Help Team TLC With A Christmas Miracle

**Before reading this … If you find yourself beginning to have feelings of sorrow, sympathy or other negative feelings, please stop for a minute and flood your thoughts with those of gratitude and love. Negative feelings are not helpful for us or you. ** xoxo

It is time to turn the page on this chapter of my life’s journey. I choose to do this with my face turned to the sun with a heart full of happiness, gratitude and excitement.

This is taking every ounce of courage I’ve got in me. I rarely ask for help for myself. Perhaps I’ve been saving it up for a big whopper!

I’m asking now. I believe this to be a beneficent and abundant world and I am moved by something larger than my ego to do this. I am infused with a mysterious strength to put aside my own fears of alienation, self-judgment and guilt … actually, not just putting those fears aside. I have released them. They no longer serve me. Getting this out and releasing certain thought patterns has been incredibly healing. If need be, may you take this as an opportunity to release your own fears and judgments around asking for help.

This “thought” ignited as a spark in my heart this past Saturday morning as I was focusing on thoughts of a solution. It grew into a consuming and powerful flame Saturday night while watching Frank Capra’s, It’s a Wonderful Life. George Bailey didn’t think he was worthy of asking for and receiving help. In the end of the story, he was proved wrong as the entire town came forth to help. “No one is born to be failure. No one is poor who has friends.” …. from the movie.

May this bring you good feelings by way of deciding to help and share or, if not moved to help, by way of engulfing you with feelings of gratitude for your own life and situation. Perhaps you may want to share this with your kids, your family and loved ones to shatter the illusion that they need more ….. Indeed, to be grateful for all that they have.

I’m asking for a non-random act of kindness from at least 15,000 people.

On December 26, 2013, at 11:00 a.m., the house we live in will be sold on the Washoe County Courthouse steps. By the Grace of a higher power we’ve been able to stay in this house rent free. It is owned by a relative who chose to let the bank have the house back. Team TLC has gratefully been calling it home while the paperwork caught up with the scenario.

Honestly, I absolutely dreamed and thought I’d be in a different financial situation by this point. I currently don’t earn enough to pay a consistent rent. I have no credit and, indeed, have bad credit. Everything was in my name during my 10 year marriage which ended in 2007. After the divorce, I paid for things as long as I could, until I ran out of money and had to file bankruptcy. I still owe Sallie Mae for my ex-husband’s school loan as it was in my name.

My Mom and Step-Father are renting their house so moving in with them is not an option as there’s not enough room for another family and it wouldn’t be acceptable to their landlord. The housing authority in our area is not currently offering assistance and has closed the waiting list.

I know that I am accountable and responsible for all that I am, all that I do, and all that occurs to me and for me. I choose to stand firm in my choices and my direction. All of my decisions have been perfect as they have cleared the path for my own growth and coming home to compassion, non-judgment and love.

I made a commitment before Thomas and Lillian were born that I would be a full time Mom, that I would be with them until they entered school and I would be with them before and after school and during school breaks. I chose this path so that I could be there …. be there to answer life questions they have as they travel their own path. Questions and answers which I very often share with y’all on facebook and on my blog.

I am asking for:

  1. A $1.00 or $5.00 donation or
  2. **Hire me (see below) and
  3. Share this with everyone you know through facebook, twitter, pinterest, blogging, email newsletter subscribers, old fashioned mail, and word of mouth.

You can use the Paypal button or mailing address below:

Mailing address is:
P.O. Box 19812
Reno, NV 89511

If we can get 15,000 people or more to donate $1.00 each, that would be a miracle indeed! Or if this blog post lands in front of the exact person that would benefit from hiring me, that would be a miracle too! The miracle of helping us to have a place to live … a home.

