5 Proven Ways to Learn to Love Yourself

 

As spiritual teacher and author, Iyanla Vanzant, puts it, “Everything that happens to you is a reflection of what you believe about yourself. We cannot outperform our level of self-esteem. We cannot draw to ourselves more than we think we are worth.”

The way we view ourselves impacts our views and actions in every way. If we don’t feel worthy of love, we tend to accept mistreatment or even abuse. When we doubt our abilities, we hide away from pursuing our dreams. When feeling inadequate, people close themselves off to the limitless possibilities that life has to offer.

When we look inward and develop self-confidence, a world of opportunity opens. We gain the courage to realize our potential. When we value ourselves, we walk toward loving, supportive relationships. When we develop self-esteem, we feel confident to work hard toward achieving goals. Taking care of ourselves gives us the strength to inspire and care for others in need.

While it’s one thing to ruminate on loving yourself, actualizing self-worth can require a lot of reflection and life experience. Still, you can begin that lifelong journey one step at a time with these tips to loving yourself.

Developing Positive Thought Patterns

Thought patterns can have a huge impact on how we view ourselves and our experiences. Science looks at how repetitive thoughts, those little conversations we have inside our heads, have a big impact on wellbeing. If you find yourself in a loop of constantly doubting yourself or having anxious reactions to life then practicing positive thinking can help reverse those patterns. Psychologists and spiritual leaders suggest different methods for reversing harmful thought patterns such as mindfulness meditation, positive affirmations, and journaling.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation involves bringing awareness to the present moment. Dr. John Paul Minda, a professor of psychology at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, explains,” Mindfulness meditation can help people to be more attentive to their own emotions. By being aware of negative feelings as soon as they arise, people can engage in positive remediation rather than dwelling on the negative cognition.”

Positive Affirmations

Positive affirmations refer to repeated statements, often written down or spoken out loud, that inspire confidence and optimism. They can help to reverse the negative loop in our minds by replacing them with constructive thinking. For example, you can write down or say to yourself things like, “I am good enough,” “I am worthy of love,” “I can overcome anything one step at a time.”

Journaling

Journaling has a proven positive effect on self-esteem and works like a natural “antidepressant”. It gives a person the chance to process experiences. Also, writing about stressful situations can help diminish their perceived intensity. Spending just 15 minutes a day journaling increases self-confidence and leads to better mental, emotional, and physical health.

Fake It ‘Til You Make It

Big changes don’t happen overnight. Cultivating self-love involves a fluid, constant journey of healing and self-reflection. With patience, compassion, and persistence, you can build a deeper sense of self-worth over time.

Taking small steps and setting aside a little time each day toward loving yourself will pay off in all areas of your life. Developing self-love sets the foundation for every other aspect of your life. With inner strength and confidence, you can approach obstacles with courage. By cultivating compassion for yourself, you can embrace others with the same level of care and understanding. By realizing your worth and embracing your individuality, you will inspire and lift up others to do the same.

Source:

https://www.goodnet.org/articles/5-proven-ways-to-learn-love-yourself

15 Genius New Inventions That Make the World a Better Place

My personal passion is creating new inventions & business platforms that benefit society in a positive way.  This is a fun article on inventions that have made our world a better place.

Inspiring Inventions:

They say necessity is the mother of invention – that the primary driving force for all new creations is some sort of need. Each of these 15 brilliant new inventions answers a different human need – such as clean water or sanitation – or an environmental necessity. To make them, gifted designers identified an important issue, came up with an innovative solution – and then put the wheels in motion to create some truly inspirational inventions.

1. THE DINING SET FOR DEMENTIA PATIENTS

Eatwell is an 8-piece dining set that fosters mealtime independence for sufferers of dementia. The bowls have slanted bottoms for easy scooping and bright blue interiors to help users easily identify food. The spoons hug the side of the dinnerware making collecting food easier and preventing spillage, and all handles allow for easy gripping and stability.

The Eatwell dining set is a genius new invention

The Eatwell dining set gives dementia patients dignity while they eat

2. THE STRAW THAT FILTERS WATER

The LifeStraw filters out virtually all microbiological contaminants to make water safe to drink. The invention was designed to help people in developing countries who don’t have access to safe water and in emergency scenarios following natural disasters when water is contaminated.

