Unexpected Blessings

By DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

Guest Post: Janice Cantore

My favorite definition of hope is “A confident expectation of future blessings.” When I moved to Hawaii a little over four years ago, I didn’t know what to expect. It was a big move, and I knew that a lot of things could go wrong. It’s never easy for me to make friends. I am an introvert through and through. How would I start from scratch? I hoped for the best, but I don’t think I was as confident as I should have been, so what I got was an unexpected blessing.

Not long after I moved in, while looking for a church, I noticed a house around the corner from me with a church van parked in the driveway. I decided I would try that church on Sunday. It was there that I met the woman who lived in the house, Helen. She and another church member were spending one afternoon a week praying for the neighborhood. Would I like to join them? Of course, I said yes. I was part of the prayer ministry at my last church, and I wanted to be a part of the prayer ministry in my next church.

Those walks started a close and wonderful friendship. Helen and I had a lot in common. I’m a writer, she’s a writer and speaker, I love being active and she was part of a get healthy ministry. We liked to swim and bike and play games and pray – it was awesome.

With Helen’s help, I overcame my anxiety about swimming in the ocean. We decided to not just settle for pool swimming, and we joined a group of ladies who swam in the ocean. It was a bit too aggressive for me at first. I wasn’t comfortable going as far out as everyone else did. Helen stuck with me as I hugged the shore. As we both got more confident, we started “mile Monday swims” working up from swimming a few hundred yards to swimming a whole mile in the ocean, every Monday. Eventually, we added Friday mile swims as well.

For nearly four years it was our routine, and it sustained me during covid. Monday and Friday swims were the best part of the week for me, not just the swim, but the fellowship with Helen, and other friends, Robbie and Teri.

Recently, my good friend Helen moved back to the mainland. There is an emptiness here now because she’s gone. I recognize that the only constant in life is change – I hate change. But I will be forever grateful for the unexpected blessing—a blessing I should have expected because I serve a good God – of Helen’s friendship and the time we spent together.

Coming to Hawaii was a huge risk, a step outside my comfort zone, but it has reinforced my trust in God—He is the author of all blessings, unexpected, and expected, and I will forever be in awe of His wondrous works, especially when I least expect it.

Thank you!


Janice Cantore is a retired Long Beach police officer who now writes suspense novels to keep readers engrossed and leave them inspired. Her twenty-two years of experience on the force lend authenticity to her stories. She has penned thirteen romantic suspense novels: the Cold Case Justice series, the Pacific Coast Justice series, Critical Pursuit, and Visible Threat. Crisis Shot and Lethal Target, and Cold Aim make up the Line of Duty series. Breach of Honor and Code of Courage (Selah Finalist) are standalone novels.


Janice, we appreciate your insight into (un)expected blessings.