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COLUMN: Does Pinterest make you feel like a loser?

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By Nancy Kennedy

 Are you on Pinterest?

“What’s that?” you ask. Oh, honey, where have you been?

Pinterest is an online bulletin board/scrap book/wish list site where you “pin” pictures of things you see elsewhere on the Web that you like.

Puppies and kittens and fluffy clouds, cupcakes from Sprinkles in New York, sandals on sale at DSW, the beach at Turks and Caicos.

You can have one board that’s just fashion, another can be all pictures of animals — lots of furry, fuzzy cute animals on Pinterest. You can dedicate a board to all the different foods you’d like to eat or the places you’d like to go or the celebrities you’d like to meet.

Planning a wedding? Forget all the brides’ magazines, which are so last century. Just “pin” what you like on your Pinterest board.

You can build a virtual house — furnish and decorate it all with the click of a mouse.

One of my daughters has a board just for sweet things she’d like to bake some day and my other daughter has a board she calls “Eloping.” Hmmm.

Not only that, but your friends can look at your boards and follow your pins and you can follow theirs. And if you like each others’ pins or anyone else’s, you can re-pin them to your board. Then you can spend hours and hours and hours and hours looking at your pins.

It’s like window shopping at a mall as big as our galaxy.

The man who created Pinterest is a genius. I’m not sure what his intent was — maybe as a way to organize bookmarked Web pages. But it tapped into our proclivity to want what we don’t have.

Of the more than 10.4 million Pinterest users (as of February 2012), I am not one of them. I have enough real-life obsessions and addictions that rob my soul.

I’m not saying Pinterest robs everyone’s soul, just that it would not be good for me to collect and organize and categorize photos of things I like — things I don’t have but want — and keep looking at them.

When I was little, long before the Internet, I used to pore over and study the Sears and JC Penney catalogs. I’d make detailed lists of everything I wanted, from toys to clothes.

As I got older I included room décor. I’d take a piece of notebook paper and diagram my room and detail what bedspread and throw pillows I wanted, the lamps, the framed pictures.

I’d make lists of pieces I needed to build a wardrobe, mix and match. I’d add up how many outfits I could make with what was on my list. I would even dream about my color-coordinated closet and “Sears Best” bedroom furnishings and accessories.

Today, all I have to do is walk through Target or IKEA to arouse those same obsessive desires to redo my décor or my closets.

I love pretty things. I love to wear clothes and fluff and arrange pillows on a bed and stack my plates and bowls in my cupboards in a specific order — blue, green, golden yellow, red. Of the dozen or so bowls that I have, I only use two, yet I always want more.

Just one more. Maybe two.

I heard a pastor say recently that more is better, and a lot more is best, or so we think.

Right after he said that he read what the apostle Paul told his young ministry student Timothy: “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (I Timothy 6:6). Richness of soul comes with being secure in Christ and happy with what he has given.

On the flip side of that, when my focus is on what I don’t have, it does something to me. It breeds ungratefulness, discontent, envy, anger, bitterness. That’s why some people steal. That’s why some people lie. That’s why some people leave their marriages. If this life is all there is, then give me greener pastures.

As I researched Pinterest I came across a blog written by someone named Amy who wrote, “Pinterest is ruining my life.”

She said looking at all the beautiful things only made her sad. She realized her “dream house” board might not happen for a long, long time — if ever — and that she couldn’t afford the shoes she had pinned.

“Pinterest makes me feel like a loser,” she wrote, “so today I started a new board called ‘Things I Have.’ This way I can remind myself of all the wonderful blessings I already have in my life.”

I like that idea. If I had a Pinterest board, I’d pin it.

Nancy Kennedy is the author of “Move Over, Victoria - I Know the Real Secret,” “Girl on a Swing,” and her latest book, “Lipstick Grace.” She can be reached at( 352) 564-2927, Monday through Thursday, or via email at nkennedy@chronicleonline.com.