Now we are one (Blogoversary)

I love you like a fat kid loves cake~
It’s been a year!* Many happy returns to me!


(*actually it was a year on 6 Jan 2013, so I’m a month late. But hey! I’m writing my blogoversary post anyway.)


It’s something that people ask me quite often nowadays: have you always been a writer?


And the truth is, I am surprised when people call me a writer. I giggle a bit internally, and then shyly puff up my feathers a bit and stretch my head up tall as I try it on: writer.


It was a childhood ambition; I wrote mediocre stories that I inflicted on a select few (you know who you are – sorry!!) and then when I was fifteen I discovered poetry and poured out my soul in secret.


And then after university – nothing. I exchanged writing for talking and was very happy about that, until I got so ill that I couldn’t see friends much anymore.


This is why I started the blog. I was housebound, i was bored, I had to ration the times i could chat to friends because it was too physically exhausting. I had no outlet, and my brain was all congested with millions of impatient thoughts, honking loudly. I started writing because I could no longer talk. It was my way of saying to the world, ‘hey! I am still here! I have thoughts!’


After a good friend gave me a couple of encouraging pushes, i wrote my first blog post in excitement and trepidation, armed only with a ‘list of interesting thoughts’ that I could post, vowing to stop when I had got them all down.


Preparing for my first blog post, 6 Jan 2012

Preparing for my first blog post, 6 Jan 2012


Starting to write regularly felt like I was returning to a childhood home – when you walk through the door and everything is just the same and you smile in fond recognition; it looks and smells like comfort. I was catching up with a long-lost friend, and it was as if no time has passed.

And then, somewhere along July or August, I fell unexpectedly in love. I turned into one of those annoying gushing teenagers who can only talk about their boyfriend: “I am SO loving blogging! I just want to spend all my time writing – I’m so surprised by how much I love it!’ We had a brief row when he got a bit demanding and clingy but now we’re back together and I think it may just work out. (Fellow writers – you know what I’m talking about, right??)


A favour and a PRESENT!


At the risk of sounding like Gwyneth Paltrow accepting her Oscar, I would like to gush a bit about how wonderful this experience has been and how thankful I am to everyone who reads this blog and the friends I have made through it.


I am profoundly grateful for every reader and every commenter who has encouraged me with a “you too? Me too!” and for the writers in this crazy blogosphere who have inspired me, who have taught me to write, who have kept my thoughts Godwards. Thank you.


Over to you – I need your feedback!

  • What do you like about my blog? How would you describe it to others?
  • Which have been your favourite posts?
  • What kinds of topics would you like me to explore this year?
  • What do you think of the frequency of the posts? (Too many/too few/just right?)
  • Who are your other favourite bloggers I may not know?
    As a thank you to my readers, I would like to offer a FREE gift to two lucky commenters, chosen at random from the comments below this post at 12noon GMT on Tuesday 19 Feb. There are three things that I found really helpful in those eighteen months that I was housebound and blogless:

  • God on Mute: Engaging the silence of unanswered prayer – Pete Greig
  • God Behaving Badly: Is the God of the Old Testament angry, sexist and racist? – David T Lamb
  • Beautiful Things – Gungor (CD)
    I will choose two winners at random (US or UK entry only) from the comments and notify you by email: you can let me know which ONE of the above books/CDs you’d like me to send.

    To help jog your memory for the comments, here’s a list of the blog posts of 2012:

    In January I wrote my First Ever blog post on calling and how I had found myself writing with my left hand; I wrote about Abraham and insurance and how God is not sensible, and a love letter for all who suffer in silence: Hagar encountering the God who sees.

    In February I thought about my writing voice and I broke my iPad, I explained that having M.E. does not make me heroic and that chronic illness is not a battle. With tears and trembling I wrote out my story of the last two years, my journey of learning to trust, and I guest-posted for the first time..

    Then I had an M.E. relapse and fell down a mountain. I got my preach on and said This Should Not Be. I repainted life with my teeth, wobbled my way through Mothers’ Day, dug deep into Psalm 126 and discovered Five Minute Friday for the first (and second) time.

