Jealousy

jeal·ous

/ˈjeləs/

adjective

adjective: jealous

1. feeling or showing envy of someone or their achievements and advantages.

How often do you admit when you are jealous of someone? Not often I am sure. That is not a cool thing to admit. But we all are, even if it is just for second. If you follow any of the Kardashian’s on social media, then I know you get jealous daily. I mean look at Kourtney…. that woman is almost 40, has had 3 babies, and is a SMOKE SHOW. If you don’t think so…ok. But let’s be real…she is. If you follow any IG influencers or workout people or models – I know there is envy felt on a daily basis. But when you look at people like that daily and automatically compare your life to them…it is hard for envy not to kick in…which sucks. Especially because all you are jealous of is that photo. As much as the Kardashians document their lives on social media…we still only see what they want us to see. We do not know their internal struggles or a lot of other stuff they are going through. The same can be said about people we know that we are envious over.

I hate admitting jealousy…but here we go…last year while I was pregnant, I was incredibly sick. I threw up 2-3 times a day…pretty much every day until after I had the baby. Yes, it didn’t stop right after I had him. It wasn’t as bad, but I was still sick a few times a week. I did not gain as much as most women do during pregnancy, but I was already over weight, so any weight gain was devastating to me. They took my baby at 33 weeks because of preeclampsia and he was in the NICU for 19.5 days. Now all of that was a miracle but that’s another story. Oh, not to mention we didn’t even have our own home yet. We had been living in my mom’s downstairs apartment/basement for over a year. We were renovating a house, but the renovating really hadn’t even begun. My best friend on the other hand, whom I adore – we have been best friends since we were very young. She is stunning, very intelligent, has an amazing job, great pregnancy (to my knowledge), and then when I walked into the hospital room to visit her – I couldn’t tell she had just had a baby. She’s a small person and I know she did not have her pre-baby body back after 24 hours, but in her super cute robe, with her hair and make-up done, I was very impressed. (Now I am not so naive to believe the appearance that was being put on. She just had a baby for goodness sakes, but that’s not what my jealousy was remembering.) As I was going through all of this – that is what I thought about…. jealousy set in, I wanted what she had. A great job, super nice house, nice car, a pregnancy where my baby wasn’t in a box and hooked up to machines 24/7, being able to hold my baby and not waiting until the doctor told me I could. I let appearances take hold of me. Now my hormones were of course all over the place, but those thoughts should have never crossed my mind. God worked everything out the way it was supposed to be. Michael Bruce would’ve been a stillborn if we would’ve gone full term. I was lucky enough to have my mom and my sister live with me and Bruce and help me right after I came home and when we brought Mike home. My C Section recovery was ROUGH. Talk about painful. I was so thankful to be there with them. We had a great support system around us who helped take care of me and Mike. Thankful and blessed are understatements.

Michael Bruce – 3 days old

While I’m admitting…here is another one for you. I went to lunch with a girl from work and she was telling the guy we were with where she lived, which happened to be in these nice apartments in our city. I knew her job position, but I really didn’t know everything her job entailed. But I knew my position and what my job entailed, and I know that even if I was single, there was no way I could afford to live there. Boom, jealous. Boom, assuming she makes more money than me. Boom, all these other little comments that popped in my head at the time. I also don’t know her story. We don’t know each other that well. I know what it was though, it was me, I want to make more money. I was jealous because I work hard, and I barely add enough to our income for us to pay all our bills. Struggling is an easy entry for envy…and it got me.

I don’t even want to give you examples of me being jealous of how other people look. That is my biggest downfall and I have plenty of examples and stories for that one. But I am going to pass. Let’s just say – I probably shouldn’t follow any models, fitness gurus, or Kardashians on social media. Heck, I probably shouldn’t be on social media. It is a breeding ground for comparison and jealousy.

Why does jealousy take over? Even for a short period of time? I don’t know – I am human I guess. It happens to me every day. I do not want to base my life on what other people have. I want to decide what I want and what is best for me and my family and then go for it. I want to work hard and earn what I get. The devil just finds your weaknesses and capitalizes on them when you are least expecting it. I need to remind myself that jealousy is only hurting myself. It destroys relationships. It causes the urge for control. It causes pain. I don’t want those things in my life.

