Cape Kiwanda on a Gorgeous Sunny Sunday on The Coast with My Pal…

//en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_City,_Oregon
Neskowin Blooms…
Cape Kiwanda
Neskowin Shores

I got up this Sunday and looked out at the bright sun and clear skies. A Sunday drive north to Kiwanda was on my mind…

Judy was getting up at the same time, I noticed with some surprise. She likes to sleep in for awhile. I, on the other hand, “rise early to catch a worm,” like my mom used to say…

“Let’s head up to Pacific City and have lunch at the Pelican Pub,” she said to me, with that big pretty smile I adore… She already knew I wanted to go up north to one of our favorite places to hang out and explore…

It’s been over a year since we were there last. Covid kept us away, sadly… We love Pacific City and Kiwanda…

We love the drive north, especially when Neskowin and Proposal Rock fills our mind with adventure and romance…

The Central Oregon Coast is stunningly beautiful and God’s gift on a Sunday drive. The ‘church’ of forests, snow peak mountains and the sea in all of its glory is where we feel God’s presence, not just on Sunday, but each and everyday…

Driving to Pacific City is a left turn, not very far after crossing the Salmon River Bridge. The windy road is a treat no matter how many times we go. Heading west out to the coast to Kiwanda along the Nestucca River’s edge, is a never ending visual experience of nature’s imagination and stunning beauty…

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nestucca_River

Once over the Nestucca River Bridge heading into Pacific City, the high dunes rise up to greet. We make a right turn for the final mile or so before the magic of Kiwanda appears just off the coast…

Cape Kiwanda…

Pelican Pub is our first stop. But the wait was 90 minutes to long for hungry old folks. Judy ordered Fish ‘n Chips for take-out. They have a new take-out outside order window. Two windows to order at that. The wait was 15 minutes, none to soon for hungry folks…

I’m not walking so good right now. But, love the convenience of a “Disability Parking Permit,” and so does Judy…

We loved sitting in the comfort of our Subaru CrossTrek eating our delicious Cod and fries from the Pelican Pub. It was messy and fun. We laughed and brushed off all the crumbs like little kids about to get in trouble. But, being goofy kids is what we like to do…

On the drive back home we stopped at Neskowin. Proposal Rock is a thing to see. Click on my YouTube short clip to experience this day from us to you…

Yet another Sunday drive to Kiwanda Neskowin and other places to feel nature, breathe, and look at the wonders of Pacific City and Kiwanda by the sea..

With adventure and romance, no matter how young or old, go to Neskowin and Kiwanda whenever you can. You will want to go back more than once just like us…

Steve ‘n Judy Sparks 2018 in Stehekin, Washington
“Proposal Rock” with Judy Sparks

The Beauty of Yachats by The Sea…

https://www.facebook.com/pattie.hugginsdeitrick

Everytime we head south from Depoe Bay, Yachats is on our mind. But, it’s hard to get there sometimes, because their is so much to see ‘n do in between…

We love Newport and Waldport just as much if not more. Guess I love every inch of the Central Oregon Coast.

When we go east a little ways, Toledo, and Siletz, offer warm sun. art shows, jazz music, and more…

It’s always a treat to make it down to Yachats where the beaches, surf and Cape Perpetua fill my soul with spirits who meet me there…

It is Neptune Beach that moves my soul the most. It is not easy for me to get down there these days with cartilageless joints and all…

I meandered down the trail last time a few weeks back. I took off too fast, with my handy cane, while Judy was looking out to sea…

She found me looking over the bridge down to Neptune Beach. I wondered if I could get down there. Judy, said, “no you don’t!”

