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.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

RESOLUTIONS OR EMPTY PROMISES?


Resolutions are promises to ourselves to make a positive change, or to stop a negative behavior.


This tradition has a long history:

  • The ancient Babylonians promised to pay old debts and return objects.
  • The Romans started each new year by making promises to their god, Janus.
  • The "peacock vow" was made in Medieval times by knights renewing their vows to chivalry.
  • Christians pray and make resolutions at midnight church services on December 31st.
  • Judaism has a rich history of seeking forgiveness for past wrongdoings; and to forgive others.

The divorce rate continues to rise and many relationships are unhappy. Perhaps we no longer "court" one another. According to the Huffington Post, popular resolutions for revitalizing a marriage are:

        1. Change the way you act; even small gestures can create big results.

        2. Text or write love notes.

        3. Have date nights, or just quality time together.

        4. Say positive things about your partner to others.

        5. Do random acts of kindness.

These same positive acts could apply in any relationship, so let's resolve:


My New Year's Resolution for 2014 is to not let my resolutions to be empty promises. As a Christian I promise to God to forgive myself and others; to make changes to create more peace, joy, and kindness; and to nurture my body with better eating habits and physical activity.

Please share your resolutions for 2014, then we can be of support to one another.

                             Wishing you each a joyful, peaceful, and healthy 2014.
                          My most humble thanks for all your support this past year.

My thanks to the following:
           http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/21/happier-marriage_n_4481166.html
           images for new year's resolutions
           www.cartoonstock.com

                   




Thursday, December 19, 2013

GIFTS OF CHRISTMAS

                    MERRY CHRISTMAS, SEASONS GREETINGS, HAPPY HOLIDAYS...
                                  

FOR ME THE GIFTS OF CHRISTMAS ARE:

   SMILES,

          KIND ACTS,

                  HELPING OTHERS,

                           LAUGHTER,

                                    TOGETHERNESS,

                                              AND LOVE.





I believe that the world needs more of these gifts to share with one another...

There have been difficult times and situations where I live, and I pray that these gifts will be given to each neighbor...




Those friends who are facing illness, financial problems, divorce, or abuse will find help through these gifts that might be given to them...

And that family members will reach out to one another with the gifts of Christmas.


                                          As Tiny Tim from A Christmas Carol said,

                                   "A Merry Christmas to us all; God bless us, every one!"


Thursday, December 12, 2013

MALCOLM: GRATITUDE & GRACE

I am honored to have Keith Carlson, RN as my guest blogger today. He is a nationally recognized blogger, coach, writer, and Radio-Internet personality. Today he shares a story about one patient who left a deep impression on him. Caregivers often do receive lessons from those to whom they give care.

     Malcolm was a middle-aged gay man of color whose life had been significantly challenging.  Displaced from his native country, he had a strong network of friends and a vibrant church community.Living with many serious health conditions--including AIDS—and having a fourth-grade education, Malcolm had difficulty navigating the healthcare system.

     Unfortunately, Malcolm also had a history of rectal cancer that he conveniently “forgot” about in terms of following up. As his case manager, it was a Herculean task to convince Malcolm to see the surgeon when he began having intense pain when defecating, and it was apparently not a shock to him when the doctor told us that the cancer was back.

     “I’m not getting treatment. I’m just not,” Malcolm said when the doctor left the room. “I want to die in peace.” He crossed his arms defiantly.

     “Are you sure, Malcolm?” I asked. “Is that what you really want? The doctor feels this could be treated, but he’s not making any promises.”

     
Malcolm was certain about his choice and could not be dissuaded until we had a meeting with his sisters. I didn’t want to influence him either way, instead playing the part of referee rather than advisor, only offering my opinion when requested to do so.

      After much debate between Malcolm, his family and his doctors, he underwent a successful surgery and experienced a profound improvement in his quality of life. Two years later, Malcolm’s co-infection of AIDS and Hepatitis C got the better of him. Living at home with the constant care of family and friends, he was relatively comfortable  and peacefully waiting to die.

