Hopefully

From the day we are born until the day we die, we walk through a field made up of “Hopefullys.” What do I mean by this?

From birth to age ten, hopefully, we are born normal. Hopefully, we have loving parents. Hopefully, we are accepted by our siblings. Hopefully, we are born in a safe and prosperous country. Hopefully, we get into a good grade school. Hopefully, we don’t have learning disabilities. Hopefully, a good foundation has been established for our future growth. These are the challenges that face every human being in the first ten years of life.

From age ten to twenty, hopefully, we evolve into healthy teenagers, hopefully we form good relationships with our peers. Hopefully, we learn to communicate well. Hopefully, through dating, we learn how to love. Hopefully, we graduate high school and go on to a higher education, or, learn a valuable skill.
From age twenty to thirty, hopefully, we graduate from college, or are fully established in the trained skill. Hopefully, we meet and marry a person who is good for us. Hopefully we get a good job. Hopefully we ourselves have healthy children. Hopefully, we learn how to sustain ourselves financially. Hopefully, we learn to think about more than ourselves. Hopefully, we don’t allow hate to control our hearts.

From age thirty to forty, hopefully our children get into good schools. Hopefully, they too learn how to love. Hopefully we didn’t screw up in parenting. Hopefully we can beat the fifty percent odds and not get divorced. Hopefully, we still have that good job. Hopefully, we can save a little money.
From forty to fifty, hopefully we can survive our mid-life crisis. Hopefully, our children have established good relationships. Hopefully they too have good jobs. Hopefully, we learn to deal with the fact that we may not become famous. Hopefully we begin to understand what really matters in life. Hopefully, we can take care of our parents in the twilight of their years.

From fifty on, hopefully, we still have that good job. Hopefully, we are in good health and also, our families. Hopefully we have put enough money aside for our twilight years. Hopefully, we learn to deal with the limitations of age, with grace. Hopefully, we can look back on our lives and be proud overall. Hopefully, we can pass on to our children and grandchildren the wisdom of our years. Hopefully, when we pass on, and see the Gates of Heaven, they swing open and we are greeted with smiles.

This is not a depressing scenario……..this is real, this is life. What are the odds for us to get all these “hopefullys” right and have everything fall our way? Almost impossible. But we are human beings, we do make mistakes, and the beauty is we can learn from them and go on. Is it any wonder why people get lost, feel trapped, and lose hope? When one of the “hopefullys” fail, all it takes sometimes is a hand reaching out to pull us up, dust us off, and move forward. While all this goes on, God watches, is there for help, and sees how we deal with things. So let’s not be so hard on ourselves. Throughout life we walk through a minefield of “hopefullys.” Hopefully, when we reach the end of the field, we realize, Love heals all wounds.

There is hope,
love, Jennifer Avalon
© 2000 Jennifer Avalon

Influence

Many of my writings deal with empowering the individual. Essays that I hope enhance and improve the quality of life. Most practice religious beliefs to guide them along their paths, myself included. Overall, there are still other things that can influence our lives on a daily basis. What surrounds us, be it people, radio, television, and books can affect us all directly and even more profoundly, indirectly. What becomes vital for us to realize are all the forces that bombard us that we are unaware of on the surface.

An experiment was performed on the public, watching a movie on television, about two decades ago. A number of frames within the movie flashed a person eating popcorn….and lo and behold, is it any shock that many in the viewing audience started to have an uncanny craving for popcorn? The question can then be asked, if messages are inserted into media, can the people, without their awareness, be controlled? The books on the shelves in our homes, the CD’s in our music collections, the videos in the cabinet, all are packages of information……and what is contained in those packages may give us entertainment, but also influence us.

The Motion Picture Association unveiled this week new ways to stop children from seeing movies that may be harmful to them. Example: No rated R trailers before G Rated movies. Jack Valenti, the President of the Association, made an interesting point, “All these rules of rating will not be of any use unless parents enforce them with their children.” Jack’s point is well taken. Let’s hope it works. In this day and age, where both parents are working long hours, it’s easy for children to get away with things.

Whatever is released to the public….whatever the product, how it affects the overall population and to which age group it should be marketed, should be considered before it is released. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that if a brutal horror slice and dice movie is marketed to children, or a violent video game, with no regulations at all, there will be no surprise as to the influence.

