Be Yourself and Enjoy Life : An Interview with the Author of Where Would You Fly

Matte v Glossy Where Would You Fly Book January 2018

Welcome everyone to a very special interview with Lillian Darnell, author of Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories. Here’s a bit about the book:

Welcome to the radiant imagination of Lillian Darnell, a wonderful and unique human being, the kind who comes around only once in every 56,000 births, as she is missing the short arm of her 18th chromosome.

Leave this reality behind and enter enchanted lands awash in mysteries, happy endings, adventures, and inspiration. Come within and discover heartwarming and beautiful tales, woven with love and magic, brought forth from the imagination of a young woman with a different perspective. Lose yourself in wondrous adventures as you follow courageous, enchanting characters, kind animals and plant life, and graceful Mother Nature.

The delightful tales, legends, and poems within these pages were written by Lillian Darnell between the ages of four and fifteen. The stories and poems are mostly edited for spelling and grammar, yet the bulk of the stories remain as she originally wrote and published them to include a few grammatical errors and made up words.

Will a girls dream of becoming a princess come true?
How can sad, mischievous, fearful animals help humans feel emotions?
How did the world come to have color?

(Go here to view the interactive Google Pin Map of Where the Book Has Flown So Far)

Lillian Getting First Order of Books Where Would You Fly 1.24.18 #1

Camilla: What types of stories are in “Where Would You Fly”?

Lillian: The types of stories in “Where Would You Fly” are poetry, songs, riddles, fictional stories, and fantasy stories.

Camilla: What inspires your writing?

Lillian: Nature, reading, something I say, food, holidays, and more when I can’t think of something to write. Other times though, my writing flows through like a river.

Camilla: What message would you like readers to take away from your collection of tales, legends, and poems?

Lillian: I would like my readers to take away from my tales, legends, poems to enjoy nature, be yourself, enjoy life, and enjoy reading as much as you can too.

Camilla: Is there a particular author or authors that inspire you?

Lillian: Camilla Downs (my mother), Daisy Meadows, Helen Perelman, and L.M. Montgomery are the authors who inspire me a lot.

Camilla: Are you still writing? If so, what types of stories do you write?

Lillian: Yes, I still write. The types of stories I write now are mostly historical and fantasy stories on my blog which is http://www.lilliandarnell.com/.

Camilla: What is your favorite story that is in “Where Would You Fly”?

Lillian: My favorite is all my stories in the book but if I had to choose just one, I would choose the story Princess Beauty.

Lillian Getting First Order of Books Where Would You Fly 1.24.18 #3

Lillian Darnell is 16 years old. She likes to read, draw, paint, write, track weather and enjoys being in nature. She has 18p- which is a chromosome difference that affects 1 in every 56, 000 people.

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

Amazing news! My 16 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” is published. Learn more and order here

Wonderfully exciting news! My 12 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Latest Articles:

Photography and Poetry: What if it Were You

The Vintage Lake with Empty Bench February 2016

He’s frustrated
He’s not sure how to handle it.

He lashes out
He says unkind words
He insults
He teases.

He’s not sure how to handle it
He’s frustrated.

The mom tells the son
that it is okay to
have these feelings.
Feeling angry, sad,
frustrated is okay.
These feelings are valid
simply because he has them.

He does not understand
why the sister behaves
the way she does.
Does not understand
the inflexibility.
Does not understand
the fears she harbors.
Does not understand
the massive and, at times,
violent melt downs.
Does not understand
the anxiety that
can lead to a melt down.

He becomes critical
and desires something
be done about the situation.
He feels the mom blames
the missing chromosomes
for the sisters behavior.
He feels that the mom blames
him for being angry and upset.

The mom lets him know
that it is okay for
him to be feeling this way
He is not wrong for
feeling frustrated
and angry.

The mom only asks him
to think about this …

What if you were her?
What if …

You could not speak clearly so that others understood you?
You were in near constant pain almost every single day?
You had balance issues and fell constantly?
You were much, much shorter than your peers?
You were much, much shorter than your YOUNGER sibling?
Your body did not cooperate with accomplishing tasks?
You could not easily use a spoon or butter knife?
You could not drink from a glass without a straw?
You could not easily brush or floss your teeth?
You were the one without lip closure?
You were the one with hand tremors?
You were the one with fine motor skill difficulties?
You were riddled with anxiety and irrational fears?
You were the one with an entire section of your 18th chromosome missing?

