Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

New Short Story - I Need Your Help!!

Hi Friends,

I need your help!  I've entered my short story SHADOWS OF REMEMBRANCE in the Family Fiction short romance story contest.  To get past the first round, I need readers (like you!) to give it a thumbs up vote.  I told God that I wasn't going to write a short story unless He gave me a story that moved me and showed me something of Himself.  Well, I was moved! And I hope you will be too.

You can read the story (I really think you'll enjoy it!) and vote here:  http://www.familyfiction.com/short-stories/create-romance-2012/shadows-of-remembrance

To vote I'm pretty sure you will need to register your email address with Family Fiction (there's a button for that) so they know you're legitimate (and aren't voting for the same entry over and over again).  I hope you'll read it and vote a "thumbs up."

Here's the opening:  "The door slammed. Glass rattled. Callie didn’t care. Not anymore."

And here are some things I saw about God through the story:
--Nothing is beyond God's ability to heal.
--God never forgets love.
--Love that is true is first of all giving
--God believes in us even when we are too tired, too discouraged, too fearful to believe in Him.
--God's love never fails us.
--He can do the impossible. He loves us that much.
--Don't give up.  Trust Him, follow Him, believe ... even, especially, when all hope seems gone.
--So these three remain: Faith, Hope, and Love ... but the greatest of these is love!

Read the whole (brief) story here: http://www.familyfiction.com/short-stories/create-romance-2012/shadows-of-remembrance

Thursday, August 16, 2012

When You Feel Like You're Drowning...Try This!

Hi Friends,

We had a pool party for our community group on Sunday and used this story from when Joelle was younger to talk about what it means to "look up" instead of panicking when life gets scary.  When you're feeling like you're drowning in life, what do you do? What should you do?  Read on . . .

SOMETIMES parents are right. This was one of those times.

Joelle paddled around the shallow end of the pool with a long, skinny floater tucked under her arms. She made a few circles then headed for the far end of the pool.

I watched her go. Past the ladder, past her sisters, past the light that marked the end of the area where she was allowed to swim. “Don’t go in the deep end!” I called out the warning after her. “Stay where you can touch bottom.” She didn’t turn.


I started to go after her.

My husband, Bryan, touched my arm. “Give her a minute. She’ll learn.”

Joelle glanced back at me. “I’ll be all right, Mommy. I’ve got my floatie.”

“You could let go of it, and it would float away.”

She turned back around. “I won’t. I promise.”

“Stay out of the deep end.”

But of course she didn’t. Soon after, the floatie had drifted off and there was Joelle, floundering, gasping, sputtering in the deep end of the pool. Arms flailed, water splashed. And the floatie moved even further from her reach.

Bryan shook his head and went after her. A moment later, he’d hauled her back to the shallow end.

Joelle trembled, and wailed, and hung on to her Daddy.

He sighed. “Well, what did Mommy tell you?”

“Waaaaa!” She buried her head deeper in his neck and refused to look.

He loosened her grip from around him and placed a finger under her chin. “You’re all right. Next time listen to Mommy.”

She sniffed and nodded. “I was s-s-s-scared.”

Bryan smiled at her. “I know. Now, let’s practice how to float, in case that ever happens again.”

So they did. They practiced being still, letting her body float at the top of the water, and raising her head above the surface to breathe. No flailing, no panic.

The strange thing is, bodies are buoyant. Yet people still drown with their noses a couple inches from air. Joelle had gasped and thrashed when all she really needed to do was calm down, stop flailing, and raise her face above the level of the water.

She only had to lift her chin and look up.

I wonder if it’s not often like that in life as well. We do something foolish, and we start to drown in our mistakes. But God doesn’t abandon us. He’s given us what we need to float. We just have to listen when he says to "Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10, NIV) All we’d really have to do is look up, look to Him, and we’d find our head above water. We’d be okay.

But instead we panic. We flail about in fear and desperation. And all the while God is swimming toward us, calling out to us to just look up.

The Bible says in Psalm 121 (NIV), “I lift up my eyes to the hills-- where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth… The LORD watches over you … The LORD will keep you from all harm. He will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”

God is not far. There’s no need to panic. Instead, we just need to be still and look to Him.

