Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Rodeo Wonder

Hi Friends,

In case you didn't hear (or see the photos on Facebook!), last weekend I got to carry the American Flag during the Pageant of the Flags at the California Rodeo (pronounced RO-DAY-O) in Salinas.  Lots of fun, and of course, God showed me something about Himself and me in the process.

He showed me that I'm a lot like Jewel, my beautiful half-Arab, half-Fox Trotter mare.  You see, in the American Flag position, you're supposed to lope two slow circles with the flag, then stand quietly, with the flag flying.  But Jewel likes to GO.  Faster is better.  Slow circles aren't so much fun.  And standing and waiting ... well, that wasn't her favorite part either.

I know how she feels.  Because right now in my life, it feels like God is holding back on the reins.  I want to run straight out, and maybe he's saying that instead He has me in the slow circle  position.  So, like Jewel, I snort a bit and tug on the reins.  And then I lope.  And I stand.  And I try not fidget.

Like her, I don't understand why I'm not running full-speed ahead.  But maybe God knows.  Maybe he sees the pattern and is checking me up so I can run the race HE has set out for me, and run it well and beautifully (see Hebrews 12:1).  As beautifully as Jewel.

At least I hope so.  I trust so.

And as I lope, and as I wait, (and fidget just a bit!), may His banner fly full of beauty and wonder above my head ... to the glory of God!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Finding Wonder in a Child's Worship

Hi Friends,

This past Sunday our church had a family worship service (what fun!).  Some of the kids led a few worship songs (movements) up on the stage while littler kids (and me!) danced and sang in front of the stage.  There's Joelle, leading in the middle!

As we worshipped, I was reminded of the beauty of unencumbered worship.  I was reminded to come to Jesus as a child does, with wonder and joy ... and dance.

And I was reminded of the inspiration for my last novel, Shades of Morning.  For those of you who missed it, here's the story of Andy and one Sunday morning of the beauty of worshipping like a child . . .

Q:  Marlo, your newest novel, Shades of Morning, features a 15-year-old boy with Down syndrome. What inspired you to choose that particular disability? 

A:  Andy did.  And he did it one ordinary Sunday morning at church.  I went not expecting to see anything different, or special, or extraordinary.  But God had other plans.  And so did Andy.

In the middle of the third song, a noise came from the far side of the church.  A loud noise.  Strange, awkward, and off-key.  Then, it grew louder.  I furrowed my brow.  Was that someone singing . . . badly?

I stood on tiptoes and peeked toward the sound.  And there was Andy.  His arms were raised, his eyes closed.  And he was singing to his God for all he was worth.  Andy, in his middle teens, with blond hair, thick glasses, and small ears.  Andy, with Down syndrome and a grin on his face big enough for the angels to see.  Andy, shout-singing with all his might through that radiant smile.

That moment changed me.  It showed me that beauty is found in unexpected places, and that God’s gifts in our lives are often wrapped in awkward, off-key packages.  I witnessed something beautiful, something wondrous that day, and it made me see that so often the hard things in life, the things we want to hide away, to forget, to cover up, can be transformed into things of beauty in the hands of God.

And that’s how Shades of Morning was born – in those moments while Andy worshipped and I was left breathless by the wonder of it.  

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lessons in Living Well from a Wild Week!

Hi Friends,

What a week we had here in the Schalesky household!  After days filled with shingles (Bryan), the flu (everyone except Beanie), a car accident (me), an 8-hour trip (me, to pick up Bethany), getting bucked off a horse (Jayna), and finally a fun horse show (everyone except Beanie again), we've learned a few things in a short time.  And those things are:

--Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Phil. 4:6)  In other words, if you get bucked off, get right back up on the horse and ride!  Don't let fear stop you but instead trust God and continue on in the way He has for you. 

--Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us. (Hebrews 12:1)  In other words, be like Ruby, Joelle's horse, and just dig in when you're faced with obstacles in life, and run your own race!

--Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart. (Gal 6:9)  In other words, keep doing the right thing, keep practicing, keeping running your race, even when you don't win this time (from Bethany, who ran beautifully, but didn't place in the top 12 of her upper division).

--For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a sprit of power, of love and of self-discipline. (2 Tim 1:7)  In other words, be like Bria who has overcome her fear through practice, loving her horse, and learning "power-foot" and is now running like the wind and got 2nd place overall in her division (and won a super nice saddle pad).  It wasn't too long ago that she cried when we wanted her to trot, and here she is running her race.  Don't let fear stop you from what God is calling you to do!

-- Run in such a way as to get the prize. (1 Cor 9:24) 
Whether you're sick with the flu or covered in shingles scars, keep on going forward toward what God has for you!  (Here is Jayden winning his trophy and pillow pet, and Bryan winning 1st overall, the saddle!!, in his "A" division) ... a good argument for pressing on with hope, no matter what!

--And finally, look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil.  (Eph 5:15)  We often have no control over how our days go (a big lesson learned last week!!), but we can be wise as we go through them, clinging to God, trusting Him, and walking forward with HIM in the lead!!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

5 Lessons from Yucky Shingles

Hi Friends,

No, I'm not talking about roofing shingles, but Bryan wouldn't let me post a picture of his swollen up pox-y face for fear that it would scare you all and you would run away screaming.  Sooo, we'll leave the real shingles up to your imagination.

Meanwhile, since Bryan came down with a yucky case of shingles (which is a resurgence of the chicken pox virus in his system) last week, I thought I would share a few lessons learned from these past days of pain, worry, and doctor appointments:

Five life lessons from dealing with shingles:

1) Life is not supposed to be easy.  That's what heaven is for.

2) Everything (yes, even shingles) can be used by God to draw us closer to Him and make us more like Jesus.  Look for God even (especially?!) in the hard times of life.  Be molded and changed by Him.

3) Trusting God is much harder when the first you do is run to the internet and find out the very worst thing that can happen to you.  It's like trying to have faith with someone screaming "you're gonna die, diiiiiiiiiiiiie"(or in the case, go blind).  Instead, pray first (for wisdom, insight, strength, and a Godly perspective...as well as healing), press into God, get centered on Him, and only then tackle the internet! (learned the hard way, sigh)

4) Do not get up at 6:30 in the morning and start practicing piano (loudly) right outside a sick person's door, especially when no one else is awake.  (Lesson learned by Bria this morning.)

5) Caring friends are a gift from God.  Knowing others are standing with you makes walking a bumpy (literally, in this case!) path so much better.  (Thank you to everyone who's been praying for us! We so appreciate you!!)