What if this were you
and not the other?

The mom was not telling him
that these difficulties
are excuses for being
unkind to others.

Simply to ponder
what one’s life would
be like if all that is
easy and simple vanished …

Ponder if it all became
difficult and a struggle …

Simply ponder …

The mom let him know he
could continue to feel
and believe what he chooses.

The mom will not force
her opinions of
the situation upon him.

The mom simply asks him to ponder.

And the mom will ponder
what it would be like
if she were the sibling
to the one …

The mom simply asks him to ponder.

And they shall ponder.

-©2017, Camilla Downs

Empathy has within it the seed to change the world. The more of us that plant and cultivate this seed, the more the world will shift towards peace. -Camilla Downs

I posted this on facebook first and the following are my responses to friends comments:

I can literally feel my heart breaking when Thomas and Lillian are arguing and being unkind to one another and that pours through into these writings.

I can be quite harsh with myself about my parenting skills; thinking I screw it up more than I have it heart aligned.

These are times that journal writing proves so helpful as I remind myself that I’m doing the best I can with where I’m at and give myself a good reminder to love myself. No matter what. Alongside that is when dear friends give me a good reminding too …

It was not my intent to cause anyone to feel less or unvalidated. We are all traveling a unique path; yet, with many, many similarities.

When I am in an unawakened state, I harbor deep worry that Thomas and Lillian will not choose to move towards a relationship of harmony and loving kindness. It breaks my heart to feel the current energies of dislike they have for one another.

Empathy has within it the seed to change the world. The more of us that plant and cultivate this seed, the more the world will shift towards peace.

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

Amazing news! My 16 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” is published. Learn more and order here

Wonderfully exciting news! My 12 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Latest Articles:

Can a Book Be Published With Little to No Money – Part Three

This is a continuation post and the last of the series.

Below is an excerpt from Part One:

” …. so I’m going to get to the bottom line first thing. And those who are interested about the entire story can read further. Lillian’s book was published with absolutely no money paid out to anyone for the creation of the book. That’s it!

Now, there was a bit of money paid for the ISBN bar code graphic (about $20), for envelopes to mail the books once received (about $15), and for two proof copies of the book (about $15 each which included shipping).

I want to reiterate that I am not sharing this to brag or gloat. That is not my nature. I am sharing this to give hope, to share …… “

Go here to read the previous post if you missed it ..

Can a Book Be Published With Little to No Money – Part One

Below is an excerpt from Part Two:

” …. Thomas and I considered our options between using an online self-publishing site and using a local Reno publisher/printer. We made a chart listing the costs and pros and cons. We had a meeting with the local publisher. After the meeting we decided to go with the local company. I would do as much as possible and they would help out minimally.

Once we decided to go with the local publisher, I began ….”

Go here to read the rest if you missed it …

Can a Book Be Published With Little to No Money – Part Two

“D iz for Different – One Woman’s Journey to Acceptance” was written by me in 2011 and published in 2012. There’s an interesting story on how the book came to be written so if you’d like to read that story go here …

Purging, Weight Loss, and Writing a Book

I wrote the bulk of the book in about three months. When I began writing I had no idea how it would get from the initial writing into a published book. Yet, I did not let that stop me from writing. I knew I was to write, so I wrote. Every morning I got up 30 minutes earlier than I had been, sat outside on the patio, with an expansive view of majestic Mount Rose, and wrote for thirty minutes to an hour every day.

It was either during writing the book or just after I had finished that I began researching how to self-publish one’s book. I decided to use Amazon’s self-publishing arm, CreateSpace. Having no money to invest in this book, was a major factor in choosing this option.

I found friends who were willing to be test readers and editors. I had an idea of what I wanted for the cover; yet, during that same time came across artwork that I fell in love with. The art is created by a young man, D.J. Svoboda, with autism who I had been connected with through a mutual Chromosome 18 friend. I was inspired to ask D.J. if he would like his artwork on the cover of my book. He excitedly answered back with a resounding “Yes”! Another friend designed the initial cover for me at no charge.