    In April the relapse kicked in and the only thing I could write was about Living in the In-between. In May I worshipped before wrestling, asked you to care about M.E. and introduced you an amazing poet. I ran away from God and I felt empty, and like a faker. I had a speed date with my husband, decided to be more encouraging, and decided that Facebook wasn’t anti-gospel.

    June was all about getting angry with God, and I decided if it was good enough for Job, it was good enough for me. In Five Minutes, I looked at looking, celebrated baptisms, rejoiced with bloggy friends and decided not to take a risk.

    I went on holiday in July, I took photos and decided that life is for telling, that life is poetry and that I am rather difficult. In that summer of Urgh, Jeff Goins wrecked me, my cousin died, I rediscovered my perfectionist tendencies. I was only halfway here, I stretched, I flew halfway to heaven, I watched the leaves change. I went to mission in Liverpool and realised the sacrifice my Mum had made.

    September was a manic blur of crying in a school corridor, discovering mercy, imagining Paul in prison. I walked through the wardrobe into Twitter, became an honorary introvert, grasped, watched people from my window, refocused, danced like Mary, sat halfway up the stairs and wondered how you know you’re called.

    Tuesdays were for honesty and we launched the God and Suffering series:

    Natalie was in a hospital, clinging on to God; Kath searched for God in depression; Penelope was frozen, processing trauma; Ed was alone; Alastair stopped treating God like wallpaper; Joy’s faith was sandblasted. Emma became the girl who said yes, Nick learnt about fatherhood, Alice chose suffering, Addie said to ask someone else. Shelly travelled to Rwanda, Micha just breathed, Dave carried on running, Emily stopped fearing. I read all these testimonies and treasured them up in my heart.

    In October I thought about Paul in Athens, and eating pigswill. I wrote about the concrete words of book and horse. I ran faster, I travelled without knowing it into a foreign country and confessed to having a troubled marriage and being no prayer warrior. In November I put down roots, I waded reluctantly into the Women Bishops debate, wrestled with spiritual love languages, realised God might love me and snuggled in a cold cathedral. I decorated my Christmas tree and mourned with Newtown, Connecticut. Then I stepped into Advent thoughts on waiting, homelessness, groaning and that great and glorious day of Jesus’ arrival.

    It’s been quite a journey. Thanks for doing it with me.

    (here are those questions again):

  • What do you like about my blog? How would you describe it to others?
  • Which have been your favourite posts?
  • What kinds of topics would you like me to explore this year?
  • What do you think of the frequency of the posts? (Too many/too few/just right?)
  • Who are your other favourite bloggers I may not know?

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    41 Responses to Now we are one (Blogoversary)

    1. Mark Allman 13th February, 2013 at 7:37 pm #

      You are one of my most favorite persons and one of my most favorite blogs. I find your writing always thought provoking and meaningful.

      The two things that are impressive from your blog besides the writing are one the “introduce yourself part of your blog” under you “about me” section. I would like to see more bloggers do that as I would like to know more about the people who comment along with me on a post. The second impressive part is how you almost always comment on your comments. I think that is very meaningful to the person who comments.

      I would say my favorite post were “no prayer warrior”, “boots”, “again”, “is faith all about the black and the white” and “the Box” whose last line “I had hidden the wrong thing.” still resonates in my soul. I like blog post on Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays because so many blog M, W, F it is difficult to get to all the post when they go up.

      I think you should continue to write what is on your heart. For it is those struggles of life that resonate in our souls deeply.

      Tanya Marlow…. Prayer Warrior…. Writer Extraordinaire.

      • Mark Allman 13th February, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

        I did want to say congratulations on your blog anniversary and suggest that you do a vlog every once in a while.

      • Tanya 15th February, 2013 at 9:39 am #

        I’m really glad you enjoy the interaction! I always like to know more about people’s stories, and I particularly appreciate you sharing so much of yourself and your life with me. I love the way the Internet makes friendships possible in this way!

        Thank you so much for the v useful tips about the best days for posting. I used to join in with link-ups on weds, which is why I had my main post on that day, but it might now make more sense to do the main post on a Thursday, and I just hadn’t considered that. Thank you!

