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 @KIngallsAuthos 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 2016.

Monday, January 9, 2017

A BETTER ME, A BETTER YOU




Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time. (Maya Angelou)

Maya Angelou was raped by one of her mother's boyfriends when she was eight years old. She told her brother who told the rest of the family. The perpetrator was arrested but spent only one night in jail. Four days later he was found murdered. Maya became a mute and did not speak for almost five years believing she was at fault for the man's murder because she told others his name. Maya lived with her mother, grandmother, and then back to her mother. At the age of 17 she gave birth to her first child; she worked in the sex industry. Through hard work, education, determination, and a strong faith she used her life experiences to become the successful author and advocate we all so admire.


When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too. (Paul Coelho)


Paul Coelho is an accomplished author of books and quotes. He always wanted to be a writer, but his family thought his introversion and opposition to pursuing a traditional career was reason enough to have him committed to a mental institution. Three times he escaped only to be re-admitted. In his twenties he wrote lyrics and worked in a theater. One day he walked a 500 mile pilgrimage in Spain, which changed his life. He had a spiritual awakening and from then on pursued his dream as a writer.





If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. (Wayne Dyer)


Wayne Dyer spent the first ten years of his life in an orphanage after his father walked out on the family. His parents eventually reconciled. Despite his tough beginnings he went on to get his ED.D degree in counseling. He wrote several books and lead numerous seminars. He encouraged people to let go of and stop giving guilt, but instead follow the example of Jesus the Christ as one of self-actualization and self-reliance.


These are just a few of my favorite quotes by three people for whom I have great admiration. They rose above their childhood challenges and through their writings and speaking engagements have given us words of wisdom. We can learn to be a better person just as each of these three people did.

They wrote and taught about how to be a better, kinder, more loving, and less judgmental person. I strive to follow such great words, but I fall short. We all do. However, that means we need to try even harder to be better people.

Here are some things I try to do on a daily basis. They may appear to be small actions or thoughts, but when added together they make each day more joyful and a healthier me.

         
           1. Wake up in the morning and say to yourself or out loud: "Thank you, God for this day."

           2. Greet your spouse, roommate, or the first person you see with, "Good Morning."

           3. Put a smile on your face and acknowledge people with a nod or a hello as you pass by them.

           4. Be honest with people in your words and actions. Lies and gossip only hurt and will
               defeat the best of intentions.

           5. To forgive is one of the most beautiful and healthy gifts you can give to yourself...as well
               as others. Open your heart to those who have caused you hurt.


My thanks to Wikipedia for some of the biographical information above.


Monday, January 2, 2017

BIRTH AND ADOPTIVE MOTHERS


INTERVIEW QUESTIONS FOR CHRISTINE LINDSAY,
AUTHOR OF FINDING SARAH, FINDING ME

This is my interview of Christine Lindsay. Please feel free to 
leave comments or ask questions. I know Christine
would appreciate hearing from you.







       Question: Speak more about “Adoption is born out of loss”.

In a perfect world, adoption would simply never be needed. A man and a woman would come together under God’s blessing and the natural outcome of their union would be healthy happy children.

But it’s not a perfect world.

Parents die, or a woman gets pregnant out of wedlock, or is abandoned. A woman in this situation makes the gut-wrenching decision to give up her child, usually due to poverty of some kind. Extremely rarely does a woman really want to give up her child. In those cases, they do a heavy load of mental gymnastics to convince themselves they don’t love their child, or the child is better off without them. Even so, for the majority of birth-mothers, the pain of giving up their child hurts until the end of their days.

Adoptees, even in the best-case scenarios, feel a sense of loss. Where did they come from? Who do they look like? Who were these parents who gave them up? Why did they not want me? In unhappy adoptions that sense of loss can multiply into intense psychological pain.

Adoptive parents mostly adopt out of their own staggering loss. Granted, there are a lot of big-hearted people who open their hearts and homes to children through adoption in addition to those they have given birth to. But in the western world, the majority of reasons behind adoption is the pain of infertility. It was once said that, “The hungriest thing in the world is an empty womb.” 

2.     Anna talks about learning to help others based on her experience with her birth father. I believe that is what each of us need to do from whatever challenge we face. What are the three most important things you learned from your choice to have Sarah adopted out?

I smile as I write this: The greatest lesson I learned is the same as Anna’s. Whatever pain the Lord allows in our lives, if we give it over to Him, He can use it to help others, to give comfort where comfort is needed. And there is so much need in the world. I guess I learned to love my neighbor as myself.

