Truthful Tuesday: Confession Collection #2

We haven't had a confession collection here since the first one (in April), so I think we're more than overdue for some straight up, undeniable truths. Since the last confession collection, I've had a lot of things change in my life - and yet so much has stayed the same.

The truth is ...

... I'm still momming my kids every day, and as Josephine gets older, she's beginning to thank me more and more often for being a steady presence in her life, for choosing to stay with her and be here for her. Eden's doing it too, now and then, in the sweet, small voice she hasn't yet outgrown. And even as motherhood stays the same, it's always changing, shifting, growing to adjust to what my children are becoming as people apart from their mother.

... We're getting out more. Recently, I took the girls to the local Asian Festival, and we had a ton of fun! We saw Chinese Dragons, Bollywood dancing, Taoist Tai Chi, and more! The girls both got glitter tattoos done, we sampled some delicious-smelling sugar scrubs, and we got to learn a bit about Kendo fighting. But in true picky-kid fashion, we skipped the feast of available Asian food booths and headed indoors for subs. Forgive the terrible photos though - I took them with a half-dead phone in sun so bright I could barely see the screen.

Knoxville Asian Festival 2017
Knoxville Asian Festival 2017

... Music is life for us. Another thing we've ventured downtown for is free live music - this past Saturday, we spent some time jamming with No Deceit, an amazing Americana band that we got to see in person at the Knoxville Visitor's Center. The show was short but spectacular, and the girls both loved going to their first concert! I would have loved to post another photo collage here, but apparently my phone thought that would be a great day to focus on pretty much nothing. I did get this photo though:
... My goals have changed a bit. Not a lot, but there are some I won't be meeting this quarter because they're no longer goals for me - or because I'd like to set a different goal instead. I'm not breaking that down here, but the next quarterly goals post is sure going to be interesting!

... My favorite character on Once Upon A Time is ... Rumpelstiltskin. I can't help it. The girls and I have been watching together, and we're only just into season two - but he is the character with the most character growth (aside from Emma, duh); I've been loving watching him come to terms with who he's been and try to deal with becoming a better man.

... I'm still loving Core Power Protein drinks. Seriously, these things are my jam. I drink one daily, usually for breakfast (along with coffee AND water - sitting at the computer surrounded by liquid like I've never had a drink before), and then sometimes if I'm feeling extra fatigued or just want something sweet that's at least a little healthy for me, I'll have a second one in the evening. I like that they're made with real milk, they taste delicious, and they're lactose-free. I usually just pick mine up at Walmart when I'm there for groceries (I buy the four-pack of 8-ounce ones, I think), but if you'd prefer to have them shipped right to your door so you can try them, that's totally a thing! (note: this is an affiliate link - please see below for my affiliate disclaimer)

... I finished my LoveBug Probiotics supply (sent to me on a complimentary basis as an influencer for reviewing purposes), and ... well ... they didn't change my life. But to be fair, I didn't really expect them to - so here's what I did notice:

  • Immune Health: Not a lot changed here, despite the daily regimen of Colds Suck from LoveBug Probiotics - I still had to take my Prilosec every day, still noticed it majorly when I forgot, and still had the same symptoms. Not that I thought I'd be cured ... but it would have been nice. On the plus side, and more to the point, the girls started school; Eden's already come home with a snot surplus and a sore throat ... and guess who didn't catch it? That's right. This girl.
  • Urinary Tract Health: On this, I did notice improvements. I had less episodes of kidney/flank pain and less episodes of UTI flare-up symptoms. Since the Urinary benefits I expected came mostly from the anti-yeast line (Yeast Is A Best, from LoveBug Probiotics), I'll also note that I noticed a significant reduction in other yeast-connected symptoms, such as overall itchy skin, joint pain, and headaches.
  • Low Metabolism: I didn't lose any weight with Lovebug's Here's The Skinny supplement, mostly because I wasn't really trying to, and these are supplments, not magic. But I did notice a little increase in my energy levels, which was much appreciated!
Despite the lack of magical healing properties, I did like the overall effect of taking the probiotics daily - and there was enough of a noticeable difference in certain aspects of my general health to make me wonder what a more long-term regimen might accomplish over time. But no matter how much I adored the high-quality, incredibly beautiful packaging, there's no way this single mom's bank account can swallow the cost, even if I went with just the Yeast Is A Beast line, which is on Amazon for just under $30 a month. That being said, if you can swing it, I think these are definitely worth a try!