The movie studios have a responsibility for what they distribute….so does the music industry….and last but not least, the parents also. Influence affects people….good and bad. What we take in daily, evolves us as people. We eventually become what we absorb, digest, and believe. Garbage in…..garbage out. Good in, good out. No mystery…..real simple. Some people think that we can absorb whatever we want and still maintain a certain good quality of life. I’m sorry, I don’t.

I don’t believe in government censorship……but I do believe in self-censorship. Each individual decides. If one of those individuals is underage, then the parent decides. Either we set the rules for our lives, or they will be set for us. Influence is everywhere. How much and what kind ultimately matters.

Choose carefully,

Jennifer Avalon
© 2000 Jennifer Avalon

The Truth

The more we look at the world, our problems and ourselves, the better we are able to reach conclusions and solutions. The Truth, in most cases, is a hard pill to swallow. Often, we want to sweep things under the carpet, hoping that by themselves, problems will go away. Unfortunately, this is not usually the case. Accepting the Truth is not always something that we are trained to do in this society, but it becomes essential over time, if we are to continue on a positive course in our lives.

The Truth is looking at everything under a microscope. Many times we are astounded how problems seem to appear by themselves, out of nowhere, but do they really appear out of nowhere, or do we put on blinders to not allow ourselves to see them coming? It’s so much easier to assign blame somewhere else, then to accept the responsibilities for our own actions. The Truth is a zone, or an area, where one feels like they have been given smelling salts under their noses…a sense of alertness, stability, and knowing. We feel, when we are surrounded by the Truth, that we are truly awake. The enemy of Truth is lies, deception, and illusion. When we embrace these thoughts, we are left in a fog, never knowing where it begins and where it ends. The Truth comes along like a strong wind, and blows the fog away.

Truth can be a scary thing…..it can mean standing up for what you believe in, making changes, and feeling alone in a crowd. What we eventually come to understand is that Truth and honesty walk hand in hand. Do we really want to know what other people think? Or do we just want everyone to agree with us? Truth can sometimes produce conflict…..but once views are put on the table, that’s when compromise and healing can begin.

So can the Truth set us free? If we are to be honest with ourselves, learn from our mistakes, and understand different points of view, yes…..it is better to live life in the clear light than in the dim haze of the shadows. The road of Truth eventually leads to silence, because once we know, nothing more needs to be said.

Seek the Truth,

love, Jennifer Avalon
© 2000 Jennifer Avalon

Noises of Nature

Sometimes I think I’ve just about heard it all….then I hear something that makes me realize there will always be more amazing things to hear on this planet!!! One of America’s illustrious states just passed a law, after a new development was built on previous farmland, next to currently operating farms. The new law puts farmers in jail for 90 days and/or fines them if their farm animals make too much noise. The new neighbors of these farmers claim they want the “peace and quiet” of the countryside. I would like to know what planet these new neighbors think they’re living on.

In the mornings early, where I live, somebody’s rooster heralds in the dawn…..sometimes a stray cat meows in the fields…..dogs often bark to say hello to one another through the woods. There are birds that chirp in the trees, crickets that sing at dusk, the occasional horse that passes by, leaving it’s dung on the road. That is the “price” I pay for choosing to live in the countryside…..a price that I welcome, because I feel I am living among some of God’s best handiwork. What can be said for a human being who has so lost touch with the sounds of nature that they want to close it out completely? Nature is more than the smell of fresh grass and flowers….it is more than the moon rising over the forest, and the mist lingering over the hill. Nature is alive…..and so are the creatures living in it.

We want everything handed to us on a platter…..most of us don’t make the connection between “beast and beefsteak.” Perhaps if we all had to hunt for our own food we wouldn’t be perturbed by the noises of nature…..we would realize that those noises help to maintain us. Is the noise of city living any more civilized than that of the farm?

From the woods,

Jennifer Avalon
© 2000 Jennifer Avalon

Love and Money

The two subjects which can take us to the highest of highs and the lowest of lows are Love and Money. Incredible joy, and excruciating pain. Yet, why is it we receive so little education regarding these two topics? Education, you ask? Yes….. about how Money will affect us throughout our lives, and the best ways to handle it. Also, how Love and who we love affects our happiness.