Mountains of blessings to everyone who is donating. My eyes are sweating and my heart overflows with love …

56.16%  8424 of 15000


In just over week, your sharing and donations have come from and traveled the world. Indiana, Tennessee, Louisiana, Kentucky, Texas, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Illinois, Hawaii, California, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maine, Maryland, Utah, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, Colorado, Kansas, Mississippi, Rhode Island, Missouri, Wisconsin, Arizona, Georgia, Virginia, Wyoming, Canada, United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, Malaysia, Australia, and New Zealand. I thank you from the depths of my soul and cannot wait until I have the opportunity to pay your acts of kindness forward! Thank you to my Jr High School friends, my Mississippi friends, my Chromosome 18 family, my Mississippi family, Nevada friends, facebook friends and people I don’t even know … Oceans of love and hugs to all y’all!!

I KNOW that everything is going to be okay. I KNOW that my kids and I will have the perfect home and living situation for us come January 1st.

I attempt to live my life from a place of love, compassion and non-judgment. If you are moved to help, I send you oceans of blessings and love. If this request for help angers you or brings forth negative feelings, I send you oceans of blessings and love. I don’t do drama. I don’t do confrontation. There is only love in my heart.

If you want to consider your donation as a loan, use my contact page to send me your address and you will receive the money back as I am able to pay. Browse through my blog posts and if you find something useful, perhaps you could consider it a tip for the content I provide.

**If you would like to hire me, check out my Work with Camilla page. I have a Paralegal Degree and 10 years of experience as a paralegal. I have been heavily involved in the digital world and blogging since 2007. I enjoy researching topics, creating solutions and writing about my discoveries. I’ve been involved in the special needs world since Lilian was diagnosed at age 3, back in 2004. My current passion is mindful, inspired and simple living. Perhaps you or someone you know would benefit from hiring someone to research topics and write blog posts?

I recorded a video for those who don’t know me personally …. so you can see the person behind these written words …

In addition, for those who don’t know me, I freely share my life, including my 2 children, via this blog and facebook.

I take Lillian to speech, occupational and physical therapy every Tuesday from 1:45-4:00. We lead a very simple life. We rarely eat out and when we do, it’s considered a wonderful treat! By choice we don’t own a television. We rarely attend events that have a fee. I am wearing the same clothes I’ve had before Lillian was born.

Most newer clothes I own have been gifted to me by friends or my Mom. I haven’t had a haircut in nearly 2 years. Thomas wears hand me downs from the neighbor next door. Bless them to pieces! They have two boys older than Thomas and pass along all of their clothes to us! My Mom and Step-Father help to keep Thomas and Lillian in clothes and shoes that fit them. They outgrow things so quickly!

For our entertainment we go for walks in nature, have outdoor picnics and visit parks. We don’t go on vacations. However, we do attend the yearly Chromosome 18 Conference with the help of grants or sponsorships. I make this into a vacation for us and Thomas and Lillian love it!

We do NOT feel deprived and do NOT feel as if we are missing out. We are HAPPY!

I spent last school year and the year before that working with Thomas to help him through some difficult challenges. I chose to stay focused on helping him so that we could address these challenges now rather than later. Between that and a change made at school, he is doing awesome. He loves school, loves his teacher, and loves learning.

Want to know even more about me before helping to create this miracle?

Read my blog posts here, read the blog posts on the 501(c)3 I founded with the slogan of Different iz Good, read my facebook posts (they are open to the public), visit our YouTube channel, and visit my kids’ websites, Thomas Darnell and Lillian Darnell. Lastly, visit the very first blog Lillian and I penned together titled Pink Elephant Books and our Team TLC website. We call ourselves Team TLC to correspond with the first letter of each of our names. You can also read my book. If you have an Amazon Prime account you can check it out from the Kindle library for free.

Below is an excerpt from my book:

” … Reflecting back, I now see that I do indeed have a vein of courage coursing through me. I know I can count on it to be there when I need to tap into it. In December of 2006, I made the decision to remove myself and my kids from the marriage I had been in for ten years. I was mentally exhausted! It took courage to go against my own morals and values. I believed that when I got married I should and would stay married. It took courage to remove myself and admit I had made a mistake.

The next two years took real courage to get through. It took courage to accept my decision and be at peace with being a single parent; courage to face that all assets and all debts were in my name; and courage to separate myself from my glowing credit score. I faced times when I could no longer pay the bills.

