The phrase “beating the odds,” is a life theme for me. I’ve learned, over and over again, life isn’t what happens to me but how I deal with unexpected events.


After I scored poorly on my first round of SATs, my counselor said to my mother—while I was sitting next to her—“Maybe college isn’t the best path for Lisa. She’d make a very nice homemaker.” My mom banished me to my bedroom with study books, and those SAT scores rose significantly. I got into college.

When April 3 rolls around this year, I’ll mark a trifecta of life-altering events.

Rule Daughters copy

In honor of goofy kids, here are mine, Andrea and Amber.

April 3, 1982—After five years of dating, my husband and I married. This year we will celebrate our 34-year anniversary. People said it wouldn’t last. In this day and age, I feel blessed to still be sharing my life with someone I love and respect so much. We work together every day and spend 90 percent of our time in each other’s company. I am so happy to have such a fun, slightly evil best friend and husband to share this life adventure with.

April 3, 1996—We bought the first Acorn newspaper. Jim had been the Acorn’s publisher for Baker Communications for 10 years. We tried to make a graphic business work during a two-year interim. That year we lost our biggest client. Actually, five adults in our family had lost their jobs. It was a scary time.

The Acorn came up for sale and Jim worked tirelessly to get the money together to buy the paper. It was a court-ordered sale and a big company from Orange County was bidding against him. Jim went to the last dollar amount we could afford. He called me from the court—we had ourselves a newspaper with 19 employees. Many told us it was a terrible idea, print was dying. Now it’s 20 years, five papers, one magazine, 50 employees later. We beg to differ with that opinion.

April 3, 2012—We found my breast cancer. I’m still standing and loving life . . . enough said. One year later, Jim kicked my behind gently, said to stop moping and create something. Spring 2013—Beyond the Acorn magazine debuted.

So two days after this magazine is at your door, dear reader, I will be celebrating and very thankful for continuing to beat the odds.

Lisa Autograph




Lisa Rule, Publisher

Sun’s out, buds are bursting and spring is definitely in the air and, with that, we have so much in store for you in this issue of Beyond.

Take our luscious article on strawberries, the succulent sweet that practically defines our community. Who hasn’t stopped to pick up freshly picked Oxnard strawberries from a roadside vendor, or roamed the farmers market tasting strawberries at more than one stall, just for the nibbles?

Our story on strawberries tells you where you can pick your own berries, gives tips on how to grow them and shares two winning recipes from the annual Strawberry Festival. Yum.

We also loved to learn about the fascinating history of Thousand Oaks. Did you know that

Leslie children

The Haukoos triplets, once upon a time, in the dining room that served as an oversized playpen until the inmates were big enough to hop the fence.

lions roamed the land that now is the Civic Arts Plaza? Those of you old enough to recall going to childhood birthday parties in the 1960s may have ridden an elephant at Jungleland once upon a time. The historic photos we unearthed may help jog your memory.

There’s so much in this issue of Beyond and, as always, we had a blast putting it together for you. What elicited the most giggles out of the Beyond team was putting your goofy kid photographs into a very entertaining photo spread. French fries up the nose? Q-tips in the ears? Wading in the toilet? You gotta see this one.

In the spirit of disclosure, I’m sharing a photo of my triplets—yes, triplets. They’re 22 now and should be sufficiently embarrassed by this photo so, all said, mission accomplished!

I can’t resist sharing some late-breaking news: We’re quite excited to announce that Beyond the Acorn received three Maggie Award nominations. The Maggies recognize excellence in magazines published in the western United States. We’re excited to be applauded by our professional peers. Awards are in May. Wish us luck!

Also, I want to congratulate our fearless publisher, Lisa Rule, for winning a Bravo Award from the National Association of Women Business Owners, Ventura County Chapter. Lisa was named Community Advocate of the Year and we are all very proud of her. Bravo, Lisa!

Until next time,




Leslie Gregory Haukoos