Welcome to our Sisterhood Series! It’s our birthday month, and we are celebrating by introducing you to some of the beautiful women in our community. We can’t wait for you to meet them.
Hi Amy! Tell us a bit about who you are and where you’re from! //
My name is Amy Heyse, and I’m from Fort Collins, Colorado. I met my husband, Kevin, in a college drawing class and we have been married for 10 years. We have two little girls, Holly and Mayumi. I do the stay-at-home mom thing while also working part-time as a paint/sip instructor.
My true passion is making personal artwork inspired by my prayer life whenever I have a spare moment. I have a little Etsy shop with prints and stickers of my artwork on the side. Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I wanted to be an artist when I grew up and I’m so grateful and blessed for the opportunities I have had to create art.
What is your favorite way to pray? //
My favorite way to pray is a combination of prayer journaling, imaginative prayer, and creating artwork based on those prayer experiences. I try to write in my journal every day. It starts off with me just “dumping” everything out on the page, good and bad. I try to get it all out of my head and onto the page, even if it’s just a song lyric that’s stuck in my head.
Once I’ve written down everything that has been on my heart, I pause, close my eyes, and try to be receptive to what God wants to talk to me about. Sometimes I can visualize things and other times I write in my journal what I perceive God is telling me.
In my journal, I draw a cross next to anything that I believe might be from God. I’ll go back and highlight the passages in my journal that stick out to me. Often, if I go back and look over the last week or month, I can start to see patterns emerge.
Almost all of my drawings and paintings that I create are inspired by the conversations I’m having with God that are revealed in the pages of my prayer journal. An image from imaginative prayer or a passage I’ve written in my journal entries becomes the springboard from which a piece of artwork begins. The act of creating art is what helps me feel the most connected to God. Working on a drawing or painting is helping me work through and process the conversation that I’m trying to be receptive to in our prayer time together.
Why is community important to you? How has it felt when you have had good community? //
Community helps you to feel like you’re not alone on the journey. I live in the same city that I went to college in. Because Fort Collins is a college town, there tends to be a lot of transition. Really wonderful friends I made in college moved away when I graduated. Friends I would make at work would transition to new jobs or places to live once I finally felt like I was getting to know them on a deeper level. It was hard to be a stationary person in a transitional city!
I think what I learned during that time was that it was always worth it to continually put myself out there and try to build friendships with other people, even if there was risk of them moving. I’ve seen how God likes to work in seasons, and just because you might only have a friend or set of wonderful coworkers for only a season of your life, that season can still be fruitful and transformative.
When I was a new mom, I started attending our local mom’s group. I’m introverted, so it was really hard to put myself out there and make friendships at first. However, I just kept showing up meeting after meeting and I now have some really beautiful friendships with other moms in a similar season of life as myself. When I gave birth to my second daughter, the women in my mom’s group, some of whom I didn’t even really know, brought our family meals. These same women prayed for my brother when he was hospitalized and got him a prayer shawl knitted by some other women who had formed a knitting ministry at the church.
I have also found a beautiful community of fellow Catholic artists and creatives online (yes, you can have real friendships with people you meet on the internet!). During the pandemic, I joined a Zoom book club with some fellow Catholic artists. We became really close and have been each other’s biggest cheerleaders. In early August, almost all of the artists in our little group got to spend time in person on a weekend artist retreat. I’ve also gotten to meet some of my sisters from The Well session we did with Beth Davis at The Fly retreat in Scottsdale, Arizona back in April.
What about something about what a friend has done in your life that has radically changed your life? //
I was really struggling with depression and anxiety when my oldest daughter was a toddler. Those days were pretty dark and there was many a day that went by where I felt like I wanted to fall asleep and never wake up. I wanted to hibernate through that season of life. My husband saw the pain of my heart and worked it out with his boss so he could work from home to help take care of me. He worked from home for a couple of months so that I wouldn’t be alone and would have more support. I will forever be thankful for his “yes” during that time. It was very humbling. I am also incredibly thankful for his boss’ “yes.” My husband’s friendship with me as well as the friendship between him and his boss helped me to recover and find healing.
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What is the biggest quality you look for in a close friend? //
I have always appreciated friends who are easy to talk to because they are open and accepting. I love a good conversation, even if it’s only about something silly or trivial. My closest friends are the types of people who I can talk to about anything and everything, often in the same conversation. I love having really fluid conversations with people that start off being about small things like, ”What was the last movie you saw?” and they flow easily into the bigger or heavier things.
I have friends from childhood who I don’t get to see as often and I always love it when we can have a conversation where it feels like no time has passed since our last visit. I also love the friends where I can be sitting in their car or at their house and a conversation that feels like it has only been 30 minutes has in fact been 3 hours long! Those are my people.
What kind of friend do you hope to be? //
I hope to be someone who is a safe person to talk to. I strive to be empathetic towards others. I know that it’s hard to share or be vulnerable, so I want to be the kind of friend who is willing to take the time to listen without judgment. Everyone has times in their life where they feel like the black sheep and I want to be a friend who can provide a safe pasture.
Tell us about a time a friend led you closer to Jesus. //
When I was a freshman in college, there was a day that I thought about whether or not I should continue going to church. Since the beginning of the school year, I had been going to church every Sunday but hadn’t met anyone in the parish community. I can remember sitting in the pew at church thinking to myself, “Why do I even bother?” I asked the Lord to send me a sign. The church had a sky light window and at that moment, the sun’s rays shined directly into my face throughout Mass. It felt like being under a spotlight. At the end of Mass, a girl from the church choir came up to me and introduced herself. We realized we were in an art class together and she invited me to join the church choir, which I ended up doing.
If she hadn’t come up to me after Mass, I might have seriously considered not coming back to church. Her invitation to join the church choir led me to meet young Catholics who truly loved the Faith, which was something I hadn’t experienced up until that point. Church choir led to going on a retreat that changed how I viewed being Catholic, and sowed seeds that would later lead to a more intimate relationship with the Lord.
Now we want to hear about YOU! Answer one or any of the questions in the comments below.