The LifeStraw is a genius new invention

The LifeStraw in action (Facebook)

3. THE INVISIBLE BIKE HELMET

Designed by two Swedish students, Hövding is a stylish neck collar that contains an airbag helmet that inflates in the case of an accident. The new invention is available in select stores in Europe – and no doubt we’ll be “seeing” more of Hövding in the near future.

Hövding is a genius new invention

Hövding: Before and after (Niklas Carlsson)

4. THE PATCH THAT MAKES YOU INVISIBLE TO MOSQUITOES

Kite Patch keeps mosquitoes at bay for up to 48 hours, by blocking the insects’ ability to smell carbon dioxide in human exhalation. The sticker-like patch affixes to clothing, and helps to stop the spread of diseases such as malaria, West Nile Virus and Dengue Fever.

The Kite patch is a genius new invention

Kite saves lives. It’s that simple.

5. THE DRINKABLE BOOK

This book is genius: along with providing basic information on clean water, each page of the Drinkable Book is coated with silver nanoparticles, which kill 99.9% of bacteria when water passes through. The result: clean, safe drinking water. Once a page of the book has been torn out, it can be used multiple times as a filter, providing up to 30 days of clean water for one person.

The Drinkable Book is a genius new invention - non-fiction innovation

The Drinkable Book is non-fiction innovation

6. THE FLATPACK REFUGEE SHELTER

Developed in coordination between the IKEA Foundation and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Better Shelter is a refugee shelter that combines form, function and sustainability. Unlike the traditionally-used tents, the shelters can last up to three years and are fitted with solar panels, mosquito nets, lights, and ventilation and a lockable door for privacy and safety.

The Better Shelter is a genius new invention

Better Shelters assembled in the Karatepe transit camp, Mytilini, Greece (Facebook)

 

7. THE TINY DISPOSABLE PHONE BATTERY

The Mini Power is the eco-answer to keeping mobile phones charged and ready to go. Still in the design phase, these tiny cardboard capsules come in three sizes – two, four and six hours – and can be recycled after use. Designer Tsung Chih-Hsien envisions the new invention being sold at convenience stores, individually and also in bulk perforated sheets.

The Mini Power is a genius new invention

Disposable phone batteries made from cardboard – what’ll they think of next?

8. THE APP THAT LETS YOU LEND YOUR EYES TO THE BLIND

Be My Eyes is a mobile app that connects blind people who need assistance with sighted volunteers who want to help out via a direct video connection. Blind people get help navigating the world around them, sighted people get a helper’s high, and technology is used for a perfectly positive purpose.

Be My Eyes is a genius new invention

Be My Eyes is mobile technology at its best

9. THE FLOATING RUBBISH BIN THAT CLEANS THE OCEANS

Seabin is an automated marina rubbish bin that collects floating rubbish, debris and oil, 24/7. The new invention aims to help solve and prevent ocean pollution by replacing the “trash boats” that currently serve marinas around the world.

The Seabin is a genius new invention

Australian surfers Andrew Turton and Pete Ceglinski with their masterpiece – the Seabin (Indiegogo)

10. THE FURRY ROBOT THERAPIST

Paro the robot seal is equipped with five different sensors that enhance its ability to connect with and heal people. The fluffy robot has a moveable body, makes cute seal sounds and responds to the touch and voice of individuals, adapting its behavior to suit users – which include the elderly, trauma victims and people dealing with serious illnesses.

Paro is a genius new invention

This Japanese invention is becoming a friendly fixture at senior citizens homes in the US and Europe

11. THE SOCCER BALL THAT GENERATES ELECTRICITY

SOCCKET is a portable, power-generating soccer ball designed to promote physical activity and spread awareness about the global energy issue. This new invention gets charged up during normal game play, to power its energy efficient, 3-LED lamp. Even better: for every ball purchased, SOCCKET gives one ball to a child in the developing world.

SOCCKET is a genius new invention

SOCCKET is all about energy – physical and global

12. THE KIT THAT MAKES MENSTRUATION SAFER

Flo is an easy-to-use, cost-effective kit for cleaning and storing reusable sanitary pads, that aims to boost hygiene in parts of the world where menstruation is stigmatized and pads and tampons aren’t always readily available. The new invention consists of a simple spinning and cleaning gadget, a mini-clothes line and a zippered pouch for transport.

