How A Disability Can Be An Inspiration, Not A Limitation – with Kelli Davis

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

Kelli Davis has seen and been involved with many miraculous stories of children facing and overcoming huge obstacles. What she’s learned from these stories is that perspective can make all the difference. In the last episode of a series on miracles and giving, Kelli shares the incredible story of how a child born without a lower jaw thought outside the box to realize his life’s dream as a musician.

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Dr. Daniel Amen: Welcome to the Brain Warrior's Way podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen: And I'm Tana Amen.
And our podcast, we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.
Dr. Daniel Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we have been transforming lives for 30 years. Using tools like brain SPECT imaging to personalized treatment to your brain. For more information, visit
Tana Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way podcast is also brought to you by Brain MD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals to support the health of your brain and body. To learn more, go to
Dr. Daniel Amen: Welcome back. We're with Kelli Davis. And as we finish the brain on Giving Week, I want you to ask yourself, those of you that are listening, what miracles have happened in your life?
Tana Amen: And what is the miracle you can find today, big or small? What is the miracle you can find? Because if you start teaching your brain to do that, you'll be amazed at what happens.
Kelli Davis: And one thing that that's really helped me do that is for the last 15 years, every night before I go to bed, I write ten things down that I'm grateful for. Puts my brain in a different state when I go to sleep. And when I wake up, I'm in a state of gratitude. And that's the first thing when I wake up is being grateful for my bed, being grateful that I can breathe.
Tana Amen: I do the same thing.
I do it when I wake up, but it's the same thing.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Another thing to do when you wake up is say to yourself, "Today is going to be a great day."
Tana Amen: What if you said, "Today is going to be a miraculous day?" That would be really good.
Kelli Davis: Yes, yes.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Then it's going to be miraculous day. I love that.
But when you say, "Today is going to be a great day," you're unconscious mind then begins to find why it's going to be a great day. So a lot of people who struggle with depression have really hard mornings. That is because when you go to sleep, the brain actually gets sleepy and becomes less and less active. And when you wake up, often it's flooded with all the worst things that's going to happen. Because your frontal lobes aren't active yet, and your frontal lobes actually put a brake on your emotional brain. And it takes a while for them to wake up. So depression is often worse in the morning. But as people get moving and get to their day, it's better. That why the worst thing people can do, if they suffer with depression, is stay in bed.
Because just the act of getting up begins to activate their brain. So a way around that is say, "Today is going to be a great day," or I like what you said, "Today is going to be a miraculous day." And then get up, because if you stew in the depressive soup, it spirals. And sometimes it will chain you to the bed.
Kelli Davis: I like the quote, "Speak what you seek until you see what you said."
Tana Amen: I like that.
Kelli Davis: Because, really, the language that we use will determine the kind of day that we create ourselves.
Tana Amen: Yup, I like it. Because your brain will find it.
Kelli, tell us another story, because the story of Maverick made me cry.
Kelli Davis: Okay.
Tana Amen: And I just think those stories are so special and they teach us so much.
Kelli Davis: Well, I'm so excited to share with you the story of Isaiah Acosta. He is the world's first mute rapper. Isaiah was born without a jaw and an air passage, and didn't have oxygen for 15 minutes. Doctors said Isaiah would be a vegetable, but today, Isaiah just graduated from college, or, I'm sorry, from high school. And a couple years ago, probably in 2017, we were communicating through text because he has no voice and he doesn't have a jaw, so he looks different. And people make fun of him and bully him all the time. He could have surgery to get a jaw, but he doesn't want to because he knows God made him perfectly. And he wants people to accept him for who he is.
So he loves rap music, and we were talking one day. And I'm like, "Isaiah, I bet you have a lot inside of you that you want to say that you've never been able to say." So I said, "Send me your thoughts." He sent me a bank piece of paper and a pen and said, "I'm gonna get started." A couple hours later, I have lyrics on a paper. We teamed him up with a rapper called Rap House. And they wrote his first rap called, Oxygen, The Fly." All proceeds benefit Children's Miracle Network hospitals. And you can watch the short documentary that we produced. It's And it shares his journey. And he is inspiring the world with his voice even though he has no physical voice.
Tana Amen: That's so special.
You know my favorite part of that story is he refuses to get his jaw fixed.
Kelli Davis: Oh, yeah, yeah. He can have surgery but he accepts himself the way God made him.
Can you imagine if-
Tana Amen: Every kid did that? If every kid would do that.
Kelli Davis: Yeah.
So he inspires me every day. And he actually, this is a very sad part of the story, Trap, his voice, passed away on January 19 after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, stage four, two months earlier. So Isaiah has really been struggling with never having a voice, getting a voice, now his voice is gone again. But he's inspiring people. And every day, you can follow him, it's on Instagram, it's just IsaiahAcosta. But he's inspiring the world. He's a miracle to me and right now I'm trying to help him get a Ted Talk. Because I don't know of anyone else who doesn't have a voice that's given a Ted Talk, but he will.
