About Me

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My journey as a writer began as a child. I wrote poems and short stories which were my way of dealing with various life changing events. I am a member of Rave Reviews Book Club. Follow me on Twitter @KIngallsAuthor www.facebook.com/KarenIngalls, and you can find my books at www.amazon.com. My first book is Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir which received two awards. All proceeds are donated to gynecologic cancer research. My second book is a novel Novy's Son, about one man's attempt to find love and acceptance from his father. This is an all too common problem in our society. My third book, Davida: Model and Mistress of Augustus Saint-Gaudens is about the love affair between this great American sculptor and his model. ALL ORIGINAL CONTENT COPYRIGHT 2011 THROUGH 2017.

Friday, September 15, 2017

PEOPLE NEED PEOPLE


Hurricane Irma is gone, but not the damage she left behind. Trees were blown down, power outages, flooded areas, and gas and food shortages. Fortunately only a few lives were lost. How well Florida was prepared for and endured the hurricane is to the credit of Governor Scott, the city mayors, law enforcement, the volunteers, and the "true grit" of Floridians.

As of this writing, five days after the storm our home is still without electricity, but thankfully our home was untouched. Our friends who live north of us, invited for us to stay with them before and after the storm. God bless them.

As soon as the curfew was lifted we drove to check on our home. Several neighbors just two houses from us were hit hard and tree branches flew through windows or doors were blown open. Debris cluttered their yards making it difficult to get inside their homes. Everyone who was around began to pitch in and help with the cleanup. We hugged, shared tears, and offered words of encouragement. We took photos to send to those residents out of state. Branches, Spanish moss and uprooted plants were piled along the street. Various lengths of aluminum were stacked up.

Here are just a few stories of people helping people.

     **Before Irma made landfall there were reports of people giving generators,  batteries, flashlights, water, and food to others.
     **A gift shop donated all their sales for two days to hurricane relief.
     **All Blaze Pizza locations in Florida offered free pizza and a drink for utility workers and first responders until Sunday.
     **An organization of Muslim American Marines bravely traveled to Orlando to lend a helping hand.
     **So @kristenanniebell literally saved my parents and my entire family tonight from #hurricaneirma . When they were stranded in Florida, she got them a hotel room at her hotel in Orlando and saved them, my brothers, my sister-in-law and niece and nephew. 
     **From Richard Branson: “We spent the day on Virgin Gorda helping with water, supplies, shelter. Incredible spirit from everyone here.

The best in people often comes out during tragedies, storms and earthquakes, or enemy attacks. It is interesting that Irma attacked Florida during the same days that we were attacked on 9/11/2001. Everyone in the United States rallied around those who lost lives, were injured, or in need of help. The same happened during Hurricane Irma when thousands of National Guard men and women, utility workers from surrounding states, medical personnel, volunteers, Congress and our President supported and helped everyone.

I have to wonder why more of us cannot keep that same spirit everyday. Now that life is returning to a more normal pace, some people begin to let their road rage show. Or there are fewer smiles from people in stores. Others are complaining that there is still some shortage of food, golf courses are slow to reopen, restaurants are unable to offer everything on the menu, or there are still some lines waiting for gas.

People do need people. But we need the helping hands, friendliness, caring, and love that we each can give to one another every day. I personally want to thank my friends, family, and strangers who have helped us through this difficult time.

Here is a poem by Benjamin Zephaniah, which brings the message of people needing people so beautifully and poignantly:
People need people,
To walk to
To talk to
To cry and rely on,
People will always need people.
To love and to miss
To hug and to kiss,
It’s useful to have other people.
To whom to moan
If you’re all alone,
It’s so hard to share
When no one is there.
There’s not much to do
When there’s no one but you.
People will always need people.
To please
To tease
To put you at ease,
People will always need people.
To make life appealing
And give life some meaning,
It’s useful to have other people.
It you need a change
To whom will you turn.
If you need a lesson
From whom will you learn.
If you need to play
You’ll know why I say
People will always need people.
As girlfriends
As boyfriends
From Bombay
To Ostend,
People will always need people-
To have friendly fights with
And share tasty bites with,
It’s useful to have other people.
People live in families
Gangs, posses and packs,
Its seems we need company
Before we relax,
So stop making enemies
And let’s face the facts,
People will always need people,
Yes
People will always need people.
–Benjamin Zephaniah


Friday, September 8, 2017

HURRICANE IRMA


Due to the threat of Hurricane Irma, I will not be doing a post for a week or so. We have our home prepared for the storm, but will be leaving tomorrow morning and will be staying with friends who live a little farther north. We are stocked up with non-perishable food and water. Once we have returned to our home and electricity is available, I will return with more blogs.

