Happy 11th Birthday Thomas

November 13 2016:

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He wanted cheesecake for his cake. So that’s what I made for him with shaved dark chocolate on top. Oh my YUM!!!

He so loves and enjoys reading National Geographic so I got him a subscription for the print edition. Lillian made a handmade card and then a “mystery box” (which he renamed a “memory box”).

With help from me she collected items from around the house to put in the box and then she handmade a coupon for one stone or crystal from Stone Age with some of her own quotes on the back. Other goodies from The Romano Duo!!

“We’re the weirdest people I know.” ~Thomas Darnell (11.8.16) …. To which we both burst out laughing and let even more weirdness ensue. It’s true. I’m not your average person, nor the average mom. But, that’s another story for another time ….This one’s for Thomas ….

Happy Happy Happy 11th Birthday Thomas!!!!

Here’s to you! As you begin your 11th trip around the sun, may you live your life to the fullest. You have blessed me with countless gifts from the moment you joined us.

Your tender heart combined with your honesty, compassion, and empathy are indeed precious. Rounded out with your true confusion as to why age seems to be such a big deal in this world, by way if its limitations; have made for interesting, fun, and life shifting adventures and conversations. Your soul knows no age and you have not forgotten that.

“It’s like I’ve lived this life before, I have nostalgia almost every day, like I’ve experienced this all before.” said often by Thomas.

Snapshot of Thomas: Some of his favorite topics are minecraft, LEGOS, coding, math, and learning about topics that interest him. He loves fibonacci numbers, bernoulli’s equation, and the law of infinite probability. Some of his most cherished things to do are reading, being outside, going on adventures, and swimming.

And as of about two weeks ago, has a PUBLISHED BOOK!!! Wahoooo!!!

He asks a billion questions, makes funny noises, teases his sister too much, has sensory processing issues, gets overwhelmed in crowds and noisy places, takes longer than the average person to process questions asked of him ….

He calls me out when I’m not “doing” as I say, he holds the biggest freakin mirror in front of me when I need it most, and he has a heart of gold.

Thomas, I love you throughout all of time and all dimensions and am blessed we chose to be mother and son in this life.

PEACE and LOVE …. PEACE and LOVE …. PEACE and LOVE ….

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November 14 2016:

Birthday treat for the 11 year old this morning.

The most amazing vegan root beer float with coconut bliss ice cream and Oogave root beer. Plus a treat for me: Aztec D’oro, made with almond milk.

But first, a toast to Thomas’ 11th trip around the sun with this amazing and yummy water.

Thank you Great Full Gardens for the birthday discount … we are over the super moon thankful to you for that!!!

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It IS a Book and Thank You and Ordinary to Extraordinary

November 6 2016:

Someone was looking at Biggest Little Photographer a few days ago and asked, “Are you going to make this into a book?”

I was a bit perplexed. So … yes! This is a real, actual, published book. Thank you to everyone for your support and enthusiasm!!! xoxo

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November 7 2016:

Beautiful message received:

“I got the coolest package in the mail today. Just when I was getting homesick and missing the west coast this came at the perfect time. This book was created by the most amazing 8 year old I know who is the perfect example of determination and going after your dreams and he’s accomplished more in those 8 years then I ever will.

Thank you @camilladowns for warming my heart on this rainy Texas night. You all should check out his book at biggestlittlephotographer.com. This kid is going places and has a positive message to share.” – Gloria, Texas

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November 7 2016:

Thank you Ms. Elyse for buying Biggest Little Photographer and supporting Thomas. And thank you Ms. Nicole for buying one too!!

Elyse was Thomas’ 4th grade teacher and Nicole was his 1st-3rd grade teacher. Such amazing, wonderful, and great people!!

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November 8 2016:

Thank you Diana Beeghly Rovetti for your enthusiasm and support!!!! We are so grateful!!! xoxo

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November 9 2016:

A chocolate toast ….. from all three of us: Here’s to receiving an order of 20 books from The Discovery Museum this afternoon and confirmation of the book signing date of November 26th from 2-4 …. one of THE busiest days of the year for them.

Here’s to food, to becoming a family of authors, to Lillian’s accomplishments … And here’s to being the light in the darkness. Love and light from Team TLC to you… xoxo

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November 11, 2016:

Yesterday was a good day to mail more books!! Oceans of gratitude to everyone!! xoxo

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November 11 2016:

This was waiting for me in the mail today! Thomas Darnell, an amazing 9 year old, started a 365 day photography project when he was 8!!! He is now a published author with his book titled, “Biggest Little Photographer.” With a passion for legos and a determination to go from “I can do it!” to “I did it!,” Thomas has accomplished an amazing feat!

