Dear Willows Home Owners in Moore, OK

Dear Willows Home Owners,

My name is Jessica Merrell. My husband and I own a home in the Willows and we have for the last 12 years. Late last year our family relocated out of state and we made the decision not to sell our home but to rent it out.

You may have heard about our home and us from Marvin Hayworth Homes who sent out an email earlier this week in regards to proposed changes to the Willows Subdivision Convents and Restrictions. I thought I would take a moment to clear the air and share with you a little about my husband, my family and me.  

Earlier this year we leased our home to an executive home rental company. They specialize in long term and short term rentals for corporate executives, lawyers, doctors, and military members. Our home is professionally furnished and maintained. Prior to making this decision, I reviewed the covenants to ensure that our decision was in compliance with the current covenants and restrictions. Our rentals are in compliance with the current covenants and restrictions.

We are not operating a short-term Airbnb.

Our house is not operating as an Airbnb or a Bed and Breakfast for short-term stays or someone who is in town for a vacation.

Our entire home is being rented out to executives while on a project for work such as doctors at a local hospital who are teaching for a semester, military officers who are waiting for their on-base housing, or executives relocating to the Oklahoma City area with their families. We recently had a Cornell from Tinker Air Force Base and his family stay in our home.

We have tried to work for solutions in terms of temporary access with the gate code.

I’ve presented several solutions to Marvin Hayworth Homes offering up options including our home having a temporary gate code that expires monthly in order to maintain the level of security expected within the Willows. We have received no feedback regarding these suggestions. I’ve reached out to Marvin Hayworth Homes on multiple occasions trying to work with them receiving little to no response.

At present, the only persons who have access to the gate code are the current executive tenants and the property management company.

Our street currently has 9 houses listed for sale.

We choose to offer executive rentals for our home in part because we are planning only out of state for the short term. We plan on returning to our home. As I mentioned, we have owned and lived in our home for 12 years.

The housing market in the Willows is flooded with homes. In fact, there are 9 homes for sale on our street with one home being listed for over a year. We are trying to make a financially responsible decision that plays within the rules of the current Willows covenants.

The proposed changes to the Willows Covenants and Restrictions will make homes harder to sell and rent in our subdivision compared to the others in Moore, Norman, and Oklahoma City. Requiring a six-month minimum lease restricts homeowners unnecessarily and I believe decreases the value of the homes within the Willows.

In Closing

As someone who has lived in this community for 12 years, we did not make this decision lightly to rent our home, which is why we choose to rent the home to executives who will maintain our home and are in line with the type of professionals who live in our community.

Please know our home is serviced weekly, professionally cleaned, and the lawn maintained allowing us to maintain the standard of homes expected in the Willows Community. The only individuals who have access to the gate code are current tenants and the property management company. The security is extremely important to us and is one of the reasons we choose to purchase a home in the Willows all those years ago.

The proposed changes to the Willows Covenants and Restrictions will make homes harder to sell and rent in the Oklahoma City Metro area compared to the other subdivisions in Moore, Norman, and Oklahoma City. They remove rights unnecessarily from the owner. We are also not in agreement with the proposed changes to the attorney and legal fees.

I do hope that my response helps clear the air so you can understand our commitment to the community, and how these proposed changes might impact you in the future if you choose to rent or sell your home. Thank you for taking the time to read my response.

Feel free to email me directly with questions at Jessica(at)workology.com or contact me by phone with questions at (405) 293-2564.


How to Make the Mosting Amazing Red Chili Enchilada Sauce



One of my favorite dishes which I’ll include the recipe at a later time is my enchilada casserole. About three years ago, I tried my hand at making enchilada sauce canning a small batch with great results. Once or twice a year, I now spend the weekend canning seemingly hundreds of tomatoes which I pick up from my local restaurant food supplier. This weekend I picked up 80 lbs. of tomatoes. My husband and I spent part of the weekend making tomato paste, tomato sauce and enchilada sauce. I can them and store for later use making for a quick, healthier and more customized dinner.


Amazing Red Chili Enchilada Sauce

This recipe doesn’t require you to make everything homemade, however it does incorporate a tomato paste recipe and the stock recipe. These two pieces inject amazing flavor into the enchilada sauce.

This recipe will make you 10 quart sized  (32 oz) cans of enchilada sauce.


120 dried red chiles

15 cups of water

15 cups of pork stock (Chicken or beef stock also works, however my preference is pork.)

3 cups tomato paste

25 cloves of garlic

1  cups of olive oil

5 tablespoons of oregano

3 tablespoons of cumin or corriander

3 tablespoons of paprika

3 tablespoons of chile powder

3 tablespoons of onion powder


Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Using a sheet pan, lay your chilis on them and place in the oven for 4 minutes. Remove from oven and remove chili tops and seeds adding them directly into your water and pork stock mixture in your large stock pot. Let them sit for 2 hours to hydrate and absorb flavor.




Add your remaining ingredients including your garlic directly into your stock pot. Save time by not chopping them tossing them directly in the pot. You are welcome to use store bought tomato paste, however, I recommend making your own which can be cooked and canned in advance. Click here to access my tomato paste recipe. Using your immersion blender mix them directly in your stock pot.

