Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Saving Hope by Margaret Daley

Hi Friends,

Here's a new book I wanted to tell you about this week -- Saving Hope by Margaret Daley.

What Margaret Says: The reason I wrote Saving Hope, the first book in Men of the Texas Rangers Series, is because human trafficking is over a $32 billion dollar business per year and growing. It touches all countries, including the United States. Some of our young people are being affected by this problem and robbed of their childhood. Through it all I wanted to give a sense of hope through the Lord.


About Saving Hope:

When a teenager goes missing from the Beacon of Hope School, Texas Ranger Wyatt Sheridan and school director Kate Winslow are forced into a dangerous struggle against a human trafficking organization. But the battle brings dire consequences as Wyatt's daughter is terrorized and Kate is kidnapped.


Now it's personal, and Wyatt finds both his faith and investigative skills challenged as he fights to discover the mastermind behind the ring before evil destroys everyone he loves.


The opening of Saving Hope:


Rose gripped her cell phone so tightly her muscles ached. “Where are you, Lily?”


“At—Nowhere Motel.” A sob caught on the end of the last word. “Help—me.” Lily’s breath rattled, followed by a clunking sound as though she’d dropped the phone.


Rose paced the small bathroom at Beacon of Hope. “Lily?” Sweat coated her palms, and she rubbed her free hand against her jeans.


Silence taunted her.


What have you done? But the second that Rose asked that question, an image came to mind of her friend lying on the dingy gray sheets in the cheap motel, wasted, trying anyway she could to forget the horror of her life.


“Lily, talk to me. Stay on the line.” Pulling the door open, Rose entered her room. When she saw her roommate, she came to a stop.


Cynthia’s wide-eyed gaze fixed on Rose for a few seconds before the fourteen-year-old dropped her head and stared at the hardwood floor. Rose crossed to her dresser, dug into the back of the top drawer, and grabbed a small, worn leather case.


She pushed past her roommate and headed into the upstairs hallway.


Striding toward the staircase, Rose dismissed her roommate’s startled expression and focused on the crisis at hand. “Lily, are you still there?”


A sound as though someone fumbled the phone and caught it filtered through the connection. “Rose, I need—you.”


“I told you I would come if you wanted to get out. I’ll be—”


A click cut off the rest of Rose’s words. No, Lily. Please hang on.


**You can read the rest of the first chapter at: http://www.margaretdaley.com/2012/02/saving-hope-excerpt/


Amazon: Saving Hope: Men of the Texas Rangers Book 1


Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/saving-hope-margaret-daley/1105315589?ean=9781426714283&itm=10&usri=margaret+daley


Christianbook.com: http://www.christianbook.com/saving-hope-men-the-texas-rangers/margaret-daley/9781426714283/pd/714283?product_redirect=1&Ntt=714283&item_code=&Ntk=keywords&event=ESRCP

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Feeling Blah? Ponder This!

Hi Friends,

I'm working on my talks for an upcoming women's retreat and came across these quotes from Job 38-39. I sat for a while and soaked them in, letting God use them to renew in me a sense of His awe and wonder. Here are the snippets from Job, along with a few of my thoughts. May they renew your wonder in a VIVID and BREATHTAKING God!!

**Where were you when the morning stars sang together? And all the angels shouted for joy?**

--Not just a cold creation, but God, the creator, bringing things to life in beauty and song. Life and wonder and stars at song came from Him. Wouldn’t you have loved to be there, to see that, to see Him??


**Who endowed the heart with wisdom?**

--Did you make a good decision? Do you need to make one? God rules all that. ONLY in God do things make sense. He is where wisdom is found, and He gives His wisdom to us.


**Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens?**

--When it rains, that’s not just nature. That’s God. In charge of the weather. Involved in every detail.


**Who provides food for the raven?**

--The raven, a bird that’s not real popular. Black, kinda ugly. And yet, there is God, giving the raven what it needs to survive. God does that.


**Who shut up the sea behind doors?**

Might. Power. Authority. Think of the beauty, wonder, majesty of the sea. Have you been to the ocean to watch the waves crash on the rocks. It’s incredible. And yet, God is the master of the seas. They are His. Wow.


**Have you ever shown the dawn its place?**

--Every morning the sun comes up in all its beauty. That’s God. Every single sunrise a reminder of Him.


**Have you walked in the recesses of the deep?**

--Ah, here, think of mystery, of the unknown. Things you’ve never seen, no one has ever seen. Here, God points to walking in the deeps to remind us of His depths, that He is beyond what we can know fully. He knows all the mysteries, has walked all the depths. And He is mystery, He is depths. God in a box? No way.


