Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Thoughts ... Part 2

Hi Friends,

As promised, here's the second part of my Christmas interview. Enjoy! And may this Christmas be one of wonder and beauty for you and yours.

Q: It’s Christmas Eve… Describe your day and evening.

A: We’ll get together with my husband’s family – parents, brothers, their wives, exchange gifts, eat soup (it’s always soup!), and enjoy. Hopefully, we’ll get to go our church’s Christmas eve service, then come home for hot cocoa, cookies, and the opening of gifts. I’m really looking forward to it!

But the best part should be the new babies in the group. With baby Jayden, there will be three new little ones enjoying their very first Christmas. What a blessing!

Q: Confession time. Shop on line or at the mall?

A: Three words: Five. Little. Kids. So, as you can imagine, a trip to the mall spells n-i-g-h-t-m-a-r-e. I shop online as much as possible, or even better, have my hubby shop on line.

Q: It’s Christmas day… what’s for dinner? Do you make cookies or other traditional foods?

A: The most important thing, of course, is the Christmas sugar cookies. That’s the big tradition at our house. Every year, all of us (yes, even the littlest ones), make and decorate Christmas cookies, from scratch. We have cookies cutters in the shape of trees and fat Santas, stars and crosses, bells and gingermen. It’s so fun to see the kids, their tongues sticking from the sides of their mouths as they work on frosting Santa’s tummy.

Other than that, we like ham, bread, glorified rice (Bryan’s mom makes that), corn . . . and more cookies.

Q: What are you plans for this season?

A: Ah, a simple Christmas this year, of enjoying the family, singing Christmas carols, having fun, and trying to get some chapters written for my next book (I’m waaaay behind! Ack!) . . . hmmm, something here doesn’t sound very Christmas-y. Let’s go back to the cookies.

Q: Any final thoughts on Christmas?

A: This year, I find I’m thinking a lot about the memories I’m making now - for my kids, for my hubby, for me. And I’m thinkin’ that I don’t want those memories to be ones of a Mom who’s running around with too much to do and too little time to do it. I don’t want them to be of hustle, bustle, shopping, wrapping, cooking, cards, and gifts thrown under the tree. I don’t even want them to be of the microscope sets that my girls will unwrap on Christmas morning. Or the Narnia DVD for my oldest, or the new Wall-E for Joelle.

Because toys break, get old, get lost, or they outgrow them. But they don’t outgrow the happy memories of family times together. The memories of decorating Christmas cookies with laughter and joking – those don’t get old. The times we make a gingerbread house together, or sit down and watch the Grinch – those don’t break. The simple things make the best memories. Times when we’re together as a family, having fun, enjoying the traditions we’re building together.

So, that’s my goal this Christmas, to weave memories of peace, love, togetherness, because that’s the best gift I can think of to celebrate Jesus’ birth -- Memories that bring a smile to the face of children . . . and to the face of the King.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Latest News & Christmas Thoughts

Hi Friends,

The Latest News:

--Jayden's doing great. He's two weeks old today and eating really well, growing, and filling lots of diapers. :-)

--Friends have been so helpful, bringing dinners, helping around the house, etc. God has really blessed us with some great people. Thanks, God!

--In writing news, one of my articles was chosen as the best for 2008 at TheHighCalling.org. Here's a link for those of you who are intested: http://thehighcalling.org/Library/ViewLibrary.asp?LibraryID=4599

--If you want to give signed copies of any of my books as Christmas gifts, here's a link that's handy for that: http://search.store.yahoo.net/cgi-bin/nsearch?catalog=yhst-69530432343491&query=marlo%20schalesky (or if you live locally, you can just talk to me directly or email me).

And finally, I thought I'd share a bit from a Christmas interview (stay tuned for more next week!):


Q: What's your first Christmas memory?

A: I must have been about four years old. I remember running into the family room and seeing the presents under the tree. Later I unwrapped one for me – a black stuffed poodle that actually barked. It was wonderful. I had never seen anything so magnificent in all my life. Of course, I don’t have that poodle anymore. I don’t even like poodles so much (being more of a boxer person ;-)), but I’ll never forget that little black dog that barked.

Q: Growing up, did your family have Christmas traditions? Tell us how you incorporated them into your family life. Or, how you created new ones.