When I could no longer make my car payment, it took courage to have a going away party for our car, instead of the repossession being a somber, dreadful time. You see, when I mentioned to Lillian that someone would be coming to take our car she became upset and sad. She doesn’t like change. She likes things to stay familiar, to just be like they are supposed to be and always have been. I made the decision that we needed to turn this event into a celebration to clear the way for a new chapter. So that’s what we did. The afternoon before the “pick up,” Thomas, Lillian and I wore party hats, baked cookies, and listened to party music while cleaning out our car. We took pictures, we had fun, and all three of us accepted this event with a happy and smiling face.

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows. It’s what the sunflowers do.” – Helen Keller

With Mountains and Oceans of Gratitude,
Team TLC
Thomas, Lillian and Camilla

For Chris Brogan, per the message sent on 12.16.13:

I Am An Artist

As I completely lean into writing and blogging, I am tweaking the website a bit to bring more clarity to the type of content one can expect to find here.

“Be Mindful … Super-sized thoughts with a wee bit of photographs, recipes and tips.” (And, possibly soon, some other type of art. We shall see where my experimentation leads with this.)

This website and blog bring together all the pieces of my life, like a snapshot. I am a writer, author, blogger, photographer, an artist, and a life coach. I am Mom to 8 year old Thomas and 12 year old Lillian. (**Update: Lillian is 14 years old now and Thomas is 9 years old.)

Lillian has a chromosome abnormality simply called 18p-. This means she is missing a piece of the short arm of chromosome #18. Her younger brother, Thomas, is an amazing and loving helper!

I love taking pictures with my mobile devices. Currently an iPhone 3G and a Samsung Galaxy Tab (mine is a Model gt-p3113). I purposely shoot all photos with these devices as I don’t choose to invest in a fancy camera and/or deal with and learn all the details involved and to show others we can easily and economically capture the beauty and awe of nature anywhere and anytime. (**Update: Now using an iPhone 4G and I have an instagram account for posting pictures as time allows … @camilladowns …)

I love writing about mindful, inspired, simple living as it relates to the choices I make, daily living, being a parent, experiencing nature and …. food.

I am inspired by this place I have chosen as our home … Reno, Nevada. When he was 7 years old, my son, Thomas, summed it up with one beautifully crafted comment. “It’s like we are at an art show and nature keeps changing the art for us.”

I freely and openly share my journey as I sail through life. The ups, the downs, the loop the loops. I have good days, I have bad days. I share in the hopes that you will find at least one nugget to take away and apply to your own life. My wish is that you become inspired, your own passion to simplify life is ignited, or a path to mindful living is illuminated.

I am available for freelance writing opportunities and guest blogging. I’m a life coach too! Contact me here to inquire further.

**Disclosure: I am not an expert on how anyone should be or could be living their life; except for my own …. and that’s only sometimes! I attempt to be non-judgmental and to allow others to BE! Go forth and BE MINDFULLY YOU!

(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!) 

Allowing the Gift of a Situation


This gallery contains 3 photos.

Tweet “If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to.” -Lao Tzu Team TLC stands at the helm of a new adventure. Change is upon us. Anyone who has read my book, “D … Continue reading

I Love the Smell of Fresh Honeysuckle


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Tweet Just some random personal stuff about me … I smile at myself in the mirror. I use organic extra virgin olive oil to remove my make-up and also use it as my facial moisturizer. When I choose to feel … Continue reading

2012 Most Popular Posts

It’s always fun and useful to look back through the previous years posts and pull out the most popular. I really enjoy when those I follow take the time to pull together the most popular posts on their sites just in case I missed something or want to revisit a post that is thought provoking. So, here ya go! Just took the time to take a stroll down my blogs memory lane!! Enjoy!

The Story Behind the Book Cover Artwork

Time to Just Be

I Wish I Wasn’t an 18p- Girl: Moment of Defeat – Take Two

Journey to Magical Moments – The 19th Annual Chromosome 18 Conference

Lillian and Being Different Presentation

Steps out of Darkness


Go here for 2011 Most Popular Posts Y’all! May each and every one of you have a Happy and Blessed New Year!!