Money has had an influence on the masses throughout the ages. For the rich, little formulas and secrets are often handed down from generation to generation. Perhaps that is why we hear comments like, “Money follows money.” How many of us received in elementary school any form of classes in how to spend and save and may I say, invest? That may be changing….it is not uncommon to see a school class of 8 or 9 year olds forming stock clubs in order to invest and understand how money works. Better late than never…..but it sure has taken a long time. When I was going to school all we cared about was how much candy and clothes we could buy each week!! Money affects our lives daily, whether we like it or not. The more we understand, the better off we will be. There are plenty of books that can be purchased or picked up at the local library…it’s important that we totally understand how Money leaves our pockets, where it goes, and what we have to show for it at the end of the day.
Love is a word that is easily battered around, but boy, does it have a lasting effect over our lives. With the divorce rate now better than 50%, obviously we’re having a little bit of a problem with the word Love, as a society. In our younger years we walked around as teenagers waiting for a bolt of lightening to come out of the sky and hit us, to tell us, “There is the person of your dreams!!!” believing that all we had to do was get married, and everything else would take care of itself. No more effort required. Wrong…..that’s when the work begins! How many of us spend an hour or two each week talking to our spouses or loved ones about how we feel about each other? Love is something that has to be worked at daily, whether we like it or not. We can never say “I love you,” enough. It is truly important to not mistake abuse for Love. Love that is abusive is not Love.

In this day and age, these two subjects, Love and Money, are at war with each other. How many families, because of the need for Money, have very little time left over to exchange Love? In my area it’s not uncommon to see Mom and Dad leaving the house at 7 in the morning and returning home by 8 in the evening, five days a week, using the weekend as a way to catch up, first of all on sleep, second of all, on family. How many of us find ourselves, time after time, having to choose between what comes first, Money, or Love? There are exceptions to the rule. People who work together or people working at home….but these are far and few between.

To find a solution we must understand that Money engulfs the mind, and Love embraces the heart. Both are needed to sustain our quality of life. The better control we have over our finances, the more time will be available for Love. In the end, it is the Love we take with us.

Take the time to love,

Jennifer Avalon
© 2000 Jennifer Avalon

Mother Nature

I’m sure you know, wherever you live, some strange things are happening to the weather and climate. Places that used to be warm have turned colder…places that used to be cold, have turned warmer. A storm can strike any town or city out of the blue…appear from nowhere, touch down, do tremendous damage, and disappear, all within the span of five minutes. A town near where I live recently had such an occurrence. Friends of mine who had lived there for more than twenty years never saw anything like it. A storm went straight down the main street, ripped up every tree in its path, firing off hail and then it was gone, leaving behind destruction that merited the Red Cross.

Yesterday I read about a British World War 2 airplane that crashed on a mountaintop in Iceland, being discovered 60 years after the crash. All of the airmen on board were frozen in time. The amount of snow and ice that had covered the airplane for that length of time has melted. What other discoveries will we find as more ice melts?

I could go on and on mentioning stories that I’ve read recently and I’m sure you could add a few of your own…..through my newsletter I receive many E-mails from people talking about the weather in their neck of the woods. A lot of us are just plain baffled. I am not a doomsayer….but it doesn’t take much to admit something is out of balance. Many out there, some very rational people, believed that when we chimed in this past New Year 2000, the computers would crash, and havoc would fill the air. Here we are 8 months later, looking at the skies and the land and wondering what they’re trying to tell us.
There are many things out of our control. We can only do so much, but one thing we can do is be prepared as much as possible. Keep on hand water, food, flashlights, batteries, etc., for anything that can happen out of the blue. If nothing happens, wonderful! But if there is a storm, a drought, a fire, being prepared can save your life. We may not be able to control the weather……but we must always respect it. Near my house, over the past 6 months, I was told to remove any dead trees that I saw close to the house. It wasn’t the dead trees that fell…..but the live ones. 3 trees, a distance away from the house, thank God, on 3 separate occasions collapsed right in front of my eyes. Not scrawny little trees…..but trees that look like they’ve been around for at least 150 years. Go figure….you think you understand Nature, then out of nowhere she does the opposite. Who knows the answers? Global warming? The end of the world? or just a cycle we’re going through. Whatever….there are people getting hurt from things they don’t see coming. Weather conditions that have never existed in certain parts of the world before. All we can do is take care of those we love and help our communities and last but not least, be as prepared as much as possible. One more thing…..we can never say too many prayers. I can’t see the bigger picture…..but maybe Somebody Upstairs does.

