Big Mama Blog

In case maybe you have a book club or something

Here’s the official update on stomach plague 2014:

Caroline went back to school yesterday.

P ate a whole bag of chili-cheese Fritos.

I spent the day feeling queasy and out of sorts.

What I’m saying is that one out of the three of us appear to have escaped unscathed. Because, let’s be honest, chili-cheese Fritos are a bold gastronomic choice on even the best days. Meanwhile, Caroline and I are both in the weird middle place when you’re recovering from a stomach illness and kind of want to eat but can’t figure out what sounds good and then you end up eating a brown sugar Pop-tart which leads to regret and chewing peppermint gum to get the taste out of your mouth.

And since I can’t really deal with the thought of cooking real food because of all the smells and such, I made P a grilled chicken salad for dinner. And Caroline and I agreed that maybe a nice breakfast taco with just eggs might sound good, but then she changed her mind and asked me to make deviled eggs. But then she couldn’t eat them and finally settled on a piece of toast with some peanut butter.

The point is that we’re living in dark culinary times over here. It’s hard to get back on the horse that threw you.

In other news that’s completely non-related, several of you have emailed and mentioned that you are reading The Antelope in the Living Room in a book club or a Sunday School class or something along those lines and have asked if there are any discussion questions available.

The answer is yes.

One of my favorite emails was from a friend of mine who told me her Couples’ Sunday School class chose to use the book as a small group study to encourage everyone in their marriage. I loved that because it’s always been my hope for Antelope, that in the midst of the funny and the silly and the absurd there would be moments that cause us to reflect on our marriages and appreciate the person we’re married to and that marriage is worth the fight.

So here are some questions that you can feel free to use however you want. Please ignore the fact that I refer to myself in third person in some of the questions. It was either that or the term “the author” and I couldn’t take myself seriously enough to write that.

I hope you find this useful and/or helpful.

And the good news is you can still order The Antelope in the Living Room for less than $10 here on Barnes & Noble or here on Amazon or here at Walmart.

Antelope Discussion Questions


1. In Chapter 1, Melanie mentions that she’d always envisioned a Christmas wedding but ended up getting married in August. How did your own wedding day differ from what you thought it might be?

2. Have you seen ways in your own life that marriage tends to amplify whatever insecurities you have? Have you looked for your husband or job or anything to complete you in some way?

3. Do you remember the first time you met your spouse? What stands out in your mind?

4. Have you ever made a list of qualities you want in your future spouse? What things did you include that ended up not being as important as you originally thought?

5. What are some things in your life that you feel like you’re waiting on right now? Do you agree that we’re all waiting on something, no matter where we are in life?

6. In Chapter 4, Melanie mentions a list of celebrities she’d be friends with if they ever met. Do you have a list?

7. Do you remember things you found out about your spouse after you got married that you didn’t necessarily know beforehand?

8. What was the first fight of your newlywed days?

9. In Chapter 7, Melanie discusses finances. Do you have a budget you stick to every month?

10. Has God ever called you to take a step of faith with your finances or career? What was it? How did you handle it? Did you see him provide in ways you couldn’t have imagined?

11. What was the worst home improvement challenge you’ve ever taken on? Was it worth it in the long run?

12. Do you agree that it’s sometimes our job to be our spouse’s cheerleader? When was a time that you encouraged your husband or helped them through something they were going through?

13. How did having your first child affect your marriage? Did it change the dynamic in ways you weren’t expecting?

14. In your marriage do you feel that challenges you’ve faced have brought you closer together or caused you to drift apart? How do you work together to meet trials that come up?

15. Do you and your husband share any hobbies? What are some common interests you have?

16. What are some challenges you’ve faced with your in-laws? Have you seen ways they have influenced things in your marriage? How do you deal with this?

17. In Chapter 21, Melanie tells of a time she needed to share some things with Perry from her past. Has there been a time that you’ve experienced this kind of grace and forgiveness? How did it affect you?

18. Have you ever thought about the legacy of your marriage and what it means to future generations? Has there been a time you’ve decided to stick with it even though part of you wants to walk away?

19. When you look at your spouse, what do you see? What are the qualities he has that you value even though you may have not even realized when you first married him?

20. Melanie uses The Antelope in the Living Room as six words that sum up her marriage. What are six words you’d use to describe your marriage? Do those six words change depending on the day?

