Hey there!   How are all y’all?  I hope everyone is doing well.  By now, everybody is either back to school or very close to it.  I’m so excited about this new fall semester.   I get to study subjects in my major, rather than all the core studies.   Last semester was interesting, but I’m not making a career of biology.  We studied things they hadn’t even discovered when I was in high school!  So, how do we handle the unexpected?  Grab a glass of something cold, find a comfy spot and lets explore!

Last fall, I had the privilege of working with my good friend Ceci, who runs “Journeys of Faith with Ceci“.  She’s a little Texas tornado whom I love dearly.  Ceci loves Jesus with everything in her and lives her faith every day.  She e-mailed to ask  if I’d come down a few days early before we left for Israel, to help her work the San Antonio Catechetical Conference.  It was unexpected, but do-able.  So, I packed two sets of luggage and flew down to meet her at the conference.  We had a ball… and lots of unexpected things!

Beginning the conference was a Eucharistic Procession.  Ceci is not shy.  Immediately afterward, she walked up to Archbishop Siller and asked for his blessing.  Standing next to her, I also received one.  It was one of those powerful prayers that leave you a bit breathless, slightly disoriented on earth, but bursting with an interior fire of the Holy Spirit.  To handle that ‘unexpected’ we sat down for a minute and enjoyed the Holy Spirit washing over and through us.

Our table was across from ladies who sell the lockets where you pick the tiny charms to put in them.  One lady started talking about being estranged from a daughter.  That was unexpected, for a total stranger to pour her heart out to me!  How did I handle it?  I prayed with her and for her on the spot.  The encounter wasn’t unexpected to Jesus; He placed us there.

Working a table, sometimes we can take in a session, and Dr. Scott Hahn was speaking at this conference.  If you’re not familiar with Dr. Hahn, just Google him.  He’s a very learned convert to Catholicism, has written many books and is a highly sought after speaker, in addition to being a professor at Franciscan University.  (I get to take one of his classes this fall and it turns out I live just a few blocks from his home!)  Ceci and I couldn’t attend the session, but his book table was a couple of rows behind us.  I was able to meet him, have him sign a book, tell him my two-minute story – he even knew the block where I was going to live – and have my photo taken with him.  Also unexpected was his big hug when he learned of my joining the Catholic Church, and his openness to share which professors lived nearby.  Very down to earth, just a normal person.  Wow!

Packing up was chaos.  Volunteers were ‘helping’; I ended up with a book of Ceci’s and my phone was taken to the lost and found…  which we never found.  The phone was retrieved a couple of days later with the help of my daughter’s skills at using the locator app she’d installed.  (I lose my phone fairly often when I’m on Pilgrimage, lol.)  I found Ceci’s book when I was unpacking here in Ohio last month. Ceci received a big surprise in her mailbox soon after – a personally signed copy of a book she’d purchased and thought she hadn’t received.  We laughed so hard!

Some unexpected things aren’t so funny – my phone was taken to the lost and found; the lady didn’t know how to find me, so she took it to the Archdiocese office.  I didn’t know where it was, so we went back to Houston.  Ceci handled it very well – it cost her an entire day of Pilgrimage preparation to drive me to San Antonio to retrieve my phone.  I paid for the gasoline, and we prayed the Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet and talked about Jesus all day.  She could have been really upset, I could have been really upset, but we both chose to handle the unexpected with prayer and love for each other.

How about you?  Are there unexpected blessings you can be thankful for?  Are there unexpected challenges you need help with?  Are you having an unexpected reaction to a life event?  If you need support and help, find a pastor or a priest.  They will be happy to listen and pray with you, and help you handle the unexpected with grace and peace.  Jesus wasn’t surprised, so we don’t need to be upset.  He’s got this unexpected event!








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