D iz for Different Books Shipment of 5 Received 1.11.18

With the cover designed and the book having been reviewed by several others, I dove into Createspace to attempt figuring out how to make what I had into a book! I began to stumble and wasn’t sure how to proceed as it seemed I needed to have Word. I have been an Apple Mac user since about 2000 and have not used Microsoft products since then.

At about the same time, I received a phone call or email from Diana Michelotti to let me know that she is D.J’s manager and wanted to talk about the use of his art on the cover of the book. I contacted Diana and she wanted me to send a few chapters of the book for her review and approval for D.J.’s art.

Not too long after I sent the chapters to Diana for review, I heard back from her that she loved what I had sent and was deeply moved by the content. She wondered who I was going to have edit the book and who would be creating the layout of the book. I told her that I was going to do it myself; that I was stuck for the moment, yet, I would figure it out.

I explained that I had absolutely no money to pay someone for their services. She responded with, “I will do this for you. And, I will not charge you. This is what I do for a living and I want to help you.” She further stated that she believed in the message I was sharing and wanted to help get the book created.

Free Hugs and Smiles Thomas and Camilla at D iz for Different Table 2013

So began the journey of working with Diana. It was a lengthy process as there was much more editing needed than I had anticipated. It was the greatest lesson in patience that I think I have ever experienced. And, I did not handle it in the highest and best way possible, in my opinion.

This was at the very beginning of the huge shift I was beginning to make. A shift of living a spiritually based life; rather than whatever you would call I had been living. I did not see being patient as a lesson at that time. I saw it as an annoyance, something I could not control, and it was bringing forth anxiety and anger. I can see it all clearly now and definitely process these events differently now.

“What a blessing and privilege it has been to work with Camilla Downs and be a part of the creation of ‘D iz for Different.’

Like a bird leaving its nest for the first time – I hope this book spreads its wings, takes flight and reaches those who need to hear Camilla’s inspiring story.” – Diana Michelotti

Less than a year after I began writing it, the book was finally finished and published in May 2012.  And, it was written, created, and published with no money. It was a huge learning experience being the first time I had done anything like this.

Another aspect of the book that came together in perfect synchronicity were the review blurbs. I met the Ziglar family at a conference in 2010 and had kept in touch with Zig Ziglar’s daughter and grand-daughter. When the time came, I asked Julie Ziglar Norman if she would like to write a review blurb. She loved the book and agreed!

A connection I had made through a local networking group approached me one night to say she had been working with someone she thought I should connect with. She connected us via email and after he emailed me back I went to his website only to discover that this person is Jim Stovall!! Author of The Ultimate Gift which was also made into a movie. He was happy to offer a review blurb. I LOVE the movie, by the way!!

There was much I did not include in the book. Not to mention that my writing has evolved since this book and has a completely different flavor now. Don’t get me wrong. I love the book and it’s contents. I still have faith in what I wrote; I can simply see the difference now. The content is mind and brain heavy and not so much from the heart. I barely skimmed the surface of my essence with the book and, in fact, some of my views have shifted a bit since its writing. And, as stated earlier, I have become deeply spiritual since ‘D iz for Different’ was birthed into a published book.

I see it all as part of the process and part of my journey. We all change throughout our lives. Some more so than others. This book was supposed to be “light” and to only skim the surface. It was the toe dip into the author’s ocean for me. A toe dip to test the waters. I am thankful it was met with such a warm reception and enthusiasm.

There is much I wanted to say in the book, that I did not say for fear of offending or turning others away. Fear. What a lesson it has to teach us. I no longer have this fear as one could most likely surmise by reading the writings that currently come forth. Fear is simply love going in the opposite direction and I have tipped the scales so that fear and love have embraced in an ecstatic burst of love creation through writing.

I vow to write. I vow to listen for what to write. I vow to write even if no one reads what is written. I vow to write even if it turns some away. I vow to write for the writing is the food that feeds my soul. I vow to write until the day I am no longer inhabiting this beautiful Earth. I vow to write.

Well, I had not intended all of this to come forth. Yet, there it is. In all it’s grace and glory! Once it turns on, I cannot turn it off until it’s finished!

