Green Country Living — Spring Edition 2020

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Spring Edition 2020

In s i de sto ries

Previously featured homeowners share updates on home, lives Cherokee Artist tackles challenges head on

Marcia Owen shares legacy, Mediterranean recipes

On the Cover Inside we look back at some of our favorite homes of past editions, including that of Tamia Smith. Page 7



Spring Edition 2020

S m a l l To w n W e l c o m e

Fort Gibson

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Publisher Ed Choate Editor Elizabeth Ridenour Contributing editor Angela Jackson Layout & Design Josh Cagle WRITERS Cathy Spaulding, Melony Carey, Mike Elswick, Dylan Goforth, Leilani Roberts Ott PHOTOGRAPHERS Kenton Brooks, Mandy Corbell, Chesley Oxendine, Cathy Spaulding, Jerry Willis ADVERTISING Director Marci Diaz Apple ADVERTISING SALES Angela Jackson, Therese Lewis, Krysta Aich, Kris Hight


46 Editor’s Choice


7 Smith Home

36 Art of the Matter

Cobblestone Drive home appeared in Winter 2017 edition putting owner’s decorating skills on display.


Teel, Hoffman Home Couple’s home in the Summer 2013 edition highlighted exotic feel with natural tones, animal prints.


Woodard Home Sprawling mansion, couple’s dream home debuted in Winter 2012 edition.


Spring Edition 2020

Green Country Living is published by the Muskogee Phoenix. Contents of the magazine are by the Muskogee Phoenix. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior consent of the Muskogee Phoenix. Green Country Living, P.O. Box 1968, Muskogee OK 74402. email - Editorial: (918) 684-2929 Advertising and distribution: (918) 684-2804

On the Cover

Cherokee artist MaryBeth Timothy ventures out of comfort zone and tackles challenges head on.

Spring Edition 2020

41 Scene & Be Seen Chat, hang out, relax and smile because you’re on camera. Find yourself taking part in Muskogee‘s community scene.


Spring Edition 2020 Issue 56

Cook’s Pantry Family with Lebanese heritage and deep roots to area opens up kitchen sharing Mediterranean recipes.


Previously featured homeowners share updates on home, lives Cherokee Artist tackles challenges head on

Marcia Owen shares legacy, Mediterranean recipes

ON THE COVER Inside we look back at some of our favorite homes of past editions, including that of Tamia Smith. Page 7


Tamia Smith’s custom Cobblestone Drive residence was featured in the Winter 2017 edition of Green Country Living. Photo by Mandy Corbell

Green Country Living


Traveling back in time A

fter a lengthy day in the office edithave been so gracious in the past letting us ing copy, I paused when a saw the come into their homes to share them with you. multi-colored sunset to the west We felt this was the best time to give hometo snap a quick photo. It’s turned owners a break and not invade their privacy. out to be one of my favorites. What you will find in this edition are the COVID-19 can’t take away the beautiful homes of Leo and Pamela Woodard; Cindy sunsets that frequently bless us. Teel and Barry Hoffman; and Tamia Smith. If we look, there is beauty all around. Each home is distinct and are of different Even without the official Azalea Festistyles, but all are beautiful and special. val celebrations, the azaleas in Honor We also provide updates to each story Heights Park and around the city with find out what’s new and what has Editor bloomed beautifully. Daffodils have changed at each home since they were come and gone. Irises have popped up featured. all over. Roses are blooming. Soon, the crape myrtles In addition, you will find some of our regular feawill line our streets with color that will last throughout tures: Art of the Matter, in which we focus on Cherosummer. kee Artist MaryBeth Timothy; The Cook’s Pantry by We want to share some of the beauty we have discov- Melony Carey with a focus on Lebanese cooking of ered while producing Green Country Living. Marcia Owen; and Scene and be Seen, a treasure trove In this edition, we take a look back at some of our of photos taken at local events. favorite homes we have featured in the past. We hope you enjoy this edition as much as we did We took this time of uncertainty with the world creating it. Please look for the everyday beauty around revolving around COVID-19 to review. Homeowners you. You’ll be surprised what you see.

Elizabeth Ridenour


Spring Edition 2020

Editor’s Choice Smith

Tamia Smith home 0 2017 Winter Edition 0

Among the exterior focal points of Tamia Smith’s home are the double doors imported from China and metal garage doors with the warm look of wood provided by Muskogee Overhead Door.

