Defeating Fear to Help Others

My Journey of Defeating Fear to Help Others by Memoir Author Pamela Koefoed

Posted by Kathleen Pooler/@kathypooler with Pamela Koefoed/@JoyRideBook


Photo Credit--Free Google Images

Photo Credit–Free Google Images

Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway
- John Wayne
So often when we write a memoir, the story develops a life of its own and becomes a part of a larger cause. This is certainly the case for Pamela Koefoed who began advocating for abused children and teaching audiences how to overcome a painful past after publishing her memoir. It is my pleasure to introduce you to Pamela whose memoir Joyride: Life, Death and Forgiveness is a riveting story of hope and overcoming child abuse. Pamela will discuss how writing her memoir helped her to defeat fear and find her mission of helping child abuse survivors. My reviews can be found on Amazon, Goodreads, Shelfari and LibraryThings.


Book Synopsis:
Pamela Koefoed tells the story from the child’s point of view, recalling in vivid detail the events leading up to four house fires, her narrow escape from them, and the conviction of the arsonist. She depicts the heart touching tale of being left alone for weeks with her eleven year old sister and baby brother, and describes how they managed to deter notice from Child Welfare. Pamela and her sister surprise us all by their spunkiness, indomitable joy, and resiliency. Due to their circumstances, they draw on the love they have for each other and rise above the unthinkable to show us all the way to a richer and more meaningful life. If you enjoyed The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, you’ll loveJoyRide: Life, Death and Forgiveness (from Amazon author page).

Welcome, Pamela!


Memoir Author and Advocate Pamela Koefoed

My Journey of Defeating Fear to Help Others

As a child and into young adulthood, I lived in a place of powerlessness known as “the conspiracy of silence” where painful, unexplainable experiences were never mentioned and where we went on with daily life as if we were a mini version of the idyllic family of the popular sitcom that ran in the late sixties and seventies, the Brady Bunch.

But there was a problem with this way of being—it wasn’t true. My mother wasn’t the Carol Brady, doting sort of parent. In her childrearing, there was little room for mothering and her general philosophy was more in line with the idea that life is a party, so pass another beer. A lifestyle like my mother’s doesn’t allow space for children. Consequently, my childhood was similar in many ways to the thousands of children who are neglected by parents or guardians each year in the United States.

In addition to being a victim to neglect, when I was eight-years-old my mother was arrested and charged as a felon for committing crimes, which put our entire household in grave danger. On four occasions, I fled for my life, twice barely escaping death. To top off all of this craziness, after my mother’s release from a California correctional facility, my nine-year-old sister and I were returned to her care.

Sixteen years ago, the conspiracy of silence that had held me powerless lost its grip and I began sharing snippets of my testimony publicly.

The first time I stood in front of a group to speak about my past is especially memorable. I stood nervously near a podium before a small congregation of fifty to sixty parishioners at the non-denominational church my husband and I attend. Adrenaline rushed through my system, causing my head to feel detached from my body and constricting my vocal chords. I opened my mouth to speak—my voice trembled and my speech was nothing more than thin, wispy breathes. I thought I would throw up, but somehow I managed to be heard and, obviously, I lived through the ordeal.

When we’re afraid and follow our convictions anyway, we’re victorious.

After my initiation into public speaking, there were many more opportunities to speak to groups; for years, I did so with my very being engulfed in anxiety. Eventually, those negative feelings vanished, but it took great perseverance, some faith, hard work and encouragement from family and friends.

In 2009, the executive director of my county’s CASA program, Court Appointed Special Advocates, asked me to run the program, giving me the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children who have experiences similar in many ways to my own childhood. Initially, the uncertainties and the what if’s hounded me. The stories of maltreated children would confront me. Might I have nightmares? What if I broke into tears in the courtroom while presenting these children’s needs and wishes? How healed am I, really? Am I even qualified?

The greatest enemy, as someone once said, isn’t fear. From time-to-time, everyone feels afraid. It’s coming into agreement with fear and believing the nagging doubts instead of embracing the truth—you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.

I accepted the position as the director for my county’s CASA program and embraced a new season. Stepping into this role proved to me that the very things I had feared were nothing more than shadows and that advocating for children is an ideal fit. Right next to death, on the list of things we humans are afraid of, comes public speaking, and I think next to this comes writing a survival memoir, which I’m grateful to have completed last year, and next to this would be hearing the stories of children who have had hellish childhoods. All of this sends shivers up our spines, causes labored breathing, our hands to sweat, our stomachs to churn—yikes!

