Inspired Living: What Does Mindfulness Mean

I quite often toss around the word “mindfulness” on this blog. I sat down today to write a post with tips for mindful parenting. As I began to write, I realized that I had never researched and shared with you what mindfulness really means. I’d like to do that first. Then, I’ll come back to writing the mindful parenting post.

First, let’s see what you think about mindfulness. Does it bring up negative or positive feelings, or neither? Take a minute or two to write down what comes to mind when you hear the word, “mindfulness”. Then, read the research I’ve shared and see if your view changes or stays the same.

Mindfulness has its origin in ancient meditation practices. According to the term mindful originated in late Middle English around 1375 and is defined as being attentive or aware. Before that, in 1200, was a now obsolete term of mindiness. It’s not clear from researching online, but the term mindfulness seems to have been translated from the Pali word of sati which literally means “memory” and from the Sanskrit word of smrti which means “that which is remembered”.

According to The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley: “Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment.”

Jon Kabat-Zinn launched the Mindfulness Based Stress-Reduction Program (MBSR) at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1979. Per The Greater Good Science Center, since that time, thousands of studies have documented the physical and mental health benefits of mindfulness in general and MBSR in particular.

Here’s a two minute clip of Kabat-Zinn describing mindfulness.

Now that we’ve got an idea of what people mean when they use the word “mindfulness”, what does it mean to be mindful? Here are a few examples:

  • When washing the dishes, bring your thoughts to what you’re doing. This one is difficult for me, but I still try to do it! Think about how the water feels on your hands, how the dish feels, the smell of the soap, the sound of the water. What are you feeling in this moment?
  • When preparing dinner focus on each step. If you’re cutting vegetables, put your awareness on the sound, feel, and sound of the knife cutting and chopping. What are you feeling in this moment?
  • Another I struggle with …. When someone is talking to you (in my case, one of my kids, Thomas or Lillian), focus on that person. Look into the person’s eyes (or near the eyes) and really hear each word they say. Try not to think about what you’ll be cooking for dinner, where you’ll get the money to pay that unexpected bill, or what’s gonna happen next in the show you’re watching or the book you’re reading. Sending the person love while listening helps to stay focused on listening to what is being shared.

Matthew Tull, PhD shares on About Health’s PTSD website 4 skills of mindfulness. They each require practice. Briefly described here:

  • Awareness: Focus your attention on one thing at a time.
  • Nonjudgmental/Nonevaluative observation: Look at your experiences in a nonjudgmental way. Don’t label as “good” or “bad”.
  • Being in the Present Moment: Don’t get caught up in thoughts about the past. Be an active participant in experiences rather than simply going through the motions.
  • Beginner’s Mind:  Be open to new possibilities and observe things as they truly are, as opposed to what you think about it.

The Greater Good website has a wonderful mindfulness quiz. It only takes about 2-5 minutes to complete. Once you’re done you’ll find out just how mindful you are and get suggestions for how to increase mindfulness. Go here ⇉ Greater Good Mindfulness Quiz for the quiz.

Here are my results:

“Your mindfulness score is 64 out of 100, suggesting you have a moderate tendency to practice mindfulness. This score reflects two key components of mindfulness: your moment-to-moment awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and environment, as well as your acceptance of these aspects of your life.

Your score suggests you sometimes feel accepting and non-judgmental toward yourself, which means that you allow yourself to experience a range of thoughts and feelings, even if they’re upsetting or challenging at times. You don’t always believe there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment. However, you still occasionally seem to be self-critical, which can make you feel defensive, anxious, or sad.

Also, you’re not always able to focus your awareness on the situation at hand; you’re sometimes preoccupied with the past or worried about the future. When you do maintain this focus, you may notice that you’re more open and inquisitive and can savor being in-the-moment.

Research suggests you can cultivate more acceptance by practicing loving-kindness meditations that encourage you to be more compassionate toward yourself.”

Psychology Today has a great list of 6 mindfulness exercises that take less than a minute. Perfect for the person just getting started and who may feel there’s just no time for longer exercises. This article titled, Mindfulness in Everyday Activity, from National Federation of the Blind lists a great exercise with a cup of tea and gives a few more mindfulness details and how it helps with stress.

Also, I just picked up a book from the library titled, 10 Mindful Minutes, by Goldie Hawn. Can’t wait to dive in and start reading it! Seems like it will have some useful information. I’ll write a review of it when I’m finished.

What I find useful about this are the examples of exercises and the mindfulness quiz. What do you think? Will you try any of these or do you have your own tips? Do you have any other thoughts or questions about mindfulness?

Heartfuly Inspired™,
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

Go here to subscribe to my blog to ensure you receive new posts delivered straight to your inbox!

My next newsletter is going out the week of October 20th! The newsletter will contain four basic sections with a short introduction. They are:

  • Mindful Minute – A quote, thought, or mini-exercise to inspire you, spark an “aha” moment, or to ignite your creativity.
  • Latest News – A brief excerpt of my latest blog posts.
  • Suggestions Spotlight – A suggestion of items I find useful; such as a book, essential oil, classes/workshops, or other items I find to be helpful.
  • Recipe Spotlight – I’ll include a recipe periodically.
Go here to sign up to receive a copy in your email inbox!