‘Focusing on the details’


t looks like Tamia Smith and her family got it right the first time. Three years after moving into their home, Smith and her family still enjoy living there, Smith said. “I still love it, I still love the area. It’s pretty much lived up as

far as space,” Smith said. “Interior-wise, everything has still held up pretty good. I still love the home. Haven’t had any problems with it.” Smith said the biggest change has been an addition to her family — a poodle — and the resulting

wooden fence necessitated by having the poodle. “I got him last year,” Smith said. “We put the fence up to keep him from running the neighborhood. We’d open the door, and he’d take off. That’s probably the latest thing we did.” 

By Mike Elswick • Photos by Mandy Corbell Green Country Living


E d i t o r ’ s C h o i ce S m i t h It’s all in the details for Tamia Smith in decorating her newly constructed Cobblestone Drive home south of Muskogee. Since moving in a few months ago, Tamia’s focus has been on searching near and far for just the right pieces to accent and fill the space of the 4,000-square-foot custom-built home. But her eye for detail in making a statement started much sooner as Tamia worked with contractors, painters, cabinet makers, flooring experts and others to hone in on just the look she was seeking. “I love decorating,” Tamia said. “We’ve only been in the house about four months, but I’ve been working on the interior design for nearly two years.” Barry Wright, owner of Wright Way Contractors, served as general contractor on the custom designed home and in helping to carry out Tamia’s vision for the interior look. Her hunt for pieces that will help


Spring Edition 2020

Homeowner Tamia Smith, seen on the elegant couch in her formal living room, has taken her time decorating the custom Cobblestone Drive residence.

ABOVE & RIGHT: The open formal dining room is set off by columns and accented with a chandelier and mirror along with a dining table purchased from Z Gallerie in Dallas.

ABOVE: The kitchen is open with a high ceiling, plenty of work space on black granite and lots of cabinet space. Green Country Living


E d i t o r ’ s C h o i ce S m i t h

LEFT: A beamed and vaulted ceiling adds openness to the family room set off with dark wood flooring and a marble-accented fireplace.

BELOW: The master suite is set off with walls with a golden touch, high ceiling and a sitting area.


Spring Edition 2020

LEFT: Spacious walk-in closets are part of the master suite with plenty of storage for shoes, hats and clothing.

carry out the chic contemporary look she wants has taken her from Muskogee to Tulsa, Dallas, Houston and other locations. Among the local firms used was Muskogee’s Carpet Warehouse for marble flooring, crown molding and granite. Muskogee Overhead Door was the source for the metal garage doors with a wooden look, and the city’s Lowe’s Home Improvement was the source for some lighting and other pieces going into the final product. “It’s still a work in progress,” Tamia said. “I just didn’t want to rush anything.” Many of the basics are in place, and her focus over the past year or so has been on getting the more permanent interior design details to her liking as far as paint colors, lighting, flooring, crown molding, appliances and other

accents. Wright said the starting point for the original plan was a Florida-style beach home with an open, airy feel. The floor plan selected has three downstairs bedrooms with a fourth room upstairs which could be a bedroom. Tamia’s attention to detail makes a design statement from the moment you approach the custom-built iron doors imported from China. As the double doors open, guests are treated to a visual display of Carrara marble floors installed in a herringbone pattern, white columns and chandeliers graced with swooping fine links of silver chain. To the left is the formal dining area with a huge beveled mirror on the wall reflecting the dining table Tamia discovered at Z Gallerie in Dallas.

Green Country Living


E d i t o r ’ s C h o i ce S m i t h

ABOVE: The upstairs home theater features custom seating and a 110-inch projection screen television. RIGHT: The home’s outdoor living space is accented with a built-in fire pit and comfortable seating.

For most of the main rooms of the home, including hallways, Tamia went with shades of gray. To help make the gray pop it is accented with white crown molding and accent spaces hand-painted by Lisa Cochran of Okmulgee’s Classy Creations. Lisa said Tamia and Barry used a lot of shades of gray throughout.


Spring Edition 2020

“They were very specific about the look they wanted,” Lisa said. “It’s a house on a grand scale and they wanted it to be amazing. I think they succeeded.” Lisa said she was given pretty much a free rein to help achieve the desired look. For the layered three-tiered tray style ceiling in the formal living area she used a darker gray accent paint with metallic

glitter for the ceiling centerpiece. “A lot of time clients will see a picture of something they found, maybe on Pinterest or out of a magazine, and they’ll want to take off on that idea,” Lisa said. Straight ahead upon entering the foyer is the formal living area highlighted with the 14-foot trayed ceiling. Tamia said she loves the entire home

LEFT: Tamia used shades of gray throughout the house including this bathroom.

