Mike: Rachel and I were introduced by Jason-1 at St Boniface Church in Pittsburgh, PA after Mass.
Rachel: It was springtime, 2001. Mike walked me out to my car – how sweet is that?
Mike:We started communicating
through the site and even went on a few fun dates. However, I misread
any interest Rachel may have had and stopped asking her out.
Rachel: And I was busy building my business, as well as working full time, so I wasn't ready for Mike yet.
Mike:We met for a lunch after
Mass in January 2002, and I remember how good she looked the following
week after Mass. Then, we went 2+ years without any contact.
Rachel: St.Raphael.net was a
fantastic source for friends, but we both needed a break from the site
to follow our respective paths. I would occasionally log on to read the
forums, but wasn't actively looking for a relationship. Apparently,
Mike and I both had some growing to do before God put us back together.
Mike: Fast forward to April 12,
2004, a Monday evening. I was between jobs, working part-time, and I
finished making medical deliveries in Butler, PA, where Rachel lives. I
called her regular number but didn't leave a message. Rachel also left
her business phone number (she owns a dog obedience training business)
on the message, so I called her there even though it wasn't an
"emergency." I was surprised she took my call, especially after who I
said I was, and was willing to meet me for a coffee, despite the short
Rachel: I must say, I was
surprised as well. I often screen my calls, but since it was my cell
phone – the client emergency phone – I answered. I was so caught off
guard, I agreed to meet for coffee before I had a chance to think about
it. Mike often speaks of the wisdom of going out of your comfort zone,
and he's right. If I had been home, and answered his call, I'd have
found an excuse, any excuse, to not deviate from my routine. I was
quite comfortable, you see, not looking for love or romance. If the
choice had been entirely mine, I would still be in the same place as I
was that April. Praise God His Will is stronger than mine!!
Mike: We talked for an hour and
a half about what we'd been doing with ourselves and our travels. She
also asked me why I wasn't married and I told her about my dating
Rachel: lol! The dreaded
question! But we got a lot out on the table right away with no secrets
or hidden agendas. Past experiences build one's personality. It's good
to know these things, and I was totally impressed by Mike's honesty.
Not to mention, when we met at the restaurant, he greeted me with a
hug. Not a cheesy little half-hug, but a real, hold-tight hug.
Mike: If that didn't scare her
away, surely the fact that I had a job offer in Johnstown, PA (75 miles
from Butler) would. Regardless, Rachel gave me her blessing to ask her
out if I were "up in the area" or "looking for something to do." After
the hug she gave me as we left and looking into her blue eyes, I
would've asked her out if for no other reason than the possibility of
getting one more of those hugs and/or glances. Fortunately, I had plans
with some friends nearby Butler that Saturday night and I invited her
out. Then we went to a movie the following Tuesday and I just had to
ask her out again and again and again… Thank God she was willing to
give things between us a chance.
Rachel: It wasn't easy; still
isn't easy. At first we only got to see each other two weekends a
month. (Now it's every weekend, and soon it will be every day!) Long
distance relationships are tough, but looking back, I wouldn't have it
any other way. It forced us to go slowly. In the year we've been
together, we've had opportunities to get to know each other, and I mean
really get to know each other: good, bad, and everything in between. If
we had been closer, we would have rushed our relationship,
rationalizing that we're not teenagers and we know what we want.
Unfortunately, what we want isn't always what's good for us, and if we
had rushed into a marriage, we would not have been as prepared. The
distance has been a trial that has helped us grow closer than I believe
we would have otherwise, and I am grateful.
Mike: On November 21, 2004 I
stepped up (literally) and after entering St Paul Church in Butler, I
walked her down the aisle and proposed to her in front of the Lord.
Even though it wasn't how I originally planned the proposal, I was so
happy she said 'yes' and was willing to marry me. I am so grateful the
Holy Spirit guided me to call Rachel on her business phone.
Rachel: Three and a half years
between the time we got to know each other on StRaphael.net and when we
became engaged. Some would say time lost. We prefer to say it's all in
Mike: Ecclesiasticus 1:1 All wisdom is from the Lord God, and hath been always with him, and is before all time.
Rachel: Praise the Lord God and
His holy helper St Raphael. We have a September 17, 2005 wedding date
planned at St Boniface Church, where it all began for us.