God’s plan for me is not the same for my best friend or the girl from work. They are living their best lives and I should live mine. It is up to me to make the best of my situations and it is up to me to love my life. I only have one life, why not make it the best one that I can? I think that is what God wants for us anyways. If we must live in this fallen world, make the best of it.

Proverbs 14:30 says “A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes bones rot.” (ESV)

          1 Corinthians 13:4 – “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” (NIV)

Proverbs 23:17 – “Let not your heart envy sinners but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day.” (ESV)

Health & Food

What does every person associate with the south? Besides football…I’m sure you can figure it out within 2 guesses…. since I just gave you football…yep it is food. And they have every right to associate the south with food. We have the BEST food. Biscuits, homemade ice cream, casserole galore, and fried EVERYTHING!!! I mean we have fried chicken, fried pickles, fried green beans, fried zucchini, fried cookie dough, fried Oreos, fried cheese…I could go on. OH! and let’s not forget the staple of the south, sweet tea…which runs through my veins. So, being from Alabama, I know all about this food…and so do my thunder thighs and my waistline. We have food for every event. Wedding – best food you can find plus two amazing desserts, funerals – enough food to feed you for a month…at least, new baby – lets bring you food, you just got engaged – let’s have a BBQ, you just got dumped – I’m on my way with the ice cream…. you get the picture. I have a love hate relationship with food. I wish I saw food as what it is…energy to survive. However, I appreciate food for the taste instead of the contents. I think about this as I sit here snacking on my Chuychanga with creamy jalapeno sauce (yes, it is fried and delicious).

I have just agreed to compete in a diet bet with some friends I work with. One is getting married in October and she wants to shed some pounds before she gets her dress altered. The two others are in the wedding – another good reason to shape up. Then there’s me – I just like to try to do these things. Key word in that phrase is try…I always give up…I don’t want to say fail because I feel like to fail I would have to finish it and not quit. That is my problem…I am a quitter…when it comes to losing weight, as are most people. Losing weight is hard! It is a slow and uncomfortable process. You must limit junk food you like or cut it completely. You start eating food you do not like, and you feel like you are suffering. When you get on the scale after a week of this “suffering” and the scale is down 1lb…I don’t know about you but it makes me want a cupcake. Really, 1 lb. and I only ate green food all week? Ugh! This isn’t going to work – enters gas station and buys chips and coke. Cycle continues.

So, here’s some background about me and my weight/body image struggle. I have always struggled with weight, as did my dad and sister. My dad’s struggle was hard to watch – his weight eventually made him sick – heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and he eventually had a heart attack and died. I decided that I didn’t want my life cut short either – I had tried diets, but I couldn’t stick to them, I had tried diet pills and they work, until you get off them – then you gain the weight back. I decided to do weight loss surgery – so in March of 2013 – I had the gastric sleeve procedure done. For those of you who do not know – this is when they go in and cut out a portion of your stomach. You are left with a stomach about the size of a banana. I was 220lbs when I had this surgery…lets fast forward 6 years later…I am now 28, 1-year post-partum and back up to 200 lbs. I am only 30lbs from my pre-surgery weight. Do not think that, oh she had a baby, give yourself a break. No – I did not gain 50 lbs. during my pregnancy. I gained 15 and I lost it all before I left the hospital. I had gained back up to 180 before pregnancy.

I tell you this, so you know that the surgery only works if you change your life. It did, for a while…but then I went back to eating whatever I wanted. Now…I’m unhappy again. I feel sluggish, lethargic, tired, lazy, any other word you can think of that is not good. If you ask me to describe myself…I will tell you about how fat my legs are, how flabby my arms are, how my hips are wider than my husband’s – therefore his jeans don’t even fit my hips, how my stretch marks are growing, how I can see my cellulite through my yoga pants, etc. That’s how I feel and that is what I see – so anyone who rebuts me, and I am being too hard on myself. Trust me – I know. However, this is how I feel – I don’t care what words you say to me – you will not change how I see myself. Only I can change how I see myself. That is what I am trying to do – change.

