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, May 28, 2015

TREES: WHAT CAN WE LEARN?



TREES clean the air by absorbing certain gases and trapping them on their leaves and bark;
         They cool your homes and streets with their canopies of branches;
                   They provide homes for birds and squirrels to nest;
                          Like a pine tree some offer beauty with their greenery in the winter;
                                 Others provide fragrant smells and beauty in the spring;
                                     Many insects find shelter and food, hiding in the deep grooves of a tree;
                                          At Christmas time we decorate the branches of various pine trees;
                                             And our delicious fruits and nuts come from trees.




   One of my favorite trees is the live oaks so common in the south. When they sprawl their long branches freely, without boundaries, it is like a magical fairyland underneath. Their roots are long and spread outward giving them a large base to stand on.

      If I were to be a tree, this is the kind I would be!



 

     In St. Augustine, Florida, there is a palm tree growing out from an oak tree. It is called the Love Tree because they are intertwined like lovers in an embrace. The myth is that you will have everlasting love if you kiss beneath the Love Tree.

    These trees teach us that we need to protect, nourish and help one another. When we stand alone with selfish, anger, disrespect or even hatred, we only hurt ourselves.



   With trees we build houses, buildings, fences, docks and piers. If lost in the woods, we can trim its branches to build a lean-to shelter. We cut twigs and logs for a fire in our fireplace, fire pit, or open campground. Some of us use wood to build furniture, make toys, or create sculptures. From trees we get paper on which to print, write, and create photographs, paintings, and origami. Trees provide fun for climbing on, swinging from, playing hide-n-seek, or using our imaginations for most any game or activity.

    I watch the willows, palms, and cottonwoods gracefully bow and bend in a storm, swaying with the challenge they are facing. With cancer, I have learned that I too must not fight against the wind of disease, but use my faith, strength, and spirit to go with it so as not to be broken. There are other times I must be like a sturdy and strong redwood tree and face the disease with new resolve by deepening my roots so that this storm will not uproot me.   

   When I look at a tree standing tall and strong I see its arms reaching out to embrace me, raising its trunk and main branches upward as if in prayer to God, and its roots running deep and wide into the earth like a foundation of knowledge, love and faith.  I want to be like a tree...helping, protecting, providing, and loving others...just as God does for me.

                    THANK YOU, GOD, FOR TREES THAT GIVE SO MUCH,

                            AND FROM WHICH I LEARNED ABOUT LIFE.

                                                 

                             

Thursday, May 21, 2015

USING GOD'S GIFTS FOR HEALING.


    A few weeks ago my blog was about wellness tips with the intent of helping you become the healthiest and happiest you can be. Not perfect! We are mortal beings with our flaws but it is up to us to take the best care of all parts of who we are.



     I have always found relaxation a very healing time. It is when a person goes into a meditative state creating peacefulness, guidance from God, and a state of unconditional love. 

 
     There are also relaxing activities that are provided by God's work in nature and to marvel at the beauty of God's accurate creations.

      When was the last time you walked along a beach or shoreline? Felt the sand beneath your feet? Thought about the wonder of the tides and how the moon affects them? The human body is more than 60% water; blood is 92%; brain and muscles are 75% and bones are about 22%. Does the sound of waves relax you? Waterfalls bring you peace? If you have positive past experiences with water, then those same emotions can be recreated.




     I love to watch butterflies flit from flower to flower; dragonflies darting around as they catch small flying insects; or to watch animals sleeping peacefully, not having a care in the world. Animals do not toss and turn or walk the floors at night worrying about anything. The joy of animals to love, care for, and enjoy watching are gifts from which we can promote healing.



    Do you remember as a kid watching the clouds in the sky? Did you imagine people or animals in their formations? Did you marvel at the various colors and shapes they were? Why not take time each day to enjoy the clouds and get lost in your imagination?