Is there a child you want to inspire to go for their dreams?? Consider this book a wonderful Christmas gift idea! – Lois, Louisiana

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November 12, 2016:

Received in the mail a few days ago …. This brought on more joyful and heart opening tears …. May it carry a beautiful message to you as well …

Dear Thomas,

Since your book arrived last week, I have read it a couple of times thru and also just looked at a few pages and smiled!

You certainly are to be commended for taking on and completing such a big project for an entire year! It is so lovely for you to have a dream come to fruition at your young age!

The quotes were just perfect and so appropriate!

The message for me is to not take life for granted. Your little photographer took pictures of the ORDINARY and made them EXTRAORDINARY thru his camera lens and your vision.

Congratulations and best wishes for your future … ~Patricia, California

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My Response is MY Choice and Picture and Clarity and Love and Light

November 6 2016:

Walk tonight with these two. Grateful for lessons they continue to teach me. My response is my choice. Others response is their choice. My state of BEing is up to me, no matter what. xoxo

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November 8 2016:

From my walk this morning …. such beauty. I kept getting the feeling I needed to take a picture. As I turned for the last section, this. The take-a-picture feeling is so incredibly strong sometimes. This was one of those times.

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November 9 2016:

Walk with Thomas yesterday afternoon …. Nature offers us a path to clarity when we need it most. Nature guides one back to the heart …. away from the ego. xoxo

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November 11 2016:

Walk this morning …. Love and light …… Be still my heart. Such beauty!! xoxo

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Biggest Little Photographer to Meg and Buttercup

November 11 2016:

Thank you Barbara Richmond Chastain!!!! We got to deliver three books to Barb this afternoon! She bought one for herself and one for Buttercup and Meg since they are famous now!!!!

Actually, she’s very excited to be gifting the books to her grandkids. Barb’s place has its very own section in the book. We love you Barb and Buttercup and Meg too!!

A visit to Barbara Richmond Chastain’s place is always a treat. Thomas says, “Every time we come here, you two spend more time talking then I do riding Meg.” Told him that I was sorry about that and he said, “That’s okay. I wasn’t complaining. It was just an observation.”

Barb: Your grace, patience, kindness, and acceptance of Thomas and his abundance of and nonstop questions is wonderful. Thank you. xoxo

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Eternally at Peace

November 11 2016:

“Trunks and branches growing in opposite directions,
all with different views. Yet, you are eternally at peace.
Oh tree. You inspire me.” ~Camilla Downs – Author

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one …. With each day my heart fills with more and more and more love and peace …. Yet, the love and peace is to be uncovered within before it is discovered without … xoxoxo

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BE the Change and Know Who You Are

November 9 2016:

I wrote this message after taking these pictures. We just got back from Lillian’s OT appointment and I was drawn to these two trees. Lillian and I laughed, and smiled, and took wonderful, inspiring pictures. A message inspired by nature …

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This afternoon from 1-3:45 I get to speak on a parent panel at UNR to students in the medical field. The class is titled Serving Individuals with Disabilities and their Families.

I may falter at times, yet I will continue to do this. I will continue to live from my heart. I will continue to meet anything that is the opposite of love with love and peace. I will continue to spread love, compassion, and non-judgment as that’s the only way I know how to BE anymore.

Even when I encounter others who have everything but kindness to share with me, I will leave my ego and mind and be in my heart. I will see past that person’s ego and see who they truly are. I will not argue. I will not go there.

I have two kids who watch how I react and how I show up in the world. I know that my words are meaningless without the living of those words by myself.

In the “Peace Lesson” I gave on Monday to a group of 4th-6th grade students, the first question I asked them after we defined peace was this: “Where do you think we find peace?” … Only two students offered to answer. One said, “In a sanctuary”. I agreed with him that a sanctuary could certainly be a peaceful place. The other. The other. She knew. Her answer … “In our heart.” That wonderful girl read my heart …

Peace does not begin with “the other”. “BE the change we wish to see in this world” is not an empty meaningless quote for me. BEing the change does not start only after another person changes. We cannot force others to be peaceful.

One other suggestion I shared with the kids: When someone wraps a beautiful package and offers to give it to you as a gift, and you decline to accept that gift; who is the owner of that gift? The gift remains with the person who tried to give it to you.

What if you considered unkind comments from others as a gift they were attempting to give you? And you decided not to accept that gift? The gift would remain with that person. I have taught Thomas and Lillian to respond to unkind comments with silence, or “Is that so?”, or “Okay” and to walk away. It truly, truly does not matter if that person thinks they are right. What matters is what you know in your heart and how you live and BE.

I gave an example from my own life. A couple of years ago, I was sitting next to someone who had been an everyday part of my life for ten years, someone I trusted and loved. That person chose to say over and over many unkind comments to me.