I learned to love myself by understanding how much God loves me.  Like a lot of people, I had a warped view of who I was, burdened under a blanket of unworthiness so that it smothered the true spark of who God created me to be. Unable to love myself, I was unable to honestly love anyone else. Here is an excerpt from Finding Sarah Finding Me (after the reunion just as an emotional breakdown is ready to grip me and hold me for the next two years:
~*~
New beginning, my counselor said. “Huh,” I scoff. All this time, believing that God encouraged me to search for Sarah, I’ve been wrong. Those pink flowers I believed were mysterious little miracles over the years, I read that all wrong. I only saw what I wanted to see. But I’ve been wrong not only about the search.

As the kids go off to school each day, and David to work, I huddle in my house alone, remembering those three days in the hospital in 1979, remembering the strong sense that God wanted me to give Sarah up for adoption. All those years ago, it wasn’t me giving Sarah to her parents. Instead, God took my child from me. Relinquishing Sarah to adoption was, I believed, better for her. And now the thought snakes in—better for her, not just because she needed a father, but because you weren’t good enough to be her mother.


~*~

And lastly, I learned how to love God. Before and after the search for my birth-daughter, I lost myself for a while, but gradually a new picture of God emerged in my mind. He used the picture of myself, a crushed and bruised birth-mother who could never let go of the love she had for her firstborn, even if her firstborn could never love her. For the first time, I understood that no matter how much I loved my children, my love pales in comparison to God’s love for me.

    Question:  Secrets can be so destructive. Why do you suppose so many of us choose to keep a secret from our family or friends, who might actually be supportive and helpful?

Shame. We just can’t bear for anyone to see us as faulty as we are. We are such proud things, we humans.

    Question:  Tell me more about your phrase, “God allowed me to keep” when you were referring to Lana in Chapter 2.

As a young Christian woman, I felt a failure when I became pregnant out of wedlock. Add that to the inability to provide my child all she would need, and having to give her up because it was best for her. All of this lumped together gave me that awful sense of unworthiness that I think many birth-mothers feel. In chapter 2 of Finding Sarah Finding Me, I am taking the reader through the emotions I felt at that time. Still feeling unworthy, the safe delivery of Lana within a marriage to a godly man, felt like God had given me a second chance in life. I think that was the beginning of me trying to be the perfect mother, and of course eventually failing.   

    Question: It sounds like Jim was a lot like your father. Did you think you would be able to change Jim?

At the time we were going together I really hoped I could change Jim. But having my mother’s plight (in living with an addict) as a blueprint during my childhood, showed me that the statistics were against me, and gave me the courage to do what was best for my baby.

     Question: You talk about the importance of a dad in a child’s life. I have written about that very subject in my book, Novy’s Son based on the theory of the Iron John by Robert Bly. Are you familiar with that philosophy and what do you see as a father’s role?

I am not familiar with that philosophy, but now I will look this up. I would also love to read your book. My personal philosophy is that a father’s role is to be an earthly picture of what the heavenly Father is for all mankind. A dad must love his children unconditionally, provide everything his children need—provision, protection, joy, discipline, etc. He is also to live a life that will give his children an example to live by, a life that will please God. A dad must put his own life (and needs) on the line to save his children.

     Question: Do you think it is easier or better for a birth mother to not see or hold the baby she is giving up for adoption? Why or why not?

I firmly believe a birth-mother should not only see, but hold her baby. For me, giving up my baby was like giving up my own life. I don’t want to lay a burden on adoptive parents, but for most birth-mothers, these are the stakes. We did it for our baby!

I believe that a birth-mother must allow herself that sweet memory, to hold her child for at least a few moments, not only to say goodbye, but to kiss the soft brow and whisper the words, “I love you.” How do we know, that these simple acts of love may actually go down deep into that baby’s soul, and help that child later in life? I’m amazed at the spiritual connection I have with my birth-daughter these days. It seems all those things I prayed about while she was in utero God kept in a vault until we could develop a friendship.

     Question:  Toward the end of the book, you talk about seeing the heart of Anne and Hans in Sarah’s heart. That statement touched me deeply. It felt like you had come full circle in your healing with the adoption. Would you talk more about that?

Yes, I’ve truly come to love Hans and Anne. I love and appreciate seeing “them” in Sarah as well as my own biological input. Here are a few excerpts from Finding Sarah Finding Me about our combined influence on Sarah’s life. (This excerpt is long after healing had come and Sarah and I have a last begun a close friendship)
~*~
I don’t want to add a word as I savor the comfort and intimacy blossoming right in front of me. As a family we’ve gone through a new set of doors this evening. I fancy that I’m walking through open glass panels out to a sunlit garden where the flowers are in full bloom. When Mark and Sarah prepare to leave (our house), the square dance of hugs starts over again, and we all squeeze into the stairwell above our small foyer to say goodbye. Outside on the front porch, David, Lana, James, and I wave until Sarah and Mark have driven off.

