the death of chevron

ladies.  it’s time to get real about pinterest.


don’t get me wrong, i love a good mason jar, but is that where you are going to let all of your creativity live?  mason jar this, mason jar that.  chevron this, chevron that.  i get it, the cottage/shabby chic style is awesome.  my wife and i own a hair salon, and it was built and designed based upon inspiration that comes from that style of decorating, but you have more in you!  i promise.


i’m getting ahead of myself.  i think pinterest is a good thing.  i certainly don’t have a pinterest account, but i have seen it enough times to get a pretty good feel for it.  it’s full of pictures, how-to’s, recipes, hairstyles, clothing styles, you name it…y’all know all of this.  it is a fantastic place to find inspiration for DIY decorating at your home, or for finding examples of hairstyles you might be interested in, for example (totally more than applicable in my world).  seriously, that web site is like google images on crack.  there have been times when i’ve looked over somebody’s shoulder as they were on pinterest (which, by the way, is probably the most annoying thing anybody can do to anyone else who is on any website ever) scrolling through all of these pictures of desserts and i coulda dang salivated like i was being trained by pavlov himself.  as a matter of fact, just the other day, i had these apple dumplings that were made by somebody in my small group (thanks, sara) that were just BOMB.  yep, she got the recipe from pinterest (thanks, pinterest).  i’m sure, also, that somewhere in my subconscious i have assisted in and/or made a decorating choice (whether at my house or my salon) that came from something i may have happened to catch a glance of on pinterest.  there is PLENTY of inspiration to find on that website, and i’ve seen the mark it has made on some or your lives.  i see your amazing centerpieces, or the new painting you did (yes, YOU did it, with your own hands), or the pictures of the food you made for the first time that looks amazing.  i see it.  and it looks great.  and you should be proud of what you’ve created.


i am really concerned, though.  i am concerned that identities are being claimed right and left by this addictive website.  the creators of this website were quite clever to figure out a way to tap into the natural desire of a woman to make the home.  now before you rosie the riveter’s get your head scarves tied on too tight, hear me out.  it is completely natural for women to yearn to create a home that represents them, or an environment that is beautiful or inviting, or a safe place for their families.  it’s an incredible thing that they are born with, and an incredible thing they can provide.  seriously, thank God for the woman’s ability and desire to make a happy home.  i am grateful for that.  i understand how, given this desire, pinterest is heaven for women especially.  it’s ok to look to pinterest for ideas to create a holiday environment that makes your children happy, or makes memories, or even solely makes you feel good to come home to.  it’s ok to look to pinterest to make those adorable little cake pops for your friend’s baby shower.  that’s the gift you can provide.  (i could go on about how your innate femininity serves humanity.  it’s a beautiful thing).  but listen, girls.  your inner woman is unique to you.  you don’t need pinterest.  you don’t.  maybe your centerpiece won’t end up on a magazine cover, but if comes naturally from you and you love it for your home and family, then you’ve done something right.  i have to say, my wife can make a dang good flower arrangement.  i mean homegirl can ARRANGE some flowers, ok?  she didn’t get that skill from pinterest.  it’s just something she has.  and she can make a bow like nobody’s business, too.  and it’s interesting, she has friends that seek her help with bow-making, and my wife might seek their help for something else.  do you see?  there is something in you!  i worry that you subconsciously try to measure up to every perfect thing you see on pinterest.  (i realize it comes from other sources than just pinterest, by the way).  you don’t have to measure up.  a lot of these perfect rooms, or perfect chairs, or perfect dining room tables were put together by people who are HIRED to do so.  there are a select few people in this world who’s occupation is style.  pinterest, unfortunately, tells the lie that having the skill of a professional stylist is the status quo.  i am claiming victory over that lie on your behalf!  (pentecostal moment).


what i’m trying to say is, your identity can’t be found there…on pinterest, or in anything you see there.  your dining room table centerpiece is an EXTENSION of your identity.  and these moments of beauty might not be found in home decor.  the extension of your identity might be found in your job, or your heart to serve others, or the way you cook, or the way you interact with society.  (maybe it’s time to dig a little deeper into where your identity comes from.  i personally believe it is God-given, but others may have a different view).  don’t believe pinterest when it tells you that you are LESS because you can’t measure up to the perfect facade it presents.  put as many mason jars, chalkboard frames, and chevron table cloths in your house that you so desire.  but it might be time to put chevron to death…or at least until you can look at those perfect chevron curtains and say “you don’t define me.”