Flo is a genius new invention

Leave it to college students to find an easy-to-use, cost-effective tool to help those in need

13. THE EDIBLE WATER BOTTLE YOU CAN MAKE AT HOME

Ooho! is a new kind of packaging made from seaweed that proposes an alternative to plastic bottles. The H20 orbs are servings of water encased in an algae-based gel, which in due time could be a common replacement for the bottles we use every day.

Ooho! is a genius new invention

Ooho! is a creative and green solution to discarding plastic water bottles

14. THE BUS THAT RUNS ON HUMAN WASTE

Waste treatment company GENeco has come up with a groundbreaking new invention – the trash and sewage-guzzling BioBus. The first BioBus is currently active in the United Kingdom, shuttling passengers back and forth every day from Bristol Airport.

The BioBus is a genius new invention

The BioBus: Fueled by purified waste (Wessex Water)

15. THE HAND-POWERED DISHWASHER

Created by Israeli designer Chen Levin, the Circo dishwasher is an off-the-grid, on-the-counter dishwasher that uses zero electricity and only a small amount of water. The concept is simple and brilliant: the hand-powered crank releases a jet of water, which is heated by a sodium acetate tablet. One minute later, the dishes are clean.

The Circo is a genius new invention

With the crank of a handle, the Circo dishwasher cleans dishes within a minute (inhabitat)

Source:

https://www.goodnet.org/articles/15-genius-new-inventions-that-make-world-better-place

How 30 Days of Kindness Made Me a Better Person

I came across this article and found it very inspiring.  I hope you do as well.  If you didn’t know, I have a FB group, Lead with deed, where people can share random acts of kindness and inspirational articles.  I’d love to hear your stories!

30 Days of Kindness:

How 30 Days of Kindness Made Me a Better Person

I don’t know his name, but his messy, shoulder-length hair hides a pair of hauntingly blue eyes. It’s a warm September day in New York, but he’s sitting under a mountain of ragged bits of clothing, towels and blankets. In one hand, he loosely holds a piece of string attached to the neck of a small, mangy-looking dog lying next to him. In the other hand, he clutches a nearly empty bottle of cheap vodka. His bright eyes briefly glance at me without recognition or focus. I don’t know what makes me pause.

My initial thought is to give him money, though I just avoided eye contact with the last 10 people, sputtering that I didn’t have any. And my mom’s words come to mind: “He’ll only spend it on drugs or alcohol.” So I turn to the closest Nathan’s stand and buy him a hot dog, chips and soda.

When I approach him, I feel awkward, my donation insignificant. As if I’m offering a glass of water to a man trapped in a burning building. Is he more of a ketchup or mustard guy? The absurd thought turns my face hot. What comfort will a nutritionally deficient meal with a side of dehydration be to a man who sleeps on cement and spends a life generally invisible to the world?

But when he sees my outstretched hands, he smiles, dropping the bottle and leash to accept the meal with shaky fingers. We don’t exchange any words, but his smile lingers with me.

Can random acts of kindness actually increase and sustain happiness?

It’s only the sixth day of my month-long challenge to find the joy in making someone’s day every day, and up until now, I had felt like a failure. It wasn’t for lack of trying, but rather questioning whether seemingly small gestures were actually accomplishing my goal. Can I really find joy by giving to those around me? Can random acts of kindness actually increase and sustain happiness?

How 30 Days of Kindness Made Me a Better Person

Turns out they can, but there are exceptions. To find lasting happiness through generosity requires a suppression of our ego, an analysis of our motives and a reflection on how these acts alter our perception of the world.

How Generosity Benefits Us

As children, our parents tell us to make up for misbehaving by doing something nice for someone. As adults, we help friends move into a new house; we bring hot meals to new mothers; we might even donate time or money to local charities a few times a year. After all, it’s naturally uncomfortable to see a friend (or stranger) suffering or in need. Call it karma or mojo, but these acts are generally reciprocated. We receive tax breaks, returned meals and favors, thank-you notes. Tit for tat.

