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HaPpY NeW yEaR! December, 2014
Wishing all of you Happy Holidays and a Happy 2015! Hard to believe we’re already 15 years into the 21st Century. 2014 was a good year for us. We celebrated our 30th anniversary in April and renewed our vows in Cannon Beach, Oregon. We had a wonderful party for two, and enjoyed a few nights at the beach about 100 miles north of Depoe Bay.
We never seem to tire of our life here on the Oregon Coast. It was unusually great weather from July through September, so we enjoyed daily beach walks, looking for sea glass, and breathing fresh salt air when we weren’t playing golf. I played with Agate Beach Women’s Golf Club this year and went to several Invitationals at other local courses this summer….really fun! Steve was able to start playing by July, following another shoulder surgery in February. We both worked to put on our Neighbors for Kids Charity annual golf tourney in late July, our nonprofit’s major fundraiser. I played in a Ladies foursome of friends, and Steve sponsored and played with a group of local high school Golf Team stars. We had a great day, enjoyed having Dan Fouts play with us again, and raised significant funds for NFK’s model afterschool program.
We traveled stateside twice this year. During May/June we traveled throughout the Southwest for a month. Steve participated in the American Military Family Museum opening in Albuquerque, NM, and has since had his written work on children and families suffering from trauma archived through the museum. We also visited with staff at the Vietnam Memorial Museum near Angel Fire, NM, and the Bataan Museum in Sante Fe. We spent a week of quality time with the principals who founded the new museum in Albuquerque, a great group of high energy people we now call our friends. We were welcomed and honored to be hosted by our new friends.
Steve spoke with a Veterans for Vets group in Pagosa Springs, Co, where we spent a week following our time in New Mexico. We also loved soaking in the Pagosa Hot Springs. Moab was another fun stop on our return trip home, hiking in Arches National Park. We made it to the top!
During October we traveled to Long Beach (Lone Sailor Memorial) to attend our niece’s wedding on the Queen Mary and spent time with Steve’s sister Laura, her daughters and extended family. We also saw close friends in San Diego and loved catching up, and stayed a few days on the beach near the Oceanside Pier. We drove over to Palm Springs area for a few days to see my sister Joy and nephew Max, and more longtime friends. So it was great to see everyone and enjoy some warm weather. We saw Steve’s 96 year old Mother in Reno on our way home and old friends in the Bay Area. We feel blessed!
Steve was elected as Depoe Bay City Councilor in November. He’ll be sworn into office on January 6. He’s spent the last few months doing due diligence and is ready to hit the ground running next month! Needless to say, we’ve really gotten to know many folks here, and we both enjoy being engaged in the community.
I’ll continue my volunteer work at Neighbors for Kids as their Family Literacy Coordinator. We host a monthly Family Night, focusing on building literacy skills and offering learning opportunities connected with our STEAM programs (science, technology, engineering, art and math). We serve a meal and offer fun activities parents can share with their children. Our events have grown this year so our outreach to families seems to be catching on. We have willing community partners that want to see our kids succeed, and our programs are a positive addition to our local public schools. Like many places, education funding is an ongoing struggle here, so it’s cool to be able to help children in our own community.
We enjoyed Christmas with Sarah and her boyfriend, Ron…….oh, and of course our grand dog Skai! They were with us the 24th – 26th. Sarah is in transition and plans to work in her field, case management or child behavior management, in Portland after the first of the year. We’re happy she’s not too far away. Steve’s older daughters and their families live in Southern California and Minneapolis, MN, so we don’t see our grandkids as often as we’d like. They’re almost all young adults now! Ages 21, 20, 19 and 14.
From our home to yours, we wish you good health, calm spirits, creativity, and time shared with those you love in the coming year.
Steve & Judy Sparks, Depoe Bay, Oregon
Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1…click on the highlighted text for my author page…