*i am fully aware that i am not a female and that many of you reading this are pinterest lovers.  kindly refer to the second full paragraph of this post.  while i still consider it to be something that is robbing femininity instead of encouraging it, i realize that there are plenty of pinterest lovers who are secure in their identity.  also, i have plenty of things that i try to measure up to.  i’m nowhere near perfect.



do you ever get annoyed with the issue of giving to beggars?  it should be a lot easier than it is.  really.  why should i ever have to calculate in my head if/what/how much i should give?  should i ever have to try to dig into why somebody is asking me for the $.24 they need to catch the bus to the other side of town?  should i then question why they are sitting at starbucks with clean clothes and sunglasses that look brand new?  or how they got to starbucks in the first place?  or how many bus trips they have taken in the past few days to get to wherever they are going?  or why they need to be taking so many bus trips, because clearly if they didn’t, they wouldn’t need to be asking for money?  i shouldn’t be asking these questions.  period.

let me tell you a little story.

last night after work, i had to stop to get gas before going home (because there are basically ZERO gas stations within a few mile radius of my neighborhood…SERIOUSLY.  help a brother out.  the other day i happened to be on “e” and i could either drive 7 minutes to get gas, or 10 minutes to get gas at the station next door to work.  there is something wrong with this.  i get it, cary, nc, you want to stay pretty and everything, which i totally appreciate, but a dang gas station remotely close to where i live would be nice.  i mean, not that i feel that somebody should spend tons of money just because i sometimes forget to use my brain and make sure i have adequate gas in the tank, God forbid there is an emergency, but for the rest of the huge community i live in.  it would be quite a successful business venture.  maybe i’ll be an investor).  as i was pumping le gas, i hear the dreaded “sir…sir?  sir!”  (ugh, reminds me of the time when i was in detroit for a summer dance intensive.  this particular instance occurred at yet another gas station.  we had stopped to fill up and get snacks and i happened to be the last one back to the van.  my chaperones and peers thought it would be just hilarious to lock me out to deal with the homeless person that was approaching.  [detroit is obviously known for the amount of homeless people there].  i started frantically yanking the door handle and giving what i found out years later to be my “parent face” to the hysterically laughing people in the van, hoping they would unlock the door.  in the middle of my rant, i heard those same words: “sir…sir?  sir!”  and they were getting closer and closer, so of course, to unintentionally make it more awkward than it already was, i waited until she was almost at my back, then turned around and said “hiiiiiii.”  a scene straight out of a movie).  once i realized this guy was talking to me, i turned and looked at him as he dove into his shpiel.  i couldn’t understand most of it because he was talking at 90 mpm (miles per minute), but what i got from the whole thing was that he is from greensboro, just dropped somebody off at the airport, and his 2.5 months pregnant wife left their debit card somewhere.  whether she left it at the hotel, sheetz, or food lion i’m not sure.  oh, and that he needed food and gas and that airport people are mean.  he threw that in there, too.  he kept on with the whole “i don’t ask for much, i’m an honest person, you know, baptist person” thing and told me he would send whatever money i gave him back in the mail.  because i’m going to give a begging stranger my home address.

