Several years ago Lori Jones was devastated to learn her soon-to-be-born baby had a severe heart defect. Lori relied on her faith and looking inward and allowed this struggle to become a time of growth. Now, 12 years later, Riley is doing well and Lori has chosen to “give back” by sharing her book Riley's Heart Machine and helping people to “love what makes you special.” Lori's optimistic outlook on life will leave you feeling uplifted and thinking of ways you, too, can serve, laugh, and love yourself just as you are.

Lori Jones is an award-winning author of women's & children's fiction. Her first children's book, Riley's Heart Machine, was inspired by her youngest daughter's heart defect. Lori is a mom of 2 and volunteers on the national Board of Directors for the Children's Heart Foundation. Lori travels to schools and libraries delivering assemblies on writing stories from the heart. When Lori is not writing or spreading awareness for congenital heart defects, she can be found cheering on her beloved Pittsburgh sports teams and participating in 5Ks. Visit her website at

Nuggets of Wisdom from Lori:

“Lead with love.”

“Stop rushing. When we are quick to kind of answer something or somebody in a negative way or respond to something, if we just take a few moments to maybe keep our mouths closed and listen, or listen with our hearts, that has always helped me. ”

“I think in most situations, give yourself a moment to really think about what you are doing, and I think it usually ends up always being a positive situation if you just take take a break and take a breath.”

“I found that each of those low points results in growth. And if you really take the time to use those moments, those bad times to look inward to reflect and grow, it usually results in something positive.”

“Love what makes you special.”

“I love surrounding myself with other phenomenal women who have actually faced this in a lot worse situations than I have.”

“You can choose to be part of the solution.”

“Nobody is not going to make everybody happy.”

“Especially women, we are so hard on ourselves. Just look at what's special about us and not the negative.”

“Value laughter. Take time to laugh at ourselves. It is okay to laugh at ourselves.”

“Take a step back and give back. Take the focus off yourself sometimes.”

Some of Lori's Favorite Things:

Personal habit: Doing a little bit of something for her body, mind and spirit everyday. Lorie balances all 3 of these by doing one for each, such as taking a walk for her body, writing for her mind, and reading a scripture for her spirit.

Easy meal: “Chicken tacos in the crockpot. We just put chicken, a little taco seasoning, and a cup of water. And by the end of the day it's done. And we can each put on our own toppings. And we do it together.”

Possession: “My iPhone. I love taking pictures. I love having an iPhone with me so I can snap a moment of my life whenever I want to. I think I have captured more little fun things with my kids and my family that I didn't before. So, I really value pictures and I love having those on my phone.”

Books: Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough, The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Bucket list items: “We want to go somewhere tropical. We want to go to Niagara falls – we're doing that this summer. I would like to attend a taping of Dancing with the Stars or the Bachelor…”

Best advice received: “To try not to control everything. And I think the best advise was to give it up to God. And I love that because it's freed me so many times where I've been plagued with worry or distress and/or planning something. If I just let it go, it has helped me so much, just knowing that I can't control everything.”

Happiest memory: The births of her 2 children and seeing Riley's face after all they had been through. Also, to be able to type “the end” after finishing one of her novels.

Lori's Happiness Formula:

“My formula is combining body, mind, spirit, and just tending to each of those each day. And then, the other part is just really rewarding and complimenting yourself and laughing at your flaws. And I think, all that together, you will have a happier day.”

Lead with love

A Challenge from Lori:

“At the end of each day, right before you go to bed, just say, ‘How did I compliment myself today?' And then compliment yourself on something you did. And then laugh at something that went wrong. And I think at the end of each day, then you can just go to sleep and be happy.”

Children's Heart Foundation – Pennsylvania Chapter
Riley's Heart Machine
Confetti the Croc
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
The Help by Kathryn Stockett

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