Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Tribute and Eulogy to Uncle Stevie Simon 4-24-08

How does one sum up the measure of a man? He cannot be measured by the material and worldly things he possessed, but by how he gave of himself, of his possessions so that others could benefit. For the things we posses in life we can not take with us, we are meant to share with others and let no one go without.
How does one sum up the measure of a man? He cannot be measured by the dwelling in which he lived, but by how he made it a home Рone that welcomed in all who would come seeking shelter, a warm meal, a place to seek refuge from the stressors of everyday life, a place to share a few good words amongst each other in peace. For we all know that home is where the heart is, clich̩ but true. We are meant to offer to others, in times of joy and thanksgiving as well as in times of despair, a place to gather and celebrate; a place to rest and seek protection Рfrom the elements of weather, from distress, and from conflicts in life that we choose to leave at the door.
How does one sum up the measure of a man? He cannot be measured by the riches he has acquired, but by how he chose to give unto others, to give even when what he had himself at times seemed to cover the bare necessities in life. For the riches we acquire in life such as money and assets, do not fill our hearts and souls. It is merely a result of hard work paid off. The true riches one has…is measured in love…in family that surrounds us…and in fulfillment of one’s life-work, dreams, and passions. Riches are within our hearts, they are intangible and priceless. It is the giving to others so that they may have it a little easier that measures a man’s willingness to think not of himself, but to think of others instead.
How does one sum up the measure of a man? He cannot be measured by the amount of people that he surrounds himself with, but by the genuine relationships (of those people) born out of sincerity, friendship, and respect for one another. For if we invite into our lives people who have only our best of intentions at heart, surround ourselves with people who guide us to do right by one another, people who provide us with love, compassion, friendship, respect and support UNCONDITIONALLY, we can accomplish anything set before us. How does one sum up the measure of a man? Finally, he cannot be measured by words alone, but by the HONESTY, INTEGRITY, and RESPECT with which he speaks them. For words are meaningless without truth, without heartfelt sincerity, and without careful thought spoken behind them. Words at times are our easy way out in dealing with conflicts in our lives. They can be painful, hurtful, and forever damaging when we don’t value the effect they can have on one another. The good news is this: words can also be healing when there is no hope of reconciliation; words can be spoken softly to sooth a broken heart; words can be life changing when it seemed impossible to come up with answers that would help you out in times of despair. Our “word” stands for who we are as human beings and it is backed by what makes us who we are. Most importantly, words can be very FORGIVING. Be genuine in your thoughts, be honest in your speech, speak for others who can’t or won’t.
Through these thoughts, embedded in every word, is the fiber of who Uncle Stevie was. He was kind, loveable, quick-witted, and his strength was immeasurable. His heart was pure. He cared not about what a persons faults were, he held no grudges, and he had absolutely no bad feelings within him. During a recent conversation, when faced with his own personal times of struggle, Uncle Stevie offered a few words of wisdom about how he was able to carry on in such a way despite what life had handed him. When asked about things that may have bothered him over the years, in his laid back play on words with that casual drawl, he replied, “Nah, I don’t hold onto bad feelings, no grudges or the like – Life is too short to be carrying around with you that which causes only pain and regret. It’ll take years off of your life. It is NO GOOD, so I don’t worry about it Kid!”
We share this with you because if we are to learn from one another, from Uncle Stevie and how he lived, as we have been blessed to do these past years, we can see that he lived vicariously through the power of good thoughts, a positive outlook, and all that surrounded him and filled his life! We have learned a lifetime of lessons in such a short time from him and we are forever grateful to have been witness to such humbleness. It is easy to love someone when they make it especially easy for you. But it is during those times – when we QUESTION each other’s motives and intentions; when we are DISTRACTED by what amounts to trivial worries; when we allow DOUBT to close our hearts to what is right in front of us, that we miss something very special. Uncle Stevie loved with every fiber of his being. He smiled and laughed at the joys in his life and laughed at himself too! It was a good day when any answer to your question was followed by that sly, cheeky smile and Uncle Stevie singing a line or two from a song! His charming and flirtatious sense of humor was youthful and captivating. And when presented with the fight for his life, he was no different. He only smiled again and said “It’s not so bad, I’ll be alright Kid.” and another song would be sung.
Life indeed IS short, he was right about that, yet Uncle Stevie lived his life fully without the burdens of regret. No hard feelings, just a handshake and a smile. Our hearts ARE heavy today. As we leave this place, be reminded of all that Uncle Stevie stood for. Follow the wisdom and the model of kindness that Uncle Stevie has set as an example for us to do unto others. Show compassion and strength to others even when you yourself are hurting and weak. Reach out and offer guidance even when you yourself can’t see the way. ALWAYS take the opportunity to BEGIN AGAIN! Renew your hopes, make room for FORGIVENESS.
Uncle Stevie loved you all and enjoyed all that you have given him. He often talked of his pride for his family and all they have achieved and will continue to succeed in. He treasured his time with his children and grandchildren, talking with such animation as if he was back in the moment of a memory…football games…the smell of a newborn baby and how he loved them so…cooking and eating at family gatherings – a COMMON Simon family trait – or…just reminiscing of his days on the job. He was a very proud, proud man.
He was a shining light in what can be at times a dark and uncertain world – to have a heart such as his or to have been touched by it was a blessing we can be extremely thankful for. He would want us to live to the fullest, smile and laugh often, and love each other UNCONDITIONALLY – because at the end of the day nothing is more important then our families and how we decide to honor one another.
We will leave you with these words that capture the essence of Uncle Stevie as he lived his life:
A good man gives the best of himself even during the most trying times of his life; even when he's suffering and struggling with the issues of life. A good man brings forth good things from the good treasure of his heart, regardless of the situation. They call on us to open our eyes to the realization that true men of stature are strong enough in mind and spirit, and secure enough in themselves, to be compassionate and considerate of others even in the midst of confusion and crisis…to admit and amend their own faults as well as forgive others; to repay evil with good; …to be angry and yet sin not; to dialog rather than dictate; to be deep enough to delight in diversity and enlightened enough to live and let live. – Richard Jones
And finally, The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. – “Strength to Love” Speech (1963) Martin Luther King, Jr. Susan and Timothy Simon April 24, 2008 Eulogy for “Unc”, “Uncle Boch”, “Uncle Stevie Simon”

