Monthly Archives: February 2020

Building Healthy Communities w/Love…


Dear Friends and Colleagues, and the broader community of healers and beautiful souls I love as we all heal together as a community…

After ten (10) years of researching, writing, collaborating, partnering, crying, laughing, and sometimes yelling, but never the less healing as a community w/love…my body of work is now far more accessible and open for conversation and research.

Please join me as a Sparks/Associate and subscribe to my blog and powerful WordPress platform. I really need your friendship, love and support. Please help me share over 1000 articles and posts that follow my own journey of healing since 2011.

As a social services enterprise, this has been a labor of love, completely funded by my family. I really don’t get into asking for donations, but you certainly can in small amounts. Because of the significant awareness value, I highly encourage buying my books, especially my groundbreaking first memoir, Reconciliation, A Son’s Story, pubished in 2011. Free access to my complete body of work is right here…

Every last one of you have been part of my story, all of you! My new memoir, “Finding My Soul in Icicle Valley” is in the works and coming alive here… I will thank each of you personally over time as my work continues for the benefit of the most vulnerable among us…especially those who are risk of completing suicide and seek hope to have a reason to live another day… Thank you from deep in my soul…

I love hugs, and get them every chance I get!

Corvallis Advocate Book Review, Reconcilitation, A Son’s Story…by Steve Sparks

Return with me to my very first press book review in the Corvallis Advocate in the Spring of 2012… I didn’t know what to think, but it all worked out just fine…

Please order my book to help me fund my next memoir, “Finding My Soul in Icicle Valley” I couldn’t have written my 1st book without you!

Steve

Click here for my author page…

http://www.corvallisadvocate.com/2012/reconciliation-a-sons-story/  Quote from this website and article…

“The book is about the lingering ramifications of his father’s post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)—what the author deems “collateral damage.” The trauma of war was passed down to the second generation—to a son so angry with his father that he didn’t attend his funeral—and even a third generation, as for many years the author passed his own anger and anxiety on to his children. The book is an attempt at catharsis, at coming to terms with that legacy. In this regard, the book succeeds.”

Revisiting the painful past of my own childhood, researching a new awareness of the generational damage of moral injury, and eventually publishing my book, was a highly emotional experience of coming to terms with long standing anger.  I had no idea that my family’s story and this blog would help countless others to seek a path of healing through awareness of one family’s 70 year struggle with the effects of PTSD.  It is now very clear to me that returning to my childhood and confronting the life-long pain of living in a dysfunctional home, was the key to removing the anger in my heart that persisted for most of my life until age 64.  Book reviews such as written in the above link, and others found on my author page, proves the value of awareness as the first step toward healing.

I am so convinced of the value of awareness in healing that my blog is updated almost daily with postings that are relevant to self discovery and effects of moral injury and PTSD.  The magnitude and severity of the invisible pain caused from exposure to severe trauma in war as a combat veteran, a 1st responder, and even a private citizen subject to a terrible traumatic event is overwhelming.  What is far worse in this circumstance is what happens to children who live with a parent or loved one who suffers from the symptoms of PTSD.  As written in my book, the symptoms of PTSD “stick around like bad genes’ if the cycle of pain is not broken.  The cycle can only be broken if families and society as a whole become highly aware, sensitive, and vigilant.  My family did not have the opportunity to know of our own troublesome and toxic family culture’s lasting effects until many years after the experience when the damage was virtually irreparable for all of us.   

Although it has been challenging for my family, it is never too late to begin the journey of healing.  Buy my book for yourself or a loved one as a gift.  Other similar books about moral injury and PTSD along with references and resources are listed and can be purchased on my blog.  Healing is a work in progress.  No time is wasted in getting started right now…  Click on my book cover on this website and download to your desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone and order a hard copy.

Steve Sparks

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Mental Health Advocate click here for my author page…



“Finding My Soul in Icicle Valley” …chapter 1, excerpt#4

Leavenworth, Wa. Looking back 30 years ago, the beginning of the Sparks Family spiritual journey… tap pic or highlighted text.