but is especially fond of two spaces where she could easily spend the bulk of her time. The spacious master suite is at the top of her list for fave space. “This is what I call my ‘wow’ room,” Tamia said. In addition to the vastness, a golden trimmed bed, chandelier and custom colored faux finish on the walls give the space a contemporary feel with a more classic look. Cochran said Tamia started out with a “bumble-bee” yellow they experimented with and

It’s a house on a grand “scale and they wanted it to be amazing. I think they succeeded. — Lisa Cochran

toned down with hints of gold and brown. The final custom color was applied by hand using a sponge technique. Tamia said she could not be happier with the finished product. The master suite includes two large walk-in closets and master bath area with custom touches accenting the sunken tub big enough for two. Tamia’s next favorite space is the theater room painted in a dark red. “I call it show-stopper red,” she said. “I picked it for the darkness” so that when the lights are turned down for watching a movie or a favorite sports team there is minimal light distraction like one would find at a movie theater. “I’m a big Thunder fan,” she said of her favorite professional basketball team. “I could spend a

Green Country Living


E d i t o r ’ s C h o i ce S m i t h

RIGHT: A sunken tub in the master suite is one of homeowner Tamia Smith’s favorite places in the home.

whole lot of time here.” The theater room is upstairs with custom movie theater-style seating, 110-inch curved projection screen television and a separate restroom. Back downstairs, the open kitchen area features imported black granite countertops accented with chiseled edges, white built-in cabinets, rope crown molding, recessed lighting and stainless steel highend appliances, like the domestic version of the Fisher & Paykel five-burner professional chef range. The kitchen opens up into the family room with 22-foot vaulted and beamed ceiling, custom fireplace set off with Carrara marble, hand-scraped wood flooring and built-in shelving. A ceiling fan with a blade span of 8 feet can easily be adjusted to the desired comfort level.”


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E d i t o r ’ s C h o i ce T E e l , h o f f m a n

Cindy Teel, Barry Hoffman home 5 2013 Summer Edition 5

The front entry to the Teel-Hoffman home.

‘Exotic living’


indy Teel has made has been the glass conservatory many changes to her added to one end of the house, home since she and Teel said. her family moved in, “It’s for plants, and we’ve got a she said. table and chairs out there. I sit out “I change stuff in it all the time,” there and eat all the time,” Teel Teel said. “Of course I change col- said. “I have hairless cats, and they ors and things like that.” like to lay in the sun. I like to sit in The biggest addition, however, there.”

Having floor-to-ceiling glass gives a gorgeous view of the outdoors, Teel said. “It’s really nice when it rains or when you want to sit and look out,” Teel said. “People can’t see in, they only see a shadow, but you can see everything going on outside.” 

By Leilani Roberts Ott • Photos by Mandy Corbell 16

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Cindy Teel and Barry Hoffman with their pet Zoe.

A fountain with lion heads adorns the garden in the front entryway.

Green Country Living


E d i t o r ’ s C h o i ce T E e l , h o f f m a n


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An antler chandelier hangs over the couple’s formal dining area.

Cindy Teel met her husband Barry Hoffman on only six months before they married in June 2012. He lived in Granite Bay, Calif., and she lived in the Country Club area of Muskogee. He owns a home in Moore and has rental property in the Oklahoma City area because the demographics show more people in Oklahoma rent than own a home, he said. Cindy is a top real estate agent. It seemed like the perfect match. Before Barry came to visit, Cindy told him she lived in a “country house.” She didn’t think it would be nearly as nice as what the retired prosthodontist from the

greater California area would be used to. He described it as a “highend community.” He also has traveled while spending 20 years in the U.S. Navy, 16 years in group practice and two years lecturing for Denstply Implants. He’s already taken Cindy to New York to see where he was born. They plan to do more traveling. Cindy was a little nervous about how he would feel about living in her home. Outside, the house in the River Bend addition has brick and stacked stone and is nicely landscaped with green bushed and plants, and red roses. When the iron front doors opened, Barry was amazed.

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E d i t o r ’ s C h o i ce T E e l , h o f f m a n A see-through fireplace is made of blended stones in different sizes that reach to the ceiling.


Spring Edition 2020

Zoe sits at the foot of the master bed.

The kitchen features beautiful granite countertops.

“Walking in the door I thought, ‘Oh my God,’ My eyes went to the ceiling,” Barry said. The 25-foot ceiling has knotty alder beams. A see-through fireplace is made of blended stones in different sizes that reach to the ceiling. The distressed pine floors came from Edgar Mercado of Tulsa. Travertine

flooring is in the laundry room and baths. Terry Swanner of Green County Painting in Fort Gibson painted her home. Teel knows what she wants when building a house — lots of windows and hardsurfaced floors, because they are cleaner. She’s built seven houses and remodeled several more. She built this one four years ago.

