Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Springtime of the Spirit by Maureen Lang

Hi Friends,

Here's the new book I have to tell you about this week. It's . . .

Springtime of the Spirit
By Maureen Lang

The winter of an unjust war is over. A springtime of the spirit awaits.

Germany, 1918
Four years of fighting have finally come to an end, and though there is little to celebrate in Germany, an undercurrent of hope swells in the bustling streets of Munich. Hope for peace, fairness—the possibility of a new and better tomorrow.

It’s a dream come true for Annaliese Düray. Young and idealistic, she’s fighting on the front lines of Munich’s political scene to give women and working-class citizens a voice in the new government. But she’s caught off guard by the arrival of Christophe Brecht—a family friend, recently returned from the war, who’s been sent to bring her home.

It’s the last place she wants to go.

Christophe admires Annaliese’s passion, unable to remember the last time he believed in something so deeply. Though he knows some things are worth fighting for, he questions the cost to Annaliese and to the faith she once cherished. Especially when her party begins to take its agenda to new extremes.

As the political upheaval ignites in Munich, so does the attraction between Annaliese and Christophe. When an army from Berlin threatens everything Annaliese has worked for, both she and Christophe face choices that may jeopardize their love, their loyalty, and their very lives.

A note from the author:

Writing this book taught me some of the political ideals so many people fight either for or against haven’t changed in hundreds of years. In light of what’s happening today around the world and even here in America, this book reminded me to trust that the future is in God’s hands and to pray for His guidance in every decision—even the ones about government.

Maureen Lang is the award-winning author of several novels, including The Oak Leaves, On Sparrow Hill, and most recently, The Great War series. She has won the Inspirational Readers Choice contest and a Holt Medallion Award of Merit and was a finalist for the Christy Award. Maureen lives in the Midwest with her husband and three children. Visit her Web site at www.maureenlang.com or on her blog or Facebook page:


Springtime of the Spirit can be purchased wherever books are sold or online:



Barnes and Noble

A special bonus: Whisper on the Wind, another book in Maureen Lang’s Great War Series, is available for a free Kindle download for a limited time through www.amazon.com

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What's Your Busyness Masking?

Hi Friends!

With my husband, Bryan, going in for hernia surgery tomorrow, I was reminded of this story from his appendix surgery a few years ago. With the new baby and a million other things keeping me extra-busy these days, this was a timely reminder for me. Maybe you'll find it helpful too. It happened like this:

The sight of my husband curled up on the bathroom floor should have been my first clue. After all, you don’t see a 6’3”, 220 lb. guy rolling around in fetal position every day.

I stepped through the door and touched my fingers to his shoulder. “Uh, are you okay?”

“Auurrgh.” He rolled over on his back and stared up at me.

“What’s wrong?”

“Just a little gas,” he wheezed. “I’ll be all right in a minute.”

A minute came and went. “Maybe you need to go to the hospital?”

“Nooooooo.” He waved his hand at me.

“What can I do?”

“Call the doc. Maybe it’s the antibiotics he prescribed last week.”

I did.

“Can I talk to him?” was the first thing the doctor said to me.

I poked my head back into the bathroom. “Doc’s on the phone.”

Bryan reached out his hand and grunted at me. A couple minutes later,
he hobbled out of the bathroom and handed back the phone. “Doc says I’d better get to the emergency room. Fast.”

My heart leapt to my throat and stomped out a rapid beat.

Eight hours later, they wheeled Bryan into the operating room for emergency surgery to remove his appendix. Just before he left the pre-op room, he raised a pale, shaky hand toward me. “Pray for me, huh?.”

I nodded. “I will.” My voice caught.

Then, they took him away, leaving me to do the waiting, the awful, interminable, watch-the-minutes-tick-by-like-hours waiting. Waiting filled with fear, worry, and scattered prayers. And in those quiet, endless minutes, with no crying baby, no yelling 3-year-old, no laundry, no phone, no work to be done, no to-do list a mile long, my prayers were strained, shallow, cold. I prayed as if I were talking to a stranger. What was wrong with me? Why was it so hard to pour out my fears to God and take refuge in Him?

That’s when I realized that my relationship with God had grown shallow over the days and months of busyness. I’d been doing many of the right things -- going to church, reading my Bible, praying for the needs of my family and friends. But somehow I had lost that intimate connection with God.