Trees are one of my favorite plants. Some stand so tall and regal...like a Queen palm; others spread the limbs out wide as if they are ready to wrap me up in a hug; some produce beautiful flowers after a long winter; and others have such fragrant and colorful flowers from which delicious fruits come.
    I love to be beneath the limbs of the oak tree so common here in
Florida and the trunks are low enough inviting me to climb up them.
Their acorns provide food for God's little creatures.

     For some relaxing moments, take a blanket and sit under a tree; close
your eyes, let its shade cool you, and its limbs protect you.




When was the last time you smelled a flower? Have you seen a flower growing from a crack in a rock or sidewalk? Did you wonder how it got there? Marvel at the difficult challenge it overcame? Do you have a favorite flower? Is it fragrant? Is it the color or shape?

   An exercise I find healing is to look deeply into the center of a rose. See yourself as the rose that started out as a bud just as you started life as a baby. Over days the rose unfolds more and more of its pedals; the human grows from babyhood to an adult hopefully opening up more of themselves. As we look deeper into the center of the rose, so should we be looking deeper into our very being, our soul.


    Meditation and relaxation are important components to our everyday health. Looking at the beauty of God's work, appreciating it, taking it all in, listening to the wind, feeling the grass beneath our feet, smelling the flower, tasting the apple, and marveling at the wonder of nature's beauty.



"TAKING TIME EVERY DAY TO DO SOME DEEP RELAXATION OR MEDITATION, I BELIEVE HELPED MY BODY, MIND, AND SPIRIT TO BE HEALTHIER AND TO COPE WITH THE CANCER CHALLENGE."

LEARN MORE IN MY BOOK, OUTSHINE: AN OVARIAN CANCER MEMOIR. GET A SIGNED COPY BY CONTACTING ME AT kareningalls1941@gmail.com. 

ALL PROCEEDS GO TO GYNECOLOGIC CANCER RESEARCH.



Thursday, May 14, 2015

WHAT TO SAY TO A FRIEND WITH BREAST CANCER


     Face it, hearing a friend has cancer is never easy.  However, the words we utter and comments we make can have a profound effect on your relationship and her healing.  Many of us have heard things like “maybe if you had breast-fed your kids you wouldn’t have gotten it” or “hey, they’re just boobs and heck, now you get a free boob job” or “everything happens for a reason”.  Even something like “what is your prognosis, or what are your odds?” can strike a cord—believe me, if she wanted you to know that she’ll soon be kicking the bucket, she’d share that news with you. Our loved ones mean well, but they often make these comments out of fear, awkwardness or often just for a lack of something to say. So what’s a friend to do?

Don’ts:

  1. If you haven't had cancer or don't have a crystal ball, don't day things like "I know how you feel" or "you will be fine" or "don't worry, it will be okay." 
  2. Don't put on your "expert hat". Everyone does cancer in their own way, so please do not be an armchair quarterback or even comment on her chosen path for treatment. Offer your support, your love, but keep your advice to yourself.
  3. Don't tell her you know someone who had cancer and died.
  4. Don't say anything that begins with "at least"--as in at least you have the "good kind of cancer" or "at least it was caught early."
  5. Don't say "If there's anything I can do, just let me know." such a statement involves action on her part, not yours.
  6. Don't offer help if you don't intend to follow through.
  7. Don't tell her to have a positive attitude. While having the affirmation to beat cancer is a good thing, being required to be happy about it is not.
  8. Don't show up to visit with a brood of kids for her to feed, and don't expect her to entertain you.
  9. Don't avoid her because you can't deal with the situation.
  10. Don't expect her to reassure you that she will make it through.
  11. Do not expect a thank you note or even a response to an email...seriously, this is her time to heal, not your time to feed your ego or "feel good" hormones.