Have you ordered your copy of my book, “D iz for Different”? It’s available in paperback and Kindle (Kindle device not necessary). Go here to learn more.

(To help support my blogging I will include an Amazon link to items I use or you will see google ads from time to time. I LOVE sharing my journey and choices with you and this just helps to keep me going!) 


Recipe: No Powdered Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

In my attempt to move further and further away from using refined foods, I made a mouth watering cream cheese frosting for my daughter’s birthday cake.

Cream cheese frosting is so easy to make and has an amazing, unique flavor! I got so many requests for the recipe that I thought I’d share it here for everyone.

Lillian’s birthday party guests could not got enough of it. These young ladies asked for seconds and even asked for the recipe to take home! One sweet girl said she never eats the frosting on cake and that she LOVED this frosting. I agree with her, I don’t care for most frostings as they are too sweet and I can taste that horrid dye!


1/3 cup butter (If I have it on hand, I use Purity Farm Organic Ghee, Clarified Butter, 13-Ounce and if not, I use Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter – Unsalted (8 ounce))
3/4 cup coconut palm sugar (I use Big Tree Farms Organic Coconut Sugar, Blonde, 16-Ounce Pouches (Pack of 6))
1 cup cream cheese
1/2 tsp. vanilla (I use Simply Organic Pure Vanilla Extract — 4 fl oz)


Cream butter and sugar. Add cream cheese and vanilla and mix until smooth.

Since coconut sugar is being used instead of fine powdered sugar, let the frosting rest for about 10 minutes several times. Keep mixing until it’s smooth, silky, and a beautiful medium blonde color.

I made this frosting to top our almond cookies too. Oh my goodness! YUM! Try it on all your favorite cookies and cakes.

*I cheated for the actual cake. I used a gluten free cake mix; which I didn’t like as much as others I’ve tasted. When I find one I like or find a recipe I like I’ll post it on the blog.

Happy 13th Birthday Beautiful Lillian!

Heartfuly Inspired™,
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

Go here to subscribe to my blog to ensure you receive new posts delivered straight to your inbox! Right here!

Have you ordered your copy of my book, “D iz for Different”? It’s available in paperback and Kindle (Kindle device not necessary). Go here to learn more.

(To help support my blogging I will include an Amazon link to items I use or you will see google ads from time to time. I LOVE sharing my journey and choices with you and this just helps to keep me going!) 


Book Review: I Am That Girl

I Am That Girl: How to Speak Your Truth, Discover Your Purpose, and #bethatgirl. By Alexis Jones

Alexis Jones delivers an inspiring read with her own personal twist. “I Am That Girl” is not just another motivational/inspirational book. I have read more of these types of books than I can even count or remember. This one really speaks to me.

Perhaps it’s where I am in my own life; stripping away layers of stuff that’s not me, being okay with it, and not afraid to be me. If that’s the same place you are, or maybe you’re just attracted by the title, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Did I like absolutely everything written in the book? No. But, I got more out of it then the few lines that I disagreed with or that weren’t my style. Jones shares her life experiences and the life experiences of other ladies with solid steps and new thought processes to get you started on your “that girl” journey or to add to the journey you’ve already begun.

What are the steps and thoughts to take to speak your truth, discover your truth and be you? Jones covers topics such as what makes you happy, having compassion for yourself, work ethic, dancing to the beat of your own drum, dreaming big, having resilience, being a sponge and being of service. I resonated with many of the quotes scattered throughout the book also.

I was inspired, had aha moments, and my eyes even sweated some. One of my favorite sections is “That Girl Manifesto”. I’ll be writing my own and you’ll see it appear as a blog post. I’ve already begun to write it and it feels good! Jones concludes with a great “Resource” section for continuing your “I Am That Girl” journey.

Most Inspiring Lines: (Way too many to list. Here are a few.) I know what it’s like to spend an entire lifetime trying to pretend that I’m okay, that I’m “fine.” I know what it’s like to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders, convincing people that I have it all together. I know how exhausting it is and how many nights I cried alone in my bed, too tired to carry the burden anymore. What I do know is the freedom when I decided that I wasn’t going to pretend anymore.

There is nothing in this world that is more beauty-full than a human being who knows her worth and is comfortable in her own skin. Authentic confidence is when you know who you are and what you stand for. You’re unshakeable, a force to be reckoned with, and no one can take that away from you.

Least Inspiring Lines: Procrastination is usually one of many symptoms of a deeper issue. Perhaps you don’t truly believe you’re worthy of your dreams, hopes, and desires. You have to feel that they are an actual possibility before you can imagine accomplishing them. And, maybe without even realizing it, instead of encouraging yourself, you’ve been listening to that discouraging voice in your head saying that you’re going to fail anyway, you’re not good enough, smart enough, savvy enough, or pretty enough. That’s enough to justify anyone’s list of excuses.

I Am That Girl: How to Speak Your Truth, Discover Your Purpose, and #bethatgirl

Heartfuly Inspired™,
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

Go here to subscribe to my blog to ensure you receive new posts delivered straight to your inbox! Right here!

Have you ordered your copy of my book, “D iz for Different”? It’s available in paperback and Kindle (Kindle device not necessary). Go here to learn more.

