My 11-year-old son,Thomas Darnell, has taken over management of my YouTube account. With his nudging, along with nudging from within, there will be more videos to come.
This is the first video of myself I’ve done in a while. They are usually of something in nature or of Thomas or Lillian. In this debut video I announce more videos to come and ask your thoughts. Much gratitude … xoxo
“Your poetry speaks to the heart and your strength is much needed in today’s world. Your voice should be heard by a bigger audience.” -Marion W., Nevada
Camilla See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!
Wonderfully exciting news! My 10 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer has arrived. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.
Mine is not a better way, it is merely another way.
It is my belief that there is not only one way and no one way is better than the other. I feel when we come to embrace that there are many ways, we will also become empowered by the knowing that, although many travel different paths; we are united in our goal.
Each person’s way, is the way for that person. I believe the way I choose to live life is the way for me and leads to my goal … And so it is. My neighbor believes a different way is the way and will lead to his goal … And so it is. All paths lead to the same goal of happiness.
Thinking there is only one way is what leads us to judge one another and therefore further separate from one another. There is no need for me to understand why my neighbor chooses a different way. Once I release judgment, the feeling of needing to understand and judge others will release on its own.
Once we embrace that there is no ONE way towards our shared goal, human life would improve for all. The magic of civility, cooperation, and collaboration would replace their counterparts.
The way I have chosen is by choice. And it’s a choice driven from the heart. It is a choice that relies on the grace of God, the Universe, and at times that grace comes forth through the loving kindness of others.
**LOVE OFFERING** If you find this content helpful, I invite you to toss a tip in the love offering bowl. With oceans of gratitude … Camilla ….
It is my deepest desire that I am living and modeling for Thomas and Lillian, and others, to listen to the call of the heart; no matter the difficulties that ensue from heeding that call. The difficulties can and will dissolve if chosen to be seen as opportunities.
These thoughts came forth upon receiving an email questioning my way of living and then later reading, “What God Said“, by Neale Donald Walsch.
email message received in August 2016:
“I read your blog often and find your life fascinating. However, you often complain about lack of money, funds are tight, etc. And you and your kids find ways to “make it work.” Also, you frequently rely on the kindness of others to make it all work.
Wouldn’t it make more sense for you to get a job that allows you to cover your expenses? While you may like being a free spirit, I wonder if it’s by choice or by necessity. Wouldn’t some stability, via gainful employment, take some stress out of your life and eliminate the need for your kids to have to endure a kind of financial stress that no young child should have to endure?
I am not being critical but, at the same time, I do not understand.”
Camilla See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!
Did you find this writing meaningful? If you’d like to share a monetary love offering for this writing or my other content, you can do thathere. Oceans of gratitude to you … xoxo
I help to support my family with my writings. So … there is an Amazon affiliate link in this post. This simply means that if you click through to Amazon for more information about a book, and you buy something, we get a few cents (and it doesn’t cost you anything more than usual). Oceans of gratitude … xoxo
I’m starting off my 44th year spreading love, happiness and kindness … with an intention to do this every day either in a small itty bitty way or a big ole huge way … ALWAYS for myself first so that I can overflow with the ooey gooey stuff to share with others!
My new motto is Spread Love Everywhere You Go!
I invite you to join me in spreading love, happiness and kindness. Who wants to choose to see the good that surrounds us? Who wants to choose to see the good in others? Who wants to choose to see the abundance that surrounds us? Let’s do it!
My son, Thomas, set up a LEGO birthday party for me too. So much fun! Sweet boy!
And, then I treated myself to this …. a Salted Caramel Mousse Cake with yummy fresh raspberries! Why not celebrate life EVERY DAY?!
Next up was dinner with the two favoritest people in my life …. my two kids, Thomas and Lillian! Thanks to my wonderful Oaklawn Junior HIgh friend, Lois, for the gift card. Crispy potatoes, Cheese Plate (cow, sheep, goat) …. SO YUMMY, Warm Golden Beet salad (I will be back for this … made my tummy HappyY), Margherita pizza, and Caramel Budino (Oh My Heavens!! …That was delicious)!!!! Check out how the bill is delivered! Comes tucked inside an awesome quote book. Love the quote that was marked with my bill.
After our early dinner, we had time for a brief walk along the river. Such a special time!
