“From our home to yours, we wish you good health, calm spirits, creativity, and time shared with those you love in the coming year.”

Arches National Park, Moab Utah, June 2014 Judy & Steve in the Arch following the long hike up!  Click photo to expand view…
30th Wedding Anniversary, Cannon Beach, Oregon April 2014…Click photo to expand view…
Mom, Marcella, Age 96, at Christmas 2014 opening gifts…  Click photo to expand view…

Click the Highlighted Text for More…links to past postings from our travels…

HaPpY NeW yEaR!                                                                  December, 2014

Wishing all of you Happy Holidays and a Happy 2015!  Hard to believe we’re already 15 years into the 21st Century.  2014 was a good year for us.  We celebrated our 30th anniversary in April and renewed our vows in Cannon Beach, Oregon.  We had a wonderful party for two, and enjoyed a few nights at the beach about 100 miles north of Depoe Bay. 

We never seem to tire of our life here on the Oregon Coast.  It was unusually great weather from July through September, so we enjoyed daily beach walks, looking for sea glass, and breathing fresh salt air when we weren’t playing golf.  I played with Agate Beach Women’s Golf Club this year and went to several Invitationals at other local courses this summer….really fun!  Steve was able to start playing by July, following another shoulder surgery in February.  We both worked to put on our Neighbors for Kids Charity annual golf tourney in late July, our nonprofit’s major fundraiser.  I played in a Ladies foursome of friends, and Steve sponsored and played with a group of local high school Golf Team stars.  We had a great day, enjoyed having Dan Fouts play with us again, and raised significant funds for NFK’s model afterschool program

We traveled stateside twice this year.  During May/June we traveled throughout the Southwest for a month.  Steve participated in the American Military Family Museum opening in Albuquerque, NM, and has since had his written work on children and families suffering from trauma archived through the museum.  We also visited with staff at the Vietnam Memorial Museum near Angel Fire, NM, and the Bataan Museum in Sante Fe.  We spent a week of quality time with the principals who founded the new museum in Albuquerque, a great group of high energy people we now call our friends.  We were welcomed and honored to be hosted by our new friends.

Steve spoke with a Veterans for Vets group in Pagosa Springs, Co, where we spent a week following our time in New Mexico.  We also loved soaking in the Pagosa Hot Springs.  Moab was another fun stop on our return trip home, hiking in Arches National Park.  We made it to the top!

During October we traveled to Long Beach (Lone Sailor Memorial) to attend our niece’s wedding on the Queen Mary and spent time with Steve’s sister Laura, her daughters and extended family.  We also saw close friends in San Diego and loved catching up, and stayed a few days on the beach near the Oceanside Pier.  We drove over to Palm Springs area for a few days to see my sister Joy and nephew Max, and more longtime friends.  So it was great to see everyone and enjoy some warm weather.  We saw Steve’s 96 year old Mother in Reno on our way home and old friends in the Bay Area.  We feel blessed!

Steve was elected as Depoe Bay City Councilor in November.  He’ll be sworn into office on January 6.  He’s spent the last few months doing due diligence and is ready to hit the ground running next month!  Needless to say, we’ve really gotten to know many folks here, and we both enjoy being engaged in the community.

I’ll continue my volunteer work at Neighbors for Kids as their Family Literacy Coordinator.  We host a monthly Family Night, focusing on building literacy skills and offering learning opportunities connected with our STEAM programs (science, technology, engineering, art and math).  We serve a meal and offer fun activities parents can share with their children.  Our events have grown this year so our outreach to families seems to be catching on.  We have willing community partners that want to see our kids succeed, and our programs are a positive addition to our local public schools. Like many places, education funding is an ongoing struggle here, so it’s cool to be able to help children in our own community.

We enjoyed Christmas with Sarah and her boyfriend, Ron…….oh, and of course our grand dog Skai!  They were with us the 24th – 26th.  Sarah is in transition and plans to work in her field, case management or child behavior management, in Portland after the first of the year.  We’re happy she’s not too far away.  Steve’s older daughters and their families live in Southern California and Minneapolis, MN, so we don’t see our grandkids as often as we’d like.  They’re almost all young adults now! Ages 21, 20, 19 and 14.

From our home to yours, we wish you good health, calm spirits, creativity, and time shared with those you love in the coming year.

 Steve & Judy Sparks, Depoe Bay, Oregon

Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1…click on the highlighted text for my author page…

Gorgeous Sunset at Oceanside, Ca. October 2014…Don’t miss the rare capture of Sea Gull in photo!