**Have you entered the storehouses of the snow?**

--Can anyone tell me that you weren’t awed by snow as a kid? Soft, beautiful, gentle at times. Fierce and wild at others. Snow means play, and unpredictability. It means fun, and cold. Forts and snuggling up by a fire. You can play in it, but you can’t control it. Scary and wonderful. That’s God. He gives us a hint of who he is by giving us the snow.


**Who cuts a path for the thunderstorm?**

--Think of the power of a thunderstorm. The might. Thunderstorms were something people were afraid of, sometimes still are – they represent the unmanageable, the uncontrollable. Yet, God manages thunderstorm He is real power. He is real might! He is master.


**Can you bind the beautiful Pleiades?**

--The Pleiades is a cluster of some 300 stars. Who holds them together? Who keeps the stars in place? That’s God. When you look up at night, there they are. The constellations still testifying to God’s glory.


**Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?**

--Ah, one of my favorites because it’s set amidst all these other grand questions about stars and storms. And here we have something so intimate and close. That huge, powerful, incredible God is there, pays attention, when the mountain goat gives birth. We have to see the incredible mix of grandeur and intimacy with our God. So huge, so close. As far as the furthest stars, as close and intimate as a goat giving birth.


**Who let the wild donkey go free?**

--There’s nothing that’s chance. He lets the wild donkey go free. The God of all the universe, involved in the rope that holds a donkey.


**Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom?**

--The flight of a hawk … even there you can see the glory of God. Watch the birds in the sky. That’s a testimony to God’s wonder.


**Can you loose the cords of Orion?**

Here (again) we see that it’s God keeps the constellations in place. But not only that, but everything. The Bible says that “In Him all things hold together.” Have you ever tried to put the two positive ends of a magnet together? You can’t – they repel each other. Two positive charges won’t stay together. And yet ever atom in the universe is made up of positively charged protons that stick together. We take it for granted, after all, atoms and protons are the most basic parts of our entire world and physical existence. And there, especially there, we find the hand of God holding everything together … literally.


**Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?**

--Look up at the clouds sprinkled like powder in the sky. Every one placed there by God’s hand. Incredible.


**Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens?**

--See the frost on the ground in winter? Have you seen the intricate structure of crystal in frost on your windshield? Delicate, perfect – has to be perfect to form. Precise. If you could see it up close, would take your breath away. God did that.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

If Today is "One of Those Days"...

Hi Friends,

I was looking through some of my devotionals today, and found the following. It encouraged me, because today is indeed "one of those days." Maybe it will encourage you too! Here ya go:



WHEN LIFE IS HARD, GOD IS STRONG


The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. (Psalm 9:9)


It was going to be one of those days. The phone was ringing, the baby crying, and the washing machine hose had just popped free to flood my laundry room. It wouldn’t have been so bad, except that larger issues of finances and health were also crowding my mind. What a time to have a day when everything seemed to be going wrong.

David, the author of Psalm 9, certainly knew what it was like to have a bad day. In fact, some scholars believe this psalm may have been written when David was fleeing from his son Absalom. Imagine having the son you love wanting to kill you! But instead of pointing to the latest self-help scroll, or spouting trite advice about a light at the end of the tunnel, David found his strength and shelter with God. When life was at its lowest, when David had every reason to fret, he chose instead to turn to God.

So often we’re told to “buck up” in the face of trials, to stand on our own two feet, to just have a positive attitude and all our problems will be solved. But God doesn’t ask us to find strength in ourselves, but to find it in Him.

Today, when life’s concerns threaten to overtake you, let God be your refuge.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Wise Words from Kelli Standish

Hi Friends,

My website/newsletter/Facebook page designer and friend, Kelli Standish has been called to a new phase of life. Below is an interview with her from Bonnie Leon. God's grace and wisdom shines through Kelli, and I thought you might find her perspective helpful and inspiring. I know I did. So, here ya go...

Q: Can you share with readers why you started PulsePoint Design, and what your vision has been for the company?

A: In 2002, I was bedridden with a mystery illness. I’d been to twenty-one different specialists, been hospitalized several times, and no one could figure out what was wrong. I was literally wasting away to nothing, my organs were shutting down, and I couldn’t even keep water in my system.

Meanwhile, my heart was consumed with a longing for long-term service in Africa. And yet, there I was, confined to my bed, useless to man and beast! Being a type-A, and quite Irish, I found my helpless state 100% unacceptable. So I asked the Lord, what can I do? Who do you intend for me to serve now? How can I step up and make a difference despite my illness?

