What I’m Into (March 2015)

Birthday Trip out of the house

Birthday Trip out of the house


Remember March? I know, I know, I’m so late for this What I’m Into. It may be a record. March is totally, y’know, so last month.
Nevertheless, I’m stopping by to share the delights of this feisty month. Here’s what I was into:
Birthday: I had a birthday this month, and aged another year. It was the perfect birthday: a lunch out with Jon, followed by a brief push-walk by the sea, and collecting my boy from school for the first time ever. I could smell cut grass, sea spray, warm wind: the scents of Spring.

The sun, at the point of greatest eclipse

The sun, at the point of greatest eclipse


Eclipse excitement: Like the rest of the country, I realised at the eleventh hour that I wanted to witness a meteorological phenomenon – the partial (80/90%?) eclipse of the sun. An amazing friend stepped in and somehow got us all special eclipse glasses (on the black market?), so we could watch the sun together, coloured in pencil-crayon orange against a black sky, being slowly munched by the moon. Bizarrely, without the glasses, the sun looked exactly the same, maybe a little paler (see photo above). With the glasses, it was a mere slit of light, occluded by the moon.
It was the first time I had seen an eclipse, and it was an amazing experience, all the more surreal for having two exuberant children running around the front lawn while we told them to sit down and watch a once-in-twenty-years event.

I may have got a little excited about the solar eclipse.

I may have got a little excited about the solar eclipse.


On writing:

  • Writing Down the Bones – Natalie Goldberg – I have been going through this book with friends as a book club, reading a few of the ultra-short chapters each time, and doing creative exercises together. It is perfect for writers. She is my very favourite author for the craft of writing; whenever my writing is sluggish or uninspired, she gets me going again. If you’re going to get any book by Goldberg, I would start with Wild Mind, but this is an excellent follow-up. Highly recommended. Get it from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com.

Christian books:

  • Outside In – Cindy Brandt. I thoroughly enjoyed this intelligent, thoughtful book on the voices that are so often excluded from church for being ‘too doubtful, too sad, too old, or too disabled etc’ . It was a wonderful surprise to see my own name quoted in the chapter for on disability, and the whole book is full of great quotes and insight. It’s a nice length: about 90 pages, very readable, and best of all it’s FREE on her website. Don’t think that just because it’s free it’s lower quality than paid books, it’s incredibly well-written, and a fantastic voice for the church. I interviewed Cindy here, and you can sign up for her book FREE here. Highly recommended. To buy it, get it from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com.
  • Lineage of grace – Francine Rivers. I keep looking for well-written retellings of the Bible stories, and she is the bestselling and most well-known author in this genre. This book retells the stories of Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary, mother of Jesus. There’s lots to love in this book: she has a real knack of bringing the Bible world to life, with interesting cultural and contextual details that you miss when you read the Bible story. I absolutely loved her retelling of Tamar’s story, which brings out the drama and cruelty of Judah’s actions. However, I wasn’t wholly convinced of her interpretation of the other characters’ stories: they tend towards trying to crowbar in a love story where there isn’t one, and she attempts to make Bathsheba complicit and guilty in what is essentially David’s sin, which made me feel quite uncomfortable. Read it for the good storytelling and well-imagined Biblical culture, but be aware that her retellings feel quite anti-feminist. Get it from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com.



  • Run – Ann Patchett. I am becoming Ann Patchett’s biggest fan, and am a little concerned that I’m running out of her books left to read. This one was about two families – one rich, one poor – thrown together via a car accident, discovering they are more closely connected than they originally thought. Like all her books, she paints the internal world of all her characters so well, and I devoured this book in a few days, because her writing is just so delicious. Highly recommended. Get it from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com.
  • The Three Musketeers – still making my way through this beast, still enjoying it.


Fitness resource:
  • Fitbit Charge HR – This is one of those smart fitness devices that you put on your wrist, measuring number of steps taken, how many floors climbed, calories burnt, hours of sleep and quality of sleep, and this heart rate (HR) version also continuously measures your heart rate, so you can see how many minutes of the day you’ve spent in aerobic/fatburning/cardiac zones. I wanted to keep track of how many steps I was walking, and to keep an eye on my heart rate. Most people would want to maximise their steps, but I wanted to make sure I wasn’t overdoing it. I really wanted to love it, because it promises so much. The heart rate monitor was roughly accurate, and I found it useful to track my resting pulse every day, and see how much of the day I’d spent with my heart rate over 100bpm. However:
    • the step counter was wildly inaccurate. I would count my steps from the bedroom to the bathroom, check my Fitbit, and see that it had counted about three times as much. When I woke up after a night’s sleep I had apparently walked 70 steps (I don’t sleepwalk).
    • the battery needed charging every 2-3 days for 2 hours, rather than lasting for the promised 5 days.
    • The sleep measurement wasn’t very accurate. Perhaps someone who isn’t mainly bed bound would have a more accurate reading, but it kept recording me asleep when I was awake.
    • Unfortunately, after three weeks the battery stopped charging, at which point I gave up and returned it.

If anyone has an alternative suggestion for a device that continuously measures (and records?) heart rate, plus an accurate step-counter, I would be very grateful! Get FitBit Charge HR from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com.

  • George EzraWanted on Voyage. He’s everywhere at the moment, but loving his deep and mysterious vocals. I can see why it’s a bestseller. Get it from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com.
  • The Lumineers– folky-cool, kinda love, kinda got a bit samey. Get it from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com.


  • The Dark Knight – I’m late here, but Heath Ledger as The Joker really is remarkable. One of the most terrifying villains ever. Get it from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com.
  • Anastasia – I tried hard to like this Disney film, because I love the real-life story of Anastasia, but I think I may have come to it too late: it left me cold. Get it from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com.


In the blogosphere:
  • America’s IOM panel finally came back with their recommended name and diagnostic criteria for ME – I hope to write more on this soon.
  • I love this website – literary gifts for writers 


It was a great month for good writing on feminism and women:


I was honoured to be chosen as a monthly contributor for new collaborative blog, The Mudroom. If you’re missing Prodigal Magazine and A Deeper Story, I reckon you’ll love this. There are some amazing writers here, telling stories of God and faith in the mess of life, and it is a thrill to be part of it. Make sure you sign up to get updates.


On my blog: 
I was thrilled by the reception of my Armed with Tears post at She Loves for their Dangerous Women series and my debut post for The Mudroom; shared a vulnerable part of my life in The Memory Keeper; had a guest God and Suffering story by Susie Ford; and chatted about the spirituality of the body with Tara Owens. 


ALSO – my book, Coming Back to God When You Feel Empty is now on Wordery! I really love Wordery as an Amazon-alternative – do check it out (free delivery with every order).  People are 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 from this site and buy absolutely anything in the world, you help this site, at no extra cost to you. 
Over to you: 

  • What were you into in March? (All that time ago)



26 Responses to What I’m Into (March 2015)

  1. lulu 30th April, 2015 at 4:18 pm #

    Eating is harder than you think!!!! Working on gaining it back so my psychiatrist doesn’t kill me!!!! The true story of Anastasia is awful. I read online wat happened and it says that the soldiers thought she was dead because she passed out but then they shot her brother and she woke up so they killed her. So SAD!

    • Tanya 21st June, 2015 at 10:55 am #

      How’s your eating these days? x

      • lulu 21st June, 2015 at 11:20 am #

        Getting back to normal. Gained a stone! I told my mum I was seven stone and for a month any time I asked for sweets or junk it was like yes anything you want!!! I could still go a day with eating only one meal but I make an effort to try and eat at least two times a day.

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