(To help support my blogging I will include an Amazon link to items I use or you will see google ads from time to time. I LOVE sharing my journey and choices with you and this just helps to keep me going!) 

Latest News: Sixth Annual Lillian Presentation

Lillian’s birthday and the dawn of a new school year are upon us. This was the sixth annual “Lillian” presentation to her classmates. It began in the first grade because her classmates kept asking me “why” questions about Lillian. I figured why have them wondering and drawing erroneous conclusions and choosing to judge her when I can try and help them understand.

The presentation went GREAT! I got lots of questions and one sweet young man bought a copy of my book, D iz for Different, for his aunt. He has a cousin with 22q-. So sweet!

I like to share my presentation publicly because so many other parents are curious about this and some want to take the plunge and do their own presentation. Please use it as you need. I only ask that you let people know where you got the idea or information.

These are my raw notes for the presentation. I add to or skip information as I feel needed.

Lillian and Being Different

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” – Henry David Thoreau

(Slide 1) Chocolate Candy Recipe ~ Each chocolate has a recipe – all use cocoa, and dark or milk chocolate

What ingredients make chocolates so different?

Fruit – Cherries, Coconut

Nuts – Almonds, Cashews, Peanut, Hazlenuts

Flavorings – Vanilla, Orange, Strawberry

We are like chocolates – we each have our own special recipe with special ingredients that make us DIFFERENT, UNIQUE, BEAUTIFUL AND AMAZING.

Chocolate recipes are usually in a book or written on paper or even in someones head. Our recipes for our bodies are in our genes.

Genes are our recipe for our bodies and they decide:

(Show book … “You’re Full of Genes” by Claudia Zylberberg Ph.D.)

Brown or Blue Eyes
Short or Tall
Straight or Curly Hair
Need Glasses or Not
Have Freckles or Dimples
Have small feet or big feet

Genes decide EVERYTHING about you and your body and how the parts should work. If some genes are missing or duplicated this decides whether something with our body doesn’t work.

Another way to explain is that genes are all of the instructions the human body needs to function.  All of our bodies genes are organized into structures called chromosomes.

(Slide 2) Let’s look at this like a Chocolate Candy Cookbook.  If the recipes are genes, then each chapter (Chocolate with Nuts Chapter, Chocolate with Fruit Chapter) is like a chromosome.  The chapters, or chromosomes, make up the book – in our case, the book of life.

(Slide 3) Chromosome, DNA, Gene Slide

(Slide 4)  There are 22 numbered pairs of chromosomes, plus two sex chromosomes (male or female).  Each chromosome is numbered and each chromosome has a waistband.  The waistband separates the short arm (p) and long arm (q) of the chromosome.  (slide 4)

(slide 5) Lillian has a very unique recipe (genes) unlike any of you.  A section of her recipe is missing – deleted (called a chromosome abnormality).  A piece of her #18 chromosome is missing – the short arm of her #18 is deleted, so it’s called 18p-.

What happens if you leave out an ingredient for a recipe?

(slide 6) Lillian has to work harder at doing many of the things that are easy for you. She’s had to do this since being a baby.  Things like turning over, holding her head up, crawling, walking, making sounds, cutting with scissors, eating, writing, talking.

Lillian’s mouth has to work so much harder to chew and swallow and speak.

Her hands have to work harder to do things like writing, cutting, make crafts, opening packages.

Her body has to work harder at walking, running, and staying balanced.

She’s very nervous, startled and scared about loud sudden noises (thunderstorms, fire alarms for drills, helicopters)

Lillian uses an iPod Touch with an application installed that allows her to type in what she needs or wants to say and press a speak button. Talk about Proloquo2Go. She can also simply type what she wants to say in the notes section or texting section of the iPod. She doesn’t really use P2G as much as she did when she was younger.

Lillian has all the words and things she needs and wants to say in her mind. She has problems articulating it (saying it) clearly.

She is just the same as the rest of you in many ways. She likes to read (mysteries, non-fiction books and friendship books), loves listening to a variety of music, she likes french fries, hot dogs, meatloaf, donuts, and she loves going for walks, taking pictures, and telling and listening to jokes.

Lillian loves the stars, moon and sun (astronomy) and loves dancing and just being silly. She’s passionate about the weather. She tracks the weather every day!

I want to share some ideas and thoughts with you on how you can be awesome, supportive, and helpful friends and classmates to one another and to Lillian! I want to make sure you understand I’m not solely talking about Lillian with how to be supportive. This is for all of you.

Encourage one another if you see any of your classmates or Lillian having a hard time.

Lend a helping hand if you see one of your classmates struggling.

Be patient with Lillian if you don’t understand what she has just said ~ encourage her to use her iTouch to tell you what she’s trying to say or write it down or verbally spell the word for you.

Be patient with one another too.

Take that first step and ask Lillian what she did over the weekend or about her likes, dislikes ~ questions you would ask your fellow classmates and friends.  You will have to wait longer for an answer; but the good feelings you get from showing kindness and friendship to someone who is a little different will outweigh the amount of time it takes Lillian to respond.