Blessings to you and yours,

love, Jennifer Avalon
© 2000 Jennifer Avalon

The Human Heart

In our lifetimes, we all run the risk of a corner of our hearts turning cold. It usually happens when fear keeps us from expressing ourselves, or some event hurts us emotionally, and the only way we think we can survive is to freeze sections of our hearts. The human heart can only hold so much pain before it reacts.

We all come into this world with warm hearts…..hearts that can’t seem to take in enough Love…..every baby needs to be held, and to be kept warm and safe. In some countries women hold their babies strapped to their bodies all day long, so that the child never feels “left.” As we grow older, we still have the same heart needing the same Love, but events can slowly begin to give us a “change of heart.”

Fear is usually the beginning of the freeze of the human heart. Fear comes in many shapes and forms….we all know when we feel a sense of fear. Fear can be masked in the form of what we call “Racism”….”Violence”….”Hatred”….there are many shapes human fear can take form in. It never goes away by suppressing it. The only way Fear goes away is by recognizing it for what it is, and by talking about it. Talking freely about it. Hearing all sides of the Fear…..from the one who fears, and the one who may be feared. Open dialogue can erase human fear. It takes courage to unfreeze sections of the human heart…..but the end result is a heart that can feel warmth again.
In the world we can try to control human emotions, but the problem is, human emotions cannot be changed by governments, or suppression, or individual groups.

The most dangerous tactic of all is to try to repress the fear of the human heart….it must be dealt with openly in order for it to heal, just as a wound has to be cleansed before it can begin to go away. “Racism”, “Violence” and “Hatred”, all fears in the human heart, are wounds that must heal. Ask yourself what happens to a wound that doesn’t have a chance to heal? It invades the body further, causing greater damage…..not only to the one wounded, but to those nearby. We are all affected by the walking wounded, whether we want to face it or not. Just read the newspapers.

The Human Heart has a huge capacity to Love. It is born that way. It is the cloud of mankind’s ignorance that hovers over the innocent Human Heart. It is the job of each of us to try to see beyond the weaknesses of Mankind, and promote that which strengthens our capacity for Love.

Keep your heart open,

love, Jennifer Avalon
© 2000 Jennifer Avalon

The Treasure Chest

In every home there is a treasure chest. The trick is to know where to look to find it. This treasure is all around us everyday. It’s not hidden under the rug, in the basement, in the attic….it is right in front of our eyes. Each member of every family contributes over the course of a lifetime to the treasure chest, knowingly and unknowingly. What is this treasure chest? Family knowledge that has accumulated and been passed down from generation to generation.

Grandma and Grandpa have lived their lives moving from stage to stage, which has brought them to where they are now. What they have experienced and seen is priceless. They know the pitfalls, the successes and failures. The Moms and Dads have also had their share of ups and downs….all that knowledge at our fingertips, and so few of us take the time to touch it, digest it, and use it, yet, each weekend we will wander through bookstores, looking for that special collection of words that is going to transform our lives….while all the while that knowledge is sitting right at home, waiting for us to open the cover and read. Who better can understand what life can throw at us, then those who have already gone through the majority of it? If we could just one night load the tape recorder, press record, and ask the questions…what jewels could spring forth? We turn on our television sets, listen to salespeople telling us that if we do this or buy that we will be happier….when across the couch sitting there could be a guide to help us find the high road to happiness and peace.
We all have our differences…we may have numerous agreements with Grandma and Grandpa, or Mom and Dad….but in many cases they have “been there” and “done that.” We may not totally agree with their advice, but many times somewhere in the conversation is that one line that fires out at us like a lightning bolt, that changes our perspective and vision of the future. The treasure chest sitting there, where everyone around it has the key. All it takes is that hand to place it in the lock and turn it.

Each family has a member who is an expert at something. It could be money, crafts, cooking, or electronics, etc. One can only imagine what can happen if all these experts are acknowledged and pooled together. Of course, we would have to suppress our egos at knowing that we don’t know everything, but after that, the experts would freely contribute their years of knowledge on their subject of expertise. A group of people made up of family members who share information…a treasure chest indeed. All it takes is one individual to start the process in motion, and one would be very surprised the level of excitement that encircles a family that is out to solve some fundamental problems that afflict them all. We share more than just DNA with our loved ones….but a history of life experiences.

