Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Dr. John Stanko ~ Special Guest

Hugs by Jan Steinle


Introduing Special Guest Blogger ~Dr. John Stanko 
Pastor, Counselor, Author, Missionary, Publisher & Creator of

Afraid: Who? Me?

It is an honor to be a guest blogger for my good friend and fellow author, Carole Brecht. I have watched with great pride and joy as Carole has embraced her creative calling, a work that emerged out of the painful but rewarding experience of being a Caregiver for her beloved Mother. 

Carole did not tell me what to write; she just asked me if I would be a special guest blogger, and I was only too glad to comply. Carole has enriched our lives and made important contributions not only to the art of Caregiving, but also to the art of writing, blogging, and artistry, specifically her genre of choice, Zentangle. All those expressions did not just happen; they took dedication and the ability to deal with fear, for fear is the great enemy of creativity — and just about anything else you and I will attempt to do in life.

The challenge with fear is that it never shows up as fear like we see in the movies. Our fears do not appear in some grotesque shape or form, chanting and making sounds like, “Mwa, haha, haha! I am fear!” No, instead our fears show up and sound quite rationale. They say things like, “I don’t have time to write, or paint, or blog, or take care of grandma.”  In fact, you may have said that just this morning or yesterday when you groped for some excuse that would ease your guilt that you were not doing what has been in your heart to do for quite some time.

Truth be told, you have all the time in the world: 24 hours every day. You may not have as much money as Bill Gates, but you have as much time as he does. Time is the great equalizer among people, so it is not quite true that you don’t have enough time. A more accurate statement is that you are afraid you don’t have enough time. What are you afraid of? You are afraid you don’t have time to do it right, or the way you want it done, or the way that will keep people from laughing, mocking, or dismissing you as a creative lightweight. 

You are afraid that you will waste the time you have on a stupid expression that is not nearly as good as Hemingway, Monet, or Martha Stewart could produce.You are afraid that somehow you will leave something out, or will put too much in, or reveal too much, or too little, or that Aunt Millie will be offended when you tell the story of how she walked through the screen door when it was closed because she thought it was open. 

I have watched Carole and others like her twist like flags in the wind when they stood face-to-face with their creativity, which means they stood face-to-face with their fears. Carole and her fellow creators have had to face the fear that “I can’t do this regularly; it’s not good enough; the blue is not blue enough; the red is not red enough; the story is not long enough,” and on and on and on. The difference between Carole along with her creative cohort, and those who only talk about creativity, is that she and they stared down their fears and did something with their creativity, even when it wasn’t convenient or perfect. We would have to say the world is a better place because she and they did. If that’s true (and it is), then the world is less of a better place if you have not expressed the creativity that is in your heart to display.

I would argue that if you are involved in any kind of Caregiving role at this time, you need to find time to be creative in order to keep your mental equilibrium. Let me restate that: You need to have a creative outlet to stay sane! Even if it is 15 minutes every other day, you need to create. You will need to face your fears to do so, for the creative excuses will flow if you don’t: “I’m too tired; I have nothing to give; what’s the use — no one will notice anyway.” It’s remarkable how often we siphon off the best of our creative energy to creating and making excuses of why this is not the right time to create.

So thank you, Carole, for setting such a good example, and thank you, dear reader, for brightening your world, and thus our world and consequently my world, with your love and creative care for those around you. Now, I urge you to be a Caregiver for and to yourself as you face your fears, and produce something wonderful not in five years, not next year, not next month, not tomorrow, but today. I know you will not only be glad, but also relieved that you did.

In Africa with the local children.

Owner of Urban Press, a Publishing Company. Dr. John has authored over 20 books!

To reach out and follow Dr. John:

office 412.646.2780

Thank you Dr. John for being my guest blogger today ~ it's been great getting to know you! You continue to inspire me daily as you live your purpose-filled life, helping people around the globe!

- Dr John and I met approximately 4 years ago. I scheduled a visit with him when he was employed by Allegheny Center Alliance Church. I needed some help during my Caregiver journey with Mom to adjust to major changes with her memory impairment due to Alzheimer's disease. I was not doing well that day and was pretty teary-eyed during most of our visit. I gave him a run-down of what was happening in my life and how distraught I was at the time. As I was sharing with him, I mentioned I was an Artist by trade. He stopped me in my tracks when he asked: "When is the last time you created something in the art world?" and I said: "It's been so long, maybe decades ago, I can't remember." He told me to go home and create some art and then come back and talk to him. I left there feeling calmer, I know that for sure. 

He planted a seed in my mind to do something artistic. At the time, I didn't really 'get' his advice, but low and behold, it wasn't much later that Zentangle showed up in my life and I immediately fell in love with that art form and have since become a prolific Zentangle Artist. I was also in Dr. John's classroom on and off in 2014. At the end of that experience, I got the idea for my book and the rest is history! 

Dr. John is a very special friend to me. Since we met, he's had a strong, positive influence in my life. He's the Publisher and Editor for the first edition of my Kindle book in April 2016: The Artistry of Caregiving. I learned so much from him, always do. I want to get back to his classroom because the energy and positive vibe is so great. He's a wise, wonderful teacher, person and friend. Logon to: to learn more about him, his mission and how you can donate to his cause. If you're struggling to figure out what your purpose-driven life is, there's a free assessment on the homepage that will help you narrow it down. 

Best Wishes,

Check out my book: The Artistry of Caregiving: Letters To Inspire Your Caregiver Journey on Amazon in Paperback & Kindle - A book to read on the go, your daily companio
n, letting you know your understood and not alone~

A recent review on my book page on Amazon from April Koontz:

“Heartfelt, inspiring and amazingly creative. This book is an intimate and poignant work of art that speaks directly to the different attributes of a person who has stepped into the privileged yet painful role of Caregiver. Thanks Carole, for welcoming me into your sacred Caregiving journey. I’m in awe of your artistic genius and the joy she’s bringing to so many others who are facing the often lonely, scary and demanding job of primary Caregiver. Thanks also for the introduction to Zentangle Inspired Art. It’s like meeting a new friend. Well done!”


Stay tuned: Elizabeth Miller, creator of Happy Healthy Caregiver social media platform and website, and I are partnering, creating a new launch for Caregivers. Something lively and fun! We'll be making an announcement very soon on social media for the launch date. :-)

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