sawmill from scratch. They then reviewed the template and decided that they would give it a try. After all, building one large enough to cut the giant pecan tree would actually save them money. The Hobby That Grew Last spring, Zach and Ryan became sawmill warriors. They worked every weekend until fall, building the sawmill in Zach’s driveway, where they could easily access tools and make adjustments before moving it to Zach’s acreage. The base frame is 20 feet long, and the carriage is 11 feet tall, made of 20

l

EDMONDOUTLOOK.COM

l

JUNE 2022

thousands of pounds of high-velocity steel. In November, they successfully cut their first pecan log—and then, more wood started coming out of, well, the woodwork! A former co-worker had some large pine trees that were being cleared for a housing lot in Choctaw. Then, an ice storm damaged trees in Ryan’s yard. In a few short months, they hauled about six semi-loads of rescued wood, a few logs at a time, to Zach’s acreage, where it is now cut, stacked, and slowly being made into boards. “It’s all wood that was slated to be chipped and burned otherwise. Some of it is three feet across and hundreds of years old,” Zach said, “so, I’m glad we can repurpose it.” Building with Boards Zach and Ryan have come to realize there is a large market for locally-sourced wood and milling services, but managing an unexpected business, while working full-time in their chosen careers, is a possibility with which they are still grappling. “Plus, we’re introverts,” said Ryan. “We’re socially inept,” Zach said with a laugh. “We never envisioned this as a business.” For now, both are focused on their own woodworking interests until they decide if they want to take the sawmill in a commercial direction. “I rescued and restored many of my great-grandfather’s tools when he died,” Ryan said. “His mission was to make cedar boxes for his whole family. He didn’t get to finish, so now, I’m using his tools and my wood to finish that project for him.” Zach, likewise, is honing his woodworking skill to make boxes with dovetail joints, a traditional carpentry technique. “We’ve enjoyed combining our skills and interests,” Ryan said. “We never expected it to snowball like this, but now, we have a sawmill!”


JUNE 2022

l

EDMONDOUTLOOK.COM

l

21


vehicle. The heart of their business is outstanding customer service. All team members go through extensive training so they can communicate clearly with customers. The shop offers several different financing options, including plans for customers with imperfect credit. To meet the challenge of finding parts during supply-chain shortages, Tad has hired additional staff. Kennedy Tire & Auto Service is a By Maria Veres certified extended warranty repair site for several major companies. It also When you need new tires, auto repairs, offers an in-house extended warranty or scheduled maintenance, your vehicle program, providing premium protection is in expert hands at Kennedy Tire & Auto at a discounted price. The company is Service. The Edmond-based company part of a nationwide warranty network of provides honest, dependable service more than 8,000 shops, ensuring you can with no hard sell and no double-talk. “We get repairs while you’re traveling. guarantee the best warranty, service, and Putting People First price in everything we do,” says owner Tad purchased the business from his Tad Kennedy. father, Tom, in 1986. Under his leadership Serving Customers Across Edmond the company has thrived, and much of their business comes from referrals from and OKC happy customers. Tad’s commitment Founded in 1974, Kennedy Tire & to serving others includes investing Auto Service provides a full range of in the community and in employees. auto repairs and services for every

BIZLOOK

Kennedy Tire & Auto Service

22

l

EDMONDOUTLOOK.COM

l

JUNE 2022

Tad Kennedy Owner Tad Kennedy

“We’ve been blessed with great staff and leadership,” says Tad. “All our managers share my passion for making people happy and taking care of them.” Whether it’s a simple tire rotation or a major engine repair, customers across Edmond and OKC can rely on Kennedy Tire & Auto Service. “We’re in the people business,” says Tad. “We just happen to service and repair cars and sell tires.” Kennedy Tire & Auto Service is located at 530 West Edmond Road and online at kennedytireauto.com.


JUNE 2022

l

EDMONDOUTLOOK.COM

l

23


BIZLOOK

Avenge Pest Control By Maria Veres

The best time to stop the damage from termites and other pests is before it happens. With nearly 20 years of expertise, brothers Chris and Ty Coon of Avenge Pest Control will keep your home or business pest-free all four seasons long.

for flying ants. It’s also easy to overlook other signs of infestation, such as sawdust-like piles near walls and small kick holes in sheetrock. If you’re not sure what to look for, Avenge Pest Control offers free termite inspections. For customers on a regular contract with Avenge, they will receive an annual termite inspection. If treatment is needed, it’s applied safely underground around the entire perimeter of the property, with no toxic bait stations. The treatment kills the whole colony within a few weeks.