She and Barry plan to build a home together eventually. Cindy would like to have a house with a courtyard in the center and a house that sits up high on a hill. “I think we would enjoy the creative process,” he said. They added on to the back of the 3,500-square-foot home when they married,

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E d i t o r ’ s C h o i ce T E e l , h o f f m a n


Spring Edition 2020

Exotic prints and animal decor accent the entire home.

doubling the size of the master suite. Louie Slape built the space for Barry to have an office with desk, sofa and TV. There are large wooden shutters made into doors between the two rooms that allow Cindy to lie in bed and watch her favorite TV shows on her TV while Barry watches his from the sofa in his office, giving each of them privacy. He has photos of his father, who was a dentist in New York, and other collectibles. The furniture is “eclectic,” Teel said. She’s had many of her large furniture pieces for years. Barry brought a few of his favorites to the home like a koa coffee table from Hawaii. The only new furniture they’ve bought is a bedroom group for the master from Restoration Hardware in Tulsa. The master bath has an oval tub with alder wood cabinets. Built-in shelves hold antique head vases that Cindy has collected. In other

Walking in the door I “ thought, ‘Oh my God,’ My eyes went to the ceiling, ” —Barry Hoffman

parts of her home are her collections of flow blue dishes, and Hull and Roseville pottery. In the mix of leather embossed sofas and animal skin chairs in the living room is a water buffalo mount Cindy got from Roy and Billie Flinn, who owned Tony’s for the Outdoors. It was in their business. The Black bear mount was a thank you gift from John Hill to Cindy for being a great Realtor. One of Cindy’s favorite things in her home is a buffalo painting hanging on the fireplace. It was done by the late Roger Davis. He had painted a buffalo for her son, Christopher Teel of Tulsa, and she loved it so much she asked Davis to do one for her. Nearby is the country French dining table that came from a mansion in Chicago.

Green Country Living


E d i t o r ’ s C h o i ce T E e l , h o f f m a n The home features a beautiful covered patio with a built-in gas grill and plenty of room for entertaining.

A 6-foot mirror and a few other furniture pieces came from Harold’s Clothing in Tulsa. Across the room is a door to Cindy’s mother’s suite. Jerry Baker has a living area, bedroom and her own bath. At the end of a short hall is another bedroom that Cindy is going to redo for her first grandchild, Zadie Beth, 8 months, daughter of Christopher and Katie Teel. The kitchen has stormy night granite counters and knotty alder cabinets. The bar stool seats are crocodile skin from Thayer Upholstery in Muskogee. Off the back of the living room is the outdoor kitchen with a fireplace and water feature with stacked rocks created by Thomas Torrez Landscaping of Muskogee. There’s a porch swing at one end of the long covered patio. At the other is a bar and sink. “We eat out here almost every night,” Cindy said.


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E d i t o r ’ s C h o i ce W o o d a r d

Leo, Pamela Woodard’s home 0 2012 Winter Edition 0

Leo and Pamela Woodard’s home is built in a Mediterranean style


‘A Palacial Estate’

eo and Pamela Woodard have gotten even more uses out of their home than they thought they would, Leo Woodard said. “We use the pool a lot,” he said. “Whenever we have any parties, family events, we have people who

come to swim in the pool.” It was the adoption of their grandchild that brought the biggest change to the Woodards’ home, however. “He’s about to turn 7 years old,” Woodard said. “Our son has one bedroom and then the use of another room that was originally

designed as a media room, and now he’s begun to use that as a playroom.” Having a child in the house has opened up parts of the home to new uses, Leo said. “We’re getting more use out of areas we didn’t think we’d use all that much,” he said. 

By Dylan Goforth • Photos by Jerry Willis 26

Spring Edition 2020

ABOVE LEFT, ABOVE: A shaded patio fronted by columns sweeps along the back of Leo and Pamela Woodard’s home, framing an elaborately landscaped pool.

LEFT: Much of Leo and Pamela Woodard’s home faces onto the back patio. The area is framed by columns. It is anchored at one end by a large fireplace and centers on a water feature that flows into the pool. At the opposite end is an outdoor kitchen.

Green Country Living


E d i t o r ’ s C h o i ce W o o d a r d

A dining area is open to the living room, and a window seat offers a retreat just outside the kitchen of Leo and Pamela Woodard’s home.

