Connectivity, Daily Life, Writing Tips & Thoughts

Changes to the Blog, and With Me

When I first listened to Linkin Park’s A Thousand Suns album after years of Meteora and Hybrid Theory fandom, I wondered if I’d purchased the right CD. The music was … different. The tone less angry, less angsty, more explorative and overall more forgiving.

The musicians told a new bold story—not an anticipated account of pain. Now, lead vocalists called for—in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.—“wisdom, justice and love,” examining societal ills but also hope through the lens of (nuclear) fallout. What is the catalyst, after all?

Musicians evolve. Even the most revered bands change course with maturity.

Blogs, I would argue, are worthy of the same treatment.

Bronze Broken Disk

When I began Pans and Pickpockets in 2010, I was a Nevada newlywed and recent college grad, trying to figure out what it meant to be a “traditional” wife who had a predilection for social causes.

Now, in 2014, I’ve given up attempts at cooking in exchange for a communications career, so there go the pans. I don’t participate in protests these days, and I’ve come to realize that social justice stems from attitudes of the heart, not just petitions we sign. So, there goes the pickpockets.

Today, I live in Los Angeles. I work in digital communications at a fast-paced office filled with creative coworkers. I remain married to the same man, who four years later still makes me laugh with his nerdy jokes, Lord of the Rings references and witty puns.

I am me, but I am different. 



I would like to continue blogging, but I’d like to tackle new territory in this space. Will you join me?

Here are some topics I’d like to share in the future:

  1. Writing Tips
  2. Social Media Strategy
  3. Los Angeles Life + Nevada Nostalgia
  4. Links to Posts Worth Sharing
  5. Compassion-Based Social Justice (as best we can define that)
  6. Activism Opportunities
  7. Faith

Let me know in the comments below: Which of these most resonate with you?

(If you’ve bookmarked Pans and Pickpockets, note my new URL: pansandpickpockets.wordpress.com.)

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bloglovin' icon
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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Sketchbook with words: Move. This is the story of ... young dreamers, trying to move the world, the chaos that followed, and what's next.
Connectivity, Discover Your Dream, Stop Social Injustice, Stunted World Changers, World News

MOVE: In the aftermath of Invisible Children’s KONY 2012

Author’s Note: This post assumes the audience knows of nonprofit organization Invisible Children and its mission. For introductory information, please view the following videos: Who is the LRA, TONY: Lose All. Gain Everything, KONY 2012: Part 1, and KONY 2012: Part 2.

           

On March 5, 2012, nonprofit organization Invisible Children released their KONY 2012 video to kick-off their latest campaign to call for awareness, justice, and unification. Millions of viewers watched the film on YouTube, and millions shared the video via social media. A new era dawned. People knew, and people cared in mass numbers.

But with glorified success, Invisible Children and its Creative Director Jason Russell also faced scathing criticism. In the Western world, we have the privilege to share our dissent and to do so publicly with whatever words we choose. I am grateful for freedom of speech. But sometimes we forget who is on the receiving end of our verbal pitchforks.

In March, I watched with the world as Jason Russell, one of my heroes, fell beneath the weight of a burden he was not prepared to carry. I had met Jason briefly at The Rescue in 2009, and his messages of hope, his cries for creativity, and his inspiration for activism had empowered me with the knowledge that every life matters. As such, we each should do all we can to let everyone know they are valued.Sketchbook with words: Move. This is the story of ... young dreamers, trying to move the world, the chaos that followed, and what's next.

Sooner or later, we all have to MOVE.

I would like to invite you to peek further into this chapter of Invisible Children’s campaigns and the movement to stop the use of children as soldiers for the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). This film, MOVE, will illustrate the rise and fall of leaders. It will elucidate the emotions felt by those on both sides of the debate.

Most of all, I like it because it restores hope. If you’re looking to find hope in your own life or to bring hope to others, I think you will find you like it too.

I respect a man who will publicly apologize for actions he realizes were wrong and accept the consequences. If anyone can fall that far and that hard, only to stand back up and ask forgiveness and dedicate himself to “Stop at Nothing,” well, then what Jason told me at The Rescue in 2009 is true: “Anything is possible.” So dream. Dream big. Imagine the world you want to live within. But don’t stop there. Stand up, say something, and urge people to take action with you.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Please, friends, keep it clean and keep it friendly. Comments will be published after moderator’s approval. Thanks.

Photograph and video: Invisible Children Inc.

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girl in a crowd
Scripture Study, Stop Social Injustice, Stunted World Changers

Do you know The Voice of Justice?

