Monday, November 18, 2013

Music Monday - My November Playlist

I’m constantly on the hunt for new music. It’s what I love most about being a part of the Recording Academy now. There is an abundance of music both covered and uncovered that I get to explore. We all hear the fun commercial stuff on the radio, and that’s fantastic too, but there are some great tunes you probably don’t hear on the radio...

So, I thought I’d share a few things that I’ve been listening to lately to give you something to put in your ears, if it’s not already there. Some of these you know well, some of these will be strange at first, but they will grow nicely on you and feed your soul at various times.

India.Arie - Just Do You
I love just about everything this woman does. She always, ALWAYS, finds a way to speak truth and encouragement through her music. This song is a perfect example of her ability to uplift and pump us all up to just do us.

Katy Perry - Roar
My friends nephew loves this song. He’s three. I love it because it’s a song about empowerment. Believe in your voice and use it.

Sheryl Crow - Shotgun
This song is just fun. I heard it first while on tour in September, thanks to my friend Jeff. I happen to love cars, I love driving -- and driving fast -- and I can’t wait to meet that smokin’ guy who will love driving with me!

Josh Garrels - The Resistance
This song is my heart cry. Plus, the guy raps. I love rap. I also love that he’s talking about being real and honest in our faith. Let us not compromise, but let us not be drones, or puppets on a string.

The Civil Wars - Dust to Dust
The blending of these two voices is so pure and haunting. And this song is so soothing to a heart that has been through a barrage emotional wars - a cry to end the loneliness by trusting and loving again.

Aaron & The Spell - Don’t Cry
Lay your burdens down. Be carried and dance it off. Also, listen to that barry sax and let it tickle your soul. So good.

All Sons & Daughters - Brokenness Aside (Album)
This whole album has been healing for me in a season of great challenge in my life. My hope was shattered for a while, and it was hard to imagine getting up again. Vulnerable for a blog, but true and worth sharing. Songs like “Reason To Sing” have helped me see the compassion that has been given to me when I have felt like I have no reason to sing.

Serena Ryder - Stompa
This song was introduced to me by a lovely person. It’s just a fun song. Get up, clap your hands, stomp your feet, and throw your cares off for a bit. It’s so important.

Laura Sullivan - Love’s River (Album)
Here is a fellow NARAS member. This is an instrumental album and it is so peaceful. Sometimes I love just sitting in the room with coffee or tea and just listening to a peaceful set of music. This is a great go to.

Linda Chorney - Finally
And another NARAS member. A great display of musicianship, songwriting, and the importance of communicating love. It’s nice to hit a moment of “finally.”

Tasha Cobbs - Break Every Chain
This woman’s voice is POWERFUL! The song is powerful as well, but it needs a voice like Tasha’s to take it where it needs to go to genuinely break every chain!

Tim Timmons - Let’s Be Beautiful
My friends Jeanine introduced me to Tim Timmons. A man with nearly two first names...haha. Poor guy. I love this song though. I love the idea of deciding to beautiful, both as individuals and specifically a call to the Christian community to open our eyes and get out of our boxes. It’s a great marriage to the Josh Garrels song above.

Lady Antebellum - Just A Kiss
Emotions. So powerful are emotions. When we fall in love, every single one of us have a hard time controlling our emotions. We think, just a kiss, I don’t want to rush it...most of us don’t know how to slow down, stoke the fire so that it will burn as long as it does bright...this captures that feeling. Plus, even at 31, I still get a little gushy when I hear songs like this. It’s like we never really grow up.

Okay...I could make this list days long...I’ll stop here for now. Some of these you know, some of these you’ll love, and even if you hate them, give them a fair listen. You never know what can touch you if you’re open to be touched. ;)

ENJOY!

Until next time,

Take care of your hearts and ears.

~Amber
www.theambersweeney.com
~Listen With Your Heart~

Friday, November 15, 2013

Feature Friday - Wade Hendrix

I love supporting local musicians when I can get out and see them. They are working so hard to do what they love, no matter what the venue, simply because they love music! I am thrilled to highlight one of the most generous and sincere musicians in the Southwest Washington Area. Ladies and gentlemen, Wade Hendrix.

Wade & me at The Fatmoose In Woodland for his breast cancer awareness show.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Music Monday - The Art Of Saying Yes

A few years ago, I took a comedy improv class at Portland’s Brody Theater. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done. Why? It taught me the art of saying yes.

It’s applicable in all areas of life, but when it comes to being a musician and a business owner, I find it extremely important. We are hard wired to say no, for some reason. You know, like how toddlers over use the phrase once they learn it? Maybe it’s because as they explore the world around them, that’s all they hear...DON’T TOUCH THAT! YOU CAN’T GO THERE! I SAID NO! How strange...

Friday, November 1, 2013

Feature Friday - Michael Ciraulo

Today’s feature is a very special one. It’s dedicated to one of Battle Grounds finest citizens. He and his family have given so much to the town I live in for many years, and I am so honored to share not only my endorsement of this man for a continued seat on the Battle Ground City Council, but he was gracious in taking time out of the madness of the campaign to answer a few questions for me.