... I miss meeting my readers in person. I've had probably half a dozen different blogs over the last ten or eleven years, each with a different purpose and meaning during its time in my life. But when I started this blog almost five years ago, it was mainly to build and grow my platform as an author. During the time since, I've written eight books, I've met some truly incredible people, and I've connected with readers who loved my writing - many of whom have become friends. But since splitting from my kids's dad, I haven't been to any events. I haven't met new people. It was because I needed that time of drawing into myself and taking quiet time to process - but it was also because my kids are young and I don't have a lot of on-demand childcare options. And it was because appearances are usually expensive -for the person appearing. But I miss it, so ... I've got something in the works - if the money works out. And I'm not sure it'll work out just yet, but if I does, I'll announce it here as soon as I'm sure.

... Life is hard. I'm still dealing and coping with PTSD issues every day, and my schedule often revolves around the ways I've learned to live with it. When I can write, I write like there's no tomorrow - because I don't know what tomorrow will look like for me. I love that I have most of my writing life somewhat automated these days too, so that I can take down time when I need to without letting down my readers. None of this has changed at all - my likes and comments across social media are as genuine as they've always been and always will be. But I do like that if I have a good Wednesday, I can write two blog posts and schedule a bunch of social media statuses just in case I have a horrible Thursday. Actually, I had that happen one day last week, because I was up all night thinking about Josephine. She was born with a heart defect, and although it's been repaired, she's starting to have some complications pop up that might also eventually need to be repaired. And in the way of anxiety disorders, I spent about five hours freaking out because what if it doesn't need to be fixed until after she's old enough to possibly no longer have good insurance that would cover it? And what if it can't be fixed, or what if it's really bad, or what if she ends up having to have open heart surgery, and what if ... ??? This constant running diatribe is why I don't sleep, why I obsess over everything, why I'm a meticulous planner. It's "why" so many things.

... I love my neighbor. Where we live is one of the strangest places I've ever lived. We happen to live in the idyllic "days-past" sort of neighborhood, the kind where you can go across the street to borrow a leafblower, an egg, a bottle of honey for a recipe. You can go next door for a good long chat, or meet in the yard to make birdfeeders. It has actually been ages since I had a good local gal pal - most of my friends are spread out all over the world, from California to Virginia, from Texas to Florida. From Canada to Australia. Even with Dana, she's "local" in the sense that we can get to each other if we need to - but she's about an hour away, and with both of us driving older cars that often have issues, neither of us trusts our cars that far, so we see each other in person quite infrequently. Which I suppose is part of why I ended up so open to friendship with my neighbor girl in the first place - despite my tendency to be very private and keep to myself. But over the last few months, we've both been reaching tentatively, and right now I'm writing this blog post because she's taken my girls on a walk to the corner store for icees. We watched the eclipse together, my daughters and I with her and her toddler, and I continuously feel blessed by our friendship. She's awesome.

Today's "Featured Favorite Product" is Strike Force Energy, which is part of how I manage to find the ability to take my kids to stuff like the Asian Festival and WDVX's Blue Plate Special. Strike Force is one of my favorite sources of energy because it's one of the few energy drinks I can have without dealing with the side effects of energy drinks. There's no crazy jitter-inducing boost at the beginning, and no crash-and-burn at the end. It isn't too super-sweet for me, it isn't gross (it even comes in flavors), and it's calorie-free, sugar-free, carb-free ... basically it's free of all the things you're trying to avoid. They even list nutrition labels and ingredients on their site so that you can research what you're putting into your body before you put it there.

Strike Force Energy Flavor Cartiridges

At 10 flavor cartridges for just $10, you're already getting a great deal - but make sure you use AFLBRANDI8634 in the discount code box at checkout to get an extra 20% off! (and just in case you're as shit at math as I am, that's 2/10 free!)

Quick Disclaimer: Since I am using affiliate links throughout this post, remember that if you choose to click any product links on my site and end up purchasing through them, I will receive a (very) small commission for referring you. Rest assured that this is at no extra cost to you, but my family and I appreciate your support. (If you'd like to see a list of other companies I'm currently working with on a more regular basis, click here.)
Have you got any confessions you'd like to leave in the comments? If so, I'd love to see them! It's always fun getting to chat with my readers in the comments (if not in person), so don't be shy about saying hello.

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For those who just want the inspirational parts of my content without all the personal aspects, connect with me on social media - that's where I like to share all sorts of things, from self-care tips to mental health quotes to song lyrics and more. But however you decide to keep in touch, whether you're a first time reader or a long-time loyal follower ... from the bottom of my heart, thank you for being here.