Monthly Archives: January 2016

Boomers Turn Age 70! We 46ers ain’t done yet!

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Kathleen Casey-Kirschling, First Boomer, “You only have the moment. You can’t live in the past, and you don’t know what the future is going to bring.”

Boomers Turn 70!  by Bill Newcott, AARP Your Life… Reference article and website, click highlighted text.

Excerpt from my book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story, published in 2011…Signalman Publishing, Orlando, Florida

A New Beginning!

Using words like summary for the end of this story seems off the mark. I have a hopeful outlook in writing this book after doing research and connecting the dots. Life can begin again at any stage in life, especially for those of us who are entering the golden years. Writing this story has given me energy, renewed confidence, and a much brighter look into the future. Finding peace of mind has been a huge benefit, but requires continued effort. I believe more now that when one reaches out for answers to big questions and becomes fully engaged in living in a proactive way, we find more peace of mind. My thinking has changed from thoughts of death and dying or old age to planning my next writing project, next adventure, and sharing more romance with Judy. It is never time to sit down and forget about it all. It is extremely healthy for the mind and body to be engaged, to discover, to learn, and to love. Living, learning and loving never ends until the day we actually leave this life for good and go on to the next life, assuming the faith that this is where we are headed.

“Retirement” means transitioning to new beginnings rather than stepping away from all the action. There is really more action in retirement if you are willing to take the leap of faith, and jump in and continue to make a difference in your life and the life of others. The more of my time spent giving to others feels like a gift. Continuing to share my life with soul-mate and wife Judy is comforting and exciting. Finding new friends and building new relationships is invigorating. Getting the most out of participating in the lives of friends and family, including watching my children grow along with the grandkids, is most gratifying. I can say life is as good as it can be as long as my feet stay firmly on the ground. Writing this book clearly represents a new beginning. I am very thankful for having the motivation to tackle this project and the many rewards it has and will produce in the future. I am ready for the next surprise and challenge life has in store for us!

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I didn’t know in 2011 how writing my first non-fiction memoir, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story, would change my life.  It was at that moment in time that writing became a source of healing from childhood invisible wounds.   Kathleen Casey-Kirschling, First Boomer, “You only have the moment. You can’t live in the past, and you don’t know what the future is going to bring.”  These words really hit home for me at this time in my life as age 70 looms on July 6, 2016.  Wow!  This new decade for me was a scary beginning of the New Year until healthy change came into my life and our family.  When it is time for change, it is up to all of us to take action…we own it!  My major action was to clear away my agenda and all commitments that were no longer rewarding or fun.  It was my time and the opportunity to make a difference for myself and to focus on my family, especially my loving wife, Judy.  I set myself free to love more, explore and to innovate.  It is a new day in the Sparks home!  We are busy with new goals, planning, and excitement for the very special years ahead of us.  I feel blessed and thankful for good health and new energy at age 69.  “We 46ers ain’t done yet!”

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1&2… Click the highlighted text for my author page and to order books, etc.

SteveSunriver

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Child Advocate

Pre-school and Kindergartners…Big test for kids affected by trauma…

ChildTrauma

Trauma Affected Pre-school & Kindergartner Kids Need More Help…ByHealthDay Reporter Sharecare News…

“Childhood traumas of various sorts can cause kindergartners to struggle in class as well as life, new research contends.

A study of more than 1,000 urban children showed those with difficult experiences up until age 5 had math and reading difficulties and difficulty focusing in kindergarten, and were also more likely to have social problems and to be aggressive toward others.”

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The referenced report was shared with me by my good friend, Byron, who is also a child advocate.  His work with Sharecare is often a great resource in my own research and is an excellent reference for parents, teachers, and mentors.

Too many children are caught in the middle in early life when there is violence in the home caused by the symptoms connected with family circumstances of post-trauma stress; including, alcohol, drugs, crime, domestic violence, and poverty, lack of education, developmentally delayed parents, and overall chaos in the home or neighborhood. Some homes are just plain scary, causing kids to retreat and become silent at home and school. These are the kids we need to help the most before they reach age 6 or 7, when at that time the challenge of changing brain development becomes a longer term retrofit process and treatment regimen.

Please take a closer look at the referenced Sharecare News article.  Think about the children in your life who are just starting school for the first time.  Pre-school and kindergarten can be an opportunity to help kids who have experienced traumatic events at a young age, if we know what to look for.  As  trauma informed adults we can make a big difference in helping youngsters get a positive kick-start on the first day of school.

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1&2… Click the highlighted text for my author page and to order books…

SteveSunriver

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Child Advocate

“I Worry About the Kids!” The rate of child abuse in Lincoln County Oregon is Double!