I finally turned to the person and said, “You know what? You are right about that. And you know what else? I have nothing but love to share with others and I will not argue. And, I am so deeply sorry that you feel so unloved.”

Obviously, I didn’t and don’t agree that this person was right. I simply let him relax into the feeling that his ego so desperately needed. After that the “conversation” ended.

I do not mean to say that we ignore when we feel worry, anxiety, and fear. Absolutely NOT. FEEL those feelings, physically feel them. This does mean to dwell on the reason for the feelings. That will not have the desired affect. Focus on how it physically feels. Sit with them. No matter how painful. Cry a river of tears if that’s needed.

For when we let ourselves physically feel these emotions, we then, and only then, will release them. Go stand barefoot in the grass, dirt, sand, or rocks and let Nature help you with this. It is truly magical. Oceans of love and hugs to everyone … xoxoxo

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Wednesday, November 9, 2016, was so incredibly strange as I was going through an internal shift all day and it was simply overflowed into my presentation

In the past I would have been bothered for at least 2 weeks by the way I presented myself. I feel it’s time to retire the facade and BE who we are … vulnerable, real people whose only true want is love, joy, and kindness … And it’s only a “want” because we haven’t realized we already have all that within us … Love you! xoxo

This afternoon from 1-3:45 I spoke on a parent panel at UNR (with 6 other Moms) to students getting a degree serving individuals with disabilities in one capacity or another. The class is titled Serving Individuals with Disabilities and their Families.

It was not my best “speaking”. My voice wavered, I was on the verge of tears, and wept at times. I’ve spoken so many times over the years about this topic and not presented in the same way as today. I’m usually firm and confident. Yet, I do not judge myself thinking I have done poorly. I was authentic.

When these students graduate, get their first job, and they have a parent(s) sitting across from them, there will be days when that parent will not be their best. They may be experiencing illness in the family, a marriage that’s crumbling, had a negative experience in the grocery store before the meeting, or experienced something world shifting that has caused them to know who they truly are at a deeper level.

Today I was authentic in a huge room full of people I do not know. On the drive home I cried so hard and deep I could hardly get my breath. A strange mixture of tears of sadness and joy all at the same time. Knowing a chasm had just opened in my heart to an even deeper level to let love flow in and out. A chasm of connection with all.

May we all let ourselves know who we truly are .. not what the mind or ego would have us believe. What we truly are ….. LOVE …. xoxo

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On the drive home I had an experience unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. A true shift. A deepening of knowing. My heart was opened. Opened for more love to flow in and more love, compassion, and empathy to flow out.

I was crying hysterically and singing at the top of my lungs to this ….https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Da69-pu_pqc ….. and then a Stevie Nicks song. Since then everything seems so clear and pure. When I listen to songs, I’m hearing them like I’ve never heard them before. I’m singing and dancing and the love is overflowing within me.

I realized that I have an opportunity here. A golden opportunity to confront shadows still lurking within and have this be the catalyst to walk the talk and BE LOVE, to do what I came here to do .. And that is to share love in my own unique way ….

It was beautiful and authentic. Good thing the hysterical enlightenment and awakening waited until I was in the car and didn’t happen in front of those students. They only got a little taste of it!

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I Can Do Anything

November 6 2016:

I was drawn to watch this short 3 minute video just now. Although I have moved on from some of the roles and advocacy from this time in my life, this served as a reminder for me in this moment.

This is the video journey that accompanies the book I wrote and published in 2012, D iz for Different – One Woman’s Journey to Acceptance.

I CAN do anything I decide and choose I’m going to do ….. AND …. so can YOU! And it will be a success as long as we do it from love and with love. LOVE will free us all … xoxo

Reset Button and Beautiful Colors and Coots and Clarity walks

November 1 2016:

Beautiful afternoon walk ….. Going for walks is like pressing the reset button. So inspiring …. xoxo

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November 3 2016:

Thomas and I enjoyed a wonderful walk yesterday afternoon! Such fabulous clouds too! Beautiful colors abound!!

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November 3 2016:

I got to take Happy for a walk this morning and there was a beautiful pinkness in the distance. This kind of shows it, yet it was much more beautiful than this! xoxo

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November 4 2016:

Oh so fabulous walk with Lillian yesterday afternoon. We stopped by a large gathering of coots who were eating grass. We stood in silence and listened to the sound of their grazing. It was incredibly beautiful and soothing. Similar to the sound of water running over rocks. xoxo

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November 4 2016:

Walk of clarity this morning!! Check out the ball floating in the middle of the lake. Is it hovering above the mountain or floating at the bottom of it? Perspective is a magical thing! xoxo

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