What I’m Into (April 2015)

Remember April? I know, now that you can taste June, you barely remember April, but May was so crazy I completely neglected a ‘What I’m Into’ for April, so let me take you back in time – indulge in some April nostalgia with me.

Feeling the spring vibes

Feeling the spring vibes

Easter Sunday church
This Easter, my boy stood at the front of church next to his vicar-father, and said into the microphone like a total pro:
“A very warm welcome to you all. It’s nice to see so many new people here today. Can anyone here – who is NEW – tell me what exciting day it is today?”
Then he ran straight up to me and pointed the microphone in my face until I said ‘Easter Sunday.’
My M.E. is so severe that I need to be in bed for most of the day, and trips out of the house, while enjoyable, are such a strain on my body that they take days to recover from, so I can only leave the house once or twice a month for an hour or two at a time. If you have ever felt tired by a church service, and wondered why, I can now tell you with authority: church services are exhausting. Noise and bustle + concentration on sermon and Bible reading + small talk with a large number of people in quick succession + singing + negotiating with the boy to only do breakdancing during worship songs reminded me why I hadn’t been able to go to church at all for the last 3.5 years, and hadn’t been to a morning service since 2010. The payback afterwards also reminded me why church-going is an unusually high-level activity for me – I was wiped for a few weeks afterwards.
After the Easter Service: wiped, but happy.

After the Easter Service: wiped, but happy.

But although I won’t be able to repeat the expedition in a hurry, it was so worth it. To be in church on a crisp Spring morning, with the sun rising above the gravestones on Easter day, gave me goosebumps: then seeing my boy dance with a little girl at the front of church during the worship, chewing the communion bread, smiling at all the familiar and beloved faces was altogether wonderful.
The best churches are those that, while they may be a little messy or ragged at the edges, are known for their love, and that struck me afresh at that service – the feeling of being amongst family. It is a privilege to call this church our home, and even though my attendance can be described as ‘sporadic’ at best, I am so grateful to belong to such a great church family.
Magic Man the movie
Magic Man costumes, reading for shooting on location

Magic Man costumes, reading for shooting on location

Mini Lego Magic Man - for funsies

Mini Lego Magic Man – for funsies

Magic Man Space-Travelling Time-Travelling Watch - with 3 time zones (Dinosaur, Sir Francis Drake, Bible times)

Magic Man Space-Travelling Time-Travelling Watch – with 3 time zones (Dinosaur, Sir Francis Drake, Bible times)

What was meant to be an Easter holidays project for Jon and the boy turned into a four-week filming marathon, and a fifteen-minute-long film extravaganza. If you recall, the boy was inspired by my book-publishing antics to publish his own book about a superhero he had invented, called Magic Man. He kept on referring to the future Magic Man movies so much (apparently, in the thirteenth movie Magic Man dies) that Jon decided to make it a reality. They made costumes with chicken wire and papier maché; they storyboarded; they went to the moor to film the dinosaur scene. Then Jon did his magic on design and special effects. Even accounting for my bias, the end result was awesome.
Magic Man Premiere

Magic Man Premiere

My son had his first movie premiere at the church with about ten of his classmates, who were kind enough to come on a Saturday morning and were fed popcorn and ice cream for their efforts. Alas, there will be no sequel, however – even before the boy said his emphatic ‘No’, you could have guessed from looking at the director’s bloodshot eyes that this would not be repeated. (Magic Man got bored of wearing the helmet about one day into filming.)
Three days after the premiere, the boy started talking about his new superhero: Sea Mask, who is infinitely superior to Magic Man and who may well need a future film of his own. Jon looked a little wild when the boy mentioned this.
I met Alice Buckley!
Alice Buckley is one of my best friends in the whole wide world, and this month we met for the first time. I am so thankful for the Blogosphere, Twitter, and Skype for connecting me with wonderful people like Alice. We hugged, and ate lunch together. It was both surreal and utterly normal not to have a screen between us.
Me and Alice! In the actual same room!

Me and Alice! In the actual same room!

Relevant magazine – this month I was privileged to be featured in Emily Miller’s article for Relevant Magazine on healing miracles. Favourite quote?

“I don’t know what God is doing. I don’t know why He heals me and then doesn’t heal me. I don’t know why He heals some and not others. I don’t know what governs His actions. That is what makes Him God.
“So I guess I’d say, yeah, my God is big. It’s a Sunday school lesson, and I’m still learning it.”