 

Neglected Children Child abuse troubling in Lincoln County by Updated 

“If a child is brought into a world of poverty, homelessness, drugs and alcohol, then that child is in a very risky place. The rate of child abuse in Lincoln County is more than twice that of the rest of Oregon, says child advocate Ron Davidson, and the problem is made even more severe because of a profound lack of services for children in this county.”  click the highlighted text above for the full article…


Critt_HeadStart_EntityRotatorUPDATE

Kids learning and socializing in a healthy setting…

Following is an excerpt from my new paperback edition and workbook, “I Worry About the Kids!”  Publication anticipated in April 2016…

“My heart aches with sadness when thinking and worrying about children who are caught in the middle of the dangerous and chaotic world of abuse, including post-traumatic stress (PTS.)  Even unborn babies can be damaged from post-trauma family dynamics. To be sure, we have lots of work to do as parents, teachers, and mentors to help younger children get past the environmental factors created by adult behaviors connected with PTS symptoms.   Our children should not have to take all this emotional baggage with them into adulthood. We can do better as parents and as a community of families. We understand the contributing factors and consequences well enough these days to stop the stigma, denial, and listen to ourselves, have conversations with loved ones and mental health professionals; then take actions to change the home environment for children and families from chaos and fear to love and security.  It is up to families to create and safe and secure home for children. Home is where PTS takes root, and home is where it will end. Can’t we do more? Yes, we can do more! Follow me on this journey through the rest of this workbook, and find the awareness and solutions that best fit your family circumstances. Do this with deep love for the children in our lives and the future of America.”

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1&2 Click highlighted text for my author page and to order books and other stuff…

SteveSunriver

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Child Advocate

When Gun Violence is Personal… “Leave a stronger, safer country to our children.”

 

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Barack Obama: Guns Are Our Shared Responsibility… January 7, 2016 New York Times

Guns, Our Shared Responsibility… Quote from New York Times article by Barack Obama

Gun violence in a dysfunctional home with a parent who suffers from post-trauma stress

“Nearly 800 children under 14 were killed in gun accidents from 1999 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly one in five injury-related deaths in children and adolescents involve firearms.”

I have an old boomer friend, Dave, who grew up in a home where the father suffered from severe post-traumatic stress while serving in hard combat during WWII. When his father retired from the US Navy, he started a second career as a 1st responder and carried a gun. The first gun violence and safety incident happened when the father came home from work and left his gun lying on the bed. The youngest son and brother, Skip, a toddler at the time, got on the bed and accidently pulled the trigger…the bullet fortunately penetrated the mattress and the child was not hurt. Later the same father came home angry with my friend, Dave, and his brother, Jim, who were teens at the time, and threatened the two of them by shaking his gun and pointing it at the two teen boys. Their mother pulled the father away and may have saved her sons from death or injury. To this day, my friend fears guns and is triggered by memories of these incidents during his young adult life so very long ago. Can’t we do more?

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1&2… Click the highlighted text for my author page.

SteveSunriver

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Child Advocate

Post-Trauma Personal Growth…Finding Our Way…

Cheerful man in nature arms outstretched for positive emotion

Cheerful man in nature arms outstretched for positive emotion…

Winning After Hard Times…Post-Trauma Growth… Quote from this website article by Carolyn Gregoire Senior Health & Science Writer, The Huffington Post

Life After Trauma

So how is it that out of suffering we can come to not only return to our baseline state but to deeply improve our lives? And why are some people crushed by trauma, while others thrive? Tedeschi and Calhoun explain that post-traumatic growth, in whatever form it takes, can be “an experience of improvement that is for some persons, deeply profound.”

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My experience with post-trauma personal growth has been “deeply profound” as suggested in the referenced article.  It is possible through awareness, mindfulness, and alternative treatments, one does walk and run on the trail to healing.  But staying on the path to healing is a challenging work in progress, at least for me.  Setbacks are part of the forward progress and lifelong endeavor.  With each day, weeks, months and years since beginning my own recovery, there have been bumps in the road that can be painful, but also fuel the healing process with a lessons learned attitude.  Each of us as trauma survivors find our own unique way or form of healing.  Everyone has different life events and circumstances that give each of us a unique perspective.  But what has been most beneficial to me in healing from experiencing severe trauma, especially as a child and young adult, is to first, forgive yourself; and second, forgive others!  Once this happens you free yourself to find your own special and unique path to lasting peace of mind.  Resilience then becomes a key factor as you thrive in life after trauma.

My books and those of others, including blog reference articles, on the topic of post-traumatic stress (PTS) can be extremely helpful in self-discovery and awareness.  Writing books and this blog represents my own personal treatment strategy to not only understand the roots of PTS symptoms and behaviors, but also provides a healthy perspective, allowing me a comfortable way to heal emotional wounds of the past.

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1&2… Click the highlighted text for my author page and to order e-books and paperback edition.

SteveSunriver

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Child Advocate