Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Fun News for the Week . . .

Hi Friends,

Got some fun news for you this week (in case you haven't heard already) - yay! So here ya go:

1) Shades of Morning was named a finalist in the inspirational category for the big RITA award (from Romance Writers of America). I was soooo excited to get the call telling me my book had made the finalist list. Whoo Hoo! Here's a list of all the finalists: http://bit.ly/gCoTb3


2) My article on "Infertility: Can Your Marriage Survive?" is up on Kyria/Marriage Partnership this week (Christianity Today, Inc.). You can find it here: http://bit.ly/hrTWzb Yippee! Check it out!

3) If you didn't see my books on CSI, below is the link where you can see the episode online on the CBS site. Go to the 6:24-6:30 mark and watch for the books on the shelf (I think they'll make you watch a couple commercials beforehand, though). Nick reaches between 3 of my books (Veil of Fire, Cry Freedom, and Only the Wind Remembers) to retrieve the all important notebook. Some have asked how my books ended up there. Well... my cousin has a prop company in Hollywood, so my books are available for shows. The exciting thing, though, is that the set designer actually chose them and placed them so prominently in the shot. FUN! Here's the link: http://bit.ly/gOXeon

And last but not least, I thought I'd share a Poem to Ponder this week ... just a little something I wrote to help reflect on God's glory and wonder ... in hopes that it will help you be filled with His wonder and emptied of any fear. Here ya go:

GLORY
Glory.
His glory flames through my soul,
Illuminates my night,
The blazing dawn of glory
Of God who is my light.
Glory.
His glory like the fiery sun
Sears my soul with joy.
My vision fills with wonder
No fear may dare destroy.
Glory.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Are You Ready for Life's Storms?

Hi Friends,

First, I thought it would be fun to share a couple pictures from our recent church-directory-photo shoot from church, so here ya go:





Then, since it's been raining like crazy lately and my patio HAS NOT flooded like it did last year, I thought it would be fun to share this story from the last time we got a huge downpour:


I gripped my umbrella in tight fists and stared through the rain that careened off the fabric above me. Then, I took a few steps forward and waved at the yellow, husband-shaped blob that stood a few feet away, the image obscured by the water pouring between us.

Bryan tugged at his mustard-colored rain slicker and didn’t wave back. In fact, he didn’t even turn as he sloshed through the foot-deep water that threatened the foundation of our house.

“Hey, you need help?” I shouted the question over the roar of the rain.

He glanced back and squinted. “Get a hose.”

A hose? With all this water, it seemed that the last thing we needed was a hose.

Bryan waved his hand toward the garage. “Get all the hoses you can find. Hurry.” He knelt down and starting digging into the hole where the drainage pipe was supposed to be.

“What happened?”

“Drains must be plugged. We need to siphon off this water before it damages our foundation.”

I nodded and jogged to the garage. There, I found three hoses and hauled them back to the ever-deepening pool over our patio.

Bryan grabbed the first hose, shoved it under the water, then pulled the other end downhill to the lawn. After a few minutes, he stood and strode back toward me.

I held out the second hose. “Is it working?”

He grimaced and took the next hose. “Yeah, but it’s slow. We really need the drain pipes to work.”

“Why aren’t they?”

“I don’t know.”

Bryan set the second hose to siphoning while I worked on the third. But even with all three hoses, the level of the water didn’t seem to be lowering. And the rain just kept pouring down.

For the rest of the afternoon, we labored in the pounding rain to keep the water from flooding our basement. It was hard work with pumps and hoses, buckets and brooms. We sloshed, we hauled, we siphoned, we swept. We watched, we waited, we hoped, and we wondered what had happened to the drains.

In the months previous, when the sun was shining, nothing seemed wrong. The patio was clean and shiny. The drains looked fine. But the first big rainstorm of the year proved that something had gone wrong.

The next day, after the rains had let up, Bryan came in from working in the yard. He called to me from the front room. “I figured out what happened.”

I peered around the corner. “What?”

“Seems that a bunch of grass had grown into one of the pipes, plugging it. The water couldn’t get out. That’s why it backed up.”