Next up was the HDMS Science Fair …
Lastly, here’s another treat I gave myself on my birthday and my gift to you also. I listened to this wonderful song titled “Happy” by the local Reno band, CRVSH. I was fortunate enough to hear and see these amazing guys live a couple of weeks ago!
This song gives me goose bumps all the way to my soul! I hope all y’all take four minutes out of your day and give this one a listen. Turn it way up and DANCE! Then spread the happiness and share it with somebody else!
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 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!)
… And continues to give the gift of himself every minute of every day …
Some people say, “I can’t believe (s)he is already 8 years old.” I think to myself, “I cannot believe he is only 8 years old!”
Having not been able to give birth to Lillian at The Birthing Center, I was so excited to be able to deliver Thomas there and for it to be a water birth also.
Honestly, I had a rougher pregnancy with Thomas than Lillian. He was absolutely healthy, but I felt horrible. I was so nauseas and tired the entire time.
In the late afternoon on November 13th, I began having contractions. Naturally, I decided that this was the very time I had to get caught up with the Wall Street Journal print editions I had gotten behind with reading! There I was pacing around the house reading WSJ and stopping to have contractions in between!
We met the midwife at the birthing center about 9:00 pm. Things were moving along pretty quickly as I was doing my best to stay relaxed so that things could progress. After she checked us both and filled the huge bathtub with water, I got right in. I was having tremendous labor pain in my back but kept visualizing this young man making his exit and relieving me of my pain!
I didn’t have to wait too long as he moved his way right along and joined us pretty quickly! After waiting for my temperature to get back to normal, the three of us made the 10 minute drive home. It was about midnight when we arrived and Lillian was sleeping so she got to meet Thomas the next morning!
Today, November 13, 2013, on HIS special day he came and got me, told me to close my eyes and led me to his room. He said he had a gift for me. When I got to his room I removed my hand from my eyes and he had beautifully made his bed! Take my breath away … HE had a gift for ME on HIS special day! This was more of a gift than a nicely made bed.
I feel that ALL children are a gift and that some of us fail to see the gift they bring to us. Not on purpose. We just seem to forget all that we knew about life when we were young. As some of us get older, we lose the pure love, compassion and generosity that were our nature during childhood.
In the beginning of motherhood I did not get this or choose to see and receive the gift. Being in my 12th year now with this parenting journey, coupled with my own awakening and learning journey, I see it so vividly.
Almost daily I have moments where a gesture or words spoken by Thomas bring forth the feeling that time does not exist, we are engulfed in a wave of silence and I have just been given a lesson that I needed right at that very moment.
By the words of wisdom and gestures I share with him, I am teaching these things to myself. For this young man doesn’t just act like he’s listening, he comprehends my words and actions and shares it with me at a different moment in time.
Yesterday he asked so gently if he could have an ice cream as a birthday treat while we waited for Lillian to finish her therapies. I reminded him we had ice cream at home and that he could have some. He said, “Okay, that sounds good.”
Lillian’s therapy center is only seconds from the fast food place that has soft serve ice cream. After I parked, I filled my mind with thoughts of abundance and generosity and changed my mind. After all, it was only a $1 cone.
Thomas had gotten out to play so I asked if he still wanted that ice cream cone. As I turned into the parking lot a homeless person was sitting on the curb.
In addition to ordering the ice cream for Thomas, I ordered a chicken burger. At least, I think it was me. I felt an overwhelming urge to order that burger and give it to the person we had just passed. I had Thomas hand it to him as we pulled next to him. I have NEVER done this before.
The man thanked us many times. As we drove off, I told Thomas that it doesn’t matter the reason that man is sitting there or even if he is really homeless. I felt moved to share kindness and I did.
I explained that we never want to NOT share kindness due to judgment of another or for fear that our kindness will not be well received. Once we perform an act of kindness it’s really no longer our business. I’m sure Thomas will remind me of this beautiful moment just when I need it most.
“The sage is kind to the kind and kind to the unkind.” -Lao Tzu
My heart is so full of love for Thomas. It adds to my own love of self and truly causes my heart to skip a beat at times. No matter what paths he chooses for his journey or where it leads him, I will always love him.
