Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Stuttering Foundation



Humbled, honored and blessed to have my book available on the awesome website of  the Stuttering Foundation.

If you stutter, if you feel the insecurity, loneliness or stigma of a stammer, you're not alone. Please know there are organizations out there to help you feel welcome, help you find your place in the world. Open your heart and your life to all the wonderful possibilities in store for you.

There are many resources available to you, reading material, sites to visit. My fictional book, Shadow of My Father's Secret is also available as a resource, though fiction, you'll become immersed in the world of twenty-year-old Aaron, born with a stutter, trying to find the love and acceptance of a father who rejects him. Come away feeling as if you've just made a good friend in the person of Aaron. Walk in his shoes and learn to forgive, find your talents, and live the life God created you to live.

Take a look at the Stuttering Foundation's amazing website. You'll make a friend or two along the way.

 http://www.stutteringhelp.org/books-stuttering

http://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Fathers-Secret-Karen-Malena/dp/0988922525/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1369878564&sr=1-4&keywords=karen+malena

http://pinterest.com/stutteringfdn/#_=_

http://www.stutteringhelp.org/

Monday, May 27, 2013

Do you want to go to the parade?





A knock on my door, and my neighbor, Zach appeared, with a question I didn't think I'd ever hear from him again. "Do you want to walk up to the parade?"

Just this morning I'd been thinking about him. It was a yearly ritual,  walking up to the yearly Memorial Day parade together.

Zach has been a wonderful kid, courteous and kind. Always with a smile, always  polite. But as he approaches his teen years, I figured he would never want to attend a parade, let alone, ask me.

 I've seen him grow as the years progressed from a cute little kid who loved trick or treat night and playing ball with his daddy,  into a taller version of himself, with thoughts of playing football for his school team on his mind now. Yet one thing has remained through the years: he's never changed who he is. With good parent's guidance, Zach has always been a great kid. He asks me if he can help when he sees me outside doing yard work. And when company is here, he politely shakes hands with everyone, having conversation with them like an adult.

So it was with a bit of surprise, I opened my door to find Zach asking the question once more. "Do you want to walk up to the parade?" A lump formed in my throat. We have this time once more, I thought. How much longer until you're a teenager, thoughts of girls and your whole life before you?

He'll always be special to me. I've felt like an auntie more than a neighbor. I think he'll do great things someday. And if he feels uncomfortable as he gets a little older talking to me while he's with friends, I'll understand that time passes as a child grows into adulthood. They always come back though. They never lose their roots. I'll be here, watching, praying, hoping for the best in his life.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Thank You For Teaching Me

        Recently I had lunch with a wonderful man I'm honored to know; my former employer. We'd met one day at Maple Restaurant, an old establishment in Ambridge, the small, homey town I grew up in. All the pleasant talk and chatter with him brought me back. Back to a time when I was young, the whole world before me.......

      When I graduated business school at eighteen, I was faced with the daunting task of job hunting. What to do? Go on interviews that the school would provide, all of them in the downtown Pittsburgh area? No way.
     As chance would have it, my mother was looking through the paper one day and spotted an ad: Dental Assistant, will Train....it read. When she saw it was the dentist I'd gone to as a little girl, she encouraged me to call.
     Dental Assistant? What on earth?
     Thirty some years later, I've never looked back. The dental field has been extremely rewarding for me, teaching me compassion, patience, caring and understanding.
     The man who would help me learn these lessons and many others is my former boss, Dr. Alvin Zamba. A quiet, good soul, this man would teach me more about life, people, work ethics and goodness than I would ever learn elsewhere. With his gentle approach to our patients in the dental office we worked together for twenty seven years, Dr. Zamba showed me that honesty and hard work are the traits we should all strive for.
     The dental work we put out through the years was impeccable. A periodontist, gum specialist, in our area would call Dr. Zamba, "Beaver County's Most Well-Kept Secret". And he was. Our fees were reasonable, and the work of his hands, incredible. Our satisfied patients would tell me in private, how pleased they were with their appointments.
     In all the years working with Dr. Zamba, I would not miss a day's work. I looked forward to the bond and closeness with the elderly patients we saw on a daily basis. I listened to their problems, hopes and dreams. I laughed with them and cried with them.
     Several times, the doctor and I went to the bedside of a sick, older man in his own home. He didn't have much longer to live, but his family wanted him to have dentures made for whatever time he had left. I think of that now, how my boss took the time out of his busy day, and the comfort of working in our office to do this for the family.
     Yes, there were testy moments, as there were only the two of us working together for many years, and maybe my temper wanted to flare at times, but keeping myself in check was also another lesson. First and foremost, respect of my employer, and learning to hold my tongue when I may not have agreed with something.
     I miss those days, a simpler time in a small town, in an old-fashioned office decorated in antiques with no frills, no computer, no exciting major equipment. Only the tools and skills of a wonderful man, a man I am pleased to have called "boss" for many years.
     Here's to you, Dr. Zamba, in thankfulness for all I learned at your side.