catholic

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.

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.

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.

Why I Smile Everyday

“Fear is dispelled when you focus on your purpose.” -St. Paul

 

Goal? Yeah, I have one. To make damn sure that every single person I meet from this day forward is affected positively by me. To spread love. To change. To listen. To speak. To Live.

“We don’t do things because they’re cheap, or because they’re easy, we do them because they’re right.” -James Connerton

Why I Smile Everyday:

Pajamas at breakfast

Old school cash registers

Doing your own thing

Shrugging my shoulders when nothing gets done

Singing in the shower

Globes

An alarm clock that tells you when to get up…..and why

“I Brake For Rainbows” stickers

Secret love notes

Exploring

Yard Sales

Street musicians

Animals

Campfire parties

Fireworks

Weather

Secret Passages

Cardigans

Artistic License

Stretching

Snappy comebacks to “shut up”

Bumblebees

Typewriters

Megaphones

Isosceles Trapezoids

COLORS

Christian Dior

Listening to a child

Strong emotions

Lacoste

St. Francis

“A beautiful life doesn’t just happen; it is built daily by prayer, humility, sacrafice, love.”

“May that beautiful life be yours always.”

The Winter of 2013, as seen through the eyes of this man, has been such a flurry, such a whirlwind of positivity, activity, love, and adventure, that it’s almost impossible for me to sit down and really reflect on everything that’s going on right now. Almost.

we’re gonna go camping!
and hiking!
and spelunking!
and swimming!
and canoeing!
and to shows!
and take pictures!
and make films!
and t-shirts!
and YEAH!!

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love.

Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith.

Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light.

Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

That Little Sparkle in Your Life

“Goal? Yeah, I have one. To love. To change. To listen. To speak. To learn. To live. To make damn sure that every person I meet is affected positively by me.”

-Feed the hungry-
-Give drink to the thirsty-
-Clothe the naked-
-Shelter the homeless-
-Visit the sick-
-Visit those in prison-
-Bury the dead-

“Do you know what astonished me most in the world? In the long run the sword is always beaten by the spirit”  -Napoleon Bonaparte

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.

-Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.

-Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.   -Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.

-Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.

-Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.

-Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten.

-Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.

-Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.

-It was never between you and them anyway.

Your Year.

“My name is Christopher Simkonis.

The purpose of my life is to live with a purpose.

I will change my neighborhood.

I will change this town.

I will spread happiness and positivity.

I will be a friend, a brother, a husband, and a father.

I will fall in love.

I will do all of this;

Or I will die trying.”

This is my resolution. I wrote this during one of the worst times of my life, when I suddenly realized that every single thing I do on this planet can have an effect on someone, somewhere. So it had better be a good one. My dad used to say all the time, “You know, in the old days, ships were made out of wood and men were made out of iron. Today, ships are made out of iron and men are made out of wood.”

It’s time for our generation to be the change in this world. To acknowledge it; to respect it; to live it; and to teach it.

So make your life what you want it to be, and start today. Right now. Find yourself, know yourself, and believe in yourself. Because if you can’t, then you can’t expect anyone else to.

1/7/2014

 

“I have plans;

and an indomitable will to see those plans through.

Temptation, corruption and complacency aren’t things I face.

We all control our own future.

If you want honesty, be honest.

If you want faithfulness, be faithful.

And if you want to be loved;

love.”

 

 

 

-I challenge you. Starting now, be honest and genuine in everything you do. Forget what your parents told you, forget what your friends tell you, forget all of the media’s way of 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 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.

To Grow And Remain

 

I’ve been spending the last couple days working on me. Getting myself organized, and preparing myself for the next year. I have very big plans for 2014. It’s going to take a lot of work, but it will be totally worth it in the end.

 

I literally spent all of the money that I had been saving up on Christmas presents; which I don’t regret at all. I’m glad to see other people happy, and to do my part in making them happy.

 

I’m more focused on my music now, and I’m taking time each day to practice both guitar and piano.

 

Then I’ll begin to record. I will create a name for myself, and, hopefully, find some people to play music with. Because in 2014, I want to start playing shows again. I want to be fully prepared to blow people away with my jams.

 

I’m also focusing my writing more, or at least preparing to. I’ve already started writing a lot more than I did before and now that I feel I’m getting back into it, I’m feeling much better about my day to day life, and trying to restructure it into what I want it to be. Into what I feel it should be.

 

I feel much older now. But in a good way. I feel more experienced, I feel smarter, stronger, and more capable.

 

I believe this winter has become the winter I turned the boy into a man.

And now I feel like I can really take on the reality of adult life.

I’ve got a lot of work to do, but I now have the determination and drive to do it.

 

For the first time in a long time, I feel like I really am in complete control of my life. I’m taking steps to make sure that everyone else around me knows that they can do it too. I am my own person, and the only one who has power over me is the Lord, our God. He will lead me to where he needs me and will make his presence know through me. Hopefully, I can slowly start to reach more and more people. I’m already doing my part at the Pittston YMCA, and I feel like I belong there. For now, at least, while I’m trying to tackle school.

 

Getting to know children.

Children that know me.

Children that I can affect, that I can love. Who will love me back tenfold.

 

I feel like this is just the beginning of something really amazing.