Pulling into Leo and Pamela Woodard’s home is like stepping into a new, as yet unseen, part of Muskogee. West of town, in a secluded, wooded area, sits the Mediterranean-style home that took more than three years to come together. Leo, 63, was born in Muskogee and lived here until graduating high school. He started an energy company in Oklahoma City 25 years ago. Now, he and Pamela split their time between their Muskogee home and


Spring Edition 2020

their residence in downtown Oklahoma City. “It all started because I wanted a horse,” Pamela said. “I’m a country girl, and you can’t have horses in he middle of Oklahoma City.” The Woodards saw the design for the home in a book, bought the design and set about going to work. Before the building process could begin, the Woodards first had to find a suitable piece of land on which to build.

Enter Google Earth, a website that lets viewers see satellite imagery, maps and terrain. “I found this land on Google Earth after a lot of looking,” Leo said. “It looked like it would fit what we needed as far as the layout went.” The home sits on a ridge that overlooks a wooded valley. Though the trees are leafless, the view is still breathtaking from the secondstory back porch.

A stainless steel-topped island offers ample workspace in the center of Leo and Pamela Woodard’s kitchen.

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E d i t o r ’ s C h o i ce W o o d a r d Circular design shown in the ceiling, arches and stairs echoes throughout this area of the home.

“(The land) doesn’t look anything like it did when we first got it,” Leo said. “It took a lot of work to get it to look like this.” Leo said building began in 2007 and finished in August 2010. They visited Muskogee to check in on the construction process as often as they could, usually every other weekend. “We stayed at the La Quinta here when we visited,” Pamela said. “It got to where they knew us personally. I would call and as soon as they heard my voice, they’d say “Hello, Pamela!” The Woodards brought their dogs with them on the trips. The Woodards stayed in the same room at the hotel every time they came to Muskogee, so the dogs — Hershey, Annabelle and Titan — quickly got the hang of things. When they visit their Muskogee home now, the dogs have the run of the place. The evidence is in the Woodards’ bedroom. All the furniture has a sheet on it. “The dogs are definitely allowed on the furniture,” Pamela said with a laugh. The inside of the Woodards’ home is as stunning as the outside. Leo said he roofs range in height, from 10-feettall to a stunning 23-feet-tall in places.


Spring Edition 2020

LEFT: The ceiling of the front area of Leo and Pamela Woodard’s home soars to 23 feet in places. Pillars are placed throughout, accentuating the verticality.

BELOW: This elegant carved door is in the hall outside Leo and Pamela Woodard’s bedroom.

ABOVE: The lavatory near the pool is decorated with a variety of bird figurines.

Leo Woodard’s office includes a fireplace.

Green Country Living


E d i t o r ’ s C h o i ce W o o d a r d The living room is surrounded by windows overlooking the stunning view from the ridge on which the home is built.

Pillars are placed throughout the inside of the house, accentuating the verticality. Perhaps the first notable feature once you step inside is the family’s grand piano — yes, Leo said, Pamela does play. “She’s quite good,” Leo said. “She loves to sit here and play.” The kitchen features items Pamela originally deemed “frivolous,” but now wouldn’t live without. During the tour, Pamela reached under a


Spring Edition 2020

cabinet that sits in the middle of the kitchen and pulled out a drawer. “Note to all the wives out there,” Pamela said. “Refrigerated drawers are amazing.” The cabinet tops are a deep, dark blue granite color. “The builders were hemming and hawing, and I said, ‘Make sure you do NOT fail to get this granite countertops,’” Leo said. There’s an outdoor kitchen, too, with a propane grill — much to Pamela’s chagrin.

“She’s a charcoal person, all the way,” Leo said. In front of the grill is a counter with a freezer to store ice and refrigerated areas for condiments. There’s also a flat-screen TV. “It’s nice,” Leo said. “Because you can be sitting out here cooking or drinking or whatever and be watching the same thing on the TV as everyone indoors.” The outdoor kitchen is next to the swimming pool — what Leo described as the

ABOVE: Columns frame the arch leading from the sleeping to the sitting area in Leo and Pamela Woodard’s bedroom.

BELOW: A large tub and open tiled shower enclosure offer luxury in the master bath. The decor of the guest bath promotes a feeling of antique elegance.

ABOVE: The sitting area in Leo and Pamela Woodard’s bedroom overlooks the patio and pool.

