A Second Chance to Do It Better

Abe Lincoln quote on life

It’s not often that we are given a second chance to do life better. But that’s exactly what Michael and I received on February 24th of this year. That was the day that he had a completely unexpected quadruple heart bypass.

I have always felt that the two of us were doing life right the first time. We lived each day with laughter and love for each other. We extended ourselves to be as charitable as we could be to strangers and friends alike. We were living our lives as God directed in almost every way. I think it’s that word “almost” that had us rethinking things when, on March 20th, Michael was diagnosed during a routine angiogram as needing open-heart surgery. There’s nothing like the prospect of having your heart stopped for two hours while a surgeon replaces arteries and reroutes the blood-flow in your chest to make you think about your life. As a couple, this re-evaluation included both of us. Suddenly, the almost perfect life we thought we had didn’t seem so perfect.

I don’t mean to say that we weren’t really happy…we were. We have great friends, wonderful kids and grand-kids, a beautiful home, jobs we love, and an optimistic future. But there were aspects of our lives that we realized we could (and should) do better. Basically, we need to fine tune the details. Here’s a few of the things we will be improving:

– Spending more time with the ones we love
– Doing the things on our “bucket list” now
– Be more active and proactive in our charitable works
– Pray more.
– Celebrate God in EVERYTHING
– Create and maintain financial independence
– Be more intentional with our laughter and enjoyment with each other
– Choose to retire near life-long friends with whom we share common likes and dislikes
– Speak up more to right wrongs
– Read the Bible daily
– Exercise and eat right
– Stop worrying and put our complete faith in God

This is just a brief snapshot of the top items on our refined life list. There are probably two or three dozen more details we could add, but I won’t bore you with them. Suffice it to say that the hours spent in the waiting room and, later, in Michael’s hospital room provided the perfect atmosphere in which to reflect on our futures. I believe we have been given a gift directly from God. Michael’s heart had no damage even though he had four arteries that were completely blocked and which had been for quite a long time. The cardiologist and surgeon both said that, considering Michael’s lifestyle of pushing himself physically as hard as he could each and every day, he should have had a massive heart attack. Instead, he had jaw pain while chopping wood. God decided that it was not Michael’s time to go home. I believe that He also knew that I could not survive without him. For these reasons, we are more committed now than ever to do things right.

Oh, during this protracted process, we learned that EKGs and stress-tests are about 70% accurate. Not a very good rate for such critical tests. Therefore, we are advocating that everyone over 40 with the least little twinge of doubt about how their heart is doing find a cardiologist willing to do an angiogram. Yes, it is an invasive procedure but it only takes a couple of hours (including prep time) and it can give your doctors a great baseline for future heart related issues. Better safe than sorry.

God bless y’all. We love you and hope to spend many dozens of more years in your company. And, just as a side-note, the next book I’ll be writing is going to be Surgery is Scary. Michael will be the star of this book, for sure!

Second Chances


I haven’t posted in a few weeks. I’m not one for excuses, but I believe that you will all understand the reason why I have been absent and will agree that my missing posts are justified. My excuse? I was busy being given a second chance to appreciate my life. Let me explain.
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How To Grow Thicker Skin

As the author of so many children’s books and having been “out there” in the published world for over a year now, you would think that I would have much thicker skin than I did a few years before. I found out today, though, that I don’t. My skin is just as fragile and thin as it was when I as in Jr. High School and John H. called me “four-eyes”. Discovering my skin weakness caused me to spend part of today trying to figure out how to grow thicker skin. It is now late evening and I am no closer to the answer than I was this morning. Continue reading

What’s That in Your Ear?

What's That in Your Ear - Front Cover

I am proud of all of the books I have published so far. There are more than forty picture and chapter books available through my site (www.terrikelleybooks.com), Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Baker & Taylor (for libraries, etc.), Ingrams, and dozens of other websites. Book retailers have also been ordering my books for placement on their shelves. All of this is so exciting and I truly feel blessed to be able to provide quality reading to so many children.