        Thanks for saying mine is one of your favourite blogs. You are one of my very favourite commenters! I always look forward to hearing your thoughtful analysis.

        And as for a v-log, I will definitely consider it, though I am the world’s most unphotogenic person, and my body seems to abandon all sense of co-ordination when there’s a camera on it! πŸ™‚

    2. HopefulLeigh 13th February, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

      Congratulations on one year, Tanya! What fun. So glad we’ve connected. I love hearing from your point of view on all manner of things.

      • Tanya 15th February, 2013 at 9:33 am #

        Thank you, Leigh! I am also really grateful we’ve connected – you’re fab!

    3. Alia Joy 13th February, 2013 at 4:19 pm #

      Happy One year to you! We are blogsy twins since I started Jan 4th! Picking one favorite post for me is like being asked to pick a favorite child. Can’t do it because they resonate differently at different times and there is just so much loveliness going on here. I went in search of a few posts that stuck in my mind but couldn’t find them. One was about your insurance and feeling hearbroken. That was a gut punch and so beautifully real and raw. I also loved your boots post. It was whimsical and real at the same time and that’s hard to do. And I REALLY loved your oneword post this year. It’s my favorite oneword I’ve read this year.
      As for the questions:
      I like you in your blog. I feel like I know you and we’re already good friends. Your writing invites me write into your life and thoughts and emotions without pretense and I love that! I would describe it to others as a place to pound out suffering until what remains is glory. You see hope but don’t sugar coat the ugly parts.
      I love your Tuesday guest posts and all the subject matter has been glorious.
      I’m terrible with coming up with explorable topics. If I could come up with them off the top of my head, I’d be writing about them too so can’t help you there. But if you write it, I’ll read it.
      I love the frequency of your posts although I don’t get to read as regularly as I’d like to, I love that when I can get over here there is always new stuff to read.
      Oh and bloggers you may not know… ? I think you know more bloggers than I do and we tend to have the same taste in writers. I don’t think I have anyone to add, in fact, I’m going to check out some of your links on your sidebar of blogs I’ve never heard of.
      Wow, that was a crazy long rambling comment. No coffee yet.
      Hope you have a great day! Love what you bring to this blogging world, it wouldn’t be the same without you!

      • Tanya 15th February, 2013 at 9:32 am #

        Thank you SO much for this.

        I love that we are blogsy twins! I am so glad that you feel like you know me and like me. Back atcha for your blog!

        “A place to pound out suffering till what remains is glory” – oh my, I love this description. It makes me want to rise to it all the more. Thank you for this.

        You have such a gift of giving word-compliments as diamonds- you have both insight and an uncanny magic with words. (Which is a clumsy way of saying I feel very loved by this, and I’m going to treasure it up).

    4. Alastair 13th February, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

      Congratulations! And many happy returns. πŸ™‚

      I love the openness of this blog and the effort that you put into cultivating a community. Little touches, like the ‘over to you’ section make a big difference (I’ve always enjoyed this on Vicky’s blog too). Also the frequent guest posts are great. All of these things suggest that you are going to effort to ensure that your blog is a conversation with a lot of space made for other voices. I also really appreciate the way that this blog isn’t driven by the latest online argument or debate, but is focused on deeper and more constant themes of Christian life.

      I like the regularity of your posting. As someone who has been blogging for nearly ten years, I know that getting regularity right is much easier said than done. The fact that you post so consistently really makes a difference. Posting huge posts irregularly, I know that it is hard for such a blogging style to gain much community momentum.

      One idea for future blogging might be setting up a project between several blogs (perhaps following the lead of The Big Bible Project) where a biblical book is chosen for each month and each blogger commits to posting three or four posts on the book over the month and to draw attention to the others doing so. It would be a great way to encourage a positive and biblical focus, to discover new blogs and voices, and to create broader communities of bloggers and their readers.

      • Tanya 15th February, 2013 at 9:27 am #

        Thank you SO much for this useful feedback. I really appreciate the community on here – starved of extrovert contact, I want to imitate normal conversation as far as possible! (And I blatantly nicked the ‘over to you’ thing from Vicky, cos it’s v useful for stirring up thought!)

