Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

This Week's Crazies ... Catching a Glimpse of God

Hi Friends,

What a week! Jayna fell down the steps and clunked her head, then splatted on the pavement and scraped up her legs, then jammed a plastic stick under her tongue and made a big sore (she couldn't eat for a day). Joelle lost two teeth in one day (no corn on the cob for her - ha!) and had a big crash on her bike (good thing those teeth were already gone because she decided it would be best to break her fall with her face - alas!). Bethany pinched baby's lip in a metal clip, and Bria's decided it's a good week to start peeing her pants again.

Yeah, somebody just shoot me now!

But, in the midst of it all, something interesting happened that gave me a glimpse of God. One day, while I was rushing by to deal with the latest disaster, I passed baby. He caught a glimpse of me and immediately clapped his hands and raised up his arms with a big, huge grin.

I stopped because for a moment I was reminded so strongly of worship, of clapping to God, of raising my hands to Him. And I thought, you know, that's what's life's about, that's what worship is about -- it's about watching for God and rejoicing when we catch a glimpse of Him.

When I'm in my little playpen-world, with my toys and trials, tears and limitations, I need to be watching for Him to pass by. And when I glimpse Him, I'll throw up my hands, grin, and giggle with delight.

In other words, I need to be more like baby boy, watching, worshipping, laughing. And I hope I'll remember that when the next disaster occurs.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Blue Like Play Dough by Tricia Goyer

Hi Friends,

I wanted to tell you about the newest book from my good friend, Tricia Goyer. Tricia and I started out writing, and going to Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, back in the early 90's. I think we became friends back in 1994 and have been on this writing journey together ever since. She's a great writer, and her newest non-fiction, BLUE LIKE PLAY DOUGH, is sitting right here on my TBR (to-be-read) pile. Here's a bit about it:

In the everyday stretch and squeeze of motherhood, Tricia Goyer often feels smooshed by the demands of life. In Blue Like Play Dough, she shares her unlikely journey from rebellious, pregnant teen to busy wife and mom with big dreams of her own. As her story unfolds, Tricia realizes that God has more in store for her than she has ever imagined possible.Sure, life is messy and beset by doubts. But God keeps showing up in the most unlikely places–in a bowl of carrot soup, the umpteenth reading of Goodnight Moon, a woe-is me teen drama, or play dough in the hands of a child.In Tricia’s transparent account, you’ll find understanding, laughter, and strength for your own story. And in the daily push and pull, you’ll learn to recognizes the loving hands of God at work in your life… and know He has something beautiful in mind.

Author Bio:
Tricia Goyer is the author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, including Generation NeXt Parenting and the Gold Medallion finalist Life Interrupted. Goyer writes for publications such as Today’s Christian Woman and Focus on the Family, speaks to women’s groups nationwide and has been a presenter at the Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) national convention. She and her husband, John, live with their family in Montana.

Random House link where you'll see all of the different options where you can purchase the book online: http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9781601421524

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Not Again! Jayna Gets the Scissors . . .

Hi Friends,

Yes, it happened again. Unbeliveable. And I've been soooo careful with the scissors too. But this time, Jayna snuck some from Grandma's house, hid them in her bed, and chopped off her hair on the left side in the night (as well as cutting a few holes in her pillow). Aarrggghhh! And just when her hair was finally grown out from the last incident (see picture from last time -- sigh). That kid!

So, here we go again. But Bryan reminds me that all of our girls have found scissors and cut their hair at some point. And so, I've been reminded of what I learned when Bethany did the same thing, when she was four years old. That time, it happened like this:

The Hair Incident

The silence should have warned me. My loud, rambunctious 4-year-old sitting quietly on the floor playing? Something wasn’t right. But I ignored the signs and kept working at my computer.

I discovered my mistake a few minutes later when Bethany peeked around the corner of my desk. “Hi Mommy.”

I stopped typing and glanced around. “Hi sweet--” The words died on my lips. A hunk of hair five inches shorter than the rest swung from her shoulder. “WHAT did you do?!”

Bethany’s eyes rounded.

I drew a deep breath and lowered myself back into my chair. “Come here.”

Bethany edged around the corner.

I raised my hand and waggled my fingers.

Slowly, she lifted her arm. A pair of blunt-nosed scissors hung from her fingertips.

For a moment I looked into her eyes, now pooling with unshed tears. Then, I sighed and pulled her onto my lap. “Oh Bethany, you know better than to take the scissors to your hair.” I ran my hands over her once-beautiful, long curls. Strands of blond came loose in my fingers, revealing three missing chunks.

“But I wanted . . .”