    “I have no regrets, you know,” he told me one day. “I’ve had a lot of fun—maybe too much—but it’s been a good life. I’m glad I got this bag,” he said as he pointed to his colostomy. “Thank God it bought me a few pretty good years.”

     As Malcolm moved towards death, the vigil at his bedside intensified. One day, when he knew that he was actively dying, he looked at his friends and his sisters and said, “Thank you all so much. It’s been a good life. Please scatter my ashes near Mom’s rose bushes, and think of me every spring when they bloom. She and I will be together.”


     Malcolm died later that evening, and his family and friends gathered together in his cramped apartment to remember him and toast his memory. Despite his lack of intellectual prowess, Malcolm was a giant in his own way, a man of deep feeling and a spiritual connection that saw him through to the end.

     He taught me many lessons: 
                 1. to be present with my patients,
                 2. to allow them their own process, 
                 3. and to let go of my own agenda as a clinician. 

      I’m sure those roses are still blooming in Malcolm’s mother’s garden, and I have no doubt that when his family places those roses in a vase on his mother’s antique oak table, the fragrance that fills the room reminds them of this simple, heartfelt man who lived life on his own terms, and died with gratitude and grace.
-----------

*Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC has been a nurse since 1996. 
*He is the blogger of the award-winning nursing blog, Digital Doorway
*The founder of Nurse Keith Coaching and NurseKeith.com.
*An editorial contributor for Working Nurse Magazine, LPNtoBSNonline.org     and DiabeticLifestyle.com.
*Featured author in several non-fiction nursing books by Kaplan Publishing. *Keith is the co-host and co-founder of RN.FM Radio, the newest Internet radio station devoted to the nursing profession. 
*His passion is helping nurses and healthcare professionals find satisfaction in their personal and professional lives by manifesting the ultimate balance between workstyle and lifestyle. 




Thursday, December 5, 2013

CONTINGENCIES: THEY CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE






Thomas Edison believed in contingencies, or those future events that are possible, but just cannot be predicted with certainty. He was a pragmatic optimist; he was not "pie in the sky," but believed in himself.  He believed in hard work, common sense, and stick-to-itiveness. Perhaps that is why he is one of the greatest inventors of all times.


When I was a senior in high school I had a B+ average, was involved in various service clubs, but I did not score well on my SAT. I do not know if that was because I had sprained my ankle playing volleyball in gym class the day before, walked the UCLA campus on crutches to get to the test site, and was still in a lot of pain with a very swollen ankle. Whatever the reason, a few weeks later the school counselor said,

                  "You will not be accepted into any college or university with such a low score."                

    The following September I was a freshman at the University of Colorado and was told:

              "With such low SAT scores you will never graduate from here."

Well, I did not graduate from CU only because my mother was dying and I had to quit school. However, I did graduate a few years later with a BA degree in Minnesota, and went on to get a Master's Degree.

I worked hard, had stick-to-itiveness, and used the common sense the Good Lord gave me. I knew that someday I was going to be a college graduate and receive the training and education in the nursing field I so desired.

"What you are will show in what you do." This is a quote by Edison, which has long been a favorite of mine. "What you are is God's gift to you, what you do is your gift to God," is a quote by Emmett Fox. The words spoken by these two men have been powerful  motivators to me for most of my life. Therefore my contingencies were events that I felt I could make come true. I faced abuse, divorce, untimely deaths, cancer, and such negative words from counselors with a strong belief in myself.

I'm a cancer survivor of 5 years, an award-winning author, and a retired RN with two college degrees.
  •  What are your strengths?
  •  How do you face obstacles?
  •  Do you believe in yourself?
  •  Are there contingencies in your life?


For the month of December my book, Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir, is available at 15% discount when ordered at www.BeaversPondBooks.com. Enter the word "Gifts" in the coupon box.

**All proceeds go to gynecological cancer research at Mayo Clinic, Rochester and Florida Hospital Cancer Institute.




Thursday, November 28, 2013

GIVING THANKS


                                                 THANK YOU...