“Imagine a monster puzzle in life that you worked 5 decades putting together without any life skills to start with, a survival mindset. I felt like that “Naked and Afraid” reality show, but on my own, no company, too scared to ask for help, and no moral compass. Think of the wonder of finding that last piece of the puzzel and how profoundly impactful it can be in the later years of one’s life, or anytime for that matter. I never felt this until now. I always wondered why Judy loved puzzles. I love watching her, the patience, focus, and mindfulness attention. I could never do that. Now I know why. My mind was wired for fear from a sickness I never knew about until 30 years later from this moment. Icicle Valley was God’s fork in the road for the Sparks family. Yes! I see this now, and feel it too…”

It gives me huuge joy to share the above excerpt from my new memoir, a work in progress. I just finished a draft of Chapter I! The spirits and my creative juices are flowing and my soul is hungry for spiritual growth. All the angels in my life have gathered and encouraged me to write, and do it now. The words flow from my heart and the deepest places of my soul. I will share excerpts from each new chapter in the coming weeks and months.

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, & Mental Health Advocate. Tap my photo click here for Steve’s author page. c1990 Icicle Valley near Leavenworth, Wa click. We found home at last!

I want to engage my friends and colleagues while writing this profoundly touching journey of love and healing for my family. I published my first memoir, Reconciliation, a Son’s Story in 2011 and launched my website Children and Families in Life After Trauma at the same time.

Please forward your comments of support and feedback to me… stevesparks.associates@survivethriveptsd.org

I will not pretend to be a subject matter expert in psychiatry, science, or medicine. I’m proud and privileged to be a survivor of childhood and young adult trauma, abuse and maltreatment. I suffer from a life long mental illness, ‘acute agitated depressive disorder’. As a lay person I help others as a peer, friend and colleague. My work is about community building and healing as a broader collaboration of stakeholders, partners and consumers with a common mission.

My healing journey has indeed entered a spiritual phase now that I feel truly safe. A gift of the spirit life at this time of my life draws me closer to God. I never felt peace of mind until now. It’s a deep feeling in my soul that moves me to a more peaceful place.

My soul is speaking to me. Think it’s a ‘coming home’ feeling in this 30th year of my journey to reconnect my lost soul. You get this, I know.”

Why Do So Many Americans Love The Obama Family?

Steve & Judy Sparks in Stehekin, “Eskimo Kisses”

 

Why do millions of aging white males like me love the Obama family? Because we feel their soul, the goodness shines through.

A beautiful family, that’s why! This is a POTUS I admire and miss like millions of people like me. Why do so many of us, including aging white males like me who served America proudly with honor and duty during the Vietnam era love the Obama family? My father served too WWII for all of us to protect our freedoms. Why then would I, like millions of Americans of every age, no matter skin color love this family? Why do I love the Obama family? Because they are decent moral and God loving people.

Obama was a leader who loved all of us, not just some of us. Who out there is going to tell us who we are to love? I could go on. I’m so tired of the hateful rhetoric and the trollers who only look for hate…

We love Barack Obama because we feel his soul and trusted him. He was certainly not perfect. I felt his soul… I want to feel the love…

Laughing is Healing… Do it often without hesitation…

Thanks to MyHealthPlan.samhealth.org February 2020 Advantage/Medicare Newsletter for this awesome photo of seniors laughing about the the moment. I can’t stop looking at it! This couple experienced an hilarious moment and shared it with all of us. Thank you!
Frum MyHealthPlan.SamHealth.org February 2020 Newsletter Health Tips…

Laughter is more than good for your health.

Judy and I really loved getting our SamHealthPlan Newsletter this month. The laughter and happiness shown with the couple in the above photo, made us feel warm and fuzzy, a happy place, hope for the future, fun, romance and adventure!