“Guess we should have checked that.”

“I didn’t even know that pipe was there.”

“Well, we certainly know it now.” And now, we’d know to keep it clear. But it was too bad we hadn’t paid enough attention to the pipes while the weather was good. It took a storm to show us that everything wasn’t as clear and free-flowing as we’d thought.

Life is a lot like that, too. When the sun’s shining and all seems well, it’s easy to think our faith is all right. It’s easy to forget to keep things cleared out and the pipes flowing. I miss my regular time of Bible study and prayer and think, “Oh well, I’ll just do it next time.” Little issues pop up, and I simply deal with them, forgetting to cast all my cares upon God, because he cares for me (1 Peter 5:7).

But then the rainstorm hits. Something hard and unexpected happens. Fears, worries, doubts pile up and threaten my foundation. And in the midst of the storm, it’s hard work to clear the flood. Instead, it’s better to pay attention when the sun’s shining. It’s better to keep the lines of communication open and flowing freely between me and God before the rains start to fall.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV) tells us “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.”

By praying continually, by being joyful, by giving thanks, I can keep my spiritual “pipes” open so I won’t be caught by surprise when life’s storms hit. I need to pay attention while the sun’s shining so that when it rains my faith is ready to flow freely through pipes kept clear by prayer and faithfulness.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Why Hurts are like Caterpillars

Hi Friends,

Well, the caterpillars are out in force this week at our house and my 5-year-old, Jayna, has decided that collecting fuzzy black caterpillars is the most fun thing ever. Earlier this week, she put them all in a bucket, then scattered them over the front deck - oh joy. So, while I was trying to avoid stepping on them on the way out to the car, I was reminded of this story (so maybe her caterpillar collecting was really a prompting from God after all...). Anyway, it happened like this:

A pair of black, beady eyes stared into mine from across my pillow. I leapt up. “Aargh! Ewwww!” My yell reverberated off the rafters. I bit my lip to cut off another shout.

Bryan jolted up and rubbed his hand over his face. “What’s wrong? What is it?”

“Yuck! Look.” I pointed a shaking finger at the green, squirmy caterpillar now inching across my pillowcase. A chill fishtailed down my spine.

Bryan glanced at the insect and yawned. “Oh, is that all?” He laid back down and rolled over.

I scowled. Didn’t he realize that nasty green worm had been just inches from my nose? That was worth a good yell, and then some. I reached over and plucked a fistful of tissues from the box beside the bed. Then, I poised my hand over the squirmy creature and took a deep breath. Icky little worm. I paused. It wasn’t a worm. And I knew it. It was a caterpillar. My instincts said to smush it, mush it, squish it into oblivion. But I didn’t. Instead, I wrinkled up my nose and carefully scooped it into the tissues. Next, I went downstairs and placed it gently on the deck railing outside.
For a moment, I watched as the caterpillar crawled to the back side of a post and disappeared. Then, I went back to bed.

“It would have been easier just to squash it,” Bryan murmured.

I sighed. “I know.”

“Nature lover.” I could hear the smile in his voice as he rustled deeper into the covers.

I checked my pillow one last time (no bugs!) then closed my eyes. Bryan’s words rang in my mind. But it wasn’t because I was a nature lover that I didn’t smush the caterpillar. It was because, as much as I didn’t like green, squirmy critters on my pillow, I did love butterflies. And I had faith that my beady-eyed intruder would soon turn into a beautiful butterfly. That’s why I scooped instead of squashing.

As I laid there, with sleep eluding me, I began to think about the wonder of transformation. A caterpillar, I realized, wasn’t the only yucky thing that had happened in my life. There were other things, like infertility, failures, difficult relationships, that I wanted to just squish and forget about. But perhaps, just perhaps, God could transform those too, just like the caterpillar. Maybe He could transform my pain, my experiences, into something useful in the lives of others, something beautiful in the Kingdom of God.

