Movie Musings: Souls and Reason and Grace

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My choice – “Dean Spanley”

I say, “Wonderful. Reconciliation of a father and son by way of conversations of migrations of souls. A journey of a father who finds his heart again. Peter O’Toole is fabulous in this movie! Loved it!”

Lillian says, “Good, my favorite part was the dog scene, and liked the plot.”

Thomas says, “I didn’t understand some of it, my favorite part was the ending, I like how few actors were in it, and I liked the original plot.”
(We talked about it afterwards and watched the interviews with producers and actors ….. and now Thomas understands.)

To see ALL of Team TLC Movie Suggestions go here to The Team TLC Book and Movie Guide.

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Extra Team TLC movie night last night – My Choice: “It’s a Wonderful Life” ….

I say, “Absolutely adore this movie. It was Frank Capra’s favorite out of all he directed. One mans life touches the life of so many others. No man is born a failure. You are here for a reason.”

Lillian says, “Good, Christmasy, great, inspiring, heart warming, and my favorite parts are the dance in the gym and the end.”

Thomas says, “It was good. I like it every time we watch it. Inspiring and heart warming.”

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Lillian’s choice: “Grace Kelly”

Lillian says, “Good, musical, awesome, favorite part was the end, and Cheryl Ladd is beautiful as Grace Kelly.”

I say, “Really interesting to learn more about Grace Kelly. I very much enjoyed watching this with Thomas and Lillian.”

Thomas says, “Liked the flow of the movie, liked the story, and it was interesting.”

I help to support my family with my writings. So … there are Amazon affiliate links in this post. This simply means that if you click through to Amazon for more information about a book, and you buy something, we get a few cents (and it doesn’t cost you anything more than usual). Oceans of gratitude … xoxo

Blessings,

Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

Wonderfully exciting news! My 11 year old son’s book, Biggest Little Photographer has arrived. Get one for yourself or as a gift and be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Latest Articles:

*Dean Spanley Movie Review, It’s a Wonderful Life Movie Review, Grace Kelly Movie Review

Sharing and Acceptance: An Interview with the Author of Steve the Alien

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Welcome everyone to a very special interview with G. Brian Benson, author of Steve the Alien. Here’s a bit about the book:

“Steve the Alien” is a 54 page rhyming out of this world adventure story where earth boy meets alien boy.

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Camilla: What is Steve the Alien about and what does it help teach?

Brian: On a routine walk to school, Zeke encounters more than he bargains for when a lovable space alien named Steve unexpectedly visits him on Earth while on a grand scavenger hunt through outer space! Young readers will enjoy this fun rhyming journey that teaches them the importance of sharing and to be accepting of new friends.

Camilla: Tell us about how the phrase, “It’s never too late”, ties in with Steve the Alien?

Brian: I first started writing “Steve the Alien” way back in 2004. I wrote about half of the story yet couldn’t quite figure out how to finish it. I set it down for 3 years and picked it back up and finished it in 2007.

I then signed a contract with a company in 2010 that was going to make “Steve the Alien” into a moving picture book on an app. I was thrilled! Then after about a year and a half, the company ran out of money and “Steve the Alien” was shelved again.

After getting them to release me from the contract “Steve” sat another 5 years before I got the courage to bring him to life this year. Today it sits climbing the Amazon best-seller rankings on its long awaited book release launch today. Life is strange.

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Camilla: Is there a certain children’s book writer who inspired you?

Brian: Yes! I have always loved Dr. Seuss and enjoy writing in rhyme.

Camilla: What final message would you like to share?

Brian: I am truly thankful that I finally got to bring “Steve the Alien” to life. It’s a project that always gave me a lot of joy while I was writing it and I had hoped way back then that I would be able to see this rhyming adventure spring to life in vivid illustrations some day. And although I had to wait 12 years…that day is finally here! It’s never too late.

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Thank you so much Brian for your time. I personally love that this book touches on the importance of acceptance.

Brian also has created a wonderful video going into a bit more detail about the book. It even includes him reading a few excerpts from the book! Love this!