Welcome to Missions-Minded Mondays, the day of the week where I focus on Scripture, social injustice, and solutions.

girl in a crowd

Justice can be a tough and often touchy topic.

We have to learn how to view it in a moral sense, not in a political sense. Only then can we decipher what is true and what is good and what is worth pursuing with our words and actions.

I want to start our journey into the notions of “justice” and “injustice” with a call to discernment.

To do this, I’d like to encourage you to take a few minutes to watch the following video. It’s a brilliant piece of spoken word, created with a powerful message and directed intentionally for the screen. As you watch this, please consider the questions presented by its creator, Micah Bournes.

When presented with equally convincing rhetoric, can you discern the voice of justice from the voice of injustice?

When I first watched this video at a conference in Bend, Oregon, I shuddered. I identified with far too many ideas from “the other side.” Perhaps you can relate. But ultimately, as I examine what I really want for (not from) this world, I realize how my motives can be checked and corrected to instead be an advocate for true freedom.

Now the question becomes: How do we follow the call to justice?

Jesus gives the answer in Matthew 22:37-40. He lists the Greatest Commandments as this: “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your strength” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

I would like to challenge us to redefine “social justice” to mean following the Greatest Commandments:

Love God. Love others.

Old Testament scholar Dr. Walter Brueggemann says: “Love of neighbor is a way to exhibit love of God.” As we go forward this week, let’s look for ways to do this. I’m thinking of this too.

  • How can I better love God?
  • How can I better love people?

As I discover the answers, I hope to not simply think about what I could do.

I want the courage to put these ideas into tangible actions.

I wish the same for you.

Let me know about your journey in the comments section below. What did you take away from this video? How do you plan to better pursue the voice of justice?

“Be not only hearers … but doers of the Word.” – James 1:22

Video: directed by Nate Salciccioli, starring Lauren Edwards and Micah Bournes

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Connectivity

The Flaws of Google+, Facebook, and Twitter

In an age where social media dominates our lives, dictates what our acquaintances know about us, and demands we create ways to present ourselves, it’s difficult to find a shred of real connection. Don’t get me wrong. I love scanning status updates and reliving memories through uploaded photographs, but I’ve found it’s all taken a toll on how I spend my time.

Embarrassingly true!

All to often, it’s 7:54 a.m. and I have six minutes before I start work. Time to check in online. Often though I don’t learn much from my social media ventures. And what I do learn, I kind of wished I had learned in person. Wait… you had your baby? You didn’t get the job? You’re engaged?

It’s a Catch-22 really. We’re all so connected to so many people that how could we possibly be expected to contact all 320 friends personally? Something’s gotta give, right?

That leads me to another pondering: Are we meant to have 320 friends? Sure, over the course of a lifetime, I do believe we can make contact with that many people, and we can influence a vast majority of those people whether for better or for worse. But should there come a time when that guy from freshman year’s biology class can leave your friends list?

If you’re like me, then the answer is no. To remove someone from my friends list is to admit our friendship has reached its end. It’s run its course. This season has ended.

But, friends, that’s okay. To everything there is a time and a season. Just because someone isn’t an active participant in your life now doesn’t mean they didn’t play their part in shaping the person you have become. Be grateful for what time you had and cherish the memories. Then let it go. This time has come. He’s left your circles IRL, which indicates you probably don’t need keep him in the loop online.

Why do we need to cut the strings of connectivity like that? Wouldn’t it be better to have the option of contact?

For some people, perhaps that’s true. But for me, I know the more online connectivity I have, the more I rely on making contact with a person’s social media outlet than her actual self.

When I scan status updates, posts, and Tweets, I gather everything I need to know about what that person is doing. As a result, my curiosities about her life’s changes are satisfied. So I don’t call. I don’t text a time to hang-out. I don’t send a mailed letter to her physical address. Then that person slips away, and I wonder why our friendship died.

I was too busy checking on 320 friends that I didn’t take the time to check in with the ones that matter most. I’ve received the illusion of connectivity in exchange for real fellowship.

Will I stop using my own forms of social media? In all honesty, not likely. I like the ability to share here and there. I like sending messages, and I like looking at my friends’ photographs. I even like finding out the daily temperature from friends’ comments in my feed. But what I will do is try to find a balance.

Life is a balance. If social media is the new reflection of our lives and our timelines, then it too should be treated with such moderation.

~Ally Siwajian © 2012

Photograph credit: Futurama image with added captions by Josh Shear

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