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Michael Ciraulo.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tipsy Thrusday

What do Kylie Minogue, Sheryl Crow, and Melissa Etheridge all have in common? Yes, yes, I know, they’re all singers, but that’s not what we’re getting at here. They all were diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 45. In fact, Kylie Minogue was only 36 years old when she was diagnosed! These are very public figures, who take very good care of themselves, which means, it really is worth it to keep an eye on our bodies and make sure to catch abnormalities before it’s too late!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

VIDEO BLOG






 


Once a month I post a video to my YouTube Page - youtube.com/theambersweeney

Why not post one of those videos here? ;) This is part of my Exclusive Acoustic Series. This song is called "Goodnight."

Enjoy!

Until next time,

Take care of your hearts & ears

~Amber
www.theambersweeney.com
~Listen With Your Heart~

Monday, October 21, 2013

Music Monday - Effectively Touring

If you’ve ever been in a band, you know why you need to tour. If you’re a music lover, you love it when your favorite artists go on tour. So, it’s settled, always say yes to a tour. How then does one make a successful tour happen? If there were a simple answer to this, we would all be household names...or maybe it would be such a saturated market that the value.....................zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Tipsy Thursday - Keeping The Sinuses Clear

With all of the first world problems plaguing us today, I must say that I find congestion to be among the worst. That may sound a bit insensitive, but do read into the humor.

Congestion is manageable for most folks, unless you're a man...apparently, the man cold is the worst of the first world problems...I've digressed...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Guess Who's Back?

Well, hello blogging world. It’s been a while. Oh how I’ve missed you.

Alright. So here’s how this is gonna go. I have a bevy of blogs to share with all of you, and now it’s time to let you in on some of the flow.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Anonymous Hate Mail

Everyone in every industry, every walk of life, and every age gets it at some point in this digital age. Sometimes it comes with the boldness of one who is willing to let their names and faces be known, but most often these folks are veiled and hidden behind the cloak of the “anonymous” poster. I have appreciated how people like Tina Fey have handled this at times. Most of these “anonymous” people rant about their feelings on things and people in the most cowardly way. There is no consequence to their actions, or so they think, as they angrily type away whole heartedly believing they are going to suddenly convince the focus of their hatred to agree that their fatuous and puerile tirades are worth adhering to. What amount of foolishness lives inside of a person to feel they have that much authority to rebuke a complete stranger is beyond my ability and desire to comprehend. Nonetheless, it is an epidemic that exists in our world today, and most of us know this as: bullying.

I was bullied a fair amount as a kid. Children have the most wonderfully innocent capacity to point out all of the things they find strange in the world around them, and unfortunately, this can easily turn cruel and harmful. Sometimes it’s having a gap in your teeth, or ears that stick out a little too far, or even adults who look down on you and your parents for the freedoms you are given to explore who you are. Be this as it may, my generation was taught to overcome this by simply getting over it, to let it roll off your back and move on. In a short while, you’ll forget those things were even said and you’ll go back to riding bikes and watching cartoons. I can’t even imagine life as a young person in this day and age. The amount of cyber bullying that happens is absolutely dumbfounding. How does someone learn to let things roll off of their back when it’s posted for all to see in an arena that seems to have no interest in the idea of “deleting.” What is more, is that we put so much stock into these virtual lives we’ve created on facebook and twitter. It’s tempting to believe that the illusion of likes and follows equals success. But does it?

There have been numerous studies that are being touted by the Dr. Oz’s and Dr. Phil’s all over the U.S. explaining the negative psychological affects of the social media age. The false sense of identity, whether it is an inflated ego, narcissism, or harassment from individuals who “feel safe” behind a computer screen, are all becoming the main topic of discussion amongst psychologists and their patients. This is a bigger deal than any of us realize.

So what do we do about it? How do we combat the devastating affects of a world that appears to be driven by social media. From what I can tell, it’s realizing that the world is not driven by social media - it is merely enhanced. Social media has nothing to do with the decisions I make as a business owner. It does not direct whether or not I am hungry and choose to remedy that hunger by eating. It does not pay my bills. It is a tool. A tool I can use to publish personal or professional information, but it is nothing more than that. It does not forgo my ability to connect with people face to face and have real life relationships and conversations. And it most definitely does not have the right or the authority to dictate the truth about who I am, what I’ve done, or what I believe. This is easier for older generations to live by, but I fear for the those whose lives are founded on what they see, read, and believe on the internet.

