Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tasting the Turkey

Hi Friends,

Here's a little story that I like to share at Thanksgiving time. It comes from my husband, Bryan. Enjoy, and a very Wonder-Filled Thanksgiving to you!

Here ya go:

"Yum!" It was Thanksgiving day and I was in the kitchen, sneaking bits of turkey while no one was looking. To my ten-year-old mind, nothing could compare to Mom’s perfectly cooked turkey. I stuck my fingers into the warm juice and pulled off another piece. "Ahhh," I sighed and smiled. It was delicious. I glanced around then snatched another bite.

This is my favorite part of Thanksgiving, I thought, licking my fingers as the turkey juices dripped down my hand. I loved to sample the little pieces of turkey that fell to the bottom of the pan during cooking. It was like a special, tasty prize that made my mouth water just to think about it. I jammed a fourth piece of turkey into my mouth and rubbed my belly, enjoying the dual pleasures of taste and smell.

At my Sunday School three days later, Pastor Ron visited our class. He sat down on the stool in front and straightened his collar. His eyes swept over the students. "Let me tell you a story," he began. "There was a man named Joe. Joe spent his life doing stuff that was very bad. He drank. He gambled. He lived a wild life. He swore all the time and never went to church. When he ran out of money, he robbed a store and then continued his bad living. On his death bed, Joe knew he was going to die, so he begged God for forgiveness and decided to trust in Jesus. That night, Joe died and went to Heaven, the same as if he had loved and served God all his life. What do you think of that?"

"Hey, that's not fair!," I burst forth. My cheeks grew red with annoyance.

"No, it's not fair," he agreed. "Not fair to Joe.”

“To Joe?” I questioned. “What do you mean?”

“I mean it's not fair because Joe missed the greatest joys in life."

"But he was bad!” I exclaimed, sputtering in confusion. “If he could get into heaven, why should I bother to do what I’m told? I may as well go out and rob a store too!”

My Pastor smiled. “Do you really think so?”

I lowered my head and stared at my feet. Then, I shrugged my shoulders.

Pastor Ron cleared his throat.

I looked up at him again. His mouth was quirked in a strange half-grin.

"Tell me," he continued, "have you ever sneaked into the kitchen to taste a little bit of turkey before the Thanksgiving meal?"

I drew a quick breath and nodded my head. My eyes grew wide in shock. How had he known? I remembered back to my time in the kitchen just three days before. Yes, I knew very well what it was like to taste the turkey. It was great!

"Well," he said, glancing at the rest of the class, "that's just what it's like for you and me. All the time we spend serving God in this life is just like sneaking into the kitchen to taste the turkey. We get a little taste of heaven before the great banquet. Joe, on the other hand, doesn't get to taste the turkey in this life. He has to wait. Just think of all the fun he missed out on here in this life."

"Wow," I whispered, "I never thought of it like that.

Pastor Ron chuckled. "Now, every time you sneak a bit of turkey, you can think about the fact that every day you spend serving God is a little taste of heaven here on earth."

To this day, I still sneak my little bit of turkey before the Thanksgiving meal, and every time I thank God for another day spent in His love, tasting the turkey of Heaven.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Puzzling Parts of Life

Hi Friends,

Well, crazy week around here. Besides Jayna's broken arm and my substantive edits that are coming due, the whole family came down with some kind of awful flu bug. Being cooped up in the house with five sick kids with edits due hasn't been so much fun. But this morning as the twins were coughing and putting together a puzzle on the living room floor, I was reminded of a story when Joelle was putting together the same puzzle a few years ago. And that story reminded me that this piece of my life's puzzle (the one full of whiny kids and tissues and bottles of medicine) may not look so great, but even it fits into God's plan for the whole.

Anyway, I found the story encouraging and hope you will too. It went goes like this:

“No, Sweetie, that doesn’t go there.” I pointed my finger at the puzzle piece in my two-year-old daughter’s hand.

Joelle studied the bright piece and frowned. Vivid reds and pinks splashed over the cardboard surface. “Flower. Go dere.” She again pushed it into the open space along one side of the puzzle.

