Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Get Signed Books for Christmas

Hi Friends,

Check out the big online booksigning bash at Christian Review of Books. There's nearly 80 Christian authors participating. Great time to get specially signed books for those on your Christmas list!

Check out my page at: http://christianreviewofbooks.com/index.php?page=view/article/781/Marlo-Schalesky

Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hi Friends,

Just wanted to wish you a very HAPPY THANKSGIVING (for all you in the U.S.) this week. May you have a blessed day and week.

Some questions to ponder:

--What's the strangest thing you're thankful for? My 7-year-old says she thankful for stairs. What easily overlooked thing are you thankful for?

--What unexpected, neat little thing has God done for you this year that you're thankful for? What pops to mind?

--What easily overlooked attribute God are you thankful for this year?

--What unique opportunity has God brought you this year that you're thankful for?

And now, a fun Thanksgiving story that I like to share at this time of year:

"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 17, 2010

Learning from Life's Ups & Downs

Hi Friends!

The ups and downs of life have got me thinking lately. We go to a horse show on Saturday and Jayna does a great job in goat-tying (her first time!). Yay! But then she gets bucked off in the very next event (cattle sorting). Ack! Then I get a reader letter telling me how one of my books made a difference in someone's life. Yay! Sales numbers come in. Yikes! We get a new client in our engineering firm. Yay! Unexpected bills come in. Boo! One friend finds out she's pregnant at last. Another calls to say she had a miscarriage. The kids are healthy. The kids get sick. Things go well. Things go badly. LIFE IS LIKE THAT. Up, down, up, down.

So, as I think about how life is, I've been considering this verse: “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8)

And in that verse, I've discovered a disturbing fact. I'm not God. Big surprise, huh? And yet, while that may seem like an obvious truth, it defies much of what I was told as a child. “You can do anything you set your mind to,” “Achieve your dreams,” “All it takes is a little hard work.”

But honestly, I’ve come to realize that very little of my life is actually within my control. I can’t undo past mistakes. I can’t control what happens to me today – if someone will crash into my car, if it’ll rain and spoil my morning plans, if I catch a cold. I can’t even guarantee my future. I could die today, or get cancer, or never get another writing contract.

That’s why I’m glad God is God of today, yesterday, and tomorrow.

He is God of today. Whatever happens is in His hands. The good, and the difficult. And moreover, He is the God of how I choose to spend this day, this hour, this minute. None of my “now” belongs to me. He is God of it all. And I need to remember that.

He is God of yesterday. There’s nothing in my past that can’t be forgiven, and there’s nothing I’ve done that He can’t turn to good. He is the God who can transform an instrument of execution (the cross) into a symbol of life and hope.He is God of tomorrow, of my hopes and dreams, and my fears. I can leave all that in His hands.

So, in the realities of life, I'm finding it's not my job to "achieve my dreams." It's not my call to grasp after what I want, and despair when things don't go as hoped. All I can do is try to be faithful to Him today, in the circumstances in which I find myself. Rejoice with the good, mourn with the bad, and seek just to know Him better, see Him better, and maybe, in that, glimpse a bit of His glory, and with it, perhaps a bit of His vision for me.

The Sound of Sleigh Bells by Cindy Woodsmall

Hi Friends,

Here's the new book I have to tell you about this week -- THE SOUND OF SLEIGH BELLS by Cindy Woodsmall. Sounds like a fun Christmas read!

The Sound of Sleigh Bells

Beth Hertzler works alongside her beloved Aunt Lizzy in their dry goods store, and serving as contact of sorts between Amish craftsmen and Englischers who want to sell the Plain people’s wares. But remorse and loneliness still echo in her heart everyday as she still wears the dark garb, indicating mourning of her fiancĂ©. When she discovers a large, intricately carved scene of Amish children playing in the snow, something deep inside Beth’s soul responds and she wants to help the unknown artist find homes for his work–including Lizzy’s dry goods store. But she doesn’t know if her bishop will approve of the gorgeous carving or deem it idolatry.

Lizzy sees the changes in her niece when Beth shows her the woodworking, and after Lizzy hunts down Jonah, the artist, she is all the more determined that Beth meets this man with the hands that create healing art. But it’s not that simple–will Lizzy’s elaborate plan to reintroduce her niece to love work? Will Jonah be able to offer Beth the sleigh ride she’s always dreamed of and a second chance at real love–or just more heartbreak?

2010 Inspirational Readers Choice Contest winnerCBA and ECPA Bestseller

To read the first chapter and/or for purchasing info, go to http://www.cindywoodsmall.com/books/sound-of-sleigh-bells_excerpt.php

Bio ~

Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times best-selling author whose connection with the Amish community has been featured on ABC Nightline and on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.

