About Me

My photo
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.

Monday, February 27, 2017

TOP FIVE SPIRITUAL PLANKS





Once again I am pleased and honored to welcome Nate Stevens as my guest this week. His insight and words of wisdom as to how we each can live more loving and productive lives is well described in "The Top Five Spiritual Planks."





First take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye (Luke 6:42).

Planking seems like an easy exercise, until you have to do it.

My wife and I recently started a kickboxing exercise program that includes several timed planking routines, a few of which are front planks, side planks, plank jacks, push-up planks, planks with arm or leg extensions, and side planks with thigh raises. Being an avid gym rat, these “easy exercises” didn’t impress me. I was used to serious weightlifting, so what’s the big deal, right?

When it was my turn, I assumed the position on the floor, nonchalantly waiting for the timer to start. The first thirty seconds were easy. At the one-minute mark, my muscles started tightening. Thirty seconds later, my arms, shoulders, upper back, and legs started shaking. I was determined to beat the clock; however, when I started cramping up, I knew I was in trouble. All in less than two minutes!

How could something that seemed so easy, so core, be so ridiculously hard to do?

While you prepare your answer, here’s a different planking question. Why is it so hard to recognize the plank in my own eye, yet so easy to point out the speck of sawdust in someone else’s eyes?

In asking this question, Jesus instructs us to work on our own faults before trying to help other people with their issues. If you’re like me, performing spiritual planking routines—working on problem areas, weak spots, sinful habits, uncontrolled desires—will keep us busy for the rest of our lives. We won’t have time to worry about other people’s shortcomings. Sure, we may notice their specks and offer encouraging spiritual insights, but our focus should remain on our own planks.

What are some particularly difficult spiritual planking routines? I’m so glad you asked! The following five planking routines will strengthen your spiritual core while enhancing your effectiveness in witnessing to the world.

                                                     The Forgiveness Plank
“Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6:12). From a kneeling position, bow your head with both arms raised. Hold that position while asking God to forgive your pride. Relieve your spiritual tension by releasing all arrogance, anger, judgmentalism, and selfish perspectives to God. Ask Him to soften you with His wisdom, compassion, mercy, and grace. Then stand upright and interact with people as God sees them. Perform daily reps.  

                                                                                                 The Purity Plank
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23). In a kneeling position, with both hands clasped in front, bow your head and hold that stance while asking God to purify your words, thoughts, fantasies, meditations, and dreams. Build your spiritual muscles by rejecting all sources of temptation and presenting all your desires for God’s approval. If you fall midway, apply 1 John 1:9, then resume the activity. Perform daily reps.

                                                                                                The Truth Plank
“Speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). This routine requires repetitive resistance strengthening. Resist the urge to tell the truth harshly; resist the false pretenses of flattery. Resist the temptation to gossip, slander, or intentionally injure with your words. From an upright stance, speak only what you know to be true, with loving concern for all parties involved. Perform daily reps.

                                                     The Love Plank
“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). From a standing position, reach out and become the hands and feet of Jesus. Extend your hands to serve others. Bend forward at the waist, stretching your hands downward to help lift the fallen. Place your hands over your mouth to prevent unkind or false words. Take this exercise to a tougher level by loving the unloving. Perform daily reps.

                                             The Watch-and-Pray Plank
“It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes” (Luke 12:37). Brace your inner core to avoid falling into temptation (Matthew 26:41). Maintain a prayerful mindset at all times, in all places. Remain on high alert for the Lord’s imminent return. Perform daily reps.

                                           Happy planking and stay blessed!



Click here  for Book Trailer





Monday, February 20, 2017

HEALTHY CHOICES & SPIRITUALITY



I am pleased to welcome Nate Stevens as my guest on this week's blog.  His book "Matched for Marriage, Meant for Life" is an inspirational and thought provoking book that will provide guidance as one make's decisions to marry. It is also helpful for those already married as they seek out answers to issues in their relationship.

Mr. Stevens presents us today with how we can make healthy choices as we consider our spirituality.




With the start of another year, I face the opportunity to make healthier choices than I made in previous years. From what I am feeling—and seeing on my bathroom scale—I know I have to. If you’re like me, the delicious snacks and extra helpings this holiday season did not work in our favor.

So I face the reality that God gave me only one body. It is my responsibility to keep it in the best shape possible to fulfill the mission and purpose God has for me. Yes, an occasional illness or a serious disease may ambush me; but my accountability as a steward of God’s resources encourages me to nourish and cherish my body, just as the Lord does the church (Ephesians 5:29).

I’m also growing more aware of the unforgiving effects of the pressures of life, ever-increasing age, and pull of gravity. The graying or receding hairline. Wrinkles and varicose veins. Muscles losing their youthful shape and tone. Declining stamina. Chronic or potentially terminal illnesses that require every ounce of resolve to overcome.

But, hallelujah, I have God’s glorious promise that I will one day exchange my weakening physical body for a glorified, renewed, and transformed body in heaven. Until such time, my charge is to take care of this earthly vessel.