My husband was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis this year which is an autoimmune disease that effects the large intestine. When he has a flare up everything makes him sick. This started on Christmas Eve – he missed my family Christmas because he was in the bathroom for hours…without coming out. This went on for weeks. These weeks were very hard on him and on me. On top of taking care of our 1 year old, I was having to take care of him as well. He would get home from work and go straight to the bathroom and so many nights Mike and I would go to bed and be asleep before he ever came out. This was becoming an everyday thing and he finally got in with a gastro doctor. He was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. He was in the middle of a flare up, but they said it was healing so that was good news. However, if he did not change his diet, flare ups were going to last longer and be more common. Well lets fast forward to 6 weeks later – nothing has changed. He knows he needs to change his diet – but he hasn’t, therefore we are in the middle of a flare up again. He literally just text me and told me how bad he’s feeling from eating the BBQ they catered in at his work. We talked about it this morning and I reminded him that he ate that a couple of weeks ago and had to leave work early because of how sick he got. His love for food…not loves…more like obsession for the taste and the fulfillment is taking over his need and want to take care of himself so that he will feel better. A BBQ sandwich is not worth 5 hours in the bathroom. However, I can say the same thing to myself – Savannah fries and ranch are not worth the feeling you are going to feel when your pants don’t fit next week. We choose the food over what is best for our body.

Food is energy that we need for survival. Would you fill your car up with gas that would make it run slower and cost you more money in maintenance? No, you wouldn’t. So why do we do that to our bodies? My goal is to fill my body with gas that makes it better, not worse. Yet I keep finding myself going back to the bad gas. I don’t understand it – but it is a bad habit that I am trying to break.

If you want to change your body – then just do it. Y’all, we only have one life. ONE! God has blessed us with this body – it is our job to take care of it. Yes, it would’ve been nice if he would’ve made it to where our metabolisms were awesome and being overweight or underweight could never be a thing, but I really think that was meant for the 7th day and God decided he needed a nap. And we know what happens with naps – we forget what we were going to do before we took the nap. Anyways – yes, it is hard – but it is doable. If you want to lose weight, burn more calories than you consume in one day. It really is that simple. Yes, there are other ways out there too, but if you are saying it is too complicated, then just count your calories. Download a food tracker app and count your calories. It does the math for you. We literally have no excuse. We are surrounded with ways to lose weight. The marketing for it is insane. It is just if we decide we are going to put in the work. I am telling myself this too – as I start my diet bet on Monday. Savannah – food is energy – it is not a treat, it is not an emotional support system, it is not a bad thing either. It is energy – that’s it – choose wisely. Wish me luck.

Hair & Marriage

How many women and men (man buns) grow your hair out? You long for these long luscious locks and you work so hard for them. Growing hair is hard – you must really take care of it. It is easy to just chop it off. Anyone can rock any kind of hair style with the right level of confidence. But long hair takes work. It takes years to grow out your hair. It takes lots of money and care to have long healthy hair. Now this long beautiful hair can get on our nerves sometimes. It gets all in our face, it takes too long to dry, it is too curly, it is too fine, I can’t style it, blah blah blah. Some days it is easier to just put it in a bun or a pony tail. There is nothing wrong with that. It is a style. One that you are comfortable with. You and your hair have come to an agreement like hey you’re getting on my nerves today, I’m putting you in a pony tail. And your hair is like alright cool I’m not sure why I’m all over the place today, we can work on this again tomorrow. 

So, people are going to wonder what the relationship between hair and marriage is. Here are some similarities:

Hair – Needs continued maintenance (Trimming)

Marriage – Needs continued maintenance

Hair – Needs to be put in its place once in a while (pony tail, bun) (Communication)

Marriage (spouse) – needs to be put in their place occasionally, (by good communication and discussion)

Hair – Needs to be washed and cared for so it doesn’t become soiled. (Cleansing)

Marriage – Needs to be cleansed with the word of God so it can still be beautiful.

