Posted in community

Community Mondays: S.T.A.C.K Zion

Back in November of 2017, I was working as a startup editor to help a friend with launching her magazine. I dipped into writing from time to time because I do enjoy writing articles and doing interviews. I was thinking about who I could share with you this week and I thought of S.T.A.C.K. Zion. Since doing this interview below (which was first published in the November 2017 issue of Heart to Heart magazine), Michael has been in a play and has done some pretty great events.

Always a man after God’s heart, always honest and caring, he’s one of my and my daughter’s favorite rappers. (I’ll introduce you to our other favorite – Zabbai – next week to round off the Christian Rap segment before moving onto highlights of some other folks who are doing community work in other creative areas.) Michael’s lyrics are raw and tell stories that some of us can really relate to on a pretty deep level.

Before you read the interview from 2017, check out this video:

 


 

If you have been following hip hop in Connecticut, you have certainly come across S.T.A.C.K. Zion. And if you have, he has probably shocked you! Michael Stackhouse towers over you, yet speaks with a soft voice and possesses a humble nature. BUT WHEN HE RAPS… forget it. That voice comes through powerfully and with the confidence of a seasoned rapper. True to his mission of Seeking To Arm Christ’s Kingdom, S.T.A.C.K. Zion is doing great things in the Kingdom. In August, S.T.A.C.K released to his Zioneers and future Zioneers the long-awaited Project Z. And we love it! Let’s hear from him in this interview we had the chance to do with him recently.

Heart to Heart: You put a lot of work into this album, which is clear from the quality. From the beats to the lyrics to the collaborations with other artists, the album equips folks and motivates them to go deeper with God, whether that means accepting Him for the first time or becoming more involved in what He is trying to do in their lives. What song was your favorite song to record? And why?

S.T.A.C.K. Zion: What’s good, Shellz? Thanks for having me. My favorite song to record has to be “Disrespectful” because it was the first time that I had other Christian rap artists who are my Brothers in Christ on a track with me. We had a blast! Everything was just so very cohesive. If folks haven’t seen it, the video is up on YouTube if you search for “Disrespectful, StackZion”.

Heart to Heart: Great song Michael! I really enjoyed that one when you all shared it at an event I attended earlier this year. The energy was definitely high and you all vibed off one another so well! What would you say was the most difficult part of the writing and recording process for you?

S.T.A.C.K. Zion: The most difficult part of the writing and recording was not so much the actions themselves, but the constant wonder of whether the project would finally be complete and–most importantly–if it would be effective. Those were really my only concerns. But this project has definitely taught me the value of Quality, Patience, and Fortitude.

Heart to Heart: Great lessons to learn for sure! It sounds like an intense process. You waited for the Lord and let Him lead in this project, which resulted in a powerful album that addresses some topics the church sometimes likes to avoid. Specifically, you address the battle with sin when the battle is with “the enemy you like”. Many men and women struggle with lust in this age where pornography is so readily available. What advice would you offer to folks who are trying to walk the Kingdom life while struggling with lustful thoughts?

S.T.A.C.K. Zion: My advice would be to Fight for your life. Generally, in the sense of doing everything you can to overcome whatever you are contending against. We war not against flesh and blood, but with principality and powers of an unseen world that is spiritual (Eph 6:12). The spiritual realm has been around long before we came and our enemies are ancient. I would say the first step would be to confess what you are fighting with others who can pray and hold you accountable as well as to read Scriptures in spiritual warfare. Most importantly, just to stay close to the Lord Jesus. We’ll never be perfect, but we serve a perfect God who gives grace. Deliverance has to be a two-way street. To put it simply: it’s like having a relationship with someone who you love, but your ex is still working hard to get you back. Stick close to the Lord!

Heart to Heart: That analogy is fire! In “The Process”, you talk about how God designs folks to be who they are. You share the things the devil says to us to keep us down and how Jesus triumphs those statements and eradicates them. You talk about the process you had to experience. In the process of being a man who loves God, speaks out for Him boldly, and is doing his thing in the music industry, what words would you impart to those who feel called to the arts, specifically the music industry?