Getting down to Neptune Beach…

I asked her to help me down. I wanted to get down to the beach where I could see the enchanting falls and magical driftwood, waiting for me to dream of lands far away…

There is so much prestine beauty here in this secret Cove, where the agates, shells, and rocks of treasure hunters beachcomb… I wanted to get down there, even if it was hard and maybe the last time for awhile…

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Mental Health Advocate,…and aspiring artisan.
Devils Churn
Neptune Beach

Downtown Willie Wabbit Returns to Banning Park on the Kettle River…

“Downtown Willie Wabbit…

It was in Sandstone, Minnesota c1960 when Downtown Willie Wabbit came into my life. It was all my bros fault too…

My bro took me places we weren’t supposed to go. Meeting up with Downtown Willie Wabbit was a big no no, to be sure..

It was another good day to go fishing with my bro. We went up to the Kettle River near the old dam like we always did way back then…

Last time my bro hooked a big Muskie that got away. He’s going to catch it again, I know he will…

We are both alike in that way… We never give up, never ever…

The difference between the two us, though? He is a tough guy. I’m a lover not a fighter, to be sure…

That’s where Downtown Willie Wabbit comes in. He is a tough guy too…

Robbie Wabbit is more to my liking. He likes to make friends. Downtown Willie Wabbit likes to beat people up…

My bro likes to beat people up too, especially back then. He even beat neighborhood kids up to protect me and others in harms way…

My bro loves to help and protect others and me too. He’s a tough guy and kind too…

Why my bro would want to hang out with Downtown Willie Rabbit? God only knows?

I know why now. Because Downtown Willie Wabbit would teach him his nefarious ways. My bro felt he could protect us better if he could think like a bad man might think…

My bro is a tough guy! He is a loving, giving and kind person too… I love my bro for who he is, the tough guy he is, and kind too…

He didn’t hang out with Downtown Willie Wabbit again after that. I know why now…

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Mental Health Advocate…and aspiring artisan.

“Gucci” The Goodest Kitty…

Adria n “Gucci” Best pals forever!

I remember visiting my brother in Reno long ago. That’s when I met “Gucci” The Goodest Kitty.

Or, was he a good kitty then? I didn’t know then. But, I believe Gucci was always a good kitty. Adria knows this too…

I love Gucci too! For he was a special furry loved one in my life, and all my loved ones too..

They live in the land of deserts, high mountains, snow, tall trees and a really big lake, and much more… Gucci loved his whole life and his clan in the valley where Meerkat’s roam.

I hear Meerkat’s make great pets for some folks. I don’t know any folks like that, though…

Gucci was flown in from someplace near Belarus next to Russia. That’s where all the very special kitties come from. Adria told me so…

I love the way all of us called out for Gucci! “Guuuucci, Guuuuuucci, Guuuuuuuuucci. He loved to be loved by his fambamly…

My brother did the Gucci call far better than anyone I’ve ever heard. I know this to be true…

Well, sadly, we said goodbye to our sixteen year old kitty. Our hearts are breaking. We are with ease, he is no longer suffering…

Adria’s tribute…

“Thank you for getting me through the last two years of being a teenager, all through my 20’s and almost halfway through my 30’s my best buddy…

Now go chase all those birdies and butterflies and indulge in all the whipping cream to your hearts content!

I’ll miss you until we meet again in Heaven. I love you so very much my Gucci kitty…

May your little heart Rest In Peace 2003-2019 #myguccikitty #norwegianforestcat #bippitty #blackkittiesrule 🌈😿❤️🌈

Happy 16th Birthday to my first baby boy! I can’t believe I’ve had you almost half my existence.

You’ve been with me through the worst and best times. #lionkitty #norwegianforestcat #gucci 😻 Love you little buddy 💙”

Written with love and kindness…

Cecille E Kennedy photo
Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Mental Health Advocate…and aspiring artisan

Homeless Veteran, Jim Wolf, Wins The Day! Building Community Based Resources…

Homeless veteran amazing transformation…

Jim Wolf

“U.S. Army veteran Jim Wolf hasn’t had an ideal life since returning home. He has struggled with poverty, homelessness, and alcoholism for decades, but two months ago he volunteered to undergo a physical transformation for Degage Ministries, a charity that aims to help veterans who have fallen on hard times and transform their lives.”