The Story Behind the Book Cover Artwork

I’ve been asked about the reason behind the choice of artwork for the book cover …. So, here’s the story behind the book cover artwork …

I’m a member of The Chromosome 18 Registry & Research Society based in San Antonio, Texas because my daughter, Lillian, has 18p- (meaning she’s missing a piece of her short arm of chromosome #18). The C18 Registry is for all who have a change in their chromosome #18. Through the C18 Registry I met Mark Sogard, who is uncle to Liz Cody, who is daughter to Jannine Cody, who founded the Registry about 22 years ago.

Mark and I are connected online via Facebook. Mark lives in North Carolina and attends Hope Church. Through attending his church he met and knows Daniel (D.J.) Svoboda. D.J. is a very talented young man, who also happens to have autism. D.J. was 29 yrs old when he and I met online … through facebook. Mark sent me a message one day, maybe a year or so ago, that I should connect with D.J. as he felt we just needed to know each other.

Excerpt from D.J.’s biography in the beginning of ‘D iz for Different’: “Growing up, D.J. was teased and bullied. These negative experiences inspired D.J. to create the land of Imagiville; a safe place in his imagination where everyone is treated kindly and accepted just the way they are. Through his art and public speaking he brings Imagiville and the Imagifriends to life and uses them as a vehicle to spread a message of hope, inspiration and awareness that those with autism and special needs are special just the way they are.”

This is why D.J. and I were drawn into one another’s world. His mission and message are so similar to mine. When I began writing the book, I had a spark of inspiration to ask D.J. if he would like his artwork on the cover of the book. The rest is history!!!

If you and I are connected on facebook you will see D.J. commenting frequently on many of my posts …. especially posts having to do with the book. D.J. is one of the kindest, most positive people I have ever “met”. I’m grateful that Mark followed his instincts in connecting us and grateful that D.J. is getting to experience having his artwork on the cover of a published book!!!

There you have it … The story behind the Book Cover Artwork!

2011 Most Popular Posts

We’re all busy, we’re all in a hurry and we all have too much to do. So, I’ve combed through the posts on this site for 2011, looking at the total number of facebook likes and comments, and created a “Most Popular” list for those that may have missed something and those that want to read again and share. Enjoy y’all!

Dares, Choices and Changing the World – April 5, 2011

Decisions from the Gut – May 27, 2011

The Shift That Happens – May 31, 2011

O is for Observe – August 7, 2011

Purging, Weight Loss and Writing a Book – September 11, 2011

More About Camilla

I’m Mom to Lillian and Thomas Darnell and I speak, train and consult with small businesses and nonprofits regarding Social Media Marketing.  I’m also the founder of the Turning Views Foundation, Different iz Good . . . Spread the Word movement™ and the Gift a Voice Project.

My five year old son, Thomas, cracks me up with his fantastic imagination and adds to my joy and happiness in an indescribable way!  My nine year old daughter, Lillian, is a self proclaimed fairy angel and I happen to agree with her 100%.  Lillian is the spark that ignited the creation of the Turning Views Foundation, the Different iz Good movement and the Gift a Voice Project.

In mid December 2004 I received a phone call that changed the direction of my life and landed me in a Different place than I had planned and a Different place than I had ever dreamed.  Lillian’s pediatrician phoned one evening during dinner to let us know that she had gotten the results of Lillian’s Karotype testing.  This is a test where blood is drawn and examined on a cellular level to check for chromosome abnormalities.  Lillian was born on September 14, 2001 about a month before her natural due date.  She was a bit different from the first day of her life and a bit behind with many milestones.  Being a new Mom I just kept associating her delays to being born a month early and being a preemie baby.

Lillian’s pediatrician delivered the news that she had a chromosome abnormality.  Specifically, a deletion of the short arm of Chromosome 18, referred to as 18p-.  I cannot remember a great deal of the rest of the conversation as my mind sort of stopped and I started thinking, “Wait a minute.  What are you talking about?  No, this can’t be right.  No, No, No.”  I remember mention of it being very rare and that visits to specialists must begin immediately – heart doctor, eye doctor, geneticist, etc.