If we’ve learned anything from eras like America’s prohibition, it is that we cannot legislate morality. We can, however, choose to rise above the cyber bullies by looking within and understanding ourselves, both in strength and weakness, and find confidence through our faith to live out the truth of who we are, whether some anonymous madcap sees it or not. After all, why in the world would we let strangers define us? In fact, I feel kind of sad for these people who are so filled with hatred and disgust for themselves, that they fuel their self contempt towards people they have never met. What bothers me most about it, is these folks could be more effective in supporting the things they love than they are in attacking the things they hate. I don’t expect everyone to like me. If you don’t like me, don’t buy my music, don’t read my blogs, don’t come to my shows. I don’t want you there if you don’t want to be there. I think every business owner feels this way. If you hate Target, don’t shop at Target. If you don’t like milk, don’t drink milk. If you’re not a Belieber, don’t buy his music. It would befit the haters to know that most of their attackers don’t really care if they hate them. They will continue being them and doing what they do, because they know that these attackers are ignorant to truths that make people who they are. The attacked know their attackers are driven by a blind passion of self interest and self hatred, and if they’re anything like me, they pray for each person anonymous, or otherwise, who throws the kind of cheap punches only a bully can throw. However, a bully can only bully someone who will allow themselves to be bullied.

To those of you who face this from people you know, that last sentence is probably the most important one for you to read. A BULLY CAN ONLY BULLY SOMEONE WHO WILL ALLOW THEMSELVES TO BE BULLIED. You can be patient, compassionate, and humble and still not get trampled by someone else's lack of confidence in themselves. People act in ignorance, fear, and confusion on a number of levels over a number of issues. Because we are human and fallible, we cannot expect perfection from each other, but we can learn to be compassionate towards each other, and even more towards ourselves. It’s amazing what happens when we respond to anger with kindness. In fact, scripture teaches that it is kindness that leads us to repentance. I would rather learn how to forgive, to extend kindness, and become a better person than to stoop to a level of aggravated gossip and unproductive slander. Getting into a round of droll debates with vacuous people is not worth anyone's time.

The point here is to love. People can spin and bend anything to make themselves appear to be victims, if they want to do so. People can interpret all kinds of things in all kinds of ways, should they be unwilling to hear the other side of the story. When we cross the stubbornness of people unwilling to see the truth, we “shake the dust off of our sandals as we leave the city.” It is not my job, nor yours, to convince people of the truth. God is big enough to do that. In the end, the truth will come out, and we will be all the better for ignoring the bullying, and moving on with our lives. Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Goodness, Self-Control - these are the ways in which I want to live. These are the things that matter most to me.

Until Next Time

Take care of your hearts and ears

~Amber
www.theambersweeney.com
~Listen With Your Heart~

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Pledge Music Project - The Heart & Soul Concert Series & Documentary

What is this Pledge Music thing you keep talking about?


Good question. I’ve had a few people ask for some clarity on the Pledge Music Project I put together, so let’s see if this can simplify it a bit for you:

The Project I’ve created is to fund a tour of house shows in Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Las Vegas, which is to take place the last week of September. While I’m on tour, with my best friend and manager Jessicca, we’re going to film each of the shows and turn the tour into a documentary that we release to all of you who fund the tour. I’m calling this series of shows, The Heart & Soul Concert Series. The title will connect exclusively with all house shows that we do from here on out.

What’s a house show?

It’s exactly what the title implies. A show in someones house. Most people equate this to a house party. It’s kind of that, but the focus is on introducing your friends and family to a new artist and their music. The idea is that the artist shows up and puts on an acoustic show in your living room, kitchen, backyard, office, club house...something of that nature...and gets to not only share the stories behind the songs on a more intimate level, but they get to connect with the new fans on a personal level, hearing their stories, what spoke to them and it creates a chance to get to know them. Imagine if you had gotten to do that with the Beatles, Johnny Cash, or Sheryl Crow? They played in people’s homes long before they became the household names they are today.

What do I get if I “pledge?”

It really depends on how much you pledge. At minimum you get a digital download of the documentary, plus exclusive updates on how prep for the tour is coming along. Check out the pledge page to see what other kinds of incredimazing rewards there are to be had!

The most exciting part of this for me, is that once we are funded through the pledge music project page, 50% of everything that gets pledged above and beyond our goal will be donated to Not For Sale, an anti-human trafficking organization.

Please take a look at the page and pledge! HEART & SOUL I’d love to have you be a part of the tour, a part of the documentary we make on tour, and to parade my thanks to you in front of everyone I can. :)

Until Next Time,

Take Care of Your Hearts & Ears

~Amber
www.theambersweeney.com
~Listen With Your Heart~

Friday, July 19, 2013

Feature Friday - Jessicca The Best


I like to brag about my friends. Who doesn’t? Most people think they have the best friends in the world. I want to say you’re wrong, but truth is, when you find that group of people that click with you, whose heart beats at a similar rhythm, then you cannot be wrong. You have found the best friends you can find.

This week’s feature goes to my best friend, and manager, Jessicca.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Tip-Off Thursday - Keeping Your Wallet Cool Through The Summer

Summertime brings more than just sun and warmth, it brings fun activities with friends and family, vacations, barbecues, festivals, and concerts!

