Meghan Tells It

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I’m declining your invitation. September 28, 2015

Filed under: Personal Growth — Meghan Hamilton @ 8:00 am
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She can’t afford that berry, but she’s buying it anyway.

Periodically I receive invitations to sales parties. In my area, Pampered Chef, 31, and (until recently) Lia Sophia have a substantial presence. If these don’t ring a bell, perhaps you’ve heard of Tupperware, Silpata, or Party Lite. A local sales rep ropes you into convinces you to host a party for them. You beg ask all of your friends, family, neighbors, random people from the street and coworkers to come. A few people show up. The rep tells you how awesome the products are. You feel guilty and order a few items on the spot. For every dollar a guest spends, the hostess receives a discount on her own order and the rep gets a commission. The rep also strongarms insists you host your own party because it will be fun and you get a discount on the order at your party. If she’s really good, she gets you to sign up to be a rep also.

As much as I am poking fun at the business model, I will say that most of these companies do sell quality products. I would love to have more Pampered Chef items in my kitchen or 31 bags to fill with junk. I also enjoy the social aspect of these parties.

I do not enjoy my lack of self control when it comes to shopping. Long ago I became aware of my inner magpie. I WANT ALL OF THE SHINY THINGS!!!!! My rational mind shuts down and I just want to have the cool thing that is in front of my face. At a gathering where you know your friends are buying things, where you know that the friend who invited you is hoping this whole thing is worth her while, you feel a tremendous pressure to buy something. So I start down that slippery slope of justification.

I can’t buy nothing. I’ll stick to my budget of $20.00. Is there even anything in this catalog for that price? Ok. Maybe this $25.00 item. But that’s it! Oh. Well, I can also get this other thing. $50.00 isn’t bad. I see Martha over there spending over $100.00. I’m only spending a little bit.

And so it goes. Then a week or so later, that check hits my bank account. I don’t have $50.00 in it. I only have $25.00. So my bank charges me $36.00 for being too silly to turn down another pizza stone. Now my $50.00 check has turned into an $85.00 check and I won’t have any money to deposit for another week. So now bring on the fees for the account being overdrawn each day. You get the picture.

So what’s a magpie with limited monetary resources to do? She is going to decline your invitation to your party an stay in her own nest where there are plenty of shiny things that she has already collected.


Going to Bed Angry May 26, 2015

Filed under: Family,Personal Growth — Meghan Hamilton @ 3:46 pm
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A popular bit of advice people like to give to newlyweds is, “Don’t go to bed angry.” I’m not entirely sure where this originated or how many people actually follow it. I long ago abandoned it. It doesn’t work for my marriage. In fact, a lot of standard advice doesn’t work for my marriage. Perhaps I don’t have a standard marriage. But let’s just stick with this one topic.

Let me break it down for you. I am a strong willed person. You aren’t likely to be able to talk me out of my opinion or a decision I’ve made. My parents and sister recognized this early. They generally state their dissenting view and then leave it alone.

Fast forward to my adult life and marriage. Craig recognizes my strong will and even appreciates it. He doesn’t want me to bend to his every whim. Given his psychiatric challenges, constant bending to his will could be disastrous. So what does this have to do with going to bed angry?

Well, another thing about my personality is that I think about things. Often I let them stew in my brain and in my heart. Instead of dealing with it in the moment, I sit on things. In some ways this is good. It often lets me see that I don’t have anything to be upset about and I can let it go. Sometimes it gives me time to be able to better articulate what I’m feeling. The flip side is that it gives some subjects time to boil over.

If my thoughts and feelings are the pot on the stove, then the time of day is the dial for that burner. You see, that control gets set at high once I get to 6:00 or 7:00PM. If I have not dealt with the contents of the pot by then, it easily boils over and my ability to think and speak rationally is lost. The two main ways to make it stop are to go along with whatever I say, or silently let it boil itself dry.