This goes for any of your classmates. If you see a classmate all alone, take that first step. Go over and start a conversation with him or her. Also remember to respect if that person chooses to be left alone. Some times we just need alone time.

(Slide 7 & 8) Team TLC and Different iz Good

Now, let’s switch gears a bit and talk about being different. It’s okay to be different. It’s okay to be YOU.  We all, at some point, feel like we don’t fit in and feel like we are different. That’s because we are. We are uniquely us, we are just as we were meant to be.

Most times we chase after trying to fit in. Fit in with the cool kids, the loud kids, the fun kids, the popular kids, the crazy kids. You may not understand this now, but chasing after trying to fit in comes back to haunt us later in life. It becomes a habit and then we chase after friendships, relationships, careers. The easiest and most fun route to take in life is to just be YOU and be grateful for whatever it is that makes you YOU!

Before we can accept and be kind to others and to those with differences, we must first accept and love ourselves. We must be kinds to ourselves and know that we are awesome and special … each and every one of us has something that is special and unique about us. Some of us are just shy about sharing it with others.

When I was your age I was uncomfortable with my name because no one could pronounce it right when they first met me or when trying to pronounce it for the first time. It made me stand out and I was not comfortable with that. I was also always the tallest kid in my class and I had these ginormous lips! Don’t get me wrong I love my name, my height and my lips as an adult; but when I was your age I was uncomfortable with my name and I got teased about my lips. That didn’t feel good at all. I sure would have handled it better if I’d had someone sharing this message with me when I was your age.

Different is okay. Different is Beautiful. Different iz Good. The more we let our differences and our uniqueness shine and share it with others, the more we encourage others to be themselves. We create a ripple effect that spreads further than we even know.

Let me give you an example of how to accept and love yourself …. Look in the mirror and say out loud .. Camilla, I love you. I love your crooked front tooth. That tooth allows and helps me eat all kinds of delicious and nutritious food. I love your kind heart. It helps to brighten the day of other people. I love your vericous vein covered legs. Those fabulous spider vein legs help you get where you need to go, take you on beautiful nature walks, allow you to drive your car, and most especially they help you to dance!

If this doesn’t feel comfortable you can always write a letter to yourself saying the same things. Gratitude for our own self and body allows us to spread kindness and non-judgment to our classmates and friends.

I believe in a world where we all empower each other, a world where we are each other’s biggest supporters and our greatest cheerleader, a world where we are taught to celebrate one another’s gifts and differences, not to be threatened by them. I believe in a world in which we use our energy to solve the world’s problems and inspire others to do the same, where we recognize one another’s limitless potential.

How boring would our World be if we were all the same? It’d be like living in a World full of only Milk Chocolate …. No chocolate with nuts, no dark chocolate, no chocolate caramel, no chocolate with fruit …. Boring!

(Slide 9) Different iz Good . . . . . Spread the Word!


Parent letter provided to teacher to email or send home with kids:

September 10, 2014

Dear Parents:

My name is Camilla Downs.  I am Mom to Lillian Darnell, one of your child’s classmates in Jane Doe’s class. Today I gave a presentation to the class about Lillian and her differences. I began giving this presentation in 1st grade as Lillian’s classmates were asking me questions about her.

I figure why have them wondering and drawing possibly erroneous conclusions about Lillian when it can be somewhat explained. I have changed it a bit every year to keep pace with the increased knowledge and understanding of the students.

I talked with them about how different ingredients are used to make chocolate candy taste unique, and how each of us is made up of different “ingredients” that make us unique. We discussed how each of us has “ingredients” or qualities that make us different and how, specifically, Lillian is unique and different.

Lillian has a rare genetic disorder called 18p-. She is missing a portion of the short arm of her chromosome #18. The main way this manifests is that Lillian is speech impaired – her speech is hard to understand. She uses an iTouch with an application installed that allows her to input what she wants to say (AAC Application called Proloquo2Go – Yes, they make an app for everything!).  She presses the “speak” button when she’s done inputting her sentence/thoughts and the iPhone speaks it. **Update** Lillian used to use this very often. She now prefers to try to be understood verbally by spelling out each word if it is not understood by the listener. She can, however, use the iTouch notes feature or any other feature that allows her to type the message and then show it to the listener.

I also wanted to let you know a bit about Lillian so you can possibly help your child understand in case he/she asks you questions about Lillian’s differences.  Lillian is a very bright young lady; although, she does have problems grasping math due to18p-. She’s also a bit slower and awkward doing just about everything.  Her body just doesn’t move as fast as the typical child.

I ended the presentation with a message for all of the kids that in order to accept others and their differences we must first accept ourselves and what is unique and different about ourselves. I shared my personal experience as a young child and shared the message that Different is Okay and that Different iz Good. I shared my view that we are all perfectly flawed and that is what makes each one of us the unique person that we are.

I also take this opportunity to share about non-judgment and compassion for one another. I give the students ideas about how to support one another.

If you are interested and would like to see the presentation, it is posted on my blog at the website listed below.

Please feel free to email or call me if you have any questions.  If you and your child want to learn even more you can visit

Thank you!!

Camilla Downs

The recipe idea for the presentation was adapted from another Chromosome 18 Mom, Melanie Gorrell. She uses cookies in her presentation … I LOVE chocolate, so I use chocolate. The parent letter is also adapted from Melanie’s parent letter.