You can learn more and purchase Steve the Alien by going to any of the following:

Steve the Alien.com

You can learn more about Brian by going to his website:

G. Brian Benson.com

Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

Wonderfully exciting news! My 11 year old son’s book, Biggest Little Photographer, has arrived! So exciting! Be Inspired. Buy one for yourself or as a gift.

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Photography Musings: Simplicity Creates Freedom

A while ago while writing the 4 month update post for the “Living in a Tiny Home” series, I was reviewing the previous posts and came across this passage that I felt moved to share:

” …. Thomas and Lillian have a more difficult time letting go and releasing “stuff”. I choose to see this as a learning experience for all of us. I do not require that they get rid of things. I simply ask. If they say “no”, we keep it.

However, I model for them getting rid of things. I let them witness me doing it. They don’t always say no. In fact, they surprise me sometimes by saying yes, when I thought they’d say the opposite. They ask me to take a picture of it and then they let it go … “

If you want to receive new blog posts as they are written via your email, you can subscribe here … http://camilladowns.com/blog/ …. The top of the right hand side bar has a box to enter your email address for subscribing.

Beautiful Hidden Beach – Lake Tahoe July 2013

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Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

Wonderfully exciting news! My 10 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s, book, Biggest Little Photographer has arrived! You can learn more and order here.

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Biggest Little Photographer Arrives – We Did It

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This book, Biggest Little Photographer, represents the fruition of a desire. Yet, within that is the message that the steps along the journey of ones desire are what comprises life itself.

It’s sure to inspire with great quotes; almost all of which were chosen by Thomas (some by me). I’ve placed it in the photography/gift/inspiration category as these are most fitting. Order HERE (Cost $20).

All the photos were taken by Thomas when he was 8 and 9 years old, so this is not your typical photography book. Yet, I’m heartfuly positive it will not disappoint.

For the past 3 months I have worked on completing one task and fulfilling a promise I made to the T in our Team TLC. I have hardly “worked” on anything else.

With input from Thomas I filtered through the 300+ photographs to choose about 150 photographs for the book. Then I grouped the photos into categories with theme names. Additionally, I needed to organize all of this so that LaRue could easily layout the book with no confusion.

Next, I wrote the “Author’s Note” and the introduction to the book. Thomas chose some favorite quotes to pair with the categories and with which to end the book. I also chose some favorite quotes as we were a bit short of quotes.

Lastly, there were lots and lots of reviews for editing purposes. Then during the week of October 10th, we sent back and forth the final review and printing began!

During that time, I’ve helped Thomas get ready to show 2 of his photographs at the Young Blood exhibit. And I’ve helped both Thomas and Lillian be prepared for the First Annual Kids Business Fair in the beginning of October.

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After we got home and unloaded the car on October 8th following the Kids Business Fair, I was so tired all I could do was run a hot, epsom salt bath, and slide my tired body into it. And, it was amazing. I cried tears of gratitude, joy, and knowing.

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I had no idea how I would make this happen when I made the promise to an 8 year old Thomas (10 years old now). Yet, I knew in my heart it was what I was supposed to say to him.

When the time came to fulfill that promise, I still had no idea how I would do it. What I did know from my past experience is to just start doing it and keep doing it and it will happen.

What I also knew is that this came from my heart and nothing from one’s heart is ever the wrong thing to do. And, it ends up being not about the end result, it’s about all the “doing it” leading up to the end result.

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I simply started taking steps to create a book with Thomas’ 365 day photography project. Many times not even knowing where and how my foot would land. Not knowing how to put it all together or who we would have help with final steps of making it into a book.

I checked out a couple of books from the library to use as inspiration, looked at some books online, and just started. I did back up once and start all over, deciding to go about it differently and am so glad I did. We overflow with gratitude to LRP Press in Reno, Nevada for working with us, designing the cover, and printing this beautiful book!

Want one (go here … $20)? Want to host a book signing? Want to sell it in your shop? Would you be interested in helping us spread the word? We’ll have an official launch sometime in the next few weeks. Comment here or message me if you’d like to help the launch. It will be super easy …. Like an email blast or blog post. My email address is Camilla Downs @ gmail . com …

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We overflow with oceans of gratitude for everyone who has touched, supported, and sent good juju to this project.

