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  • Writer's pictureTerri Tomoff

Serendipity Book Club Talk on The Focused Fight!

Some things happen in life that seem pretty unbelievable, cosmic, coincidence, or what I like to call serendipity. It happened on Saturday night while perusing my blog notifications. Those typical notifications are mostly spam or certain WIX (the platform I use) people who want to redo my website or promise to get my blog to the #1 spot on SEO - Google. I ignore most of the messaging because of this badgering.

But Saturday night, for some untold reason, I clicked on the notifications to possibly delete garbage coming into it. However, one message happened to be from a woman in my neighborhood who was hosting her church’s book club at her home. I about fell out of my hot seat when I read her note:

This is Nancy, Jennie Higgs’ mom and Karen and Dale Ewing’s neighbor. I saw your book on Karen’s coffee table and she lent it to me to read. I loved it and suggested our Good Book Club of Community United Methodist Church (CUMC) read it. It was our read for this month. On Sunday, we will be discussing it. I have been meaning to contact you for weeks but I am such a procrastinator - to see if you would be interested in coming to our meeting. It’s this Sunday, October 22, from 4 to 5/530 and it will be at my house - 1704 Peartree Lane. It is very informal; depending on our schedules, there may be 6 to 12 of us. I hope you will be able to join us, even for just a bit, but if not, no worries.

A couple of key points from the message are that I was over the moon thrilled, but practically hyperventilating I was so tickled that these stars aligned. Hey, for me, it’s the little things…like these below:

*You never know where a book goes once published or who is reading it even after its release - now over two years ago.

*Her neighbors and our mutual friends, Karen and Dale, had The Focused Fight book on her coffee table for all to see instead of in a bookcase with hundreds of other books Nancy would have never seen.

*Nancy suggested it to her Good Book Club at her church, with millions of other books to choose from.

*She let me know when and where her group would discuss the book.

I am still giddy about this whole thing. Oh, and just maybe because Nancy loved it, too?

Would I be interested in coming? Are you kidding me? I was born for this, but it took 59 years of living with 25 years of living with a cancer kid to produce!

Without hesitation, I called her immediately after reading the above message. I didn’t want to miss this opportunity— no-way, no-how. Nancy didn’t answer, but I left her a long voicemail all leading to, “YES, I’ll be there!”

Then, I followed up the voicemail with a text (not as long). While I still had the phone in my hand, a call came in from Karen Ewing, our mutual friend, and Nancy’s neighbor. Huh? Karen was calling me because Nancy was standing in her kitchen and felt bad that I hadn’t replied to her message sent earlier in the week. (Lesson to check 'em daily, even if spam!). This seemed like all the stars were aligning in a row, and the juxtaposition of where we were at that moment in time for me to be at Nancy’s book club meeting on Sunday evening with over a dozen readers of The Focused Fight (many claimed they read it on their kindles), was, serendipity at its finest moment.

Earlier in the day of refereeing soccer matches, I was in my head thinking of how I would start the book club chat and the “lineup” of what I would discuss, plus taking questions from the ladies (except when I was the center ref on one of the three games - because all thinking is the 22 players in front of you). Hubby Bill asked me if I had a written 3X5 index card of topics - nope. I was off the cuff the entire two hours, which, I think, worked well. Questions from the ladies helped prompt more answers and stories.

The most interesting thing I took away from the night, and humble and grateful throughout it, is that ALL the women had read the book cover to cover. That was actually surprising to me for some reason. All twelve? Yep, they did. They even asked me deep and inciteful questions - especially about the God Moments in the book. It allowed me to expand on them a little more, and they drew out of me the power of prayer and spirituality, coupled with the power of connection and community I mentioned often.

Lastly, I also noticed one woman taking notes. Before she asked the final question of the evening, she looked down at her notes and suggested that if I ever write another one (sequel?), the book title could be: “Don’t Do it Alone.” I like it.

Besides the power of chocolate chip cookies (which the hostess made, by the way, and gave me the rest that was not delightfully eaten last night), I stressed throughout my talk that Bill and I could never have gotten to this point in our journey if we didn’t have those time-sensitive built up connections and the communities we were a part of, and still are, that carried us more than we ever realized. It truly takes a village.



Photo credit to Karen Ewing:

Back row - left to right - Barbara Rogers, Nancy Kripner, Hilary Golden

Middle row - left to right - You, Vicki Duane, Ginny Andrews, Karen Bailey, Margaret Cullings, Sharon Munns, Barbara Julian

Front row - Seated - Sheila George, Kneeling - Mary Kurfess

Thank YOU, ladies!

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