How many more “Jim Wolf’s” could we save? No doubt in my mind, 10s of 1000s more could be saved, if they were kept in our communities to thrive. And, not wind up in jail, hospital or worse…

https://www.degageministries.org/

Let’s see how Degage Ministries builds community collaborations to save lives. This non-profit business model is paving the way by building a community based partnership to save the lives of millions who suffer on the streets and die young.

We can duplicate this success story all over America. No one needs to reinvent anything. All we need to do, as a community, is love each other enough to care about others in need.

Transforming Lives, Restoring Hope

“Dégagé Ministries offers help and hope to homeless and disadvantaged individuals in our community.”

Dégagé’s goal is to assure that every man and woman we serve, knows that he/she is not alone.

Too many hardships exist in life and none of us are exempt from them.

For those 400-500 individuals servee daily at Dégagé, many of whom are homeless and low-income, the hardships can be overwhelming. Loss of shelter, loss of employment, loss of a loved one, loss of control and loss of opportunity is incalculable.

Most of us have food on the table, a beer or toke, and a TV to watch NFL Monday Night Football. And with due respect, most dont know what Jim Wolf or any of the 1000s of veterans like him go through.

Believe me when I say, “it is inhumane to put humans in jail when they are sick and need from their community.” There is no empathy or compassion to leave your brothers and sisters hanging out on the side street next to Starbucks in Newport, Oregon or anywhere else in America.

The homeless are by and large, good and decent people who care about each other just like the rest of us. They suffer, just like the rest of us with serious physical and behavior health problems.

The homeless live with emotional pain along with other health care issues, that go unattended. These health care problems get far worse when there is no proactive community based services to help them.

It also no surprise to me to have learned while working with my colleagues in Lincoln County and elsewhere, the cost is enormous. Federal, State, County and local municipalities all pay big without community based services.

There is one worse case example I know about awhile back. A homeless man visited the local hospital ER about once a week for emergency care for almost one year. The cost of care was upwards of $1million!

Sadly and tragically, this man was found dead in the parking lot of a local supermarket early one morning. This scenario repeats itself all over America, each and everyday of our lives.

These are the forgotten ones. Your, fathers, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins, and dear friends are in the mix. These are the ones who are alone. There is no love in this, sadly and tragically.

In my view, it’s inhumane to expect humans to survive on the streets, without a home or food on the table. Our furry friends cannot survive long without food and shelter either.

Imagine what it might be like for you if left homeless tomorrow… Or, How would you feel if your neighbors furry loved one was lost. Imagine, your 6 month old Golden Doodle lost on the streets alone somewhere in the dark…

Degage’s programming is designed to address immediate and long-term needs such as overnight respite for women in crisis, food, referral services and hygiene facilities. And, with these hardships, they lose much more. Many feel unworthy and hopeless. Society has looked down upon them, or they have been rejected after repeatedly trying to move forward on their own…

One local non-profit I have had the privilege to work with over the years is CHANCE, Albany, Oregon. CHANCE serves three counties in Oregon, Linn, Benton, and Lincoln. LBL for short.

https://www.chancerecovery.org/m/

For our region, we have built a ‘public private partnership’ that funds community based partners, including law enforcement, county behavioral health and public health, healthcare providers, federal, state, county and local municipalities. Yes, it’s a long list.

www.stepuptogether.org is the business model. Please bookmark as a reference and resource, especially County .gov officials.

https://www.chancerecovery.org/m/

All 3000 Counties in America either do the Degage’ and CHANCE models or are ramp-up with smaller steps to get ready for action. This is the future.

That’s why it is critical to transform communities to fit the criteria for funding and sustainability of such an enormous undertaking. Too many communities have old business models that serve as “barriers.” The hard part is breaking down barriers…

“It’s a very tall order,” a colleague told me in 2016. She also said, “many have tried and failed.” “Steve, we can do this, I know! I believed her, and we did, indeed, make it happen. I know this too…

We made it happened because we loved our community and each other. This is who we are, a community that loves and cares for our most vulnerable citizens.