“It won’t fit. You’re not ready for that piece yet.”

“Fit. Go dere.” Her brows furrowed as she turned the piece sideways and tried again. Push, turn, shove, turn, stare, frown. And still the piece wouldn’t slide into place.

I tapped my fingers on the table and reached for the puzzle piece.

Joelle hid it against her chest.

I had to admit, it was a beautiful piece. Rose petals shone against the deep green background and created an enticing image of color. But no matter how hard Joelle tried, it wouldn’t fit into spot she had chosen for it.

I watched her struggle for a few more minutes, then searched through the pile for the right piece. I finally found it – a piece covered in shades of ugly brown with dark knobs for the tree trunk. “Here, love, try this one.” I handed her the picture of the brown trunk.

She looked at the piece in my hand, then at the pretty flowers in hers. She pushed my hand away. “No.”

I wiggled my fingers. “This is the one you need.”

“No.” She pointed at my hand. “Yucky.”

I looked down at the piece. She was right. It was yucky compared to the flowers. But it was the piece she needed at this time. The only one that would fit in order to make the picture complete.
The difference was that I had the whole picture in mind, the whole puzzle. She, only the piece in her hand. It took Joelle five full minutes to finally put down the flowered piece and try the one I was holding out to her.

Not that I blamed her. I prefer flowered pieces too. In the picture of my life, I’ve often tried to shove in the pretty piece – something that looks good, seems appealing. I want success in my career now. I want my relationships to be easy and comfortable. I want my children to always choose what’s right, and my health to be excellent.

But sometimes God holds out a piece that isn’t nearly so attractive. He calls me to a difficult task, to face failure or fear, to endure a painful situation, or to invest in a relationship that seems to bring only heartache. At those times, the piece He’s giving me looks brown, gnarled, and ugly when I want bright and beautiful.

And sometimes, I, too, want to hang on to my idea of how my life should be right now. Sometimes I want to force a pretty piece, one I like better, when God’s giving me the less attractive piece because in the end that’s the one that will make the picture of my life right.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” God tells the people of Israel in Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV), “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” And the same holds true for me. He knows the plans He has for me. His plans, not mine. Plans that take into account the whole picture of my life, the picture He is creating especially for me.

So today, as I watched my girls put puzzle pieces together, I was reminded that God knows all the pieces of my life, where they fit, and in what order they must be placed.

And when he hands me a piece that isn’t all flowers, I need to trust that He sees the whole picture, and one day that picture will be beautiful.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Joelle's Baptism - Yay!

Hi Friends,

In happier news, our 6-year-old daughter, Joelle, was baptized yesterday at church. She was soooo excited about. She's been bugging me for months to be baptized, so she was very pleased to finally be able to do it, to make her commit to Christ public and to tell everybody how much she loves Jesus. She was so sweet! We got her a blank journal with scripture quotes in it so that she can start writing down her thoughts about God, her prayers, her questions, and her spiritual musings. She's already filled three pages.

And here's what Bryan said before baptizing her:

Joelle’s mom and I have shared the Gospel message with her dozens of times from before she could even talk.

When she was 2 ½ years old she invited Jesus into her heart. I don’t think she really understood what that meant at the time. But I believe God honored her little prayer. He gave her a desire to know Jesus.

Over the next four years Joelle learned much more about God at home, at Sunday School, and Awana. We counted that she has memorized about 200 different Bible verses while she was a Cubbie and Sparkie.

When Joelle was 4 she started asking really interesting questions about God. Daddy had to get some wisdom to answer some of those questions.

In the last year I believe that Joelle began to claim her faith for her own. She really began to take ownership of her faith. It wasn’t just the faith of Mom and Dad anymore. It was Joelle’s faith. It wasn’t just Mom & Dad’s love for Jesus—it was Joelle’s love.

Over the last couple of months Joelle has been very excited about being baptized. She really wants to be able to share with all of you her love for Jesus and her commitment to follow him.

Questions he asked her, to which she answered with a resounding "YES!":

Do you love Jesus?