This amazing child with his wise old soul has brought much into my life. I am blessed daily by his presence, his love, his wisdom and his humor. I LOVE that I get to be his mentor and his mother and that HE gets to be my mentor and son! We knew what we were doing when we chose one another for this journey.
You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one …. And … It’s really none of my business what you think of me … xoxo
……. And she Blew out all 12 birthday candles on September 14 2013 …
Lillian literally came flying into this world on September 14 2001. She wasn’t supposed to arrive here until sometime in October 2001, but I was induced a month early as “they” were worried that she had stopped growing and assumed my placenta had quit nourishing her. If we had known then what we discovered three years later (that she has a chromosome difference called 18p- or 18p deletion), we would have known why she was so small and not growing much.
I had planned on having a natural birth in the gigantic jacuzzi style tub at the Birthing Center attached to my Ob-Gyn’s office. I had my room all picked out and had attended all of the birthing classes leading up to the big event. I was the type that when I decided I was going to do something I put my all into it. I studied everything I could find and get my hands on about natural birthing. I practiced meditating and visualizing what would be happening in my body as the birthing process began and progressed. I read about and studied Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way: Revised Edition(amazon affiliate link) and was on my way to having this baby girl the exact way in which I wanted.
Then, one month before her due date at my regular check up, they were worried that she had not grown. I was sent to a specialist who put me on bed rest for two weeks to see if that helped her grow. I used to be a full blown Type A personality and this was devastating to me. I had planned on working right up until she was born so I would have more time off. I had planned on birthing her in the birthing center. My plans were getting all screwed up and I didn’t like it! (I DID get to have Thomas at the awesome birthing center and DID get to experience a water birth for him!! I arrived at about 9:00 pm on November 13, 2005 and went home a few hours later around midnight!)
After two weeks of bed rest, she was checked again for growth. There had been no growth so it was advised that I be induced right away. We agreed and I gave instructions that I did not want any medications as I still wanted to experience natural child birth, even if I wasn’t getting to experience it in the way I originally wanted.
I kept reading my books and studying right up until we checked into the hospital on the morning of September 14, 2001. I even took some of them with me! After we got settled, the pill was inserted that would induce contractions. Later that afternoon I began having contractions. The contractions didn’t have a pattern really .. coming and going with no consistency at all.
I was doing pretty good at not giving in to the pain, instead focusing on what was happening in my body and with that precious little body and soul inside of me about to make it’s way out into this World. At times when I began to lose focus, Lillian’s dad did a really good job at bringing my focus back to what was physically happening instead of my mind focusing on the pain.
Of all things, I worked through each contraction by chanting the vowels. I know. Crazy! I had read about the chanting and just skipped over it as I knew that was just something I would not be doing! I went with it. It was working in keeping me relaxed and letting the contraction happen instead of tensing up. I also visualized what was actually happening inside of me. That helped a great deal also.
My Ob-Gyn visited one more time before leaving and told me I would most likely be there through the night and would birth in the morning. When she left, I looked at Lillian’s dad and told him there was no way in heck I was doing this for that long. I was going to relax and have that baby NOW!
The hospital did not allow water births. However, they did allow you to sit in the tub during contractions and up to the birthing moment. I got into the tub and it felt sooooooo good. The contractions sped up rapidly as I was able to relax more and relax into the contractions. We could see Lilian moving down the birth canal headed towards the exit! I had already decided that for me and my baby and our birthing experience, a water birth was the right thing for us. I am a rule follower too, mostly. So I stayed in the tub until I knew she was about to make her exit.
When I felt her head very close to emerging, we notified the nurse that Lillian was about to be joining us. They said they’d be right down and I will never forget the look on that nurse’s face when she entered the bathroom! She said, “Oh my goodness. You’ve got to get out of the bathtub!” My immediate response was “No” as I was about to have a contraction. She reminded me that I couldn’t birth in the water and I said I’d get out after the next contraction.
I didn’t even get a chance to get my gown back on before lying down, having one or two more contractions and that little girl flew out! Literally! My Ob-Gyn didn’t make it back in time and the attending doctor had just come into the room. He said, “Don’t push yet” and I said, “Are you freaking crazy? My body says to push!” So I did and out she flew still in the safety and warmth of her amniotic sac. He had to catch her. Nature did not care if they were not ready!