S.T.A.C.K. Zion: The words I impart to those who desire to express creativity in song for the Kingdom are:

  1. ALWAYS keep the Lord Christ first in your vision. Make sure He has the content, substance, and motives of your heart.
  2. Stay true to yourself. People will not get the full authentication of who you are unless you register with your own signature.
  3. Tell the truth. You will not be able to influence anyone if they can’t relate to where you’ve been.

Heart to Heart: You are involved in the community and building up other men. What do you feel is most rewarding about seeing other men grasp hold of the gospel and begin to grow?

S.T.A.C.K. Zion: Yes. I’m simply a doorkeeper for a men’s fellowship called Godhood Vs Manhood (GVM), Where All Men to come together without denomination to come share what it truly is to be a man in the Kingdom of God. Facing struggles at the work place, in the street, or even in ministry. We cover every topic, no holds barred. We help, encourage, and build each other up, and from it, it always is a reward just to know another man walked away wanting to return wanting more of what OTHER men were offering from similar experiences, causing us to form bonds that the Lord ultimately benefits from. Also for the younger men who attend who walk away empowered, knowing who they are more confidently.

Heart to Heart: Having accountability and a group of strong men to raise you up and pray for you is important to Kingdom Living. I notice you run with a group of folks you are tight with who have similar interests. How did you all meet and what would you say to other young men out there looking to establish a strong group of men to grow with?

S.T.A.C.K. Zion: To first make sure the Lord assists you in your Divine connections. We tend to click with the wrong people based on who we are, when it should be the total opposite. At time the Lord will put you around people who are the total opposite of who you think brings the best out of you. How I met my brothers and sisters in arms was through a youth meeting that was put together by the youth of different ministries and churches and from there we began unlocking gifts in one another, imparting gifts, prophesying, and praying. From there many, many strong bonds were formed and before you knew it, God begin to reveal purpose through those He would use. It was never forced it was more like a gradual transition. Not saying it will be the same for everyone, but the Lord will surely direct your steps.

Heat to Heart: This is a great perspective! I imagine many readers will stop and reflect upon that one. While we all know opposites attract, we seldom think to ask God to connect us with folks who challenge and grow us because they think, look, or act differently. You are so right that we tend to gravitate to what we know. That said… I know that I LOVE listening to Project Z and am so happy to finally have the final album on my phone and in my car! I appreciate all the work you put into it. I would not be able to end this interview in true Shell style without asking you this last question: Where can we come out and support you in November and December?

S.T.A.C.K. Zion: Lol. Well the dates are to be announced soon with a few surprises for Nov and Dec. Considering that these dates might change, please follow my artist page on FaceBook (StackZion) or my personal profile: (Michael L Stackhouse). I’m also on IG as StackZion.

Heart to Heart: With that last answer, I’ve determined I will be keeping a light calendar this month and next so I’m ready for those surprises! Lol Thanks for taking this time with us Michael. You are demonstrating to all of us what it means to walk in your calling while also enduring the process you must go through to get to the place of doing it full time. We look forward to hearing more from you in the future!!

S.T.A.C.K. Zion: You too, Shellz. And thank you.

 

Posted in community

Community Monday: What Does This Say to You?

When you hear this quote, what do you think of? What does it speak to you? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

I’ll share my thoughts about it Thursday!

“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me…. You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” —Walt Disney

Posted in Creativity, Faith, Life

2019 Plans for The Essential Creative Community

I’ve finalized the strategy and goals for The Essential Creative community this year! This includes you (readers of the blog), folks who participate in webinars and live events, and individuals who join our growing team of creatives who live with a holistic approach!

If you’ve been around for a bit, you know that the mission for The Essential Creative is to empower others to reach new creative levels through faith, family, business, and community. I believe if you are secure in and growing each of these areas of your life regularly you will continue to excel. It doesn’t mean they are the only areas in which you grow, but they are the primary areas. As such, each post on the blog, Instagram, FaceBook, and Pinterest relates to one of these areas – usually.

