The Key of Alchemy by Camilla Downs

Sun Rays with Poem 2017

“The Key of Alchemy”

When ignored,
the darkness within
slowly erodes this physical body
When stuffed and buried deep within,
it silently grows stronger.

At some point along the path
and at many times,
the darkness surfaces.
Like a bullet train
or ever so slowly as a tortoise.
It will not be denied.

Keep turning our hearts away, we can.
Yet, the darkness will not depart
until it has space to be recognized.

The darkness, the shadows
only wish and pine for this space.
To be seen and accepted and felt
with compassion and deep love.

As the darkness is wrapped
in a loving embrace,
the transformation begins.

Acceptance, compassion and love,
serve to alchemize the darkness and shadows.
Transforming and melting the darkness
into the light.

The darkness may transform like a
freight train or may ever so slowly
transform as a tortoise.
Yet, it will transform when met
with love and compassion.

The irritation,
The anger,
The loneliness,
The despair,
The confusion.
Surface as they rub
the darkness within.
These feelings and emotions are the
key that allow an
opportunity to free oneself
from the suffering of denying
the darkness.

Freedom to live
consciously and authentically
is the gift this Key bears.

Oh, glory be,
the Key of Alchemy.
-2017, Camilla Downs, Lessons from Nature

Throwback – Lillian Darnell Turns Twelve


September 17 2013:

Lillian’s Birthday was this past Saturday, 9.14 …. Happy Happy Happy 12th Birthday to an incredibly amazing and awesome Fairy Princess by the name of Lillian Paige Darnell. I am blessed to eternity to get to be your Mama and to have your magical presence in my life. You are PERFECT just as you were created and were created that way on purpose and for a reason.

It is crystal clear why you and I were paired together as Mother and Daughter. We have much that we have taught one another and will continue to teach each other. We had and still have some wild and crazy shifting and awakening to guide each other through …

I overflow with gratitude and HappYness that I get to dance the dance of life with YOU!! Rock on with your twelfth year of life in this beautiful and amazing world we get to call HOME!! I LOVE YOU LILLIAN!!!

Happy 12th Birthday Lillian Photo

How to be a Peaceful Parent

January 7 2017:

Top 10 Countdown Continues! The Number FIVE 2016 blog post with the most views: “The Power and Magic of Connected Parenting” ……. xoxoxoxoxo ……

The Power and Magic of Connected Parenting

from the article … “Ever since Thomas was 1 year old we have been going to the library every 2 or 3 weeks. We live as a team rather than a dictatorship. Mostly, I am the team leader, yet I give them many opportunities to lead. We have letting go burning ceremonies every quarter.

We continually talk about why we are here, what are our goals, how are we doing personally and as a family, we make gratitude lists, create yearly vision boards for each of us and one as a family, write “compliment” notes for each other, and we openly discuss and practice mindfulness and emotional connection. We are not typical … and we like it ….. “

“Most people see what is, and never see what can be.” -Albert Einstein

The 2016 Chromosome 18 Conference: The Alamo

Thomas says I’m delirious. I was just going through the pictures I took at The Alamo … Laughing so hard that my stomach hurt. Who goes to visit The Alamo and takes one picture of the building and 20 of the oak trees and flowers? That would be me. I seriously didn’t realize I’d done that until now. Thomas is right. I’m deliriously in love with nature and taking pictures of her grace and beauty.

As I was beginning to pack the car Thursday morning, Thomas asked if we were going to see The Alamo before we left as it is on his list of places to visit. At first I told him we needed to get going and wouldn’t be able to do it this trip.

I changed my mind and said, “Yes, let’s do it.” He and I walked over while Lillian was finishing breakfast and getting dressed. It was only about a 5-7 minute walk from the hotel.

I’m incredibly grateful I listened to my heart. As we made the 3 day drive home, I asked each of them their most memorable moments. One of Thomas’ was seeing The Alamo ….

Beginning pictures with this amazing 140+ year old oak tree that was transplanted to the Alamo when it was a wee 40 years old! The main branches are over 50 feet long! I could have hung out with this tree all day! AMAZING!!!!

I didn’t realize it until looking at the pictures on Friday, but I only took ONE picture of the building. All the rest are of the walk there and the nature surrounding and within The Alamo. May you enjoy this view of The Alamo. xoxo

Bird Language and Tea and Savings and Nature and Swimming

June 8 2016:

It was my choice for family activity tonight. My favorite part was what I chose to close with … We visited the Bird Language website from a book I’m reading and listened to all the different songs and variations of many different birds to see which we recognized …. Cuddled on the couch with Thomas sitting behind me and Lillian sitting beside me … Thank you and I’ll have more please. xoxo

June 9 2016:

And just when you think you have nothing left to purge, you remember about a few more items …. So long 21 piece tea set. I’ve enjoyed your beauty tremendously.