        I also appreciate your affirmation to continue my own thing, not posting about the latest Mark Driscoll controversy. It is tempting at times, as your article on this subject so aptly identified!

        I love your idea. I shall ponder it further. I have a few similar ideas rolling around… Perhaps for the autumn? Thank you!

    5. Ian 13th February, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

      Happy Blogoversary,
      I am new to the world of blogs and all that technology offers. Reading through, reminds me that good writing does the writer ‘good’ as well as the reader who is interested, informed, challenged and amused. You manage those four elements.

      I love writing – stories and poetry but keep on telling myself that I should be doing other things. Your blogoversary is a reminder to me that not following your heart is crazy- I have used the 39 years of working life as an excuse not to do so.
      So you have reminded me that I should allow some time to write- although sharing with others is another thing.
      Thanks for writing and sharing; I am still working through how to cope with suffering.


      • Tanya 15th February, 2013 at 9:14 am #

        Thank you so much, Ian. I really hope that you do have the courage to follow your heart a bit more and dig into that writing gift. I think it helps with the coping with suffering, too. It’s not a miracle, it doesn’t and can’t solve everything, but it can help to get catharsis.
        Thanks so much for stopping by – I really appreciate it!

    6. Joy Lenton 13th February, 2013 at 3:14 pm #

      Dear sweet Tanya, I haven’t known you as long as some. So it is great to see what I’ve missed! Happy Blogoversary to you! How to make a choice? To play favourites? No way, not even ‘anyway’. With content like yours, each post is eagerly devoured and savoured. I love it all.
      I love your honesty.
      I love your deep deep love of God.
      I love the way you see rainbows through the rain.
      I love how illness may constrain but doesn’t define you.
      I love your passion and energy – yes, it is there in your words.
      I love the hope you bring to fellow M.E and chronic illness sufferers as you hold out support and embrace us all with kindness and grace.
      I love the way you write and how strong you are in your ‘voice’.
      I could go on…but you get the picture! So glad I found your blog. Each time a new post comes up I can’t wait to read it. Tuesdays are special too as you open your page and your heart to others who are hurting.
      Just keep writing, Tanya, and blessing us more than you can know through your gift. Love and gratitude πŸ™‚ xx

      • Tanya 15th February, 2013 at 9:12 am #

        Thank you so much for these words of affirmation, Joy. These words are a gift to me, and I will treasure them up. I so appreciate your regular visits here, and your ever-insightful comments. Thank you!

    7. Alice 13th February, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

      Oooooh! How did you fit so much into a year?! And how am I meant to choose a favourite post?!

      I loved the day that changed you – the honesty and sorrow and power of it.
      I love every Tuesday – I really do.
      I loved that you nudged me to read ‘a new name’ which is one of the best books I’ve read.
      And, ‘Anyway’? – Brilliant!

      I describe your blog to people as being “about suffering, but not gloomy and morose – it’s hopeful and strong and honest and positive”. I also tell them it’s my favourite.

      In terms of frequency of posts, I like you just the way you are!!

      Happy birthday, I am so glad this blog was born! xxx

      • Tanya 14th February, 2013 at 9:54 am #

        Thank you Alice – I felt so loved by this! To be honest, when I put the whole posts together in a big list, I was like “woah, I’m a bit chatty!” I’m glad it doesn’t feel like too much. πŸ™‚ I loved hearing what your favourite posts are and how you describe my blog (kindred spirits, peut-Γͺtre?) and I am dancing a little happy dance that my blog is your favourite. Thank you, sweet friend. Xx

    8. Sam Sadie 13th February, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

      Happy Blogoversary my friend! I love reading your blog posts, and have always felt that our lives have eerily mirrored each others

      • Tanya 14th February, 2013 at 9:51 am #

        Thank you! I SO appreciate you taking the time to comment when you’re so busy with chicken pox craziness! I also really appreciate having someone whose situation is so similar – it’s nice to be walking through this together!

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