All these incredimazing things can really dry out our wallets fast, if we’re not careful. So how can we still make the most of summer and stay on our budget track?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Topic Tuesday - Take Up The Holiday Offer

It’s 6:30am. Your alarm goes off. You grudgingly hit snooze. You fall back asleep for a precious 9 minutes and dream of the weekend, when you can sleep the day away...of course, some of you have kids, so that’s really just a dream. You find it harder and harder to get up. You fill your time with hours and hours of work to meet your deadlines and maybe get that promotion you’re hoping for. You come home exhausted and dig into last night’s pizza, not even caring to warm it up. You can’t remember the last book you read. Reading seems like such a chore. You surf the web aimlessly while Friends or Seinfeld chirp in the background. You need a vacation. Seriously.

What I love about vacation is that it breaks the norm. You could be just as busy doing sight seeing, or swimming, but you’ve stepped away from your normal worries and routines and allowed yourself, and your brain to hit reset. You experience new things, get out of the automated grumpy mode, and allow your spirit and soul to find that much needed selah. Even if it’s just for the weekend, breaking your routine to do something that takes you away from your regular challenges is well worth it.

I could probably quote all of the articles I’ve read on all of the studies about how this is positive, but let’s face it, I don’t want to take the time to do that. Why? Because I’m getting ready to go on vacation. I’d rather spend my extra minutes researching what to bring camping, or what book I get to read while I escape from technology for a blissful few days of sunshine, cooking over a fire, and laughing my butt off with my friends. All I know is that every time I take the time to get out of town and do something besides the daily grind, I’m inspired to come home and take it all on with a renewed passion and slightly different perspectives. I’m able to actually take an inventory of my life and see how well it’s going, rather than turn on autopilot and hope all my challenges work themselves out.

One of my favorite vacation times was driving across the US a few years ago with my best friend, Jessicca. It was so much fun! We started in WA and ended In NC. Of the many memorable moments, such as chasing a thunderstorm in New Mexico and witnessing the gorgeous landscape it had to offer, was the great oil spill in Texas. We had been driving for nearly 12 hours and forgot to take into account the time changes we would cross throughout the day. It was a long day of driving and a good part of it was in some pretty extreme heat and altitude changes. We were both exhausted and as exhausted bff’s do, we found ourselves in some ridiculous squabble. We got to the hotel we had booked around midnight. We had a very small window of time to sleep before hitting the road the next day, and a number of valuables in the car, so we decided not to leave anything inside. We opened the back of the pick up to see that the oil we had purchased as a precaution was no longer in it’s container. It had somehow overflowed through while standing up and saturated the back of the pick up, ruining a few of our things...mostly Jessicca’s. Irritation had turned to furry and I did the only thing I could think of. I started laughing. I suddenly realized how funny this whole situation, plus the squabble from before was. We had no choice but to check in and clean up what we could of the oil spill, and salvage what we could of our belongings. It was truly no laughing matter, but it kind of was at the same time. We didn’t get much sleep that night and had a 14 hour day ahead of us the next day, which made it that much more challenging, but we survived and laugh pretty hard at it now. I still have oil in the back of my truck. It reminds me that I have amazing friends who love to go on adventures and meet the various elements that life throws at us with arms wide open. I never have to go it alone, and I’ll always have someone to clean up the messy stuff with.

So, what I really want to know then, is what are some of your favorite vacation spots, and what you do you while you’re gone? What are some of your favorite stories, or experiences from the times you’ve snuck away from the real world and gave your lungs the freedom to breath a bit?

Tell a good story and I would love to feature it on an upcoming blog!

Until next time,

Take care of your hearts & ears

~Amber
www.theambersweeney.com
~Listen With Your Heart~

Monday, July 15, 2013

Music Monday - Summer Camping Music

Your tent is pitched, your fire started, food cooking, it’s quiet, peaceful, and you’ve got Usher’s You Got It Bad stuck in your heard. What’s worse? Oh yeah. You forgot to pack your guitar or ukulele for campfire song time. You can try to accapella it out or you can bust out your iPod and portable speaker set that you remembered to pack.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Feature Friday - Yacolt Mayor Jeff Carothers

I’m sure many of you who are not familiar with the southwest Washington area are wondering where this place called Yacolt is, and why have I talked so much about it recently? Well, it’s a small town just north of where I live and I keep talking about it because of their Mayor. Mayor Jeff Carothers and I got in touch a little over a year ago. He had heard about me through a mutual friend and had recommended I go and check out a local winery that just opened called, Moulton Falls Winery. He said that he had talked to the owners about me and that I should consider looking them up as a venue to play at. This was following his invitation for me to play at Yacolt’s 4th of July celebration in 2012. Since then, I’ve been able to partner with Moulton Falls many times, and was honored to have been asked back to headline this year’s 4th of July celebration in Yacolt - all because of Mayor Carothers.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Tip-Off Thursday - Grill That Shizz!