What can we learn from natural disasters?

   How strong are you?
             If you lost your home and most of your possessions, would you be able to rebuild?
             Will you be able to help your neighbors?
             
   What possessions would you take if you had only minutes to get them?

   How prepared are you to help with physical injuries?
             Do you know CPR?
             Do you have bandages, alcohol wipes, antibiotic creams, etc.?
             Do you know how to apply splints, prevent swelling, know stroke or heart attack symptoms?

   What are your important papers?
             Do you have a living will?
             Do you have a will?
             Are you personally insured?
             Are your home and personal possessions insured?

There are many storms that can come our way. Hurricane Irma is just one. I have survived the storms of ovarian cancer, sexual and physical abuse, divorce, and untimely deaths. My faith in God, trusting my instincts, help from friends and family, and my own sense of strength has seen me through many trials.

My prayers are for the people and families of Florida.

September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. I have an e-book copy of my book, Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir available for 0.99 in the UK and USA on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/Outshine-Ovarian-Cancer-Karen-Ingalls-ebook/dp/B00KI1HGZI/ref=sr
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Outshine-Ovarian-Cancer-Karen-Ingalls-ebook/dp/B00KI1HGZI/ref=sr_

Saturday, September 2, 2017

OUTSHINING OVARIAN CANCER

This was first published last year but it is a message that is important and should be repeated regularly. My thanks to Sally Cronin for sharing my story and also the symptoms all women should be aware of on her website.
September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