When you’re faced with an opportunity to do good and help others, whether it’s through volunteer work, writing a memoir, or taking a new job, and if fear is hounding you, let me leave you with a little advice from our friend John Wayne, saddle up anyway. The world will be a better place because you cared.

Thank you Pamela for sharing your inspirational story of surviving childhood abuse and overcoming fear. You remind us of the power of memoir writing to heal and help us connect with a higher mission. I can’t help but feel your noble work of advocating for children who have been abused is a perfect fit for you!

Author Bio and Contact Information: Pamela Koefoed, originally from Sacramento, California is a child abuse survivor and a daughter of an ex-felon. In addition to writing numerous articles for websites and blogs, she has authored two books. Her latest book is JoyRide: Life, Death and Forgiveness, a Memoir. When not writing, Pamela directs a child advocacy agency program and is a frequent guest speaker on radio shows and at events around the nation. Pamela and her husband have been married for 25 years. They enjoy golden sunsets and coyote serenades from the back deck of their rural home in southern Oregon.

JoyRide: Life, Death and Forgiveness is available from the website,, from Amazon, and by requesting it in bookstores.

How about you? Has writing your memoir led you to a higher mission? or helped you to overcome a fear?

Pamela has graciously offered to give away one copy of JoyRide: Life, Death and Forgiveness to a commenter whose name will be selected in a random drawing. To enter the drawing, go to Kathleen’s website by clicking this link

We’d love to hear from you. Please leave your comments below~

Announcement: Congratulations, Tracy Lee Karner! Your name was selected in a random drawing of commenters to receive Nina Amir’s book, The Author Training Manual.

Next week: ”What Goes Into a Successful Pubslush Crowdfunding Campaign?”

Day #28 and 97% funded! My Pubslush Crowdfunding Campaign for my memoir, Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse ends at midnight on June 11, in 2 more days
Thanks to your generous contributions I am within reach of a successful campaign!
In making a contribution you will help me spread the messages of hope, resilience and courage to those seeking freedom from abuse.
Here’s the link to the campaign:
I’d love it if you would share this link with others.

Thank you for joining me in sharing the hope!

Originally published at, by Kathleen Pooler

Authors, Writers, Public Speakers: Get Free Advertising and Share your Memories of Mom…In Honor of Mother’s Day

DSCN1970This is a busy season for my husband and me. Family, teaching, public speaking, radio interviews, and writing obligations have most everyday filled to the brim.

Because I’m faced with the challenges of fitting everything into a tight schedule, I’m reaching out to writers and public speakers to help me out by writing on my blog.

I stumbled upon the idea for this month’s topic at Marian Beaman’s blog, I borrowed it and changed it a bit.

Writing Topic:

In Honor of Mother’s Day which falls on May 11th, share a lesson with us that you learned from your mom.

Include information about yourself, if you’d like. Did you write a book? Are you a public speaker or a blog writer? You may include the addresses to your social media pages.

There’s no charge for the free advertising. Really.

And if you have a compelling life message, one that helps others, you might be invited to be a guest writer.

I’ll get this started with a short reflection from my life with my eccentric mother.

Shortly after the death of the love of my mother’s life, Luke, my sister and I met her for lunch, and wouldn’t you know it!–the song that was “their song” began playing over the sound system.

Mother’s eyes filled with tears. She reached into her purse, pulled out her dark Van Rays, slipped them on, and tilted her nose smugly. “This is what sunglasses are for. Always wear them when you cry in public.” She said with her voice full of dignity.

This was more than a decade ago. Since then I’ve had a few opportunities to pull out my dark glasses and slip them on in public, times when my heart was touched and the tears began to flow. This is what sunglasses are for, after all.

A Few Rules:

  1. Share your mom story in the reply box on this page.
  2. Remember that the attention span of the average blog reader is limited–we’re such busy people–aim for 250 words or less.
  3. Keep it clean.
  4. Keep it respectful.
  5. If you’d like, include the addresses for any or all of these: your social media page(s), blog sites, websites.
  6. If you’re an author and your book or article helps others, include the title, link to it, and why you wrote it for some free advertising. And you never know who might read this page–you just might get discovered!
  7. If your mom story is clean and respectful, I’ll share your writing with the world.
  8. Troubleshooting: If you can’t find the black reply box, scroll up to the top and look to the right. Under the “Search” box, you’ll find “Recent Topics,” click on the title of this article. This takes you to the article with a comment box.

Happy Writing~


For Readers of JoyRide, We’re Giving Away Copies, Respond by April 30th.

Girl reading a book

If you’ve read JoyRide: Life, Death and Forgiveness, share about your reading experience on or to be entered in a drawing for gift copies of JoyRide.

Vern and I are grateful for the dozens of readers who have already shared about their reading experience with us. The feedback has inspired us to continue reaching out to potential readers and to those who have already read it. Some of the reviews of JoyRide can be found on or at the website,

More Details:

Names of those who write about their reading experience on one or both of these two top review sites ( and / or are automatically thrown in the pot. Reviewers who put notes on both sites will be entered twice. Someone besides Vern or I will draw the names. The winner will be notified by email and has up to seven days to reply. If there’s no reply, the name will be placed back into the pot and another reader will be drawn. Books will be mailed in early May. Since winners will have already read JoyRide, a copy can be mailed to a gift recipient upon request.

To date, there are only fifteen reviews on Amazon and one on Goodreads, increasing the odds of winning one or both copies.

Blessings to you~

Pamela & Vern


Guest Tells Attendees How She Used Tragedy to Survive, Teach

From the Albany Democrat Herald by Alex Paul
March 14, 2014 7:15 am •

Author Pamela Koefoed said growing up with an alcohol-addicted mother was like “trying to survive in a river of crocodiles.”

Had Koefoed and her two siblings been fortunate enough to have had CASA mentors, their childhoods would have been much brighter and far less traumatic, she told guests at the seventh annual Court Appointed Special Advocates fundraising luncheon, Thursday held at the Linn County Fair & Expo Center.

Koefoed is now the CASA director in Lake County and author of the recently published book, “Joy Ride: Life, Death and Forgiveness.”

It details the harrowing experiences of her childhood — including being abandoned by her mother for days at age 9. She and her 11-year-old sister were left in charge of her six week old brother.

Koefoed said that every 10 seconds, someone files a child abuse report in the United States.

“Child abuse crosses all lines, all socio-economic classes, rich or poor, employed or unemployed, male and female,” she said.

She said that in Oregon last year, there were 10,000 cases of children being physically or sexually abused, threatened of harm, neglected or abandoned.

“They have had their innocence stolen from them,” Koefoed said. “Child abuse is epidemic in every state and it is in every county in Oregon.”

She said that during the one-hour luncheon, 360 cases of child abuse will have been reported somewhere in the U.S.

Koefoed said both sets of her grandparents were addicted to alcohol, and she and her siblings were raised in local bars in Sacramento, Calif.

“We didn’t suffer from physical abuse as such, but we were severely neglected, went without food, abandoned, suffered great traumas and placed in danger numerous times,” Koefoed said.

By the time she was 10 years old, she had lived in numerous apartments and had gone to seven elementary schools.

The children often went without food and learned to steal fruit from neighbor’s trees to survive while their mother was often absent.

After a series of four house fires, Koefoed’s mother was eventually sent to prison for arson, and while there, learned she was pregnant.

“After the fires, our mother basically quit taking care of us,” Koefoed said. “She quit combing our hair. We didn’t get baths. Our clothes were dirty. We tried to take care of our little brother, but we ran out of diapers and we used towels.”

Koefoed said as tragic as those events were, “they don’t define who I am. They are part of my arsenal to help others recover.”

Lene’ Garrett, executive director of CASA of Linn County, said 240 children had a CASA mentor last year, a record number.

Yet there are still 120 children on a waiting list.

She said CASA moved into a permanent office space along with a portion of the Linn County Health Department, and CASA volunteers devoted more than 6,700 hours.

“Our goal today is to raise $15,000 because there is an anonymous donor who will match that,” Garrett said.

Garrett said from 40 to 50 percent of children who have lived in foster homes won’t graduate from high school and only 3 percent will go on to college.

One year after leaving foster care at age 18, 60 percent of the children will be homeless, have been in jail or died.

“There was an article in the newspaper recently that said the number one felony in Linn County last year was for methamphetamines and the number one misdemeanor was for DUII,” Garrett said. “That didn’t surprise me at all. We see the correlation between those crimes and the effect on children every day.”

Garrett said the number of children served by CASA has nearly doubled from 121 in 2010 to 240 this year.

“We’ve seen so much growth, but to think that CASA has been in Linn County for 26 years, makes me think we were limping along for many years,” Garrett said.

The luncheon’s presenting sponsor was Re/Max Integrity brokers.

To learn more about CASA and upcoming fundraising events, including a handmade quilt raffle, visit

Linn County reporter Alex Paul can be contacted at 541-812-6114 or by emailing

Addendum by Pamela Koefoed. I appreciate the Albany Democrat’s coverage of the CASA luncheon and their accurate reporting of my talk. Here’s the rest of the story. When I shared about child abuse and my childhood experiences, I didn’t explain that my dad and step mother gained custody of my sister and me. I also didn’t share about my other “little” brother. He wasn’t subjected to the crisis in which my sister, brother S. and I were subjected because he lived with our dad.

#CASA #ChildAbuse #JoyRide 

Highlights from Santa Fe, New Mexico

From Moab, Utah we drove eight hours to Santa Fe, New Mexico where we lodged for the night at the beautiful home of a former railroad tycoon, the Madeline Inn.

Built in 1866 the lovely Victorian Queen Anne building is surrounded by gardens, a courtyard, and is lavishly furnished with period pieces and some unusual items from the owner’s travels to Indonesia–Buddha statues and Hindu puppets.

Madeline King Room

The Madeline’s owner Caroline graciously assisted with information about the use of their land line for an interview on a radio station.

I was interviewed over the phone while in this lovely room. As I visited with the show’s host, little birds in the tree right outside my window sang

Madeline Inn Extras

Fun extras were provided. Here’s one example; if we needed a cloth for a small task, such as washing Fiddo, they were within easy reach–right in our room.




Breakfast at the Madeline was a delightful combination of sweet and spicy. George, the inn’s chef served a scrumptious spinach egg dish with spicy salsa and black beans, coffee cake, banana bread, and fruit. Organic coffee and tea were offered, as well as juice.

One of the reasons we chose the Madeline is its location near Santa Fe’s famous historic city center. After breakfast, Vern and I walked a short distance to the Plaza for a look at some of New Mexico’s rich architectural history.

Santa Fe the PlazaThe most stunning feature of the Plaza is the Palace of the Governors.

Built in 1610, the Palace of the Governors is the longest operating public building in the United States and currently serves as New Mexico’s history museum.

Native American vendors, along the front of the Palace, sell pottery, jewelry, baskets, blankets, and other crafts. They have been doing so since 1936.

Santa Fe Plaza Pam & VendorsNearly all of the artisans along the Palace offered sterling silver and turquoise jewelry for a sum exceeding our trip’s “extra purchases” budget. So we enjoyed the beauty of the people and their traditional crafts without making a purchase.

After a few hours in the Plaza, window shopping and admiring the stunning adobe architecture, we had a late lunch in a well loved local restaurant–La Choza before heading south to visit our son, his wife and our first grandchild in Gardendale, Texas.

More about La Choza and our trip to the oil boom fields of western Texas in our next blog entry.

Blessings to you~

Pamela & Vern



Copyright @ 2014 P&V Koefoed

Photos and material are the property of Pamela & Vern Koefoed and may not be used in any form without written permission. Thank you.






Really Big Rocks in Moab, Utah

Copyright Pamela Koefoed 2014

Copyright Pamela Koefoed 2014

On day two of our Oregon to Texas travels, we stayed at the Castle View Inn, a bed and breakfast located off the beaten path, a short drive to Arches National Park.

We’re giving the inn a five star rating on for its awe-inspiring vistas, charm, comfortable lodging, excellent breakfast, and the hospitality and friendship shown by hosts Jeannette and Jason.

I had never heard of Moab until our son Ryan discovered it on his long move to Texas where he’s employed as a lineman. Apparently, I was a slow learner.

This is the end of the off season for tourism in the area and already the town of Moab, which is the gateway into Arches National Park, was swimming with tourists.

Copyright Pamela Koefoed 2014

Copyright Pamela Koefoed 2014

On day three of our car trip, we left our comfortable lodging for Arches National park. Breathtaking geographical features abound throughout the area.


Copyright Pamela Koefoed 2014

There are three ways to enter the park, bicycle (if you like peddling up steep grades), motorcycle (if you like eating dust), or by car (no strenuous exercise or dust eating involved). We took the scenic drive, stopping often for photo shots and for short hikes in God’s natural beauty.

Courthouse View Copyright 2014

Courthouse View
Copyright 2014

Vern and I would like to share the beauty of the surrounding geography with our grown children and grandchild and hope to rendezvous there soon. A stay at the Castle View Inn is definitely on our to do list. But the next time, we need to stay longer than one night to fully enjoy God’s beautiful Moab.


Arches Natl Park Copyright 2014 Pamela Koefoed

Arches Natl Park
Copyright 2014
Pamela Koefoed

Happy Trails

Blessings to you~

Pamela & Vern