My Family Rocks

My kids and husband played pieces in a recital yesterday. They have an excellent teacher, Enrique Chi, from the band Making Movies.

amanda ∞



Last night we went to experience Sigur Ros live at the Uptown Theater. I got a taste of the heavenly praises I will be experiencing one eternity. Time no longer existed, just the music, just the art.

Today my home smells like my grandma’s, fried chicken; and Sigur Ros is playing in the background. My soul is weeping and laughing, rejoicing, remembering.

Our menu today for VERONICA’s Voice:

Chicken & Rice
Gentle Carrots
Cottage Cheese enhanced by Peaches or Tomatoes
Butterscotch Pudding made from scratch, or maybe that should be breakfast

amanda ∞


the Right Side of My Brain

Welcome to the DRSB web!I’ve desired to know how to draw for years. After several tries with “learn to draw or sketch” books with instructions and suggestions, I’ve finally decided that The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain was worth the time investment it would take to read. It is more than a “learn to draw” book, but rather a “learn to see” book as it delves into the functions of the left and right sides of the brain. Combine this with the Artist’s Way and I have a fresh perspective on the walls I’ve built around creativity.

According to Julia Cameron, author of The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain:

The left hemisphere [of the brain] analyzes, abstracts, counts, marks time, plans stop-by-stop procedures, verbalizes, and makes rational statements based on logic.

Using the right hemisphere, we understand metaphors, we dream, we create new combinations of ideas. When something is too complex to describe, we can make gestures that communicate…and we are able to draw pictures of our perceptions.

Her book has many more examples of L-mode (left hemisphere mode) and R-mode characteristics. I absorbed them all eagerly, fascinated. All the while a thought was making its way to the surface:

I have been taught somewhere along the way that R-mode is bad and L-mode is good.

Now I understand why I loved playing the piano. I knew the keyboard well and would switch to R-mode as I played. I felt free and alive, but I never felt comfortable playing the piano in front of others. Somewhere along the line, I also learned that revealing one’s soul was bad and that is what I did in R-mode. No wonder it has taken me this long in life to let go and truly express myself. I was putting my soul under the guillotine every time I left L-mode.

I entered college with a piano scholarship. As part of the scholarship, I received money and also piano lessons from an excellent instructor. The catch was that I had to accompany vocal soloists to receive the scholarship. I made it through two semesters and then caved because of the pressure of having to play in front of others. But my piano instructor was so unbelievably fabulous. I could play in front of him. He introduced me to some of my favorite music and taught me so much. After the scholarship ended, so did my piano playing. I was 18.

Back to L-mode, this is the mode in which I have learned to function. Something deep within me kept turning me towards the creative, but every time I would get slightly involved, my L-mode self would tell my R-mode self that I didn’t have time to do those unimportant things, like learning to draw. And my R-mode was still was extremely self-conscious. 

As I began down the path with my altered hymnal, something inside me awakened. Still the only time I would allow myself to work on the pages was when I was alone. (Being a homeschool mom with a self-employed husband does not allow for much alone time.) The more I worked on the book, the more I wanted to learn. With the more I learned and experienced, the more I felt that this is what I was supposed to be doing. And then my L-mode would kick me in the pants and tell me that I was wasting time again.

The combination of these two books have given me a creative freedom that is also allowing me to be fully who God created me to be. I no longer view the creative mode as a “treat” that I might get at the end of the day – if I have time and am not too tired. My right hemisphere is rejoicing as I allow it freedom to roam almost all day. I am once again reminded of the childhood me that always thought of herself in 3rd person. My life was a story that was being continually played out. I was narrator and also the main character, She.

Some side affects of this freedom include a little messier house, and a lost concept of time. My stomach is the only clock left. Okay, also the coffee alarm. The difficult part is breaking bad habits and finding that delicate balance between creative freedom and irresponsibility. I am also learning to allow the kids more creative freedom in their school day. School can take longer this way, but is much more enjoyable along the way. In this I am also still finding balance.

And now, because I am practicing and learning to let go of all fears, I’m revealing my first self portrait and my hand. These were to be done with no instruction yet as to how to draw. After I work my way through the entire book, I am going to post a comparison self portrait. I’m hoping by then to conquer that dang nose.

