Thoughts on Mother’s Day – 2020

I didn’t post anything about Mother’s Day this past Sunday, May 10, 2020. I was feeling down, and dealing with aching teeth. For anyone new to this blog, I have two kids. Thomas who is 14 years old and Lillian who is 18 years old. I’ve raised them alone for the past 13 years.

Mother’s Day has never been about store bought gifts and flowers for me. I do not judge those who find these things meaningful. I have always loved and enjoyed the home made cards and gifts that Thomas and Lillian made me when they were younger. I have attempted to raise them not to feel compelled to give gifts just because a calendar, or someone else, says it’s time to give a gift. I wanted them to give gifts because they were moved to do so, to show love, to show joy, to show appreciation. I now understand why moms around the world keep and treasure gifts their kids made for them as children. These are true treasures.

By afternoon on Sunday, I had received nothing from either Thomas or Lillian. Well, except Thomas told me “Happy Mother’s Day” when he overheard me telling my mom the same. Lillian had been in a snarky, unfriendly mood, and remained so all day. In the late afternoon, I shed tears at something Thomas had said; which led him to tell me he didn’t know what to give me or make for me and he didn’t feel like making anything. I explained that I don’t want him to feel obligated to give me something. But, I sure as hell can be sad and nostalgic for when they were younger and spent days making me a gift. And, my sadness does not mean that he has done something wrong. He understood.


(Throwback to 2014)

Later that night, he gave me a hug and told me I was a good mom. Later, still, he commented that I don’t look 50 years old and that I should have more wrinkles. He said I look 40 years old. HA! Silly Thomas! Oh my gosh! I have been on this freaking planet for 50 damn years! That’s wild!

I felt compelled to share a glimpse of a different Mother’s Day post. I respect how all choose to celebrate this day, and have compassion for those who have sadness in their hearts on this day. We are all different, yet, the feelings of joy and sadness are felt by all.

May you take from this whatever is meant for you. xoxo

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

“Words of Alchemy”, published December 2019, is a free-verse poetry memoir covering the last 6 years of my life. The poetry of nature, the poetry of healing, the poetry of appreciation, the poetry of love, in one beautiful book.

Amazing news! My 18 year old daughter, Lillian Darnell’s debut book, “Where Would You Fly and Other Magical Stories” was published January 2018. Learn more and order here

Wonderfully exciting news! My 14 year old son, Thomas Darnell‘s book, Biggest Little Photographer is published. Be inspired! Learn more and order here.

Movie Musings: Wonder and Love and Courage

Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium Movie 5.6.17

Team TLC Movie Night: Lillian’s choice: “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium” – Third or fourth time around for this one. We kinda like it!

Lillian says, “Good, funny, awesome, fantastic, magical, emotional, and 100% recommended.”

I say, “I absolutely adore this magical movie. Incredibly moving. If you believe in yourself magic will happen. Anything can happen. Quote from Mr. Magorium: ‘We must face tomorrow with determination, joy, and courage. You’re life is an occasion. Rise to it.'”

Thomas says, “Good, liked the humor, liked the zebra, liked the sock monkey, and liked Mr. Magorium, liked EVERYTHING!”

Wall E Movie 4.29.17

Team TLC movie night: Thomas’ choice: Wall•E … Second time around for this one.

Thomas says, “Good, liked it!”

Lillian says, “Good, musical, 100% recommended, adventurous, funny, exciting, and awesome.”

I say, “Great to watch this again with Thomas and Lillian. Watched it about five or six years ago.”

To see ALL of Team TLC Movie Suggestions go here to The Team TLC Book and Movie Guide.

Long Way North Movie 4.22.17

Team TLC movie night – My choice: “Long Way North”

I say, “Wonderful tale of discovering ones courage and following the knowing of the heart.”

Thomas says, “I liked it, good movie.”

Lillian says, “Good, awesome, musical, emotional, liked it, and 50% recommend.”

Blessings,

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.

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*Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Imporium Movie Review, *Long Way North Movie Review

10 Most Popular Posts for 2016

thomas-and-camilla-at-odabe-round-dance-9-25-16-5

Top 10 Blog Posts With the Most Views (Culled only from 2016 blog posts)

  1. Dear Meltdown, Meet My Friend Mindfulness
  2. Biggest Little Photographer Arrives – We Did It
  3. Living in a Tiny Home Adventures – Four Months
  4. Photo a Day for 365 Days – Thomas’ One Year Anniversary
  5. The Power and Magic of Connected Parenting
  6. 2016 Chromosome 18 Conference – San Antonio
  7. A Rapturous Dance With Life
  8. The Biggest Little Photographer by Thomas Darnell
  9. The Tao of Letting GoLetting Go Burning Ceremony, and There is More Than One Way (These 3 blog posts had the same amount of views)
  10. A State of Pure Awareness