 

Rachel Pfuetzner - Faith

Faith

Faith is the center of my world. I am one of those eccentrics who believes in Jesus being the center of my life and guiding how I treat others. I do NOT believe in tolerance but in fully embracing others AS THEY ARE and loving them for who they are, and letting God do the rest if they and He choose to do so. I believe many people have been hurt by the church as we know it today (just read the news or a friend’s FaceBook wall or Twitter feed and we see this) and I try my best to help folks who have been hurt understand we aren’t all like that.

I will share posts that tell you about sermons, books, and topics I have been exploring or have enjoyed. I will share Bible Studies that I have been doing or scripture thoughts I have been playing around with. Engage and share your thoughts, even if you don’t believe the same way I do. Some of my best conversations have come from sharing thoughts with folks who think differently and seeing how they translate scripture.

Kevin Delvecchio - Family

Family

I’m a divorced, single mom of two girls who are almost 13 years apart. My children are of mixed cultures and I had my oldest when I was in my senior year of high school. She was in the audience at my graduation and I have a version of my graduation picture with her in it. Looking back, it was quite a feat. At the time, I was living off adrenaline. I am a graduate, shall we say, of the State of CT juvenile hall, foster care, and group home system. I aged out at 16 and then became homeless and slept from couch to couch. Family is important to me because when I became pregnant is when I reunited with my family and started the healing process that led us to today, when we are great friends and I’ve been able to understand my folks did the best they could with the resources they had available to them.

My oldest is 23 and my youngest is 11. I’ve been through hell and back with my oldest and have been living a totally different life with my youngest, doing things differently and trying new approaches. Some out of exhaustion and some out of wisdom and a stronger commitment to who I am and what I stand for. As such, some of what I share from family will be from these vantage points. I will also share ideas for engaging our kids with learning, activities we can do together, and ways we can grow closer.

Raw Pixel - Business

Business

I’ve been a sole proprietor since 2011 when I left a job in pharma to pursue my dreams of writing full time. I have dipped my foot in full time and part-time entrepreneurship throughout the years, have earned good income and also had some awful years financially. I’ve learned some things about how the creative mind and business go together and where they tend to bump into one another. I will share thoughts on being a single mom trying to grow a business and what it takes to do so. There will also be posts about workplace life and other aspects of creativity and how it intersects with work.

In addition to my ghostwriting and coaching business, I have been an independent contractor with Young Living for many years. I got started as a product user, as most do, and then realized I was growing a team just by using the products and people asking me about them. I thought if I became more proactive in building the business, perhaps it could become another stream of income to help reach my financial goals and create the lifestyle I enjoy. As such, in 2018 I decided to start learning all I could about growing a multi-level marketing team purposefully. I know people hate that term, but I don’t like “fluffy” talk and calling it anything else is beating around a bush. Whether you prefer direct response marketing, lifestyle marketing, or anything else, we all know it’s MLM and it’s something some people loathe from the get go. I was one of them! However, I’ve come to enjoy the benefits of getting paid to use a product I love and can see elements of this formula I’d use within my own business in train-the-trainer type programs for my workshops so I can maximize their reach. It’s all about integrity and sharing something you believe in, so it was a win-win for me. I’m part of a wonderful team who helps its members and get to serve a phenomenal company whose mission and goals align with my own. I will share thoughts on this aspect of business from time to time as well that may be able to help others who are within the world of MLM.

Mario Purisic - Community

Community

I didn’t begin The Essential Creative just to speak TO you. Rather, I began it to create a space on the internet where creatives can come and share ideas, opinions, recipes, crafts, and essential oils and oil-infused product suggestions that help us rise to the next level of creative expression. I desire to see us all interacting and have a community of bloggers, authors, artists, dancers, and other creatives and want-to-be creatives who are doing life. Creativity shows up in our parenting, business, and faith. It’s who we are and what we do. Some folks want more of it because they’ve been stuck in analytical careers and feel they’ve not been able to express themselves creatively. Some folks are blocked and need to free themselves. And others love to share how they remain open and hold space for creative expression in all they do. Let’s grow together.

