Thursday, March 02, 2023


Marty is traveling in the central and eastern parts of Ukraine right now and he will certainly update this blog when he returns. They are distributing portable wood stoves, firewood, chickens, first aid items, warm socks and other necessities. It is a grueling and difficult trip because they are near bombed out areas and cities that are being presently shelled. These outreaches are with Jeff and Paula Thompson (Mercy Projects) and Ukrainian volunteers on the ground.

Monday, December 05, 2022

Art Programs 2022

Thank you everyone who participated in the art programs this year!  YOU added so much color and creativity to my world.

We held a once a month open studio for women, programs for children with special needs, a 6 week art/character program at a local juvenile detention and a program once a month at a home for men with traumatic brain injuries.

I can't tell you how much this blessed me and those
who participated! 

Friendships were forged.

fun was had!

Thank you also to those artisans who took the time 
and effort to come up with a project and help facilitate it:

Tricia, Ofie, Teri, Michelle, 
You ladies ROCK!

Thank you also for those who have donated art supplies, including JoAnn Fabrics Corporate.  
I was able to bring close to 100 pounds of supplies to Ukraine,
 two weeks after the invasion began. 

I can't wait to see what 2023 will bring!


Monday, July 25, 2022

Hey Friends,

I want to share part one (of three parts) of a radio interview that I recently did on Arizona Shine, "REAL TALK" with Ralene Challinor...

/Users/launastan/Desktop/Real Talk Program 7-24-22.mp3

Look for the second and third part in the next few weeks! 


5:20 / 15:43

Friday, July 08, 2022

Just a reminder-

I give free art classes for kids with special needs, foster children, kids battling physical challenges, 

kids and adults with traumatic brain injury, those in detention situations and in the hospital. I have a 

large artist's studio that classes are held in, but also travel to those in the community who cannot 

come to me.  

We are always thankful for donated art supplies and finances as well as grants for running costs.

Please contact me if you have a group that you would like to have me lead a project or program with.     928-533-5965

Monday, June 06, 2022

Beauty From Ashes

I mentioned that I would share more about my trip to Ukraine in March and April.  I think the thing that stands out the most to me is how resilient, strong, brave and relentless the Ukrainian people actually are! Many people have opinions about what is happening in this war, but I want to let these two videos that I shot speak for themselves. They are a couple of incredible women and a small slice of their stories...

Nina escapes from Kyiv...


Luda turns tragedy into an opportunity...


I encountered so many internally and externally displaced Ukrainians and one thing that I came away with is that they are turning their ashes into something powerful and beautiful.  I hope you take time to view the videos as I believe they will touch your heart and give you a personal perspective on this terrible and unjust war.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

It is MORE than Enough

I want to share the latest piece of Poetry Art that I have finished and reproduced, (in greeting cards and signed prints.) I wrote the poetry in Krakow, Poland after traveling into Ukraine four times in 5 weeks to do what I could to help displaced Ukrainians and those who had to shelter in place with their children.  The poetry was inspired by a story that I was told of a young lady who was keeping a journal while bombs were falling all around her in Mariupol. As many of you understand, at least those of you that follow the news, this city has been decimated by constant shelling and bombing. In the diary that someone found, she told how she no longer cherished faraway dreams or even her future, but was thankful to just wake up another day.  It was "enough" for her.

This story changed my life. Every morning, I sit in bed now and pray (as I usually do,) but now I tell God that it is enough that I am alive, it is enough that I can breathe, it is enough that I can see and hear, it is enough, it is enough, it is enough....a million times over.  Life is such a fragile and precious gift.

The girl's journal was found in rubble, but at this time, her body has yet to be recovered.

The sunflower represents Ukraine, as they grow millions of sunflowers every season.  Sunflower seeds are a cash crop, as they make sunflower oil from it and ship it worldwide.  The blue and yellow in the background represents their flag. Blue for the sky and yellow for the crops of wheat, also an important crop for the economy.  While I was traveling in the west and southwest of Ukraine, I saw so many farmers on tractors plowing up the earth.  I was told that these fields and so many more in the west have never been cultivated.  Yet, they are now being sowed because the eastern part of the country is actually the bread basket of this fertile land, but because of the war and all the damage and devastation they cannot plow as usual.  Now the west is having to do the lion's share to make up for the deficit and to feed the entire country.  I painted this piece in record time-one week, after returning from my impactful trip to Ukraine.