Back to the book …. The book reached #2 in the Self-Help Category and #1 in Special Needs Parenting on Amazon. The last I checked it had a 4 and 1/2 star rating on Amazon. Sales have absolutely fallen flat and I no longer market the book. In 2013, I let shame and fear that the book was no good take over and I abandoned further marketing.

‘D iz for Different’ is about to receive a facelift by way of a new cover as this cover seems to no longer be in sync with my heart. I love and adore D.J. and this does not speak less of his beautiful art, nor does it speak less of the hard work Diana put into it. This is all about me and what my heart dictates.

So … YES! A book can be published with no money!!

And stay tuned for the updated cover!!

And, stay tuned for the next books to be published. There will be another book coming near the end of this year or beginning of 2019.

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

Amazing news! My 16 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” is published. Learn more and order here

Wonderfully exciting news! My 12 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Latest Articles:

Can a Book Be Published With Little to No Money – Part One

I recently read a post in a writing group from someone about envy arising in some members when it is announced that other members finally have a published book! The writer of the post was not being unkind. She simply wished to share why envy is not called for in this situation.

While I don’t agree with the reason indicated, I do agree that it’s in our best interest to catch the feelings of envy and jealousy when they arise. Notice the feeling. Physically feel it and release it. And, by the way, I am not immune to having these feelings either. If they do sneak up, I try my best to do what I previously describe above.

And, when you feel ready, replace it with joy and gratitude for the abundance of the world and celebrate the success with this person. As just because they have accomplished this does not mean it is less likely that you will, it does not take away from your efforts at doing the same. Instead of “Why Him? or Why Her”, think “Why Not Me?” …

On the opposite end of envy and jealousy is inspiration and the knowing that you too can accomplish that which you desire.

As long as you believe it and you believe you are worthy of birthing it to life. Those who are meant to assist will appear.

The writer of the post concluded that the reason that these individuals are published is because they had the money to do it. She is a published author of several books so was speaking from her experience. Her thoughts were that if you have enough money, a publisher will publish the book as long as it fits their criteria and that the publisher doesn’t care if it’s good or not; as long as you pay them.

She further indicated that family and friends will request free books and the author is lucky to receive 10 free books from the publisher and that there are those who become upset when referred to amazon to purchase the book. I do not relay this to contest or argue as that’s not my nature. I fully understand that this may be the experience of some, perhaps many. I only want to present that there is another way and there are those with a different experience.

I’d like to share my experience now that I’ve published three books. Oh my gosh! I’ve published three books! Wahooo!!! Let’s celebrate!! ….

I’ll begin with the latest. My 16 year old daughter, Lillian’s, book – “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories”.

Matte v Glossy Where Would You Fly Book January 2018

This will be quite lengthy, so I’m going to get to the bottom line first thing. And those who are interested about the entire story can read further. Lillian’s book was published with absolutely no money paid out to anyone for the creation of the book. That’s it!

Now, there was a bit of money paid for the ISBN bar code graphic (about $20), for envelopes to mail the books once received (about $15), and for two proof copies of the book (about $15 each which included shipping).

I want to reiterate that I am not sharing this to brag or gloat. That is not my nature. I am sharing this to give hope, to share light with others who may feel that which they believe they are supposed to share with others may never come to fruition. Please don’t give up. If you know you are supposed to share something, begin to take steps. Start where you are. Don’t let the “How” of something five steps away stop you from taking the first step.

Lillian and I began writing stories together when she was four-years-old as I felt then that I was supposed to write and she wanted to write too! Lillian has a chromosome deletion that affects 1 in 56,000 people (named 18p-).

Where Would You Fly Updated Cover 9.2017

One of the main ways it manifests is her ability to articulate letters and words. She is largely unintelligible when she speaks. If you’re interested in learning more about Lillian you can go here on my blog and visit her blog here. To learn more about her book go here.

Shortly after we wrote a few stories together she began writing her own stories, poems, and songs. I made it clear that one day we would write a book together. At 16-years-old she is now a published author!

I didn’t know how I was going to make it happen. Yet, I have this quirky thing about me where I do not let the how stop me. I simply get started with where I am and with what I have.