But what about pure, altruistic generosity, without the expectation of receiving something in return? Some researchers argue this type of generosity doesn’t exist. But I set out to see whether I could learn to give without the promise of getting. I made lists of various kind acts and placed reminders on my bathroom mirror, my work computer, my car dashboard: Make someone’s day today!

My first act of kindness was buying coffee for the woman behind me in the drive-thru lane at Starbucks. In fact, my first few acts were buying something for someone—lunch for an old friend, a copy of my favorite book to a stranger—but they didn’t make me feel much of anything. The recipients were grateful, but was I really making their day, and was that really boosting my happiness?

How 30 Days of Kindness Made Me a Better Person

At the end of each day, I reflected how being kind made me feel. I dug for tangible proof of my growth. Some days felt more significant: buying cough syrup for the two coughing boys in pajamas at the pharmacy, for example. Their father, who had dark circles under his eyes, rubbed the bridge of his nose as his credit card was declined a second time. I couldn’t tell whether he was more embarrassed or grateful, but I like to think he slept a little easier that night, and I left the pharmacy feeling pretty good.

How 30 Days of Kindness Made Me a Better Person

Countless studies tout the physical, mental and social benefits of receiving generosity. But until the 1980s, the effects on the giver were relatively unknown. Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., a psychology professor at UC Riverside and a leading happiness researcher, conducted a study in 2004 to determine whether committing five random acts of kindness would increase positive emotions. The short-term study revealed promising results with heightened levels of positive emotions, particularly in the participants who carried out all five acts of kindness on the same day. Spreading the acts over a week, Lyubomirsky theorized, led to a repetitive and often unoriginal pattern that either didn’t change the level of positive emotions or, in some cases, even lowered it.

Admittedly I experienced some form of generosity fatigue around the second week of my challenge. It’s easy to float through the day wrapped up in our own heads, focusing only on what directly impacts us. Consciously searching for new and different ways to improve someone else’s day was more difficult than I had anticipated. We just don’t face that challenge often in society. But then when I did the nice deed, I nearly always felt a boost of happiness afterward. A 2009 study by social psychologist Jorge A. Barraza, Ph.D., and neuroscientist Paul J. Zak, Ph.D., attributes this to a release of oxytocin, the feel-good chemical in the brain.

According to the study, when people feel empathetic, they release 47 percent more oxytocin into their hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for emotion and memory. The participants felt the urge to act generously—particularly toward strangers. As Matthieu Ricard, Ph.D., a Buddhist monk and best-selling author, writes in Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill: “When we are happy, the feeling of self-importance is diminished and we are more open to others.” Studies show people who have experienced a positive event in the past hour are more likely to help strangers in need. This explains why we help people, even at a cost to ourselves.

In the late ’80s, the term “helper’s high” was used to describe the euphoria feeling associated with volunteering. Beyond happiness, generous people also experienced enhanced creativity, flexibility, resilience and being open to new information. They’re more collaborative at work; they’re able to solve complex problems more easily and they form solid, healthy relationships with others.

Generosity allows us to forget our own self-importance.

As Stephen G. Post, Ph.D., happiness researcher and founder of The Institute for Research on Unlimited Love, writes, “It may be people who live generous lives soon become aware that in the giving of self lies the unsought discovery of self as the old selfish pursuit of happiness is subjectively revealed as futile and short-sighted.” Generosity allows us to forget our own self-importance, even temporarily, and look outward to uplift those around us who, in turn, often uplift those around them.

Shawn Achor, a Harvard-trained researcher and The Happiness Guy at SUCCESS, calls this the ripple effect. Our behavior, he discovered, is literally contagious. “Our habits, attitudes and actions spread through a complicated web of connections to infect those around us,” he writes. That’s why we sync up with our best friends, often finishing each other’s sentences and reading each other’s thoughts. It’s also why one negative attitude can spread like a disease across an office and infect everyone’s mood.