                     TO THOSE WHO HAVE FAITHFULLY FOLLOWED MY BLOGS;
            LEFT COMMENTS, QUESTIONS, AND ENCOURAGEMENT; AND WHO HAVE DONE 
            GUEST BLOGS... 

                                    AND MY MOST HUMBLE THANKS TO THOSE WHO
                                    HAVE SUPPORTED GYNECOLOGICAL CANCER
                                    RESEARCH THROUGH THE PURCHASE OF MY BOOK...
                                    

           
     AND MY THANKS TO THE WOMEN, THE SISTERS, WHO HAVE TOLD ME
                ABOUT THEIR JOURNEY WITH CANCER. WE HAVE SHARED LAUGHTER
                AND TEARS, EXCHANGED INFORMATION, AND GIVEN EACH OTHER
                HUGS. WE HAVE DONE THIS IN PERSON AND ACROSS THE MILES...
                SOMETIMES ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD!


     In the United States, Thanksgiving is a very special day when we share a supper together with
family or friends. Usually we eat too much turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, cranberries, and an assortment of pies, but the togetherness of special people in our lives is what matters.



     In Canada they celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October. They have parades and family dinners with turkey and all the trimmings expressing thankfulness for the year's harvest.

     India is a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic country that celebrates the thanksgiving of God's grace on them. With the increased influence of Western culture, several areas do celebrate Thanksgiving where it is known as Ladin or Ladainha. It is a time of "thanks for all material and spiritual benefits."

     "Other Asian countries such as China, Malaysia, Korea celebrate....Harmony, peace, feeling gratitude is the underlying theme of the celebration all over."

I wish you a most blessed day today wherever you are in the world...a time to give thanks for all the many gifts we have. 


(Quotes from http://www.thanksgiving-day.org/thanksgiving-around-world.html)




Thursday, November 21, 2013

OBSESSED WITH LIFE: A MEDICAL MIRACLE

When I read about Rachel Lozano I wanted to share her story with you. She is an inspiration to me and her courage, self-will, and attitude are all beautiful traits that I admire.

                                                   At age 19, I found out I had weeks to live.

      This wasn’t my first introduction to cancer. The infamously opportunistic disease made a dramatic entrance into my life at age 15, when doctors discovered a cancerous tumor known as Askin’s tumor pressing on the top of my spinal cord and shutting down my body by the hour. Following an emergency surgery, intensive chemotherapy and radiation became my new normal.

      After a year of remission, the cancer reemerged in my bone marrow. This time was even worse. Worn completely down, I could barely walk at my high school graduation. Two days later, I was ad­mitted for a stem cell transplant, which gave me a brand-new immune system. Due to severe adverse effects from the transplant, the skin over my entire body peeled, I developed serious infections, and even went into septic shock. Never­theless, I again surpassed all odds and made it through. While my friends went off to their first year of college, I was relearning how to walk and eat.

      Another year and a half passed, and I seemed to be doing much better. In fact, I even headed off to college. Yet my body was once again screaming that some­thing was wrong. I soon learned there was a new tumor between my heart, lung, and spine. I was told I had a zero-percent chance of survival and was given only weeks to live.

      Three months went by. I was still alive. I realized that perhaps I wasn’t dying just yet, so I took a job at an art materi­als store and moved on with my life.

      My doctors scoured the globe for options, but the experts still concluded I was incurable. By May 2004 – a year and a half later – an amazing thoracic and cardiovascular surgeon relocated to my hospital, and he believed the tumor was stable enough to operate. Surgery went smoothly, and the entire tumor – which was the size of a small Nerf football – was successfully removed. The biopsy results showed the tumor had completely died while inside me, despite very little treatment. It was an inexplicable medical miracle

The lessons I learned through my cancer experience have caused me to be obsessed with life. Here’s what I’ve learned:

                                  ♦ Plan for a long future, but live for the moment.
This may mean something completely different to everyone. For me, it means spending time with family and friends, using my talents, and stay­ing open to new opportunities.