Cheers to all for a week full of laughter and peace of mind…

Judy and Steve Sparks, SparksAssociates of Depoe Bay, Oregon



“Depoe Bay’s Miracle for Kids” by Steve Sparks 2010

Neighbors for Kids (Based on true events)

Our Mission

“Neighbors For Kids is an Oregon nonprofit 501(c)3 dedicated to supporting families in Lincoln County during out-of-school-time hours by providing quality after school and summer programs to pre-school and school-aged children in a safe, affordable, fun learning environment”

June, 2010

steve sparks
Steve Sparks, Board Director and Officer 2010-2016

As written by Steve Sparks, NFK Board member, including contributions from NFK Board members, staff, students and other stakeholders. The community of Depoe Bay and surrounding areas will be forever grateful for the special contributions of NFK’s original Board and team: Dr. and Mrs. Jack and Maggie Brown and Loretta Hoagland.

Loretta Hoagland

The history of Neighbors for Kids and the Kids Zone After-School Program begins on a beautiful afternoon along the Oregon coast while Loretta Hoagland was sitting on her porch overlooking Depoe Bay, the “smallest harbor in the world.” Loretta observed several young teens walking by her home and up the hill.  They looked like good kids, dressed nicely, full of enthusiasm, and handsome, probably just got out of school.  They were approaching another home up the hill. No doubt they were going to have a fun gathering of friends after school. Loretta always worried about kids not having any place to go or anything to do in this little town 12 miles away from Lincoln City to the north and Newport to the south.   But while she watched, something happened as the kids walked to the steps of the home they were approaching. To her dismay, Loretta observed the kids completing a “drug buy!” She was shocked and angry. “This can’t happen in my town!” she wanted to shout.  As the true events of this story unfold, it becomes clear that love, faith, big dreams, passion and the determination of ordinary people resulted in what many perceive as a “miracle.”

What happened next is compelling and heartwarming. That moment in time ten years ago changed Loretta Hoagland’s life forever.  Loretta couldn’t sit back and allow the town she loved and its future to be turned over to drugs. She was moved so much that she immediately called a meeting at her home with neighbors. That evening almost 20 of her neighbors showed up and demanded to know what the emergency was all about.  Neighbors Against Drugs and Alcohol, later known as Neighbors for Kids (NFK) and Kids Zone, was born that evening when residents got together with Loretta and angrily and passionately decided to make a stand against the increasing use of drugs and alcohol by the youth in their town of Depoe Bay.  Almost single-handedly, Loretta was on the way to inspiring the entire town of 1200 citizens on the central Oregon coast.

Jack and Maggie Brown

Jack and Maggie Brown always loved the Oregon coast, especially Depoe Bay. This little town with a beautiful small harbor to moor their boat was perfect to start their retirement years. Jack and Maggie had lived in Richland, Washington for 30 years while Jack pursued his career as a nuclear scientist with Battelle Labs. After moving to Depoe Bay, Jack started a rowing club in the harbor offering kids free classes. Both Jack and Maggie heard about the new community action group, Neighbors for Kids, and were instantly drawn to the cause of fighting drugs and alcohol with the idea of giving kids something to do after school.

Our First Location

Although it started with the rowing club, soon the group was offering tutoring along with other activities, and curious kids began to show up after school to find out more. As its popularity grew and news of the after-school program spread, the group of dedicated volunteers was offered the use of part of a small building owned by the City of Depoe Bay.  Soon a small nonprofit community service organization was in the making, attracting more kids and supportive parents along with many community volunteers. Eventually the entire 700 square foot building on Highway 101 was turned over to Neighbors for Kids as a gift from the City of Depoe Bay.

Volunteer carpenters and other contractors came in to help remodel the building to make it more suited to serving the needs of an after-school program, including a kitchen area to serve meals. The NFK Board of Directors decided to call the after-school program “Kids Zone.”  The program continued to grow, and there was never enough space. Eventually, the Depoe Bay Fire Department had to inform the NFK Board that the fire code would limit the number of occupants in the building. With a growing waiting list and no more space for expansion, “What will we do now?” became the big question for the NFK Board to answer.