Ever since you chose me to come home with from England 16 years ago. You certainly get around! Safe travels to Franklin, Tennessee and may you enjoy your new home!!

June 9 2013

He’s been wanting me to take him to open a savings account …. For months! Done!!!!! He got to sign his name. Apparently that’s a big deal!! He was so excited.

June 10 2016:

Thomas has been asking and asking me to finish this post for him and share it. Done!! A Leaf at Sunset and a Nature Box set and Pre-Ordering The Grand Adventure of the Biggest Little Photographer book! His creativity and imagination are inspiring!

Today was library day!! But first, they went for a swim.

Two moments of life lived while reaching goals and realizing dreams. xoxo

Thomas & Lillian at Pool June 10 2016

Fall Break Adventures 2015

October 27 2015:

Fall Break Adventures – Picnic at the park, volleyball, walking, collecting sticks, and taking fun pictures. Our word of the day is “love”. How was love part of our adventures? Lillian says, for her, it was the sun and the peacefulness (we had the whole park to ourselves). Thomas says, for him, it was collecting sticks and looking at the trees. For me, it was taking pictures of trees, walking, and collecting nut shells. xoxo

Fall Break Adventures – Fun drive up Geiger Grade to Virginia City yesterday. Our word of the day was “love”. How was love part of our adventures? Lillian says, for her, it was walking along the boardwalk, window shopping in Stone Age Quarry, and seeing the city park, library, and pool.

Thomas says, for him, seeing the remains of old Geiger Grade, window shopping in Stone Age Quarry, and seeing the wild horses. For me, it was their excitement as if it was the first time we had done this, wild horses, and eating fresh roasted pumpkin seeds on the drive back home. xoxo

Fall Break Adventures – Today was a walk in the rain, then a pre-dinner candlelight dessert picnic in the car with an amazing view at Audrey Harris Park. Thomas and I had mini pumpkin cheesecake and Lillian had a ghost cookie. Then home for homemade chicken noodle soup! YUM!!!

Fall Break Adventures – Went to Damonte Ranch park this afternoon. Word of the day is “wonder”. Our park adventure and wonder = For Thomas, it was the cold, how high he kicked rocks and bark.

For Lillian, it was, walking through the maze, throwing the ball with me, the section of the trail we walked on, and the walk itself. For me, it was visiting the park in our old neighborhood that we’ve not been to in nearly 2 years and the sense of feeling so at home and having a quiet long walk with two amazing young people. xoxo

Last Fall Break Adventure!! Drove around Lake Tahoe – from Reno to Carson City to South Lake Tahoe to North Lake Tahoe and then back to Reno via Mt Rose Highway. All in 5 hours. First stop was Logan Shoals Vista where we had a picnic lunch. Amazing place for a picnic! Words of the day were “song” and “unity” (couldn’t come to a balanced decision between the team!).

Lake Tahoe Adventure + Song/Union = For Lillian, Song = It was me singing every time Lake Tahoe came into view. We heard “Monster Mash” 3 times and that was funny! Union = Me helping her up and down the stairs at each stop, and having fun and being silly in the car. For Thomas, Song = When he was looking through the binoculars at Inspiration Point. Unity = When he was on the big rock at Logan Shoals. For me, Song/Unity (they became one for me) = As we were driving from Reno to Carson City the view from the bridge brought “Amazing Grace” to my thoughts.

Immediately after that, while driving into Carson Valley, we heard “Take My Breath Away”, and rounded it out with “Best Day of My Life”. At one point staring into the big, beautiful, emerald green water, with the rocks and the trees; I couldn’t even feel myself anymore. What an amazing and fabulous experience. I mean, look at this amazing place!! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! BIG xoxoxoxo!!

The Perfect School


WoooHoooooo! I’m HAPPY …. I’m GRATEFUL … I’m BLESSED … Did I just win the lottery? No, not a cash lottery; but I just came from “Coffee with Tammie” (High Dessert Montessori Principal) and a pre-IEP meeting with the special education

teacher …. I totally won the Perfect-School-for-My-Kids Lottery!! Oh my goodness … these people are amazing, this school is amazing and I’m grateful that a brave and courageous woman, Dr. Maria Montessori, made the choices she made during her lifetime … Born in Chiaravalle in the Province of Ancona in 1870 (August 31, 1870 – May 6, 1952) …. Thank you for being YOU!! “Every child is a unique individual that needs to be understood, respected, admired and unconditionally accepted as a precious gift of life.” -Dr. Maria Montessori …

Report Card

‎”I want to keep my Report Card in my room for the rest of my life … as a kid … ’cause I don’t want to forget Mrs. O’Connor!” -Thomas Darnell {Thank you to Mrs. O’Connor for being such a fabulous teacher and role model, for being patient, and for texting almost daily with me to ensure we were working together to help Thomas be his best!!}



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

Did you know Camilla 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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