                                  ♦ Practice (and receive) empathy.
Everyone will have burdens in their lives. These things are often out of our control. The only part we can con­trol is how we choose to handle the hard times and whom we choose to help us along the way. Because of the empathy of others, my three bouts with cancer were bearable, and some­times even enjoyable. Help others when you can, and accept a helping hand when you need it.

                                  ♦ As my grandma always told me, "Do what makes you happy."
It’s be­come a cliché, but there really is a lot of truth to it. In my own life, I’ve found that what makes me happy is using my experiences to help others.

                                  ♦ Be open to change, because life is a series of endless changes. 
If your carefully mapped out plan for the fu­ture changes – by choice or by force – it’s OK. Because of cancer, I had to give up some of my own ambitions. Comparing myself to others never helped me. I had to become comfort­able with making my own way. Today I am blessed with the opportunity to speak around the country; I have pub­lished writing, done advocacy work on Capitol Hill, provided charities with donated artwork, and have even trav­eled abroad to spread cancer awareness. I never realized how much my life could affect others.

                                                                      My hope for you is simple: 

       Become obsessed with living your own life. You will be amazed at what awaits.


This article was published in Coping® with Cancer magazine, May/June 2012            (http://copingmag.com/cwc/index.php/article/obsessed_with_life)

    

Rachel Lozano is an inspirational speaker, art therapist, artist, writer, Glamour magazine’s 2008 Woman of Your Year, and an Askin’s tumor sur­vivor. Visit her at ObsessedWithLife.com or on Facebook: Rachel Lozano: Inspirational Speaker.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

OVULATION & OVARIAN CANCER


In his book The Ultimate Guide to Ovarian Cancer, Dr. Benedict B. Benigno states "The monthly ovulatory cycle produces an explosion in an ovary as the egg is released, and this appears to be why having pregnancies early in life may confer protection against this disease....It is believed that the damage to the ovary at the time of ovulation contributes to the genesis of this cancer."


***The birth control pill provides a 50% decrease in the incidence of ovarian cancer if taken for a minimum of 5 years. When the birth control pill first emerged I was against it, saying, "you don't fool around with mother nature!" I have since learned my lesson.


***As long as a woman is breast feeding, she rarely ovulates. Women in Western countries tend to start having children in their mid-thirties or later; fewer of them breastfeed (49% for 6 months); and she is having about 2.1 pregnancies during her reproductive life. Again, if she is not ovulating then it decreases the incidence of ovarian cancer.

***Women in other areas of the world have multiple pregnancies, breastfeed for several years, and often get pregnant as early as their teens. The statistics of ovarian cancer is these countries is almost non-existent.

                                                  So, what does all this mean?


***I am not suggesting that women start having children in their teens, have multiple births, nor that every woman should breast feed for a few years.

***After reading Dr. Benigno's book and other research I have done, I do believe that there must be some kind of a connection between ovulation and ovarian cancer. I also find the current information quite interesting. According to cancer.org "The risk goes down with each full-term pregnancy. Breastfeeding may lower the risk even further."

***There is a fairly well accepted theory that ovarian cancer actually begins in the area between the ovary and the fallopian tube. Is it related to the number of ovulations? Is there some kind of a change or damage to the epithelial cells which repair the ovary's surface after the egg is released?

***Even with modern medicine more than 25,000 women will be diagnosed in 2013 with this disease. And the overall survival rate has NOT changed in the past 20 years! I am asking for your support to fund research. Here are some suggested sites:

                                                               www.ocaf.com
                          www.mayoclinic.com
                          www.ovariancancerinstitute



Both books are available at www.amazon.com.




Thursday, November 7, 2013

BODACIOUS MEN & WOMEN

      The first time I heard the word bodacious was about 4 years ago when I was having lunch with other ovarian cancer survivors. At the time I was not sure what it meant, so I had to look it up.

       Bodacious is a new word that was developed in the 1980's. It combines bold and audacious according to Urban Dictionary. We all know that bold means bravery, daring. To be audacious can also mean the same as bold, daring, fearless, heroic; or it can mean impudence or impertinence (but that is too negative for this writer).