“It doesn’t matter what you wanted.”

Her lip quivered. “I didn’t know.”

My eyebrows shot up.

Bethany looked away. Her voice wavered. “You never said I shouldn’t.”

I cleared my throat. “Well, there’s nothing we can do about it now.”

“You can’t fix it?” Big tears slipped down her cheek. A few seconds more, and I’d be crying too. But instead, I gathered her up, took her into her room, and laid her down for a nap. Then, I returned to the scene of the crime.

I surveyed the floor where she’d been playing, then the chair, and the toy trunk. Nothing. No sign of hair. I frowned and got down on my hands and knees. Nothing under the chair, or the rug. My eyes swept to the inch and a half gap between the floor and the bottom of the trunk. Ah, there they were.

I reached beneath and pulled out three long chunks of hair. Then, I sat cross-legged on the floor and twirled the strands around my finger. She didn’t know, huh? Didn’t realize that cutting her hair was wrong? Then why hide the evidence? Why so carefully tuck it beneath the trunk?

In one way, she was right. I hadn’t specifically told her not to cut her hair. But I had told her the scissors were only for paper, and she could use them only when Mommy was helping her.

I stood and laid the hairs flat on my desk. The golden strands glowed in the light. Bethany had lost something valuable, something beautiful today, not because she didn’t know better, but because, in the end, “want” overcame wisdom. I know, because sometimes I do the same thing.

In Jeremiah 31:33 (NIV) God said of Israel, "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.” What that tells me is that as I study God’s Word I learn more than just the words on the page. I learn to see the things of life as God sees them, to think, feel, and understand at a deeper level. And yet sometimes it seems easier to silence the voice of truth within and make excuses or justifications to get what I want. A little lie won’t matter, I may tell myself. No one will know. It doesn’t matter. God hasn’t specifically said that I shouldn’t. And so I snip away at the golden hairs and stuff them carefully away so no one will see. Is that how I want to live? No way!

So, later, as I placed Bethany’s hair in a baggie for her baby book, I prayed that from now on when the voice of truth whispers within, I would remember the hair incident. And I prayed for both of us that want would no longer overcome wisdom. That neither of us would snip away another golden strand.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Deadly Intent by Camy Tang

Hi Friends,

I've got another book to tell you about this week -- Deadly Intent by my friend Camy Tang. Here's a bit about it:

The Grant family's exclusive Sonoma spa is a place for rest and relaxation—not murder! When Naomi Grant finds her client Jessica Ortiz bleeding to death in her massage room, everything falls apart. The salon's reputation is at stake…and so is Naomi's freedom when she discovers that she is one of the main suspects! Her only solace is found with the other suspect—Dr. Devon Knightley, the victim's ex-husband. But Devon is hiding secrets of his own. When they come to light, where can Naomi turn…and whom can she trust?

Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. She used to be a biologist, but now she is a staff worker for her church youth group and leads a worship team for Sunday service. She also runs the Story Sensei fiction critique service. On her blog, she gives away Christian novels every week, and she ponders frivolous things like dumb dogs (namely, hers), coffee-geek husbands (no resemblance to her own...), the writing journey, Asiana, and anything else that comes to mind.

Visit her website at http://www.camytang.com/ for a huge website contest going on right now, giving away fourteen boxes of books and 24 copies of her latest release, DEADLY INTENT.

Purchase links:
Buy from Christianbook.com
Buy from Amazon

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Kidnapping of Kenzie Thorn by Liz Johnson

Hi Friends,

I wanted to tell you about the book I'm reading and enjoying now - The Kidnapping of Kenzie Thorn by Liz Johnson. Liz is a publicist at my publishing house, and this is her first book. It's a Love Inspired Suspense, so if you like romantic suspense, check it out! Here's a bit about it:


Myles Parsons is just another inmate in Kenzie Thorn’s GED course until he kidnaps her, offering only a feeble explanation–that he’s actually FBI Special Agent Myles Borden. Terrified, Kenzie doesn’t want to believe his story of being undercover to protect her. Moreover, she can’t believe that someone might really want her dead.

But just when Myles thinks he has her out of harm’s way, his plans start to fall apart. He attempts to take Kenzie to a safe house—but the stubborn woman won’t go! So together they must uncover the clues that will reveal a most shocking perpetrator. All the while Myles tries to keep his distance from Kenzie … but finds himself falling in love.

About the Author:

Liz Johnson grew up reading Christian fiction, and always dreamed of being part of the publishing industry. After graduating from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff with a degree in public relations, she set out to fulfill her dream. In 2006 she got her wish when she accepted a publicity position at a major trade book publisher. While working as a publicist in the industry, she decided to pursue her other dream-becoming an author. Along the way to having her novel published, she completed the Christian Writers Guild apprentice course and wrote articles for several magazines.