Tana Amen: That's really amazing. I just love that. It's like, "No, we're not gonna get it fixed, people need to accept me for who I am."
If every female on the planet could just learn that, that would just be incredible.
Kelli Davis: Yeah.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I wonder if people listening are like me and they're like, "You know, the things I don't like about myself ...
Tana Amen: Right, compared to that?
Dr. Daniel Amen: Are not really important.
Kelli Davis: Yeah.
Tana Amen: You had a kid like that, though, with that golden ... what's it called?
Dr. Daniel Amen: There's a syndrome called Goldenhar. Where I saw this boy who was born without a left mandible, so his jaw bone. And by the time I saw him, he had 21 surgeries. And he started having panic attacks after the 19th surgery. And that's why his mom brought him to see me. And I did some hypnosis with him and his panic attacks just went away, which were really great. But I decided I had to keep seeing him. I was in the Army at the time, so there was no charge. I had to keep seeing him because I needed to find out why he was the healthiest emotionally, the healthiest person I had ever met. He was a straight A student, he was president of his class, he had a girlfriend.
Tana Amen: People loved him.
Dr. Daniel Amen: He was loved even though his face looked like it was a railroad track because of all the surgeries that he had. And I realized his mother never allowed his disability to be an excuse.
Tana Amen: I love that.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So he always had to go to school, he needed to do chores, he needed to be a giving part of the family. Never in a mean way, but it was the expectation. "You have many gifts and I expect you to give them to the world."
Tana Amen: That's amazing.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And I think of all the patients I've seen over the years, he's just inspired me to not look at my problems, but to look at the blessings I have.
Kelli Davis: But you know what's cool? Is Isaiah has never spoken a word, he's never tasted food, he really shouldn't be here today. But he goes out and he feeds the homeless.
Tana Amen: Inspires the world.
Kelli Davis: Goes to the hospital, gives back to the kids. Like his whole life is meant to inspire others. And he's doing it on a daily basis.
Tana Amen: And I get annoyed in traffic. What? I'm like, "What?" That's just crazy.
It's like this kid-
Dr. Daniel Amen: Kelli, we're gonna have to have you back because it will help my wife in traffic.
Tana Amen: Yes, it will help me in traffic. I'm gonna get in the car today and go, "I have no right to be annoyed in traffic today," because I'm gonna think of Isaiah. That's incredible.
Like this kid, no, think about this. His big frustration is that he wants to have a voice to inspire the world, it's not because he wants a jaw, it's not because he wants to taste ... I mean, maybe he wants those things, but that's not what he's pushing for.
Kelli Davis: But I think the greatest thing, too, is even though he's doesn't have a voice, he has one of the biggest voices out there.
Tana Amen: Yes.
Kelli Davis: So whatever limitation you see in your life, don't look at it as a limitation, look at it as an opportunity where you can thrive.
Dr. Daniel Amen: You have been really amazing.
Tana Amen: Yeah, so inspiring, Kelli.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And we look forward to talking to you again when you're in southern California, let us know.
Tana Amen: So beautiful.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Because we'll want to look at your brain.
Kelli Davis: Oh, yes.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And thank you so much for your time.
So tell us one more time how people can learn about you and your work and the Children's Miracle Network hospitals.
Kelli Davis: Well, if you go to my website, BookKelliDavis. K-e-l-l-i, You can learn all about Children's Miracle Network Hospital. My book, 100% of the proceeds benefit Children's Miracle Network hospitals. On Instagram, I'm on Kellydavis1. At or But yeah, we would love the support, it matters. And you can just, today, you can make a miracle happen. Please do it. Think of Isaiah, think of Maverick.
Tana Amen: It's so great.
Kelli Davis: Think of little boo, do it for them.
Tana Amen: I want you, as listeners, to think about the question we first asked, what miracle can you find today? Or what miracle has happened in your life that you just know was very special, even if it's small. Sometimes the small things that lead to the big things are really important and change our lives. And tag us, tag us and let us know. We want to be able to talk bot hose things. If you go to, you can actually, we'd love it if you left us a review. And so if you leave us a review, and you can leave your comments there. We love to read our testimonials, we love to read our comments. So do that, tag us.
Tanaamen on Instagram. You can tag Daniel, DrAmen on Instagram. And go to Children's Miracle Network ... no Miracle.
Kelli Davis:
Tana Amen: I'm gonna get it right.
Kelli Davis: Yes. Yes.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Thanks, everybody.
Tana Amen: If you're enjoying the Brain Warrior's Way podcast, please don't forget to subscribe so you'll always know when there's a new episode. And while you're at it, feel free to give us a review or five star rating as that helps other find the podcast.
Dr. Daniel Amen: If you're interested in coming to Amen Clinics, use the code, POdcast10 to get a 10% discount on a full evaluation at For more information, give us a call at 855-978-1363.