This is who we are!

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Mental Health Advocate…and, aspiring artisan.
My neighbor, down on the Bayfront, Newport, Oregon

“Oscar and Doris” A Love Story from Little Whale Cove…

“Oscar and Doris” True love at first sight! https://oregonwild.org/wildlife/northern-spotted-owl

//en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barred_owl

“Oscar n Doris” are love birds you can see. I see them hugging and kissing when they let me see…

I look closely in the trees behind my house to see. To see these beautiful Northern Spotted Owls love each other, as they always do. Both bring love to my heart and soul…

Oscar n Doris are always together watching their nest, hidden securely in the tree close by. They do not want me to see…

It’s just me, and, Oscar n Doris, alone in the tall fir trees. They know I can see them, but are not afraid of me…

Spotted owls love Douglas-firs, grand firs, ponderosa pines and incense cedars and more. Flying squirrels, wood rats share the forest with Oscar n Doris and other things…

Wood Rats make up meals of delight most days. Other small mammals, birds and reptiles are snacks in between…

Oscar n Doris appear easy to see. They seem tame, often unfazed by my presence. Or, is that just me…

Why Does the Spotted Owl Need Our Help?

Oscar n Doris are protected in Little Whale Cove and everywhere I can see. Their fight for ecological peace is ongoing, as they protect their home in the tall firs in the Cove…

Logging in Western Oregon has steadily destroyed the spotted owl’s home in the tall firs. Oscar n Doris are especially careful to love and protect their young in the nest near by…

But, “Buck” The Big Barred Owl watches from another tall fir near by. He is the highly aggressive outsider, from Florida, they say…

Buck trys to invade Oscar n Doris’s nest when they aren’t looking for him. But both send Buck packing with love and kindness, I see…

For Buck knows love always wins over hate. Oscar n Doris laugh, hug and kiss, as they watch ” Buck,” The Barrel Owl, fly away…to never be seen anytime soon…

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Mental Health Advocate…and aspiring artisan.

“Sneaker Waves Kill!” Beachcombing on The Central Coast by Linda Van Dyke…

Lynda D. Van Dyke, with the loving children in her life..

I’ve always been afraid of sneaker waves, tsunamis, and King Tides. Our ocean is not the ocean of the Caribbean. Ours is a cold, windy, usually bringing in fog, kind of ocean.

Man cannot survive over 15 minutes without wet suits. Almost every year the boats go out, and may not all come back.

We have a long walk of tears in our town down at the Bayfront. That is the downside.

The wonders and magic our ocean beaches pull in are sometimes due to the horrors of the past. But in of themselves, they have become the diamonds created from coal.

We have gorgeous agates, rocks with unique fossils in them, beautiful shells, treasures, buoys. And, of course, Magnificent specimens of driftwood, making dreams of lands far away, so long ago…

People take it and make all kinds of creative sculptures, kids make art projects from it. And that’s a wonderful thing.

But how many people think about where it originated after being cut down? How many miles has it seen, time it has spent floating around the ocean? This is the point where stories are made, unique stories, from beginning to end of a piece of wood.

With love, dreams of lands far away, and the sea…

Lynda Van Dyke

The Magic of Driftwood!
Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Mental Health Advocate

“Angels” by Tom LaBelle

“Siamese ” Kitty from Siam… https://cattime.com/cat-breeds/siamese-cats#/slide/1
Tom LaBelle, Author, Blogger, Children ‘s Advocate

Many religions maintain there are multiple layers of consciousness; from the one occupied by the amoeba all the way to the Grand Realm in which Providence dwells. One result of this stratification is creatures on layers higher than your own are often taken to be angels.

Jo and I were sitting around the other night, watching the tube.  We’d tuned into a station that runs a lot of UFO stuff when they aired a special on this angel subject.  Bert, the cat, was curled up on my lap purring out his heart when, looking at him, I asked Jo if he might not regard us as angels.

