Oh I do so hate the part of our nature that envies. You know the part... it’s the side of you that see’s the neighbor unloading a new something or other across the way and you ... want. It’s not that you want exactly what is theirs, but you want it for you. They can keep theirs if you can have one too... right?

Boy has that mentality brought misery upon us. Growing up simply, we weren’t about brand name clothes... I never wore the right clothes and over time, I was able to understand that in the grand scheme of things, those right clothes meant nothing.

But then... I wanted. I knew that we couldn’t afford them and even if we could, I’m not sure mother would have bought them anyway... she was a “walk to your own drummer” even back then.

When we got married and got our first apartment, we had nothing. Well not nothing... we had a guitar, a table and two chairs and a bed. We saved up from two paychecks and bought a radio to play our cassette tapes. We were flat busted poor before it was cool.

Life was simple and frankly it was good. We spent a lot of time just talking... we read a lot back then too... sometimes back to back on the floor until we found a love seat on someone’s curb.

The Jones’ influence began to creep in once we moved to San Diego and the first duty station. We had our tiny little collection of things and we just found out we would have our first baby just a few days after our first anniversary.

We moved into a tiny little apartment but it was spacious and roomy since we had very little to fill it. Before long we made friends and began to visit them.... everyone else had stuff. They had furniture in each room. They had things hung on the walls. They had kitchens full of gadgets and etc.

The seeds of doubt had begun to plant. Oh but let me be clear, not one person was all hey look at all that we have and what you don’t... nope. It was most definitely not like that. The doubts and the wants came because we have a horrible habit of looking around us and wanting to be like others.

We are taught as kids that we are each wonderful just as we are... that God created us to be special. Then we learn in school that there are clichés and niches where those who don’t fit in those molds, well they aren’t a fit at all. How many times as an adult have you caught yourself falling into something that feels a lot like peer pressure?

That fancy name brand purse that everyone carries and you just have to have... but can’t afford. Will you get that purse and figure out the fallout or will you rock your handmade bag and thumb your nose at looking like everyone else? Oh but the list goes on....

I’m not sure exactly who the Jones’ are but people have been warning us about them for years. They seem nice from a distance don’t they? They have the amazing house full of beautiful furniture. A garage with three cars and lots of toys like boats and etc. Their kids wear the high fashion and have extensions, fake eyelashes, and even someone to pick up after them. Their lives look so great.

However, you don’t see inside their lives. You don’t know if they are happy. You don’t see their bills. Instead of focusing on those aspects and taking them into consideration... you look around your home. You see the used car? The affordable and slightly snug house?

The kids that are crowded around the table arguing over who gets the last of the dessert after dinner... they are loud and it’s hard to see past the noise but they are actually getting along. You’re bills are paid and you have a safety net in the bank.

The Jones’ should be so lucky. Don’t let seeds of doubt make you want, when you are already blessed beyond compare.

Kalynn Brazeal is a conservative, Christian wife/mom/country girl carrying around an MBA, several decades of business experience and a strong opinion. Dividing her time between Grand Lake and North Dakota, she continues to share her column on life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and cake. She can be reached by email at kmbrazeal@icloud.com.