“center of the house” during family gatherings. The edges of the pool that sit closest to the house follow the angular path of the roof, giving the pool an odd shape. Straight and curved at the same time. It’s particularly striking from the balcony. “I made the closest end of the pool visually shallow,” Leo said. “I didn’t want someone to be here, have a couple drinks and try to make the jump.” Upstairs are three guest bedrooms, an art

gallery and an exercise area that’s still under construction. Leo said he spent 18 months studying art before deciding what pieces he wanted. Four of the selections are in the upstairs gallery, but there’s space for one more. “I wanted to make sure there was room for more if I found something else I liked,” Leo said. Two of the guest rooms primarily house family that comes to stay with the Woodards.

The third room has turned into more of a play room for children and grandchildren. “We had 18 people here for Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Leo said. “It’s quite a sight when the place is full of people running around.” More than four years after embarking on their dream home, the Woodards are reaping the benefits of the finished product. “It’s everything we wanted,” Pamela said.

Green Country Living


BRIGHTER DAYS AHEAD When the storm clears, we will gather again. To hugs, to play, to laughter. Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail and Resort Collection hotels and spas will be here to welcome you. Stay safe.


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g n i r Sp


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A r t o f T h e M a tt e r

Artist enjoys challenges Timothy takes on projects that push her out of her comfort zone


herokee artist MaryBeth Timothy loves living outside her comfort zone. “That’s whenever I learn, when it’s pushing me outside to where I’m not just sitting and comfortable,” she said. “So far, everything I have done has been a challenge to me.”

Timothy’s current challenge is a sunset-hued panorama of the Smoky Mountains, her first landscape. “It’s a whole different style. It’s a different subject matter,” she said. “A bird, I can focus in on little details of that and look at them. It’s very different.”

Story and Photos By Cathy Spaulding


Spring Edition 2020

Mr. Beanz joins his owner, MaryBeth Timothy, in Timothy’s studio. Timothy loves being challenged by her art.

Green Country Living


A r t Of t he M at t e r She’s also taking on the challenge of illustrating books. She recently signed a contract with HarperCollins Publishers to illustrate a children’s book, “Indian Shoes,” by Cynthia Leitich Smith. “When I was asked to illustrate her book, I was so excited,” Timothy said. “Totally and completely excited.” Timothy said she had always wanted to illustrate children’s books, but never knew how to get started. “I didn’t think my style would work for that,” she said. “I do such an eclectic variety of things. It’s not graphic, it’s not illustration.” However, Timothy has illustrated part of an anthology, “The Talk” by Traci Sorrel, and “Into the Wilderness” by Tracy M. Lewis. Live paints pose continuing challenges. A live paint is when an artist paints during an event, such as a fundraiser or art show. “You only have two or three hours to finish a painting,” she said. She said that through live painting, she

MaryBeth Timothy’s hearth showcases her love of Native art and artifacts.

ABOVE: Timothy has done sculpture as well as paintings

LEFT: One of her sculptures is named “Brothers Three in Harmony.”


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MaryBeth Timothy looks through a book containing some of her illustrations. She is illustrating a children’s book, “Indian Shoes.”

learned to be “a little looser, not to be so uptight on getting every inch of the canvas filled.” A Pryor native, Timothy said she has drawn for as long as she could remember. She recalled winning a ribbon for one of her drawings in kindergarten. “I’ve always been a big dreamer and creator in one way or another,” she said. “I’ve done a lot of creative jobs over the years, but I never went to specific art work until I was in my 30s. Artist Elizabeth Cramer showed her how

to sculpt with clay. She said Cramer also taught her to be consistent, never give up and don’t be discouraged by criticism. “She just worked with me on how to develop what I already knew, but it was a start,” she said. “It was basic techniques, but she taught me to follow through with those.” In 2012, Timothy showed her work in Paris as part of a group of Native artists known as the Délégation Amérindienne. She said the visit gave her an appreciation of all styles of art.

Timothy said she incorporates different art styles in her work. “I’ll try to incorporate some kind of ancient design, or something to do with my heritage,” she said. For example, in “Ancient Glory,” a bald eagle’s head is backed by bold blue designs from southeastern Native burial mounds. “It’s to show the eagle was sacred to our ancestors, just like it is to us today,” she said. “Ascension” shows a cardinal flying over a line of blood red hands. Timothy said she painted a similar work

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A r t Of t he M at t e r ALL: MaryBeth Timothy paints in a variety of styles. “Ascension,” top left, deals with murdered and missing indigenous women, and lost loved ones. Animals and what they represent are favorite themes.

as a live paint at a Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women event at University of Oklahoma. She said she had so much response from the live painting, she did another one to be printed. “The red hands signify the missing and murdered women. The cardinal signifies a lost loved one who has come back to watch over us,” she said. Timothy married Muscogee (Creek)