Ovarian cancer is one of the deadliest forms of the reproductive system. Karen is an ovarian cancer survivor and therefore supremely qualified to write this article.. The post carries an important message about understanding how our bodies work and how we should be on the alert for anything that seems out of the ordinary.
OUTSHINING OVARIAN CANCER  by Karen Ingalls.
photo-on-2-14-16-at-139-pm-crop-u6133I am a retired registered nurse and had very limited education about gynecological diseases and cancers. From working in hospice I only knew that ovarian cancer is the deadliest one of all gynecologic cancers. My journey and initial diagnosis with ovarian cancer is not an unusual one.
I had gained a few pounds and developed a protruding stomach, both of which were unusual for me since I had always bordered on being underweight. When my weight continued to increase, I began an aggressive exercise and weight-loss program. I never considered these changes to be anything more than normal postmenopausal aging.
I saw my gynecologist for my routine PAP smear, which only determines the presence of cancer cells in the cervix. She could not get the speculum into my vagina and when she palpated my abdomen she felt a mass. I was rushed to get a CT scan, which revealed a very large tumor in my left lower abdomen. Two days later I had an appointment with a gynecologic-oncology surgeon for an evaluation.
A week later I had a hysterectomy by the gynecologic-oncology surgeon from which I learned the tumor was malignant. It is critically important that such a specialist in this field of oncology perform the surgery. They are experts and know what to look for and how to safely remove any tumors.
My surgery involved removing the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix, omentum, ten lymph glands for microscopic investigation, and ten inches of my colon where the tumor had grown into. I am blessed that there were no cancer cells in my lymph glands or other organs. Two weeks later I was then started on chemotherapy for six rounds.
The symptoms of ovarian cancer are subtle and common to many women so they are often ignored or attributed to something more benign. Most physicians do not consider the possibility of the presenting symptoms to be related to ovarian cancer. Often the woman is sent from one specialist to another, which I call the “Gilda Radner Syndrome.” With each passing day the cancer is growing and putting the woman at greater risk of being at a more terminal stage.
These are the most common symptoms:
*Abdominal bloating
*Pain in abdomen
*Low back pain
*Frequency of urination
*Changes in bowel habits
*Increased indigestion or change in appetite.
*Pain with intercourse
*Fatigue
*Unusual vaginal discharges
*Menstrual irregularities
If a woman experiences any of these symptoms for two weeks, it is recommended that she see her gynecologist and insist on an abdominal ultrasound and a CA125. The only laboratory-screening test currently available is a CA125 blood test, which unfortunately has a high incidence of false positives. We women need to be our own advocates and demand these inexpensive tests.
If the ultrasound and possibly a CT, MRI, or PET scans reveal a tumor, then in my opinion the woman must see a gynecologic oncologist. Typically the woman undergoes a debulking surgery, which is a complete hysterectomy and removal of any lymph nodes or any suspicious surrounding tissue or organs. The only way to accurately determine if cancer is present is through specimen testing of the tissue.
The risk factors are:
*Family or self-history of breast, colon, ovarian, or prostate cancers
*Eastern Jewish heritage (Ashkenazi)
*History of infertility drugs
*Never been pregnant
*BRCA 1 & BRCA 2 positive mutation
*Older than 60
I was staged at IIC and given a 50% chance of surviving 5 years. I had no family history of ovarian cancer and only one relative who had had breast cancer. I did not fit the typical criteria, and the BRCA1 and BRCA2 markers were negative for mutation. So the question, “Why did I get ovarian cancer?” remains unanswered and it is actually not an important one any longer.
The word cancer creates fear in everyone either mildly or extremely. Yet so often the things we fear are never as great as the fear itself. As a young person I had learned from my grandmother and adopted aunt that attitude, acceptance, and determination are the keys to facing a fear and to healing the body, mind, and spirit. Those women were, and still are today, w strong role models for me. They taught me about living a healthy lifestyle, which included a belief in God, exercise, good nutrition, positive thinking, healthy touch and meditation. These lifestyle choices had helped me face childhood abuse, divorce, alcoholic parents, and untimely deaths, and now they have helped me live with cancer.
I prefer to use the word challenge instead of problem, test, or trial. I like the word challenge because I envision positivity, learning, growing, and putting my best efforts forward. I did not think about being cured of the cancer, but more about how I can live my life with dignity, and what I am to learn from this new role as a woman with cancer. A family friend, Dr. LaJune Foster once said, “Look about for each bright ray of sunshine: cherish them, for in the days ahead they will light your path.” I deeply believe in this way of living.
I wrote about my journey with ovarian cancer to educate, support, and inspire women and their families. It is my own unique experience, but there are some common emotions, events, and experiences that all cancer survivors share. Like many others traveling this road, I have experienced valleys and mountaintops, darkness and rays of sunshine. I do not know what the future holds for me, but I have learned a lot about myself and met some incredibly courageous women.
The challenge of ovarian cancer was an opportunity for me to become a better person. My life is far richer and has the greater mission, which is to spread the word about this lesser known disease. I truly see each moment as a gift that is not to be taken for granted, but lived to its fullest with love. An important lesson I learned with the challenge of ovarian cancer is that the beauty of the soul, the real me, and the real you, outshines the effects of cancer, chemotherapy, and radiation. It outshines any negative experience.
  51gerumf7fl-_uy250_Buy the book: www.amazon.com/Outshine-An-Ovarian-Cancer-Memoir
Karen Ingalls is the author of the award-winning book, Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir; a volunteer with the Women & Girls’ Cancer Alliance of Florida Hospital and Women for Hospice; a public speaker; and an advocate for ovarian cancer awareness.
                        ALL PROCEEDS GO TO GYNECOLOGIC CANCER RESEARCH.
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She is the author of two novels: Novy’s Son and the award winning, Davida: Model & Mistress of Augustus Saint-Gaudens.
Buy the books
www.amazon.com/Novys-Son
www.amazon.com/Davida-Model-Mistress

Connect with Karen on her websites and social media.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

THE PERENNIAL YEARS, D.G. KAYE

I am happy to share this blog from D.G. Kaye, author, blogger, and friend.  Last week I blogged about beauty so it is only fitting that I follow-up with the topic of age. The emphasis is on those from 40 to 70 years, but I like to think about any age as young and is perennial. I hope you enjoy.

Perennial years

How many times have we said we don’t feel or look our age? When did middle-age sneak into our lives? Where did the years go?