Sometimes, if I’m just asking for the dishes to be done, Craig is perfectly willing to go along with it to shut off my fit about not having enough help with stuff.  Other times, I am demanding he change his entire personality and there is no room in my mind for any compromise or change on my part. So of course he doesn’t go along with it. In those cases, he lets me bluster and rant and rave and cry until I give up and go to bed.

I go to bed very very angry. I go to bed sure that I am going to get up in the morning and file for divorce.

But do you know how I wake up? Even if I’m still tired from the previous night’s rage, I wake up with the understanding that I was over reacting. I may still have a legitimate issue that we need to work on together. But when I am in that place of rage, we can’t work on it. I need to be in a place of calm to do the hard work this relationship sometimes needs. If I lose that calm, it’s generally due to fatigue. You know what cures fatigue? Going to bed and getting some sleep.

So, I say, go to bed angry. Maybe you’ll get just enough rest to calm down and have an adult conversation with your spouse the next day.


Adventures in Starting a Home Business October 25, 2014

Filed under: Business,Personal Growth — Meghan Hamilton @ 3:46 pm
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When Alex was a baby and I stopped working outside the home, I needed something to keep my hands busy.  So I took up a crochet hook and relearned what to do with it.  When he was about four years old, he had decided baths were something Satan invented and the only redeeming value was being able to play with bars of soap.  With extremely sensitive skin all around, this amounted to me having to choose between watching $5.00 or more go down the drain every time I bathed him, or listening to him scream.  We didn’t have that kind of money.  I didn’t have enough strength to listen to the screaming.  Maybe bathing was invented by the devil?

Along comes a Facebook page post about frugal living and saving money.  The admin posted a link to how to make your own soap from scratch.  I had one of those light bulb moments where I’m sure there was an actual bulb above my head.  I could handle making soap!

Challenge #1 was finding a source of lye.  It used to be readily available in grocery and hardware stores.  Not anymore.  I found a source online.  Hooray!

Challenge #2 was finding a method that didn’t involve me letting the soap cure in a well ventilated place for six weeks.  I don’t have that kind of space in my apartment.  Hot process soap would work.  I’d only need to take up space for a day or two.

Then people started showing an interest in the soap and oohing and ahhing over the crocheted things.  Could I sell this?  Hmm.  I started an Etsy shop and held my breath.  I haven’t had a lot of sales there, but I’ve had people buy stuff from me outside of that.  I may close the Etsy shop.  If I keep it open, I’ll have to give it an overhaul and do some serious editing.  I’ve repackaged my soap to what you see below.  It’s been tough not having an Internet connection to our house and trying to have an online business.  Now that we’re back online, I think I may give it another go.


I have had some wholesale soap orders from another crafter.  That seems like the way I’d rather go.  It’s less money in my pocket, but less dealing with direct sales.  The older I get, the less I like the general public.  There are plenty of individuals who are wonderfully gracious, but those few jerks out there grate on my nerves more and more.

I’m trying to stay focused and let the business grow little by little.  I’ve seen people try to do too much all at once and crash and burn.  I want to keep a job where I can work from home.  So, I keep reminding myself that I need to do what I do and do it well.  As I get more orders and more money to put into more equipment and supplies, I’ll expand. And as I sit here with a check in hand, I’m trying to decide whether to upgrade supplies, or join a few craft shows.  I’ll let you know.

UPDATE:  I made several changes to the Etsy site.  I’ll continue to add better photos and see what I can make of it.  Someone go buy something and support my writing habit?


Ready to Live Again October 23, 2014

Filed under: Personal Growth,Uncategorized — Meghan Hamilton @ 2:30 am
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Depression Sucks.  Not just metaphorically.  I mean it sucks the life right out of you.  It slows every process in your body down.  Was mine major?  Nope.  But it has certainly interfered with my life and continues to try.  I’m beating it back though.  Most days are good.  But it’s always there, lurking and waiting to rear its ugly head.

But, Meghan, you don’t seem sad.  You have a lot going for you.  How can you be depressed?