Here are the similarities of how we choose not to take care of our hair or our marriage…

Hair – Ugh my hair is all in my face I’m going to cut it off.

Marriage – ugh my husband/wife is just a burden and so annoying, it is time to cut the cord.

Hair – I don’t like my hair color – so let’s change it.

Marriage – I don’t like my spouse anymore, so I need someone new. 

Hair – I don’t feel like taking care of my hair – so I’m just going to let it do whatever.

Marriage – I don’t feel connected to my spouse anymore and it is too much of hassle to try to fix it. So, I’m going to do what I want.

Hair and Marriage – never knew they could be compared. So, let’s say you give in and cut your hair off…. I have done this and instantly regretted it. Like cried immediately after. You can’t get it back. It is cut off…it is gone, permanently – you cannot pick it up and put it back on. You thought that change would fulfill you and make you feel better. But it made you feel worse. You loved your long hair, but you decided out of haste and off feelings.

Just like hair – marriage takes work. It takes maintenance, communication, cleansing.

Maintenance –trimming to keep healthy and not let the ends die. (When the ends split and are dead – it will keep moving up through the hair to the root)

Communication – work on your problems – talk it out – let each other know your concerns. Some days someone just needs to be in a pony tail. Time to chill out and regroup but still partners.

Cleansing – Hair needs to be washed at least every couple of days or else it gets soiled and looks greasy and gross. Marriage needs spiritual cleansing. If you go for extended periods of time without spiritual cleansing – your marriage will start to soil.

We are so quick to just cut the cord on our marriages and relationships. We forget how hard we worked on our relationships. How much we have been through, the awkward phase (back of the neck), the starting over phase because we let too much die and didn’t give it the maintenance it needed, and compromise with different styles and pony tails. And we really forget the love we have for our long luscious locks and our marriages and relationships.

We need to be reminded to the time and effort we put into our relationships and marriages. It is not worth it to destroy it out of haste. Even if your marriage is a little out of whack – you just need a little bit of communication, cleansing and maintenance to get back to a healthy relationship/marriage. Don’t give up – there is too much effort to let it go so easily. 

Verses:

Maintenance – Ephesians 4: 31-32: Never be bitter, angry, or mad. Never shout angrily or say things to hurt others. Never do anything evil. Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you through Christ.

Cleansing – Philippians 4: 8-9 – Brothers & sisters, continue to think about what is good and worthy of praise. Think about what is true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected. And do what you learned and received from me – what I told you and what you saw me do. And the God who gives peace will be with you.

Communication & Compromise – Ephesians 4:2 – Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love.

Persistence & Hustle

Hustle – from urban dictionary – “To have the courage, confidence, self-belief and self-determination to go out there and work it out until you find the opportunities you want in life.”

“Good things come to those who hustle.”

I bought this sign at Hobby Lobby yesterday. I went for prizes for a baby shower, but this sign was screaming at me. I couldn’t stop staring at it. I’m sure people thought I was having trouble reading it. I couldn’t leave it there. I had to get it. I knew exactly what I was going to do with it. I would take it to work on Monday and hang it up. When I brought it in, one of the guys, who I consider a close friend, more like a dad figure, said something like “I’m trying to figure out how this relates to you.” Then he laughed. He and the other guy continued to laugh – and I know they were joking, but it didn’t feel like a joke. I let their joke and opinion of my sign directly affect my mood and outlook on myself. Honestly, how ridiculous is that. I hope all of you are rolling your eyes at me because I let this really bother me for at least an hour. Then I stopped thinking about their comments and just started thinking, maybe their definition of working hard is more work than my definition. Ugh why am I still on this. They were joking. But I let it hurt me.

Hustle – from urban dictionary – “To have the courage, confidence, self-belief and self-determination to go out there and work it out until you find the opportunities you want in life.”

I’m not a big urban dictionary person, but I love this definition of hustle. When I read this definition, I realized I have a couple of these characteristics. It is self-belief and confidence that I have lacked, basically my whole life. I have always been someone who reads into other people’s opinions. It is a daily struggle for me to force myself not to believe what others think or say about me. I have this quote written on my board at work – “Another person’s opinion of you is none of your business.” Thanks, Rachel Hollis. Only my biggest struggle on the planet. I have formed my identity in what others have thought of me. My parents, friends, people who didn’t like me, boyfriends, etc., anything they said would feed my soul…good or bad. They could create my good mood or kill it. That is too much power for other people. Someone else should not have that power over you. You determine your mood, not someone else, especially their words.