Friday, May 23, 2008

When in doubt don't over bake!!!

I am officially back from having had back surgery and recovering slow and steady!!! I was then consumed by all things bridal for my wonderful twin sister Megan's shower as she will be married this May 31st! It was a wonderful party!!! Now to get ready for her wedding day! So many of you may know that I have basically not been in the sun for like the past 4 years! My Gramma discovered skin cancer and it's many challanges in her late 80s so I decided it wasn't worth the future problems it would cause! That is until everyone in my sister's bridal party began to go tanning! ARGH!!!! If I couldn't be any paler (though happy with what God gave me) I was washed out of my maid of honor dress! So I caved in and I have been tanning! Well I am being honest so none can call me a hypocrit and just know I am not thrilled with my choice! Here is my words of advice for the day! When in doubt and it is your first time (about a fellow tanner today at the tanning salon) don't over bake! 12 minutes for the first time is way too long! My fellow tanning partner is now red as a lobster and pretending to be proud of it! So be smart, set the timer - light and toasty is better then tomatoe red and burnt!!!! Blah Blah time you hear from me I will return with much better stories and in full blogging swing!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Paw Prints in the Sand

If you have ever read the poem "Footprints," you know that we never really walk alone. As we walked on the beach in Ocean Park, Maine I often contemplated that theory. Are we really alone in this world trying to figure things out for ourselves or are we really accompanied by something bigger then ourselves? Aside from the obvious family and friends that share our journey in life, is there someone or something else guiding our path? The best thing God ever did was create pets, specifically, Dogs. I am a cat person too and have my loyalties to my childhood pets but currently, my heart lies in Blackie! If ever there was a time when I needed to feel God walking beside me, on this cool and rainy Maine day, Blackie left her mark to evoke assurance that I am not alone in this world.
As always I had my camera with me on our walk through Ocean Park. I had never been to Ocean Park in October and I have been going there my whole life. It was a sight to be seen and I found myself over and over again, praising the beauty around me and basking in the sights of the Fall foliage turning just shy of peak. The colors were brilliant, fiery, vibrant and made me feel alive with each glance. I was a kid in the candy store, or better yet a child setting eyes on the packages piled high under a Christmas tree before anyone had woken up yet! I could not get over the amazing colors that would transform a landscape, that for many months all wore the same shades of green (a uniform solidarity despite the vast variety of species), and bring out the uniqueness hiding within. Everything once appearing to be similar now carrying unique traits that made each tree stand out from the next. A powerful thought, we are all human yet we have so much to offer that is more then skin deep. Even more empowering, how great to be able to look deeper, be more thoughtful, and express how our differences we hold within, can create such beauty. Walking through the woods towards the beach, I knew that I was not alone. I knew that this creation of Mother Earth was alive, for me to breathe in, to appreciate and care for.
So, as I walked to the beach and happened upon Blackie's paw prints in the sand (following behind as to capture life's moments in a picture) I was reminded of the poem "Footprints". We all walk the earth looking upward for guidance. There has to be more to this life, why else would we leave our mark here? I came upon Blackie's "paw prints" in the sand and smiled. Always faithful, always by my side, she is leaving her mark in my life. Kidd, her father, my other beloved dog who has passed on, certainly left his paw prints on my mind and in my heart. Back to the poem. Just when times get tough and I have found the need to take in a deep breath and sigh, I remind myself that I am not alone. I realized that the impressions of those who walk before us impact our daily lives. I am learning to develop my faith, to trust in it and to express that in my actions. I am trying to be more peaceful and gain a sense of my contributions to this planet. Beacuse in the end it will impact others.