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artist and musician John Timothy. They got a business loan from Cherokee Nation in 2015 to set up Moonhawk Art, LLC. They went full-time with the business in 2018. “Since then, we have a pretty good wholesale part of our business that we sell to different gift shops, museums, galleries,” she said. They put prints of their work on ceramic tile, mugs, mouse pads, guitar pick earrings,

possibly even protective face masks. Recently, MaryBeth Timothy was asked to work on a statue of early Oklahoma lawman Bass Reeves. It’s another challenge she welcomes. “Anything outside my comfort zone, like the landscape, is all new to me,” she said. “That’s what drives me. I’ll research, I’ll study, I’ll paint, I’ll cover it up, I’ll repaint until it looks right.”

Sc e n e & B e S e e n

Flying Fez Wine Festival Patrons sample wines from across the state during the annual Bedouin Shrine Flying Fez Wine Festival. The event benefits the Shrine. Photos by Cathy Spaulding

Green Country Living


Scene & Be Seen

TInkerfest Tinkerers, inventors, and creative people of all ages show off skills at event sponsored by Muskogee STEAM Center. Photos by Chesley Oxendine


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Kids’ Space Daddy Daughter Dance Butterfly Ball proceeds go toward services helping children heal from trauma and abuse. Photos by Kenton Brooks

Green Country Living


Scene & Be Seen

MPS Education Service Center Community tours the renovated Education Service Center at Muskogee Public Schools ribbon cutting event. Photos by Cathy Spaulding


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Soroptimist Awards Banquet Soroptimist International of Muskogee 2020 Awards Banquet recognized women’s success and contributions to their community. Photos by Chesley Oxendine

Green Country Living


Food & Drink Cook’s Pantry

At Home in

Family History Lebanese heritage melds with modern world


arcia Goetz Elementary, Grant Owen Foreman Elementary, lives in Alice Robertson, and the famformer Manual Training ily history. Her father, High School, now Sadler the late Muskogee Arts Academy. It also architect Frederick extends to public Zaroor, designed and The Cook’s Pantry structures such as the built the iconic home former OG&E buildMelony Carey she lives in on Honor ing on Court Street Heights Drive in 1952. In fact, and the former Sacred Heart her father’s architectural acumen Church on Broadway. In short, can be seen across Muskogee in one could say that Zaroor built its many school buildings from or remodeled much of modern Muskogee High School to Tony Muskogee.

Photos by Cathy Spaulding Marcia’s grandfather, Anton Beshara, walked to Oklahoma from Missouri in 1904. He settled in Haskell where he built the first brick building that housed his successful mercantile store.


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Marcia Owen spoons tabbouleh into a platter. Tabbouleh features bulgur wheat, parsley, green onion and tomatoes.

But architecture is not the only thing Owen inherited from her family. As the third generation of immigrants, Lebanese heritage and tradition resound in her cooking. Food played a major role in her family’s daily life as fruit merchants in Lebanon and continued as they established themselves in the United States. “The name my father’s family took in America, Zaroor, is actually the word for a fruit in Arabic,” Owen says. “At one time, one of my grandfathers had seven working farms and provided produce to all the stores. It was a well-established family business.” Traditional Lebanese recipes were carried down through the generations. Dishes such as tabbouleh, stuffed grape and cabbage leaves, hummus, and ma’moul tea cakes are family favorites. “We don’t just eat to live,” Owen said. “We live to eat. That is our philosophy.” Rightly so, given the rich spices and flavors inherent in Middle Eastern cooking. Owen learned the recipes by watching her mother and aunts in the kitchen where everything was made from scratch. On holidays they prepared and served SyrianLebanese dishes from memory. Without written recipes, Owen says the secret to recreating these beautiful dishes is “to grow up with it.” During her 35 years working for a geological survey in Dallas, she had access to specialty stores that carried authentic Lebanese products, allowing her to develop her own expertise with the dishes. Another aspect of the Lebanese tradition Owen grew up with was the grace and beauty inherent in hospitality. Beirut, where much of her family was from, was considered the Paris of the Middle East. From her mother, Owen learned how to

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Food & Drink Cook’s Pantry LEFT: Karen Lauderdale, right, serves Lindsey Ketcham some white wine to complement the Middle Eastern food for a family feast.

