the antelope in the living room

IAntelope coverf you’re looking for a light, easy, hilarious read, look no further.

The Antelope in the Living Room, by The Big Mama blog author Melanie Shankle, is guaranteed to entertain.

I read her book, Sparkly Green Earrings, a few months ago, and laughed out loud with every chapter.  That one, her first book, was filled with stories about becoming a mother and navigating the path through the daily hills and valleys of parenthood. Earrings cover

In this, her second book, Melanie shares a host of stories and anecdotes about married life, and they are just as funny as her parenting quips.

I particularly related to her chapter on home improvement, in which she relays her experience of taking on the self-imposed torture of painting their “back house.”

She literally could’ve been writing my own story of recently deciding to paint our interior walls when she wrote:

“I scraped for a grand total of three minutes before I felt my forearms begin to cramp up.  Which is when Perry helpfully called out, ‘Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint!  This whole process will probably take you a month!’”

I heard the exact same words.  Except my husband’s name isn’t Perry.

Melanie goes on:

“As the endless painting stretched before me, the whole thing began to feel like heaven.  Not so much in the ‘there will be no tears or sorrow’ kind of way, but more in the ‘this will be how I spend eternity’ kind of way.  I had just one request.  I told Perry, ‘If this kills me, which I have no doubt it will, please make sure I’m buried in a sleeveless dress, because I have no doubt that the silver lining in all of this is that my arms will have never looked better.’”

Amen, sister.  I feel your pain.  I have a whole blog post written in my head already in which I blame The Nester for the fact that I haven’t been able to feel my arms for the past two weeks.  You know, since she wrote the book that inspired me to paint in the first place.

But that’s another story. Coming soon to a blog near you.

About The Antelope in the Living Room: Besides it being so consistently funny, the second best part is how Melanie paints such a realistic picture of marriage.  She tells it how it is, in a nod-your-head, yep-I-know-exactly-what-you’re-talking-about kind of way.  Which is probably why the book is a bestseller.

Finally, I really appreciated how Melanie incorporates her faith and weaves it into her story in a very appealing way.  Her chapter on grace and forgiveness is beautifully written, and it’s obvious that her dependency on the Lord is what seals her commitment to her husband.

Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed the read.


letter to a new bride

Dear newly married bride,

You probably don’t remember me.  I was behind you in line at the County Clerk’s office the day you picked up your marriage license.  I sat in the row of chairs against the wall of windows that let the June sunshine filter in, my three kids sandwiched between my husband and me.  You heard that I was there for passport applications, and you kindly turned around to point out the paperwork on the counter.  My husband asked if you were also applying for a passport, to which you cheerfully replied, “Nope!  Marriage license.”

We later overheard that you would be getting married the very next day.

The picture made sense, you standing there with your fresh french pedicure and flip-flops, your long blonde ponytail tied back loosely with a turquoise band.  You looked healthy and radiant, and ready to get married.

I mentally calculated the date, and it was then that it struck me.

Exactly ten years ago to the very week, I stood at the same clerk’s window, picking up the very same document.

Our marriage license.

I leaned over to my husband and whispered, “Do you think I should tell her that in exactly ten years, she’ll be looking like this?”  My arm swept over the heads of our three kids, and my husband smiled and let out a silent laugh.

I wanted to tell you then and there that you might be sitting in that same chair ten years from now, telling your nine-year-old not to throw frisbees indoors, and asking your seven-year-old where his shoes are.

Your nails will likely be chipped and softened by then, from countless sinks full of dish soap and bathtubs of bubbly water and squirmy, muddy kids.

Your eyes will still sparkle, but they’ll look more tired then, the dark circles under your eyes a near permanent feature.



Now, your ring probably still feels awkward in its newness, and I bet you still drive with your left hand placed strategically on the steering wheel, staring at the sparkle as discreetly as possible while you drive.  A decade from now, you’ll still marvel at the sparkle when it catches the light, but it will have become a regular fixture, a tan line on your ring finger when you slide off the gold at night.

You will have broken your vows a thousand times, for “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  But if you hold on to His promises, He will take those shards and glue them back together every morning into a colorful mosaic cemented in grace.

You can’t possibly know the scars or the joys that will be etched upon your heart these next ten years.  You might face pain and trials like you’ve never experienced before.  Anything could happen, and everything could change — everything but this:

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

Cling to that truth, and you’ll be just fine.


Related Posts: My Top Four Books on Marriage & Team Us: Marriage Together


Team Us - Cover

Photo Credit: Tela Chhe, Flickr Creative Commons