The Dream of a New Facility

This is when the scientist in Jack Brown turned a dream of building a big new facility for Kids Zone on the same site as the tiny cinderblock facility into a reality. Jack’s dream was a building that would not only have plenty of space for the after school program but that would also offer the community as a whole the potential for much more. A strategy and plan emerged, and Jack and Maggie Brown led the charge, getting the support of federal, state, county, and local government. Jack Brown’s role on the Depoe Bay City Council was a huge help in getting access to the right people and resources. Dr. Brown describes the NFK vision and evolution in the following way:

NFK began with a dream to give local kids a safe place to go after school and be with adults that deeply care for them. This devotion to kids by adults outside their blood family fulfills one of the key assets identified by the Search Foundation as critical to any child’s development. NFK has grown primarily due to the leadership of several professional directors and the tireless volunteering of local adults that give over 4,000 hours of volunteering each year. This success story motivated Oregon’s congressional delegation, many of the premier grant foundations, state, county, and local governments and private citizens to provide funding in support of NFK’s new building. This new facility combined with our tremendous professional staff and cadre of dedicated volunteers stand proud to serve the children of mid-Lincoln County.

The new facility became a symbol of community vision for the future of NFK. All the memories and successes, especially the stories of kids who benefited, transferred to the new building and served as a foundation upon which the future organization was built. The old building was taken down soon after the new facility opened its doors, but its role in bringing an after-school program to Depoe Bay will not be forgotten. It will always represent the blood, sweat, and tears of many volunteers and donors, including a significant historical event in the community of Depoe Bay and surrounding areas.

Steve Scopelleti

NFK’s former Vice-Chair, Steve Scopelleti, was the real hero behind getting the new building completed, and his story of giving back to the community follows.  Steve became involved with Neighbors for Kids in the spring of 2008. As it turned out, his background in construction and project management was perfectly suited for NFK’s next big challenge. Steve had experience with a similar project some years previously in St. Louis, Missouri. The welcomed award of significant federal funding through Housing & Urban Development (HUD) meant that NFK now needed to complete the construction of a new 7,000 square foot building for the expanded needs of Kids Zone and to build a foundation for the future of NFK’s larger vision to serve the broader community’s educational needs. Steve believed strongly that this would become his best work, and motivation came directly from his heart and a belief that anything is possible with the right timing, chemistry, and team to pull it off.

The Dream Becomes a Reality

Steve Scopelleti, along with the NFK Building Committee that included Jack Brown as chair, Maggie Brown, Toby Winn, Dee Dee Howard, and Bruce Silver, set about to launch this daunting construction project. The NFK Building Committee knew immediately that finding the right architect to assist with the design of a special building with unique requirements was critical. Steve was appointed Vice-Chair of NFK and project manager for the new building. This new official role gave him the responsibility and authority to move efficiently and quickly to get the project underway.  Scott/Edwards of Portland was selected and immediately agreed to provide the design at a 50% discount! Scott/Edwards was also chosen, because they had extensive experience designing buildings for schools with stringent code requirements and special needs to allow for long term occupancy and safety features for children.

The project was broken down into three phases; Phase 1: building the shell; Phase 2: completing the first floor; Phase 3: completing the second floor and parking lot. The plan was to get the building completed for Kids Zone first, move-in, strengthen and expand the after school program, then begin planning for the building’s optimum use in the future, which would require additional funding dictated by the programs that might be offered, such as information technology and science programs. The building was also designed to include a half-court basketball gym and hoops to support basketball and other sports programs as well as providing a large area for group activities, conferences and fund raising events.

The New Facility Opens

The NFK Board and the community as a whole were very proud when the new building was opened to the public in April 2010 with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Some 200 community members and leaders came to the grand opening and many spoke of a dream fulfilled, even a miracle for this small town on the central coast of Oregon.  Ordinary people with a passion for helping our kids grow into responsible and caring adults made it happen. Steve Scopelleti believed this was his best work and one on which he could be most proud to have had the opportunity to contribute and make a difference in the community. Doing something good for others and from the heart has no boundaries for personal satisfaction and reward.

Finding the NFK Program Director

Most educators would agree that finding a teacher with empathy, one who has lived through a challenging childhood, and one who has leadership qualities, is a blessing to have on your team.  Toby Winn was, and continues to be, our “blessing” as Program Director of Neighbors for Kids.