I felt absolutely amazing after that .. euphoric! I kept thinking, “Oh my good golly! I just had a baby. And I did it naturally!” I felt so strong and full of energy … Like I could do anything! It’s a feeling like no other and one I have not felt since then. I have come close but nothing can match that feeling.
I was ready to go home shortly after that and they would have released me after 24 hours but Lillian needed to get her temperature and blood sugar regulated. We still didn’t know at the time that she had 18p-. I was walking down the hall a few hours after delivery and one of the nurses said, “Who are you? You are something else!”
We stayed in the hospital for 4 days waiting for Lillian’s temperature and blood sugar to normalize. We were finally released and headed home with a beautiful little 4 pound 5 ounce fairy angel!
Now as I watch her dance around the room, singing words that only she understands, talking with her imaginary friends, I think back to the night that she flew into the World.
Lilian is 12 years old now and for the first time ever at her birthday party she blew out her candles on the first try .. ALL 12 candles! This may not seem like much, but because of the shape of her mouth and lips she has not been able to blow like you and I can … Until NOW!
Lillian’s brother, Thomas, was so excited for her! You can see him about to jump with excitement in this picture. He gave her a big hug afterwards. He couldn’t help himself! Lillian does not like hugs but I think she understood and was a little embarrassed with all the fuss that he and I were making in front of her friends! I kind of like that it’s blurry because I thought for sure I’d be taking more than one and didn’t steady my hand before taking this one. I didn’t get a chance to take another … She blew them candles out!!
Here’s a video of her trying to blow out a candle from January 2011. You can see how far she’s come with this skill!
A fairy angel FLEW into the World at 11:27 pm on September 14, 2001 and twelve years later she BLEW out 12 birthday candles. On. The. FIRST. Attempt! You Go Lillian Paige Darnell, You Go!! I love you unconditionally, forever and ever, to eternity, and to the moon and back!
“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 iz … Continue reading →
(Nikki and I and her cat in the top picture and Nikki and I and our friend Ginger in the lower picture. This was my going away dinner before I moved.)
For my beautiful friend Nikki Luinstra (Robin Nicole Jones) who is forever in her happy place now …. She LOVED the beach! We watched the movie Beaches together at about 19 years old and made a promise to one another that I was not able to fulfill in person, yet have done my best to fulfill in my imagination since she phoned me last month.
Nikki left a voice mail on June 25, 2013 saying, “Camilla, my sister. I haven’t talked to you in forever. I really need to talk to you now. Call me. I love you.” I phoned her right back and it was the most out of body conversation I have ever had. My heart is so heavy that I was not able to go to her when she called me last month. She said, “Remember when we watched the movie Beaches? Remember what we said to each other? Will you be coming down here anytime soon?” She was calling to tell me good bye … She also told me she was worried about her family, her husband, Mark and her 3 daughters. I want her daughters, Shelby, Kelly and Marcy to KNOW that they will always have a friend and mentor in me. Should they ever need someone to listen or to offer advice who also knew their Mom …. I am forever here for them.
Although we did go on our own separate journeys that took us thousands of miles from each other, this was never forgotten. My wish is that my imagination was strong enough that it reached her and she felt as though we were sitting on the beach soaking it in during this last month. I know too that the next time I visit a beach, Nikki will be there to just say “Hey”.
We met when we were in high school at about 16 years old. We worked at the same grocery store, Jitney Jungle. We quickly became the best of friends. We spent so much time together and eventually coined ourselves as sisters since neither of us had a sister. I even called Nikki’s Mom, Peggy, my other mother. Nikki and I lived together for a time before I moved from Mississippi in 1990. She was indeed a great friend.
Nikki was a dedicated friend, Mom, Wife, Daughter, Sister, Aunt, Nurse … whatever role she had chosen to fulfill. Now she is an Angel and knowing her, she has dedicated herself to this like everything else in her life. Nikki’s ashes were taken to the beach she loved so dearly and scattered. Her body and soul are now free of the cancer that took her life. I wanted Nikki to have a forever in the digital world too so I wrote this article dedicated to her. Love you Nikki … Enjoy that eternal beach! xoxoxoxo
My wish is that this article inspires just the right person at just the right moment when he/she stumbles across it in this vast digital world. Further, my wish is that you know that a deep and true friendship spans distance and continues it’s strength with time, even when friends go months or even years without talking with one another. The bond created never weakens ….