Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Vegas Tips for Living in God's Wonder

Hi Friends,

Bryan and I got back from a surprise trip to Vegas not too long ago (fun together time!) for his work, and today as I was going through some of the pictures, I was reminded of some life lessons I learned there.

So, here are 4 tips for living in the wonder of God everyday from crazy Las Vegas:

1) When you feel like your stuck (like in 3 hours of traffic) and life is stormy and murky (like in a dust and thunderstorm) ... look for God's promises that the storm won't last forever (look for the rainbow!).  There is beauty and wonder even the stuck and stormy places of life.  Lift your head and look for it.  And keep on.

2) If you want to get the best out of a meal (or out of life), follow the recommendations of the One who has created the menu.  Just as you get the best stuff at a new restaurant when you ask the waiter (or chef) what's best and trust him to bring you just the right thing (we had some of the BEST food of our lives using this method in Vegas this time!!), so we should trust God to know what's best for us, and choose our "plates" for us in life as well.  Trust Him - even when the stuff on your plate looks a little scary (that's sushi pizza in the pic -- best thing EVER)!!

3) Feeling a little tired or worn-out? Take a moment for a good meal ... of God's Word!!

4) Enjoy the gift of laughter.  If you don't have enough of it in your life, watch Duck Dynasty. ;-)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Is God Calling You to New Adventures?

Hi Friends!

School started for my girls this week, and I was reminded of this story from Jayden's first day of preschool last year.

So, if God may be calling you into something new, or maybe something a little scary, read on . . .

Jayden gripped my hand with small fingers.  He took a deep breath, and I felt him tremble.  He looked up at me.  

I gave him my best smile.  “Are you ready?”  

Together, we turned toward the long hallway to his preschool classroom.  And then, I was the one taking a deep, uncertain breath.  How would he handle this first day of real school? Would he cry?  Would he fuss? Would he fight? Would he wet his pants?
Three-year-old voices splashed out into hall.  “Give me.” “Stop it!” “Mommmmyyyyy!”  “Waaaa...”

Jayden’s fingers tightened.  His shoulders straightened.  “I’m ready.”

I straightened my shoulders too, and we moved toward the triangle of light that fell from the door’s opening.  I’d made this walk many times with his older sisters.  But for him, it was the first time.  The first time he’d squish his hand into the homemade playdough.  The first time he’d sit on the carpet for circle time and hear the story of the big bear. The first time he’d teeter-totter with a classmate, and sip his juice, and hang his sweatshirt on the rack, and obey the teacher when she said to stand on the yellow line.

Was he really ready?

We stepped inside the classroom.  He didn’t cry.  He didn’t fuss.
I wanted to scoop him up and kiss him, but I wouldn’t.  He was a big boy now.  And he was ready.  He truly was.

I let go of his hand and touched his blond hair.  My gaze traveled over his cowboy boots, red t-shirt, and jeans covering his big-boy underwear.  It seemed like just yesterday when he was running around in diapers and onesies.  How had this happened?  How had he grown from a toddler in Pampers to this young man making his way over to the Lego table all by himself?

I thought about it and smiled.  He’d grown day by day, hour by hour, with a lot of instruction, a lot of discipline, and a lot of meals.  And some of it he hadn’t liked one bit.  He wanted to hit his sisters when they took his toys.  We taught him he couldn’t hit.  He wanted to go to church in just a diaper.  We told him he had to keep his pants on.  He didn’t want to eat healthy food.  We gave it to him anyway.  He “no like” going to bed.  We tucked him in and turned out the light all the same.  And he especially didn’t like to use the potty chair.  Going in the diaper was just so much easier.  But we kept at it until he was able to keep his big-boy pants dry all day and all night.

We did it because we knew he couldn’t stay a baby forever.  We knew this day would come, when he’d be going to school where you couldn’t hit, you couldn’t grab, you had to keep your pants on and your underwear dry.  Now, after a lot of work, he was ready.

And he was happy.

As I stood there and watched him play, I wondered if God was using the things I didn’t like in my life to discipline me too, to train me for a new adventure that I didn’t yet know about.  Were the things that didn’t taste so sweet making me strong?  Were the lessons that seemed so hard preparing me for my “first day of preschool” where diapers weren’t allowed?  As Jayden moved to the playdough table, the words of Hebrews 12:5b-6 (NIV) came to mind:  “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves...”

So, even though I prefer the easy life, even though I would rather swallow only things that I enjoy and get my own way, God knows that I have to grow up.  So he trains me, disciplines me, shows me how to grow, so that when I stand in the long, scary hallway leading to a new adventure with him, I can straighten my shoulders, grip his hand in mine, and say with a voice that may tremble just a little, “Yes, I’m ready.”

As I left Jayden’s classroom that morning, I knew that I, too, wanted to be like him.  I wanted to be a “big girl” who could bravely go into new situations and do what’s right.  I wanted to be the type of kid who holds God’s hand, even when I’m shaking, and walks forward.  I want to be ready for every new adventure with God.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Finding God in the Dark

Hi Friends,

Last night (during our church's Coffee, Conversations, & Chocolate women's event) I so enjoyed talking about finding God in our everyday lives -- in the messy places, the barren places, the scary places -- and being renewed in our spirits through connecting with Him not only in the things with think of as "spiritual" but also in the ins-and-outs, ups-and-downs of our real, regular lives.

The talk went over-time, and I didn't have a chance to share this poem, so I thought I'd share it here -- a reminder that God is with you even in your darkest times . . .


When dreams are as dying things
Withering in your grasp,
When hope becomes a stranger
In a parched, desolate land,
When vision has all vanished
As mist before the fire,
He is there.

When prayers crumble at your feet
In wisps of shattered words,
When night gathers dark and deep
Shrouding trails of light,
When all seems lost forever
As if day will never dawn,
He is there.

When you look deep inside
And see the barren soil,
When despair has gained mastery
And tears have all run dry,
When there's no one left, nothing left
But the bitter taste of death,
He is there.

As He was in Gethsemane
The night before the trial,
As He was at Calvary
When nails were driven deep,
As He lay within the tomb
Before the dawn of life.
He is there.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Life Lessons from Jr High Camp

Hi Friends,
I just got back from a week at Jr High Camp (Hume Lake) with Bethany and Joelle ... and have survived to tell!  Truly though, it was a wonder-filled week filled with all kinds of NOISE and also lessons from God that spoke to my heart.

So, I thought it would be fun to share a few of lessons ... and none of the noise.  Here ya go:

1)  There’s something amazing about getting out of your comfort zone and trying something new, and wild, and full of Jesus!  Jesus takes my breath away with his wonder.

2)  Life is like the high ropes course.  When you go Tarzan-swinging from one tree to another, and miss, your connection to the cable above (i.e., God) keeps you from crashing to the ground.  And he also gives you another chance to make the leap, even when you mess up. [This one learned the hard way ... I have the scabs and bruises to prove it.]

3)  In the chaos, noise, screaming, shouting, running, cheering, hollering, crying, shrieking ... God is at work.  If you listen for Him, he can still be heard in the hoopla of life.

4)  No matter where you are in life, God is calling you to face your fears (be it the “blob,” or the zip line, or the “leap of faith” from the tallest platform, or a sinking canoe, or a swing out into a murky pond, or just getting know someone new . . .) and live in His freedom.

5)  God gives rest to those He loves ... take it when you can get it!