So, next time I feel the waters rising, next time I find myself flailing around in fear, I hope to remember the lesson of Joelle’s trip to the deep end. I hope to remember to stop panicking, look up, and breathe in the peace of God. Because my Father in heaven is there with me. He won’t let me drown. He’s given me what I need to stay afloat in all the circumstances of life.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Lost Life's Wonder? Chew on This!!

Hi Friends,

Tough week this week ... and then I got a reminder through this story.  I remembered how to renew my wonder ... maybe you will too:

Stew bubbled on the stove.  Cookies baked in the oven.  Jello salad hardened in the refrigerator.  The microwave dinged.
I balanced a pot on my hip, grabbed a wooden spoon, and called over my shoulder.  “Hey, can someone check the sauce?”
My husband stuck his head through the kitchen doorway.  “Smells good in here.”
I blew out a breath.  “It’ll taste good too, if I can get it all ready in time.  See if the sauce is hot.”  I nodded toward the microwave then jabbed my spoon in the direction of the dining room.  “Is the table set?”
“Sure is.”  Bryan strode to the microwave and opened the door.  “Sauce looks perfect.  It’s steaming.”
“Great.  Go ahead and take it to the table.”  I glanced at the clock.  In ten minutes, our guests would arrive.  Ten minutes to stir and mix, taste and cook, prepare and place.  Then, all I wanted to do was sit and feast, and enjoy getting to know the new family from church.
I stuck the wooden spoon into the stew and gave it a twist as Bryan lifted the sauce bowl out of the microwave and moved to the next room.  
I turned back to the stew.  Bubbles popped to the surface.  It did smell good.  I leaned over and took a deep breath.  
A sniffle sounded behind me, followed by a tug on my pantleg.
I looked down.
Jayden glared up at me.  His two-year-old lip quivered.
“What’s wrong, honey?”
He pointed toward the living room.  “Sister mean.”
“What happened?”  
He folded his arms across his chest.  “Took toy.”
I sighed.  “Did she take your penguin toy away again?”  
He stared at the floor.  “I no like penguin.”
“But it’s your favorite.”
“No like.”  He sat down and scowled.  Tears rolled down his cheeks.  
“Well, our friends are coming in just a minute.  Maybe you want to go put together a puzzle while we wait.”
“No like puzzle.”
“How about your blocks, then?  Sister won’t take your blocks.”
“No like blocks.”
“Your train set?”
“Hate train.”
I squatted down in front of him.  “Well, you just don’t like anything, do you?”
“Me mad.”
“Yes, I see that.”  I stood back up and took the stew off the stove.  Then, I picked up a ladle and spooned the stew into a large serving terrine.  
“What dat?”
I glanced down.  “Stew.  You want some?”
He sniffed.  “Like stew.”
Ah, that was the problem.  Jayden was hungry.  And like his daddy, he got grumpy when when he was overdue to eat.
I ladled a bit of stew into a small bowl, blew it cool, and set it on the kitchen table.  “Sit on up and eat.”
He did.
Five minutes later, he licked his lips, pushed back his empty bowl, and grinned.  “I play sisters now.  We play penguin.  Puzzles too.”
“Okay, you go play.”
He trotted off.  
As I carried the stew terrine to the dining room table, I wondered if it wasn’t only Jayden and Bryan who got cranky when they were hungry.  Maybe I was that way too.
Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.  He who comes to me will never go hungry...” (John 6:35, NIV)
So when I’m anxious and irritable, when nothing seems right, when I “no like” life, maybe I’m just hungry for more of Jesus.  Perhaps it’s not about sister being mean, or the penguin, or the puzzle.  Maybe it’s just about needing to gobble up more scripture, chew on more truth, do more than just nibble at the corners of my prayer life.  Perhaps I need to fill up on more time with God, tasting the goodness of His presence with me.
These days when my husband seems inconsiderate, when I don’t like my job, when people don’t treat me like I think they should,  before I start casting blame, I try to remember Jayden and make sure I’m all filled up.  Then, I can go out and play with a much better attitude, even if someone is just a little bit mean.