In the creation of the beautiful beach I was walking on, as the waves calmly rolled in never the same, erasing prints left in the sand, I realized life is ever changing. Each day is a blessing and a chance to do things differently. Each day is an opportunity to live out unfinished plans and dreams. If I rely on my faith, and those who walk along side of me, I can make anything possible. I can look forward to a wonderful future knowing that the footprints I have left behind me impacted others. It is my hope that my impressions left are positive ones. Nature is a wonderful thing! On a walk through one of the most beautiful places on earth, breathing in the fresh air, clarity fell upon me. Live each day enjoying all that surrounds you for it gives great inspiration! And if you ever wonder if you are alone in this world, don't. You can be sure that there IS something bigger then ourselves out there, for it made the earth. Nature is all around us and breathtaking! Make each "paw print" that you leave behind count!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Can We Do Better? The Answer is YES!

"Most polar bears could be lost by 2050: report"
By Deborah Zabarenko, Environment Correspondent Fri Sep 7, 6:27 PM ET WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two-thirds of the world's polar bear population could be gone by midcentury if predictions of melting sea ice hold true, the U.S. Geological Survey reported on Friday.
The fate of polar bears could be even bleaker than that estimate, because sea ice in the Arctic might be vanishing faster than the available computer models predict, the geological survey said in a report aimed at determining whether the big white bear should be listed as a threatened species.
"There is a definite link between changes in the sea ice and the welfare of polar bears," said Steve Amstrup, who led the research team. Arctic sea ice is already at an all-time low this year and is expected to retreat farther this month, according to the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center.
That means that polar bears -- some 16,000 of them -- will disappear by 2050 from parts of the Arctic where sea ice is melting most rapidly, along the north coasts of Alaska and Russia, researchers said in a telephone briefing.
Other polar bear populations could survive beyond that date but many of those could be gone by 2100, Amstrup said. By century's end, the only polar bears left might live in the Canadian Arctic islands and along the west coast of Greenland.
"Projected changes in future sea ice conditions, if realized, will result in loss of approximately two-thirds of the world's current polar bear population by the mid 21st century," the report's executive summary said.
"Because the observed trajectory of Arctic sea ice decline appears to be underestimated by currently available models, this assessment of future polar bear status may be conservative." ARE POLAR BEARS 'THREATENED'?
In January, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed listing the polar bear as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, noting polar bears depended on sea ice as a platform to hunt seals, their main prey.
The research released on Friday was sent to the Fish and Wildlife Service. A decision on the bears' status is expected in January.
Without enough sea ice, polar bears would be forced onto land, but they are inefficient hunters once they get out of the water and ice, the researchers said. The bears' disappearance would probably take place as young cubs failed to survive to adulthood and females were unable to reproduce successfully.
The first polar bears probably first appeared about 40,000 to 50,000 years ago, and the species has not lived through a period as warm as the one predicted by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the scientists said.
In a series of reports this year, the U.N. climate panel said with 90 percent probability that global climate change was occurring and that human activities contributed to it. The emission of greenhouse gases -- including carbon dioxide from petroleum-fueled vehicles and coal-fired power plants -- is the prime human cause of this warming trend, the panel said.
Global warming was an important topic of discussions of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum this week in Australia and will be the subject of a special U.N. meeting later this month.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Can't We All Just Get Along!!!!