One of my most recent releases is What’s That in Your Ear?. I am very happy with the way this book turned out. And the book trailer is exceptional as well. Here it is, for your viewing pleasure:
What’s That in Your Ear?

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“Grandpa Doesn’t Know Me Anymore” Book Trailer

Here is a book trailer done for me by the very talented Kevin Scott Collier. This is a wonderful summary and introduction of this book that I wrote this year to help families with children who are dealing with an elderly loved one who has Alzheimer’s or dementia. You can purchase this book (cheaper) by going to my bookstore online: www.terrikelleybooks.com. You can also find it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Baker & Taylor distributors, Ingram’s, and many other sites.

I am so impressed with the illustrations done by my friend, Milena Radeva. Milena has illustrated many of my books and each one is a treasure. She manages to capture the meaning behind my words so well. She currently resides in Bulgaria, so we have never met in person. One day I hope we will. It’s a wonderful thing when people with whom you work become dear friends.

Grandpa Doesn’t Know Me Anymore by Terri Kelley

A Small Act

Giving a pussywillow

Life is complicated and simple at the same time. Just when you think you have a handle on what is going on, something new pops up to cause you to re-evaluate yourself and those around you. This is almost always a good thing. Michael and I are blessed to have experienced another example of the wonder of life’s events. Continue reading

2014: Another Opportunity for…

Aging example

I try to make a point of looking forward towards the new possibilities and opportunities that life provides. This is a challenge for me. I tend to be a reflective person; I look for patterns in people’s behavior as well as in my own. My desire to improve myself as well as to protect myself from things that have hurt me in the past, causes me to spend far too much time back there than I should. I hope that 2014 brings a lot more forward-looking with only the occasional glance backwards. Continue reading

Merry, Merry Christmas!

Our Charlie Brown Christmas tree 2013.

Our Charlie Brown Christmas tree 2013.

I LOVE CHRISTMAS! It has always been my very favorite time of the year. Some of my very best memories are associated with all of the activities in December. As a child, my parents made sure to make Christmas a memorable event. When I had my own children, I tried my best to do the same. To this day, my father goes out of his way to make sure that my brother and I (and our families) have the most unbelievable time, complete with a pile of presents that would impress Santa’s elves. When my mother was alive, she would cook and plan and find a million different ways to make time for each of us. These are things I will never forget and will always cherish. Continue reading

A Message from God

One of my new releases for December 2013. It's a fabulous book, if I do say so myself.

One of my new releases for December 2013. It’s a fabulous book, if I do say so myself.

December has been another wonderful month for me. I hope it has been for you as well. This month, I released three more books: A Message from God, He’s All Over the Place, and Thank You, Shadow. Of these three books, I guess I am most happy with A Message from God. This book came to me one evening as I was sitting in the living room with Michael. As it usually does, my mind was jumping from one idea to another, moving forward and backwards at about a hundred miles per hour. For reasons that I attribute solely to God, I believe He put the words for this story into my head. I had the book written and off to the illustrator within 24-hours. For you who don’t believe, you might not understand or you might even think I’m losing my mind. But believers everywhere will completely understand why it is that I believe all of my books are a result of God’s handiwork. Continue reading

Being Thankful

Laughter is part of every day I share with my true love, my best-friend, my husband, Michael.

Laughter is part of every day I share with my true love, my best-friend, my husband, Michael.

Although I am a reflective person which means that I acknowledge to myself everything for which I am thankful on a daily basis, it is during this time of the year that my thoughts reach deeper. So do my feelings of gratitude. The other day, I listed about twenty things for which I am thankful. They included everything in my present life: my husband, my family, my kids, my dog, my home, etc. And this post in no way diminishes my feelings about these things. I just feel that I’d like to share these things for which I am also grateful.

So, in addition to last week’s list, I am also thankful for the following:
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