In late Spring 2016 I began sifting through Lillian’s blog posts and handwritten stories. I remembered that years ago a fellow chromosome 18 mom had let me know she was a graphic designer. At the time I was working on websites and social media for businesses so that’s how her message came about.

Camilla and Lillian with Where Would You Fly Book 12.22.17

I messaged Kate and asked how much she would charge to create the book cover and if she was able to help layout the book using Amazon’s createspace (Amazon’s self-publishing arm). I sent this message knowing full well I did not have the money to pay, yet, again, I do not let that ever stop me. I ask. I continue moving forward. I figured if I knew how much she charged, I would have a number to keep in mind for accruing.

Kate messaged that she would help us for no charge. So began the journey of bringing the book to life. I spent hours and hours and hours pulling together the stories, organizing them, and editing them. Kate spent hours and hours and hours creating the cover and having a hell of a time maneuvering through createspace.

If you perform a search for createspace and reviews/opinions, you’ll see what I mean!! Kate was a trooper. She would not give up! The interior would be perfect on her end. Then, after uploading to createspace, it would go all wonky. Random spaces and markings in the book. It was no picnic for her!!

I performed the editing of the book with Thomas, my 12-year-old, as an assistant editor. I have a dear junior high school friend who edited the Forward and About Author section for me (since I wrote those, I needed someone else to edit).

I already had an ISBN as I purchased a block of ten back in 2006 or 2007 as I knew in my heart they would be needed. We’ve used four now!! I handled contacting the library of congress for the LCCN. I procured the bar code graphic.

I researched and created the copyright page information and the Publisher’s Cataloging-in-Publication data; including the dewey decimal number classification. I also requested and received book endorsements. I will be creating the book trailer, the press release, and handling the marketing, and setting up book signings.

I have not had any family member or friend ask to receive a book for free. I, however, have offered it in trade to a few people as I didn’t have the money to pay for services (haircut, mandala class for Lillian).

That goes for Thomas’ book and my book too. No one ever asked for a free book. However, I did gift and trade some books. I am also not shy of telling others that our family earns more money when the book is purchased directly from us as opposed to purchasing on Amazon.

However, we are happy whichever way people choose to purchase. The bottom line is it doesn’t matter where they purchase it. Yet, they may never know or understand how it works if I don’t share the information.

I will continue with Thomas’ book and in a second post and my book in a third post as this one has gotten way too long!! Stay tuned …. Part two to follow next week. Go here to read Part two …

Can a Book Be Published With Little to No Money – Part Two

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

Amazing news! My 16 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” is published. Learn more and order here

Wonderfully exciting news! My 12 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Latest Articles:

Latest News: Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories – Published

Camilla and Lillian with Where Would You Fly Book 12.22.17

A project that began in June 2017, is now complete!

Lillian Darnell, my 16 year old special needs daughter, is now a published author! January 2018 is the official publication date and we are awaiting the arrival of the first shipment of books!

Where Would You Fly Updated Cover 9.2017

When I began I did not know how it would move from the idea stage to the published book that it is today. As with other projects I undertake, I just began and let it unfold organically. I am writing a blog post with more details which will publish this week or next.

I am working on the press release and book trailer now and we will let you know of the book launch date and book signings.

“Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories”

Welcome to the radiant imagination of Lillian Darnell, a wonderful and unique human being, the kind who comes around only once in every 56,000 births, as she is missing the short arm of her 18th chromosome.

Leave this reality behind and enter enchanted lands awash in mysteries, happy endings, adventures, and inspiration. Come within and discover heartwarming and beautiful tales, woven with love and magic, brought forth from the imagination of a young woman with a different perspective. Lose yourself in wondrous adventures as you follow courageous, enchanting characters, kind animals and plant life, and graceful Mother Nature.

The delightful tales, legends, and poems within these pages were written by Lillian Darnell between the ages of four and fifteen. The stories and poems are mostly edited for spelling and grammar, yet the bulk of the stories remain as she originally wrote and published them to include a few grammatical errors and made up words.

Will a girls dream of becoming a princess come true?
How can sad, mischievous, fearful animals help humans feel emotions?
How did the world come to have color?