A: My favorite Christmas memories (and tradition) from when I was a kid, is of getting up before dawn on Christmas morning, running to fireplace with my brother, getting all the stockings, and racing back to my parents’ bed. My mom was always awake and excited. My dad pretended to be sleepy and complained. Then, with lots of giggling and the thrill of anticipation, we’d pull out the gifts from our stockings one by one. They were simple things, boring really – M&M’s, a toothbrush, some silly plastic toy. Things that would be used up or forgotten in just a few short days. And yet, there was something special about being together, being happy, laughing, that makes those times such neat memories for me.

So, now of course, with kids of my own, stockings are a big deal. We open them first thing on Christmas morning, on our bed. And it’s still just as fun as it used to be, even though I’m all grown up!

Q: When do you put up your tree?

A: When I was growing up, a fun tradition was putting together the artificial tree together. But when I got married, my husband’s tradition was going out to cut down a fresh tree from a Christmas tree farm the day after Thanksgiving. We’ve been married for 20 years. And for 19 years we’ve cut down a tree after Thanksgiving, cleaned it, put it up, and spent the remaining weeks trying to keep it watered and cleaning up needles from the floor (oh, that was tons of fun when the twins were one and crawling around!)

But last year, something amazing happened. My hubby said on Thanksgiving day, “Maybe we should get a fake tree this year. They’ve got some really nice looking ones at Costco.” After picking my jaw up off the floor, I smiled and said, “Great idea. Maybe we should.” And we did - the 9 ft. one with matching garland for our log staircase and rails. No watering. No needles . . . I am a happy woman. And it looks fantastic. I also bought a pine-scented candle so the house smells like pine tree. The best of all worlds. Yay!

Q: Describe the decorating at your house.

A: “No, no! Put it ON the tree. ON the tree. That’s not for your mouth. Put it back. Don’t hit your sister over the head with that. Ahhhh! That one’s breakable. Give it to me. No, no, don’t throw it. That’s it. Here, this nice soft one is for you. No, not to eat … ON the tree.”

Explanation: Three-year-old twins, along with 2 older sisters, ages 5 and 8. Decorating pretty much consists of putting all breakable ornaments way up high on the tree, and redecorating the bottom third with the “safe” ornaments about every half hour, as they remove them and hide them in odd places.

As for other decorations – nativities, little trees, old fashioned santas – all breakable ones on the mantle or the high shelf in the kitchen. Stuffed snowmen, dogs, etc., down to play with. Also, a big hit is the Little People Nativity in a Christmas basket. Basket comes out every morning for play, back away every evening for a little bit of order for Mommy’s sanity.

Q: What is your favorite Christmas song or album?

A: I love “We Will Find Him” on Michael Card’s CD “The Promise: A Celebration of Christ’s Birth (1991)”. But then, I’m a big Michael Card fan in general. Other than that, I love to hear Nat King Cole sing the old favorites like O Come All Ye Faithful (my favorite Christmas hymn), O Little Town of Bethlehem, and Holy Night.

Q: Christmas grows more and more commercial every year. Setting the hustle and bustle aside, what does Christmas really mean to you?

A: Oh, I love Christmas! It’s the most wonderful birthday party of all! The birthday of God incarnate, when the infinite God of the universe was born as a tiny baby in a stable. Wow! So, I love Santa Claus, because at Jesus’ birthday we ought to have the best birthday clown ever. And who’s better than a jolly guy in a red suit? I love the decorations, because Jesus’ birthday party ought to have the most fantastic, sparkling, beautiful decorations of all. I love the gift-giving, because what better way to celebrate the greatest gift of all than to be generous with others? I love the warmth, the laughter, the way people are kinder to others, give more, and get together to enjoy the season. That’s just “right” for a celebration of Jesus. So, to me, Christmas means that God loves me, loves us all, enough to do the crazy-impossible . . . to become one of us, to be born a baby, and to someday die on a cross and raise from the dead – all so we can be with him, forever. So, that’s Christmas to me – a celebration of the incredible love of a wondrous, vivid, breath-taking God.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

More on New Baby . . .

Hi Friends,

Well, baby Jayden is now a week old! He's doing great. I'm exhausted. :-) He really is a good little guy - he has to be, with 4 big sisters hovering around him all the time.