Open the treasure,

Jennifer Avalon
© 2000 Jennifer Avalon

Decisions

One of the hardest, most difficult, and sometimes frustrating things that we have to do in life is make decisions. Where do we live? Where do we work? Who do we marry? What do we name our children? Etc. These are choices that have a profound affect on our lives. It’s almost never easy, but to not make the choices can pass the decision to someone else. When that happens, the control we have over our own lives diminishes.

One way to tackle decisions is to seek out as much information about the subject as possible. Scoop it up and lay it out on the table. Look at all the angles, and choices, and then start a process of elimination. Ask yourself, what don’t I want? And as the rejections mount, what’s eventually left will be a choice between one and three solutions. Yes, a process of elimination. Decisions are good things….it forces us to look at our future, and sometimes examine what we don’t want to grapple with. Decisions can affect us directly or indirectly, and of course, other people’s decisions can affect us too. But for us, most of the time, it’s hard enough to handle the decisions we personally have to make. We can seek out different points of view, pray for guidance, but eventually the decision lays in our own hands.

Here in the United States we are now heading into the full scope of the election season, where many citizens will be voting for candidates at the national, state, and local level. Over the next few months we will hear comments made on all different points of view, in regard to who are the best candidates. As in life, making these decisions can also be extremely difficult. As before, place all of your information on the table from the candidates, and ask, Who best represents me and my family? A wise person once said, “If you don’t vote, don’t complain.”

Decisions stay with us until the day we die. At each stage in our lives comes a new set of choices. Each time, spread them out….take a consensus of your feelings, and decide. You decide….not the guy down the street, not the woman around the corner….you. We are responsible for our lives….it rests on us to decide what’s best in our lives. There are so many things out there that we don’t have any control over, that when the times arise that give us a chance to choose, we should welcome it, not fear it.

Be informed,

love, Jennifer Avalon
© 2000 Jennifer Avalon

But Seriously?

It’s very easy to get caught up in life’s day to day activities, as if it’s some life or death situation. I don’t know about you, but about once or twice a week, I have a tendency to magnify things out of proportion. Yes, life is important, but isn’t it also meant to be fun?

It’s almost become unacceptable to laugh at ourselves…we always seem to take ourselves and loved ones way too seriously. There has to be a hidden meaning behind every line that somebody is saying…..well, sometimes there isn’t…it’s just a joke…. nothing more. A friend of mine recently mentioned to me, “There is no such thing as a joke. It’s really somebody’s way of telling you something.” I’m sorry, but that’s not always correct. Humor has become, in some quarters, something that only belongs in comedy clubs. The reason Seinfeld was such a successful show was because it poked fun at how seriously we live our lives. Each one of the characters searched to find the answers each week to their dilemmas, until at some point during the show, either Jerry, or one of the other crew stopped everyone in their tracks and said, “Are we crazy? We’re talking about a Jacuzzi here!!!” I remember one episode distinctly, where the parking spot outside Jerry’s apartment was looked upon as a piece of gold that someone had to watch and protect to make sure that it was available for George to park his car. What’s sad is, in many cities, parking has become a major occupation!!

Another friend of mine recently went into the city to look for the best price for a camera he was hoping to purchase. He went uptown…he went downtown….he went everywhere searching for the perfect price, until he found the store that had it. The gleam in his eye telling me that he got the best price imaginable, was breathtaking. Then I asked him, “Tell me Jim, while you were driving around, how much gasoline did you burn in your car, and what was the wear and tear on your nerves and vehicle?” A puzzled look came over his face, while he calculated the $25.00 gas tank that was used, the noise that his car is now making, and the beads of sweat that ran down his face. Factoring in all of this, did he really get the best price?

One last story I would like to share with you is about my friend Sherry. She was diagnosed with a bleeding ulcer, rushed to the emergency room, and sent on a stretcher to the operating table. All the while Sherry was hysterically laughing! The nurse looked at the doctor and said, “This girl is dying….why is she laughing?” Thankfully, Sherry survived and is now doing very well. I asked her, “Sherry, why were you laughing?” She replied, “I realized at that point how temporary and hysterical Life truly is…and I fully understood how seriously I had taken each moment…rarely allowing myself to relax, and feel joy.” These days, one thing I can really say, I rarely see Sherry without a smile on her face……

The weekends are my time to kick back and relax. I try to learn to never forget to find the joy and humor in my life. All the rest takes up it’s own share of my time…but the humor………that’s up to me.

Keep Smiling,

love, Jennifer
© 2000 Jennifer Avalon