At this point, I would appreciate no comments about my drawing, even if they are encouraging. Thank you.

amanda ∞

Inspiring Christian Women

The latest Salt challenge is “Women of Faith.” My daughter and I took a class this weekend to learn how to solder jewelry. We both loved it. I see many fun creations in our future. This bracelet was inspired by a very special Christian woman in my life, my mom. She’s been the church organist since I’ve been alive. Her life is much like the hymns that she plays weekly, so I just had to use pages from a hymnal in the bracelet.

Hymnal words and mosaic tile.

Hymnal words and portion of a hymn.

My soldering is quite lumpy, far from refined, but I definitely want to make more. Practice makes perfect. 🙂

amanda ∞

New Year’s Resolution

New year resolutions, I am not one to set them, but have found myself pondering and praying about God’s directions for me. This fall I spent extremely too much time on the computer. I am sure I wasted days. This is not what God has prepared for me. Last spring, God began stripping responsibilities and duties from me to be available for His direction. Rather than praying and listening, I have been filling my “still time” with mindless computer time. Rather than playing games with my son or playing the piano, I have been pouring this beautiful gift of time down the drain. As a result, my family became less intimate this fall. As I sat staring at the computer screen, everyone else quickly learned to piddle away their time as well.  To guard this precious gift and to allow myself to live more fully as God directs, goals and disciplines must be set. I must choose to do these things.

  • I will not wander aimlessly on the internet.
  • I will not play computer games.
  • I will minimize Outlook so as not to be continually scanning for new emails.
  • I will continue to exercise regularly and will make an effort to add exercise time to my routine.
  • I will continue to focus on feeding my family nutritious food.
  • I will take my vitamins.
  • I will drink lots of water.
  • I will not drink alcohol.
  • I will monitor my coffee intake.
  • I will continue my daily Bible reading and will seek more time in God’s precious Word.
  • I will call, at minimum, one friend each week.
  • I will look for opportunities to be quiet with God throughout each day.
  • I will have conversations with each child individually each day.
  • I will frequently remind my husband to take me out.
  • I will pray for artistic inspiration.
  • I will do my best with household duties without comparing my life and choices to others.
  • I will be of good cheer.
  • I will give thanks.

I notice 3 distinct reasons for these goals as I list them. One is to guard my mind from becoming complacent; two, to keep my body (and my family) in good condition so that I am available; three, to build on relationships with family and friends and anyone God puts in my path. I do all of these things to develop a greater intimacy with my Father. Whenever one of these areas is lacking, I tend to loose touch with the One who created me.

So I suppose if I were to have a New Year’s Resolution, it would be: To let nothing hinder me in my passionate pursuit of a deeper relationship with my Father, not even myself.

amanda ∞




My husband’s Christmas present was also my first piece of art outside of a book. Although I did prepare a canvas, I ended up using the cover of a book instead. The words in ink read Symbiosis: the living together of two dissimlar organisms, such as you and I. The highlighted text on the page reads “She sees to it that the meaning of each word is clear.” And the picture is of a tree with fungus and moss = symbiosis. The yellow sure is more brilliant in the scan than the actual piece, but art never looks quite the same online as in person.

Our Christmas was lovely and meaningful. I never did get our home decorated, but did enjoy the seasonal decorations at my parents’ and brother’s homes. We were so blessed to celebrate Christmas with my parents and both my brothers and their families. The highlight was hearing my niece sing a beautiful solo at the Christmas Eve Service, and watching my brother’s glowing face as she sang. Yes, I cried.

amanda ∞

Art from Worship

Yesterday I went to the International House of Prayer to soak in the excellent worship experience they have available. They have a prayer room in which worship takes place 24 hours a day and has been going nonstop since Sept. 19, 1999. The worship leader changes every 2 hours, and I just happened to go when one of my favorite artists, Julie Meyer, was worship leader. I think God had this special treat planned for me.

I took my art journal, oil pastels, and markers along and made this page. It is layered with many words and Scripture. This is the first page I’ve done since my bout of depression. It felt very good.

Today, we have a beautiful view of layers of ice on the trees and homes. It is still raining and the water is still freezing. We’ll be staying at home today.

amanda ∞