We aren’t completely done yet, as we’ll be having book signings around town and are available to speak as a Mom and Son duo. I will take a brief break to catch up on my own writings …. and to fix the driver’s side mirror that has been held on with duck tape since July!

Then, it’s on to fulfill a promise to the L in our Team TLC …… For now, I know what I know, what I know, what I know …. xoxoxo

Time to mail the pre-orders and the amazing new orders coming in now …..

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Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

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Book Musings: Cats and Art and Barefoot

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The Cats in Krasinski Square

Wonderful book about how cats outfoxed the Gestapo at the train station in Warsaw during World War II.

Love the Author’s Note and Historical Note concluding the book.

We all loved this book

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Art From Her Heart

I loved this book, story and the self-taught artist it is about, Clementine Hunter. I’ve been wanting to take a painting class for years. I’d been waiting for the money to do this, the right materials, and the time.

About a month before we read this book, I let all that go. I began using what we had; the acrylic paint we had, the brushes we had, and using cardboard from food packages as canvas. I’m having the time of my life painting and playing around with the brushes and colors. Thomas and Lillian loved it too!

from the jacket cover: Clementine Hunter was a self-taught artist who captured scenes of the backbreaking work and joyous celebrations in southern farm life. Her work preserves a part of American history we rarely see, and the story of how she came to paint proves that art can help keep the spirit alive.

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Whole Body Barefoot

Loved educating myself about how footwear choices are limiting the movement of our entire body. And how to make different choices.

I confess that I didn’t read every word in the book. Just pieces and sections that I felt moved to read.

Used birthday money back in February to order my first pair of barefoot, minimal shoes – custom made – Xero Sandals. It took me a while to figure out how to get the tying just right for me. Now that I’ve got it the way I want, I LOVE these shoes! Go here if you want to learn more about them ….. Xero Shoes.

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I help to support my family with my writings. So … there are Amazon affiliate links in this post. This simply means that if you click through to Amazon for more information about a book, and you buy something, we get a few cents (and it doesn’t cost you anything more than usual). I’m also a Xero Shoes Affiliate … cause I love em so much! Oceans of gratitude … xoxo

Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

Wonderfully exciting news! We’ve completed the first book trailer for my 10 year old son’s,Thomas Darnell, upcoming book, Biggest Little Photographer. You can learn more and pre-order here. We should have the books in hand by end of October 2016.

Latest “Book and Movie Musings”:

There is More Than One Way

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Mine is not a better way, it is merely another way.

It is my belief that there is not only one way and no one way is better than the other. I feel when we come to embrace that there are many ways, we will also become empowered by the knowing that, although many travel different paths; we are united in our goal.

Each person’s way, is the way for that person. I believe the way I choose to live life is the way for me and leads to my goal … And so it is. My neighbor believes a different way is the way and will lead to his goal … And so it is. All paths lead to the same goal of happiness.

Thinking there is only one way is what leads us to judge one another and therefore further separate from one another. There is no need for me to understand why my neighbor chooses a different way. Once I release judgment, the feeling of needing to understand and judge others will release on its own.

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Once we embrace that there is no ONE way towards our shared goal, human life would improve for all. The magic of civility, cooperation, and collaboration would replace their counterparts.

The way I have chosen is by choice. And it’s a choice driven from the heart. It is a choice that relies on the grace of God, the Universe, and at times that grace comes forth through the loving kindness of others.

It is my deepest desire that I am living and modeling for Thomas and Lillian, and others, to listen to the call of the heart; no matter the difficulties that ensue from heeding that call. The difficulties can and will dissolve if chosen to be seen as opportunities.

These thoughts came forth upon receiving an email questioning my way of living and then later reading, “What God Said“, by Neale Donald Walsch.

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email message received in August 2016:

“I read your blog often and find your life fascinating.  However, you often complain about lack of money, funds are tight, etc.  And you and your kids find ways to “make it work.” Also, you frequently rely on the kindness of others to make it all work.

Wouldn’t it make more sense for you to get a job that allows you to cover your expenses? While you may like being a free spirit, I wonder if it’s by choice or by necessity.  Wouldn’t some stability, via gainful employment, take some stress out of your life and eliminate the need for your kids to have to endure a kind of financial stress that no young child should have to endure?

I am not being critical but, at the same time, I do not understand.”

Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

Did you find this writing meaningful? If you’d like to share a monetary love offering for this writing or my other content, you can do that here. Oceans of gratitude to you … xoxo

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I help to support my family with my writings. So … there is an Amazon affiliate link in this post. This simply means that if you click through to Amazon for more information about a book, and you buy something, we get a few cents (and it doesn’t cost you anything more than usual). Oceans of gratitude … xoxo

Hearts and Love: Cloud Love

This post introduces a new category – Hearts and Love. I’ve been taking these pictures for at least 3 years now … A collection of Hearts and Love spotted during Team TLC adventures … Some provided by nature, Some provided by US!

It surrounds us
It connects us
It’s at our core
It’s who we are
It’s love, and
Love is the answer. ~Me

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Driving home from picking up Team Member T & L at school on March 18 2013.

Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

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Ask and Listen and Trust – Walk With Me

Walk With Me themes from a May 2016 walk ….

Walk with Lillian Nature Photo 5.26.17

1) Ask.

When approaching the lake’s edge the ducks come right on over “asking” if you’ve got food for them.

How will the person or people that want your creations or services know about them, if you don’t put them out there and ask.

There may be those that don’t like your creations or services, don’t understand, or judge. Yet, think back to the ducks. They don’t stop and think, “What if they don’t have food? What if they say, “No, Go Away”? … They ask anyway. You have those creation ideas and ideas for service in your heart for a reason. For the benefit of others and for yourself.

2) Listen to and trust yourself.

This one sounds so easy and simple. Yet, fear can be a strong deterrent for listening to the message of our heart. Personally, it has taken me a long time to connect with and physically feel this fear to move beyond it.

And I mean, I really felt it … in my gall bladder area. I was taking what life handed to me and it was not what was in my heart. I didn’t want to let go for fear of not being able to provide for my family (for me it wasn’t just fear, it was the other “f” word too – forgiveness).

It took a long time, much pain in my right side, oceans of tears, yet I was finally able to let it go and allow what was in my heart. The way was provided when I did this.

Not how I expected. It has been completely unexpected. What a wonderful feeling to let go of something, trust oneself, and allow the unfolding of what’s in one’s heart. It’s not just wonderful. It’s magical and miraculous. xoxo

I invite you to allow nature to guide you and if you feel moved … Come, Walk With Me ….. xoxo (Sessions as low as $10)

Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

Wonderfully exciting news! We’ve completed the first book trailer for my 10 year old son’s, Thomas Darnell, upcoming book, Biggest Little Photographer. You can learn more and pre-order here. Arriving mid-October 2016!

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Movie Musings: Rain and Strange Voices and Galapagos

Singin' In the Rain Movie August 2016

My choice: “Singin’ in the Rain” –

I say, “Loved watching this with Thomas and Lillian. We laughed and laughed.” They weren’t sure they wanted to watch. Told them we would watch something different after they had given this one about 20 minutes. No way. They changed their minds and wanted to watch this!

Thomas says, “Good, good music, liked the Singin’ in the Rain and Make em Laugh scenes, awesome acting, funny, cool ending, liked the hand drawn sets, and liked everything.” Lillian says, “Good, funny, favorite part was the Make em Laugh scene, romantic, liked the music, liked some of the costumes, and I liked the hand drawn sets.”

The Incredible Mr. Limpet Movie August 2013

Throwback from August 2013!

The Incredible Mr. Limpet

This one’s utter nonsense! We love it …. strange voices coming from the ocean … HA!

Galapagos Movie August 2016

Lillian’s choice: “Galapagos”

Lillian says, “Good, beautiful scenery, awesome, great music, and beautiful landscape.” I say, “Interesting, great music, and amazing footage. I would like to have learned more about the first settlers and how that evolved to its current state.” Thomas says, “Good, amazing, beautiful, cute seals and penguins, and good at explaining the islands.”

I help to support my family with my writings. So … there are Amazon affiliate links in this post. This simply means that if you click through to Amazon for more information about a book, and you buy something, we get a few cents (and it doesn’t cost you anything more than usual). Oceans of gratitude … xoxo

Blessings,

Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

Wonderfully exciting news! We’ve completed the first book trailer for my 10 year old son’s, Thomas Darnell, upcoming book, Biggest Little Photographer. You can learn more and pre-order here.