Safe, Comprehensive Pest Control Along with termites, Avenge takes care of various other pests, including everything from scorpions to wildlife such as snakes. Unlike most other Termites Are Active Now companies, they include rodent control Every structure in Oklahoma is in their standard contracts and will treat vulnerable to termite infestations. “It’s a for infestations of rats, moles, gophers, matter of when not if,” says Ty. and mice. Every treatment they use is Termites do damage all year long, safe around children and pets once the but they only make themselves known application has dried. in late spring and early summer. Many Ty and Chris grew up in Edmond homeowners mistake swarming termites and have worked in the pest control

24

l

EDMONDOUTLOOK.COM

l

JUNE 2022

Chris Coon

industry since 2005. They started Avenge Pest Control in 2013, and many customers have been with them since the beginning. All work is completed by Ty, Chris, or their in-house technician, Geoff Brown. They serve business and residential customers throughout the metro area. Schedule a free termite inspection and find out more about Avenge’s services at avengepestcontrol.com.


JUNE 2022

l

EDMONDOUTLOOK.COM

l

25


ALOOKBACK

The Reluctant Seamstress By Louise Tucker Jones My mother was an excellent seamstress, making most of my clothes during my growing up years. Living on a farm and having very little to spend on extras, Mama made most of my clothes out of feed sacks. She would go to the store with Daddy and pick out pretty pastels, flowered prints, and other designs then stich-up something beautiful. She was also efficient at altering handme-downs and adding special touches to make them look unique. She hoped I would follow in her footsteps, but when I got to high school and still showed no interest in sewing, she took action, telling me if I wanted any summer clothes I had to make

26

l

EDMONDOUTLOOK.COM

l

JUNE 2022

them. Not my idea of fun. I took home economics in the 7th grade and hated it. It took me a full semester to make an apron, embroidered pillowcases and a tea towel. Nope, I would rather go to the peanut patch or cotton field with my brothers than sew. But Mama was adamant, so I chose a pattern and fabric for a cute short set. I measured, cut and sewed for days on her old Singer machine then proudly modeled my finished product. I thought it turned out well, but Mama was aghast. She thought it was awful and was so afraid someone would think she made those clothes that she continued sewing for me clear through high school. A godsend for me. However, in college, I needed an elective and signed up for HomeEc. Surprisingly, I liked it and was actually good at it, sewing some attractive garments. Anxious to see what Mama thought, I went home for the weekend, wearing a dress that I made. She was stunned. Even shocked at the craftsmanship and kept asking, “Did you really make that dress?” Yes, I did and many thereafter.

Like my mother, I became an accomplished seamstress, making my children’s clothes as well as my own, along with costumes, quilts and more. But unlike Mama, I never demanded my kids make their own clothes. I already knew the tactic they would try. After all, I used it first! 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.


JUNE 2022

l

EDMONDOUTLOOK.COM

l

27


FEATURELOOK

By Amy Dee Stephens

Amy LaRue, Finding Hope Coordinator

New Hope for Families of Addicts

Radically changing the lives of drug addicts, alcoholics, and those who love them

By Maria Veres When someone you care about is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, it’s not easy to find people who understand. Finding Hope offers a safe, welcoming place where people affected by a family member’s addiction can find the healing they need. One Woman’s Journey of Healing “Addiction impacts the whole family,” says Amy LaRue, Finding Hope Coordinator. She understands the devastation because she has lived it herself. “When I found out in 2015 that my husband had an addiction to alcohol, I was lost,” she says. “Nobody knew about it. The guilt and shame kept me quiet as well as so many others who have a loved one in addiction.” Trying to fix her husband’s problem, Amy turned to, Lance Lang, founder of the Hope is Alive addiction ministry, who had previously spoken at her church. He gave her resources for her husband and also encouraged her to check out a Finding Hope group for herself. Amy was resentful, doubting that she needed help when she wasn’t the one with an addiction. But when she began attending Finding Hope meetings, she found a lifeline. “When you walk into that room, you realize you’re not alone,” she says. “The group helps us find peace and hope no matter what our loved one is or is not doing.” Eventually, Amy’s husband entered recovery, and she also found her own healing. “I wouldn’t be the person I am today without Finding Hope,” she says. “I have found a new purpose for my life. I’m here to help the next person walk through the storm of addiction.” Amy personally trains and supports every Finding Hope group leader across the US. 28

l

EDMONDOUTLOOK.COM

l

JUNE 2022

Compassionate Support for Families Finding Hope operates under the umbrella of Hope is Alive, an OKC-based nonprofit that provides mentoring homes and other support for people struggling with addiction. Many resources exist to help people in addiction, but not as many for their families. Finding Hope helps fill that gap. Finding Hope partners with local churches within communities across Oklahoma and seven other states. The network is growing rapidly. “All we need is a church that’s willing to open its doors, and a trained leader,” says Amy. “We believe that Finding Hope needs to be in every community.” Along with support groups, Finding Hope sponsors weekend retreats where family members can invest in themselves. They are also launching a new network called Hope After Loss for people who have lost a loved one to addiction. Because of the stigma around addiction, bereaved families don’t always get the support they need from traditional grief groups. Hope After Loss connects them with others who have been there, too. Finding Hope is free and open to anyone who has been affected by a loved one’s addiction. Unlike Al-Anon, Finding Hope doesn’t adhere to a strict twelve-step model, and every participant is invited to share during each meeting if they choose. The ministry is a faith-based non-profit organization supported by community donations. “I want to break down the stigma, shame, and guilt around addiction because it’s in every family,” says Amy. “These families need to know it’s okay to reach out for support and recovery for themselves.” Connect with Finding Hope at hopeisalive.net/findinghope or contact Amy directly by emailing her at amy@hopeisalive.net.


JUNE 2022

l

EDMONDOUTLOOK.COM

l

29


FEATURELOOK FEATURELOOK

James “Jim” Johnson

His Turn at the Wheel By Maggie Murdock Nichols James “Jim” Johnson has a habit of adopting his wife Kathy’s hobbies. In early 2020, the couple took a pottery class and bought a wheel, kiln, and other supplies needed for their home workshop. While quarantining at home during the pandemic, Kathy and Jim spent time in their shop creating. Jim was drawn past the woodworking shop and beyond the makeshift photography studio to the pottery wheel. Soon, Jim’s grown children and eight grandchildren became the recipients of bowls, vases, and mugs of all varieties as he honed his craft. His six-year-old grandson became his biggest fan. Jim laughs, “His parents finally said ‘no more.’ He had my pottery collected all over his room.” Corporate Office to Creative Studio Jim retired from a forty-year career in oil and gas marketing in August of 2021. He says, “Every day I wake up at 5 am, and by 6 am, my hands are in the clay.” In a demanding field, Jim recalls vacations and evenings often interrupted. He enjoys spending quiet days with the clay and likens it to his own private Disneyland, always something to do and discover. As the couple made a significant life transition into retirement, Jim says that pottery has given them joy. While Kathy enjoys hand-building with clay herself, she also photographs Jim’s work. Jim says with laughter, “My time at the wheel keeps me out of Kathy’s way.” He encourages other retirees: “When you retire, find an activity beyond your big screen TV.” After some time, Jim started an Instagram, something he swore he’d never do. He was surprised by the inspiration and encouragement he found from other potters worldwide. He’s 30

l

EDMONDOUTLOOK.COM

l

JUNE 2022

sold many pieces via social media, recently catching the eye of a designer who landed him a commission for a set of mugs to be used in a coffee shop in Dallas. A Potter’s Process “I’m busy all day,” Jim says. The process, called throwing, includes sculpting wet clay on the wheel and letting it dry 24 hours, being sure to catch the window of not too dry or wet. Next, he attaches the cured clay to the wheel and trims; at this point, a handle can be attached or any carvings may be added. The piece is then dried for a week and then fired at 2000 degrees for 24 hours before the glaze is added and back into the kiln it goes for the final fire. Jim says, “Opening the kiln is like Christmas morning for Kathy and me. We gather around to see whether we got socks or a beautiful gift that truly delights us!” A Legacy in Clay “I like the idea that something I’ve poured myself into will last and bring someone joy,” Jim says. “For me, pottery satisfies my creative urge. The art in and of itself is peaceful.” Jim plans to begin showing his work in public, at festivals and art shows, as well as growing his Instagram following. He also welcomes those interested in viewing his work in the studio. “Once a week we have friends over and we all work on projects side by side. We have a great time.” Jim expresses his gratitude to be able to retire and enjoy his newfound hobby, or may be a career for the next forty years? You can find Jim Johnson’s pottery on Instagram @jjclaypottery or by emailing Jjclaypottery@yahoo.com.


JUNE 2022

l

EDMONDOUTLOOK.COM

l

31


1024 W Covell Rd., Edmond, OK 73003