Anyway, since I'm not contemplating much this week except when the next feeding will be and how to get a few more minutes of sleep, I thought I'd just share a few more pictures and wish y'all a wonder-filled getting-ready-for-Christmas time. May you be awe-struck this season over how much God did for you - being born as a baby boy, helpless and dependent. All to reach you and show you the love of God.

And now, pictures:

Jayden and the twins:

The group of 'em:

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Hi Friends!

Well, here's the BIG NEWS at last: Little Jayden was born last Wednesday night at 10:30pm. 8 lbs, 2 oz., 20.5 inches long. A what a sweetie he is!

Incredible labor experience. He'd been head down for weeks, then we go in to have him, and they can't feel his head ... get out the ultrasound and he's flipped up -- breech. Ack! But we see he has lots of room in there (probably from the twins stretching things out last time ... Bryan says baby was living in a two bedroom condo in there - ha!). So, my BRILLIANT doctor (really, she is fantastic), Dr. Beck, says we should try to invert him. Inversions aren't done too often, and they only work about 30% of the time when they do try it, but she's up for trying. So, she gets another doc from the practice and in they come. Lots of pressing and me gritting my teeth, but they do it. They get him turned. Bryan says it was an incredible thing to see. You could see baby's outline rising up from my tummy and then rotating (all I saw was the bedrail as I tried not to holler!). None of the nurses (or even the other doctor who helped) had ever seen one done before. Really cool.

So, then we start the pitocin. Hours later, no baby ... and we can't feel the head again. Ultrasound again. But he's only overshot a bit and has his shoulder presenting, his head a bit to the side. Doc pushes him in line again. More pitocin. More hours. They check again. Still a head, but with a little hand too. Doc stuffs the hand back up and in. More time. Check again. Now there's a head (still) plus a foot. Doc shoves the foot back up and in. A bit more time. Then, he drops down. Contractions intensify so bad that I'm dying even with the epidural they gave me. INTENSE PAIN. Thirty minutes later, I've gone from 6 cm (which took most of the day), all the way to 10cm. PUSH! Twenty minutes later, there's baby with the cord wrapped around his neck twice! Slip the cord off (yay - it's not tight!), and he's perfectly fine.

He's nursing great, sleeping okay, and isn't nearly as loud as his sisters - ha! I'm trying to get some sleep and do some healing up. But we are SO THANKFUL for him. What a blessing.

And now, a few more pictures:

Bethany with new baby brother at the hospital:

Joelle with new baby:

Me with my miracle doctor:

Her Captain's Heart by Lyn Cote

Hi Friends,

Hey, here's the new novel I wanted to tell ya about for this week - especially great for those of you who like historical romance. See below for a bit about it, then stay tuned to my blog here for THE BIG NEWS and pictures to match, which I'll be posting soon (I hope).

Okay, here's about the book:

Her Captain's Heart by Lyn Cote
Love Inspired Historical
ISBN 978 0 373 82801 2

Nothing is impossible—as far as idealistic Verity Hardy is concerned. The lovely widow is certain teaching freed slaves in a Virginia town torn apart by the Civil War will help heal bitterness and old wounds. But she's finding that the school's builder, cynical Captain Matt Ritter has little reason to have faith in her—or anything else. ***First in the "Gabriel Sisters" series for Love Inspired Historical:"In the wake of the Civil War, three Quaker sisters fight injustice and find true love."

RT Review-
"Her Captain's Heart is not just a great love story. It shows how people used their faith and determination to end social ills."

Find out more at Lyn's website: http://www.booksbylyncote.com/

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Where Are You This Christmas??

Hi Friends,

Well, tomorrow's the big day for baby-having, so I'm posting a thought early this week. Hopefully my next post will have GOOD NEWS. :-)

Meanwhile, here's a poem I wrote for you to think about for this Christmas season. It's one of my favorite writings:


Where was I
When the King was born?
Was I at the inn,
Too crowded for Him,
With packages, boxes, and bags?

Where was I
When God became man?
Tending sheep far away,
Lest one go astray,
Blind to even the angels?

Where was I
When Christ first wept?
Was I on the road,
Rushing to and fro,
Too busy to notice the star?

Where am I
This Christmastide?
Am I in the stall,
Forsaking all,
To worship the King of kings?