Jo looked at me with raised eyebrows.

I asked her to think what Bert and another cat might say, if we could overhear their conversations.

“So”, says the Siamese from down the street, “you think they’re angels.  Why?”

“Because”, says Bert, “they can do magic!  For one thing, they make food appear – food I don’t have to chase-down.  Sure, I miss the thrill of the kill and all that, but, hey, when it’s rainy and cold, all I’ve got to do is walk into that room with the hard floor and, b`god, there it is: A full dish.  They even make water appear.  And even provide some green-and-growing grass to gnaw.  As to how they do this, I haven’t a clue”.

“Hummmm”, says the Siamese.

“Not only that, dude, but they answer my prayers.  Oh, not every time, but often enough to where I believe in their powers.  For example, if I eat-up all my minced mouse pate, I go see the big one, the one with the white mane, and ask for some more.  Like as not, he’ll get up and make it happen.  Of course, sometimes all he does is sit there and ignore me.

“What’s really neat is if I sit near them while they eat, and ask in a real polite voice, one of them will give me some of their food.  Now I’ll grant you some of the stuff can be pretty bad, but, boy, some is absolutely out of sight.

“And then there’s the matter of the den.  No matter what the weather, it’s always warm and dry.  And I can curl up on their laps – nice and warm and safe.  And you know what?  They’ve even got a nice, sandy place for me to take a dump!  Yes!  No going out in the rain or snow.

“Oh, and I think they live forever. I’ve lived with them all my life and they’ve changed not a whit.

“Moreover, they’ve got all this cool stuff.  For instance, one of them will waive its front paw and, bingo, a box lights up with moving pictures.  Sometimes, for no apparent reason at all, pretty sounds will fill the den”.

“Yeah” says the Siamese, “but they’re weird, man; they’re always walking on their hind legs.  And they’ve got almost no fur.  Nor a tail.  They’re not like us at all”.

“I know, and some of that bothers me too”, says Bert, “but . . .”.

“But nothing, Bert.  Some of them can be downright mean.  The so-called ‘angels’ with whom I lived had a cub that always pulled my tail.  I mean it hurt.  One day he yanked really hard and wouldn’t let go; I had no choice but to turn and rake its arm with my claws.  The big female beat me so badly I damned near died.  I ran away.  I don’t trust them”.

“Aw, that’s to bad.  But mine love me, and I love them.  We’re always seeking each others’ company. . .  Say, why don’t you come in the den with me and ask to stay?  Bet they’ll say Yes”.

And Jo and I probably would.
Thomas H. LaBelleClearview, Washington

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Mental Health Advocate…and aspiring artisan.

“When We Are Kind to Others, We are Happier” by Jill Suttle

Jill Suttie https://www.mindful.org/author/jill-suttie/

How Kindness Fits Into a Happy Life
A new analysis of decades of research shows that when we are kind to others, we are healthier and happier.
THE GREATER GOOD MAGAZINE

BY JILL SUTTIE | FEBRUARY 17, 2021

We all know that it’s good to be kind to others. Kindness is an important virtue for sustaining relationships, which helps to build a trusting and cooperative society.

You may have also heard that kindness makes you happier and healthier. But what does that mean for you? What acts of kindness will make us happiest, and who tends to benefit the most?
A newly published review of decades of kindness research provides some answers.

In this paper, researchers analyzed the results from 126 research articles looking at almost 200,000 participants from around the world. The studies they chose all had to meet certain criteria, such as including only adults and reporting good statistical data; some were experiments, where people did a kindness practice to observe its effects, while others just surveyed people about how kind and happy they were. The studies measured well-being in a variety of ways, including both mental and physical health.

As expected, people who were kind tended to have higher well-being. Lead researcher Bryant Hui was surprised the relationship was not stronger than it was, but he was still encouraged by the results.