After they’re gone, as Lana cuddles beside James in the living room and talks to her dad, I clean up the kitchen and think back to those long tearful nights when I was pregnant with Sarah. Those nights when I’d prayed on my knees, my arms around my tummy to protect my baby from the stress I was undergoing. Back then I wondered if my emotions, especially my depression but also my prayers, would affect my child’s personality. I wondered too if something of my growing faith at that time would be passed through to my baby during those long sessions on my knees. As I imagine Sarah and Mark driving away from our house to go and stay over at her mom’s place tonight, I want to believe that in a spiritual sense, some of what Sarah is today was seeded in my prayers.

And I think of Anne and Hans. It wasn’t just their daughter’s heart I saw tonight but also theirs. Anne and Hans have virtually been here in my home, in that the results of Anne’s mothering and Hans’s fathering are so visible to me. Their parenting is such a thing of beauty.
~*~

You are so right, Karen, like life, like a good story, all things must come full circle. The Lord brought me around with a new love, a real love this time, for Sarah’s parents. But I’m glad for our rocky journey after the reunion so that I can now share it with others. Like I say in my book, people are made up of such different emotional stuff. 

Perhaps the Lord could have engineered different circumstances for us, so that love could have developed between Sarah’s parents and me much earlier, especially before Hans died and we never met. Looking back though, I believe the Lord allowed us all to exhibit our honest emotions. I’m not talking about whether we sinned in our emotions—that’s not my intent with this book—but I do believe God gave us emotions and they are to be acknowledged, not covered up, but expressed, hopefully in a God-honoring way.

But we humans are frail and complex. The reason I wrote Finding Sarah Finding Me was to encourage others to take a good honest look at their emotions when they are hurt by life or by others, whether their story is about adoption issues or not. Emotional pain is going to happen. Anne and Han’s emotions over me meeting Sarah, are shown honestly, and so are mine, and Sarah’s. In this book, all contributing authors hope that others in similar situations will be affirmed in their emotions, and allow God to help them through those complex relationships in life.

After years of emotional pain, it is like walking on air—downright effervescent—to now feel only love. In finding my birth-daughter Sarah, the Lord really did help me to find myself in Him.    

READ CHAPTER ONE OF FINDING SARAH FINDING ME—Click HERE

Book Description:
Sometimes it is only through giving up our hearts that we learn to trust the Lord.
Adoption. It’s something that touches one in three people today, a word that will conjure different emotions in those people touched by it. A word that might represent the greatest hope…the greatest question…the greatest sacrifice. But most of all, it’s a word that represents God’s immense love for his people.
Join birth mother Christine Lindsay as she shares the heartaches, hopes, and epiphanies of her journey to reunion with the daughter she gave up...and to understanding her true identity in Christ along the way.
Through her story and glimpses into the lives of other families in the adoption triad, readers will see the beauty of our broken families, broken hearts, and broken dreams when we entrust them to our loving God.
(In addition, 100% of author royalties will be donated to Global Aid Network Women and Children’s Initiative)



ABOUT CHRISTINE LINDSAY

Christine Lindsay is the author of multi-award-winning Christian fiction, and now non-fiction. Readers describe Christine’s fiction as gritty yet tender, realistic yet larger than life, with detail that collides into the heart of psychological and relationship drama. Readers of her non-fiction adoption memoir say Finding Sarah Finding Me should be in every Crisis Pregnancy in the country. A busy writer and speaker, Christine and her husband live on the west coast of Canada.



Thursday, December 22, 2016

CHRISTMAS GIFTS OF HEALTH

MY CHRISTMAS GIFTS FOR GOOD HEALTH:



A box full of laughter, which is the best medicine. As long as we have a smile, giggle, or uproarious laugh, life cannot get us down. 




Two boxes filled with positive, loving thoughts. If we think gloom and doom, our life will be such. No matter the challenge, think about what you can learn from it and become a better person.

Three (or more) healthy meals a day rich in vitamins, minerals, protein, fruits and vegetables. Cut down or eliminate processed foods and sugars. 

Exercise at least four times a week. Opening those four boxes will improve your heart health, body weight, stamina, and will put a smile on your face and happy thoughts in your heart.



Do deep relaxation or meditation at least five times a week. This is a way to calm stressful thoughts, relax the whole mind and body, commune and listen to your God or Higher Power, and find peace.