It’s a sickness of the brain.  Like any mental illness, my neurons don’t always fire the way God designed them to.  So, in my case, my thoughts are slowed somewhat, but mostly still there and just fine.  My body lags.  Sometimes it’s all I can do to get a shower and make sure that Alex is where he needs to be and has some sort of food in his growing body.

Write?  Nope.  Too hard.

Clean?  Too hard.

Answer the phone?  You’ve got to be kidding me.  Maybe a text, but no promises.

My “to do list” is rarely very long.  But Depression will put up a brick wall between my organized self and my ability to get off my butt and get it done.  How do I get this wall out of the way?  For me, St. John’s Wort is very effective.  But like anything, you have to actually take it for it to help.  A number of years ago, I saw a therapist when I realized Depression wouldn’t go away on its own.  My health insurance was crappy and a number of respectable studies had come out saying that St. John’s Wort was actually effective for mild to moderate depression.  She told me to try it, as it would be cheaper than a formal prescription.  If it didn’t work, she’d prescribe something stronger.  It worked.  I was on Prozac for a while after Alex was born.  That worked too, but it made me feel flat, rather than reconnecting my head to my body the way St. John’s Wort does.

Anyway, it works for me as long as I take it religiously.  For several years I didn’t.  And I slid down that hill of disconnection and crankiness.  Life circumstances didn’t help either.  Craig has been hospitalized twice in that time period.  The first one was a nightmare of a time in our lives.  He’d done everything right by taking meds and going to his appointments, but the NP didn’t seem to get that things were going very very badly.  The last time was much better.  The new NP understood immediately that Craig needed a change and called for an ambulance before it was a big problem.

Raising a child isn’t easy.  Raising a child with a man who can’t work and Depression trying to tell me I can’t work either, is even harder.

Now?  Now, I’m moving again.  My home is less trashed.  My family is often fed healthier meals. Business is moving again.

Hmm.  Funny how treating an illness actually can make it better rather than ignoring it.  I’m done letting it suck the life out of me.  I’m ready to live again.



Thoughts on the book of Job May 27, 2012

Filed under: Personal Growth — Meghan Hamilton @ 3:47 am
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As I stated in my last post, I am attempting to read the Bible in one year. I started in the middle of Job. For those of you unfamiliar with the story, it goes like this: Satan and several other angels appeared before God. It is not clear why they did so, but God boasts about how faithful Job is. Satan thinks that Job’s faith will fall away if he loses everything. So God agrees to allow Satan to test Job’s faith. Job, a wealthy man with a large family, loses family to raiders and his posessions to various mishaps and disasters all engineered by Satan. He has several friends who remain by his side after the aquaintences no longer want anything to do with him and his now miserable existence. These friends come to the only conclusion they can and advise Job to repent of his sins so God will bless him again. Job insists he is blameless and cries out to God for answers. Eventually God speaks up and restores Job’s wealth and blesses him with a new family.

My thoughts? Number one, the book is too long. It seemed to drag and the friends arguments were repetitive. I got it the first time. And I didn’t even read the whole book! I suppose part of my issue here is cultural.

Number two – Job was pretty sarcastic. I liked that. I never picked up on that before.

Number three – I realized that when a friend is hurting, he or she doesn’t always need advice. He/she doesn’t need me to overanalyze the situation. He/she probably would prefer it if I quietly sat beside him or her and provided companionship. Job’s sarcasm showed up because as well meaning as his friends were, they weren’t really helping.

Number four – I was reminded that there are forces at work in this world that I am unaware of that affect me directly. They may be people doing things behind my back or spiritual forces doing things behind my back. Either way, all I can do is remain faithful to God.

Thank you for reading. I welcome your thoughts on this.


Reading the Bible in a Year May 18, 2012

Filed under: Personal Growth — Meghan Hamilton @ 2:41 am
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 When I was in my late teens and early twenties, I read the Bible cover to cover twice, and a third time with a “Chronological Bible.”  (For those of you unfamiliar with the Christian Bible, it is not entirely in Chronological order and some of the passages are variations on the same story. )  At my church, we were challenged to a daily Bible reading program for the first part of the year.  It covered 100 passages that are often considered foundational to Christianity.  Now that is drawing to a close.  Another member of my church happened to send an email about Bible reading that got me thinking, “Now what?” 

So – now I embark on another quest to read the entire Bible in one year.  Will daily study of these scriptures change me?  I hope that they change me for the better.   Some of you may be thinking, “Oh boy!  She’s becoming one of those people…”  If, by “one of those people,” you think I am becoming a fanatic who persecutes people for disagreeing with my beliefs, rest assured, that is not who I am and I hope I will never be like that.   I hope to find a deeper spiritual connection and relationship with my God.  Through doing that, I hope to become a more loving and kind person.

Where did I begin this current quest?  A popular devotional, “Our Daily Bread,” includes a Bible in one year program.  I assume they started in January at the very beginning in Genesis 1.  However, I don’t like playing catch-up, and from previous study I am familiar enough with the beginning to start in the middle without getting completely confused.  So I looked up today’s reading and started there.  I am in the middle of Job.  An interesting starting point.  Already I am finding that I understand more than I did the last time I read that book. 

Has anyone else taken up this challenge?  How did you fare?  In my previous reads, I picked it up and put it down many times before completing the task.  Are you of a different belief system?  Have you tried a similar reading program?  I am interested in your thoughts and experiences.

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Growing Up November 8, 2011

About a month ago I went to my twenty year high school reunion.  I had hemmed and hawed about going right up until that week.  I had chickened out on the ten-year reunion.  Like many people, I was not exactly a cool kid in high school.  Amongst the towns surrounding my own home town, we are known for being cruelly snobbish.  So, not being a part of the “in crowd” seemed particularly harsh for some of us.

Looking back, it wasn’t so harsh.  I wasn’t made fun of.  No one told me they didn’t like me.  There were a few people who I could sit with at lunch or during a free period.  None the less, I had this feeling of not fitting in and that people didn’t like me.  So why would I want to go to my reunion?

I seem to be at one of those points in life where I have to choose a direction.  I can not be as aimless as I have been for the past few years.  My recollections of high school and my current difficulty in making friends has been holding me back.  I had to go to the reunion to let go of the past.

My childhood best friend went with me.  (Neither of our husbands were interested in going.)  We said hello to the people we had been friendly with.  We waved to people we recognized.  I shared bend over minimum contact hugs with some of the women.  We had many quick conversations that went pretty much the same way.  “What are you doing now?  Do you have kids?  Where do you live?” 

After about an hour, my friend and I left to go have coffee and a real conversation to discuss the nitty-gritty of our lives.  She asked me point-blank questions about my life with my husband (he has a mental illness) and listened sympathetically to the crap that goes along with being married to him.  She smiled about the wonderful things that go along with being married to him.  I did the same for her.  Her life, like everyone’s, has not been all peaches and cream either. 

Was the reunion a waste of time?  No.  It was just what I needed.  Any fantasies I harbored about those people have vanished.  They are all just like me – trying to work and support their families wherever they are and whatever career they have chosen.  The nice guys are all married or gay.  The women are mostly mothers who were glad to have an evening with adults and away from their kids.

This has freed me to realize why I didn’t have more friends back then and why I have so few now.  I am a very closed person.  Not just shy, but closed.  I don’t tell very many people anything meaningful about myself.  Anyone is welcome to the surface of me.  But few people are welcome to the emotions and true thoughts within me.  How can I expect anyone to want to spend a lot of time and bare their soul to me if I can’t reciprocate?

So, now what?  Now, I grow up.  I see what it takes to have a relationship and I see that I am a likeable person.  It wasn’t my classmates not liking me.  It was me not giving them a chance to find out if they liked me.  Does this mean that I am going to overshare with everyone I meet now?  Probably not.  Opening a tightly locked gate is not easy.  But I am utterly relieved to know that it was a locked gate within me and not people rejecting me for mean reasons.  I wonder what I will learn about myself in another twently years?