Do you believe he died for your sins and rose from the grave?

Are you going to love and serve him for the rest of your life?

Jayna's Arm

Hi Friends,

For those who haven't heard, one of my four-year-old twins, Jayna, broke her arm up near the shoulder on Friday night (by falling off a chair - not a very interesting way to break an arm, huh?). Here she is with it in a sling, and wrapped. She's feeling fairly good in the daytime, though nights are tough.

We were hoping to see the orthopedic doc today, but he's in surgery all day so we have to wait until tomorrow. We'll know a lot more, we hope, after we get in to the doc.

Yes, this is the same kid who cut her own hair ... twice, fell down the steps, splatted into a coat rack and got a black tooth, fell off her bike, and probably about ten other things just this year. Not the most careful pea in the pod! Very good natured little girl, though.

Anyway, all prayers welcome! I'll have to get another magazine article out of this experience, somehow (one good thing about being a writer - nothing's wasted!).

Meanwhile, I'm supposed to be doing my substantive edits on my next novel - ack!

Fit to Be Tied by Robin Lee Hatcher

Hi Friends,

Here's the new novel I have to tell you about this week. It's FIT TO BE TIED by Robin Lee Hatcher.

Here's a bit about it:

Who says a woman can’t do a man’s job?

Cleo Arlington dresses like a cowboy, is fearless and fun-loving, and can ride, rope, and wrangle a horse as well as any man. In 1916, however, those talents aren’t what most young women aspire to. But Cleo isn’t most women. Twenty-nine years old and single, Cleo loves life on her father’s Idaho ranch. Still, she hopes someday to marry and have children.

Enter Sherwood Statham, an English aristocrat whose father has sentenced him to a year of work in America to “straighten him out.” Sherwood, who expected a desk job at a posh spa, isn’t happy to be stuck on an Idaho ranch. And he has no idea how to handle Cleo, who’s been challenged with transforming this uptight playboy into a down-home cowboy.

Just about everything either of them says or does leaves the other, well, fit to be tied. And though Cleo believes God’s plan for her includes a husband, it couldn’t possibly be Sherwood Statham. Could it?


Best-selling novelist Robin Lee Hatcher is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. She makes her home in Idaho where she enjoys spending time with her family and her high-maintenance Papillon, Poppet.

About FIT TO BE TIED, the Library Journal said: "A master of lively historical romances, Hatcher demonstrates an expert ability to craft spunky, unlikely heroines who go against the tide of the times in which they live, making for fun, exciting stories. She also pays close attention to historical detail. This second series entry (after A Vote of Confidence) is highly recommended for readers of inspirational and historical romances and women's fiction."

A Note from Robin

The Sisters of Bethlehem Springs series sprang from the question: Who says a woman can't do a man's job? And I can't fully express just how much fun I've had looking for the answer through the eyes of my heroines in this series. Although I have no favorites among the novels I've written (each were special to me at the time I wrote them), I do have some favorite characters. Cleo Arlington is one of them. I love her for her strong faith, for her quirky turns of phrase, for her confidence with horses and her lack of confidence with men, even for her impatience with Sherwood, the English aristocrat that she's supposed to turn into a cowboy. I've been so delighted that readers have taken her into their hearts the way they have. I hope you'll feel the same way about her.


Here is the trailer:

Here is the Amazon link:

Here is the Christianbook link:

And here is a link to an excerpt of FIT TO BE TIED:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Noel with the Novelists -- Coming Dec. 15th!

Hi Friends,

Ever wonder how your favorite novelist lives? Well, maybe you can find out this Christmas. I'm participating in a fun blog event where you can visit the homes of different novelists through short videos. Get a Christmas greeting, see how their homes are decorated, get an inside glimpse into the life of authors whose books you read (and discover some new authors). My house and video will be included. It all starts December 15th, right here on my blog. I can't wait - this will be lots of fun!

Here's a promo video which will tell you a bit about it:

And in the meantime, may God bless your week with His breathtaking wonder!

:-) Marlo