Toby Winn, an educator from the San Diego area, moved to the Oregon coast 18 years ago while still in high school, when his mother decided it was time for a change. Toby was still living with his mother at the time and felt the change would be good for him too, and he wanted to be supportive.  He grew up as a disadvantaged youth who struggled through a life of poverty in a neighborhood challenged with substance abuse and gang activity. Toby was resilient and found the hope and support he needed in a local Boys and Girls Club program and from the coaches of his soccer teams.  These formative years helped Toby decide that what he wanted in life was to use his past experiences to become a career youth educator.

After graduating from the University of Oregon with honors, Toby dedicated his life to serving at-risk youth and families in the very programs which had helped to save him and inspire him to succeed. While living in Eugene, Oregon, working for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Emerald Valley, Toby grew into an effective leader, touching the lives of hundreds of children in Lane County. Then, while browsing through the local paper one day, Toby noticed an employment ad seeking a program director for a small after-school program on the central Oregon coast. Toby felt that this job, Neighbors for Kids, “Kids Zone” in Depoe Bay had his name written all over it, so he applied.  And Toby got the job!  As with Loretta, Jack, Maggie and Steve, this career move would change Toby’s life forever as well.

Toby immediately became a transformative leader for NFK.  His leadership and skills in mentoring kids were evident from the start. His energy and enthusiasm was quickly recognized by the NFK Board and the community.  NFK at that time didn’t have a whole lot of money, but they were able to carve out a budget to make it work for Toby and a small but dedicated part-time staff that included Ernestina Brady, Amberdawn Howe, Travis Harris and Vivian Arends.   But money is never the prime motivator for anyone with a passion for the work they do.

Toby loved his work and adopted the Oregon coast as home for the long term.  He and the staff introduced new ideas and improved existing programs.  He went to work creating relationships in the community to help build support for Kids Zone. The result was that more kids and parents wanted to be a part of Kids Zone. And more volunteers came forward offering their time and skills. As a result of Toby Winn’s leadership, the talents of Kids Zone’s outstanding staff and the support provided by a visionary NFK Board of Directors, NFK became a well-recognized after-school program in the region.

Strong Community Partnerships

It is our belief that strong community public and private partnerships like Neighbors for Kids are the way of the future. We cannot possibly meet all the challenging community needs relying solely on federal and state government.  NFK‘s goal is to join hands with other community members and leaders, including private and public entities, to achieve the long-term goal of building a stronger society by focusing on our most valuable resource, our children.  

Communities must take a more proactive role in improving the educational opportunities and personal growth of its next generation of adults.   Our future depends on what we do to make a difference for our kids in our respective communities.  We know that public schools can’t do it all, especially with ever-increasing financial challenges.

There is a critical three-hour time slot after school for most children. Research and experience suggests this three-hour period can be the most dangerous and unproductive time of the day for children who cannot participate in after school sports or other structured programs. After-school programs can be tailored to local needs and have proven to be a complementary adjunct to the public school learning experience.

We know our kids do better all the way around when after-school programs are offered.   And with additional community support and funding, the building and facilities for after-school activities can be used more effectively by offering educational and recreational programs for all ages for the entire day, including evenings and weekends.

The miracle of this story is all about ordinary people coming together to create a better environment for kids.  All it took was the courage, passion, and perseverance of one citizen like Loretta Hoagland, who took ownership of a potentially serious problem in this small town of Depoe Bay where kids bus 12 miles to public school.  If it can happen in Depoe Bay, it can happen anywhere in the country.

“Finding My Soul in Icicle Valley, Chapter 1, excerpt 3…

“But I couldn’t take living in the moment, and didn’t know how. I was sick and didn’t know it then. Most troubling is I never knew why. I only knew flight/flight 24/7 alert and wanted to run after something that was never out there. More stuff to prove that I could show my father and the whole world that a ‘kid kicked to the curb’ could make it in the world if I took ownership of the universe, I alone could do it, I alone. I already showed the world this…why would I want to go right back out there and do it over and over again?”

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, & Mental Health Advocate. Tap my photo click here for Steve’s author page. c1990 Icicle Valley near Leavewnworth, Wa click. We found home at last!

