What I’m Into (May 2014)

Well, hello and how lovely to see you! Hasn’t it been a long time? (I’m channelling my inner Miranda).

my inner miranda

my inner miranda

I have been resting well, and dancing with the darkness, but wanted to pop in for my monthly ‘what i’m into post’, linking up with Leigh Kramer.

May has been a weird and wonderful month. I started off a little glum and lost, (that’s what happens when you go cold turkey off blogging and social media). Happily, I discovered eBay as a sort of nicorette patch to ease me off some of those withdrawal symptoms. Bid, bid, bid. It worked a treat, but let’s just say I have a LOT of summer clothes now. A LOT…

red dress

red dress

A White Stuff summer hoody for £2? BARGAIN!

A White Stuff summer hoody for £2? BARGAIN!

May has been about resting, and failing to rest, and trying again, and listening to Debussy and Beethoven and Mahler, and lying in the garden in the sunshine, and playing pirates and doctors with my little boy. This new rhythm feels kinda good.

Garden restaurant selling paleo flatbread. Very attentive waiter

Garden restaurant selling paleo flatbread. Very attentive waiter

It has also been about the HTB Leadership conference. Jon went in person to the conference in London, the boy went to play with grandparents and cousins, and I discovered to my delight that I could hear the whole conference streamed online. I couldn’t listen to all of it, but the parts I heard were amazing. It was really nice to feel, for the first time since 2008, that I had ‘been part’ of a national Christian Conference with my husband. Look out for a bonus post later this week with my favourite quotes from the conference.

Best of the Blogs (April and May)

On Suffering

    • “When it comes to suffering, one of the cardinal rules drilled into us as counseling students was suffering is in the eye of the beholder. If someone is brutally attacked and yet they get over it quickly, truly get over it, believe them. If another person is “barely attacked” yet devastated by it, believe them. Don’t try to rank. Don’t say X > Y. Suffering is not a math equation, it is an experience.” – Amy Young. Brilliant stuff on suffering and grief from Amy Young living in The Messy MiddleWhat are the rules for suffering?

M.E. and Disability:

  • “Cuts to welfare impact human beings, particularly disabled people. Quite literally, when the government cut, we bleed.” Brilliant post from BenefitScroungingScum on welfare cuts and euthanasia, and how the two connect: The Right to Live and the Right to die.

On ‘Retreat’ – my #oneword365 – here are some resources.

  • My friend Jamie Wright Bagley is one of those full-of-compassion sorts, and it comes through in her poetry. She has written a poetic Book of Hours, In Shadow and Sun, that mark the seven monasterial ‘hours’ of the day (lauds, matins, terce etc). The poems are a lovely meditation on the shifting seasons and times, and very restful to dip into. She totally had me at theses lines: “If joy comes in the morning, // She surely hit the snooze button today.” Download it for FREE here.
  • Daily Prayer App from Church Of England website – praying Common Worship with the Church of England. Anything that can make the Book of Common Worship a simple thing is to be celebrated. Is is great – just download the app, and you have morning prayer, evening prayer, and compline, all especially personalised for that day, at the touch of a button. All for free. I am LOVING this.
  • I’ve also just discovered Faithandworship.com, which has a beautiful collection of traditional and updated Celtic prayers and blessings – well worth checking out.


  • Abby Norman has launched Scarcity Hunter – a series of emails that help you to avoid that fear of scarcity (not enough time! Not enough money! Not enough friends!) and restores your faith in radical generosity. She is one of my very favourite people in the world, and you should definitely sign up to her Scarcity Hunter mailing list.


  • Boo Hoo Hoo – No Sinner. Think Janis Joplin, with Mustang Sally, and Commitments style music with a bit more grit and bite. Her voice is amazing – all fight and cigar smoke. I got a free sample from Noisetrade, and loved it so much I bought the album, and put it on whenever I need some motivation. Loving this album. Get it from amazon.co.uk or amazon.com.


