by LIZ ONUFER | photos by Soul of Photography

Heart & Soul of a Family

Art and faith come together in the Cullum household in a variety of mediums. Whether woodworking, singing, or signing, the Cullum family spreads their unique talents and positive outlook on life throughout Encinitas and beyond.

Andrew Cullum, an Encinitas native, is a woodworker whose custom hand-carved work adorns homes across San Diego and the country. Andrew began studying the craft in his childhood, and is known today for his fireplace mantels, doors, gates, and most recently, his carving of a 10-foot dolphin from an old cypress stump on 10th St. in Del Mar.

Myra Cullum’s passion also grew during her childhood in Texas, where she played in the Fort Worth Youth Orchestra and sang in the church choir. Music became her doorway to the world. In fact, she has traveled globally to perform and teach. Today Myra is the music teacher at Santa Fe Christian School and choir director at two local churches.

The couple met in 2000 at the Solana Beach Presbyterian Church during Myra’s slide show about her service work at the Christian Happy Home Orphanages in Thailand. They continued the conversation while surfing at Swami’s and the next summer, the couple married. They celebrated their honeymoon with a stop at the orphanage in Thailand, where Myra taught drumming and Andrew carved drumsticks from bamboo for the children.


Back home, the Cullum’s began their own family. Today the children’s hobbies take closely after their parents. Elizabeth, 11, is a surfer, singer, violinist, and animal lover. Katherine, 10, spreads her passion for music through American Sign Language (ASL) and the signing choir, Love in Motion. “Not long after Katherine was born, we found out she was deaf. So, our whole family has learned sign language,” Myra explained. Christopher, 5, is an active boy, who serves the vital role of comic relief for the family.

Learning ASL “has opened up a whole different world for us,” Myra said. Unlike spoken English, ASL requires eye contact. “For us, signing is more than moving your hands. It is communication from the heart and soul,” Myra acknowledged. The family performs music and signing in concerts for the Encinitas Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and the Atria Senior Living Center.

The Cullum family shares their heart and soul with the community and the world. Whether it’s through music, wood carvings, or sign language, the family is guided by their passion and faith.

Parents: Andrew and Myra Cullum
Children: Elizabeth (11, 5th grade at Coastal Academy), Katherine (10, 4th grade at LaFayette Elementary), Christopher (5, Kindergarten at Santa Fe Christian School)
Community: Encinitas Highlands since 2001
Parents’ Hometowns: Andrew – Encinitas, CA, Myra – Arlington, TX
Parents’ Occupations: Andrew – Fine Woodworker, Myra – Mom, Music Teacher, Choir Director at Solana Beach Presbyterian Church and Village Community Presbyterian Church
Pets: Bunny – Basil, Parakeet – Sunny
Favorite Local Spot: Moonlight Beach, Swami’s Beach, Trader Joe’s, and Casa de Bandini