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Connectivity, Submissions

Any beginner’s tips for Bloglovin’?

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I’ve decided to join Bloglovin’, but I’m the first to admit it’s all new to me! bloglovin' icon

I love the idea of a Facebook-esque site for blogs I follow: All the updates, all the new posts, all in one location! So I’ve decided to sign up. Now to figure it all out! I’m excited!

Are you a Bloglovin’ user? If so, please share your newbie tips with me! Also, feel free to include your link to your own Bloglovin’ page. I’d love to visit!

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favorite Converse shoes
Connectivity, Daily Life, Submissions

“One Day” in my life: Project to document the daily norm

On my post “How do I start writing?” last week, Jessica of Mothering with Creativity recommended bloggers share who they are. “People like to ‘see’ other people,” she said. I couldn’t agree more!

So when I read about Laura at Hollywood Housewife’s plan to document a day in her life and her invitation for other bloggers to join in “One Day HH,” I couldn’t resist. I joined the movement, and I documented my Wednesday, November 14, 2012, with photographs.

The goal of “One Day” is to document pieces of your life you wouldn’t otherwise see fit to photograph. It’s the toothpaste you use, the gas prices that day, or the stack of papers you just can’t seem to get through. It’s the Post-it Notes of your life that, when pieced together, form your story.

And it’s a good story because you live your life in it.

Click any photo to start the slideshow and see complete captions!

Thanks for sharing in my “One Day”!

Photographs: Anthony and Ally Siwajian © 2012

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B.C. totem pole
Submissions, World News

Denial in the Ditches of my Veins

Submission in response to Retcon Poet’s Poetry Prompt: “Our Home and Native Land”

 

Conceived in Ottawa, birthed in Sin City Vegas,

I am an American with blood on the

pages of a history book I’d rather not

review right now. So I called myself a

Canadian and every summer, I’d be radiating

joy at the opportunity

to return to my roots.

 

totem pole

I’d follow tree-laden trails, gut fish entrails,

admire First Peoples totems, and thrive in a

quiet British Columbian city where I needn’t worry about my safety.

But it became increasingly difficult to be

American in Canada.

 

At age twenty-three, on another trip to visit my father’s

family, I experienced the backlash

of being part of a nation once

beneath Bush administration.

 

I tried to stay meek, prefer the flavour of organic trees to concrete,

observe the politics of Quebec’s so-called separation, and share my seat

on ferries from the fishing village where

I pretended as a child.

 

But for my attempts to be a Canuck, all I received was a “f—

you” written in the dirt on my truck

beside its Nevada plates.

 

A kaleidoscope of shame, pride, praise: We are all just people.

 

 

~ Ally Siwajian © 2012

Photograph credit: Ally Siwajian © 2012  (Photograph features the World’s Tallest Totem Pole in Victoria, B.C.)

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Advocacy Tips, Stop Social Injustice, Submissions

Love in Action: How to Incorporate Social Justice into your Lifestyle and Church

With growing interest and rising attention to social issues worldwide, the modern church has realized the intense need to be like Jesus to their neighbors, their communities and their world. To do this, many congregations are taking up the call of “social justice,” which allows for tangible acts of love to permeate cities, to restore broken relationships, and to provide for those in need.

While the ways in which each church chooses to enact social justice differs with their congregations and communities, the core remains the same. We as followers of Christ are instructed to love the Lord our God, and we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:36-40).

As we do this, we discover God’s heart to free slaves in both spiritual and physical realms. Our eyes are opened to see the hundreds of people who walk in and out of our lives, all in desperate need of relationship with additional people and with our Savior. To love God passionately, become as salt of the earth, and care for the least of these, we must learn to make social justice a way of life (Matthew 5:13-16, 25:40).

To pursue this lifestyle, consider these steps as starting points and be in constant prayer about how God intends you to influence your congregation and community through love in action.

Start a Scripture Study.

Gather a small group of people to meet regularly, and study themes of justice and injustice throughout the Bible. To begin, discuss the origins of injustice as a result of selfishness and track this theme throughout Scripture.  But while you explore what injustice looks likes, also examine the attributes of God’s justice contrary to man’s justice.

From Isaiah to James, Habbakuk to Philippians, Esther to Matthew and more, look for the LORD’s response to injustice, His desire for true worshippers, and His commands regarding our love for others. Throughout each study session, pray as a group for God’s guidance as you each draw closer to His heart.

Stay Informed. Pray Informed.

Once you’ve awakened your heart to these themes, make a conscious decision to open your eyes to justice issues around you. To do this, you may need to change daily habits. For example, start to read current world news about persecuted Christians, take an alternate route as you drive home, or volunteer to serve a marginalized group in your community.

With open eyes and a pure heart, discover what influences your city and pray for areas of spiritual bondage in your town. Whether you come across domestic abuse, sexual temptation, homeless families, flippancy about the youth, or lukewarm churches, choose to dedicate your time, resources, and prayers to combat spiritual issues behind the physical oppressions.

Lead by Example in Word and Deed.

With Scriptural perspective, apply what you’ve learned about God’s heart to care for others. Start at home, and improve your attitude and actions toward your family. Then expand your vision.

Dedicate yourself to knowing the needs of your congregation. Ask God to show you ways to meet those needs and be willing to act, from delivering meals to donating clothes to meeting with people simply to encourage them. In all you say and do, cultivate willingness to break beyond your comfort zones to reach out to others.

Build Community.

While each individual who calls Christ LORD can accomplish social justice, this spiritual conviction is best completed with support. Develop that desire to express God’s love in word and deed. Then share it with those around you. Implore fellow church members to reach with you beyond church walls. Seek God’s guidance, and discover what He has placed upon your hearts.

As God leads, act upon those callings to see freedom flourish in the physical world and the spiritual realm with eternal perspective. In all this, grow together as a group that is always open to others, and encourage one another in any circumstances.

Give God Glory.

As we participate in social justice, we unite with the common goal of more intimately knowing Jesus and leading others to His saving grace. Then as we shine His light in our outlooks, words, and actions, we are molded closer to the heart of God that we may give Him glory and season this earth as salt until His kingdom comes.

~Ally Siwajian © 2012

Photograph credit: Hannah Myrick Anderson, featuring Ally Siwajian

This article has been accepted by foursquare.org for 2012 publication.

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