I’m sure we’ve all begged the answers to those questions once or twice as we women

approach ourPerennialyears.

What comes to mind when women use the terms ‘the new 40 or 50′, even 60 or 70? Here’s a clue:  it encompasses so much more than just looks.
In my opinion, looks have changed since the last generation, without discounting so many other changes that have occurred through the decades to empower women. Women in their 40s and 50s look much younger than those from decades past. I’m not referring to the advent of cosmetic surgery, but when I look back on decades past, I notice some interesting hairdos and fashion statements. Looking back at the women in my own family and even movie stars with the styles of yesteryear, it’s not hard for me to compare a woman of today in her 40s or 50s appearing younger looking than those before us at the same age. Was it the hairstyles, a more sedentary lifestyle which gave the impression a woman in her 30s back when of 30 or 40 years ago looked similar in age to women now in their 40s or 50s?
Back in those days, women didn’t lead lifestyles like they do now, some with powerful jobs, being the bigger bread winner, many working what used to be considered, jobs for only men, or raising a family while carrying a job. “We’ve come a long way baby,” as the old cigarette ad used to say. (Am I giving away my age?)
I have to laugh at the many times my sister and me would bring up the subject of our dreaded childhood weekends where we were forced to spend at our paternal grandparents’ house. We’d remark to one another about how even when we were small, our grandmother looked like . . . well, a grandmother. We only envision her old from as far back as we can remember. But lol, I digress.
What made me write this post on women then and now was prompted by a conversation I had on the weekend with one of my sister-in-laws. She shared a topic of discussion that came up between her and her yoga teacher. Her teacher had referred to women in the age group of the 40s and 50s as ‘perennials’. Have any of you heard this term used before? I haven’t. But I love it.
I’ve heard of some more unflattering terms such as menopausal, even cougars, but not perennials.
According to the yoga teacher’s preferred term, perennial, it represents this age category because many women are reaching their full potential, ‘in full bloom’ as they enter their 40s and 50s. This age bracket is where many women enter new phases of life such as: the empty nest stage where their kids are finally moving out or getting married, making new lives for themselves or raising families. This is a time where women begin to reevaluate their accomplishments and desires and come to realize they want to do things that either they may not have thought about doing when they were younger or were too busy raising their families or building careers, choosing to put their own desires on hold.
I can identify with this wonderful choice of word, perennial, representing a time period of continuation of our evolving. We are still evolving and learning and doing. Every year we bloom with more knowledge from our experiences and eventually, the new bloom leads to desires of the ‘me time’. A time for us to focus on the things we enjoy whether it be travel, new hobbies, furthering our education, or even writing books.
So much can apply to this ‘new age’. The possibilities are endless if we allow ourselves the entitlement to flourish and bloom to complete ourselves for ourselves.
I absolutely adore the term ‘perennial’ and it does sound so much better than ‘the change’. In fact, there may even be a book from me down the road on the subject.
                                    How do you feel about the term ‘perennial’?

                         Thank you, Debby, for allowing me to share your blog here. 


            



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Friday, August 11, 2017

TEARS

Tears are an interesting part of the human body, emotions, and therefore, life. I inherited (or learned) from my mother to cry with tears of sadness, pride, happiness, love, or any other emotion. My tears come easily and they are always honest. There is no "show" about them.

I found this article to be most fascinating. I hope the photos show up well enough on this blog for you to distinguish them. Here is the link to the article: http://frame.bloglovin.com/?post=5685308907&blog=3114621&frame_type=none. There are tears of anger, grief, joy, and many more.

THE TOPOGRAPHY OF TEARS: A STUNNING AERIAL TOUR OF THE LANDSCAPE OF HUMAN EMOTION THROUGH AN OPTICAL MICROSCOPE

From Blake to biochemistry, “proof that we cannot put our feelings in one place and our thoughts in another.”

