Tori Utley, MN

Critically Acclaimed Writer

Not only is she a writer, content developer, and social entrepreneur, Tori is also a licensed counselor and has her MBA with education in both psychology and business. As the founder of three companies, a TEDx speaker, a contributing writer with Forbes, and a member of the Forbes Under 30 community, Tori is an experienced storyteller with a particular passion for humor, business, and hope and resiliency in her stories. Residing in Minnesota, she is an avid guitarist, coffee drinker, and the mother of two baby goats.

As a Story Terrace writer, Tori interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better by reading her autobiographical anecdote below.

Christmas Melodies

I opened my eyes and the warmth of Christmas morning hit me with a new kind of wonder. Today was the day—the day we were going to give Dad the guitar.

It was the guitar he’d always wanted, and the one we’d never been able to afford—a Taylor.

I woke up my brother and sister, and together our young feet raced up the stairs, big grins spreading across our faces as we tried to hold in our secret. We giddily made it through the morning and opened presents, ate breakfast, and finally took our seats in the living room.

This Christmas was extra special for us. Dad had been sober for months now, and something was different—he was really trying this time.

“We’re really proud of you,” Mom said, nodding at us to go get the wrapped guitar. “You’ve been working so hard on your recovery, so we wanted to do something to show you that we believe in you and that we love you.”
Together, the three of us carried in the wrapped present. Almost immediately, Dad began to cry, knowing exactly what was underneath the wrapping paper.

We presented it to him with wide smiles, tears filling our eyes as they spilled out of his. When he finally held it, however, we all began to burst out crying.

“Thank you,” he whispered, tears streaming down his face and goosebumps spreading across his arms.
“We believe in you, Dad,” I said.

And we did. We believed in him with all of our hearts. We couldn’t wait to hear the melodies that would come from that guitar, hoping it would help him believe in himself, too.

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