After a couple hours the doctor came out to the waiting room. His smile relieved the tension in my chest. “Surgery went well. No complications.”

“Did it . . .”

He shook his head. “No, the appendix didn’t burst.” He ran his fingers through his hair. “But I have to say, it was biggest, nastiest unburst appendix I’ve ever seen. The thing was this long.” He measured a span of about six inches with his fingers. “It had to have been cooking in there for a good week.”

“A week?”

“I suspect the antibiotics he was taking masked the symptoms. It’s a miracle it didn’t burst.”

I sat back down. A miracle . . .

“You’ll be able to see him in about a half hour. Someone will come get you.” The doctor strolled away.

A week. The antibiotics masked the symptoms. A miracle. Masked the symptoms . . . the words swirled through my mind. And finally I understood. Sometimes you don’t know you’re sick, either physically or spiritually. Sometimes the symptoms are masked. Just like the signs of appendicitis, my symptoms of spiritual sickness had been masked too, masked by my busyness.

So, during that half hour more of waiting, I prayed, thanking God for the miracle of an unburst appendix, and asking him to “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24).

In the weeks that followed, Bryan healed, and so did I. God helped me to find some quiet, reflective times to spend with Him. I began to get back to those deep places with God, places where I could rest in Him and know that He was healing the shallowness of my soul.

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Dad of His Own by Gail Gaymer Martin

Hi Friends,

Here's the new book I have to tell you about this week. It's A DAD OF HIS OWN by Gail Gaymer Martin. Here's a bit about it:

One Child's Wish
With his Dreams Come True foundation, Ethan Fox turns wishes into reality. Amazing trips. Meeting heroes. But Ethan has come to care deeply for a sick boy whose dream is. . .a dad. And not just any dad. Ethan. Though little Cooper has a great chance of getting well, widowed Ethan can't chance loving---and losing---again. Yet he's spending time with the sweet boy and his lovely, single mother, Lexie Carlson. Could a little boy's wish for a dad of his own come true after all?

In stores now where ever books are sold or order on line: Click to Order

Multi-award-winning novelist, Gail Gaymer Martin writes Christian fiction for Love Inspired and Barbour Publishing, where she was honored by Heartsong readers as their Favorite Author of 2008. Gail has forty-eight contracted novels with over three million books in print. She is the author of Writers Digest’s Writing the Christian Romance. Gail is a co-founder of American Christian Fiction Writers, a keynote speaker at churches, libraries and civic organizations and presents workshops at conference across the US. She has a Masters degree from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan and was a licensed counselor for many years. She lives with her husband in a northwest Detroit suburb.

Gail's Video Interview about A DAD OF HIS OWN and a little about her career can be view on her blog at: http://www.gailmartin.blogspot.com/

Visit Gail's Website at http://www.gailmartin.com/
Gail on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/profile.php?id=1429640580

Friday, February 18, 2011

Tips for Focusing on Jesus

Hi Friends,

Well, we had our pictures taken at church yesterday for the new directory, and oh, what an adventure with the 8 of us. You should have seen the poor photographer trying to get everyone to look at the camera at the same time and smile. Quite a task! But, as he was there making funny noises with a stuffed frog on his head (yes, really), I got some insight about Hebrews 12:2, where we're encouraged to "fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith."

I discovered that the only way to get a good picture was by all looking forward at the camera and smiling (like Joelle and Jordyn in the picture above), by "fixing our eyes" on the guy with the frog. When one of us stopped looking at the frog-headed man, and instead gazed off in our own direction, the picture wasn't a good one and was rejected by the photographer. But what was worse, was when the kids started looking at each other and telling each other to "look at the camera, smile, don't close your eyes." Bria would squint up her eyes (like she's doing in the picture below - alas!), then Joelle would look at her and say, "Bria, stop closing your eyes." Then, two people weren't doing the right thing. Next, Jayden would look at the baby, and Bethany would look at him to correct him, then Jayna would tell Bethany to look up, and now there were three who were not fixing their eyes on the photographer. Ack! We couldn't get a decent picture that way. It was only when each person decided to fix his/her own eyes ahead and be happy about it (smile!), and let the photographer correct the others, that we got a good picture at last.

Life in Christ is like that too, I think. The only way to get a good shot is if I fix my eyes on Jesus rather than looking around to see if everyone else is doing it right. It's God's job to correct others, to help them look forward and smile ... it's not mine to play God for them. When I fix my eyes on Jesus, he will perfect my faith. When I fix my eyes on how others are falling short, my faith only falters.

