One Day in History

In September 1842, while working as a lawyer in Illinois, Abraham Lincoln wrote a series of articles published in the Sangamo Journal under the pen name of “Rebecca.” In these
commentaries, Lincoln repeatedly mocked a man named James Shields. Shields, who was State Auditor at the time, recently took a position opposite Lincoln in a regional debate about the bankruptcy of the Illinois State Bank.abraham-lincoln-portrait

After pressing the editor of the Journal for the identity of “Rebecca,” Shields sent a letter to Lincoln demanding that only a full retraction of the statements made would “prevent consequences which no one will regret more than myself.” Continue reading

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The Art of Sibling Rivalry

They say that if you want to really get to know someone, you have to spend a lot of time with them. But you can only learn so much about someone by meeting them in a certain place at a certain time, and building a relationship from there.

I think that is why siblings can be so important.

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Siblings get to see the sides of you that not every one else would see. They get to know the things about you that you don’t, or won’t, share with others. It’s hard to hide things from siblings, but that’s a good thing. That’s how you keep each other in check.

My youngest brother, Matt, is moving to Texas this week, so I’ve been recalling many memories we’ve shared in just the past few years. We’ve seen some lows, some highs, and a staggering amount of changes. But we’ve managed to pull through. We’ve managed to stick to our principles and not let the craziness that is our world make us crazy in return.

We’ve always pushed each other to be stronger, smarter, and better people; not only to ourselves, but to everyone around us. Anyone who knows my family knows how proud I am of my younger brother, and my respect for him is not something that has just been handed out arbitrarily.

He has wholeheartedly earned it. 

I am very relieved to see that he is leaving this area and heading out to a new world, and I know he will embrace the opportunity that awaits him, and I trust that God will take care of things.

March Motivation

Every single day, I try to remind myself of one compelling fact that I have come to learn about life.

That fact is that you create it.

It is a simple but misunderstood truth, and it isn’t going to change. We are all born with free will. We create our lives. If we want to be loved, we need to start loving others. If we want people to be faithful to us, we have to faithful to others. If we want patience, we have to show patience to others. We can be the change that we want to see in the world. And that is something that no one can ever take away from us.

If you want to be okay with who you are, then start being okay with who everyone else is.

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Find yourself, know yourself, and believe in yourself.

Because if you can’t, how can you expect anybody else to?

So when people ask you, “What is you purpose?”

You can say, “Yeah, I have one.”

“To love. To change. To listen. To speak. To learn. To live.”

“To make damn sure that ever person that I meet is affected positively by me.”

How do I do it? How can you do it?

Start now.

Be honest and genuine in everything that you do.

Forget what your parents told you, forget what your friends tell you, forget every piece of media you have seen that’s aimed at controlling you to believe anything you don’t truly believe in. Go outside of your comfort zone, meet people, ask questions, and find out for yourself what your purpose is. Live on principle. You can take control of your future by being true to yourself, and by being true to others.

Do not ever think that you aren’t good enough, or smart enough, or creative enough, or beautiful enough to do something extraordinary.

All you need to do is listen, learn, speak, and then act; to make our community a place where you’ll want to raise your children, and give them a template for how to raise theirs.

Today I challenge you to convince people that you’re genuine by the fire in your eyes, the passion in your voice, and, most importantly, the smile on your face.

Did you ever just suddenly get the impulse to tell someone how awesome you really think they are?

That’s my life; That’s how I feel most times of the day.

For most of my adult life, I’ve heard people complaining that the only thing that separates man from animals is that were conscious of our own eminent death. But I’m saying forget that. I’m here to say that what separates humans from animals is not the fact that we know we’re going to die, but the absolute truth that we are so conscious of the fact that we are alive. We see, feel, touch, taste, and smell; we have feelings, and then we have feelings about those feelings; we care for people around us and want to be loved and held and cared for. We can always see hope in life, love in hope, and life in love. Or at least we will always be looking for it.

Not just for ourselves, but for our brothers, sisters and children, and for every other living creature on the planet.

And I’ll do my part.

My name is Christopher Simkonis.

I live my life by a simple set of guidelines.

 

The primary set comes from Jesus Christ.

 

Feed the hungry

Give drink to the thirsty

Clothe the naked

Shelter the homeless

Visit the sick

Visit those in prison

Bury the dead

 

The secondary set is my own list.

 

Express gratitude.

Cultivate optimism.

Avoid over-thinking and social comparison

Practice acts of kindness

Nurture social relationships

Develop strategies for coping

Learn to forgive

Increase flow experiences

Savor life’s joys

Commit to your goals

Practice spirituality

Take care of your body

Do Your Part

Every single day, I try to remind myself of one compelling fact that I have come to learn about life. That fact is that you create it. It is a simple but misunderstood truth, and it isn’t going to change. We are all born with free will. We create our lives. If we want to be loved, we need to start loving others. If we want people to be faithful to us, we have to faithful to others. If we want patience, we have to show patience to others. We can be the change that we want to see in the world. And that is something that no one can ever take away from us.