She is also a veteran homeschool mom who no longer holds that position. As her children progressed in age, her desire to write grew stronger. After working through reservations whether this desire was something she should pursue, she began her writing journey. Her husband was her staunchest supporter as she aimed for what seemed impossible.

To visit Cindy’s Web site, go to http://www.cindywoodsmall.com

For information on how to receive free bookmarks and autographed bookplates, go to http://www.cindywoodsmall.com/bookplates.php

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What a Daisy Taught Me about Worship

Hi Friends,

This week, I've been thinking about the wonder and power of worship. While I was thinking, this story from a few years ago came to mind.

It happened like this:

It wasn't so much the flower that caught my attention, but the look on Bethany's face behind it -- a look of shy adoration and expectation. As she stepped toward me, a dazzling smile swept across her face, revealing two gaps in the front where teeth had been just days before. I looked down into those clear six-year-old eyes and smiled back. With one hand she brushed back the bangs that were almost touching her eyebrows and ran a knuckle over the mudpie smudge that still stained her cheek. And with the other filthy, dirt-smeared hand, she held out a single bedraggled daisy, its white petals drooping over a stem grown limp from the pressure of her small fist.

"For you," she whispered, grinning up at me again and awaiting my response.

Delicately, I took the daisy, held it in my palm, and watched the joy dance as topaz lights through her brown eyes. Then she was gone, back to her own little world of mudpies and swing-sets. In a few moments, the sound of her laugh drifted through the window as I placed the daisy in a glass of water and coaxed it to stand upright.

As I stood fingering the petals again, I knew what every parent has discovered -- that one bedraggled daisy meant more to me than any professional bouquet ever could. It was precious because it was a token of love from Bethany, given not from duty or obligation, but simply to say "I was thinking about you and wanted to tell you I love you." It was the fact that she had taken time in the middle of her play to remember me. It didn't matter what the flower looked like, or that it could be considered a weed by others. I loved it anyway.

As I watched Bethany pat mud into a variety of flat, round shapes out in the backyard, I wondered -- have I brought God any flowers lately? I am His child. My moments of worship during the day are like the little daisy, picked just to say "I remember you, and I love you." I want to be able to stop my "play" during the day to offer God small tokens of my love and adoration, despite the smudges of daily living on my cheeks. A quick prayer, a simple song, a moment to read about Him in the scriptures, a simple smile and "thanks" ... all can be like my bedraggled daisy, offered to God out of love, rather than obligation. And my moments of worship don't need to be polished or professional. They can be as bedraggled and wilted as I am, yet God will cherish them just the same as I cherish a child's daisy.

And I wonder if, just perhaps, God puts my moments of worship in a glass in Heaven and allows the feeble sight to bring Him joy all through the day ... just like my one bedraggled daisy?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Winter Reunion by Roxanne Rustand

Hi Friends,

Here's the new book I have to tell you about this week. It's Winter Reunion by Roxanne Rustand (a Steeple Hill Love Inspired Romance, ISBN 978-0-373-87633-4).

Here's the back cover blurb:

Home to heal...and reconcile?When wounded Marine Devlin Sloan comes back to Aspen Creek, he's surprised by his late mother's will. His new business partner for the next six months will be Beth Carrigan. His ex-wife. This might prove to be Dev's most difficult mission yet. He never stopped loving the sweet bookstore owner, but his military career broke them apart. Now, as they work together at helping others get a new start in life, he hopes he can break down the walls between them....and explore the possibilities of renewing the life they had with each other.

The book is available at bookstores everywhere and at

About the author
Roxanne Rustand has written seven inspirational romantic suspense novels for Steeple Hill. This is her first romance for the Love Inspired line, and is also the first in her Aspen Creek Crossroads series. Each book stands alone, but readers wanting to revisit the scenic St. Croix River Valley area and the quaint town of Aspen Creek can come back in Second Chance Dad, which will be out on June, 2011, and in another book which will be out in December.Roxanne was nominated for an RT Bookclub Magazine Achievement Award in 2005, and one of her books won a RT Bookclub Magazine Reviewer’s Choice Award in 2006. END GAME is a 2010 RT Bookclub Magazine Reviewer’s Choice Nominee for Best Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense of 2010.

You can find her at her blogs and website at:

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Got Regrets? Here are some thoughts . . .

Hi Friends,

I just finished writing an article for In Touch magazine on the topic of regret, which was also a major theme in my latest book, Shades of Morning. As I was thinking about the topic, I thought in might be helpful to share a few of the questions and answers about regret that I've been talking about on the various radio interviews I've been doing. So, if you're interested in living beyond regret, consider these thoughts:

Q: Why do so many believers struggle to let go of their regrets?