Here is the artwork:

If you look closely, the seeds in the middle are people's faces, those whom I know, whom I met and several whom have perished.  Along the stem are people in various positions of displacement,  Around the stem and leaf are portions of Psalm 91 in the Ukrainian language and in the blue background is the entire chapter of Psalms 91.



Here is the poetry:
It is enough that I have awakened to a new day
And that the sun warms my face

It is enough that I can taste another gulp of breath
And that it is delicious

It is enough to feel my chest rising and falling
To know that my heart is thumping in rhythm

It is enough to see the faces of my family
And hear them bantering like downy chicks in the yard

It is enough that our Father in a turquoise heaven adores me
Has memorized my name-Precious

It is enough to rejoice and worship unfettered, completely
In this simple sacred moment

It is enough to understand that all of these things are
Unwarranted gifts, irresistible and magnanimous

Now I realize that I don't need faraway dreams
Nor audacious plans to sustain my silent soul
Because of this present anguish and bewilderment
Ideas have melted like a mist

Today, in this very moment
I see with perfect lucidity...
It is enough
Being alive is more than enough!

This is being offered on 
as signed prints for $35. and cards 5 for $20.
All sales benefit Ukrainians and work being done in that country with our partner,
Mercy Projects. (

Monday, April 25, 2022

Living Like a Displaced Person

in a War Zone

Ukraine, March & April 2022: I just returned from 5 weeks in Ukraine, Poland (and a tiny jaunt into Hungary and Slovakia.) 

(Because of the vicarious trauma I believe that I am still sorting through, I am going to share this trip, my impressions and some of the things that I saw and experienced in multiple blogs. I have to piece it all together like a patchwork quilt and then lay those thoughts out on paper. This is part I am simply attempting to step into a displaced Ukrainian's footsteps.)

Is it possible to know what another human being is feeling, experiencing and grieving? I don't know.  Even if you walk right behind them, putting your feet directly into the mark that they have pushed into the dirt with their shoes, that human is living his or her own story.  But I believe empathy and Christian love demands that we come close to the surface of their reality to get a better understanding, to know what it means to be "them."  And so it has been here in Ukraine for me.  I have had the privilege and opportunity, to not only hear another's pain drenched account but to trudge behind thousands wearily waiting at the border, for too many hours to count-in hopes of being safe.  

I too have been hungry; thinking that there would be food soon only to watch it evaporate. As darkness happens and another curfew falls, I had to wait again for the sun to rise in order to eat. To figure out where I could get food. 

I have been awakened by air raid sirens at 4 am and have had to wait in the hallway with others, wrapped in blankets, trembling but not from the cold.  Uncertainty in every breath.  Tense and quiet, sharing a surreal experience together in a crumbling, concrete apartment block.  All anticipating what might come next.  

It could be an "all clear" signal or the crashing sound of a bomb, decimating and changing the histories of many-including myself.

 I didn't have to be here, I chose to be.  And yet, I have praised the Lord each morning for surviving the night.  I too have walked homeless, not knowing where I would lay my head that evening.  At times it with others who were just grateful to have a couple of square feet to stretch out and block out reality for a few hours.

Refugee shelters in churches and in basements of buildings. I slept in both of these for three nights.

 I have been unwashed for days, wearing the same clothes over and over until they smell like the fires that soldiers make in oil cans at night.  So many young men in army fatigues waiting by Molotov cocktails in used wine and vodka bottles at the checkpoints.  Tons of sandbags and concertina wire and cumbersome steel hedgehogs that wait to stop the invader's tanks.  I am not displaced and I am not a refugee, but I have tasted a morsel of the bitterness of this role that has been thrust upon so many people, who just want to live their lives as before. I understand a little better because I took this road. 

These people are brave.  

And still, even in all that, I am still just an observer in another's pain.  Perhaps, I can touch upon their existence-just a little closer emotionally than someone who is at home transfixed to the televised news.  Still I am separated.  Set apart by more than language and nationality.  Unity comes from shared desperation.  Each individual Ukrainian has a story to tell and much like the year that Chernobyl gave them bigger water to drink, this tale is again of uprootedness and uncertainty. I hope each one gets to share their trauma and that there will be a compassionate ear that will listen without judgement!

-Launa Stan (written in Lviv, Ukraine after sleeping in a shelter for refugees for the first time.)

To be continued....