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.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

LESSONS FROM ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI

There are times we are faced with a variety of challenges, and we ask or say "why me?" "how am I going to get through this?" and "it is not fair."  

I recently watched a documentary about St. Francis of Assisi who has always been someone I have admired. He was born to a wealthy family and for many years he lived a carefree and worldly life. He served in the military and at one point was held captive for a year by the enemy. 

In 1204 he was seriously ill and that is when his conversion began; he had a vision; and went to Rome to live a life of poverty. When he returned to Assisi, he began preaching and founded the Order of the Poor Clares.


In 1209 he heard a sermon based on Matthew 10:9 (Do not acquire gold or silver or copper for your money belts), which inspired Francis to a life of poverty. The Order of Francis was founded and preached to live a life just as Jesus did.

He believed all creatures were like brothers and sisters. There is the legend that one day he preached to a large flock of bird none of which flew away.


A prayer of his that has been very dear to me is the following:
       Lord, help me to live this day quietly, easily.
       To lean upon thy great strength trustfully, restfully.
       To wait for the unfolding of thy will patiently, serenely.
       To meet others peacefully, joyously.
       To face tomorrow confidently, courageously.

As I have walked the path of cancer, I think of all that St. Francis went through. He prayed, he listened, and he followed the words and actions of Jesus. 

I am not as strong as St. Francis...yet, I do not ask nor have ever asked "why me?" I do not believe God gave me cancer, but He allowed it to happen. He knows there is a purpose to my having cancer and it is to help others.

When I heard the diagnosis of cancer I spent a few days grieving and then searching for "how am I going to get through this." I began to use prayer, journaling, exercise, humor, laughter, and positive thinking just as I have for other challenges I have faced.

No, life is not always fair. It seems that some people seem to just breeze through life, but do they really? I will not, but could name several individuals I would not want to have their challenges. 

No matter what, I believe that we are to learn, to grow, and be better people because of whatever the challenge might be.



My book "Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir" is available at goo.gl/K9x33h  All proceeds go to ovarian/gynecologic cancer research. Thank you for your support.



Wednesday, January 18, 2017

OVARIAN CANCER 2017 NEWS

The bad news for 2017 is that the number of us that will be diagnosed remains about 22,000 in U.S. alone and 220,000 worldwide. 

              The survival rate for 5 years has changed very little in the past 40 years. There will be14,240 women in U.S. and 144,000 worldwide deaths from this 5th leading cause of deaths in women.


Pharmaceutical:
The good news for 2017 is the continued approval and significant effectiveness of Avastin.

            "With today’s approval of Avastin plus chemotherapy, women in the U.S. with recurrent, platinum-sensitive ovarian cancer now have a treatment option that showed a survival difference of more than five months compared to chemotherapy alone in a clinical trial,” said Sandra Horning, M.D., chief medical officer and head of Global Product Development.


Immunotherapy:
Current immunotherapies for ovarian cancer fall into six broad categories: monoclonal antibodies; checkpoint inhibitors and immune modulators; therapeutic vaccines; adoptive T cell transfer; oncolytic viruses; and adjuvant immunotherapies. Most of these therapies are still in early-phase testing (phase I and II) for ovarian cancer, but their successful use in other types of cancers suggests that they may ultimately prove useful for ovarian cancer as well. - See more at: http://www.cancerresearch.org/cancer-immunotherapy/impacting-all-cancers/ovarian-cancer#sthash.Y6plxu7W.dpuf


EARLY DETECTION IS IMPORTANT
A new version of a screening test for ovarian cancer may reduce deaths from the disease, but it needs more study to determine whether the benefits hold up, researchers reported on Thursday.
The findings come from a 14-year study of more than 200,000 women in Britain, published in The Lancet.
“We need to follow up to confirm that this is absolutely significant throughout,” said Dr. Usha Menon, an author of the Lancet article and head of the gynecological cancer center at University College London. She said, “This is almost there, but not yet.”
Her reason for caution was that the study passed only two of three tests of statistical significance, which means that the apparent benefits of screening might have been due to chance. She said a few more years of monitoring the participants would resolve that question.

OVARIAN CANCER CAN AFFECT ANY FEMALE:



Happy New Year! We are a little late, but Emme has been so busy celebrating the holidays. She had a fantastic Christmas! She was able to spend time with a lot of family, and had a blast playing with some of her cousins! It is so great to see her being so active and feeling well. She is still doing great post surgery. She is gaining weight like a champ, and is stronger than ever! As of December 30, Emme has been in remission (NED) from her Ovarian cancer for ONE YEAR!!! That i...
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This sweet angel is an exception to the rule. Most women are diagnosed in their mid-50's, but unfortunately there are growing numbers of teenagers and women from 20-40 years.
Read about Brandi Maxiell, wife of Orlando Magic basketball player who was diagnosed at the young age of 24. 
http://www.lifeandstylemag.com/posts/basketball-wives-la-s-brandi-maxiell-opens-up-about-ovarian-cancer-diagnosis-aged-24-i-couldn-t-look-at-myself-35931



SIGNS OF OVARIAN CANCER CAN WHISPER, SO
PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR BODY & ACT ON ANY SYMPTOMS THAT LAST MORE THAN TWO WEEKS

    *Abdominal or pelvic pain
    *Back pain
    *Unusual vaginal discharges
    *Painful intercourse
    *Changes in bowels or urinary habits
    *Changes in appetite (suddenly feeling full)
    *Bloating
    *Fatigue

PLEASE watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ndsguyDufM

It is only through education and awareness of women, physicians, nurses, and health care workers that we can one day see a reduction in the late stage diagnoses and an increase in longevity. 
Please help by forwarding this blog to everyone on your email list. It is through knowledge that we gain power over cancer.

**Please note on the right side of my blog there is now an antidote for "Let's find cures together." At various times I will be alerting the reader of this blog about various health concerns and information. This is a new service I am proud and happy to provide.

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.