Sparkly Green Earrings

Today’s post is from a dear friend of ours at LifeWay Women. Her name is Melanie Shankle, and most of you know her as Big Mama from The Big Mama Blog. Melanie keeps us in stitches each year as 1/2 a fearless hostess at dotMOM (the other hostess is our other dear friend Sophie Hudson of BooMama), and she also contributes to the All Access Blog. We think she’s pretty great. And that’s why we’re thrilled, as she releases her new book this week, Sparkly Green Earrings.

Read the note from Melanie, and then watch the ode to her daughter, Caroline, below. I guarantee you’ll shed a giggle and a tear…and then run out and buy a copy.

Several years ago I attended a writers’ conference.   I was actually there to teach a session on blogging, but while I was there I met with an agent named Bill Jensen and liked him immediately.  He promised to look over a little book proposal I’d put together and said he’d try to get back to me in a few weeks.  Then I met with a publisher who let me know she wasn’t interested.  AT ALL.

Thank you.  I will just go curl up in the fetal position and cry now.

And so I decided to let the whole book thing go.  Until several months later when I received an email from Bill asking if I wanted to talk to him on the phone.  So we talked.  And then we talked some more.  And then I kind of freaked out and felt overwhelmed by the whole thing and sent him what I hoped was a very nice email thanking him for his time but explaining that I was slightly neurotic and completely incapable of thinking about writing a book.

Sparkly Green Earrings

After a lot of starts and stops and tears, Bill helped me put a book proposal together and answered all 82,132 questions I had about the entire process.  I spent weeks upon weeks at Starbucks typing my little heart out until the smell of coffee began to make me feel like I might have a seizure.

But there’s a moment in the whole thing that I will never forget as long as I live.  About a week before we sent out the proposal, Bill and I were talking on the phone.  It was mid-August and my daughter, Caroline, was sitting in the back seat, waiting on me to finish my conversation so we could go into Subway and order some truly mediocre sandwiches.

After I hung up the phone I said, “Babe, thanks for being so patient.  That was an important call about the book.”


“What, sweetie?”

“It has taken you a really long time to write a book.”

Since I’m never one to miss a teachable moment outside of Subway, I replied “Yes it has.  But you know what?  Sometimes in life the things we have to wait on the longest or work the hardest for turn out to be the sweetest things in the end.”

And then she said something that I know was God speaking through her right to my heart.

“Mama?  Sometimes we have to walk to our future even when it feels like we want to run.”

It was all I could do to not break down and cry right then.  Because it has been a journey and the book has been a dream I’ve had somewhere deep down for as long as I can remember.

The proposal went out about a week later and I held my breath and told myself it didn’t matter one way or the other, that I had done what I felt like God had called me to do and the rest was up to Him.  Honestly, I half-expected that maybe someone would offer to let me pay them $10 to get it bound at Kinko’s and sell it out of their garage.

But that’s not what happened.  And after much writing and editing and rocking back and forth weeping and sleepless nights, my memoir about motherhood and God and life, Sparkly Green Earrings, is a reality.  It is being published by Tyndale House Publishers and is officially out this week.

Maybe you and my dad might buy a copy.


  1. Shelly Elston says

    This just whet my appetite even more to read this book! I Pre-ordered it on Amazon and cannot wait to get my hands on it! Thank you, Melanie, for writing it.


  2. says

    As a fellow Christian author, I am drawn to Sparkly Green Earrings! It sounds just like something I would love to read. I can really relate to the struggles of writing and publishing a book as well! I wrote three books and a Bible study and what a journey!

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