Everyone knows that there is no love lost between the Yankees and the Red Sox!!! I am sure you also know that I grew up a Mets fan until baseball went on strike! With my limited understanding of the working world and why money drove everything (still does), the ball games stopped and so did my interest! And then my beloved Gary Carter of my 1986 World Series winning Mets, left the Mets and appeared in a Dove soap commercial fit with an actress wife and children too!!!! My young heart was crushed!!!!! We were in love with him! I know so silly, but no shame in my game!!! I was 10!!!! I lost interest in the game!
So, back to those Yanks and Soxs! Turns out my family, having grown up in New England, are Red Sox fans. Timmy, the love of my life, is a diehard Yankee fan to the nth degree! So you can imagine the baseball season a conflicted one for me! The strike, way back when, gave me an easy out. When the game returned, I solely became a "fan of the game". We all love a good rivalry, Mom and Timmy are great at this but all in good fun! Both sides screaming and cheering at the tv, I wondered, "Can't we all just get along?"
Then it happened, two families converged on family vacations during the baseball season!!!!! Gramma can poke good fun, her humor surprising!!! Timmy is a good sport too! So, proudly Mom wears her Championship Red Sox jersey and Timmy in his Championship Yankee jersey! My point to all of this! Yankees and Red Sox fans alike can get along, root and cheer, and leave happily in peace!!!! We can learn from this experience! Great rivalries should only strengthen relationships between others, not divide them! At Christmas time, Mom happily dons Timmy with Yankees garb and ornaments, Gramma also gives him Yankees trinkets from her Red Sox heart! Timmy gladly returns the gesture and gifts Red Sox gear right back!
Can't we all just get along? I think YES! Here is picture proof at another New England family gathering! Katie in her Red Sox jacket and Timmy in his Yankee shirt, both proudly rubbing in who's boss and enjoying the friendly rivalry! So as we near the end of baseball season and the Yanks and Soxs are neck and neck in running for that Championship, remember it is just a game at the end of the day! We have to live with our neighbors, Yanks and Soxs fans alike, everyday! Be kind, root each other on and enjoy the great game of baseball!!!!! Go Team!!!

Did You Ever Hear the Saying, "Dogs Are People Too!" ?

I am a huge advocate of this and everyone who knows me will understand why I am! Take for example this wonderful experience! At a painting party for a good friend, in her brand new home, on one of THE hottest days of the year!!! The humidity and heat rendered most of us useless!!! Left the painting to the expert (Timmy)! While we girls gabbed and the baby cooed (sp?), once in a while Timmy and Blackie would take a break! On this occasion, a diaper break! Uncle Timmy and Blackie were right on the job and did a fabulous job. What makes me think that dogs are people too, is that Blackie in the midst of everything going on, took a break too, laid down next to the baby and kissed him! Yup, she gave him a wet one right in his ear! While he lay there, babbling away, Blackie acknowledged his need for TLC, as all babies need, and planted a wet smacker on this tiny baby ever so gently! I always say that Blackie knows when you need her right by your side!!!! Dogs have a knack of always knowing just when you need a kiss! Thank God for Dogs!!! Especially Blackie! They truly know what is important! As I said, always right by my side, where I need her most! And currently, taking an afternoon nap at my feet on my covers, snoring away blissfully!!!!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

My first act as a Blogger!!!

In true fashion, I ended the day physically hurting and as usual desperate for sleep but found myself awake! My M.O. seems to be that I can not ever get comfortable and fall asleep, tonight is one of those nights. So here is my first post about absolutely nothing! A good friend has paved the way to and here I am! Thanks!!! With any luck these posts will be hopefully interesting, funny, and with maybe a bit of drama (we all have some). Until then, Nighty Night!!! In case you have forgotten how to go to sleep, maybe we should learn from one who does it best! Stretching out and snorring are a must!!!!