Friday, January 26, 2018


I wrote this blog for Sue Vincent's site, DAILY ECHO. I hope you find this writing inspirational and encouraging. You will have the opportunity to know more about me and why I am the way I am. 
Perhaps you will look at your own life events and come to a point of reverence, forgiveness, and new birth.

Albert Schweitzer had a profound influence on me after I read about him and his remarkable work. His philosophy of Reverence for Life filled me as a teenager with fervor to also have great respect, love, and kindness to all beings, human and animal. Like him, I then decided to someday be a doctor and help those in need in Africa. His work was beneficial, nurturing, humane, and tried to beautify the lives he touched.

I did not become a doctor nor have I traveled to Africa, yet I have served people as a nurse, therapist, and volunteer. To have reverence for life means to enjoy and be grateful for every human, animal, flower, tree, or any other gift from God, and to show love, kindness, and respect to every human life. Life is a sacred gift that should not be taken for granted, abused or wasted.

We do not have to be just in Africa to serve the needs of people. Those who would benefit from our unconditional service are often “just next door.” Give someone a smile, a greeting, or an offer to help. These are meaningful and simple ways to share help and kindness to others.

I grew up in a house of all kinds of abuse: physical, emotional, and sexual.
My parents were not able to give me any praise. I was accused of tracing my artwork, which I had not done; of having feet too big for a girl; and of being “skinny Annie.” They ridiculed me for wanting to become a doctor saying, “You are not smart enough.” Somewhere in their lives they did not learn to have a reverence for life, to forgive those who had hurt them, and how to step out of their cocoons. It is interesting that it was my grandparents, their parents, who praised and encouraged me always supporting my dreams.

Sexual abuse by my step-father began when I was in my early teens, which reinforced that I was not worthy. I believed that I was at fault. I carried guilt, shame, and worthlessness until I was in my twenties. I had never told anyone about the abuse.  My then college boyfriend asked the Episcopal priest to talk to me. “Casey (my nickname) is a good person but I think some awful things have happened to her.” Bravely I told Father Pat about the different abuses and over time he helped me to see that I was a worthy, beautiful, and giving person. Father Pat promised he would protect me; that God loved me; and that I needed to forgive others and myself. He wrapped his arms around me and led me towards the path of forgiveness.

 I shared with him about Albert Schweitzer and his book, Reverence for Life.  I remember he smiled and said I was wise and full of love “and someday your parents will see the real you.”

One’s life is about learning lessons. I believe that the hardest lesson for many of us to learn is that of forgiveness. I never want to forget the events of my life, especially the most unhappy or hurtful ones. I want to continue to use them as lessons to be shared with others in hopes of helping those in pain or suffering. Forgiveness means releasing the anger, hurt, and pain; to free oneself from the power of the person or event; and to send out love.

I received a degree in human services after getting my registered nurse license. I then went on an earned a master’s degree in human development with a minor in psychology. I became a licensed therapeutic massage therapist, trained in biofeedback, certified in acupressure, and certified counselor. I developed my own nursing service called Kare ‘N Touch and helped clients with a variety of issues. These clients had a history of abuse, issues of anger and bitterness, low self-esteem, or marital unhappiness. Most of them were able to forgive, learn, and grow after a period of time. They had left their cocoon and become butterflies.

For most of my young life I felt like the caterpillar that thought her life was over. Thanks to Father Pat, my grandparents, and others I became a butterfly. A Biblical verse that helped me become a butterfly was John 9:4, “I must work the works of Him while it is light, for the night cometh when no man can work.” Then in what seemed like a brief moment of time, the full realization of the gift of life and God’s love for me came alive in the very depths of my being.

We can each be like butterflies deepening our lives and those of each person with whom we become in touch.  At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” (Albert Schweitzer)

 My thanks to Sue Vincent for the opportunity to share a story about me and lessons I learned. Please go to Any comments are appreciated here and at Ms. Vincent's site

(Nature photographs by Karen Ingalls, photograph of twin babies from article:


  1. Karen, you're such an inspirational, gracious soul. Blessings to you. XO

  2. This was a very inspirational post, Karen. We share simliar childhoods and the support of grandparents. You put it beautifully that your parents never came out of their cocoon--so very true. How blessed you were to have Father Pat come into your life. I am inspired how you were able to work with other abuse victims and help them become butterflies. I love the Bible verse that inspired you and I want to read Albert Schweitzer now. You have a beautiful light and I am glad you shared it with us in this post.

  3. Inspired and sharing! xo

    1. I am glad that the message touched you in a positive way.