When I hear the word bodacious:

             
**I think of our service men and women who with great bravery protect our country. Let's
                  honor them this Monday, Nov. 11th. November 11 is Veteran's Day, which is a time to
                  thank and recognize their service to us and our country. I admire their boldness, daring,
                  remarkable heroism. They are bodacious.


             
 **I think of the many women I have met who will not let cancer
                 defeat them.
     Let's support them with love, prayers, and caring.
     One often hears or reads about cancer
                patients talking about how they will fight the cancer;              
      No matter what illness we fight, it requires bravery, daring,
                 boldness and hope.
      No good fighter enters the ring without hope.


         
 **Or, I think about a good friend's son whose remarkable spirit helps him deal with
                               colon cancer for the past year.
                I pray that my spirit will be like his.
                               His determination, faith, and strength define him as bodacious.
                       



On a lighter note, I think of the bull, Bodacious, who lived from 1988-2000. He was infamous in the world of rodeo because of his innate and impressive way he bucked the riders off. Sometimes he caused serious injury, but it was the unique way (the bodacious way) he faced each rider (challenge) that made him famous.

Am I bucking off negativity, problems, fears, etc.?
          Do I face challenges with "bull-headed" determination?
                    Am I strong? Am I fearless?
   

So, be bodacious as you walk your path in life. Be brave, awesome, and hopeful. In other words,
                                          outshine whatever challenges you face.
                                 
                                                  www.BeaversPondBooks. com
                                                  www.amazon.com
                                                  www.barnesandnoble.com

                                    All proceeds go to gynecological cancer research.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

SHELLS: FOR PROTECTING, LIVING, & GIVING



     One of my favorite memories growing up in Southern California is that of walking on the beach and collecting sea shells. I loved to try to catch the perfect one as it rolled in with an incoming wave; wash the extra sand off; and feel my pockets or pail grow heavier with each added treasure.

   
Courtesy of tssphoto

Sand-dollars are my favorites. They get their name from sea shell collectors of long ago who thought they resembled silver coins. They are not the easiest to find in good condition because they are very fragile. Sea urchins live in them and travel across the ocean floor by moving tiny little hairs (cilia) and spines. In South Africa they are called "pansy shells" and are known as "snapper biscuits" in New Zealand.



Many sea creatures need shells to protect them from their prey. Sometimes other forms of sea life attach themselves to the shells. Do others rely on you? Do you make a difference in the life of another person?

 Just like seashells we humans come in many different shapes, colors, and sizes. We also move through life in groups, alone, with the help of others, or as someone for others to depend upon. We use different "shells" to protect ourselves, to help us grow, or to just survive in. They might be shells of pride, power, anger, kindness, or peacemaker to name just a few. What are you doing with your life to help others?



When I was first diagnosed with cancer my shell initially was one of introspection; then I added determination; and now my shell includes gratitude. I move through each day thankful that I have another opportunity to share about ovarian cancer; to use my cancer experience to teach and support other women and their families; and to use God's gifts to me (the real me) to bring some peace and beauty to others.

What does your outer shell reflect about you? Are you growing? Are you moving forward? Does your inner beauty attract others? Is your shell like that of a mollusk, tough and big? Or are you more fragile like the sand dollar?

             From my book, Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir, I share the following:

      "I saw a young man walking up and down a beach after the tide had gone out.
        The young man would pick up a starfish, left behind by the tide, and would throw it as far as
        he could back into the ocean.
        'What are you trying to do?' I asked.
        'Make a difference,' he replied.
        'But the beach is covered with starfish! You can't possibly expect to make a difference for 
         them all!' I stated.
         As he picked up another starfish and threw it into the ocean, he replied, 'I made a 
         difference for that one.'"
                             (Adapted from "The Star Thrower" by Loren Eiseley)





www.BeaversPondBooks.com
www.amazon.com
www.BarnesandNoble.com

All proceeds go to gynecological research.