Read the whole piece here. 
Recovering from Easter Sunday meant more trashy TV, fewer books, but those I read were excellent.

“Uniting threads from culture, literature and history, Mark Meynell weaves a rich and fascinating tapestry of our society today. Anyone who wants to write about the interaction between church and culture needs to listen well to both – and Meynell has an extremely good ear. As someone weary of empty political rhetoric and power- hungry leaders, this book gave me a fresh vision of the beautiful uniqueness of Jesus and fresh hope that a humble church can reach a disillusioned society. Insightful, gentle, and intelligent, this book is a must-read for leaders, pastors, evangelists, culture-watchers and culture-shapers – in short, any thoughtful Christian wanting to reach this weary and wary generation. “

You can read my endorsement together with lots of learned men on this page, and find out more about this thoughtful and thought-provoking book. Get it from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
On my nightstand:

  • Sea of Poppies – Amitav Ghosh. This was longer and slower than I thought it would be (I read it on Kindle), but it is the vivid storytelling and beautiful writing that is reeling me in. Get it from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
  • Michael Card – Luke: The Gospel of Amazement. I’m using this as a devotional at the moment. The style is commentary-lite – he gives you the interesting background and is great at identifying themes in the text, but it’s much shorter and less academic than a commentary, but not applied or illustrated as a devotional would be. He is a worship leader, and so I was hoping that this would have a more artistic spin than most normal commentaries. While not being as artistic as I would have hoped, I enjoy its simplicity, and the short passages mean its easy to do one or two as a devotional. Get it from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.


Lent e-courses 
In Lent I did two e-courses, and both were brilliant.


  • Arthur and George – Jon had read the book by Julian Barnes, and this program made me want to read the book – gripping stuff. It’s about the true story of Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes getting involved in a real-life mystery and miscarriage of justice. Well-acted and paced, and Julian Barnes is one of my favourite authors, so I reckon the book would be worth a punt, too. Get the BBC series from Amazon.co.uk. Get the book from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.
  • American Idol – my favourites were Clark Beckham and Joey Cook. Who were yours? I did NOT get the appeal about Nick Fradiani. I noticed that this year’s season seemed to be more low key (only one show per week, only five going on tour). Could this be the beginning of the end for the franchise?
  • Election coverage – this year I really enjoyed the leaders’ debates, and couldn’t help but wish that parliamentary debates were governed in a similar way, with everyone given time to speak and explain their position, and answer objections, rather than being heckled and insulted like a ridiculous pantomime, which seems to be de rigeur for Commons’ debates.


  • No Country for Old Men – beautiful film, Javier Bardem is a terrifying villain, brilliant acting by all. Abrupt ending. Get it from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.(£3.19)
  • 27 Dresses – trashy watching, but comfortingly formulaic rom com. Get it from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk (£2.98).
  • Downfall – best film of the year so far – a German take on Hitler’s last days. Inherently bleak, but superbly acted and so thought-provoking. I hope to blog on it at some point. Get it from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk (£4.69).
  • Sabrina – I love Audrey Hepburn, and the way that old films force me to slow down. Somehow her charm makes the love story work. Get it from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk (£4.00).
  • The Matrix – We had a retro Matrix-watching night, skipping over all the ‘red pill/blue pill’ boring bits, just all the kung-fu and blowing up bits. We said things like, ‘this was so ground-breaking – this was the first time anyone had done something like this’ and felt old. Get it from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

Favourite App

  • Sing! karaoke by Smule – Discovering a new app where you can sing karaoke (with friends, if you’re both members) was both exciting and depressing. Depressing, because my once-opera-standard voice is now weak and unreliable, and no one sounds that great when they are singing whilst lying down, and depressing, because I am incapable of singing pop (I annunciate like a choir girl), but exciting, because SO MUCH FUN! My favourite karaoke songs of the moment – ‘These boots are made for walking’, ‘Royals’, and ‘Don’t rain on my parade’.

On the blog: 
The favourite posts were When Good Girls Get Angry, Who Should I Vote For in the General Election? and The Beauty of Being Average.

I’ve been so encouraged by the positive reviews that continue to come in for my book, Coming Back to God When You Feel Empty – and have been heartened to hear good reports of churches using it in home groups for studying Ruth. People are still saying nice things about my book at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, and I am unbelievably grateful for every positive review – it really makes a difference in getting the book out. Thank you, one and all.