“You can’t help but feel happy and be inspired while reading this book. Lillian’s stories jump straight out of her heart and onto the pages in an authentic, innocent, and loving way. The world needs more positivity and happiness and her stories are bursting with both. Thank you Lillian!” -G. Brian Benson – Award-winning and best-selling author, actor and TEDx speaker.

“Let your imagination be taken away with Lillian Darnell’s writings and allow yourself to be transported to places where anything is possible with love, joy and a touch of inspiration. This collection is born from a young woman with a unique perspective on how our world could be – immerse yourself and come, see the world through Lillian’s eyes.” -Dr Veronica Wain – Award winning filmmaker, Academic, Author, Disability Advocate

“Although all of us who love fairies understand that children, with their vivid imaginations, are closer to magic than any of us, we all yearn to retain that childlike sense of wonder. Lillian Darnell’s writings are a welcome reminder of what is possible when you dream big, and accept no limitations.” – Grace Nuth, Senior Editor – Faerie Magazine

To order, please use this PayPal button or mail a check to: Camilla Downs, PO Box 19812, Reno, NV 89511. The cost with shipping is $19.00 (Only for our U.S. friends. Our Canadian and overseas friends can contact me at CamillaDowns @ gmail . com … )




Matte v Glossy Where Would You Fly Book January 2018

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

Amazing news! My 16 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” is published. Learn more and order here

Wonderfully exciting news! My 12 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Latest Articles:

Egyptian Eye by Lillian Darnell

Egyptian Eye 4.29.15

My 14 year-old daughter, Lillian Darnell, is selling prints of her artwork, The Egyptian Eye, to help raise money for us to attend The Chromosome 18 Conference this July in San Antonio, Texas.

Please enjoy this poem she created to accompany the drawing.

Triangular prisms sprout rainbows
From the tip of a triangle, triangles peak everywhere
Amazing colorful teeth pointing toward a catchy circle
It is an Egyptian Beauty!

To learn more about Lillian, the Chromosome 18 Conference, or to support her, go here.

Blessings,

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

Did you know I wrote a book? It’s titled “D iz for Different – One Woman’s Journey to Acceptance” and you can read more about it here.

Latest Articles:

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

 

The Shift and Miracles

Lillian at Wilbur May Arboretum May 2016 Date Day

I feel that any time we experience a shift of perspective, it is a miracle. Also, the things most of us simply do automatically just as we’ve done a million times before ….. I feel those are miracles ….

Recently, Lillian and I decided to reduce her twice per month craniosacral appointments to once per month visits. April marks one year since we began. She started out with once a week, then in August 2015 went down to every other week. She’s making GREAT progress.

Plus, she had a great day at physical therapy on that same day. She said, “Yes” to getting on the ladder and went up one step … FOUR times! YAY!! She has quite the fear of stairs (among other things) and this was a HUGE movement forward for her.

She also told me that she is going to use the stairs at least one time at the Chromosome 18 conference in San Antonio. We’ve been to this hotel before and she already knows what it’s like. There are stairs from the lobby to the 2nd floor meeting rooms and 4 years ago we had to take the elevator every time.

On Sunday she told me that in May or June she will start crossing the foot bridge (on the trail around the lake) without holding onto my arm so that she can practice for doing it along the riverwalk in San Antonio.

Also, she wants to walk the entire Damonte Ranch Loop (about 4 or 5 miles) a few more times before going to San Antonio so that she can be prepared to walk as much as we’d like while there.

Purple Flower at Wilbur May Arboretum May 2016 date Day with Lillian

And there’s more!! She is finally in a place where is ready to think about ways to confront her fear of animals – ALL animals. We have such a hard time on our walks as it doesn’t matter if dogs are leashed or not, she still panics .. and sometimes people just don’t understand that it doesn’t matter how friendly the dog is; she has an overwhelming fear. I always pet and talk to the dog so she can observe; yet she still panics and has anxiety.

One reason she is ready to face these fears is the impact it has on where and how and when we go places and do things.

Just BEing here is a miracle …. As I am on my daily walk, I say, “I am walking on the path that goes around the lake, and this is a miracle.” … Perhaps you may want to find a way to notice the miracles abundant in every single day … xoxo

Trail at Wilbur May Arboretum May 2016 Date Day with Lillian

Blessings,

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

Did you know I wrote a book? It’s titled “D iz for Different – One Woman’s Journey to Acceptance” and you can read more about it here.