So are happier people more generous, or does generosity make us happier? Rather than thinking of it as a cause-and-effect relationship, consider happiness and generosity as intertwining entities. “Generating and expressing kindness quickly dispels suffering and replaces it with lasting fulfillment,” writes Ricard, the Buddhist monk. “In turn the gradual actualization of genuine happiness allows kindness to develop as the natural reflection of inner joy.” Helping behavior increases positive emotions, which increases our sense of purpose, regulates stress, and improves short- and long-term health. All of that contributes to a heightened level of happiness, causing us to feel more generous, creating a circle of happiness and generosity.

Why We Aren’t Generous All the Time

I failed twice during my month-long challenge. What began as a positive and energizing morning was quickly derailed—a negative social media post, a complaining text, an overwhelmed co-worker. I refocused my thoughts and tried to make this my kind act for the day. What if I can turn this person’s day around? What if I can help him see the positive side of his situation? I listened, nodded with concern, hyper-aware of my facial expressions, eager to exude empathy and understanding. I’m not sure what I exuded, but both of us left feeling worse than before.

What happened? According to Paul Bloom, professor of psychology and cognitive science at Yale University and author of Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion, I had confused empathy with compassion, resulting in empathetic distress and burnout. Empathy requires feeling what others feel, “to experience, as much as you can, the terrible sorrow and pain,” whereas compassion involves concern and a desire to help without the need to mirror someone else’s anguish.

It turns out, you can be too nice. Psychologists Vicki Helgeson and Heidi Fritz created a questionnaire revealing that women are more likely to put others’ needs before their own, often resulting in asymmetrical relationships as well as an increased risk of depression and anxiety. When we experience empathetic burnout, we often shy away from generosity altogether. Feeling taken advantage of, we retreat inward.

Researchers have also theorized that every kind act is ultimately done to benefit ourselves in some way, even subconsciously. This concept, coined “universal egoism,” offers explanations that are easier to accept than true altruism: a desire to help others void of selfish motives. For example, there are multiple situations that can be initially perceived as true altruism but at its core, the kind act is governed by selfish motives. Ben Dean, Ph.D., psychologist and founder of MentorCoach in Maryland, offers three such examples:

  • It’s a natural response to feel uncomfortable when we see someone suffering. But rather than help in order to ease their suffering, we help them to ease our own discomfort.
  • In an attempt to protect our fragile egos and reputations, we don’t want to be viewed as insensitive, heartless, mean, etc. So we help others even when we might not feel an urge to improve their well-being.
  • We perceive there to be some form of personal benefit from the act, either short- or long-term.

The question remains: Is there a truly selfless act of kindness?

The question remains: Is there a truly selfless act of kindness? And does it even matter where our motivations lie? The homeless man in New York still ate a hot meal, and the two little boys at the pharmacy didn’t stay up all night coughing. Isn’t that what matters?

How 30 Days of Kindness Made Me a Better Person

We aren’t consistently generous for a multitude of reasons, but in the traditional corporate setting, the prevailing enemy of generosity is the fear of appearing naïve. (And the possibility of going broke.) After all, isn’t the nice guy the one who finishes last? So we become “Givers” as Adam Grant Ph.D., details in his best-seller Give and Take. In the modern workplace, we are no longer solely evaluated on our work performance, but rather on how we interact as a cohesive unit and how we contribute to the organization as a whole. In fact, Grant’s research reveals this new business landscape paves the way for Givers to succeed and Takers to be left behind. By helping others, we help ourselves.

The important thing to remember is that Givers—especially those predisposed to putting others’ needs before their own—need to know their boundaries. Grant says it begins with distinguishing generosity from its three other attributes: timidity, availability and empathy.

At the risk of sounding cliché, my month of generosity did make me happier. Something about waking up and consciously planning to act selflessly lightened my step and made the morning drag easier to bear. Something about a stranger flashing a smile (albeit a confused one) as I handed them a dog-eared copy of my favorite memoir gave me an energy boost that a triple-shot latte never could.

For a precious hour or so every day, the fear, anxiety, stress and doubt of daily life didn’t plague my thoughts. I briefly forgot about myself, and it was intoxicating. Friends responded to my seemingly arbitrary good mood with confused laughs. When did being happy without reason become a cause for concern? I wondered.