The result was PulsePoint Design. At the time, all I had was a dial-up Internet connection, a very old version of Photoshop, and a vision for the support and encouragement of Christian authors.

But if we bring our small abilities to God and dedicate them to the service of others, He will multiply them:).

Q: You and God together have accomplished much. I'm grateful to have been one of the beneficiaries of that partnership. Our walk with the Lord is never boring. Sometimes what he asks of us seems beyond our capabilities and often times it falls outside our personal plans. Recently you received shocking news that changed the course of your life in a major way. Can you tell us a little about this new direction your taking? And how do you feel about what God’s asking of you?

A: My husband is a reservist, who has been out of active duty for more than eleven years. In December, we received notice that he'd been called back into active duty. We are being transferred to a military base in the Middle East for a long-term assignment.

He’ll work in a high-security-clearance post, but we have no other details, because the military can’t disclose them until shortly before departure. All we know is that we’re being transferred to an Arab state where bandwidth is monitored, burkas are standard issue, and electricity is more expensive than Europe.

This has been a difficult time for us. Personally, professionally, emotionally, and spiritually. We're preparing to sell or store most of our belongings (we're limited to several suitcases for this deployment), rent out our home, find new families for our beloved animals, leave behind our friends and the marriage ministry we lead at church... and most difficult of all, shut down PulsePoint Design, and say goodbye to the clients I've loved like my own heart for the past decade.

In seasons of grief like this, all we can say is: God gives, God takes away. It is His call. I gave Him the right to do whatever He chooses with me when I dedicated my life to Him. Even if He chooses to allow my entire life on this earth to be riddled with heartache, I still get the better end of the deal: Eternity in a land of no tears, no pain, and the glory of finally, finally understanding Him.

Q: To understand it all--that will be glorious. I know when I ask this question you will cringe, out of humility, but I must ask. Those who know you see Kelli Standish as an exceptional human being. However, becoming extra ordinary requires a price. Can you share a bit about your background and how you became the person so many love and admire?

A: Hoot! Me? Exceptional? I've got you all fooled! I owe all credit to my good friends, the Ine's: Maybelline, Visine, and Caffeine:)

In all seriousness, though, we can't be any kind of exceptional unless we've wrestled with anguish, wrestled with our giants, wrestled with God, and come out humbled, carrying hard-won truth, and walking with a limp. If limping makes me exceptional then I'm proud to bear the title.

My background was a difficult one. My father was a white supremacist and quite abusive. He taught me to hate every race but the “Aryan” race, and told me my calling was to “take the world back for Christ by bloodshed” starting with blacks and Jews, and moving on from there.

From the time I was 11, I lived in foster homes. When I was 17, I dealt with a broken engagement, by 18 I had joined a cult. In my early 20s, I married my husband, after a man who claimed to be a prophet told me I would miss God's entire will for my life if I didn't marry the person he suggested.

Although my husband is beloved to me now, at the time, I was not in love with him at all, so you can imagine the challenges we've faced over our 13-year marriage:)

I've had my heart broken and my dreams crushed more times than I can count, I've battled the pain of betrayal and loss, friends who weren't, trust destroyed.. you know, the normal erosion you deal with in a fallen world. But this is what I've learned:

Life and loss and destructive people can only make you a victim if you allow them to do so. My fierce passion through every season is this: Lord, teach me something. Make me a safer person for others. Make me richer in spirit. Give me a glimpse of Your pain, of Your passion, of Your character. Grant me full hands, at the end of this dark tunnel, so that when I come out on the other side I have a purer heart to offer you, and more compassion and wisdom to offer others.

And He does. He does.

Q: Words of wisdom for us all to hang onto. Do you have anything more you would like to share with readers? And as you follow the leading of The Father, what are some of your specific prayer needs?

A: My prayer first and foremost is for His blessing and encouragement for the authors of the Christian writing community, particularly our clients (because they're the ones I love the most:). I pray He raises up new champions and advocates, to cheer for Christian authors, to walk beside them and lift their hearts, and to fight for their best. That is the prayer that keeps me up at night right now.

That, and a safe home for our animals, who I love more than anything. Leaving them is going to be very difficult.

As for anything else to share, my best encouragement is this: wherever you are, whoever you are, live nobly, love deeply, and find your people. Find the group--small or large--that God has handpicked for you. Find the ones you are meant to serve, encourage, protect, and champion. Find them, and let God love them through you.