Let’s talk about this for a minute – if your best friend came to you and said I overheard Debra telling someone how I don’t work hard, my ideas for the company suck, along with other digs at my appearance on top of the other things. Your friend then begins to give into these insults, telling you how maybe Debra is right – I mean you can always work harder – who cares if you work ¾ Saturdays a month. You could work every Saturday and Sunday. Maybe then Debra will see that I am a hard worker. Maybe my ideas are bad – I’m going to withdraw my proposal. Oh, and my appearance – I already know I need to lose weight – hearing other people say it just add the cherry to the top. Ok, now wouldn’t you just want to beat some sense into your friend? I know I would. We will all have mean people in our lives, but how we act to them will determine our course.

Do you do the best you can? Do you work your butt off every day? Are you putting into society as much if not more than you are taking from it? If so…then you are a hustler. Take pride in your work. You are good enough – your work is good enough. Don’t let the negativity around you corrupt your mind, surround yourself with positivity. Can’t stop. Won’t stop. Keep hustling. If they’re talking about you, you’re doing something right.

Persistence: firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action despite difficult or opposition.

I started college in 2008 at UAB in Birmingham, AL with a double major of Early Childhood/Elementary Education. Hello summers off!! Being from the Birmingham area, I was NOT looking forward to going to UAB. I wanted to go away to school with my friends and be on my own for a while. Oh, naïve Savannah, school is not for partying – it is to get in and get out and I was not getting out of UAB anytime soon…graduating wise. Teaching is a calling…and it took me a while to realize I didn’t have that passion that others did. The year my dad passed away, 2012, I confided in a close family friend who is an attorney and discussed with her my plan on transferring to Samford University to go to night school to obtain a paralegal certificate. She thought it was a great idea, but we were concerned about my mom’s reaction because my grades were subpar to say the least. We made a deal that I could transfer and take two classes, if I did well, I could continue – if I didn’t do well – I had to get a full-time job that had insurance and I could go back to school on my own dime when I could afford it and when I thought I was ready. Well, Samford was the complete opposite from UAB. The classes were smaller, the curriculum in the paralegal program was interesting and I loved every second of it…except torts. That one was a tough one.

Anyways – I made good grades at Samford while working two jobs, 40+ hours a week and going to school at night. I finally graduated in August of 2015. 2008-2015…7 years which included a few failed classes and few major life events – having an extremely painful cyst on my tailbone in 2009, having that cyst removed in 2011, my dad passing away in February of 2012, having weight loss surgery in March of 2013, having my gallbladder removed in the summer 2014, and having another surgery on the cyst in December of 2014. It was A LOT. When I write it all down, I am proud of my persistence. If I didn’t have it – I would’ve quit. But I now have that extremely expensive piece of paper. This is not to tell everyone to go to college. College isn’t for everyone. It is to tell you to not give up, if you want it, keep going. Don’t stop. Do not make excuses – you can do anything you want to do if you work your butt off.

I challenge you to reflect on a season in your life…your college years, high school years, adult years, first years of marriage, first years of parenting, heck even middle school years (we all know Jesus got us through those) and write down things that happened during that season. Write down all your struggles and all your life events and you extra curriculars you did during those seasons. Write down how many conflicts you and your spouse went through in the first few years of marriage. Write down how many hours of sleep you missed after having a baby. Write down what you went through when you had to take your mom to chemo 3 times a week, be a wife, an employee and a mother. When you were in that toxic relationship and you were so scared to leave, and you were fearing for your safety and the safety of your children. When you failed those classes and you felt like a failure. Then look at how you survived those times. Look at what you learned. Look at how your strength grew astronomically. Those times when you didn’t think you would make it and now look at yourself. You are here…. you are strong…you are persistent…you are a hustler.