A: I think there are two reasons. First, as believers, we are keenly aware of the cost of our sins and mistakes to the One we love. Jesus suffered and died on the cross for us. So we wish we could have done better, chosen better, lived in a way that would always bring honor to God. But of course, we haven’t and we didn’t and we won’t. Not always.

And that’s when the little whispers of fear set in – whispers that tell us that we missed God’s best for us. That if only we’d done better, chosen better, lived right, then we would be the people God wanted and be living the life He wanted too. But now, the whispers say, it’s too late. Our mistakes are too great. Now we can never live God’s dream for us.

Hogwash! There’s a reason that our enemy is called “the accuser of the brethren” – it’s because those whispers are not from One who loves us, calls us, transforms us. They are lies from the one who accuses. They are meant to paralyze us and keep us from following Paul’s example in Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV), “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Q: How can we find forgiveness and healing from those past regrets?

A: This is the important thing: God calls us to repent, not to regret. And that’s what we need to do. All of us have made mistakes, have chosen poorly, missed opportunities, done things we wish we’d never done. But we don’t need to dwell in regret. Instead, simply confess, repent. move on. It’s like riding a horse. If you keep looking behind you, the horse stalls, wavers, gets confused. You have to keep your eye on where you want to go. Repentance keeps you looking forward. Regret causes you to keep looking back.

And worse, a bigger problem with regret is that it denies the primary power of God – the power to transform anything in our lives to His glory. It says, “This is too much for God.”

But the God who transformed an implement of execution, the cross, into a symbol of salvation has proven that He can transform anything – past, present, or future – into something that points to His glory. Think about that. Before Jesus, the cross was a symbol of horror and disgrace and misery. It was the most horrific way to die a criminal’s death. But after Jesus, it became a symbol of redemption and wonder and love. If God could so change the meaning of the cross, He can also transform those ugly things in our lives for His glory.

So, we need to take off the band-aid and expose our regrets, repent of them, and simply leave them in the hands of God, looking forward in expectation of His transforming power, even when that transformation seems impossible.

Q: Regret often keeps us from going deeper in our relationship with God. How does your main character, Marnie’s, relationship with God change during the course of the Shades of Morning?

A: Regrets will shape you if you give them the power, if they become what you treasure in your heart. And that’s exactly what happens to Marnie. She hides from her regrets by locking them away. She doesn’t think they can touch her there. But instead of being free from them, she’s really just carrying them with her.

That’s how it is with us. When we lock away these parts of our lives from God and ourselves, we are really just hiding them in our hearts, making them our treasure.

Marnie learns that she has to face her regrets, confess them to those she hurt and to her friends, and only then can she be healed of them. And with healing, she finds that can see God’s presence in her life and how He’s been working in beautiful and wondrous ways to transform those regrets into something new and good in her life. But as long as she hides her regrets in her heart, she simply can’t draw close to God and experience the power of his healing touch.

For her, and for us, it’s about trusting God enough to face regret and let it go, to believe that God can take anything and make it beautiful. To believe that God truly does forgive our sins and forget them. And that He can take our mistakes and remake them. That’s what the cross is all about. That’s what life in Christ is about too.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Prairie Christmas Collection

Hi Friends,

Here's the new book I have to tell you about this week. It's a compliation of different prairie Christmas stories from Barbour Books. Here's a bit about it:

A Prairie Christmas Collection
by Tracie Peterson, Deborah Raney, Tracey Bateman
and other favorite Christian authors

Settling the vast open prairies, weathering winter storms, and finding joy to celebrate during Christmas epitomizes the pioneer experience. In a unique collection of nine Christmas romances, Barbour Publishing brings readers A Prairie Christmas Collection where they can relive a prairie Christmas with all its challenge and delights as penned by multi-published authors, including Tracie Peterson and Deborah Raney. Featuring deckled-edge pages and a foil-stamped cover with fold-under flaps, the collection makes an ideal gift for the romance reader.

In this holiday romance collection, the warmth of Christmas will radiate new love from the high plains of Minnesota and Dakota Territory, across the rolling hills of Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois, and down into the flats of Kansas. Filled with inspiration and faith, each story will become a treasure to be enjoyed again each year. Along with Peterson and Raney, other contributing authors include Tracey Bateman, Pamela Griffin, JoAnn A. Grote, Maryn Langer, Darlene Mindrup, Janet Spaeth and Jill Stengl.

For more information see Deborah Raney's website at www.deborahraney.com.