Step outside on a beautiful summer evening and it’s quite possible that your senses will be flooded with the delicious fragrance of charcoal, wood, and smoked goodness. There’s a sweet and tangy decadence that follows and suddenly your stomach starts demanding you find out where it’s coming from and make friends with such delectable scents. Knowing full well how strange it would be to actually do that, you opt to jump in your car, grab a few things from your local market, and then message your friends to meet you at a specific time and place to partake in the summer fun.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Topic Tuesday - Why I Love The U.S.

With everything that has been going on in this country lately, I thought it would be best to declare what I love about it, rather than engage in the complaints about our current shortcomings.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Music Monday - The Patriots Song

The longer I am a songwriter, the more I come to understand the reality that there is no one method to songwriting. Some of it is inspired by an experience, some of it comes from a wishing for something not yet found, and sometimes you’re simply frustrated and stumble upon something that in the moment might feel forced, but in the long run it becomes one of your greatest pieces of work.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Feature Friday - Michele Van Kleef

Michele is an incredibly talented singer songwriter from the great pacific northwest. Click on her picture to be whisked away to her website to take a listen to her incredimazingness while I brag about this chick for a minute.

Why am I introducing you to her? Well, for one, she's a great artist and needs to be heard. The second reason is because the two of us are teaming up to put on a kick-ass show at Malibu's in downtown Vancouver, WA on June 29.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Tip-Off Thursday - Turning Off Your Brain

It's been an hour. You have an early morning. And you're still wide awake. Your body is in that beautiful relaxed state, ready to rest for the next 7-9 hours, but your brain has a different plan.

You: Brain. Stop. Seriously.
Brain: No. Remember that time you said that totally embarrassing thing to that really cute guy?
You: Yes. Ugh. I hate it when I do that!
Brain: I know. It's like that other time that your high school crush saw the note to your best friend about how hot he is, and how you want to have his babies. Remember?
You: Seriously? Ugh. Great I just spent 10 years getting that out of my mind. Thanks.
Brain: 10 years? Wow. I wonder how he's doing? Do you think he's married? Maybe he'd be willing to take you up on your offer now...speaking of offers....did you get that report done at work?
You: Crap. I left it on my desk. Great. At least it's not due until tomorrow.
Brain: Well, did you remember to add the sales forecast? Oh! Speaking of forecast, do you know what you're wearing tomorrow? Is it supposed to rain? How's your family doing? Oh! Tomorrow's your brother's birthday. Did you wrap his gift?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Throw Back Thursday - Word To Your Papas!

Last month we had a special Throwback to Mom’s, this month it’s a special throwback to Dad’s.

Now, I have two men to talk about here. One with whose genetics helped make my existence something other than divine, and the other who has helped me value my mother in my adulthood the way she deserves to be valued.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Release

I can't thank you all enough for being a part of The Starting Line release party. Whether you were here with us in Vancouver, or joining from afar, it was truly a magnificent event!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Topic Tuesday - Thinking Differently

Topic Tuesday - Thinking Differently

The mind is truly a powerful thing. What we feed it, what we allow it to think and process will dictate not only our actions and reactions, but it will change our literal chemistry within our bodies. It seems that with the advancement of science and technology we’re able to understand this process a little better than Socrates or Plato could have ever imagined, but they did imagine some pretty incredible things.

According to Dr. Caroline Leaf, a neuro-scientist who studies the brain:

“87% to 95% of the illnesses that plague us today are a direct result of our thought life. What we think about affects us physically and emotionally. It's an epidemic of toxic emotions.
The average person has over 30,000 thoughts a day. Through an uncontrolled thought life, we create the conditions for illness; we make ourselves sick! Research shows that fear, all on its own, triggers more than 1,400 known physical and chemical responses and activates more than 30 different hormones. There are INTELLECTUAL and MEDICAL reasons to FORGIVE! Toxic waste generated by toxic thoughts causes the following illnesses: diabetes, cancer, asthma, skin problems and allergies to name just a few.”

I am currently finishing up the first round of her 21 day brain detox program, and let me tell you, it’s pretty amazing. I have grown up in a world where the phrase “learn to take your thoughts captive” was as well known as “clean your dishes.” I have struggled and triumphed in doing this, but to have an application that helps you walk through the process of literally cleaning out your brain and ridding your body of toxins that begin with your thought life is pretty “life changing.”
It amazes me that there can be so much good and bad driven from something we can’t necessarily see. Our brains can make or break our days -- even our lives! I find that even the self help scenarios of encouraging people to stop when they’re having a bad day and take an inventory of all they have to be grateful for makes an inspiring change in the direction they were headed for that particular day. What is more is setting down that path of gratitude can actually stop a devastating change in your life. In concept, or even in simple explanation, this seems easy enough to do, however, anyone who has stopped an angry or negative train of thought will tell you it is one of the more challenging things to do in life.