There is no better gift at Christmas (or anytime) than the gift of health. Our bodies are each unique and beautiful, packaged and wrapped just for us. They do need to be taken care of, cherished, and listened to for good health physically, emotionally/mentally, and spiritually.

I like to think that our bodies are God's gift to us, and what we do with them is our gift to God...and to ourselves.
        Wishing you each a most blessed Christmas and a truly 
                          healthy and happy New Year.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

A SMILE & A HELLO

For the last two weeks I wrote about gratitude and chains, which leads me to share this beautiful true story. I hope you will be inspired, learn something, and it will change your life (and perhaps another person's life) for the better.


One Sunday morning Robert was patiently waiting for his wife to join him near the entrance to their church. As he stood there and looked around, he saw a man standing nearby who appeared to have just come from the nearby woods. Robert walked up to the man with a smile on his face and said, "Hello." The man shifted his position and looked around before saying hello to Randy.

"My name is Robert. Would you like to come in with me for a cup of coffee?"

The man stepped back a little and shook his head as he whispered,  "No, thank you."

"Well, I would love to have you come in and join me. I am waiting for my wife who is over there talking to those people." Robert pointed towards his wife, Danielle a few yards away. "The coffee is free and you just might like it. It will warm you up on this chilly morning."

The man again shook his head, turned, and walked back into the woods.

The next Sunday, Robert saw the same man standing near the entrance to the woods. He went up to him, extended his hand and said, "Hey, man. It is good to see you again."

The man smiled a little and shook Robert's hand and said, "My name is Mike." That morning Mike did go into the church and had a cup of coffee. The following week he sat in the church next to Robert and his wife.

Over the next weeks and months, Mike shared how he became homeless, that he was from England but had lived in the U.S. for several years, was well educated, and still had contact with his mother in England. Mike was very thin and Robert and Danielle were concerned for his health. They took him into their home, fed and clothed him, and found medical care for him. They set him up with whatever financial and community support programs available to him.

Another parishioner at the same church, Phil whose wife had passed away six months prior to Robert and Mike meeting. Phil and his wife had been long time members of the church. He was quite lonely and felt overwhelmed living in such a big house for one person. When he met Mike at church a kinship developed and soon Mike was living in one of the spare bedrooms in Phil's house.

When I heard this story, I could not help but recall the two blogs: gratitude and chains. We each probably have so much to be grateful for: our homes, food, clothing, health, etc. And it is my hope that we can break the chains that are holding us back. Thanks to Robert, Danielle, and Phil the chains that kept Mike homeless were broken.

    AND IT ALL STARTED WITH A SMILE AND A HELLO!!
                 WE EACH CAN DO THIS...WE JUST MIGHT HELP A PERSON IN NEED

Thursday, December 1, 2016

CHAINS OF LIFE


A CHAIN CAN BIND, HOLD, OR BE DECORATIVE.
THERE ARE CHAINS IN LIFE,
SOME FROM WHICH WE NEED
TO FREE OURSELVES.

There are times in our lives when chains might or need to be broken:

                     Chains of servitude: slavery of any type is immoral
              Of abuse and neglect: there is no excuse for either
              Poverty: we are all responsible to help those in need
              Illness: more research needed & sharing of medical
              Addiction: AA, NA, Al-Anon, and many more to help




Some chains have weak or missing links:
                                  
               Family: relationship between child & parent
               Friends: is there trust & honesty
               Professions, Jobs: is there integrity & respect 
                     



Locks might hold some chains together:

                       Can be locks of love: unconditional love is a must
               Tradition: family, religious, cultural
               Or control/power: this is a lock that must be broken


There are chains of gold or silver:

                Keep riches in: greed is not acceptable
                For jewelry: if done with love, not pomposity



And others made of steel:

                Can be broken: must allow freedom
                Emotions: unhealthy to hold onto fear, resentment, etc



What are the chains holding you down? Are you being abused? Are you addicted to any substance including food? Are you fearful? Do you hold onto possessions to the point they are weighing you down? Is your relationship with your spouse, partner, child, parent one of control?
If we answer yes to any of these questions, we need to seek freedom by breaking the chains that are holding us back from a free, healthy, and fulfilling life.

**My thanks to Shutterstock and photos at "photos of chains."


Sunday, November 20, 2016

GRATITUDE

At a recent luncheon for women who have survived gynecologic cancers, the hostesses led us in a discussion on... 
                                      GRATITUDE

I share them now this week before Thanksgiving when as families, friends, and a nation we come to celebrate those things or people for which we have gratitude.