It gives me huuge joy to share the following excerpt from my new memoir, a work in progress. I just finished a draft of Chapter I! The spirits and my creative juices are flowing and my soul is hungry for spiritual growth. All the angels in my life have gathered and encouraged me to write, and do it now. The words flow from my heart and the deepest places of my soul. I will share excerpts from each new chapter in the coming weeks and months.

I want to engage my friends and colleagues while writing this profoundly touching journey of love and healing for my family. I published my first memoir, Reconciliation, a Son’s Story in 2011 and launched my website Children and Families in Life After Trauma at the same time.

Please forward your comments of support and feedback to me… stevesparks.associates@survivethriveptsd.org

I will not pretend to be a subject matter expert in psychiatry, science, or medicine. I’m proud and privileged to be a survivor of childhood and young adult trauma, abuse and maltreatment. I suffer from a life long mental illness, ‘acute agitated depressive disorder’. As a lay person I help others as a peer, friend and colleague. My work is about community building and healing as a broader collaboration of stakeholders, partners and consumers with a common mission.

My healing journey has indeed entered a spiritual phase now that I feel truly safe. A gift of the spirit life at this time of my life draws me closer to God. I never felt peace of mind until now. It’s a deep feeling in my soul that moves me to a more peaceful place.

My soul is speaking to me. Think it’s a ‘coming home’ feeling in this 30th year of my journey to reconnect my lost soul. You get this, I know.”

Children Abused by Religion.

“Lambert defines spiritual abuse as “a type of psychological predomination that could be rightly termed—religious enslavement.”[47] He further identifies “religious enslavement” as being a product of what is termed in the Bible “witchcraft,” or “sorcery.”[48]

Click here for more…

Religious abuse will surely hijack the soul of a child. I left home on my 17th birthday in 1963. But sadly and tragically didn’t have my soul in my backpack. I was also mad as hell at Jesus! A relationship with Jesus Christ was a scary proposition for me then and still is. I was programmed to fear God. The thought of this evil stuff is horrific to live with and damages a young soul forever. This is what happened to me and my family growing up in the 50s. And I didn’t acknowledge it until now…

Religious cult behavior, especially in a profoundly dysfunctional family dynamic, literally kills young souls, like me. This is a family in a perpetual cycle of emotional pain and persistent mental illness, including religous and alcohol abuse. No kidding, this is very serious stuff to have conversations about so that we can help each other.

The baggage follows young adults who suffered at the hands of abusive parents who were sick themselves. Probably, in my life time the most insanely agredious religious cult tragedy was the ‘Jim Jones’ mass suicide long ago. I remember living and working in the Bay Area when it was front page news. It is still sickening, disgusting and disturbing all at once. This is how common folks get a divorce from Jesus and never recover. This kind of trauma is a moral injury, at the evil end of the spectrum.

This side bar research is helping me fill in the blanks and close the door on a traumatic childhood, including adding religious abuse to the tool kit. Kids who leave home without a soul, a moral compass so to speak, make bad choices and too often die too early. We must get smarter on the ‘religous abuse’ implications of our most vulnerable citizens especially kids. The initial interaction with a person suffering from religious abuse, like me, is to feel shivers up the spine, and look for the nearest fire exit when someone in the crowd cries out, “Jesus loves you!” The fear of Jesus Christ is outrageous and causes too much emotional damage to kids of all ages and adults alike. We have to start talking about this…

In my view, the awareness created with Mental Health 1st Aid USA training is a great start. But I see an opportunity add a section dealing with the symptoms of religious abuse.

I have been in denial about religious abuse for most of my life until now, age 73. I can’t say why it took so long to revisit this very important life changing factor in my religious upbringing. I feel the freedom of the challenges of my spirit life now. It is never too late to find renewed faith. It’s hard work, especially when there is so much trash to empty…

My own extensive research, including first book, Reconciliation, A Son’s Story (2011) and in a professional capacity, serves as evidence of my personal journey. In addition, open and honest conversations with family members revealed a consistent pattern of religious abuse making us feel extreme shame over many years. It is akin to brain washing, so you have to go through an extended ‘brain-failure-recovery (BFR1.0)’ process to feel love, trust and faith again. I didn’t know love until much later in life. Religious abuse in my mind is as close to evil I can imagine, if not evil itself.