Maybe my heart was in the right place when I gave the blue-eyed man a hot meal. But maybe my ego was directing my actions that night in the pharmacy checkout lane. And maybe I avoided generosity toward my close friends and co-workers because it was more difficult. Buying coffee for a stranger is easy, detached and allows for a clean exit. Gently pushing a friend to divulge her source of anxiety after she says “I’m fine” is not. After all, altruism and honest self-reflection take time and practice.

Thirty days of generosity didn’t make me a different person, but I do feel different. I don’t actively look for ways to be generous, but I notice the opportunities anyway. Like the sticky note residue on my bathroom mirror, I can see gentle impressions of my growth where I least expect it: during rush hour, when I give the benefit of the doubt to the woman cutting into my lane; after a long day of work, when I make time for the struggling friend who needs to talk; and, most important, in the moments when I forget myself and realize the joy to be found in caring for the people around me.

 

Source:

How 30 Days of Kindness Made Me a Better Person

 

 

 

Beauty – Trends, Tips & Tutorials

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Thanks to all who follow my blog!  If you’re new….stick around.  Every day I post new beauty tutorials, product uses, makeup hacks and lots more beauty, and random, topics:)

I’m trying to organically grow an online beauty directory I started.  I’m just a mom working her butt off so any support or feedback is always welcome.

Have a great day!

Tami

Got Anxiety? here’s How to use your senses to calm your mind and body

Hey! So I’m sharing this because if you are, like most grown-ups, then you experience (hopefully not often) the dreadful take over of anxiety. I’ll admit, I’ve been feeling the pressure lately.

Whether it’s work, finances or even will I get Johnny to soccer practice on time, anxiety is all around us every day. My son actually told me about this technique of simply taking that “you moment” while using your senses to provide a calmness to your mind & body.

As a lover of finding peace in nature and calm surroundings I really like it.

Life is life, and stress is inevitable so instead of trying to eliminate what you sometimes can’t I say let’s find ways to get in touch with ourselves and overcome it gracefully & mindfully.

Share your thoughts on this exercise. Has anyone tried this?

Meditation Basics: The 5 Senses

The five senses – Hearing, Seeing, Smelling, Touching, and Tasting – represent our earliest sensory experiences in the world. Yet how often do we really pay attention to what these critical pathways are telling us?

More often than not, we allow them to become dulled by the constant distractions present in modern life. We forget how powerful our senses are, and we lose touch with the ability to fully perceive the wholeness of our existence.

Therefore, the five senses can be a great focal point for basic meditation practice, or as a warm-up before any more traditional meditation.

You may want to begin in a sitting position, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths (five sounds like a good number, doesn’t it?), and begin gently – calling to attention each sensory window, going one experience at a time.

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Listen – let the sound of your environment (or lack of sound) call you to the present moment. Let each moment’s passing reveal some new element you may not have ordinarily noticed. Reflect, breathe, and move forward.

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Look – open your eyes and carefully note the colors, shapes and textures that surround you. What areas of movement or areas of stillness attract the eye? Reflect, breathe, and move forward.

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Smell – close your eyes again and breathe in through your nose, absorbing fully the scent of your surroundings. Observe which sensations feel like natural smells and artificial smells. Reflect, breathe, and move forward.

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Touch – you can hold a small object such as a stone or meditation mala, or you can simply reach forward and touch the earth. Let the feeling of “touching” tether you to the environment, connecting you with the physical reality of your existence. Reflect, breathe, and move forward.

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Taste – whether you taste, air, water, an item of food, or the back of your hand – find a way to awaken the most intimate sense, and observe how the experience gives insight into the inner portion of your being. Reflect, breathe, and move forward.

By frequently calling to attention and sharpening the senses before and during meditation, we may learn to reconnect with our bodies, reconnect with the sensations of the present moment, and better understand the gift of life that we experience with each rise and fall of our breath.

Source:

Meditation Basics: The 5 Senses

 

Service dog helps 7-year-old boy prepare for his 10th surgery

When Indiana resident Gavin Swearingen was just 2 years old, he let go of a swing, hit his head and suffered a traumatic brain injury. The little boy lost about 75% of the left side of his brain, developed epilepsy and cerebral palsy, and has survived several strokes.

So last year, Gavin, who lives in Carmel, just north of Indianapolis, got his first service dog. Elmer, a Labrador-golden retriever mixed breed trained by the nonprofit Canine Companions for Independence, helps with the boy’s physical challenges in myriad ways.