Latest News: If You Lived Here – Houses of the World: Book Review

“If you lived here, you could see the sunrise from your bedroom window, feel your house rotate, and later see the sunset from the same window! Using two steering wheels, you can turn your floating house to get a different view. When you want to get ashore you just scoot over on a twenty-foot-long metal gangway.” -from the book, If You Lived Here: Houses of the World

This was Thomas‘ favorite house; the floating house which was inspired by traditional Dutch houseboats.

All Team TLC members loved it. We read it before bed for about 3 nights in a row. We got to learn about homes from all around the world and see how people used to live and still do live today.

Each home has a colorful description by the author. He also lists facts such as house type, materials, location, date, and a fascinating fact.


My two favorites were the dogtrot or possumtrot log house and the Venetian palace. Oh, Oh … and the decorated houses of Ndebele in South Africa!

The illustrations are a learning opportunity too! The author is also the illustrator. He used intricate bas-relief cut-paper collages involving many states of drawing, cutting, painting, and gluing. They are certainly visually pleasing! The illustrations were one of Lillian’s favorite features of the book.

If You Lived Here: Houses of the World is definitely a book worth checking out from the library or picking up from your local used book store. I can see how this would spark an interest in learning more about different cultures and how we and they live!

What do you think? Does this sound like one you’ll put on your “must read with kids” list?

We would love to hear about it! Go here to share your comments.

Heartfuly Inspired™,
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

Go here to subscribe to my blog to ensure you receive new posts delivered right to your inbox! Right here!

Have you ordered your copy of my book, “D iz for Different”? It’s available in paperback and Kindle (Kindle device not necessary). Go here to learn more.

(To help support my blogging I will include an Amazon link to items I use or you will see google ads from time to time. I LOVE sharing my journey and choices with you and this just helps to keep me going!) 

Latest News: Can I Interview You?

In early April 2014, I received an email from a Success magazine writer. She had discovered that I taught and facilitated the Success for Teens/Blogging class at High Desert Montessori through my blog post titled, “Success for Teens and Blogging”.

Her email said something like, “I’m a writer for Success magazine and I was wondering if I could interview you in regards to the class you taught covering the Success for Teens book.” After calming down from the excitement I messaged her that an interview would be great!

The interview titled, “Multimedia Mash-Up“, appeared in the August 2014 issue of Success and is on page 32. It’s the issue with Jimmy Kimmel on the cover. If you have an online subscription you can read it on the Success website.

Here are a few excerpts from the article:

  • ” ….. but, doing this as a creative expressions class, I was kind of creating it as I went along – while tapping her skills as an author, blogger and landscape photographer.”
  • “Discussions helped students get a handle on their reactions to the book’s content. For instance, in Chapter 7, “You’re Always Learning,” Downs told the kids, “This has been a learning experience for all of us … The more things you learn that you don’t like [by exploring a wide variety of topics], the closer you get to what you do like.”

I augmented the content from the book with teaching the students how and why to blog. They blogged about our discussions during class, guest speakers and assignments. In addition, I brought in almost weekly guest speakers from the local community to tie in with the theme for each week. Lastly, I weaved a few art projects into the program as well.

We concluded with creating vision/dream boards and a performance by a local band, CRVSH. One of the members of the band attended HDMS and it was the perfect conclusion to the class as they performed their song, “No Givin’ Up”. The last chapter of the book is titled “Never Give Up” …

In their own words, here’s what the students shared they had learned:

  • Being Positive
  • Focus on Goals
  • Doodling is Good for the Brain
  • Learn More About Myself and How to Handle Things Differently
  • How to Make a Difference
  • Patience
  • I am Awesome and I Can Blog
What the students may not know is that they taught me as much as I taught and shared with them.

Should your private or charter school or youth group wish to have a similar program brought to your students, I am available in the Reno/Tahoe/Sparks Nevada area. HDMS hired me as an independent contractor as part of their creative expressions classes offered to middle school students.

Keep in mind that the class can be structured to fit almost any time and/or budget constraints. It does not have to be taught over a 3 month period.

If interested or if you have questions, use this contact form.

I’m extremely grateful that I got the opportunity to teach this amazing group of middle school students at HDMS and that Betsy J. Simnacher reached out to me and wrote such a beautiful article about the class.

Stay tuned as I’m working on bringing another project to the schools that has to do with Happiness!

*** How did I even end up teaching this particular class at this particular school?

First, my two kids, Thomas and Lillian, attend HDMS. I am so in love with this school and the Montessori theories. In Summer 2013, I could take it no longer. I wanted to be a part of the school.

I set up a meeting with the principal and the assistant principal in which I put forth absolutely everything I had knowledge about and was skilled in doing. Blogging was one of the items I mentioned as well as the Success for Teens program. I had known about it for several years as I facilitated a scaled down version for the self advocates at either the 2011 or 2012 Chromosome 18 Conference. I believe I initially discovered the program in an issue of Success magazine.

The principal suggested it to the middle school team as a creative expressions elective and in Spring 2014 I completed the program. Then came that surprising email from Betsy!

