Saturday, August 29, 2015

Lost in the scent of youth

Photo: daughter-in-law, Colleen and baby McKenna

This weekend my husband and I traveled to North Carolina to meet our grandbaby, McKenna. Upon walking through the door and holding her for the first time, I broke into tears of happiness. She's already three months old, so we missed the precious newborn moments, but immediately I fell in love with the little character she's already becoming.

The faces a baby makes are cause for some of the best laughter. Even when they don't mean to be funny, how can you not smile back at a giggling baby or child? Their whole face lights up, the face of a cherub, and you find time, years, and cares erased from yourself as you mirror that beautiful smile.

Their coos, gurgles and baby sounds are like music to the ears as you wonder what on earth they are thinking, and what are they trying to tell you.

But did you ever notice that nothing, and I mean nothing has the fragrance of a little baby. Well, barring the moment McKenna did her number two duty on my lap, but I'm talking about the fresh scent of youth and a lifetime of fairytale wishes, hopes and dreams before them. For that's the scent of a child. Innocent, pure, lovely and beautiful as God formed them to be. I breathe it in, and realize that at that moment, I don't have a care in the world. Nothing but that precious child matters, a life literally in the palms of my hands.

I have two full days to spend with her. Not nearly enough time when your children live out of state, having to go where their jobs and lives take them. But you can be sure that I will spend many wonderful moments lost not only in the scent and antics of this little girl, but being captivated by the spell she's put upon my heart because I know what unconditional love feels like.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Mistakes are a part of life

I met with one of my oldest and dearest friends today for breakfast. After great, heartfelt talk, I almost broke into tears. I thanked this particular friend for being there through some of the toughest moments of my life. Not only the normal ups and downs caused by regular day to day living, but the moments where I brought grief upon myself.

I thought back to the times in my life where I made some of the stupidest decisions in my dating choices. This friend would patiently talk me through them and talk to me about God's forgiveness, encouraging me to read my bible. During these times, I would feel as if God Himself wouldn't want to hear from me, so I stayed away from Him, feeling as if I was hiding.

My friend once told me that God throws our sins into the "sea of forgetfulness" when we confess. Being brought up Catholic and Italian, guilt and sorrow were the usual motivators. I would beat myself up for the longest time over particular instances. I felt that my sins were the worst in the world, and surely even God would never forgive me. My choices in relationships were volatile, and I fretted many a night over the issues brought on by them.

Looking back now, I wish I'd have done many things differently. I found that I was "addicted to relationships," something I encourage young girls to think seriously about before jumping in with both feet to the wrong person. In my loneliness at times, I would obsess over the next person to date, the next frenzy of hurry up and wait for the phone to ring. And in my loneliness, I would make mistake after mistake many times living with the shame of a wrong decision, hurting only myself in the process.

Take time to get to know and love yourself. I wish I'd have done this many times over. I wish I could erase the pain of a failed marriage, an abusive boyfriend, if only I'd have done my homework a little better and known what was right for me instead of always feeling I had to "have someone."

Oh how much farther I'd be in life and better off if the control freaks wouldn't have monitored my every move. How can I blame them? I allowed it to happen.

I envy people who never loved and lost. Though I believe in true love, I also know now that not everyone has a need to be with a partner. There are people who are perfectly comfortable in their own skin, enjoying their life to the fullest. Their attitude is, "if it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, I'm okay with that too."

It's time to move on from my past. After all, mistakes are a part of life, and I've learned some serious lessons from them. But when I see my son who is well-adjusted, stable and happy, I know somehow, somewhere I made at least one really good decision.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

History does repeat itself

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
Edmund Burke

The parallels between the Nazi regime and my new dystopian story scare me. Especially in light of watching Adolph Hitler on the military channel recently.

Frank Tomlinson, in my book "Sound of Silence," is a man obsessed with power. Full of himself, a God-complex, disturbingly handsome and charming. It is his decree, the "Sound of Silence" law, that governs the New United States in the year 2050.

One regular man, Raymond Warren watches as an elderly woman falls in a transportation portal. Nobody comes up to her aid, and he doesn't think twice about helping her. She thanks him out loud in a world that doesn't permit speaking any longer. Ray, without even thinking says the words that will condemn him: "You're welcome." From here, he's on the run from the future military police, the Stewards of Order, who are the executioners and "peace keepers" of the future.

Ray must leave the wife and young daughter he loves to ensure their safety. As he's ready to walk out of his home for what may be forever, his eyes are drawn to the scar on his daughter's throat. The surgical implant paralyzing all children's vocal chords in the last ten years.

Free today, August 4th and Weds. August 5th on Amazon. The story will soon continue...

There is something endearing in Karen Malena’s writing, a warmth that is captivating. Her stories always revolve around relationships and family, dedication and faith, overcoming obstacles that every reader can relate to. Many of those elements are present in Sound of Silence even as Ms Malena delves into a dark, sinister dystopian future reminiscent of Fahrenheit 451 or Soylent Green, a world where adults are forbidden to speak and little children are never given the chance. Mark Venturini, Fantasy author

Have you seen Equilibrium with Christian Bale? I thought about that movie all the time when I read Karen Malena's The Sound of Silence because the concept was so similar. But whereas Equilibrium deals with a man who tries to overthrow the system in a future where feelings are illegal, Karen Malena uses the same concept and sets it in a world in which no one is allowed to speak. As far as I know, this idea has never been used in books or movies before, but it's so very efficient. Just like with her previous book, Piggy, Karen Malena's writing flows effortlessly and makes even a dark, daring subject such as this one entertaining. I'm looking forward to seeing how the rest of the series will turn out. Vanessa Morgan, author