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…
“Depoe Bay City Councilors, noting that plans to upgrade The World’s Smallest Harbor were going too slowly, decided to initiate a “Harbor Summit” to speed things up. They decided that attending that summit will be the Harbor Commission, the Harbor Master Plan Committee, and the City Council. Several councilors cited what appeared to be irreconcilable differences between members of the two harbor committees, something the city council wants to resolve. The council decided on the summit in order to get everyone around the same table and map out what the council believes are the three biggest issues – the need for new dock pilings, new docks in positions 2, 3 and 4 and improvements to the harbor’s fuel dock.“
I love talking about my hometown, Depoe Bay, Oregon! Judy and I moved to the Oregon Coast almost 10 years ago and have not looked back. We’ve been blessed to have lived and experienced rural America, including Leavenworth, Washington for the past 25 years. Smaller communities offer the experience and culture of volunteerism and community service where all citizens can take ownership and make a difference. If your heart moves you in later life when there is more time to give back, a rural community offers great opportunity and potential to use wisdom and career skill sets to make a positive impact for the greater good.
Judy and I discovered the “magic” of small town living back in 1991 when we left the stressful life of the big city and a world of a high intensity career that became a “burn-out” by the time we reached our 40’s. We found our dream first in the mountains of Leavenworth, Washington in the north central part of the region. This is where we fell in love with small town America and the heartfelt rewards of community service. Now we enjoy an even greater love for giving back living on the stunning Oregon Coast in Depoe Bay, “The Smallest Navigable Harbor in the World.” We also love the diversified culture of townsfolk, neighbors, and friends who built this community and those who came here later in life like us. We are all one family thinking and focusing on a better future for our children and grandchildren. We all play a part in making a difference while enjoying the treasured and unique experience of living in a coastal community.
We explore the coastal beaches, including our own backyard in Little Whale Cove, with every free moment. The pounding waves at night put us to sleep. The mild temperate climate is never too hot or too cold. The sunny warm days of summer and a break from the rain from winter months make this a paradise we truly appreciate. The winter storms are amazing to experience and sometimes create a little anxiety when occasionally, winds reach 100 mph on the coast. We are happy to part of positive human connectedness and spiritual growth in our hometown of Depoe Bay, Oregon… Please come to the Central Oregon Coast and experience the gift of a natural earth energy vortex…food for your soul!
Community Building Click for more on my recent article, “How to Treat “Silo Disorder,” a Detriment to Community Growth and Vitality… Quote from article…by Steve Sparks
“I was asked again yesterday, what is meant by my reference to a rural community sickness coined by me as “Silo Disorder.” For starters click on the highlighted text link that defines a “silo” mostly connected with a farming community where grain is stored in tall cylinder structures close to rail transportation. My work over the past 25 years in rural community building projects reveals that the greatest challenge and obstacle to overcome at the beginning of any project for the “greater good” is to get our neighbors and community leaders to talk to each other, build relationships, discover teamwork, and find common ground… We often refer to this process as leadership, but I don’t believe defining leadership initially helps…it is too subjective. Leadership means different things to folks and the dots are rarely connected unless there is a reference to something tangible and attention getting like “silo disorder.” If we all stay in our tiny sheltered world of self interests only, we never see the light of day or the bigger picture of what we should be talking about to build community vitality where new opportunities are discovered…where innovation happens…where we begin to find new social investment capital never before realized by creating public private partnerships (PPP)… click for graphic images…”
Following is my candidates statement found on page 21-11 of the Voters’ Pamphlet… Click highlighted text for Oregon General Election for November 4, 2014…
“I believe in the empowerment of community building and outreach strategies through collaborations and partnerships with local, state, and federal government, public private non-profits, private sector, and volunteers, all critical partners for community growth and vitality. Effective team building and collaborative commitments in Lincoln County have proven to be a successful enterprise, enhancing the quality of life for children and families, especially in education.
As a US Navy veteran from the Vietnam era and a post WWII military child, I am passionate about caring for veterans and families as a commitment to their sacrifice of service to protect our freedoms during all wars past and present. We have an eternal obligation and debt that can never be fully paid back to those who have served America in the military, as a first responder or in public service. We can never thank appreciate enough the service of the hundreds of volunteers in Lincoln County who work tirelessly and passionately to make a difference in our community. The spirit of volunteerism is ever present right here in Depoe Bay.
As a City of Depoe Bay Councilor, I promise to be fair, objective, and compassionate about community service with the goal of achieving the very best quality of life and economic growth for all citizens for generations to come. It is my duty and heartfelt honor to serve!!!
“Against these daunting odds, a remarkable exception seems to be emerging in Cincinnati. Strive, a nonprofit subsidiary of KnowledgeWorks, has brought together local leaders to tackle the student achievement crisis and improve education throughout greater Cincinnati and northern Kentucky. In the four years since the group was launched, Strive partners have improved student success in dozens of key areas across three large public school districts. Despite the recession and budget cuts, 34 of the 53 success indicators that Strive tracks have shown positive trends, including high school graduation rates, fourth-grade reading and math scores, and the number of preschool children prepared for kindergarten.”