H♥rtfuly Inspired™,
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

Go here to subscribe to my blog to ensure you receive new posts delivered right to your inbox! Right here!

Have you ordered your copy of my book, “D iz for Different”? It’s available in paperback and Kindle (Kindle device not necessary). Go here to learn more.

One Magical Ingredient to Joyfully Experience Life Lessons

I am abundantly grateful for life’s uncomfortable lessons and the masterful teachers disguised as those whom we choose to let push our buttons.

In mid June I got to have a fabulous two days of learning in the classroom called “life”! Love is indeed a magical thing!!

It was a lesson coupled with complete and total release. I awakened to the knowing that I only have love in my heart to give, knowing I come from a place of love, and knowing with peace, calm, and compassion that I am no longer tempted to engage in drama. What a beautiful and bright place.

I overflow with gratitude for all the amazing people who have been on this journey with me since moving to Reno in December 2006 … friends and family who are there to remind me of all the things I have been teaching myself for the last 17 years.

One night in 1997 I couldn’t sleep and got up at midnight, turned on the television, and Stephen Covey was on talking about his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (amazon affiliate link). So began a 17 year journey of devouring many, many similar books to what I read today … Wayne Dyer, Neville, Deepak Chopra, Bruce Lipton and others like them.

It’s no coincidence that during this time of having my “master teacher” in town, I was re-reading the specific section in Wayne Dyer’s, There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem (amazon affiliate link), based on a line from St. Francis, “Where there is hatred, let me sow love” … I didn’t plan to be reading that section at that time. However it was perfect.

Dyer suggests that unkindness from others directed towards us is love going in the opposite direction and from people who feel unloved. This is how I handled it and will continue from this point forward as it was a release, surrender and healing for me. You may not be able to verbalize this in your situation but you can certainly silently convey the same message.

I attempted to keep myself in a place of love. I was silently sending blessings and love to everyone. I did not engage in defending my current or past actions. The oncoming negativity stopped when I said, “You’re right about that”. Amazing how that deflates things. I wasn’t agreeing, just lovingly letting the other person relax into feeling they were right.

After a friend reminded me, I begin to see this person viewing me as I would like him to view me. I also kept repeating that I only come from a place of love. That was always my response. And, ended by lovingly telling the other person that I was sorry that he felt so unloved. After all of this the atmosphere and attitude completely changed.

If you are in a similar situation, perhaps you could begin seeing the disgruntled person as viewing you as you would like to be viewed. Silently send them love and blessings.

And absolutely don’t take what they say personally. See them as fellow souls who simply feel unloved.

Life lessons presented as uncomfortable situations, aren’t always in the form of people and relationships. At other times, it may be a situation or event we find ourselves in the midst of. This same method can be applied, rather “lived”, whether it is a person, situation, event, or place.

Why am I sharing this? Simply that I feel this may be helpful to others. That’s all. Perhaps if you’ve landed on this post on purpose or through a random search, it is exactly what you needed to hear or you know of someone that would benefit.

I choose to live my life knowing that all we must do is “Let Go”, knowing that love is the one magical ingredient to joyfully experiencing lessons in life. What about you?

H♥rtfuly Inspired™,
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

Go here to subscribe to my blog to ensure you receive new posts delivered right to your inbox! Right here!

Have you ordered your copy of my book, “D iz for Different”? It’s available in paperback and Kindle (Kindle device not necessary). Go here to learn more.


Latest News: 8 Distressing Candida Overgrowth Symptoms

(If you are new here or just landed on this post in particular, this is a continuation to the post titled, Is Your Body Trying To Tell You Something)

(Awesome tree that lives in Virginia City, Nevada … March 2014)

No messing around here. Candida overgrowth … also called yeast/fungal overgrowth. This is what I found on April 26 2014 when I began researching one of the main symptoms I was experiencing.

I failed to mention in the previous post that my body and joints were aching so much that it hurt to stand up and walk across the room. From my research it seems this would be symptoms comparable to fibromyalgia.

I also didn’t mention one of the symptoms because, honestly, it’s quite embarrassing. But, heck! I openly share everything else and even published a blog post asking the online world for monetary help for Team TLC; I might as well share this symptom. Drumroll ….. itchy bottom. This seemed to be hormonal and disappeared as quickly as it appeared; which is why I was able to so easily ignore it.

Here is my complete list of symptoms:

  1. Exhaustion
  2. Inability to think clearly
  3. Achy joints
  4. Stubborn eczema (the essential oil remedy couldn’t even tackle it)
  5. Eczema-like break-outs under my nose and eyes
  6. Itchy bottom about once a month
  7. Painful and constant gas and bloating
  8. Constantly blowing my nose – similar to allergies

I am an experienced online researcher so I am aware to verify information and validity of a website. In addition, I generally don’t get sick and I’ve not been to a doctor in five or six years. Well, except for this nearly 2 year long ignoring of my body’s messages about overgrowth of yeast. Oops!