If you want to be okay with who you are, then start being okay with who everyone else is.

Find yourself, know yourself, and believe in yourself.

Because if you can’t, how can you expect anybody else to?

Purpose? Yeah, I have one.

To love. To change. To listen. To speak. To learn. To live.

To make damn sure that every person that I meet is affected positively by me.

How do I do it? How can you do it?

Start now.

Be honest and genuine in everything that you do.

Forget what your parents told you, forget what your friends tell you, forget every piece of media you have seen that’s aimed at controlling you to believe anything you don’t truly believe in. Go outside of your comfort zone, meet people, ask questions, and find out for yourself what your purpose is. Live on principle. You can take control of your future by being true to yourself, and by being true to others. Do not ever think that you aren’t good enough, or smart enough, or creative enough, or beautiful enough to do something extraordinary. All you need to do is listen, learn, speak, and then act; to make our community a place where you’ll want to raise your children, and give them a template for how to raise theirs.

Today I challenge you to convince people that you’re genuine by the fire in your eyes, the passion in your voice, and, most importantly, the smile on your face.

The Key to the Kingdom

I believe that I can now say, with some confidence, that, at 24, I am truly living the life of a musician and writer. And it feels good.

I wouldn’t even say that I planned it to be this way. It’s one of those things that just feels right, that just feels like Christopher.

And I’m happy. I truly am.

I have about a dozen songs that I’ve written over the past several months, and I’m working on recording demos of them so I can get ‘Lori & the Gorillas’ off the ground. I know that all of the effort will pay off once it’s done and I can start playing shows again.

But things are moving forward. I’m looking towards the sky more often. I hold my head up higher nowadays. I’m working towards the life that I want, and being with the people I want to be with. It’s all coming together.

I’m still working on figuring out my finances so I can go return to school. I know that it’s going to take some time but I have plenty of patience and faith in the future.

Things may seem out of control sometimes.

But life is good great.

To Be Human

“To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakableviolence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget.”

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Truly my soul finds rest in God;
my salvation comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

How long will you assault me?
Would all of you throw me down—
this leaning wall, this tottering fence?
Surely they intend to topple me
from my lofty place;
they take delight in lies.
With their mouths they bless,
but in their hearts they curse.

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.

Surely the lowborn are but a breath,
the highborn are but a lie.
If weighed on a balance, they are nothing;
together they are only a breath.
Do not trust in extortion
or put vain hope in stolen goods;
though your riches increase,
do not set your heart on them.

One thing God has spoken,
two things I have heard:
“Power belongs to you, God,
and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”;
and, “You reward everyone
according to what they have done.”

Grace, and your role in it.

Whenever I hear older people, usually males I see at the donut shop or in public square, making dirty jokes or commenting about how a woman looks or is dressed, I say something about it. I don’t just shrug it off or laugh with them or agree. I look them right in the eye and say, “really? did you really just say that? that’s messed up.”

I do this for a number of different reasons.

1. I am absolutely sick and tired of people who are rude, disgusting, and perverted. If you want to talk like that, you can go home and sit in front of your television and say whatever you want to it. But don’t do it in public, to complete strangers, or when you’re around me.

2. These are human beings you’re talking about. Why are you trying to degrade, patronize, or humiliate them? What are you honestly getting out of it? Is it the shock value? Cause I’ll tell you, it’s pretty shocking; shocking and completely uncalled for. And it has no place in any environment!

3. I want to make sure that if I ever have a daughter, she won’t ever have to be subjected to this kind of harassment, intimidation, or humiliation. And I want to know that I did my part during my generation to try to get rid of this backwards, ignorant, and downright demented way of thinking and treating women.

I want to make sure I’m doing my part to make this world a better place. And if that means standing up to someone who’s older than me and putting them in their place, I’m willing to do it. Your time is over, those days are long gone.

If we want our children to be treated with respect, we had better start treating other people’s children with respect.

If you want to change the future, start now, and don’t ever stop.

Self-Reliance

Ralph Waldo Emerson, in Self-Reliance, said

“Imitation is suicide. Say what is true for you and every heart will respond to that iron string.”

Long ago, I made a personal commitment to cast as much light as possible on other people. I felt that there must be a God out there because I sensed the power of natural beauty and human beauty blended together.

Because the lesson to be learned here is to live well for today, for yourself, and for your family.  Do not simply hope you will live for what you leave behind. No one lives forever. Legacy’s aren’t eternal.

How do you live for today?

We’ll break it down into four parts.

 Add value to everything you do.

Be as self-sufficient as possible.

Form a viewpoint on key issues and make your voice heard.

Criticize others sparingly.