“Emotions are not just the fuel that powers the psychological mechanism of a reasoning creature, they are parts, highly complex and messy parts, of this creature’s reasoning itself,” philosopher Martha Nussbaum wrote in her incisive treatise on the intelligence of emotions, titled after Proust’s powerful poetic image depicting the emotions as “geologic upheavals of thought.” But much of the messiness of our emotions comes from the inverse: Our thoughts, in a sense, are geologic upheavals of feeling — an immensity of our reasoning is devoted to making sense of, or rationalizing, the emotional patterns that underpin our intuitive responses to the world and therefore shape our very reality. Our interior lives unfold across landscapes that seem to belong to an alien world whose terrain is as difficult to map as it is to navigate — a world against which the young Dostoyevsky roiled in a frustrated letter on reason and emotion, and one which Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry embraced so lyrically in one of the most memorable lines from The Little Prince: “It is such a secret place, the land of tears.” 
The geologic complexity of that secret place is what photographer Rose-Lynn Fisher explores in The Topography of Tears (public library) — a striking series of duotone photographs of tears shed for a kaleidoscope of reasons, dried on glass slides and captured in a hundredfold magnification through a high-resolution optical microscope. What emerges is an enthralling aerial tour of the landscape of human emotion and its the most stirring eruptions — joy, grief, gladness, remorse, hope — reminding us that the terra incognita of our interiority is better trekked with an explorer’s benevolent curiosity about the varied beauty of the landscape than with a conquistador’s forceful intent to control and sublimate. (Artist Maira Kalman affirmed this notion with great simplicity and poignancy in a page from her marvelous philosophical children’s book“If you need to cry you should cry.”)


Tears of grief
Tears of change
Tears of possibility / hope

Building on her previous mesmerizing photomicrographs of bees, Fisher uses the technological tools of science to probe the poetic, immaterial dimensions of a universal human behavior radiating infinite emotional hues. Most of the tears she photographed are her own, but she also looked at those of men, women, and children from different backgrounds, crying for a variety of reasons. Accompanying each photograph is a caption ranging from the descriptive to the lyrically abstract — tears of compassion, tears of grief, tears of remorse, “tears for those who yearn for liberation,” “tears of elation at a liminal moment.” 


Tears of compassion
Tears of redemption

In the introduction, Fisher reflects on the symbolic undertones of this inquiry into “the intangible poetry of life,” a project nearly a decade in the making:
Though the empirical nature of tears is a composition of water, proteins, minerals, hormones, and enzymes, the topography of tears is a momentary landscape, transient as the fingerprint of someone in a dream. The accumulation of these images is like an ephemeral atlas.
Tears are the medium of our most primal language in moments as unrelenting as death, as basic as hunger, and as complex as rites of passage. They are the evidence of our inner life overflowing its boundaries, spilling over into consciousness. Tears spontaneously release us to the possibility of realignment, reunion, catharsis, intractable resistance short-circuited… It’s as though each one of our tears carries a microcosm of the collective human experience, like one drop of an ocean.


Tears of remorse
Onion tears
Tears for what couldn’t be fixed

Fittingly, the book features a short essay on tears by the poet Ann Lauterbach, who observed in another beautiful meditation on why we make art that “the crucial job of artists is to find a way to release materials into the animated middle ground between subjects, and so to initiate the difficult but joyful process of human connection” — a perfect articulation of the heart of Fisher’s project. In her essay for the book, Lauterbach writes:
“For a tear is an intellectual thing,” the great subversive 19th-century poet William Blake wrote, railing against the Deists, classical and contemporary; he believed they had stripped religion of its signal call for forgiveness, assigning too much authority to a single God and making human life untenable in its guilty abrasions. Tears are intellectual because they come from thoughts that spill over the body’s containing well; they are the secretion of excess we assign to emotion; perhaps emotion itself is simply caused by a surfeit of thought. One tries to unbind these durable dualities, to allow for the morphological shift that might allow the human creature to be complex but integrated, not divided into anatomical parts, all nouns and no transitive verb. We are not yet mechanical, technological things, we are intellectual — thinking — beings, and we cry when stirred beyond the capture of signifying Logos, which relents into flows of passionate silence. Perhaps this flow is the very proof that we cannot put our feelings in one place and our thoughts in another, the bleak result of a certain rationalism that threatens to overtake our civility — our capacity to forgive — and wants to make all ideas into abstractions, rigid and blunt, free of secretions.


Overwhelmed tears
Tears after goodbye