I immediately got online and began researching Chromosome 18, 18p- and chromosome abnormalities.  I learned a GREAT deal online and even knew more than the geneticist when we met with him.  That is also how I discovered The Chromosome 18 Registry and Research Society. The people of this fabulous organization, the Founder, Board Members and Family Members have become my second family and I am grateful and blessed to have each and every one of them in my life.  The Registry exists because a Mom was told 20 years ago that her daughter had 18q- (deletion of the long arm).  We as a society are all blessed that Jannine Cody chose the path she did as the genetic research they perform benefits ALL with genetic disorders.

So began my journey to a different place.  You can read more about the beginnings of this journey here.  The time and space between then and now I’ll cover in blog posts here, over at the Different iz Good website and my upcoming book.

Fast forward to about one year ago when I discovered Proloquo2Go on Twitter as I had created columns in Hootsuite tracking keywords for speech impaired.  I immediately bought Lillian an iPhone and installed Proloquo2Go.  That became the driving force behind learning more about this technology and then also combining that technology with the web and social networking.  These forces combined have opened a world of communication for the nonverbal and speech impaired that have NEVER been there before. We are experiencing a communication evolution.  The way in which we communicate and conduct business has shifted forever and is evolving.

In my online research I kept encountering people asking where they could get assistance purchasing an iPhone, iPod (and now an iPad) as private insurance and Medicaid do not cover these devices.  There were also many who mentioned they were on waiting lists to receive one.  This led to thoughts of “Something has got to be done about this.” It’s completely ridiculous that nonverbal and speech impaired children CANNOT have an inexpensive modern way to communicate. Inexpensive compared to traditional augmentative communication devices; which typically cost between $5,000 – $10,000.  One can get an iPhone, iPod or iPad with an AAC Application and needed accessories for approximately $1,000; could be a bit less or bit more depending on version purchased.

At the same time I was discussing with other Chromosome 18 Moms about how our beautiful special needs kiddos do not like change and changes in their schedule or routine that cause things to seem different. Susan Moran commented that they really stress in their house that different is good and show it by changing furniture around often and other methods. My eyes, heart and soul wrapped around those words and with Susan’s permission I tucked it away to “incubate” until the timing was right! You are a beautiful rockin Mom Susan!

These two paths bordered with what I had chosen as my career (teaching, training and speaking to others about Social Networking) led to the creation of the Turning Views Foundation, Different iz Good . . . Spread the Word movement and the Gift a Voice Project.

The Formal Version

Camilla Downs is an influential guide in teaching the keys to Social Media Marketing. She is a social media marketing and community-building strategist, working with businesses and individuals to maximize the internet to enhance their brands, connect with customers, build communities and network for success. As Chief Community Builder at Turning Views, Inc., keynote speaker and trainer, Camilla has inspired hundreds of people to confidently use Facebook, Twitter, blogging and other online social networking tools through conferences, specialized workshops and consulting.

Camilla has consulted with businesses and nonprofits in Nevada, California and Texas, teaching them to establish, maintain and grow a commanding social media and online presence. She advises organizations on increasing their visibility on search engines and strengthening their brand identities online. She also offers video tutorials and online resources for many people seeking efficient assistance with the proper usage of these new tools of marketing.

Raised in Mississippi and Louisiana, Camilla relocated to Nevada after working for 10 years as a paralegal in Washington State. She has combined her research skills with a passion for collecting and testing the constant torrent of new information regarding social networking. “I am passionate about supporting nonprofits, fellow entrepreneurs and small business owners by teaching them to strategically use online and social networking tools”. “Small business owners are among the bravest and gutsiest among us, and they are starved for assistance in understanding the why and how of effective and proper use of these tools”.