**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 ….

love-cards-in-a-basket-october-2016

Top 10 Blog Posts With the Most Views for 2016 (Culled from all blog posts)

  1. Olive Oil as Facial Cleanser and Moisturizer – Oil Cleansing Method
  2. Recipe: No Powdered Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
  3. Oil Cleansing Method – Update
  4. 17 Easy and Free Ideas on How to Rejuvenate Yourself
  5. Taste the Wind
  6. Dear Meltdown: Meet My Friend Mindfulness
  7. Recipe: Almond Flour Cookies
  8. Living in a Tiny Home Adventures
  9. Biggest Little Photographer Arrives – We Did It
  10. Recipe: Chia Seed Pudding

Top 10 Blog Posts of All Time With the Most Views

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

Here’s to a 2017 in which we all go within to BE the change we wish to see in the world. BE Love, BE Peace, BE Compassion … We must BE this within in order to experience it without.

hearts-rock-sparks-2015

Blessings,

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.

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I is for Improvise

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

We all improvise on a daily basis. We just aren’t aware of it because it happens so naturally. When we have spontaneous conversations with people during our daily interactions we are improvising. Our dialogue is not “memorized” or practiced. Tapping into this natural improv skill has helped me in dealing with my kids and with not-so-great life situations.

People tell me it makes them tired just watching all the adventures my kids and I have. We really don’t do that much. It just seems that way to those on the outside of our little world. By nature, I am an introvert. I love staying home; but I also know I want my kids growing up learning that you can turn just about anything into an adventure. Be spontaneous. Making things up as we go along is the ultimate adventure. It may not be possible to do this all the time, but with practice you can incorporate it at every opportunity. Our kids will learn how to tap into their own improvisational skills the more they see us doing it. By our example, they will learn how to turn the everyday into an adventure and how to cope when things don’t go their way.

Recently we arrived at an event that my kids had been anticipating all day. As we got closer to the building we saw a line that snaked around the entire building. There was no way I was going to stand in that line. Fortunately, Thomas and Lillian agreed; but they were still disappointed. This was an opportunity to improvise and save the situation. On the way home we stopped at one of our favorite places in Reno, Audrey Harris Park. The earlier excitement in the car returned as we made our way. It’s not really much of a park. It’s very small, with only a couple of benches and it sits at the edge of a ridge. It’s a special place to us though. I am in love with the amazing view of Reno and the skyline which infuses me with peace and awe. I take joy in the drive there and the drive back home. Thomas and Lillian enjoy the view too. More than that, it has become a special place for the three of us as a family. What a great day!

Being a single parent to Thomas and Lillian has indeed been an adventure. In fact, my entire life is a great improvising adventure. Being that I am a procrastinator, with an added pinch of spontaneity, you could say that I am quite the adventure for my kids. Even though I make much of our escapades up as I go along, it is perfect, and I look forward with a happy, smiling heart to every single adventure yet to come for me and my little family.

Tip for the Journey:

Find some time during your day NOT to have a plan. No planned activity, no schedule to follow. Wait until that specific moment and ask yourself what you would like to do for the next hour or two. If you are with your kids, ask them what they would like to do, what kind of an adventure they would like to go on. Kids can come up with some pretty amazing ideas for adventures. Most likely you will not really be able to have the exact adventure they suggest, but this is where improvisation comes into play. As parents, we improvise all the time, and don’t even realize it; when a toy breaks, or the scissors are missing, or they want something to use as a ramp to play cars. You name it! Practice transferring this great skill to other areas to create peace in your life.

When we aren’t happy or not truly living in the present moment, it’s hard to improvise. Practice keeping yourself in the present moment. As often as possible repeat thoughts and activities that help you to pay attention to the present moment, experience joy, and be inspired. When you live in the present moment you are better equipped to tap into your improvising skills, be spontaneous, and go with it.

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

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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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Z is for Zigzag

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

Conventional wisdom says “do it this way, this is the way it’s always been done.” I am the type of person who questions conventional wisdom. I pause to think about whether the way it’s always been done is really the right way for me and my family.

Conventional wisdom says that the best path for Lillian is to attend traditional public school to benefit from what she’s entitled to according to federal laws and what’s established in her IEP. Well, that worked for us through fourth grade, but it doesn’t work now. You see, I simply believe with all my being that this little lady will not follow any conventional route in her life, or in her career. I believe she will be self-employed, and I don’t believe she will reach her full potential staying in a traditional public school. Of course, I will accept whatever career path she chooses, but for now, I choose us to zag instead of zig.

I’m not saying that we should always zag when others zig. But, that we pay attention when something inside us is saying, “not so fast there, find a different way,” or “don’t keep doing that.” We may hear these messages, but dismiss them due to doubt, fear, or laziness. As these messages bounce around in our mind, we find that we have invited another person’s voice telling us we are crazy for thinking that way.

