Gloria Loring is probably best known for her work during the 1980s when she starred in "Days of Our Lives" as Liz Chandler, co-wrote popular TV show theme songs like "Facts of Life," and had a hit song with "Friends and Lovers."
She's the mother of singer Robin Thicke (from her marriage with TV sitcom star Alan Thicke) and spokeswoman for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, where she helped to raise more than $1 million in honor of her older son, Brennan.
Now, she's also the author of a wonderfully inspiring book — part memoir/part self-help — titled "Coincidence is God's Way of Remaining Anonymous." In this book, she explores the Albert Einstein quote she used as the book's title and how coincidence has played a role in her life.
She began with personal stories, like a memoir; but then she wanted to make these useful to readers. She took several years to write this book, engaging in 20 years of spiritual study with 10 years of "researching the practical aspects of coincidence."
She writes in the introduction: "As I began writing, I realized I had staked myself a rather ambitious piece of territory: to write a book that explains how God provides coincidences. The question arose, 'Are you crazy?' I wrote it anyway."
You don't have to know who Loring is to enjoy and learn from this book. Life changed for her when she found a card in her "Days of Our Lives" dressing room that said, "Expect a miracle." She has never discovered where the card came from, but it was the beginning of her inspiration to raise money for JDRF.
While explaining how she used this coincidence in her life before she even realized what she was doing, Loring highlights the "Four I's," which are the four stages of activity she engaged in to raise funds for diabetes research.
She writes, "They are impulse, intention, inventory, and investment. ... Coincidences become more probable when we take action toward our dreams."
She goes on to explain how readers can use the four I's in their own lives to create change and accomplish goals.
Besides her struggle to parent a child with diabetes and the action she took to help him, she also shares interesting stories from her life throughout the book. There's the story of the woman, Shirlee, whom she encountered when signing a "Days of Our Lives" cookbook to raise money for JDRF.
Shirlee told Loring at the book-signing: "I will pray for you every day. God loves you."
After this encounter, Gloria received several letters from Shirlee, and all of these were written as messages from God. All of them reached out to Loring at a time of need, when she was in the process of divorce from Thicke, the father of her children. The letters continued during the divorce proceedings and stopped once the divorce was final. Coincidence?
Loring shares working on a hit song, finding her current husband, being a mother through all stages of childhood and adolescence and even facing her memories of sexual abuse when she was 3 years old.
Photos of Loring and her family are included. Throughout the book in appropriate places, Loring shares song lyrics from a recent album. Quotes from other people also introduce each section. All of these pieces help to show how coincidence plays a part in everyone's life.
In the end, Loring states, "Coincidence provides evidence that we are linked, to each other and to what we need. It gives us proof of the activity of love in the world."
To find out more about Loring, you can go to glorialoring.com. She has separate pages for her music, speaking, acting and more.
"Coincidence is God's Way of Remaining Anonymous" includes book discussion questions in the back, which makes it perfect for a book club. It also would make a good Mother's Day gift, especially since it's obvious what a loving mother (and grandmother!) Loring is.
Margo L. Dill is the author of "Finding My Place: One Girl's Strength at Vicksburg," a middle-grade historical fiction novel. She often reviews books as a columnist for "WOW! Women On Writing" e-zine and her blog, "Margo Dill's Read These Books and Use Them" (http://margodill.com/blog/). Formerly of Mahomet, she lives in St. Louis with her family.