Thursday, October 24, 2013

FAITH, HOPE AND HEALING


     "Faith, Hope and Healing: The Faith Doctor with Your Rx for Life!" is written by Pamela Christian, my guest blogger this week. She is an author, speaker, and media personality. Her words of compassionate encouragement come from a life riddled with various major losses and serious near losses. She shares her experiences to help others discover the same life-giving truth she has.




       Anyone who has ever suffered loss—health, financial, relational, material—loss of any kind, has most certainly had their faith challenged. For some the challenge is overwhelming and they find themselves wrestling with hopelessness. Is this you? Perhaps you are troubled by the loss that someone you love has been suffering. This can bring you to struggle with hopelessness too.

      At my lowest times, and there have been many, I’ve had to deliberately redirect my focus off my circumstances and onto my hope. Looking back I realize this was putting my faith into action. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen,” (Heb. 11:1 NKJ). Whatever we are enduring has only as much power over us as we are willing to give it, especially in light of the promises of God.

      The words of Alan Redpath have helped me to intentionally change my focus. He wrote, “There is nothing—no circumstance, no trouble, no testing—that can ever touch me until, first of all, it has gone past God and Christ, right through to me. If it has come that far, it has come with great purpose, which I may not understand at the moment. But as I refuse to panic, as I lift up my eyes to Him, and accept it as coming from the throne of God, for some great purpose of blessing to my heart, no sorrow will ever disarm, no circumstance will cause me to fret. For I shall rest in the joy of what my Lord is.”

      Perhaps it strikes you as it did me that he wrote “I shall rest in the joy of what my Lord is,” not who my Lord is.  Do you know what He is?  He is our Hope.




      Willfully meditating on the promises of God, choosing to look intently at the face of my Hope instead of my circumstances, more times than I can count, has brought me through otherwise overwhelming times, with much less pain than I would have suffered had I given into hopelessness. Even when the promises are excruciatingly slow in being manifest, just remaining focused on my Hope, knowing His character and will for my life, brings me peace and renews my strength.

   

       We demonstrate our faith when we stand on the promises of God. It’s then that our Hope is made sure. Imagine what life must be like for those who do not have faith in the God of the Bible. Dr. N. Jerome Stowell, was one such individual for many years of his life.

      As an atheistic nuclear scientist, Dr. Stowell shared in The Voice of Healing, that he had headed a team of doctors who used a delicate instrument they devised, to measure the wave-lengths of the brain. They checked the emanations from the brain of a woman near death. She was praying at the time and they could tell that something about her was reaching towards God. The meter registered 500 positive. This was 55 times the power registered by a 50,000 kilowatt radio broadcast station sending waves around the world. In the same hospital, they tried the meter on the brain of a man cursing God. The meter pegged 500 minus. These are the two extremes the team saw in their experiments. 


      Dr. Stowell is quoted, “We had established by instrumentation the positive power of God and the negative power of the adversary. We had found that beneficial truth is positive, and that non-beneficial things involving breaking God’s commandments, are negative in varying degrees. It is the presence of God in us that gives us power, of whose magnitude we have no conception! I am now a scientist who loves the Lord with all my heart.”

      No one can fathom the literal pull a Christian exerts when he/she is in personal contact with God—it far beyond the comprehensions of mortality. With Dr. Stowell’s team having effectively measured it, we can’t deny its reality. The world little realizes the impact of believing prayer. It is a moving of the resources of the Infinite.

      When you are faced with a particularly difficult situation, determine to demonstrate your faith through prayer and meditation on scripture promises. This will renew your Hope, allowing you to experience a healing in your soul and spirit uniquely available to those who revere God.

Pamela Christian's newest book, the first in a three-series, endorsed by Josh McDowell, Dr. Craig Hazen and Dan Story, among other is, Examine Your Faith! Finding Truth in  a World of Lies. Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Deeper Shopping and other retailers.  


Visit Pam's web site to learn about the book launch contest with weekly prizes and give aways through mid November. No purchase necessary. Subscribe to her free blog or bi-monthly ENewsletter to be eligible to win. To get the best price for her book, through mid November only, order direct from her store. Bundle discounts encourage giving the book away - what better gift than the gift of truth?