So today, I'm focusing on looking only to Jesus and letting him be the photographer in my life and in the lives of those around me.
May we fix our eyes on Jesus and be filled with joy!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Letting Go of Expectations for Valentine's Day

Hi Friends!

First, a bit of news, then some thoughts on Expectations and Valentine's day.

The News:

Bethany broke her wrist yesterday. And she doesn't even have an exciting story to show for it. She just slipped on some wet grass at school and fell on the concrete. Her teacher called me, so I went and picked up Bethany from school, took her in to Urgent Care, and sure enough, she has a "buckle fracture" in her left wrist. The doc put on a temporary fiberglass cast, and we'll be seeing the bone specialist at some point for a regular cast. Doc said it was a pretty simple fracture and should heal up just fine in 4-6 weeks. Meanwhile, though, they'll be no horseback riding for Bethany (she'll miss the February show - bummer!), or flute lessons, or piano lessons. I tease her that now she'll only be able to do her homework and clean toilets. Ha! ;-)

Next . . . a story about Expectations and Valentine's Day:

"Happy Valentine's Day, Honey," my husband murmured, then scooted out the door with his usual quick kiss and bear hug. "See ya later." Bryan winked and was gone.

That’s it? I thought. No candy, no flowers, no delicate chocolates in the traditional bright red heart-shaped box! Just a hug, kiss, and out the door? This was supposed to be a day of passion, of romance, of chocolates! A frown tugged at the corners of my mouth and deepened into ugly grooves.

Bryan never was much of a romantic anyway, I complained. He just doesn't understand women. Days like today are supposed to be special.

I sighed and drew my brows together in a deeper scowl as I proceeded to review again all the faults I imagined in my poor, unwary spouse. By the time I was finished, I was thoroughly dissatisfied. Valentine's Day was ruined. And it was all his fault!

I threw my body crosswise on the couch and swung my legs across the cushions. Reluctantly, I picked up the Bible for my daily devotion. I wasn't in the mood. My eyes fell on the day's scripture, "Serve one another in love" (Galatians 5:13). Love. There was that word. Today was supposed to be the day of love. I wasn't feeling much love at all. And it was all Bryan's fault! ... Or was it? The scripture didn't say to expect to be loved. It especially didn't say to expect chocolates just because it was Valentine's Day.

Slowly, my temper quelled and I began to examine my reactions. Bryan had done no more or less than any other day. He had given me the hug and kiss that I usually counted as a treasure. So why the difference this morning? Was it because today I had expected more? Had I succumbed to the dreaded "E" word - Expectation?

I began to realize that the problem with my expectations is that I can never win with them. As soon as I expected Bryan to act a certain way, I set myself up for disappointment. When he didn't meet my expectations, I was upset. If he had acted as I expected, then I would have been satisfied. But how could I have been pleasantly surprised and appreciate his kindness if I had been expecting it all along?

February, they say, is a month for love. And Jesus showed us what real love is all about -- Not candies, nor flowers, nor sweet chocolates wrapped in a fancy box. No, love is about laying down our lives for one another, about serving one another in love.

So, this year for Valentine's Day, I'm not going to worry about gifts of tantalizing chocolates. I'm not going to cling to expectations of what my husband is supposed to do for me. Rather, I plan to give my husband one of the greatest gifts of all in a marriage -- I'm going to exchange my expectations for joy and thanksgiving. This year, I'm making Expectation a dirty word!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Lessons Learned from Baby's First Bath

Hi Friends,

Well, baby Jordyn is 2 1/2 weeks old now and has had her first bath. Here are some things I learned from her at bathtime:

1) Sometimes we make a mess of ourselves.

2) We can't clean ourselves. We need Someone who loves us to do it for us.

3) Getting clean can be a little scary, but there's no use crying about it.

4) If you want to be clean, you have to trust the One doing the cleaning. Rest in His hands, even when the waters splash around you.

5) To really be clean, God has to wash the nooks and crannies -- those places we may not see.

6) You don't come out of a bath looking perfect - your hair may stick up and your skin may be a little wrinkled. Don't worry about appearances - it's getting clean that counts.

7) You're going to make a mess of yourself again, so trust God to know when another bath is needed.

8) God loves you. Let Him do what's needed to make you clean.