I can tell you that within the short period of time I have been ridding myself of one, and only one toxic thought, my health, mood, and peace have increased. After walking through some challenging things in the last two years, I noticed an increase in my levels of anxiety in certain situations. I knew what a panic attack was because I had a few on airplanes. Those were becoming a regular occurrence. I began to notice that I was having a lot of those moments where you imagine conversations with people who hurt you, and I would spend an awful lot of my real life complaining about a lot of little things. I started to change my patterns then because I knew that wasn’t a healthy way to live, but the panic attacks only decreased in small amounts. In less than 21 days, with some of these little therapy tools, the panic attacks pretty much disappeared. I can only imagine what other healthy benefits will come as I get to explore more new and healthier thoughts to have. It sounds so silly, but honestly, it makes perfect sense and the science is there to back it up!

I wanted to discuss this today because I think it is an important foundational piece in moving our world forward. It all starts with what and how we think. I wonder if perhaps some of the major challenges we face in the world, and in our local communities comes from how we initially think about ourselves. If we don’t feel good about ourselves, in any given area, then we certainly cannot give kindness, grace, or goodness to others in those areas.

I’d like to pose a challenge to all of us to look at how we can change the way we think a bit. Instead of thinking the world is out to get us, or that nothing goes right for us, what if we started seeing the gifts we have? What if we started becoming aware of the kind things people do for us? What if we start our days imagining doing kind things for others? What if God really does want to direct us and help us understand His mind, which is full of love, compassion, and understanding so we can apply it to ourselves and to the world around us? I think it’s worth a thought. Don’t you? ;)

Until next time,
Take care of your hearts & ears!

~Amber
www.theambersweeney.com
~Listen With Your Heart~

Friday, May 10, 2013

Feature Friday - Natalie's Estate Winery

This week’s Feature Friday goes to another local vineyard: Natalie’s Estate Winery in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Throwback Thursday - Dedicated To My Mom

Today’s Throwback Thursday is all about my mom. You can think about your moms in a few minutes when you’re done reading this, because for the next few minutes I want to steal your focus for a bit and brag about my mom, Rae.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Feature Friday - Moulton Falls Winery

Many people say that Northern California is wine country, but those of us who live in the Pacific Northwest know the truth. We live in the real wine country! :)

This week’s feature goes to one on my favorite local wineries - Moulton Falls Winery

MFW is set back in the hills of southwest Washington in a small town called Yacolt. It is surrounded by a never ending rolling landscape of trees, rivers, and wetlands. It’s simply gorgeous. The owners, Joe & Susan, have built a beautiful winery out of a barn on a piece of land close to one of the areas oldest train tracks. This is truly a beautiful building, with a pleasant blend of oak wood and warm tones throughout the facility. The main feature being a handcrafted bar that Joe and his brothers built.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Tip-Off Thursday - The Perfect Brew

That’s right. A whole new category to compete for the Thursday topic spot! Sometimes, you need a little competition to inspire growth... ha!

This Thursday’s special tip is dedicated to: Coffee - of course!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Topic Tuesday - Boston Strong

How can I not write about this? As I look over my schedule of blogs, I can’t help but immediately bump out one of the Topic Tuesday’s in order to talk about what we all went through last week as a nation -- but what more can really be said?

I had friends who were running last Monday. One had been across the finish line for nearly 5 minutes before the explosions took place. Her friends were a few miles behind her. Thankfully, none of them were near the bomb site. It took them nearly 24 hours to be re-united. I can only imagine the joy and relief they felt to hold each other, knowing they were okay. Yet, my heart breaks for everyone who knew each of the victims, including the officers who sacrificed their safety in the days following the attack. Their lives will never be the same.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Music Monday - Microphones

A microphone can make a huge difference when it comes to making your voice or instrument amplify the tone and resonance that makes us all go “ahhhhhh.” Engineers and professionals known this well. They become obsessive about it. Not just the kind of microphone they’re using, but the placement of the microphone. There may even be tape measurers involved. While the topic is a bit over my head in its detail, I can tell you, I know the difference between a quality mic and one that should be used with at home karaoke machines.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Topic Tuesday - End Slavery Now

In 2005, I walked into the conference room that my fellow coworkers would often use as a quiet place to eat lunch when it was not being used. As I was enjoying my packed lunch, my eye caught an article that was in a newspaper laying on the table. There was an 11 year old boy taking up nearly the entire top half of the page with big bold letters stating “Slavery Still Exists.” This was the first time I had heard about the multi-billion dollar industry in today’s world known as the human trafficking trade.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Music Monday

Today’s Music Monday is dedicated to being super-incredibly-nearly-uncontrollably-excited that TOMORROW The Starting Line will be available for you all to buy!