Seven Principles for Cultivating Gratitude:

   1. Gratitude is independent of our objective life circumstances.
   2. Gratitude is a function of attention.
   3. Entitlement precludes gratitude.
   4. We often take for granted that which we receive on a 
        regular basis.
   5. Gratitude can be cultivated through sincere self-reflection.
   6. Expressing gratitude, through words and deeds, enhances
       our experience of gratitude.
   7. Our deepest sense of gratitude comes through grace, with
       the awareness that we have not earned, nor do we deserve
       all that we've been given.

I wish to share with you one thing for which I am 
very grateful...and that is Rave Reviews Book Club,
which has done so much for me as an author
and an avid reader.
Today I am very proud to share my book trailer for my newest
book, Davida: Model & Mistress of Augustus Saint-Gaudens.
This is a story of my great-grandparents.
I invite you to view it, leave a comment, and be eligible
for one of two exciting prizes.
I am grateful for the lesson of unconditional love that
Davida & Augustus taught me.



                                   CULTIVATING GRATITUDE

As you work to incorporate the lessons from the Law of Attraction into your everyday life, a running theme will be your attempts to maintain a positive attitude. Cultivating gratitude is a powerful way to fight negativity, as well as anxiety.


When you focus in on the things that make you feel happy and lucky to be alive, you radiate an infectious optimism that attracts only the best from the world around you. Here are six exercises and habits that can help you become a more grateful person.

1. Keep A Gratitude Diary
Find a notebook with a beautiful cover (or design that cover with your own images), and use this as your designated gratitude diary. You can write in it every day, every second day or even just once a week, but it should contain only notes about things you’ve experienced or considered that make you feel truly grateful.
Psychologists note that this practice can boost daily energy and reduce focus on pain. Remember that you’re not just looking for big events, like a marriage proposal or a new job. You should be aiming to add all the little things that make you feel good, like a hot bath that soothes muscle pain, hearing your favorite song, or cuddling your pet.
The point of this exercise is to avoid taking things for granted, and to find joy in everyday experiences.
2. Practice Gratitude Affirmations
You may already be reciting affirmations that connect with your major goals (such as finding love, developing your career or increasing your self-esteem). However, it’s worth adding in an affirmation that helps you turn into your gratitude.
It might be as simple as saying “I am ready to receive the day, and I will be grateful for all the beautiful things I encounter” or “I am grateful for all of life’s exciting opportunities.” If you’d prefer, design your affirmation to reflect specific things that inspire gratitude, such as your loved ones, health, financial stability or talents.
3. Make A Photo Collage
Try assembling a collage of photos that connect you with your feelings of gratitude. One obvious way to approach it is to use images of yourself and loved ones, but you can be as creative as you like. For example, you could cut symbolic pictures out of magazines, with each image representing a source of joy in your life.
However you approach the collage, make sure you assemble it in a place that you’ll see it on a daily basis. You might want to put it on the first wall you’ll look at when you get up in the morning, or perhaps near your workstation (at home, or in the office if you have the freedom to do so).
4. Thank People
While there’s a lot of power in the everyday “thank you” (said in the stores, during a commute or when a stranger helps you), you might also want to try communicating your deeper sense of gratitude towards people who have made a lasting impact.
Think about the people who have shaped and changed your life for the better, and consider some ways to communicate how thankful you are. Some people might be especially moved by a letter enumerating all the things you appreciate, while someone else might prefer a brief word of thanks paired with a gift (such as an engraved piece of jewelry).
5. Find The Positive
When you have a spare hour to reflect, try an exercise that finds the good in some of life’s most challenging moments. Write down 5-10 of the things you appreciate most—for example, relationships, experiences, possessions, or even just life lessons that serve you particularly well.
Then, next to each item on the list, write down at least one difficulty that, had you not had to face it, would not have helped you appreciate that item more. Keep the list as a reminder that every seemingly negative event can lead to something incredibly valuable and important.
6. Give Back To Society
Sometimes, what inspires most gratitude is an awareness that you enjoy many basic things that others unfortunately lack, such as a safe place to stay, enough money to buy food, and the knowledge that people are looking out for you.
When you’re thinking about this type of gratitude, why not do something to give back to the world around you? You could take up regular volunteer work, go and deliver flowers to an elderly care home, or make a donation to a cause that’s close to your heart.
The main idea here is that making a point of reflecting on the things that are easy to take for granted can not only help you realize how lucky you are but also give you an opportunity to improve the lives of others.
My thanks to Katherine Hurst from her article "Six Ways To Cultivate Gratitude."
And, thanks to Eileen Biscombe, Latanya Ruiz, and my teal sisters from Waterman Lunch Bunch.