Liz lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where she enjoys theater, ice skating, volunteering in her church's bookstore and making frequent trips to Arizona to dote on her nephew and three nieces. She loves stories of true love with happy endings. The Kidnapping of Kenzie Thorn is her first novel. Keep up with Liz's adventures in writing at www.lizjohnsonbooks.com.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Beyond the Night Wins the Christy - Yay!

Hi Friends,

For those of you who haven't heard, BEYOND THE NIGHT won the Christy Award this weekend in the Contemporary Romance Category. Whoo Hoo! The Christies is like the Academy Awards of Christian Fiction, so I'm so excited to have won (especially since I'm working on some new ideas to present to my publisher!).

For a full list of winners, see: http://ajast.com/ChristyAwards2009WinnerPR.pdf

Richard Foster, author of the classic Celebration of Discipline (among others) was the keynote speaker at the awards banquet. And Beyond the Night was the first winner announced. I couldn't be there, so my agent, Steve Laube, accepted the award for me and read my little "thank you" blurb. There was a live blog of the event on the Christy site that you can replay, if you're interested, at http://www.christyawards.com/liveblog.html.

Anyway, I'm so happy and humbled to have received this encouragement, especially as the doubts have been raging lately, like they usually do when I'm needing to start a new project. So neat that God chose the Christy to tell me that He knows the plans He has for me ... and that "this is the way, walk in it."

Blessings to you, my friends. And thanks to all who sent their congrats. It's been so fun to share the "yay!" with so many friends.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Firecracker Frenzy - Going Over the Hurdles of Life

Hi Friends,

This weekend we did a gymkhana show - the Firecracker Frenzy. It was a lot of fun and all 3 of us who rode won prizes. One of the highlights was that Joelle got 2nd place in the Hurry Scurry (which is a course with 3 jumps). Little Oreo (her horse) jumped beautifully. When we got Oreo a few months ago, she was terrible at jumping - her back feet would bang the jumps, she'd stumble over, the jump would be all jumbled up afterward. It was ugly. But Joelle just kept practicing with Oreo, giving her a chance to figure out how to do it right. So, here at home, they'd canter around the arena and jump and jump and jump, until Oreo got good at it. And we didn't get mad at Oreo for not doing well at first, we just kept giving her chances to practice and encouraging her for each improvement.

I think God's like that with us. We all have things we're not so good at - maybe considering others first, or trusting Him in difficult circumstances, or finding peace in chaos (that's a tough one for me!), or fighting fear in certain specific areas of life. And I've noticed that our response is too often to beat ourselves up about that - feel down for not having enough faith or for not flying through a situation perfectly or not being as good as someone else going through a similar thing. And we may even think that God's upset with us too, thinking "why can't she just get it?!" But I think God's a lot more like Joelle - just giving us opportunities to practice, grow, and improve until we can jump smoothly. He doesn't expect us to be able to clear every jump the first time. He just gives us chances to get a little better, and little faster, a little smoother, until we've mastered the things that we once weren't so good at.

So, that's what I think God is saying to me lately, and maybe to you too. He's not scolding us for our stumbling, He's saying, "You'll get it, let's try it again. I'm giving you another chance, and another, and another, so you can get a little better each time." And perhaps, in time, we'll be flying over the jumps with our feet not even touching too.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Shades of Morning ... DONE!

Hi Friends,

Just doing the happy dance here because my next "Love Stories with a Twist!" was due in to the publisher today and I just sent it in via email. Whoo Hoo! The title so far is "Shades of Morning," and it due to hit the shelves next May. Between now and then it will go through edits, more edits, copy edits, galley edits, proofreading, and more read-throughs. Then, printing, cover design, blah blah blah. Lots yet to do, but I'm celebrating now that the main writing is done.

Here's hoping my new editor loves it. Bryan says it's my best yet, so we'll see. It's certainly my most fun story. :-) But I tell ya, it's some kind of miracle that this book got written at all, what with pregnancy, new baby, kidney stone surgeries, homeschooling, business running, and a zillion other things. So, yay God!

So, no other interesting thoughts this week (as my brain is fried), except to share with you the theme of Shades of Morning so you ponder it for your own life. So, here ya go:

God's gifts to us come in packages we often don't expect, don't like, and don't want. But they're gifts all the same. God wants to heal us, make us whole, and often those ugly gifts are the very tools He uses for our healing ... if only we let Him.