set a beautiful table and appreciate the significance of social interactions and relationships. This is evident in her gregarious personality and generosity as a hostess. Her Lebanese cooking always attracts neighbors, and she is ever ready to open her house to friends. Today, Owen considers her family to be steeped not only in Lebanese heritage, but also as among the influential settlers of Oklahoma. Her mother’s father, Anton Beshara, known as Papa Tony, came to America alone at the age of 16. He walked from Missouri to Oklahoma in 1904 to find better opportunity for his peddling business, a traditional form of vending in Lebanon and popular at the time across the American frontier. He was a well-respected trader in the Cherokee and Creek Nations, Indian Territory, and built the first brick building in the town of Haskell, housing a successful store. Papa Tony was also known as the


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“Garlic King,” having brought the cultivation of garlic to Northeastern Oklahoma. It is a proud story of survival, success and family legacy steeped in an abundance of love and good food. Here Marcia and her sister, Karen Lauderdale, share recipes for recreating some of their favorite dishes. Grape Leaf Rolls 1 quart jar grape leaves 1 pod garlic 2 lemons 2 cups rice, prepared 1/2 cup melted butter 2 teaspoons salt 1 teaspoon pepper 1 teaspoon cinnamon 2 lbs. cubed meat, such as sirloin

Prepare filling by mixing together rice, butter, salt, pepper, cinnamon, juice of one lemon, and meat (cubed small). Take one grape leaf and put in one teaspoon filling then rollup.

ABOVE: Cabbage rolls are best when filled with cubed sirloin.

A Mediterranean feast is enjoyed by, from left, Marcia Owen, Turner Ketcham and Lindsey Ketcham.

ABOVE: What Middle Eastern supper is complete without olives?

Stack grape leaves in stew pan, placing garlic cloves in between layers. Pour water with the juice of one of the lemons to barely cover rolls. Put a small plate over the rolls to hold them down. Cook one hour or until done. Pour off remaining water. Cabbage Rolls 2 heads cabbage 1 pod garlic 1 large bottle of tomato juice 2 cups rice, cooked 1/2 cup melted butter 2 teaspoons salt 1 teaspoon pepper 1 teaspoon cinnamon 2 cups cubed meat, sirloin preferred

Wrap cabbage in paper towel and cook in microwave for 15 minutes. Remove core of cabbage and separate leaves. Mix rice, butter, salt, pepper, cinnamon and meat (cubed small). Place mixture in cabbage leaf and roll. Place in large pan, adding garlic cloves throughout. Cover with tomato juice. Put a plate on top of rolls to hold in place. Boil 45 minutes uncovered. Cover and simmer 30 minutes more. Tabbouleh

Marcia Owen prepares to serve tabbouleh and cabbage rolls as part of her family dinner.

16 oz. bulgur wheat 2-4 bunches green onions 3-5 bunches parsley, cleaned and chopped without stems 2-4 tomatoes, seeds removed and chopped 1-1 1/2 cups fresh lemon juice

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Food & Drink Cook’s Pantry RIGHT: Tomatoes play an important role in Mediterranean cuisine. FAR RIGHT: Rather than ground beef, Karen Lauderdale’s recipe for stuffed grape leaves uses cubed sirloin.

A yogurt topping offers a soft touch to the Mediterranean meal.

Ma’moul tea cakes are a Lebanese delicacy. Orange blossom water is a key ingredient in creating an authentic cookie.

1-1 1/2 cups olive oil 4 teaspoons kosher salt 2 teaspoons pepper 1 tablespoon dried mint

The day before, wash parsley, spin dry, and cut with kitchen scissors. Put wheat into large bowl and add enough water to just cover. Let stand 30 minutes only. Squeeze out excess water in strainer. Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Taste for additional salt and pepper, and balance lemon juice and olive oil, if needed. Refrigerate overnight. Marcia says the use of bulgur and attention to trimming the parsley are key to delicious tabbouleh.

1 tablespoon orange blossom water Sift flour with baking powder and salt. Add dry ingredients and butter. Mix well until dough feels like sand. Add remaining ingredients and form a ball of dough, smooth, but not sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight before making Ma’moul.



3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted


1 cup sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup butter 1/2 cup shortening 1 egg slightly beaten 3 tablespoons cream 1 teaspoon vanilla

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3 cups broken nut meats, such as

walnut 1 tablespoon orange blossom water 1/4 cup sugar (optional) 1 tablespoon butter

Mix filling ingredients. Form dough into walnut-sized balls. From here you can use a Ma’moul mold or simply make an indentation with your finger, add the filling, and then roll the ball so that all the filling is covered. If using the mold, flour it before adding each cookie, then turn the pastry out by giving the mold a quick turn and tap. Keep dough chilled as working. Place the Ma’moul on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cook in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. Pastries must remain very white. Sprinkle with powdered sugar as you take them out of the oven.

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