I will be sharing posts to encourage community. This will be a space where you can share thoughts, questions, ideas, and we can engage with one another in this corner of the internet. This is deeper than “Let’s visit each other’s blogs” but is about truly learning from one another. I will share an idea and we will grow from there – such as “Share your favorite pork recipe” or “What blog post did you read this week that you can’t stop thinking about”. It may be from your corner of the internet that you share things or from someone else’s that you stumbled upon. It will help us all learn something new. Sometimes it may be a question that you then blog about and we learn that way. Whatever it is, it will fun and hopefully we all get involved! These posts will be posted each Monday starting the 7th of January.

 

Estee Janssens - Post Schedule

Post Schedule

I don’t want to post just to post, so instead of sharing a schedule, I will be sharing certain topics on specific days of the week so you know when you want to come visit and look around. Some of you may enjoy all of the posts, while others may not be into certain ones. That is OKAY! Here is the general posting themes I will follow:

  • Sundays – Sermons Sunday series
    • Sermons that I have found helpful that I believe span beliefs and can help you even if you don’t believe the same way I do. These speakers have a way of sharing the Bible that is educational and drives it into your life so you can act on it. Even if you don’t believe in the God behind the Bible, the principles can help you make changes you want to see in your life.
  • Mondays – Community & Creativity Posts
    • Let’s kick off each week with community. These may be thoughts to explore together, resources I enjoy reading or listening to and am sharing in case you would like to check them out too, a request to share your own material so I can get to know who is here and learn from you. I’ll share the post and you comment and join in the discussion so we can grow an engaging creative community of folks reaching new levels of creative expression in 2019!
    • Additionally, I will occasionally post two posts on Mondays when I have some creative ideas to share that don’t fall into other categories. Creativity works its way into each element of my life so the posts that come on Mondays will be directly related to enhancing creativity in your art, whether that is drawing, journaling, dancing, singing, writing, etc. I may share posts from others as I get to know you all and learn who shares or writes posts from a creative angle in areas I am not skilled in (i.e., I listen to music and am an amazing singer while in the shower, but you DO NOT want me teaching you anything about improving singing or musicality in any way!)
  • Tuesdays – Family and Parenting
    • Recipes I have made, found, or am working on but need help with; family activities; and family related posts. These will center around things that make home “home” – so sometimes it may even be about organization or ideas for the house, including which oils help create various atmospheres within home.
  • Wednesdays – Relationships and Life
    • Posts will center around healthy relationships, avoiding toxic relationships, living life in a way that is fulfilling versus mundane.
  • Thursdays – Business & Miscellaneous
    • Posts will be from my professional site – where I share all things writing – or specifically for this community, such as when I share about lessons I am learning and have learned about growing an MLM business and freelance business.
    • This will also be the day I share posts that don’t fall into other categories – the “catch-all day” because sometimes other ideas or topics will come to mind that still have relevance to what we are doing here but don’t fall into other categories we focus on. These could include thoughts on movies that could help to inspire us but don’t necessarily have one element (such as parenting, health, creativity) they fall under, ideas for personal development, etc.
  • Fridays – Health and Faith
    • Maybe a Rachel Hollis quote, as you will see on the FB page for the next quarter. Maybe a Bible Study or exploration of scripture. Maybe a workout I am trying or share from the trainer I learn the most from. Recipes that center around healthy options (versus Tuesdays can be comfort food, desserts, or other options that one would not consider “healthy”).
  • Saturdays – Essential Oil and Young Living Product Education
    • Product education, thoughts on oils I use and how they have helped me, training on ditching chemically laden products for healthy ones, fun activities to do with oils and oil-infused products, and ER Mixes I have created to help you see how far your money can go and give you ideas for how to spend $50 to $100 on your monthly Essential Rewards subscription. I will also share sales, monthly specials, and other incentives here for you to see in case you would like to purchase anything.

 

If there are other topics or ideas you would like to see posted and explored, share your thoughts in the comments. If you are on Instagram or FaceBook, follow me there for additional content. I am always looking for guest bloggers to collaborate with, so if you have content you think would be beneficial here, connect with me to share your thoughts.

I’m looking forward to a great year with you!

~Shell