“Although the overall relationship between prosocial (kind and helpful) behavior and well-being is weak, given that so many people around the world act prosocially, the modest effect can still have a significant impact at a societal level,” he says.
A small effect like this—an average of all the participants’ experiences—can sometimes hide other patterns going on below the surface. So, he and his colleagues considered when kindness might have a bigger impact on our well-being.

One thing they found was that people who performed random, informal acts of kindness, like bringing a meal to a grieving friend, tended to be happier than people who performed more formal acts of kindness, like volunteering in a soup kitchen. It’s possible that informal helping may fill our more basic psychological needs for autonomy and close relationships, which is why it could lead to greater happiness.

The researchers also found that people who were kind tended to be higher in “eudaimonic happiness” (a sense of meaning and purpose in life) more than “hedonic happiness” (a sense of pleasure and comfort). Perhaps this makes sense, given that being kind involves effort, which takes away from comfort but could make people feel better about themselves and their abilities, which would provide a sense of meaning.

Being kind came with greater eudaimonic happiness for women than for men, too. According to Hui, this could be because, in many cultures, women are expected to be kinder than men; so, they may have more to gain from it. And younger participants experienced more happiness when they were kind than older participants, perhaps for developmental reasons, he says. Younger adults are at a stage of life where they tend to be figuring out their identity and actively seeking the purpose and meaning in life that kindness can bring, less so than pleasure and comfort.

What other, specific benefits might kindness have? The researchers found that people who were kind tended to have higher self-esteem and a sense of self-efficacy. To a lesser degree, they also experienced less depression and anxiety and improved physical health—with the links to health being strongest in older adults.
Hui doesn’t know for sure why acting kind might have these different effects on different groups, but he points to theories put forth by researcher Elizabeth Midlarsky: Being kind may make us feel better about ourselves as a person or about the meaning of our lives, confirm our self-competence, distract us from our own troubles and stressors, give us a warm-glow feeling, or help us be more socially connected with others. All of these could potentially improve our well-being—reducing our stress, improving our mood, or providing community—and they could hold more importance at different stages of life, too.

By understanding the connection between kindness and well-being, Hui thinks researchers can design better studies that take into account all of the relevant factors, and innovators could create more effective kindness practices. In the future, he hopes there will be kindness apps or online programs that could reach more people, generating a larger impact around the world.

In the meantime, Hui says, the biggest take-home from his research is something he heard the Dalai Lama say long ago: “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

“Helping others is a universal virtue and a very affordable and economic way to benefit others’ and our own well-being,” he says. “As the saying goes, helping others is helping yourself.”

“Mindfulness Meditation Moments” by Steve Sparks
Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Mental Health Advocate…and aspiring artisan.

“Abby” Over The Rainbow Bridge…

“Abby” Over The Rainbow Bridge…

Our 14-year-old dog Abbey died last month. The day after she passed away my 4-year-old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey. S

Meredith asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven. God would recognize her. I told her that I thought we could so, and she dictated these words:

Dear God,

Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick.

I hope you will play with her. She likes to swim and play with balls. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her you will know that she is my dog. I really miss her.

Love, Meredith

We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith and addressed it to God/Heaven. We put our return address on it.

Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven.

That afternoon she dropped it into the letterbox at the post office. A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had.

Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, ‘To Meredith’ in an unfamiliar hand. Meredith opened it.

Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, ‘When a Pet Dies.’ Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page were the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:

Dear Meredith,

Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help and I recognized her right away.

Abbey isn’t sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart.

Abbey loved being your furry loved one. Since we don’t need our bodies in heaven, I don’t have any pockets to keep your picture. So I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by.

Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have.

I picked her especially for you. I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much. By the way, I’m easy to find. I am wherever there is love.

Love, God

Don’t say you’re too busy to Share this. Just go ahead and do it

You will all be happy to know this wonderful story is 100% true. Please don’t take offense to the reference of God, it’s part of the story.

“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind, and the third is to be kind.”

Marry Jane il
💚Live❤️Love💛Laugh

Cecille E Kennedy photo
Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Mental Health Advocate…and aspiring artisan.