Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Are You Wearing Your Wildflower Crown?

Hi Friends,

We're enjoying a February warm spell and our property is abloom with wildflowers (mostly yellow ones). As I was out walking to the barn today, seeing all the flowers (the picture is of the flowers right outside my door!), I remembered how my kids had made wildflower crowns not too long ago. And I realized that I have not been wearing the wildflower-crown that God has made for me in life. I've been too busy, too tired, too overwhelmed.

I want to start wearing my crown again. Maybe you do too.

Here's the story that inspired me…


They came in giggling.  All six of them with dirt smudges on their noses, grass stains on their knees.  Laughing and dancing and flopping on the floor in a bundle of bubbling sibling delight.
“Don’t make a mess!”  I gripped the dishtowel in one hand and peered out the kitchen.  “No dirty shoes on the rug!”
“Don’t worry,” Joelle called.  “We won’t.”
“Did you clean up the basement for community group?”  I went back to drying the dishes.
No one answered.
“We’ve got a lot to do.”  
Only another burst of giggles answered me.
I put my fists on my hips and stomped around the corner.  “Hey, you --”  The words caught.
My three-year-old skipped toward me, one  hand on her head.  “Look, Mommy, look what I’ve got.  I’m wondrous beauty!”  She pulled a crown of wildflowers from her hair.  “See?”
I did see.  I saw them all, with flowers adorning every head, with crowns woven of daisies and dandelions and little purple wildflowers. They were beautiful.  Wondrous.
“Jayden made me a crown.  Purple, your favorite color.”
I bent over and squeezed her tight.  “You are a beautiful princess.”  I stood up.  “All of you.”
“Not me!”  Jayden took the crown from his head and tossed it in the air.  “Boys aren’t princesses.”
His sisters laughed.  “You make the best crowns, though.”
He made a face and brushed sand from his hair and onto the rug.
Bethany, the eldest, stood.  “Come on, let’s go make some more.  Let’s make one for Dad!”
They jumped to their feet and raced out the door.  
I shook my head and dried my hands on the towel as the door slammed shut and they scurried out onto the lawn.  I paused by the window, watching.  Legs scampered across the grass, hair glistened in the sun, small bodies flung themselves toward the patch of flowers growing near the driveway.  Sunshine and color and beauty and hope, adorned with wildflowers.
A moment later, they were sitting in a tight circle.  Fingers flashed as they wove stems into head-sized circlets.  Joelle placed a crown on Jayna, Bethany put one on Bria, while the littlest one worked hard to weave one that I knew would be for big brother, who would wear it even though he was NOT a princess.
With crowns complete, they stood and began singing at the top of their lungs.  They danced in circles.  They ran; they leapt; they rolled on the grass.  And I was reminded of Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV), “The Lord your God is with you... He will take great delight in you; in his love he will...rejoice over you with singing.”  
This is what rejoicing looked like.  This wildness, and joy, and dancing, and running, and tumbling.  And singing that was more like a shout than a song.  This was the kind of joy God offered me in Zephaniah 3:17.  
He offered me a crown of wildflowers.
I looked down at the dishtowel, still in my hands.  There was work to be done, dusting and laundry and dishes and food preparation for our group.  I had a to-do list a mile long.  How would I get it all done?
Then, came a whisper in my soul:  “Do not worry about tomorrow... (Mt. 6:34)... I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these ... (Mt. 6:29)”
Not even Solomon was dressed like one of these children, with their dirt-smudged noses, their grass-mussed knees, their flower-crowned heads.  God had adorned them with beauty, not because of their work but because of his love. They were princesses (well, except for Jayden), with crowns to match.  They were daughters of the King.
And so was I.
I dropped the dishtowel and called out the window.  “Hey, who’s going to make a crown for Mom?”

Then, I danced toward the door.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Best Valentine's Gift

Hi Friends,

Well, it's almost Valentine's day, so here are some thoughts on the best gift ever…

"Happy Valentine's Day, Honey," my husband murmured, then scooted out the door with his usual quick kiss and bear hug.  "See ya later."  Bryan winked and was gone.
That’s it? I thought.  No candy, no flowers, no delicate chocolates in the traditional bright red heart-shaped box!  Just a hug, kiss, and out the door?  This was supposed to be a day of passion, of romance, of chocolates!  A frown tugged at the corners of my mouth and deepened into ugly grooves.
Bryan never was much of a romantic anyway, I complained.  He just doesn't understand women.  Days like today are supposed to be special.
I sighed and drew my brows together in a deeper scowl as I proceeded to review again all the faults I imagined in my poor, unwary spouse.  By the time I was finished, I was thoroughly dissatisfied.  Valentine's Day was ruined.  And it was all his fault! 
I threw my body crosswise on the couch and swung my legs across the cushions.  Reluctantly, I picked up the Bible for my daily devotion.  I wasn't in the mood.  My eyes fell on the day's scripture, "Serve one another in love" (Galatians 5:13).  Love.  There was that word.  Today was supposed to be the day of love.  I wasn't feeling much love at all.  And it was all Bryan's fault! ... Or was it?  The scripture didn't say to expect to be loved.  It especially didn't say to expect chocolates just because it was Valentine's Day.
Slowly, my temper quelled and I began to examine my reactions.  Bryan had done no more or less than any other day.  He had given me the hug and kiss that I usually counted as a treasure.  So why the difference this morning?  Was it because today I had expected more?  Had I succumbed to the dreaded "E" word - Expectation? 
I began to realize that the problem with my expectations is that I can never win with them.  As soon as I expected Bryan to act a certain way, I set myself up for disappointment.  When he didn't meet my expectations, I was upset.  If he had acted as I expected, then I would have been satisfied.  But how could I have been pleasantly surprised and appreciate his kindness if I had been expecting it all along?
February, they say, is a month for love.  And Jesus showed us what real love is all about -- Not candies, nor flowers, nor sweet chocolates wrapped in a fancy box.  No, love is about laying down our lives for one another, about serving one another in love.
So, this year for Valentine's Day, I'm not going to worry about gifts of tantalizing chocolates.  I'm not going to cling to expectations of what my husband is supposed to do for me.  Rather, I plan to give my husband one of the greatest gifts of all in a marriage -- I'm going to exchange my expectations for joy and thanksgiving -- the best Valentine's gift of all!