I glanced at my jewelry box on the dresser. Inside were three different cross necklaces and a gold pair of cross earrings. The cross – a perfection picture of how God transforms the ugly into the beautiful. I wouldn’t wear a hangman’s noose or a guillotine or a gilded electric chair. But I do wear crosses. Why? Because God has transformed the cross. It’s where death turned to life, where joy triumphed over sorrow, where my life was redeemed. The cross, once nothing more than an executioner’s tool, is now a symbol of God’s redeeming love. And if God could do that, and if he could turn a squirmy caterpillar into a gorgeous butterfly, then he could take the awful things in my life and transform them, too, for His glory.

Romans 8:28 (NIV) says that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” It doesn’t say that all things are good that happen in my life, but that God can turn the hard things into good. He can make them into a shining testimony of His love and faithfulness.

But if they are going to be transformed, I need to take those difficult, sometimes painful experiences, and offer them to Him. I need to open my hand and let the caterpillar go free, believing in faith that one day soon it will be changed into a beautiful butterfly.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

BATHSHEBA by Jill Eileen Smith

Hi Friends,

Here's the novel I have to tell you about this week. It's BATHSHEBA by Jill Eileen Smith. Here's a bit about it:

Can love triumph over treachery?
Bathsheba is a woman who longs for love. With her husband away fighting the king’s wars, she battles encroaching loneliness–making it frighteningly easy to succumb to the advances of King David. Will one night of unbridled passion destroy everything she holds dear? Can she find forgiveness at the feet of the Almighty? Or has her sin separated her from God—and David—forever?
With a historian’s sharp eye for detail and a novelist’s creative spirit, Jill Eileen Smith brings to life the passionate and emotional story of David’s most famous—and infamous—wife. You will never read the story of David and Bathsheba in the same way again.

You can purchase a copy of Bathsheba at:
Amazon
CBD
and wherever fine books are sold.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Get Out of that Cage!


Hi Friends,

We've had nice weather this week, so the girls have been out catching lizards and bugs to put in the bug and frog habitat that Jayna got for her birthday. They're having a good time studying the wildlife in the cage, and while they've been doing so, I remembered a story from a couple years ago that really spoke to me about living in freedom without fear. I found this helpful, and I'm hoping you will too. So, here's how it happened:

“Mommmmyyyy!” Bethany raced into the house with a small wire cage gripped tightly in her hands. “Look, look, look, look!” She skidded to a stop before me and shoved the cage under my nose. “Look what Grandpa caught for me. Isn’t it cool?”

I looked down into the cage at a pale green grasshopper and a bit of fresh clover. I forced a smile. “Oh, isn’t that great.” Just what I needed, another bug in the house.

“I’m going to keep him in my room. Whoo-hoo!” She darted up the steps and into her bedroom. She spent the next hour putting the tiny cage on her dresser, on the floor, on the table next to her bed, on the windowsill, and finally, back down in the kitchen.

For three days, I watched that poor little grasshopper as he sat on the wire mesh and twitched his legs. By that time, the clover had withered and the grasshopper had lost its brand-new appeal.

“Why don’t you let that thing go now,” I said to Bethany as she wandered into the kitchen and grabbed a snack. “He’ll die if you keep him in there for too long.”

She studied the insect for a long moment, then shrugged her shoulders. “Oh, okay.” She reached for plug on the side of the cage.

“Nooo, not in the house! Take it outside.” I waved my hand toward the door.

Bethany snatched the cage and took it out to the front deck. A few minutes later, I heard her shout. “Mom, it’s still in the cage.”

I dried my hands on the dishtowel and hollered back. “Let it out, Bethany.”

“It won’t go!”

“What do mean, it won’t go?” I stepped outside to see the cage open and the little grasshopper still clinging to the mesh inside.

“See.”

I squatted down. “Hmmm.”

Bethany waited.

I waited.

The grasshopper waited. And waited. And waited.

Finally, we gave up and left it in its open cage on the deck. “It’ll go out eventually,” I told Bethany.

Three days later, that grasshopper was still in his cage with no water and no food.

Bethany crossed her arms and frowned. “How come it won’t go out?”

I shook my head. “Silly, isn’t it? It’ll die in there if it doesn’t get out soon.” I tipped the cage, picked up a stick, and beat on the far end until the grasshopper fell through the opening. A moment later, it hopped away.