Bring your your enchilada sauce to a boil and let it cook down for 2 hours to absorb and the flavor. Follow the process of sanitizing and preparing your quart jars for canning. Your enchilada sauce can also be frozen if you have room in your freezer. Make sure you make room in your jars when the frozen enchilada sauce expands. I like to can them because my cooking time for meals like my enchilada sauce is reduced because I don’t have to dethaw my sauce.

Enjoy your enchilada sauce.


More Canning Recipes and Resources

For more canning recipes check out the following:

I took inspiration from this enchilada recipe which I love and recommend if you are looking to cook in smaller increments over at Cooking with Curls.


How to Make Basic But Delicous Tomato Paste



I was surprised the first time I tried my hand at making tomato sauce on my own how pink it was even though I thought I took enough time to cook down and prepare my tomato sauce. Tomato paste provides your a flavor charge that also allows you to retain the traditional red color you come to know in your tomato sauce.

Ingredients for Your Basic But Delicious Tomato Paste

Don’t be intimidated by tomato sauce. It’s easy to make outside of the preparation of the tomatos. To purchase tomatoes in bulk, I recommend visiting your restaurant supply store, grown them yourselves, or work with your supermarket or farmer’s market to purchase them in bulk. Leaving the tomato skins your tomatoes will make them bitter. I like to save my tomato skins for later use in seasoning and flavoring my stock. You can find my recipe by clicking here.


60 blanched, cored and peeled large tomatoes

3 tablespoons salt

3 tablespoons cracked pepper

10 cloves of garlic

1 1/2 cups of fresh lemon juice

3 bay leaves


Make sure you blanch, core and prepare tomatoes. Add them to a large stock pot. Add ingredients to your pot with the exception of the bay leaves. Use your immersion blender to blend. Add your bay leaves and bring your pot to a boil. Let it cook and simmer down for 3-4 hours until it is extremely think. This recipe will make 64 ounces or 9 cups of tomato paste.

I like to use the tomato paste immediately in my tomato sauce or enchilada sauce. However, this can be canned, refrigerated and frozen for later use.


More Tomato and Canning Recipes

This recipe has taken inspiration from the Tomato Paste recipe in the “Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving” edited by Judi Kingry and Lauren Devine. 


How to Make the World’s Most Flavorful Tomato Sauce



My tomato sauce is very multi-purpose. It’s our almost weekly staple for our homemade pizza. You can click here to see my pizza dough recipe. I like to can the tomato sauce in advance as it’s great to use in spaghetti, casseroles and other recipes. I generally spend two weekends canning a year working on making tomato paste, tomato sauce, and enchilada sauce for use for the rest of the year. I’ll include links to the recipes at the end of the post.

This tomato sauce  recipe should make 10 quart size jars. I recommend canning these and sealing them instead of freezing just because they stay fresh longer. Special note, if you are not including the tomato paste in your sauce, make sure to include a 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice in each of your quart jars. This makes sure that your sauce remains flavorful and fresh.




Flavorful Tomato Sauce Recipe


60 peeled, blanched and cored tomatoes

3 celery stalks chopped

1 1/2 cups of carrot juice (This makes your sauce sweet.)

4 medium sized yellow onions chopped

12 garlic cloves

2 cups of red wine (I prefer pinot noir or merlot.)

3 tablespoons oregano

3 tablespoons salt

3 tablespoons cracked pepper

1 1/2 cups of basil

3 cups of tomato paste

3 bay leaves


The tomato sauce will have a bright red color from using the tomato paste. Add all your ingredients with the exception of the bay leaves. Using your immersion blender, blend everything together. Add your bay leaves and bring your sauce to a boil. Stir frequently. Let it reduce on medium high for 2-3 hours until it reaches the right think consistency and red color. Add additional spices and flavors to suite your taste and customizations.

Follow the basic canning rules sanitizing your jars, lids and rings. Add your sauce and then seal them. Make sure they are cooled before storing them in a cool and dry location.


More Tomato and Canning Recipes

Life Lessons

Underestimated is How I Like to Be

If you ever wanted to light a fire under my ass to get something done all you have to do is underestimate me.

I like to be underestimated because I have something to fight for to prove to you and also myself. I like being the underdog because I can break the rules or completely ignore them. Most importantly you will never see me coming.

The problem is when you have proven yourself or gained a certain amount of visibility you can’t be underestimated any longer. People expect something from you. Maybe it’s a certain amount of quality, your product, your productivity or hard work. Maybe it’s all of the above. The once underestimated becomes the person others compete against. You make each other better for it, but there are these things like expectations, pressure and stress. These are things you didn’t have to deal with when you were invisible underdog who took risks and made moves without regret. Risking it all becomes more of a challenge. Everyone is watching or at least you believe they are. You now have a reputation, an expectation and you can either do nothing, fail or exceed your goal or other expectations. Might I suggest that you have another option which is a fourth one.

That fourth option is none of the above. You don’t give a shit about what anyone thinks about you. You do what you want and how you want to do it and quit worrying about those expectations of what people might be thinking of you or saying about you good, bad or indifferent. Just do what you do and know is true. You are the only person you should be considering.

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