No child should ever be subjected to this kind of horrific injury to the core of one’s soul. It might take a life time of ‘soul search and rescue’ to find peace of mind, if we are so lucky. As a “Recovering Catholic” I try to look back at my roots to understand that this behavior is not part of the church, it is part of the “tool kit of abuse and maltreatment” in a profoundly dysfunctional home…click here for more…on how the Catholic Church explains…

Thank you for coming with me on my personal healing and spiritual journey…

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Mental Health Advocate click here for my author page.

"Finding My Soul in Icicle Valley" Chapter 2, excerpt… Conquering fear of God…

Eskimo Kisses in Stehekin, celebrating 30 years of our spiritual journey as a family… Steve & Judy Sparks 2018

Religous Abuse as a reference, click here… “Child Protection and Cults”

“I have been in denial about religous abuse for most of my life until now, age 73. I can’t say why it took do long to revisit this very important life changing factor in my religious upbringing. I feel the freedom of the challenges of my spirit life now. It is never too late to find renewed faith. It’s hard work, especially when there is so much trash to empty…”

It gives me huuge joy to share the above excerpt from my new memoir, a work in progress. I just finished a draft of Chapter I! The spirits and my creative juices are flowing and my soul is hungry for spiritual growth. All the angels in my life have gathered and encouraged me to write, and do it now. The words flow from my heart and the deepest places of my soul. I will share excerpts from each new chapter in the coming weeks and months.

I want to engage my friends and colleagues while writing this profoundly touching journey of love and healing for my family. I published my first memoir, Reconciliation, a Son’s Story in 2011 and launched my website Children and Families in Life After Trauma at the same time.

Please forward your comments of support and feedback to me… stevesparks.associates@survivethriveptsd.org

My healing journey has indeed entered a spiritual phase now that I feel truly safe. A gift of the spirit life at this time of my life draws me closer to God. I never felt peace of mind until now. It’s a deep feeling in my soul that moves me to a more peaceful place.

My soul is speaking to me. Think it’s a ‘coming home’ feeling in this 30th year of my journey to reconnect my lost soul. You get this, I know.”

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Mental Health Advocate click here for my author page

Finding My Soul in Icicle Valley Chapter I excerpt2

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, & Mental Health Advocate. Tap my photo

It gives me huuge joy to share the following excerpt from my new memoir, a work in progress. I just finished a draft of Chapter I! The spirits and my creative juices are flowing and my soul is hungry for spiritual growth. All the angels in my life have gathered and encouraged me to write, and do it now. The words flow from my heart and the deepest places of my soul. I will share excerpts from each new chapter in the coming weeks and months.

I want to engage my friends and colleagues while writing this profoundly touching journey of love and healing for my family. I published my first memoir, Reconciliation, a Son’s Story in 2011 and launched my website Children and Families in Life After Trauma at the same time.

Please forward your comments of support and feedback to me… stevesparks.associates@survivethriveptsd.org

I will not pretend to be a subject matter expert in psychiatry, science, or medicine. I’m proud and privileged to be a survivor of childhood and young adult trauma, abuse and maltreatment. I suffer from a life long mental illness, ‘acute agitated depressive disorder’. As a lay person I help others as a peer, friend and colleague. My work is about community building and healing as a broader collaboration of stakeholders, partners and consumers with a common mission.

My healing journey has indeed entered a spiritual phase now that I feel truly safe. A gift of the spirit life at this time of my life draws me closer to God. I never felt peace of mind until now. It’s a deep feeling in my soul that moves me to a more peaceful place.

My soul is speaking to me. Think it’s a ‘coming home’ feeling in this 30th year of my journey to reconnect my lost soul. You get this, I know.”

From Chapter I…

“It was never enough. It’s exhausting to have a 24/7 racing mind and negative self talk. I never stopped thinking about the next move. It was sick, and obsessive behavior as I think back to that time. I behaved as a ‘self serving’ bully at times when anything got in my way. I didn’t know yet that I was sick, and didn’t want to.”

Leavenworth, Wa