Do’s:

    1.     Offer to accompany her to the doctor.
    2.     Offer to field phone calls so she can get some rest.
    3.     Offer to pick her kids up at school and drop off dinner.
    4.     Send her notes, emails and texts to let you her know you are there for her
    5.     Invite her to go for a walk with you if she is up to it. Or you can offer just to sit and listen, really listen.
    6.     You can say, “I don’t know what to say” and give her a hug (see above—don’t avoid her— she needs you now).
    7.     Acknowledge that she is not just her cancer; she is a person with cancer who might like to talk about something other than her cancer.
    8.     Once treatment is over, acknowledge to her that there is no going back to the old normal. There’s nothing quite like a cancer diagnosis to challenge your inner core. We will hear, “but I thought you were done with treatment?” As if our lives are normal again post formal treatment. The truth is, nothing for her will ever be the same.
                            ~~If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any~~


     Elyn Jacobs is a breast cancer survivor, professional cancer strategist, speaker, and the Executive Director for the Emerald Heart Cancer Foundation. She empowers women to choose the path for treatment that best fits their own individual needs. She is passionate about helping others move forward into a life of health and well-being. 
      Elyn has been featured on CNN Money, Talk About Health, and Breast Cancer Answers and has written for the Pink Paper, Breast Cancer Wellness, Integrative Oncology Essentials, Surviving Beautifully, Body Local and more, and writes the Options for Life column for the Natural Healing-Natural Wellness Magazine. 
     She hosts the Survive and Live Well Radio Show on the Cancer Support Network. She is on the Medical Advisory Board for Beat Cancer.Org and is on the Advisory Board to the Radical Remission Project. 
     Elyn lives in New York with her husband and two young boys. http://elynjacobs.com/about/

Thursday, May 7, 2015

A MOTHER'S LESSON


                                                             
   


 This is a photo of my mother taken several years before she passed away at the age of 68. She had a serious heart condition because of damage to her mitral valve when she contracted rheumatic fever as  young teenager. She was in and out of the hospital many times and took many medications.

     In 1962 when she was 50, she underwent emergency surgery to replace that valve with an artificial one. My step-father and younger sister actually drove in the night to the laboratory where the valves were being made. It was the day before Thanksgiving and she was the first patient to survive being placed on a heart-lung machine in an emergency situation and survive. She was written up in the local newspaper and several medical journals.

     Her recovery period was a long one of several months. Once she was discharged from the hospital, I quit college to return home and take care of her.

     Throughout her life she maintained a sense of humor, positivity, and a strong faith in her cardiologist, and an equally strong belief in God.

     Twenty some years later, she contracted stomach cancer from which she died. She wanted an autopsy done in that her journey with pneumonia, replacement of the valve, and her health in general might provide science with information useful for the future. Her valve was still working perfectly; it was the cancer that took her otherwise healthy body.

                                Mother's health history taught me several things:                        
                                 
                                      1. Eat healthy and a well balanced diet.
                                      2. Exercise
                                      3. Find humor in everything you experience
                                      4. Be positive; no need to cry over spilled milk, it won't put the milk back
                                      5. Believe in your physicians AND God
                                      6. Make the most of every day...every moment.

     She shared with me about three near death experiences she had. She recalled them perfectly: seeing the beautiful light, surrounded by loved ones who had already passed, and "hearing" words spoken to her. For those three times she was told "you are not ready," and "you still have work to do."

                 She said, "Karen, never fear death because it is a beautiful experience."

     Watching Mother deal with so many heart issues, I was determined I was going to be as healthy as possible. I did follow her advice about taking good care of my body. For the past 7 years I have faced the health challenge of ovarian cancer. I have endured major surgery and chemotherapy relatively well because for the past 70 some years I took good care of my body. At the time of being diagnosed I was only on one prescription pill, which was for insomnia, I was of normal weight, exercised, ate a well balanced diet, and was happy and content with life.

     However, no body is perfect, but as Mother said, "The better health we have, the better we can heal from or tolerate the process of any disease."





Award winning book about my journey with ovarian cancer, its symptoms and risk factors. Available only on Amazon.com.

ALL PROCEEDS GO TO OVARIAN CANCER RESEARCH.