I’ve come to realize my body is the temporary physical address where my spirit, mind, and soul reside. I use it to worship God, serve God, and interact with other people. My tangible, temporal body enables my intangible, eternal spirit, mind, and soul to express themselves and experience earthly life. Though my physical body may be “wasting away,” yet inwardly I am renewed every day (2 Corinthians 4:16-17).

See, our bodies belong to God and He wants us to use them to honor Him (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Over the years, I’ve heard some people say they can act as they wish since they own their bodies. (e.g., unhealthy choices, assisted suicide, abortion, drug use, etc.). But the reality is, we don’t own our bodies—they’re more like lifetime rentals. My earthly body is the temporary, earthly vehicle I use as the hands and feet of Jesus. What I own is the personal accountability for how I use it.

Now comes the hard part of balancing the abundant life Jesus came to give while also battling my earthly desires and my aggressive enemy.

Jesus came to give us abundant life (John 10:10), not just eternally, but also presently. Of course, that abundance doesn’t imply the accumulation of everything our hearts desire. It is a satisfied, overflowing, and blessed life that requires balanced attention, development, and commitment—spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. My responsibility is to avoid anything that restricts or harms my well-being while also maintaining healthy habits—yes, even when I don’t feel like it.

In addition, we have an enemy who wants to defeat us. God warns us that the devil actively and aggressively looks for someone to destroy (1 Peter 5:8). Satan doesn’t limit his assault to just our spiritual aspect. He also attacks our minds, emotions, and bodies. If he can derail us from our life purposes through clouded minds, unstable emotions, or poor physical health, he will try.

                                                        So what are we to do?

Commit to physical health and well-being. Take care of the body God gave you. Maintain a healthy diet. Join a gym or a cycling team. Take an aerobics class. Plan a mountain hiking/biking vacation. Partner with your medical professional. Stay active, eat healthy, get periodic medical exams, and maintain overall physical wellness.

Commit to spiritual health and well-being. Take care of the spirit God gave you. Grow in grace and in His knowledge. Spend time daily in His Word, separating yourself from all distractions while listening quietly for His whisper. Join, serve, and worship at a local church. Put on the whole armor of God and align your lifestyle with His moral standard.

Commit to mental health and well-being. Take care of the mind God gave you. Along with daily Scripture reading, read something new every day. Learn a new hobby, skill, or language. Join a debate club. Find out what you believe and why you believe it.

Commit to emotional health and well-being. Take care of the soul God gave you. Find your affirmation in who God says you are. Accept His love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Engage those who inspire, encourage, and mentor while avoiding the gossips, discouragers, and truth-stretchers.

Here’s to an awesome year, a healthy lifetime, and a lasting legacy!




Click here  for Book Trailer



Excerpts from my book, Matched 4 Marriage – Meant 4 Life, Copyright 2011.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

LOVE YOUR HEART

FEBRUARY is an important month for raising awareness about heart health and love in our heart.


These beautiful photographs were sent to me from Maretha Botha, who 
is an author, gardener, and photographer.
The center of each flower looks like the heart.


I have a special love for all plants and trees, so these photos are wonderful gifts.
I am reminded of three very special people who had problems with the mitral valves of their hearts.

My grandmother had contracted rheumatic heart disease, which damaged her
mitral valve leaving her short of breath and causing several heart attacks.
Rheumatic fever was the diagnosis my mother heard when she was sixteen also causing

damage to her mitral valve. However, due to advances in medicine she received an 
artificial valve in 1962. She was the first to survive this surgery and using the 
heart-lung machine under emergency circumstances.

A friend had her aortic valve replaced a mere 15 years ago due to damage to it
 during an aortic prolapse.


The advances that have been made in the treatment of heart disorders and disease are quite remarkable. People live longer now due to such diagnostic aids and treatments:

Angioplasty: to widen narrowed or obstructed arteries or veins; stent placement.
Artificial valve placement: for the aorta or mitral valves
Bypass: replaces damaged arteries
Ablation: for atrial fibrillation.
Heart transplant: for those with end-stage disease


A dear and special friend had a transplant about 9 years ago.
He is alive today because of early research by Dr. Christian Barnard,
whose pioneering work has us where we are today.


                                          What can we do to love our heart more?

                                                           Healthy Diet:

                      1. Check your portion sizes. We do not need to overload our plates.

                      2. Fresh fruit and vegetables. 5-6 servings per day.

                      3. Whole grains are good sources of fiber.

                      4. Limit saturated and trans fats.

                      5. Eat lean meat, fish, and poultry as sources of protein.

                      6. Keep sodium intake between 1500 to 2000 mg per day, which is no more than 1 tsp.

       
                                                           Exercise

                                           1. Lowers blood pressure.

                                           2. Reduces stress.

                                           3. Boosts your mood.

                                           4. Helps maintain a healthy weight

                                           5. Strengthens your heart.

                       **Check with your physician what exercise program is best for you.


                  Other things we can do when you love to your heart:

                              SMILE        


                              LAUGH


                             BE KIND



                              BE GENEROUS

                               LOVE ONE ANOTHER


HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY, EVERYONE.
May love fill your mind, your soul, and your heart.