Latest Articles:

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

G is for Gift

(Excerpt from my book, “D iz for Different – One Woman’s Journey to Acceptance”)

Each and every person on this Earth is unique, and holds a gift to share with the World . . . our true selves. This includes those in our society who have a handicap, disabilities, and those with special needs. Many of us keep our true selves buried deep within, as I did, for fear that we will be considered different and unaccepted. Some of us just need a little extra help in the form of guidance to nurture and grow our special gifts. Okay, maybe a lot of extra help! Everyone benefits when we let our differences and gifts radiate and glow.

Our differently-abled children simply process the world, information, and life, differently than we do; but they are in good company. There have been many throughout history who also processed differently; like Albert Einstein; Michelangelo; Thomas Edison; Amelia Earhart; and Steve Jobs, to name a few. They had amazing, life changing, life improving gifts, and were successful in spite of their label as freaks and kooks. Today the labels may have changed, but the thoughts still remain.

Lillian is a young lady who shines like no other, and has a beautiful inspiring energy about her. She and children like her teach us lessons about acceptance and change. This is one of their gifts. As an integral spoke in the wheel they can turn around societal and stereotypical views that they don’t have anything to offer; are a drain on our country’s resources; or views that they, and their family are unhappy and should be pitied.

Another one of Lillian’s gifts is showing us the benefits of embracing technological innovation, and the shift in the way we communicate. Technology can be life changing and life improving for some amongst us, and should be approached with an open mind. We no longer solely communicate with our mouths and voices as a society. A great majority of us use technology and social networking sites to stay connected, communicate, and conduct business.

On a beautiful summer day in 2009, I visited Lillian at school. Her class was at recess. As I stood chatting with Lillian’s teacher, I was scanning for Lillian among the sea of kids. My eyes landed on a petite young lady pulling a cart behind her. Yes, that was my Lillian, pulling a cart loaded with her DynaVox unit. Tears welled in my eyes, a lump formed in my throat, and my knees got weak. I thought, “There has to be something better.” I made a firm commitment to myself and to Lillian in that moment that I would find something more mobile and compact for her to use to communicate, something that did not make her stand out. I began monitoring the use of keywords and phrases like speech impaired, nonverbal, and AAC on Twitter and Google Alerts. Almost immediately I came across Twitter mentions of an application for the iPhone and iPod touch by the name of Proloquo2Go that had just been released four months earlier. Proloquo2Go is a communication solution with natural sounding text-to-speech voices for people who have difficulty speaking. I researched a bit more, went to the Apple store, and bought Lillian an iPhone. With Proloquo2Go installed, I gave it to her that day when I picked her up at the bus stop. A meeting with the school followed that same week to inform them she would no longer be using the DynaVox and would be using the iPhone instead. Lillian figured out the iPhone and Proloquo2Go within a week. This was technological innovation at its absolute best! Turning Views Foundation’s Gift-a-Voice Project was birthed from this experience (Learn more at www.TurningViewsFoundation.org).

Today, our communication methods have shifted and are literally evolving to include more of our society than ever before. When a mother of a speech impaired, or nonverbal child “hears” “I Love You” or “Mom” for the first time, it touches their heart like nothing else can. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, 7.5 million people in the United States have trouble using their voices for one reason or another. This includes people who are nonverbal, speech impaired, autistic, hearing impaired or who have dysarthria, apraxia, or aphasia due to chromosome abnormalities, Multiple Sclerosis, stroke, Cerebral Palsy, brain injury and many other conditions.

To fully grasp the impact technology has in your daily life, take note throughout your day just how often you communicate using technology via email, text or social networking sites. If you still conduct many of your conversations over the phone, or face to face, stop and think, “How would I be having this conversation if I did not have the use of my voice, or if I could not articulate what I’m trying to say?” There are options now that weren’t available years ago. One of Lillian’s gifts is using my voice to show how technological innovation is benefiting society.