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  1. 1

    It’s like you read my mind. Thank you!

  2. 2

    I was out with friends on Saturday night when I received the dreaded text that our 10 year old and 7 year old both had bad stomach aches. Sure enough, the 10 year old threw up multiple times.

    Even though I was not even home, I immediately felt illness wash over me and felt sick.

    I checked in with my husband later and in between puke clean ups, he was enjoying himself some chips and salsa.

    Can you even imagine?

    • 3
      jcarr0728 says:

      Kudos to your husband, Michelle! If that was my husband I would have had to rush home to take care of everything because he is useless in those situations.

  3. 4

    thanks for sharing these! starting a book club for the summer months at church! excited about this!!

  4. 5

    We actually just had our book club meeting about this book on Sunday! Bummer! Your questions are much better than the ones we came up with : ) Thanks for sharing!

  5. 6

    My daughter has the stomach plague going through her family. We are hoping it stays within her walls. Hope you all feel better soon.

    • 7

      I’m so curious about this “stomach plague” that is going around. Is it the flu or something different? Up here in Alaska so many of us get flu shots every year that I know of no one yet that has had the flu. the shots are given free at so many businesses and clinics, and they seem to work because we are spared the plague that seems to go around elsewhere.

  6. 8

    Oh, I love the questions. I am in a Power of a Praying Wife group and some of the questions prompted a text to my group. I’m reading your book too!!

  7. 9

    I am really enjoying the book (laughing out loud nightly!) and thank you for these questions! They are great!:)

  8. 10
    Kristin says:

    Regarding the question about finding out something you didn’t know about your spouse till after marriage….well we’ve been married 20 years and a year ago my husband told me he has a photographic memory. What? How do I not know this? It explains a LOT about his genius. Then, at our small group THIS PAST SUNDAY, he tells everyone he was on a pickleball team in 6th grade when he lived in California. What is pickleball? THEN, he refers to the book of Esther and pronounces it Es-THer. (With a soft ‘th’ sound). I’m all, “are you just messing with me? You don’t really say it that way, right?” And with the straightest face he tells me that he’s ALWAYS said Es-THer and maybe we’ve never actually talked about that book. Needless to say, he is surprising me more after 20 years than ever before. It makes for a lot of laughs and our small group is bound to think we don’t know each other at all! :)

    • 11
      Kristin says:

      I forgot to say that I loved The Antelope in the Living Room. So much to take from all those pages. Thank you for sharing your story of God’s glory in your marriage. Such an encouragement, not to mention entertaining!

  9. 12
    Marilyn says:

    Not to quibble, but on #12, you use “spouse” in the first sentence. Later, it’s “your husband’s.” Shouldn’t it be “your husband’s or wife’s”? Seems it should work both ways, as needed.

  10. 13
    Sarah Jacobs says:

    I’m listening to your book because it’s so funny to have you read it to me. I’m on the part where P just had acupuncture and you’re comparing it to your surgery/recovery and I’m dying! I don’t really have a point. Just wanted to tell you it’s great :)

  11. 14

    i CAN NOT wait to read this book. my SIL and are going to read it together as SHE feels this book was written FOR HER… her home has a HUGE HUGGGGGEE elk hanging in the living room and she hate hate haaaaaaaaaaaaates it!!!!

    i couldn’t tell her about this book fast enough! ;)

  12. 15

    Hello Melanie,
    I have enjoyed your blog for years! And I’m so proud and happy to now be able to buy your books on Kindle. Just bought them both (SGE wasn’t available before on Kindle in Ireland) Can’t wait for my commute home (2 hours) so I can begin to read. Thanks and well done!

  13. 16

    What is happening? ? I no sooner finished reading your post on the plague than we began our own version here. I empathize!

  14. 17

    I love your list of questions, and actually want my husband to answer them too!

  15. 18


    I listened to the audiobook version of this last weekend driving down fro Dallas (where I live) to Mom and Dad’s (Houston). LOVED IT, AND I HAVE NEVER BEEN MARRIED. You just crack me up, and I loved how honest you were about real life, and how God provided P for you at exactly the right time. It was great to have you read your book to me as this was a difficult drive this particular time. I know you weren’t really reading it to ME, but you know what I mean. :) thanks for sharing your life with us. Thanks for helping us laugh along the way, yet be serious long enough so as not to miss all the blessings God sends our way. :)