Happy and successful people didn’t get where they are today by making the same choices as the masses. If you take time to study them, you will find there’s something different in the way they think, their attitude, and how they make choices.

One of my kids made a statement once that we are poor. I explained that I don’t agree and here’s why. We may be broke at the moment, but we are not poor. I consider us to be rich because of our relationships with one another, our adventures, and the joy we experience. I believe there’s a fundamental difference between being poor and being broke. Poor vs. rich is all in how you look at it. Being broke is temporarily having no money. Being rich depends on how our attitude and thoughts perceive our reality. How do we measure “rich”?

It is most important to me that I try to not take myself so darn seriously. I fully understand that we have some serious situations to deal with, especially as parents of children with special needs. I’m not advocating that we ignore serious medical conditions. I’m only suggesting that we become aware of our attitudes and thoughts concerning serious matters. Do your best not to dwell in the past, or get stuck in the “why” questions. Accept the present moment for what it is. Really and truly listen to your gut. Listen even if you don’t understand why it’s pushing you in a certain direction.

The bold overriding theme of this entire book is the ability to accept ourselves, listen to our intuition, and live in the present moment. That’s why it is repeated throughout this book. I know I need to be continually reminded of this. I forget. Acceptance, courage, flexibility, and our view of life all comes back to how we think. Our emotions are an expression of our thoughts. Take it slow and have patience with yourself.

Tip for the Journey:

Awake each morning and realize with awe that you have been given a very special, unique gift. You have been given a precious gift of another full twenty four hours to make your own. Twenty-four hours to do with as you choose, to experience joy and happiness, and to share with those around you. I truly believe the more we share joy and happiness, the more it will spread. Every day you get another twenty four hours to work toward your dreams and goals, and another day to enjoy the heck out of while you’re on your journey. I like to refer to this as a Sunrise Gift and no two Sunrise Gifts are the same. You choose the nature of the gift and what you will do with it. Make the most of your Sunrise Gifts.

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

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Book Musings: Fans and Mediums and Strange Creatures

The Painted Fan (amazon affiliate link)

Beautifully illustrated story about a time of prophecy, magic and bravery. Great illustrations too. We really enjoyed this one!

Medical Medium (amazon affiliate link) – I literally could not stop reading this book! For me, it lined up perfectly reading this directly after Super Genes (amazon affiliate link). Goes beyond inflammation being at the root of our health problems. Loved it!

Strange Creatures – The Story of Walter Rothschild and His Museum (amazon affiliate link)

Beautifully illustrated biography of a young man who followed his passion while surrounded by those who had chosen a different path for him. We LOVED it!!!! xoxo

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.

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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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Happy Birthday to Me 2016

It’s my birthday month! February 26th will mark the beginning of my 46th year of living, learning, and loving in our beautiful paradise of a world.

I feel moved to celebrate in a different way this month. I am moved to share, give, and to allow myself to receive. Although I’m not in a position to give financially; I do want to honor this inner urge. I can give my time. I can spread loving-kindness and I can show my gratitude for BEing alive!

I have books! During the month of February, I’m offering 2 for the price of 1 for “D iz for Different”. You can email to CamillaDowns (@) gmail (dot) com if you’re interested.

“Sometimes we don’t need advice. Sometimes we don’t even need to talk. Sometimes we just need an authentic and loving hug.” -Me

I’m also planning to give free hugs on Friday, February 26th. I’m not sure of the location or exact time yet. I’ll be accepting hugs too! If you don’t need a hug, you can stop by and give me one! Stay tuned to facebook. I’ll post the time and location as it gets closer. If you don’t use facebook, you can email at the address above.

Lastly, I open my arms wide and face the big, beautiful sky. I say, “I welcome the blessings and answered prayers being sent ……. And, I allow myself to receive with grateful wholeheartedness.”

Happy Birthday to ME!

Blessings,

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

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Book Musings: Sacred Circle and Super Genes and Ink Gardens

Dance of the Sacred Circle (amazon affiliate link) – A tale of bravery and magic based on a Blackfeet legend …. “The old ones spoke of the Great Chief in the Sky, whose breath gave life all the world. They said he lived in a wonderful land far above the stars …. ” Another one we really enjoyed …

Super Genes (amazon affiliate link) – I first read about epigenetics several years ago in Bruce Lipton’s, “Biology of Belief”  (amazon affiliate link). This takes it even further with great information about the microbiome and inflammation. GREAT book. I’ll be buying this one!

Another book we really enjoyed … “The Ink Garden of Brother Theophane(amazon affiliate link)

A wonderful fiction based on the monks of the Middle Ages from Ireland who established monasteries throughout much of Europe and parts of the Middle East. The monasteries were the place where books were made. The monks carefully translated and copied the great written works of antiquity.

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.

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