Camilla is mother to two children, Thomas, five years old, and Lillian, nine. Lillian was born with a chromosome abnormality called 18p- which primarily manifests in communications deficits. Lillian has inspired Camilla to be a proponent for speech-impaired individuals, their families and caregivers in using technology and social media to communicate and improve quality of life. “Opportunities exist as never before for speech-impaired individuals to be business owners and entrepreneurs because of social media and technology”.

Different iz Good . . . Spread the Word

It’s time to begin unveiling The Turning Views Foundation and the Different iz Good™ movement.  Those of you who know me know that I’m Mom to Lillian Darnell, 9 yrs old, and Thomas Darnell, 4 yrs old.  Lillian has a Chromosome 18 abnormality called 18p-.  The  main way in which this manifests is that Lillian is speech impaired (she’s about 90% unintelligible). Lillian uses an iPhone with an AAC Application called Proloquo2Go to speak.

Turning Views Mission is To Empower Those With Genetic Differences by giving them a voice, helping them to be a part of the conversation like NEVER before! Turning Views Slogan is Different iz Good . . . Spread the Word!

Our main goal is to provide nonverbal or speech impaired children with an iPod Touch or iPad with the Proloquo2Go AAC Application (or similar) installed and all needed accessories.  In addition, to train caregiver and/or the child how to use the device.  Another goal is to hold workshops in conjunction with schools and speech therapist to educate regarding this technology.

This device and application are life changing in an unbelievably good way for the nonverbal and speech impaired.  Insurance companies and Medicaid do not cover these.  The alternative up to this point have been heavy, bulky devices that cost anywhere from $7,000 – $10,000.  One can have an iPhone or iPod Touch with the Proloquo2Go application installed and all needed accessories for around $600 – $1,000.

One additional major aspect of the Turning Views Foundation is to educate how technology combined with Social Networking sites improves quality of life for special needs children ~ especially nonverbal and speech impaired children. The way in which we communicate and conduct business has fundamentally shifted and changed forever.  It is my opinion that the World has shifted in such a way to include the speech impaired like they have NEVER been included before.  We are no longer solely communicating with our mouths and voices.  A large portion of the population is communicating using technology and social networking sites.  The speech impaired are now able to be a part of the conversation like NEVER before.  Their community and those they can engage with, socialize with and conduct business with has grown exponentially.  A second phase to our mission is to facilitate the making of entrepreneurs of those special needs children, teens and young adults who choose to pursue this exciting venture.

Different iz Good . . .  Spread the Word ~ we will be rolling out tons of DIFFERENT and fun ways for y’all to help spread the word.  I invite anyone who knows a special needs child, teenager or young adult (and even they themselves) to post a video reply on the Different iz Good YouTube channel telling us why Different iz Good, Different is Beautiful and Different is OKAY or what it means to you.

I believe Lillian is different for many reasons.  She is a special young lady who shines like no other and has a beautiful inspiring energy about her.  She is here to teach me and the rest of us some lessons.  One of which is to embrace technology and the shift in the way we communicate or at least approach with an open mind to how life changing this is for some of those amongst us.

Spread the Word Y’all ~ Different iz Good!

I want to steal a  bit of space here and thank a ton of special wonderful motivating and inspiring people for encouraging me and being a part of the creation and birthing of the Turning Views Foundation and the Different iz Good movement.  First, and foremost, Susan, a fellow 18p- Mom.  When I came across the phrase “different is good” in something she had written about a year and half ago, I asked her at the time if I could use that phrase on t shirts.  {Thanks Susan ~ you are a beautiful, smart and amazing Mom to IM.} It has since grown into the slogan for this 501(c)3, Turning Views Foundation.  My wonderful and supportive family who at times, I’m sure, wonder if I’ve lost my mind!! My Chromosome 18 Family ~ having y’all there means more than could ever be expressed in writing.  My eWomenNetwork Family ~ Love y’all to pieces – many times y’all are my glue and facilitate my Glow!  My friends from Oaklawn Junior High (Houma, LA – way down in da bayou) ~ I’m blessed to have y’all in my life!  Friends from my past and my newest friends and supporters.  Thanks a million to all of you!