The morning after I discovered the answer to my situation, I did the spit test. The results were consistent with candida overgrowth. That same day I began a candida cleanse which consisted of eating only certain vegetables and drinking only water. **Due to interest, I will be writing a blog post on the specific items I ate and what I avoided. I hope to get that posted sometime in the next week.**

I also began taking caprylic acid which I had found in research to be a natural anti-fugal. It kills the yeast by poking holes in the yeast wall. I took the Vitamin Shoppe – Caprylic Acid, 100 capsules (amazon affiliate link) for the first month and now I’m taking this one, Capryl Sodium & Resin Free – 100 – Capsule (amazon affiliate link). I may try at least one more of these so I can have a comparison as to which works best for me.

In addition to that I began taking Live Gracefully’s Prebiotic and Probiotic; which keeps the good bacteria alive, replenishes the right combination of beneficial bacteria, and feeds the good bacteria to keep them plentiful and strong.

I had intended to stay on the cleanse for at least 3 days if not more. I only lasted a day and a half. The cleanse was optional so I felt I had done good and killed off some of those silly ole yeast. It was making me way too grumpy with Thomas and Lillian as I felt really hungry and one’s symptoms intensify when the yeast is dying off.

After that, I stayed on a Candida diet for the rest of the month. I am still on a mostly Candida diet and will be for another couple of months. By the end of the first week, the extreme fatigue and achy joints began to lift. By the second week the foggy mind begin to clear and I had much more clarity. I was reunited with my old friend, FOCUS. So amazing! The eczema on the back of my leg had cleared, as well as underneath my nose. AND, no more itchy bottom flare ups! Wahoooo!!!

I am so impressed by the quality and effectiveness of Live Gracefully’s Prebiotic + Probiotic. I mentioned to Brenda Do, Chief Trumpeteer of Live Gracefully, that I would be writing an article about my return to health and sharing about Live Gracefully. I also asked for a special discount exclusively for my readers.

Here it is! 10% OFF! You get 10% off your first order of any of the high quality Live Gracefully supplements. In addition to the probiotic I’ve been using, they offer 1) anti-inflammatory + antioxident, 2) energy + plus immune strength, and 3) heart + brain power.

Be sure to use this code at checkout … CDGUT. The code is not case sensitive. You can enter in lower or upper case. This code expires June 5 2017 and can only be used for your first order. (Since I love the supplement so much I became an affiliate for Live Gracefully y’all!)

Live Gracefully offers a Total Happiness Guarantee .. “We guarantee you’ll be happy with the results you feel while using our products. If, at any time, you’re not happy with our products, please return the opened or unopened bottle(s) within one year of purchase (365 days). Even if you tried every last pill and didn’t feel they helped, then return the empty bottle. We’ll promptly send you a full refund less shipping and handling.”

I personally know Brenda and know that she is committed to the purest quality and effectiveness of Live Gracefully’s line of supplements. The supplements are manufactured in the United States at a cGMP facility. Distribution and administration happens right here in beautiful Reno, Nevada!

The website is a powerhouse of information. Not only that, after you place an order, you receive a few amazing Hal stickers to pass around, a thoughtful thank you with a goal card, and information packed email newsletters periodically.

(My son, Thomas, gave one of his Hal stickers to Violet, our violet plant)

The following is a list of the websites and articles I consulted:

Mind Body Green

Live Gracefully

The Candida Diet

Several from the Dr. Oz website … (Here are two of them):

Eliminating Yeast/Fungal Overgrowth

Hidden Cause of Your Exhaustion

It is my sincerest wishes that this article and the previous article, Is Your Body Trying To Tell You Something, are helpful to any who stumble across it or who are led here by Google! I would love to hear your thoughts or stories about candida. Please share if you feel moved. It may help others as well.

I still have a bit to go in getting my gut completely balanced. However, I feel 100% better! I feel so alive again! Here’s to all of us feeling ALIVE! YIPEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!

(Me at Washoe Lake .. February 2014)

H♥rtfuly Inspired™,
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

Go here to subscribe to my blog to ensure you receive new posts delivered right to your inbox! Right here!

Have you ordered your copy of my book, “D iz for Different”? It’s available in paperback and Kindle (Kindle device not necessary). Go here to learn more.


Latest News: 16 Memorable Maya Angelou Quotes

In honor of a wonderful and amazing woman, Maya Angelou, I’ve gathered 16 of her most memorable quotes. Honestly, everything I’ve seen that she has spoken is memorable. These stood out as deeply meaningful to me.

Maya Angelo shared her heart and soul with others through her written word and speaking. She shared her life experiences in a strong, beautiful, and graceful manner giving hope, encouragement and love to those who needed it.

Maya Angelou …. April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014

The below quotes are from the Maya Angelou Quotes website.