I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer for her magnificent What I’m Into Linkup.
This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which means if you click through to Amazon.co.uk  or Amazon.com from this site and buy absolutely anything in the world, you help this site, at no extra cost to you. 
Over to you: 

  • How was your Easter?


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19 Responses to What I’m Into (April 2015)

  1. Adrian Tremblay 1st June, 2015 at 11:48 pm #

    I loved hearing about your Easter Sunday and your boys’ wonderful imagination. I have two grandsons, two and six, such delightful little creatures.

    I understand about church services being exhausting. My fairly young husband at 59 had a massive stroke. The highlight of his week is going to church. After the service while I am just get fired up to socialize, he gives me the look, the look says “i am toast, take me home.” Home it is where he will hibernate for the next few days.

    Wishing you lots of … thin places… this summer.

  2. Mark Allman 1st June, 2015 at 8:13 pm #


    Great new pictures of you. When is the film being released?? ! Maybe on YouTube?? The Relevant Magazine piece was great. I am glad you got out at Easter.

    I am a Matrix fan. Wish they had made more of those movies. 12 Monkeys was a great new series on the SyFy network.

    • Tanya 21st June, 2015 at 5:40 pm #

      ha! film? Well, there is a new vimeo video interview of me on the Compassionate Britain website (the launch post) but I am NOT the most photogenic/videogenic (is that a word??) person on the planet…
      Glad you are enjoying your SciFi? Are you into Game of Thrones? I’m not, but all my scifi friends are well into it.

  3. Lydia 1st June, 2015 at 7:34 pm #

    Wow, that is a pretty awesome month! Getting back to church for that day just sounded amazing – and the boy seemed ecstatic to have you there, ha! It truly is one of the biggest energy drains.

    • Tanya 21st June, 2015 at 5:39 pm #

      Thanks for celebrating with me! Lovely to see you here. 🙂

  4. Rebecka 1st June, 2015 at 4:45 pm #

    Well, it took me an embarrisingly long time to remember what I did on Easter but it finally hit me that it was my sister-in-law’s birthday… We had a lovely brunch!

    Will the Magic Man movie be available for overseas audiences? I’d love to see it!

    Lots of love! x

    • Tanya 21st June, 2015 at 5:38 pm #

      Ah, the days all meld into one! I will have to get the Magic Man movie sent to you somehow. Remind me!

  5. Gill 1st June, 2015 at 3:23 pm #

    Dear Tanya

    Your posts never fail to move me and this is no exception. It’s so difficult to understand why God chooses to heal some and not others – one of those questions we will never get to know the answer on I guess! God’s grace just shines through your writing. So glad you got to meet the very lovely Alice – I am sure you are a blessing to each other. Gill x

    • Tanya 21st June, 2015 at 5:30 pm #

      Thank you, lovely Gill! Alice is indeed very lovely, and it was a real highlight. I’m really grateful that you like my words 🙂

  6. Pam Smith 1st June, 2015 at 3:11 pm #

    Wow Tanya, what a lot you pack in! Thank you for all the tips – I’d love to try the karaoke app though my voice is also sadly diminished from a once note perfect folk music voice – I still find singing really uplifting though.

    Glad the book is getting so much use – it’s very good.

    • Tanya 21st June, 2015 at 5:29 pm #

      Oh, I totally sympathise – my voice is so sad and puny compared to what it once was. Hope you get a chance to sing anyway, though. And thanks so much for your kind words about my book! 🙂

  7. lulu 31st May, 2015 at 10:31 pm #

    Well there are mixed emotions about April for me. Its my birthday but it’s also my brothers anniversary. He wud hav been 9. This year the anniversary hit me so much harder than it usually and frankly I’m still recovering from it. But did get to be with with a friend for my birthday weekend! So yes extremely mixed emotions. 😐

    • Tanya 21st June, 2015 at 5:27 pm #

      Oh gosh – very mixed emotions, I can understand that. Thinking of you in the sadness and joy.

  8. Alice 31st May, 2015 at 8:35 pm #

    Pretty sure meeting you was the closest I’ve come to meeting a famous person!

    It’s tucked away in my store of breathtakingly happy moments. And it will be repeated, it WILL.

    Love love love you.

    • Tanya 21st June, 2015 at 5:26 pm #

      HA! That’s hilarious.
      (caps seem necessary – not sure why)

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