It has been a long wait for us all, but FINALLY, finally you’ll be able to hold in your hands, load onto your MP3 players, and share with your friends NEW MUSIC!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Feature Friday - CD Baby

No one has ever been kinder to the independent artist than CD Baby. These guys work hard to give musicians the resources they need to be successful doing what they love. It is no wonder why they are the best in the business.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Throwback Thursday - Today Or Yesterday

The first time I released an independent album as a solo artist was in 2000. I was 18. I am one of those people who finds themselves identifying with the meme “Every time someone says 10 years ago, I still think of 90s.” It’s surreal...nevertheless. Since my latest EP is being released in FIVE days, I thought it would be fun to dedicate today’s Throwback Thursday to my first album Today Or Yesterday.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Topic Tuesday - We All Hate Cancer

I hate death in general. We all have to face it at some point, true, but it doesn’t mean we have to love it and embrace it like it’s a cuddly puppy. It’s not. It’s horrible. Even Jesus called death His enemy. Of course, He kicked its ass, but in a realm that destroys its finality...we still have to contend with it until we see the other side of eternity.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Music Monday - A Silly Ode To Guitar Picks

I can never seem to find you, yet you’re everywhere

Hide and seek is fun to play, except you vanish into the air

The dryer seems to love you, you must like being clean

And when I’ve purchased more, I find you in my jeans

You are so very helpful with making lovely sounds

I always give a happy shout to see you all around

One day Mr. Dunlop just might help this poor girl out

But for now my dollars go to Music World in Battle Ground!

                                        I love you, my Dunlop Nylon Picks. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Feature Friday - One From Many

Feature Friday - One From Many

I posted/tweeted/annoyed-the-crap-out-of-everyone about a song I got to sing backup on for my friends One From Many. It got picked up to be played in an independent film called Lies That I Told My Little Sister.

Today’s feature Friday is dedicated to OFM.

I have known lead singer, Drew, for a few years now. I met him through some mutual friends and being that we are both passionate about music and making it, we had a good base to build a friendship. When I met him, he was about a year into the process of recording an album after taking a bit of a break from music. What I appreciate most about Drew is that he sees this as a business as much as he does a way to share art and life through this creative medium. He’s meticulous in his craft, which is something I have great respect for.

Drew asked if I’d be interested in singing back-up on a couple of songs, which seemed like a fun idea, so I said heck yes. We set up the time for me to join him and his producer Rob Daiker in the studio and lay down the background vocals to add those special texture pieces to a couple of songs. I brought my bff and manager, Jessicca Garcia, to the session to make it that much more fun.

The first song we worked on was called Shape of Your Heart. It sounded pretty amazing already and it wasn’t completely finished or mixed yet. Rob played a scratch of what he wanted me to track and we did a couple of takes and quickly moved onto the next song, which was Tears We All Cry Alone.

Drew told me how special this song was to him and they talked through what they wanted me to add. It’s not often that you get to walk into a studio and they tell you to go nuts. We did a few takes very straight and uniform so that they could make it sound “choir like,” and then they instructed me to let loose and make it sound like I was late to choir practice and perhaps a little tipsy. I love living in a creative world. That was probably the best direction I’ve ever received working on a project. And it worked. I was given a fun little nickname after that take. It may not have stuck, but it was pretty funny nonetheless.

Just a few days ago, I was given the final product of OFM’s album which features both of those songs. It sounds amazing. I am so proud of these guys for their hard work and the effort, patience, and dedication they’ve put into making it as great as it is. I cannot wait for you all to hear it! And keep an eye out for a Music Monday Album Review.

OFM is going to do some cool things, I believe, and these guys are working their little tooshies off to make good on all they’ve been diligently working on to share with all of you. Their live shows will be right in line with this characteristic. You’ll hear and see the quality, and be amazed by the genuineness of these guys.

Do check them out for yourselves. You’ll be glad you did! Plus, we may do some shows together in the future...then you’ll know the music so you can sing along! That’s always fun!

Until next time,

Take care of your hearts and ears!

~Amber
www.theambersweeney.com
Listen With Your Heart

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Throwback Thursday - Roller blades

Every now and then I think “whatever happened to roller blades?” Sure there are some underground extreme sports dudes who still “blade” all over the skate parks and whatnot, and of course, there’s the come back of roller skates via roller derby and the like...but does anyone remember how freakin’ cool roller blades were when they came out? Oh yes. I do! As you can see in the picture below, I was kinda little and my mom was super cool (I eventually inherited those sweet blades you see there), but man were they rad-i-cal!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Topic Tuesday - Living Within Your Means

Sooooo many books have been written on this subject. There are millions of writings, blogs, and more that are available to peruse through and glean valuable information on. So why am I writing about it? Because as a business owner I wanted to share my thoughts on the balance between being overly generous and being smart with what you have.

I love to give. I really do. If I had the billions that Bill Gates does, I would be doing what he does and more. It is a beautiful thing. At the start of a business, however, it could be your ruin. So how do you live within your means and grow your business or organization?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Music Monday - Gabe Harvison

Producing is no easy feat to accomplish. Not only do you have to be skilled in music, but you also have to be skilled in recording. It requires having both a technical and creative mind. This makes for a unique breed of people I’ve found. They make me laugh  as much as they push me to be the artist they know I can be.

Gabe Harvison fits this bill well! He is an incredible an engineer, and has been fun to work with as a producer. I wonder if I push him as much as he pushes me to think outside our norms and reach for something new and refreshing...it is possible I think.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Feature Friday - Specialized Mastering

I love working with great people. This recommendation by my friends Gabe Harvison and Levi Warren couldn’t have been a better one to make!