Thank you, Kelli. I know many are and will continue to pray for you.

Again, you have inspired me. But I am left with a huge question -- What will I do without you? I already know your answer -- God will provide.

Much grace and peace to you.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Heart of Gold by Robin Lee Hatcher

Hi Friends,

Here's a new novel I wanted to tell you about this week:

HEART OF GOLD

by Robin Lee Hatcher


The truest treasure is found deep in the heart.

Back in her beloved Virginia, Shannon Adair loved nursing injured soldiers back to health. But in Grand Coeur, Idaho-the rough-and-tumble place where her father has been called to lead the church-she's not sure where she fits in. Then a critically ill woman arrives, and Shannon knows her place at last: to care for this dear woman and ease her pain.

Matthew Dubois is the fastest and most reliable stagecoach driver on Wells Fargo's payroll. But his widowed sister is dying and he's about to inherit his young nephew. So he takes a job at the Wells Fargo express office in Grand Coeur until he can find the one thing he needs to get back to driving: a wife to care for the boy.

What neither of them knows is that God is at work behind the scenes-and is lovingly bringing them together to discover the true desires of their hearts.

************************************

About the Author:

Best-selling novelist Robin Lee Hatcher is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. She discovered her vocation after many years of reading everything she could put her hands on, including the backs of cereal boxes and ketchup bottles. The winner of the Idahope Writer of the Year, the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, two RITA Awards for Best Inspirational Romance, two RT Career Achievement Awards (Americana Romance and Inspirational Fiction), and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award, Robin is the author of 65 novels and novellas. Her historical romance Catching Katie was named one of the Best Books of 2004 by the Library Journal.

Robin enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, reading books that make her cry, and watching romantic movies. She is passionate about the theater, and several nights every summer, she can be found at the outdoor amphitheater of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, enjoying plays under the stars. Her main hobby (when time allows) is knitting, and she has a special love for making prayer shawls. Robin and her husband make their home on the outskirts of Boise, sharing it with Poppet, the high-maintenance Papillon, and Princess Pinky, the DC (demon cat).

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A Note from Robin:

Please join me on Thursday, February 9, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. (Mountain Standard Time) for an online party to celebrate the release of Heart of Gold, a Women of Faith™ novel!

We will be gathering on my Facebook page <https://www.facebook.com/robinleehatcher> under the Notes section to get to know each other better (look for the link in the left sidebar of my wall, click it, then click the link to the party which will be the top Note listed). I will be sharing behind the scenes stories and a favorite recipe. If you have a recipe to share, please have it ready! (For a better understanding of how the party works and a list of all the prizes, please read the information on the Event page <https://www.facebook.com/events/185357471546685/>.)

I’ll also be hosting drawings for autographed copies of the book and other prizes with ties to Idaho and the story. We’ll have a party game with a grand prize of a Kindle Touch loaded with my two Women of Faith™ novels, The Perfect Life and Heart of Gold! I'll also be announcing an exciting new contest during the evening.

Please share this information with your friends. The more who come to the party the merrier!

I’m looking forward to mingling online with all of you! Please be sure to calculate the correct time zone for you. If you need help, use: www.timezoneconverter.com

In the grip of His grace,
Robin

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The First Step to Living Well

Hi Friends,

Today I was talking with my husband about making 2011 better than 2012. We talked about the steps to living well and finding balance and a life-rhythm that works. While we were talking, I was reminded of this devotional that I wrote a while back but ran across in my files again this week. I found it to be a helpful reminder, and maybe you will too. See what you think:

Do not tremble, do not be afraid…there is no other Rock… (Isaiah 44:8)


WHEN I WAS A KID, my brother and I would often play down by the stream at the lower end of our property. We called it “going to the rock” because beside the stream sat a huge boulder, the only one on our land, and from it we could see everything. We loved that rock. We’d sit on it and dangle our feet in the water; we’d stand up and survey the world around us; we’d lay down and feel the warmth of the stone on our backs as we gazed into the clear blue sky. And whenever we played cowboys and Indians, or knights at the castle, or any other game, the rock was always the center of our universe.

Today, I often think of God as being like that rock. When I am centered in Him, everything becomes clear – I can see my world. When I rest on Him, I need not be afraid, I can dangle my feet in the rough currents of life and still be safe. And like the rock of my childhood, God doesn’t want to be just one stone among many. He desires to be the only one I look to for security. He needs to be the center from which I live the rest of my life - my work, my family life, my hopes, dreams, even my play.