Book Giveaway and Excerpt: Reconfigured

Dear KOM-ers!

We’re so happy to feature a new book giveaway!

Please enjoy this excerpt from “Reconfigured” by Barbara Wolf Terao.

There are 2 ways to enter to win a FREE copy:

  1. Leave a comment below with your email address (so we can contact you)
  2. Email us at with the Subject: Reconfigured giveaway entry

The winner will be randomly selected on 8/14/23 and announced on our website and social media.*


When Barbara moves two thousand miles away from her husband to live on an island in the Salish Sea, she doesn’t know when – or if – she’ll ever live with him again. Her diagnosis of breast cancer three months later changes both of them in ways they never imagined. Facing both her medical and marital problems, she finds that the island is exactly where she needs to be to get to know herself, recover her health and feel at home for the first time. Through it all, she finds solace and healing among the beaches, forests and people of the Pacific Northwest, as well as becoming closer than ever with friends and loved ones.

In the ensuing months, Barbara’s husband and adult children show up to help her through a year of difficult treatments and surgery; and Barbara, in her Whidbey Island cottage, learns to listen to her heart and intuition. Nurtured by Douglas fir forests, the Salish Sea,and her community, she changes her life from the inside out. Her journey, she realizes, wasn’t about leaving her husband so much as finding herself – reconfigured in body, mind and spirit.

Busting through her lifelong karma of people-pleasing and conflict avoidance, Barbara can be herself for the first time, finding words for what she has to say – and the strength to be a survivor. Though Reconfigured is not a how-to manual, readers can learn how to leave a spouse and yet have a happy marriage and how to fall in love with a place – and yourself.

Excerpt: Chapter 11 – Yew and Me

Kindness in Tough Times

After seven hours of chemotherapy and targeted therapy infusions in Seattle, my friend Carla took me home to Whidbey Island. I had a quiet supper in my house, relieved to have successfully completed my initiation into cancer world. I called my neighbor, Trudy, and we made plans for the next day to visit Deception Pass State Park at the north end of Whidbey. My oncology team told me I would have a few days before side effects kicked in, and I wanted to enjoy those days while I could, preferably out in fresh air.

I sat by my butsudan and meditated on the theme of gratitude, thinking of the oncology nurses and all those who helped me through my first day of treatments. My most tearful gratitude, for some reason, was for the workers on the Washington State Ferry that took me between Clinton and Mukilteo, one of the busiest routes in Puget Sound. Using a medical pass issued by my doctor, I had been able to go ahead of the line of cars waiting to board the ferry, saving me time and stress.

Sometimes, especially in summer, cars were in line for hours. On previous trips, I’d witnessed drivers’ hostile reactions when unknowing tourists butted in line with their cars, so I made sure to hold up my medical pass in the window as we went around the waiting vehicles.

Carla and I had been given priority boarding, no questions asked. A man in a yellow safety vest gestured us to the front of the line. We parked in the first spot on the main deck, just behind the motorcycles, with a brightening view of sea and sky. I felt humbled, like a bird with an injured wing returned to her nest. Such kindness makes a big difference when you’re going through tough times.

The next day, Trudy and I drove to the state park and began our hike on the north shore of Whidbey Island, zipping our jackets up to our chins to keep out the wind. As we walked on the beach, we saw the green girders of Deception Pass Bridge soaring eighteen stories above us. Cars and trucks looked tiny as they flowed across the stately bridge. Trudy, a creative soul, savored the sights and sounds, finding purple mussel shells and rocks of many hues tumbling in the surf. Feeling the gravelly sand give way under my shoes as I strode along, I felt confident and mostly healthy, though I knew that could change at any moment.

When I returned home, my husband Donald called from Illinois to check on me. I said I was hanging in there so far. I suggested he also give our daughter Stephanie a call because she was leaving for Hawaii the next day to work on an art installation there. Younger daughter Emily came by and brought me a thermometer I’d asked her to buy for me. We were all in touch by text or phone on a regular basis. Though I wasn’t yet sharing my medical status on social media, I kept about a dozen people in the loop by sending email updates about my treatment.

My Minnesota friend, Amy, texted me with a message of encouragement: “How grateful I am that you are alive and fighting. I cannot imagine life without my friend. Take a good, happy, deep breath. You’re going to beat this thing!” She knew how to make me smile. Heeding Amy’s advice, I took a walk under towering conifers, inhaling their good green scent.

I relied on the love and care coming my way as part of my survival plan. When people offered to pray for me, I said yes, please do! It made sense to accept all the positive energy that was offered and to send prayers of support to those I knew who were struggling, including fellow cancer patients.


* By entering this contest, you give consent to Kind Over Matter to use your name for promotional purposes on our website and on all social media. 

NOTE: You can buy Barbara’s on Amazon.

barbara wolf terao
Barbara Wolf Terao is from Northfield, Minnesota and Evanston, Illinois and now lives on an island in the Pacific Northwest. Along with way too many janitor jobs, Barbara has been teacher, psychologist, land ethic leader, television host, newspaper columnist and book reviewer. Her most joyful roles are as mother and grandmother! Barbara's articles and essays have appeared in Orion magazine, The Seattle Times, ihadcancer website, Art in the Time of Unbearable Crisis anthology and other publications, as well as on her website. Her memoir's message? When your life calls, listen. See Barbara's author page for "Reconfigured."

Related Posts

If you enjoyed this, you might also enjoy these