Specialized Mastering

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Throw Back Thursday - Film Cameras



I saw a meme recently that showed a variety of pictures we would have never taken with a film camera. A 24 roll of film was just too expensive to take pictures of things like: • food • shoes • the In N Out sign • the giant bug that lives in the corner of your room...

It was funny. ‘Cause it’s true. I actually took photography back in high school and really enjoyed it! I often miss the richness a film camera has, but then I remember that I have photoshop and digital is just way more convenient and all the nostalgia for film cameras goes out the window.

At any rate, I’ve always loved photography, so this is my throw back to film cameras. Thank you for keeping us accountable to not taking the worst pictures known to man kind with your 24 to 36 film exposure counts. We do miss you sometimes. You taught us that lighting and apertures and f-stops are all so important to capturing an image onto a special material that we later transferred onto glossy paper...perhaps I will make a pin hole camera and take some pics in your honor soon. Then again, that sounds like a lot of work.

Until next time,

Take care of your hearts and ears.

~Amber
www.theambersweeney.com
Listen With Your Heart

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Topic Tuesday - Are We A Generation of Idiots?

We’ve all seen that funny meme about Albert Einsteins quote, “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”


It is a harsh statement, but is there truth to it? I am glued to my phone/computer...I readily admit that I am one of those who really enjoys the benefit of having technology at my finger tips no matter where I am -- but what has it cost me?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Music Monday - BEFORE THE SHOW

A lot goes into putting on a show. Of course, I won’t divulge all the fun little secrets, because that’s part of the beauty of a show...it LOOKS effortless -- and it should!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Feature Friday

Red Fred Productions

I had the great privilege of doing a photo shoot with the ever lovely, Jessica Clark, of Red Fred Productions a couple weeks ago. This girl is fabulous!

We had talked about doing a shoot for a while and I’m so glad we did! She is the one behind the lense that captured the cover shot for my upcoming EP The Starting Line.

She is also the one who captured some shots at a fundraiser I was privileged to participate in last November.

Now, some people don’t like much direction when they’re having their photo taken, but I actually do better with more direction. Jessica was a true director here! I loved it! She is as concerned with making the photos look good as I was looking good for the photos. She knew what she was looking for and made me feel so very comfortable throughout the shoot. She knew the perfect spot to go too, which is rich with history -- history she is well acquainted with because her husbands family were among the first to settle in that region.

We met in Sauvie Island, OR on the side of a road near a farm. It’s one of her favorite places to shoot, she said. I was grateful to have been able to borrow my friend Rick’s car for the day to use in the shoot! What a beautiful BMW Z4 that is...back to the shoot. It happened to be pouring rain before my best friend and I met up with Jessica. It was a little worrisome but sometimes you go hoping for the best! I was so grateful that it let up long enough for us to get some GREAT shots!


It was fun to joke a bit as cars and bikers drove/rode by, and in less than an hour, we had captured all that could be captured that day and went off to enjoy the rest of the afternoon.

I knew what I’d get back would be pretty amazing, and I definitely was not in the least bit disappointed!





If you’re looking for a great photographer to do some shoots with, I highly recommend
Red Fred Productions!

Until Next Time,

Take care of your hearts & ears!

~Amber
www.theambersweeney.com
Listen With Your Heart

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Throw Back Thursday - CHUCKS

Shoes are such a funny thing. "Carrie Bradshaw" says that shoes can tell a lot about a person...I say shoes can either make you feel blissful or ruin your effing day.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Throw Back Thursday

P.O.D. may not be a huge name now, but there was a time in the early 2000s that they seemed to be the name on everyone’s lips.

A few short years before that, they were a little known band in the underground Christian Music Scene. How do I know this? Well, because I had the special privilege of being in a band that opened for them a few times, as well as other underground Christian Bands like Five Iron Frenzy, Dogwood, Chasing Furies, Stavesacre, and even Jars of Clay.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Topic Tuesday - Stand Up For Yourself

Kelly Clarkson recently tweeted about a memoir that famed music mogul Clive Davis is publishing, painting her in a rather negative light. Kelly made a bold move upon discovering this and rebutted the various situations Mr. Davis penned as a twisting of the truth.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Music Monday - Honors In Music

Evidence increasingly supports the long held belief that music is an important factor in all of our lives. Music can change moods, inspire thoughts and movement, and help us advance in spatial reasoning and mathematics. Even so, many music and art programs are being cut in schools across the United States. The funding simply isn’t there. Whatever the reasoning for this, the evidence supports the need for music, specifically, in our lives. It’s more than just a fun idea for a career, it can literally change your life.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Feature Friday - Meet The Rhoads'

I love where I live. It’s full of beauty, peace, and quirkiness. I also love supporting all that is local in my world.

Welcome to Feature Fridays.

Today’s feature goes to a good friend of mine and an incredible artist and designer:

Nathan Roads - Studio 513.