as annoyed as i was, i remembered a conversation that i was a part of one night at small group about giving and our motive for it, so i decided to help him out.  really, what is $10?  so i told him i’d put some gas in his car.  i think he was both baffled and caught off guard at my offer, because his hesitation and acceptance of my offer was shrouded with disapproval.  really, dude?  you’re asking a stranger for help and you are going to be choosey?  i didn’t have cash on me, but i could tell that’s what he really wanted.  “even just 2.5 gallons would be helpful,” he says.  anyways, i walked over to the pump where his car was parked and started to, very discretely, put my debit card in the card reader and get this process started.  when i turned around ready to pump gas into his car, he hands me a gas jug.  “this thing holds 2.5 gallons.”  i was like…???  “i just realized my wife took the keys to the car when she walked over to chick-fil-a to try to find food.”  (chick-fil-a is probably 50 feet from this gas station).  again, i was like…???  “i need the key in order to get to my gas tank.”  at the time, i was too flustered to remember that some people buy locks for their gas caps, so i questioned him.  not once did he open the fuel door to prove to me that he needed a key.  upon pressing the issue, and him sensing my doubt of the legitimacy of his request, he started saying things like “it’s ok, you don’t have to help.  it’s not your problem.”  but these little statements were DRIPPING with guilt directed at me.  at that time i was so mad.  i was mad that, up until that point, i had swallowed my pride and agreed to help this man, but i was more mad that i had been taken advantage of.  so i kept hitting “cancel” on the card keypad so i could put the pump back and go home to eat dinner.  tell me the dang thing wouldn’t cancel.  REALLY?  over and over i pushed that little yellow button, and with so much fervor.  i tried everything more than once.  finally i turned to him and, probably somewhat begrudgingly asked, “all right, how much will that thing take?”  “2.5 gallons or so.”  i proceed to pump gas into this jug.  i had been looking at how many gallons i was pumping as opposed to dollars, and at just below 2 gallons, the gas neared the top of the jug, so i stopped.  the total came to $6.06.

at this time, i decided to calm down just a little, because what’s done is done.  i thought it would be best to actually connect with this man in some kind of way.  i’ll admit, there was a hint of a spiteful motive in taking time to talk to him a little bit.  a very small part of me wanted to hold him accountable for scheming to get money.  was he telling the truth about needing a key to open his gas cap?  i’ll never know, but i did have half a mind to fling the fuel door wide open.  i should’ve.  it doesn’t matter, though.  i proceeded to ask about his wife and their baby on the way.  was this potentially another lie?  i don’t know.  he said they’ve been married 20 years and didn’t have any children.  dude was pushin’ 50, although he looked aged, so maybe he was younger than i thought.  so i gave him all the parent advice i could for somebody who is about to enter that cramazeful (crazy, amazing, stressful) journey.  he told me they waited so long to have kids so he could learn maturity and responsibility.  -_-

so what do i do with all of this going forward?  ultimately, we should give whenever we can.  it isn’t my responsibility to determine somebody’s life decisions with the $5 i throw their way, and i shouldn’t give based upon whether i think they will be responsible with it or not.  heck, i shouldn’t even give because i’ve been helped out before.  i should give because of the love that i should have for people.  that’s the only reason.  i shouldn’t put anyone’s motives for asking through any sort of qualifiers to deem them worthy of my resources or not.  after all, my resources did not start out as mine, and when i use them, they definitely won’t be mine, wherever the end up.  yes, people tricking others into giving them money/food/whatever is definitely an issue, but as a giver, that’s not my problem.  my responsibility is to meet a need, not to give only when the beggar’s circumstances meet my perception of when something is deserved.

these types of situations aren’t the major issue, but they certainly point to some.  it wouldn’t take much reflection to figure out what they are, whether you’re the beggar or the giver.  so next time you’re approached with “sir/ma’am…sir/ma’am?  sir/ma’am!” (which by the way would be HILARIOUS if they said “sir/ma’am”!  well maybe not too funny, because that would suggest that your gender cannot be determined.  unless you’re going for that, then it would be hilarious), i would challenge you to try to give and connect.  it might not do much for somebody who’s looking for spare change to get a buzz somewhere, but maybe it would for somebody who’s asking in earnest.  i can only hope that genuine giving would start to hold a mirror to beggars, but it will DEFINITELY change you.