I was asked again yesterday, what is meant by my reference to a rural community sickness coined by me as “Silo Disorder.” For starters click on the highlighted text link that defines a “silo” mostly connected with a farming community where grain is stored in tall cylinder structures close to rail transportation. My work over the past 25 years in rural community building projects reveals that the greatest challenge and obstacle to overcome at the beginning of any project for the “greater good” is to get our neighbors and community leaders to talk to each other, build relationships, discover teamwork, and find common ground… We often refer to this process as leadership, but I don’t believe defining leadership initially helps…it is too subjective. Leadership means different things to folks and the dots are rarely connected unless there is a reference to something tangible and attention getting like “silo disorder.” If we all stay in our tiny sheltered world of self interests only, we never see the light of day or the bigger picture of what we should be talking about to build community vitality where new opportunities are discovered…where innovation happens…where we begin to find new social investment capital never before realized by creating public private partnerships (PPP)… click for graphic images…
Communities everywhere dream about economic development and improving the community as a popular destination point for vacationers and travelers, including building a much better quality of life for citizens, but can’t seem to make it happen until tearing down the silo mentality and start talking and trusting each other. We residents and community leaders often find ourselves stuck in the mud for decades because we spend our time picking on each other about the small stuff, and never get to the part where a strategic plan for the greater good comes into clear view.
We have to stop all the silliness and ignorance right now where ever we live and get down to the basics of building a community culture that thrives. Get all these individual self interest groups, including local government, business, non-profits, schools, colleges, chambers of commerce, home owner associations, young adults, adults, seniors, moms, dads, parents, and grand parents, including the kids to hold hands and start talking… amazing stuff will happen in your community! Go for it and stop whining, complaining, and blaming. It takes a village, a team, and strong leadership to build a thriving community. We have to do this work for the greater good together with common goals and strategic plans… Start talking and trusting your friends and neighbors and get to work!
“Delicate Arch has become the unofficial symbol of Utah. Towering eighty feet over hikers, Delicate Arch is one of the highlights of Arches National Park and is possibly the most beautiful arch in the world. This arch needs to be experienced in person to be really appreciated. This hike competes with Devils Garden as the best hike in Arches National Park.
If you are looking for good photo opportunities this is the spot, Delicate Arch is probably the most photographed arch in the world. Resting on top of a huge Entrada Sandstone formation, the world-famous site offers a dramatic view.”
“The national park lies atop an undergroundevaporate layer orsaltbed, which is the main cause of the formation of the arches, spires, balanced rocks,sandstonefins, and eroded monoliths in the area. This salt bed is thousands of feet thick in places, and was deposited in theParadox Basinof theColorado Plateausome 300 million years ago when a sea flowed into the region and eventually evaporated. Over millions of years, the salt bed was covered with debris eroded from theUncompahgre Upliftto the northeast. During the EarlyJurassic(about 210 Ma) desert conditions prevailed in the region and the vastNavajo Sandstonewas deposited. An additional sequence of stream laid and windblown sediments, theEntrada Sandstone(about 140 Ma), was deposited on top of the Navajo. Over 5000 feet (1500 m) of younger sediments were deposited and have been mostly eroded away. Remnants of the cover exist in the area including exposures of theCretaceousMancos Shale. The arches of the area are developed mostly within the Entrada formation.”
The “easy hike” in the title is how the trail to the Delicate Arch is rated… We assumed it was at least a moderate to difficult (in places) kind of hike. Let’s say for us it was challenging. It was more difficult getting down than up for the old but restored knees. But we did it and have a picture to prove it!
Like most places in this region of striking beauty, the Native American influence and spirituality is a treasure and inspiration. As Americans we are blessed with the preservation of our Native American Heritage. And in this part of America, the American Indian thrived in often harsh but awesomely beautiful place of peace, spiritual growth, and exceptional quality of life…
“Humans have occupied the region since the lastice age10,000 years ago.Fremont peopleandAncient Pueblo Peoplelived in the area up until about 700 years ago. Spanish missionaries encounteredUteandPaiutetribes in the area when they first came through in 1775, but the first European-Americans to attempt settlement in the area were theMormonElk Mountain Mission in 1855, who soon abandoned the area. Ranchers, farmers, and prospectors later settled Moab in the neighboring Riverine Valley in the 1880s. Word of the beauty of the surroundingrock formationsspread beyond the settlement as a possibletouristdestination.”
There is much to learn about Native American history, and in the “Four Corners” (click here) region of the southwest is a treasure trove of early tribal culture (click here) to learn from. I have written frequently on this blog about our travels (click here) through out the southwest the past 4 years. Each year it seems we our drawn back to this region of the USA, and most often seek out Native American culture as food for the soul. It is my view that the American Indian teachings and life style reinforces the value of community building and sustainability. The powerful energy, as described in the term “vortex” (click here), best explains the overwhelming feeling of spiritual connectedness while visiting these sacred lands and ancient communities of our Native American Heritage.
The energy vortex of Sedona, Arizona (click here) is one of the most well known areas where so many visitors claim the special feeling of being at the confluence of mother nature’s energy. I believe this is why learning more about the early American Indian culture is so priceless to we 21st Century humans. Go to these special places to learn for yourself…a once in a lifetime experience to be sure…