New Mexico…food for the soul like no other place!

Taos Pueblo…”The Place of the Red Willows”

Taos Pueblo… Quote from this website article by World Heritage…

“Taos Pueblo, or Tau-Tah, the place of the Red Willows, is considered the longest continuously inhabited place in the United States, a village of about 150 full-time residents, with around 2,000 people living on Pueblo land.

This sign greets you as you enter the village:

Welcome To Taos Pueblo

The Red Willow People of Taos Pueblo welcome visitors as they have for over 1,000 years. To visit the living village is to walk into a sacred place where life continues from the earliest of human existence. Little has changed here in the high desert village. From the people to the pristine landscape, Taos Pueblo continues to enchant visitors old and new.”


“Living in the moment” is at the center of New Mexico’s cultural and spiritual experience, starting with ancient Native American Heritage and connecting with modern America at our roots and soul.  The memorials, and tributes to the history of America’s warriors make a clear connection to the past and the present.  It would take a lifetime to capture the full depth and breadth of this beautiful land and diversified community that thrives on spirituality, healing, and the arts, connecting all of us as brothers and sisters.  

Bataan Memorial Museum and Library
Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
Angel Fire Vietnam Veterans Memorial
New Mexico Veterans’ Memorial “Rose Garden”

The Bataan Memorial Museum  and Library “Honoring New Mexico’s Citizen-Soldiers since 1598” traces the origins of New Mexico’s National Guard back to the Spanish militia.  “When the Japanese captured 70,000 U.S. and Filipino soldiers in 1942, most of New Mexico’s national guard was among them. Released more than three years later, only half of the 1,800 men from New Mexico survived to return home. On exhibit are maps, press clippings and testimonials, along with Civil War artifacts and items connected to the codetalkers and other Native Americans who participated in U.S. wars.”  America’s first warriors are honored both at the many tribal cultural centers, including the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, and the memorials to veterans of all wars…New Mexico Veterans’ Memorial.  Angel Fire, New Mexico, nestled in the high mountain valley near Sante Fe, offers one of the most sacred memorials to Vietnam Veterans…The David Westphall Foundation, Vietnam Veterans Memorial

One of our most special experiences of spiritual healing in New Mexico was at Chimayo near Santa Fe.  Judy and I visited Chimayo in the fall of 2012 on an earlier visit.  I wrote about Chimayo, “A Special Place for Healing and Prayer.”  Click on my blog post…


Our recent visit included  Glenn Green Galleries in Tesuque, New Mexico near Santa Fe, which captured our attention and provided even more New Mexican spiritual context from the many sculptures and works of art on display in the gallery and on the property.  Glenn Green, owner, shared stories of two notable artists,  Eduardo Oropeza and Khang Pham-New.  Please click on the referenced links to learn more about their life experiences and body of work…  The stories show the healing value and passion of artists who discover their natural gifts early in life.    Mr. Green tells the stories that bring the art and the artists to life.  Glenn’s passion for his own work as a collector of unique art is about the artists whose stories are as much a part of appreciating the power of healing as the finished sculptures and other works of art displayed in his gallery.

Glenn Green Galleries
Eduardo Oropeza
Khang Pham-New


Judy and I couldn’t get enough of these special and unique spiritual venues during our visit to New Mexico.  Each sacred memorial, museum, and exhibit was special and moving to us in so many ways.  My own history as a Vietnam era US Navy veteran and post WWII military child has a much deeper heartfelt meaning than at anytime in my past.   Judy’s own history of her father’s WWII US Navy service provided her special meaning and legacy.  Judy’s history also includes knowing friends and loved ones who served in Vietnam, and some who did not come home.  We were both overwhelmed with emotion at times.  America’s connectedness to Native American Heritage and the bravery of tribal soldiers’ sacrifice in all wars of our past could not be better demonstrated than in the history of New Mexico and its people.  The people of New Mexico were most welcoming and gracious to us everywhere we visited.  Our recent extended visit to New Mexico was one of the most memorable, healing and spiritual experiences in our lifetime.  The best news is we are already planning a return visit!  Check out the reference websites and plan your own special visit…

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story…

Steve at Glenn Green Galleries, outdoors exhibit park…


Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my books, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1… (Kindle $2.99), and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Click and order paperback or download Kindle version.  Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! Steve Sparks, Author