Our children with special needs are not broken, and do not need to be fixed. When we use negative words like “problems”, “cannot”, and “deficits” to define disability it is difficult to see the positive gift our child possesses. Focusing on what our child cannot do, is a barrier to seeing their gifts. When we accept that it is their “normal” to have special needs; our eyes can be opened to see our child’s gift that probably has been right there all the time.

Some will continue to only view those differently-abled as having something wrong with them and being limited. These same people won’t take the time, nor would have the patience to connect with those who are differently-abled. Unfortunately, they miss the experience of being on the receiving end of a unique heartfelt gift, a gift that only those with patience and peace can receive.

Until we have moved past the guilt stage and are well on our way to acceptance of ourselves and our children, it will be impossible to see the gift in situations, and the gift of our children, with and without special needs. No matter what, guilt gives power to the wrong thoughts and is a barrier to acceptance. Even in our most painful lessons there are hidden gifts whether we see them as such or not. The process requires patience with ourselves and not forcing the process to get over the guilt and “why” questions quickly. Guilt is a stage we simply must make our way through. Rest assured, when you arrive on the other side of guilt, you will realize the gift you hold, the gift your child holds and the gifts revealed through situations.

Tip for the Journey:

Identify and embrace your child’s strengths, needs, interests, fears and motivators. Focus on your child’s strengths and be open to providing opportunities for them to express themselves and their thoughts. Remember; don’t discount qualities that you or others find odd, irritating, or annoying. That just may be the wrapping paper around the gift they hold. Provide opportunities for them to paint, play an instrument, make crafts, dance, practice yoga, swim, play sports, write and use their hands to create.

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

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Your Intuition Knows What To Write

“Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.” – Ray Bradbury

I was given the wonderful opportunity to guest post on 2 Dream Productions’ blog about why I write and what led to the writing of my first book, “D iz for Different”.

Here’s an excerpt:

How Purging the Garage Led to Writing a Book

Call it intuition. Call it my gut. Whatever it’s called, there is something inside of me compelling me to write. Sometimes gently, other times strongly, it nudges me saying, “You’ve just got to share that.” I fought this feeling for a long time, thinking I had nothing meaningful to contribute. At this point in my life, I know that the treasure lying within me, the one I am to share with humanity, is my view of everyday life. I most often share this through writing.

Sometimes I question myself with thoughts of, “What are you doing? Why are you wasting time on this? Who cares what you think? Who cares what happened with you today?” These thoughts can be very discouraging and cause me to doubt myself. However, time and time again, I magically and miraculously receive confirmation that what I’m doing and the path I have chosen is inspiring and helpful to others. These powerful, undeniable moments cause my fears and hesitation to disappear.

My writing journey started …. ” (Go here to read more.)

Head on over and check out 2 Dream Productions if you are an author or aspiring author!

2 Dream Productions, Inc. is a book publicist company that specializes in working with authors and publishers to get more publicity for their books, brands and products. 

Blessings,

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

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My Journey With Intellectual Disability and Relationships – A Short Memoir

The article I contributed to Interaction, which is a multidisciplinary journal for the Australian Institute On Intellectual Disability, has just been published. Here’s a brief description of what and why I was asked to contribute: “looking at creativity in how we work and interact with people with intellectual disability. The other theme I am interested in exploring is empathy and how this “works” within our relationship building within intellectual disability”

Excerpt from the article:

“One blood test, one phone call, one moment in time, drastically changed the direction of my life forever. I know more about genetics, chromosomes, DNA, motor skills, verbal skills, and now emotional and behavioural issues than I ever thought I would need or want to know. ……. I thought I had life pretty much planned at that point and for a while this brief phone call seemed to have caused my life to break apart like a melting iceberg with pieces scattering here and there. Looking back now, all that was brought into my life, all that occurred, all that began, and all that ended were meant to happen for my own growth and enlightenment. An enlightenment I feel spreads far beyond myself and my family as I believe we are all connected.”

Click here to read the digital version of the journal. The access code is: K9HqOa

My article is on page 30. However, the entire journal is excellent! You’ll need a chunk of time to read it as it’s short story length at around 4,000 words.

I encourage anyone who is moved to subscribe to this wonderful publication to do so! Enjoy and please feel free to share and/or forward to anyone you think would benefit! With oceans of love … xoxo

PDF version: Interaction Volume 28 Issue 4

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

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