I Help You Love Your Self

“The meaningful question is never what we did yesterday, but what we have learned from it and are doing today ….. No one can help with anything like someone who has been through the pain themselves.” – A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson

Why do I write on this blog?

I feel it is my purpose to help others by openly sharing my own life experiences. Specifically, how to heal oneself and how we relate to the children of the world and the effects of this relation from an adult perspective.

I know if I am urged to write something, what I share will help others either not go through the un-lovely experiences I’ve had or will help others through un-lovely experiences. I write about mindful living, simplicity, gratitude, and emotions. Additional topics are self-love, emotional connection, compassion, self-awareness, loving-kindness, self-actualization, special needs parenting, living in a tiny home, and resiliency. I also share book and movie musings, nature photography, and recipes.

So many children have an early and teenage life full of emotional neglect and harsh self-talk. I know. Because I was one of those children. I’m not speaking of purposeful emotional neglect. I’m speaking of not being taught what to do with my feelings and having those around me not know what to do with their own feelings.

My parents loved me. I was fed, clothed, and pretty much got my heart’s desire. Yet, I morphed into a people pleaser, and bearer of negative thoughts to myself.

I was not taught to love myself or to value who or what I am. Emotions and living in the present moment were never discussed. There was a great deal of arguing amongst the adults in my life …. sometimes violent arguing. I never wanted to upset others and only wanted those around me to be happy. I walked around anxious that I say the right thing, in the right way so that others liked me.

I’m absolutely not saying that my parents were wrong. I dearly love them and I know they were doing the best they knew how to do. For whatever reason, I was the way I was.

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

My mind was constantly analyzing things and processing according to how I was viewed in the eyes of others. In some instances, I did not speak up for fear of drawing negative attention to myself or how it would make others feel. And in other instances I hooked into the drama of the situation, big time! As I became an adult my response to life was a mixture of both of these. I didn’t let my unique essence shine through.

I feel if we practice the following we will heal ourself and the world’s children will continue to have the self-love they are born with, to feel secure, to feel loved, to feel successful, and free to be who they are ……. LOVE.

  • truly love ourself and model that love
  • practice mindfulness in our own realm and lovingly share mindfulness with our kids
  • learn emotional connection and model and teach it to our kids
  • practice gratitude and model and teach it to our kids

It’s not in my nature to tell people they are doing something right or wrong, or to teach them how they should or shouldn’t be doing something. Nor, do I dish out tough love. That has never been in sync with my heart. If it works for you, then wonderful!!

What do I “do”?

Short Version: I help you love your SELF and be at PEACE ….. and that spreads to your family, friends, neighbors, and all beings.

I am to let my life be an example. One for which others can apply what is in sync with their heart and simply ignore what’s not in sync. I share through this blog, facebook, my first book, “D iz for Different”, and speaking to groups.

Topics discussed when speaking are:

  • mindfulness
  • self-love
  • gratitude
  • emotional connection
  • compassion
  • self-awareness
  • loving-kindness
  • self-actualization
  • resiliency
  • special needs parenting
  • how to decrease stress and worry
  • how to notice when you get “hooked” by drama
  • how to increase self-confidence

I freely explain and share lessons I’ve learned and practices I use that work for me and my family. If needed, I listen with love and compassion and intuitively share thoughts and examples from my own life.

I do not claim to know the One Way, or One Size fits all approach to living a joyful, peaceful life. I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything. I am to work with and help those whose heart urges them to connect with me and to learn more. I am to hold a nurturing space for those who feel moved by what I share so they can discover what it means to love oneself and to awaken who they truly are within …… magnificence and LOVE.

Please go here if you are interested in having me speak at your event or gathering.

“Until we understand what is within, we can’t understand what is without.” – Anita Moorjani

10 Most Popular Posts of 2015

Top 10 Blog Posts With the Most Views (Culled only from 2015 blog posts)

  1. Living in a Tiny Home Adventures
  2. Oil Cleansing Method – Update
  3. Living in a Tiny Home Adventures – Week Seven
  4. Living in a Tiny Home Adventures – Week Two
  5. Living in a Tiny Home Adventures – Week One
  6. Divorce – A Life Changing Experience
  7. Embrace the Emptiness
  8. Thank You Dr. Wayne Dyer
  9. Mindful Christmas Countdown 2015
  10. My Journey with Intellectual Disability and Relationships – A Short Memoir

Top 10 Blog Posts With the Most Views for 2015 (Culled from all blog posts)

  1. Olive Oil as Facial Cleanser and Moisturizer – Oil Cleansing Method
  2. Lemon, Lavender, and Peppermint Oils
  3. No Powdered Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
  4. Lavender Oil and Eczema
  5. Living in a Tiny Home Adventures
  6. Oil Cleansing Method Update
  7. 17 Free and Easy Ideas on How to Rejuvenate Yourself
  8. Almond Flour Cookies
  9. Living in a Tiny Home Adventures – Week Seven
  10. Living in a Tiny Home Adventures – Week Two

Top 10 Blog Posts of All Time With the Most Views

  1. Olive Oil as Facial Cleanser and Moisturizer – Oil Cleansing Method
  2. Lemon, Lavender, and Peppermint Oil
  3. Lavender Oil and Eczema
  4. Almond Four Cookies
  5. Help Team TLC with a Christmas Miracle
  6. No Powdered Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
  7. I Wish I Wasn’t an 18p- Girl: Moment of Defeat – Take Two
  8. 17 Easy and Free Ideas on How to Rejuvenate Yourself
  9. Moment of Defeat
  10. Lillian and Being Different Presentation

Happy New Year 2015!! Welcome 2016!

Blessings and Oceans of Love,
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!



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 …

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