“Because of the routines we follow, we often forget that life is an ongoing adventure. . . Life is pure adventure, and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art: to bring all our energies to each encounter, to remain flexible enough to notice and admit when what we expected to happen did not happen. We need to remember that we are created creative and can invent new scenarios as frequently as they are needed.” -Maya Angelou

“The intensity with which young people live demands that they “blank out” as often as possible.”― Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

“We are only as blind as we want to be.”― Maya Angelou

“My life has been long, and believing that life loves the liver of it, I have dared to try many things, sometimes trembling, but daring, still.”― Maya Angelou

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take buy by the moments that take your breath away.”― Maya Angelou

“I would like to be known as an intelligent woman, a courageous woman, a loving woman, a woman who teaches by being.”― Maya Angelou

“You did the best that you knew how. Now that you know better, you’ll do better.”― Maya Angelou

“If you don’t like something change it. If you can’t change it, change you’re attitude to it.”― Maya Angelou

“We write for the same reason that we walk, talk, climb mountains or swim the oceans — because we can. We have some impulse within us that makes us want to explain ourselves to other human beings. That’s why we paint, that’s why we dare to love someone- because we have the impulse to explain who we are. Not just how tall we are, or thin… but who we are internally… perhaps even spiritually. There’s something, which impels us to show our inner-souls. The more courageous we are, the more we succeed in explaining what we know.”― Maya Angelou

“Let nothing dim the light that shines from within”― Maya Angelou

“If you’re always trying to be Normal you will never know how amazing you can be.”― Maya Angelou

“‎The desire to reach the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise and most possible.”― Maya Angelou

The following quotes are from the Brainyquote website.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” -Maya Angelou

“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.” -Maya Angelou

“We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.” -Maya Angelou

“You are the sum total of everything you’ve ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot – it’s all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive.” -Maya Angelou

With much gratitude and blessings to you Maya Angelou …

H♥rtfuly Inspired™,
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

Latest News: Is Your Body Trying To Tell You Something

“We are only as blind as we want to be” -Maya Angelou

The last weekend of April 2014 I could take it no longer. Something was wrong. I had to figure out what was going on with my body.

Those of you who have known me for more than 2 years, may have noticed a difference in me over the past year and a half. The decline began about a year to a year and a half ago. I shared what I was experiencing with no one. I didn’t even let myself “know” about the symptoms as I would blow things off. I didn’t have time to deal with my body trying to get my attention.

I had begun to feel extremely tired. I was foggy with my thinking and losing the ability to make even simple choices. It was not happening all of the time … kinda like a roller coaster ride of good days and bad days.

Last July 2013 after returning from the Chromosome 18 conference I noticed something similar to eczema under my nose. It was very uncomfortable. First on one side, then it moved to the other. I had been having something like this come and go for awhile, but it had been just inside of my nose … not visible to others. Next, it spread to underneath my eyes. It would come and go. I decided I didn’t have time to deal with it so just ignored it.

Next, came a small patch of eczema on the back of my left calf. This, too, would flare and calm down, but never went away. I ignored it. Now, as I sit here in May 2014, it has completely cleared!

I begin to get more and more tired. I felt exhausted all of the time. Yet, I just kept going. I grew more and more confused. I certainly had times of clarity but the latter was overtaking me. I had pressing matters I needed to address and I didn’t have time to even begin to think that something within me needed addressed.

My stomach grew more and more bloated after meals and snacks. There was a steady stream of gas that seemed to never stop. It was extremely uncomfortable. I was staying home more and more.

One afternoon in March 2014, the bloating and pain shooting up my chest were so intense, I seriously thought that would be my last night here on this Earth in my Camilla suit!

It was so intense that I got welts all over my face. I got through that afternoon and evening, first by telling Thomas and Lillian that I’d eaten something that didn’t agree with me as they could see I was in pain.

Second, I did what I did when I birthed both of them. I told myself that my body was just processing something. It wasn’t trying to kill me. I felt it was something that I ate.

So, I took deep breaths, walked around the house, meditated, let the pain just be, and sent love and light to the pain. I felt better the next day but it was several days before it was fully gone.

One would think I would have addressed whatever it was right then and there. Not yet. I had a house to finish packing and get moved out of in the next couple of weeks.

I continued to feel extremely tired and my whole body ached. On the first weekend of April I moved our things into storage and we headed to the house we were to house sit for the month.

I grew more and more exhausted and confused …. and more and more bloated … and there there was that darn eczema on the back of my calf.

I finally decided to listen to my body. It had been trying to tell me something which I had been ignoring for at least a year. I actually believe it had been there much much longer (we’re talking years).

It had just been building and growing and then a combination of factors intensified the condition. I needed to be able to think clearly and to be in my heart space to truly make decisions for Team TLC’s future.

The last weekend in April 2014 the aching, exhaustion and confusion could no longer be ignored. I opened my MacBook, typed in one of the major symptoms that had been recurring since last summer or fall. The pieces began to come together. The dots were being connected. The “clues” my body had been sending me led straight to what I was uncovering online. I had found my answer …. In. Just. A. Few. Short. Minutes.

Stay tuned for my next post as I’ll share what I discovered, how I addressed it, and how I feel now! …. I FEEL ALIVE AGAIN!!! WoooHoooooo!!!

If you know me, you also know that I choose to see situations as learning experiences and opportunities for growth. My lesson from this is to really listen to my body. It absolutely does communicate with us. Our bodies let us know if we are eating things that don’t agree with us, if we are in a situation that is not healthy for us, and if we aren’t taking proper care of our miraculous and beautiful body!

Go here for the next post where I reveal what I discovered.

H♥rtfuly Inspired™,
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

Go here to subscribe to my blog to ensure you receive new posts delivered right to your inbox! Right here!

Have you ordered your copy of my book, “D iz for Different”? It’s available in paperback and Kindle (Kindle device not necessary). Go here to learn more.