Latest Articles:

*Singin’ in the Rain Movie Review, The Incredible Mr. Limpet Movie Review, Galapagos Movie Review

13 Ways to Keep Alive Your Childs Nature Connection

Thomas and Camilla Date Day July 2016 Thomas Walking

I began taking Thomas and Lillian for walks when they were both infants. Having not tried to introduce going for walks and relighting the spark of wonder at a later age, I’m not sure how this would work with older children.

Thomas is 10 years old now and Lillian is 14 years old. Each of them treasure our walks together and if we skip more than 2 days, they notice and bring it up.

The meaning and reason for these walks has shifted over the years. When I first began walking it was to get exercise. The walks I take now are for experiencing my connection with nature, listening and learning from nature, and staying connected with my true self. This is the meaning I impart to Lillian and Thomas as well.

These “13 Ways to Keep Alive Your Child’s Nature Connection” have walks as their root. The root must be solid and secure if this growth period is to be successful.

  1. Make going for a walk together a priority. For this to work, there must be a strong commitment. Take each child on a walk alone, go for a family walk, take a walk with your significant other, and take yourself on a walk alone.
  2. Walk slowly. This is not about seeing how quickly you can get finished or how many calories you can burn.
  3. Point out clouds, leaves, trees, rocks, and animals. Get up close to the trees. Touch them. Speak what’s in your mind aloud and be curious.
  4. Ask your child how it makes them feel to be on this walk, sitting next to the lake, sitting on a rock, or touching the tree.
  5. Take pictures of the rocks, trees, leaves, sky, water, animals … whatever you feel moved to capture. Invite your child to do the same. You can talk about these pictures later.
  6. Take a journal with you. Sit and write or draw whatever comes to heart. Invite your child to do the same.
  7. If your child invites you to feel a rock or pinecone or to dip your toes in the water or stand on a big rock or to make shadows or to catch the leaves as they fall; say “yes”, let go and have fun with him.
  8. If they want to linger a bit longer, say “yes”. Whatever is waiting for you at home, can wait. This is deepening your own connection with your child and with nature. And, also strengthening your child’s connection with nature.
  9. Choose a “sit spot”. This is a place that you and your child will visit every time you take a walk. While at your sit spot, sit in silence, and listen. The more you do this, the more you will begin to see and hear and smell. This is a good place to use your journal.
  10. During the walk, ask your child what she hears, smells, sees and what something feels like when touched.
  11. Your child is continually learning from this experience. It’s best not to attempt to make this about learning the proper names of birds, flowers, weeds, and clouds as this will follow naturally the more you walk. Take note of whatever it is and have fun researching it later.
  12. Collect rocks, sticks, leaves, pinecones, and whatever else to take home. Have a place on the patio, in the garage, or inside the house so these can be used later for research or for creating nature based art.
  13. Authentically share your own sense of wonder with your child. This may be buried deeply within. Yet, it is there. Meditate, pray, practice yoga, whatever calls to you so that you can peel back the years and layers of losing your nature connection.

C18 Trip July 2016 #32

There’s no need to wait until you have time to go camping or to get away from the city. The trail at a local park will work. A walk along the sidewalk in your neighborhood will do. Nature is everywhere if we open our heart and eyes to seeing her.

We just read two GREAT children’s books that emphasize this. They are:

The Garden of Happiness

The Curious Garden

Also, I recently read “How to Raise a Wild Child” if you want to read further and go deeper with this.

(I invited Thomas and Lillian to review this to ensure I had not left out anything. With a few additions, it is ready!)

I help to support my family with my writings. So … there are Amazon affiliate links in this post. This simply means that if you click through to Amazon for more information about a book, and you buy something, we get a few cents (and it doesn’t cost you anything more than usual). If you benefited from this writing, would you like to toss a tip in the love offering “bucket”? Oceans of gratitude … xoxo

Blessings,
Camilla
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

Wonderfully exciting news! We’ve completed the first book trailer for my 10 year old son’s, Thomas Darnell, upcoming book, Biggest Little Photographer. You can learn more and pre-order here.

Latest Articles: