Tag Archives: friends

Flora Vista

Yesterday we moved out of our Flora Vista House. I said good-bye to walks to mesa lane, late night roommate talks, and game nights in the living room. I might even miss our infestation of spiders, the subtle skunk smell that lingers in the living room, and the memories of finding a dead rat in the laundry room.

We’ve shared countless glasses of wine, hours of conversation, and two-and-half years of memories. Here’s to microwave beeps, the chore chart and the on-going saga of the internet. I’m going to miss you Flora Vista.

P.S. For the next three weeks I am lucky enough to reside in the Mumm household, where poor Jeff has had been inundated with a host of rapid-fire girl questions and conversation topics that generally center around finding jeans that fit, fashion trends and nail techniques (and not the hammer and nail kind). Read more about it here


Filed under Neither Here, Nor There

On My Left

Jen, has been on my left for the past nine years of my life. We met freshman year of college. She was dressed in pink and came to college bouncing with optimism. I was reserved and cautious and came to college with organized boxes and labeled zip-lock baggies. We were next door neighbors, but not friends right away.

In many ways I can not imagine someone more different from myself. Jen and I are opposites on nearly every letter of the Myers Briggs. I tend to be a determined, make-it happen kind of person and she thrives on the spontaneity of you-never-know-what-could-happen-today?!? I live in a world of realism while she inhabits the realm of possibilities. But oddly enough I believe it’s these very differences that have marked our friendship with such depth.

Our friendship has not been easy by any stretch of the imagination, but it has been one of the greatest sources of joy in my life. We have sustained the distance of being separated in countries miles apart and also the distance created when silence and hurt fills the very room you share. We have been through boyfriends and break-ups, annoyances and anger, and lots and lots of long conversations. We have learned how to argue well and disagree. Most of our fights tend to happen in the kitchen. And our best conversations take place sitting in the car. And somehow from these things we have come out stronger.

Jen knows me better than most because she sees beyond the surface. She has seen me at highest highs and lowest lows. She has witnessed some of my best moments and successes, and she has sat with me in seasons of depression, pain and tears. Jen has been the friend who sees through all my crap and names what is true and real. She has hoped for me when I forgot how. And she has consistently and patiently reminded me of who I am and who I can be.

Jen has taught me:

1. The importance of asking for help and meaning it.
2. How to really listen to others, and that real listening means putting down the cell phone and computer.
3. About the joy of mystery and surprises.
4. That most people don’t multi-task while they watch a movie.
5. To be honest with how I am feeling. And not just name the feelings, but actually be ok sitting with them and god forbid, feeling them.
6. Sometimes Damn it! is the most appropriate response.
7. That it’s ok to make mistakes.
8. That compromising does not in fact mean manipulating a situation to get half my way, and half your way; Sometimes it actually means letting go of “my way” altogether.
9. The beauty of asking questions, and not always giving answers.
10. Sometimes “just for fun” is the only reason you need.
11. The value in sharing eggs.
12. That the simple words “me, too” are sometimes all a friend needs to hear.
13. How to enjoy the unknown (although I don’t know if I’ll ever really enjoy the unknown, but at least how to be okay, with the unknown)
14. That good communication means I can’t just think about things, but I actually have to verbalize them. Friends, even good friends are not mind readers. (I know one day my future husband will thank her for this one!)
15. That life is more fun when adventure, play, and laughter are involved.
16. That difference is good and NECESSARY in our churches, friendships, schools and society.
17. That it’s ok to wear short shorts sometimes.
18. The importance of giving good hugs and giving them often.

A lot of who I am toady is because of the influence of this incredibly wise, beautiful, and tender-hearted friend.

Happy Birthday, Jen, my forever friend and neighbor for life!

She will probably hate me for posting this picture, but this is us freshmen year of college (notice the pink : )


Filed under Love & Relationships

Two Things

There are two things I like in life…
One: going somewhere new and Two: camping.

And this weekend I got to do both.

Somewhere off Highway 62, nestled between some huge rocks and lots of Joshua trees I found myself camping with my friend Dee-Anna and a bunch of her friends. I like camping because life moves just a little bit slower. There is more sitting, more relaxing and less doing. Camping invites late night conversations and groggy morning faces. It gives permission not to shower and have hair that smells like campfire. I am convinced that the food tastes better simply because it’s eaten outside. Fashion is dictated by how many layers are needed to stay warm, not by what colors go together. I believe I have successfully mastered the art of s’more making and I think the headlamp is one of the best inventions of the century.

It’s only March and I’ve been on two camping trips. Not a bad start to 2010. Here’s to daylight savings time, warm nights and hopefully some more camping trips.

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Filed under Travel & Perspective


Yesterday I celebrated my 27th birthday. In many ways it was a fairly normal Wednesday, but with just enough little extra surprises that it felt special. I like birthdays for that very reason: a day full of thoughtful, little things that somehow make a big difference.

Here are my top 27 little things that made my birthday really special:
• Waking up to a beautiful, sunny October day.
• A phone message from my sister in Italy including the words “freakin” and “sweet” and “birthday” all in one sentence
• Surprise coffee deliveries to my classroom (yes, plural!)
• One of my students gave me a bundle of sage and said…and I quote, “Here, Ms. Acker this is for your birthday…you’re supposed to burn it.” Umm, that might have been the oddest gift I’ve ever received, but I think his intentions were sweet
• Even though it seems cliché, the host of facebook messages and wall posts meant a lot.
• Lunch with one of my favorite friends, complete with my favorite sandwich and favorite bag of chips
• Lots of dark chocolate
• Practicing being honest, with others and myself.
• When one of my students guessed my age and said 39! (what the $%*!)
• A text from my parents in Indonesia- the night before. (thank you, international date line)
• A FREE car wash! (yes, people…if you don’t know about this, you should. Fairview Car Wash gives FREE car washes on YOUR birthday! Take advantage of this one)
• Greeting cards that made me laugh!
• Thankful for my health and that my bad knees still let me run for 30 min along the beach
• Ingrid Michaelson’s new CD
• Learning to let people help me, instead of pretending to be completely self-sufficient and independent
• Hamburger, fries and a beer from the Boathouse with two of my best friends.
• Good friends who remind you about the “remember when…” and look forward to “one day…”
• Delicious homemade brownies from my roommate
• My ninety-year-old grandma who still sends me a handwritten card for my birthday every year!
• Learning to let go; life doesn’t always happen in the order we expect it to.
• A car nap
• The comfort of a home and place to just be me.
• Redefining what it means to experience God’s presence in seasons of pain
• Getting emails and messages in Spanish from friends in Guatemala and being able to read them without using google translator
• Feeling more comfortable and confident in my own skin; instead of always comparing myself to others
• Getting to wear my favorite brown boots all day because it felt just a little bit like fall
• Being thankful.

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Filed under The F-Word


Sometimes weekends come and go and I feel like there is either way too much to do or not enough going on- it’s feels like this ridiculous game of tug-o-war where there is never a happy medium. But, this weekend was an exception.

I needed a break. Something new. Some space to go and be away and see people I miss. So, I threw my bag in my trunk and Ingrid Michalson’s new CD in my stereo and headed down the 101. Now if you know me, you know that I hate, absolutely hate, traffic. It’s like my arch enemy. You think growing up in southern California I would just “get used to.” But no. Sitting in traffic is like sinking in quicksand…just when you think you’re moving faster and getting out. You brake. stop. brake again and sink further into the murk and mess of LA traffic. I think most people just succumb to it and put on music or sit there and make the best of it, but not me. No, I try to beat it. Or at least do everything in power to avoid it and get out quick.

However, when I am so unfortunate to be stuck in traffic I call my dad. My dad is like my personal google map. You see my cell phone is ancient, probably comparable to the infamous Saved by the Bell cell phone that Zack carried around in the halls of Bayside High. Ok, not that big, but close. I do not yet have a modern, fancy touch screen machine that signals when to turn left and announces what to eat for dinner…but I do have my dad. No matter where I am, on any freeway, anywhere in the greater LA or Orange County area, my dad can tell me in an instant where to go. He must have a grid of all the freeways spinning around in his head. Usually the conversation goes something like this:
M: ugh, dad there is traffic again!
D: ok, hun. where are you?
M: sitting on the 405.
D: well you could get off at the 10 or the 22. Or take the 101 to the 605 and then get on the 710.

Seriously, somehow my dad just knows all of this- like where the 91 meets the 241 and where the 57 ends and the 5 begins and when it’s better to take the 210 or the 126. I mean who needs an iphone, when you have all that within a phone call to dad.

Thanks to the google-like-efficient advice of my father, I avoided the 405 and cruised down Highway 1 en route to Seal Beach to see my good friend. She and I have never been roommates, actually we’ve never even lived in the same city, but we connected (rather randomly) 5 years at a conference. We bonded because we both didn’t fit. She was searching for something new. And I was aching for something that was lost. And somehow instead of finding what we were looking for, we found each other.

Five years later, we’re still friends. And it was one of those weekends where it was just so good to be together. We just laughed. Laughed a lot. We barbecued with her friends. Told silly stories. Walked down Main Street with no real purpose or destination, just the wonderful aimless wandering that takes you right where you should be. We played fishbowl. And ate watermelon. And did yoga in the family room. Went to church. And sat on the beach and talked about life and teaching and dating and God and insecurities and love and loneliness and the importance of good friends.

Sometimes I feel like I breathe a litter easier when I’m somewhere new. It’s refreshing. I inhale deeply. It’s not that air is any better in Seal Beach than it is in Santa Barbara, but it is different. And sometimes when life feels stagnant and dull, new air is needed.

Dee-anna, thank you for a refreshing weekend. It was a breath of fresh air. Love you.

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Filed under Love & Relationships

Reason #27 to be a Teacher

Spring Break.

Ok, so there are probably more than 27 reasons to be a teacher, but spring break is definitely one of them.

About 3 years ago I realized that the rest of the working world does not in fact get a glorious week of vacation right in the middle of March. Thankfully, I chose a profession that honors this week and I eagerly look forward to it every year.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my job but having a week off is always a wonderful! My days and weeks can become so routine and scheduled, with a 28-min lunch period, 4-min bathroom breaks and bells that signal the start of each class. I welcome a week where life moves at slower pace. There is freedom in letting a day unfold with no set plans or expectations. I sometimes crave the spontaneous and unexpected events and conversations that just happen when I am not so busy running-here-there-and-everywhere.

So, this Spring Break I Rested. Relaxed. Played. Rode my bike. Took a yoga class. Napped at the beach. Had Sushi lunch with friends. Read. Prayed. Went to bed early! (this never happens) Ran on the beach. Coffee dates. Picnic lunches. Salsa dancing. Road trip down Highway 1 with my sister. Thrift Store Shopping. Watched my brother play lacrosse. Surprise dinner with my parents. (I LOVE surprises) Lots of Laughter. Happy Hour with the roommates. Pure joy.

Here are a few pics from my week:

confession, I did not take this picture…but it captures one of thee best drives along the California coast

my beautiful and far cooler sister, Christine.
She helps me out in life and makes sure I don’t buy plaid golf shorts at the Thrift Store.

who knew boys with sticks could be so violent?
My “little” brother, Andrew, (although much taller and stronger than I) is in the red.

I think my friend took this picture only to make fun of how ridiculous I look.

aww, Santa Barbara.
This is the view from my beach chair…where I spent a good too many hours.

Back to work tomorrow. Bright and early.

But only 39 more days ’till summer….

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I get knocked down, but I get up again…

This past weekend I went skiing up at June Mountain with some friends. Now, I don’t really consider myself a skier by any stretch of the imagination. In fact I can count on one hand the number of times I have been skiing. I am not a good skier, but I am really like going. I am sometimes envious of people who wear cool snowboarding clothes and effortlessly twist, turn and glide their way down the mountain. I on the other hand tend to 1) either coast down the mountain at a relatively slow pace (which gets kinda boring) or 2) fly down the slope at full speed with absolutely no ability to stop myself (which often results in falling face down in the snow). I am still looking forward to one day finding the perfect balance somewhere in between.

By about 3 o’clock in the afternoon and a full day of skiing (and falling) I was exhausted. We had taken the chair lift to the top of the mountain and I had just gone down thee steepest blue slope I had ever been on (I swear it was mislabeled, because it felt like a black diamond to me). I fell three times and literally just sat on the edge of the run at one point and debated “Do I stand up and try again or just slide down on my butt?” Don’t worry, I opted for the former and made it down, but it was one of those runs where you had to take a chair lift back down to the other side and then ski back to the lodge. I wanted nothing more than to just sit down and give my jello-like legs a break. My friend and I scooted up to the line to catch the lift, but somehow before I was quite ready the chair swept around with a huge pole in between the two seats. Obviously, the goal is for each person to sit on either side of the pole. Well, I don’t know exactly what happened…I think I was too far to the right, maybe? All I know is that when I reached around and turned to grab the pole, it just hit me right across the backside and I missed the seat all together. So now, the chair lift is going up, and I am hanging onto the pole with my right hand and trying desperately to grab the hand rail with my left and determined not to let go! It didn’t work. I tried to hang on, but once we were a good four feet up in the air. I just couldn’t. I let go and landed face down in the snow. Cold. Embarrassed. And Laughing.

I just fell off a chair lift!

Who does that? That’s the kind of things you see in a youtube video, but doesn’t happen to real people. The workers stopped the lift and ran over to help me. I am sure they were only half-heartedly concerned because they were laughing too. At this point I couldn’t even get up. With twisted skis and flailing poles, I tried to stand up as gracefully as one can after you fall from a chair lift. With everyone in line behind me watching and everyone on the chair lift looking back to see why it stopped, I cautiously and begrudgingly hopped onto the next chair and made my way down the mountain in what felt like the longest chair ride of my life. But I can laugh about those kind of things. I think you have to! And maybe there is something to be learned in the falling down.

On the way home I sat in the car with that good kind of dull, aching pain. My muscles were sore. Parts of my body hurt that I didn’t even know existed. I realized somewhere between Bishop and the long stretch of desert along Highway 14 that I don’t fall very much. And I mean that both metaphorically and literally. I just don’t fall down that often. I sometimes live life cautiously and carefully. I work hard to gracefully keep things together and not mess up. I spent so much of my high school and college years trying to “have it together” that I think I missed out on the joy of trying new things and learning to get back up when I fall down. There is something so precious and beautiful, and albeit, a little humbling about falling down, messing up and admitting that I can’t do it. I am learning to trust and find hope in knowing that when I get knocked down, I’ll get up again.

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