“It’s magic,” his mom, Amanda Swearingen, 36, told TODAY. “I jokingly say they’re both puppies — they love to play. Gavin is 7 and Elmer is 2. They run and chase each other and they’re silly.”

Gavin Swearingen and his service dog, Elmer
“Throwing the ball to me 10 times is therapy,” Amanda Swearingen said. “Throwing the ball for Elmer 20 times is fun.”Liz Kaye

Due to hemiplegic cerebral palsy, Gavin’s right side is not as strong as his left, so he holds Elmer’s leash in his right hand, which pulls his arm down and changes his gait to appear neurotypical.

Gavin lost peripheral vision on his right side after his accident, so Elmer walks on the boy’s right to act as a buffer in crowds. The friendly dog makes physical therapy seem like a game instead of a chore.

“Throwing the ball to me 10 times is therapy,” Swearingen said. “Throwing the ball for Elmer 20 times is fun.”

Before teaming up with Elmer, Gavin struggled with reading. But he now reads books to Elmer every single day. They particularly love the “Elephant and Piggy” books by Mo Willems.

“We were all kind of at our end of what to do next, and all it took was Elmer. Now Gavin’s reading almost to grade level. He’s reading for fun and enjoyment,” Swearingen said.

Gavin Swearingen and his service dog, Elmer
Before teaming up with Elmer, Gavin struggled with reading. But the 7-year-old now reads books to Elmer every single day. Liz Kaye Photography

It’s a remarkable turnaround since the accident, when doctors told the Swearingens that Gavin would never walk, talk or even know them. But thanks to neuroplasticity, Gavin’s brain has “remapped” onto the right side and he continues to improve with Elmer’s help.

The family – which includes Gavin’s father, Brad, and sisters Alyson, 12, and Makenna, 9 – faces everything in life together. Each night at the dinner table, they take turns sharing what they’re grateful for.

“I can’t say this is a path that I ever expected to be on, but we are definitely going to make the most of it and try and remain grateful for it because gratitude is the opposite of sadness,” Swearingen said. “We choose gratitude.”

Despite all of Gavin’s challenges, the word most people use to describe him is “joyful,” according to his mom.

“I think that’s actually why having a dog has worked really well because it’s the same personality,” she said. “They find the best, and every day it’s like they wake up and it’s a brand-new day and they’re both just excited to go play outside.”

Amanda Swearingen and her son, Gavin, and his service dog, Elmer
Amanda Swearingen’s son, Gavin, has shown tremendous improvement ever since his service dog, Elmer, joined the family. Doctors had previously told the Swearingens that Gavin would never walk, talk or even know them. Liz Kaye

But now Gavin is scared. He’s facing his 10th cranial surgery to repair a hole in his skull, which puts him at risk for another brain injury.

Amanda Swearingen’s son Gavin and his service dog “Elmer” at Holiday Park on Sunday June 2, 2019.Liz Kaye Photography

Shout out to Dad! Good times…

 

Happy Father’s Day to all the amazing Dads out there.

Here’s my dad in the 80’s (Mario Brothers Mustache and all- A trend I hope never comes back though LOL) taking me to Indian Princesses camp (dads and daughters).  Yeah I thought my 90’s rolled up jeans looked so rad!

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This was a time where you had fun as a kid just hanging from a stick because your dad can actually hold it up high enough.  This is how much fun dads can be and this is really what kids should experience with their dads.

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He’s always been there for me and I love him to death!

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Now that I’m all grown up (supposedly) He’s now my business logo designer.  My dad’s a crazy good artist so he actually hand drew this from scratch and designed my logo for Hairmingo:)

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My Mascot, Gretchen Mingo, was an original design by a local young artist in Bloomingdale, IL that is so creative and just kills it every time!

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He’s a rockstar at painting shoes too.   Yes, I am a big fan & client,  My converse Hairmingo shoes are so so cool. See below.  If you ever need an artist for logos, shoes, apparel, anything and want to support a super talented hard working young man, here’s where you find him:

Instagram: ImKrisBrown

Check it out!

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My parting quote for today:

fathersday

 

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