  • Map of love – Ahdaf Soueif. Beautiful love story, set in Egypt in early 1900s. Told by present day descendant, and it brought Egypt alive for me in a completely new way. Beautiful writing, and I could definitely see why it had been nominated for the Man Booker Prize. The final third of the book didn’t quite match up to the previous two thirds, mainly because instead of showing the politics through story, the characters spent a lot of time debating the politics. (I also dislike that in Russian novels, too, which is why I couldn’t get on with Anna Karenina.) I was glad to have read it, though, because the first two thirds were magnificent, and if you like Russian-style novels you’ll probably love this. Get it from Amazon.co.uk or amazon.com
  •  The Writing Life – Annie Dillard. A great book for writers. My copy is so filled with highlights it’s practically neon, cos MAN, she’s so quotable. Really short, but good, densely packed wisdom. The first chapters were so comforting – basically writing is so hard it’s kinda a masochistic endeavour. Then the last two chapters were so beautifully written I cried from the beauty. This is a must-read if you’re writing a book. Get it from Amazon.co.uk or amazon.com.
  • Writing down the bones – Natalie Goldberg. I’m reading through this book with a group of writer friends and loving it. Natalie Goldberg is consistently the writer who inspires me to actually put pen to paper and write. Get it from amazon.co.uk or amazon.com.


  • Girl with a Pearl Earring – I thought I would hate this one, because I normally like my films to be full of plot and intrigue, but I was totally won over by this exquisitely crafted film. It’s one of those films that makes you appreciate cinematography. It was slow, but engrossing (which is unusual for me). It reminded me of Bright Star – another film that captures the heart of the art it is seeking to celebrate (Girl with a Pearl Earring celebrates VerMeer’s artwork, Bright Star celebrates Keats’ poetry). Do yourself a favour and see this film – you will feel all wholesome and like your soul has been watered. Get it from Amazon.co.uk or amazon.com.
  • American Idol – I thought the judges line-up and the final three were probably the best combination that I’ve seen in American Idol ever. I really hope all three judges stay next year. I am LOVING Harry’s glasses, and persuaded Jon to get some too. Alex and Jena were my very favourites, and I think when Jessica Meuse is singing her own songs she’ll be one to watch, so I was pretty pleased with the outcome).
  • Gilmore Girls – has started repeats on 5*, and this makes me Oh. So. Happy. I am watching them every day. Sometimes, in a difficult situation I find myself asking, ‘WWLD’ (what would Lorelai do). Hopefully that’s not idolatry…

And finally… Some wise writerly quotes from my friends:

  • “Write to make your reader uncomfortable”- Esther Emery
  • “The poets are also the prophets”- Beth Morey
  • “We write to not feel alone or to tell others that they are not alone.” – Tara Owens

Well – that’s enough to be going on with, I reckon! I’ll be posting later this week my quotes from the Leadership conference, and then I’ll be back with you at the end of June, and back to regular blogging in September. Have a lovely one!

A happy rainbow from the Boy

A happy rainbow from the Boy

Over to you:

  • What were you into this month?

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15 Responses to What I’m Into (May 2014)

  1. Cara Strickland 10th June, 2014 at 7:14 am #

    Oh my goodness. I love you!
    Everything about this post, seriously.
    The red dress, oh my goodness. And so much fulness in your life, darling one. I’m so pleased.

    • Tanya 14th June, 2014 at 9:36 am #

      Thanks for celebrating with me, sweet friend!

  2. Sheri Dacon 8th June, 2014 at 9:04 pm #

    Your “inner Miranda” reference cracked me up! I can almost here you saying “hellooooo!” from across the pond. Such fun! I’m intrigued by some of the websites you mentioned. Off to check them out!

    • Tanya 14th June, 2014 at 9:35 am #

      So glad you enjoyed my inner Miranda! Huzzah! 🙂

  3. Leigh Kramer 4th June, 2014 at 10:50 pm #

    That red dress is STUNNING! Hope you have fun enjoying your purchases. I’ve been enjoying Tara’s Enneagram and Prayer series. Gilmore Girls reruns are like Christmas! I’ve started buying the DVDs the last few months and am almost through season 2.

    • Tanya 14th June, 2014 at 9:32 am #

      Thanks for the comment about the red dress! I really really love it 🙂
      They’ve JUST stopped broadcasting the reruns and I’m having withdrawal symptoms. I may have to get the Gilmore Girls DVDs…

  4. Rebecka 4th June, 2014 at 9:47 pm #

    I love your inner Miranda! 🙂
    It’s good to hear (read) that you’re resting well, I should be too, but I’m not…
    A friend lent me a book on the Enneagram, so that’s what I’m into right now. I haven’t read much more than the introduction but I’m eager to learn more. And to figure out what my type is because right now, I’m mostly confused.
    I also love that happy rainbow! It made me happy.

    • Tanya 14th June, 2014 at 9:30 am #

      GO REST!!!

      And I’m dying to know what type you are when you find out. It’s all about inner motivation, from what I can tell, which makes it quite difficult for others to say what your type is. I really hope the book is helpful!

      I’m so glad the boy’s rainbow made you happy! 🙂

      • Rebecka 17th June, 2014 at 10:58 pm #

        I’m trying to rest, I promise!
        I finished the book, and I think I’m type 1. I’ve ordered another book to learn more! 🙂

        • Tanya 22nd June, 2014 at 10:30 am #

          Ooh, exciting! Did you know that Addie Zierman is a Type 1? (I also think my husband is a Type 1 – so you’re in very hallowed company!)

  5. tallandrew 4th June, 2014 at 5:07 pm #

    Girl with a pearl earring is an excellent book too. I saw the film first before reading the book and wasn’t disappointed by either. the writing is very good. I started Map of Love some years ago and didn’t manage to get one with it – that was before I discovered the EXCELLENT Tolstoy though, so maybe I’ll try it again.

    You could try Resurrection by Tolstoy – a great read and no politics in it. A man is called for Jury service and finds that the person on trial is someone he used to know, whom he unknowingly put on the path to where she is now…. His spiritual journey in it is very well told.

    Regarding the HTB conference, could have sworn we saw you onstage, singing in one of the sets?

    • Tanya 14th June, 2014 at 9:28 am #

      Didn’t know GWAPE was a book before it was a film. I was really impressed the the film- good to know the book is an option too.

      Hmm… Your description of Resurrection by Tolstoy does sound good. But Anna Karenina was so bad, it’s hard to know whether to trust you! 😉

      And re: htb conference – I really don’t think I look that much like the guitarist!

      Thanks for stopping by. Maybe I will check out Tolstoy, you never know…

  6. Mark Allman 4th June, 2014 at 1:36 pm #

    The rainbow looks awesome as do the pictures of you. Thanks for sharing. I liked those post by Amy and Abby too. I’m enjoying the second season of Orphan Black and the new 24. That rainbow is now my new desktop background. 🙂 It’s great to see you back here and I always enjoy seeing your comments on those other blogs we follow.

    • Tanya 14th June, 2014 at 9:25 am #

      This is a conversation at our family table recently:
      Me (to boy): Mummy posted that lovely rainbow picture you did on my blog, and do you know what? Someone all the way over in America liked it so much he has it as his screen saver.
      (Boy looks impressed)
      Me: this is what can happen with art. We create things, and brings other people joy. And then, if you are a very good artist, then lots and lots of people buy your art to enjoy them.
      Jon: actually, if that makes you a popular artist, not necessarily a good artist.
      Me: that’s true. Popular means that lots of people like your work. But you can be popular without necessarily being good.
      (Boy pauses)
      Boy: I am a very, very popular artist.

      Thanks so much for this! 🙂

      • lulu 3rd February, 2015 at 5:59 pm #

        Oh my gosh LOVE the red dress and you know what you look awsome in glasses! Your boy is very good at art. Tell him I think he’s amazing!

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