Bethany took my hand. “Would it really have died?”

“I think so.”

We sat down on the step and stared at the place where the grasshopper disappeared. Strange, I thought, how a creature would sit in a cage and suffer when the way to freedom was open just beside it. But then, I wondered if I was much different.

John 8:36 (NIV) tells me, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Christ has set me free, too. Free from sin, from worry, from fear.

Yet, sometimes, I forget that because of Christ I am free indeed. Instead I live as if worry and fear should be normal parts of my everyday life. Bills come and I worry about how I will pay them. I have tests at the doctor’s office and am afraid of what the results might be. I worry that I’ll do poorly on an assignment, fail at my job, or that no one will show up to my church small group.

So I sit in the cage of my fears and get weaker and weaker while the door is standing open beside me. But God has not called me to live in the wire mesh of fear. Instead, He calls me to trust Christ enough to get out of the cage and explore the life that He has for me. He calls me to be free.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Unforgettable by Trish Perry

Hi Friends,

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

A little about Unforgettable:

Rachel Stanhope tries to see the good in everyone. But even her good graces are challenged when she meets Josh Reegan outside her Arlington, Virginia dance studio on a brisk fall morning in 1951. Admittedly, he’s attractive, but she finds his cynicism and cockiness hard to tolerate.

A hard-news journalist and former World War II Air Force pilot, Josh considers distractions like ballroom dancing frivolous wastes of time. He has yet to shed his wartime drive to defend good against evil whenever he can. Yes, Rachel’s confident nature is a refreshing challenge, but he wouldn’t tangle with her if his newspaper hadn’t roped him into covering one of her studio’s competitions in New York City.

Between Arlington and New York, between the melodrama of ballroom antics and the real drama of political corruption, between family involvement and romantic entanglement, Rachel and Josh have their hands full. The last thing either of them expects is mutual need and support. But once they stop dancing around the truth, the results are unforgettable.


A little about Trish:

Award-winning novelist Trish Perry has written eight inspirational romances for Harvest House Publishers, Summerside Press, and Barbour Publishing, as well as two devotionals for Summerside Press. She has served as a columnist and as a newsletter editor over the years, as well as a 1980s stockbroker and a board member of the Capital Christian Writers organization in Washington, D.C. She holds a degree in Psychology.

Trish’s latest novel, Unforgettable, releases in March, and Tea for Two releases in April. She invites you to visit her at www.TrishPerry.com

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

3 Things I Learned from Riding

Hi Friends,

After nearly 9 months, yesterday I was finally able to ride my horse again ... yay! It felt great to get back in the saddle and lope around (and even do a bit of jumping and practicing barrel racing). With being pregnant, and then having new baby here, I can't remember the last time I did something fun for me ... until yesterday. So, even though it was a short ride in a wet arena, squeezed in before the rains came in last night, I'm happy!

So, here are some things I learned for life from my ride:

1) Today is a gift - receive it, "open" it, enjoy it. Don't let worries about the rains coming in tomorrow, or regrets about yesterday, hold you back. Don't be afraid - live every moment in the joy and grace that God gives you. Accept God's gifts for you today, and live in them fully!

2) Don't stare at the obstacle you're going over or around. Instead, keep your eyes up. If you look at the jump as you're going over it, or fix your eyes on the barrel as your going around it, the horse will knock it over. You have to look up as you jump, keep your eyes up and look to the next barrel as you turn. So, keep looking up to God as you encounter obstacles in life - look toward what He's doing in you (perfecting you, making you more like Jesus) and His promises of peace, help, comfort, love, and don't get fixated on the problem you're encountering. Remember what Paul says - "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." (Philippians 3:13-14 NIV)

3) If you can, share your fun with someone you love. Laugh together, enjoy one another. Bethany rode with me yesterday, and it was a great time to talk and enjoy one another as well as the horses. So today, remember to take some time to enjoy the ones you love.

And finally, in honor of my horse, Jewel, who was such a good girl for me yesterday during our ride, I'm reposting the the video I did for Shades of Morning with her. Enjoy!


video