Friday, October 05, 2012

Catholic Love Story #3: Stacy @ Catholic and Crunchy

Stacy from www.catholicandcrunchy.blogspot. com shares a love story with a terrific twist.  Thank you, Stacy for the inspiration. See y'all next Friday for another love story.

When I saw Anabelle's call for Catholic love stories, I got all misty eyed thinking about how, not only do I have a love story with my husband, but yes, a Catholic love story! I love romance movies, but Hollywood is so unrealistic. Our Catholic love stories are the stuff life is made of, and as I read the beautiful contributions on her site, I got really excited about sharing mine. Many of my regular readers already know our story, but I do have quite a few new readers, and I do love the idea of writing it out as a love story all in one place, rather than the tidbits that are scattered throughout my blog right now.

I moved to Raleigh almost three and a half years ago. I had just finished getting my masters in social work and moved on a well planned whim. Well planned meaning that I plan everything within an inch of my life, and whim meaning that I had no real reason to move to Raleigh and no job waiting for me, but I just felt like it was where I should be. I couldn't explain it very well to people, but beginning in the fall of my last year of grad school, I got the inkling to move to Raleigh and it only got stronger. I know family and friends thought I was a bit rash and taking a big risk, and I was! But it just felt right, so I decided to go with it. I visited a few times during my last year in school. I brought my mom to visit in December and we looked at some apartments. While driving around looking for an apartment building, we saw the Cathedral downtown and decided to peak in. As soon as I walked in I told my mom I wanted to get married there someday!  I went back to Raleigh again to interview a few months later, and I ended up signing a lease over spring break that would take effect at the end of May, so it was a done deal. I was moving to Raleigh! I moved on May 28th (thanks mom and dad, for moving me on your anniversary!) and settled into my apartment in a city where I knew no one. For about a month, I just hung out and got to know my new city on a budget, since I was living off of savings. I took a part time job in mid July in a school uniform store just so I could quit using my savings. A week later, I got a job offer, accepted it, and I'm still there three years later!

Around the time I got the job, I decided I really wanted to work on looking for a husband. I don't like dating and didn't want to do the casual thing. I wanted to know if God had a husband out there for me or not. I had kind of given up already, but decided that I was somewhere new and had nothing to lose. I began praying like I had never prayed in my life. I have many memories of being in mass each weekend by myself, staring up at the cross, and begging... pleading that God would let me meet the man He had created to be with me. At that time, I was unschooled in asking God for His will to be done. I am so thankful that what I was praying for WAS His will and was His vocation for me. I joined the young adults group at my church, but there were no potential love interests there. I joined some meetup groups... nothing. Being a total introvert, I gave up quickly on trying to meet potential suitors through group activities and set up an online dating profile. I felt weird about it; I was mainly embarrassed because online dating still has a fairly negative rap. I went on quite a few dates that were all dead ends. I wanted a Catholic guy, but one I went on a date with was clearly only Catholic as in "yeah, I was baptized Catholic" and another had issues respecting women. I wasn't only dating Catholics but really hoped I would find someone who shared my faith. I had just started going to mass weekly (as opposed to almost weekly, but sometimes sleeping in took preference, which is how I attended throughout college). I had also just begun teaching 3rd grade faith formation. God was planting seeds.

Our first picture together, January 2010

After many dead end dates, I began to lose hope again. This was all over a span of just a few months, but I was frustrated and ready to call the online dating quits. Then one day in November, someone messaged me with the cutest little pick up line. My profile picture was me eating ice cream (I had to be up front about my sweets addiction!) and he wrote "Hi. I thought I'd message you since enjoying ice cream has to be one of my favorite traits in people :P". I liked that he wasn't (like many guys) trying to be really cool or macho, so I immediately wrote him back. We emailed back and forth for about 3 weeks before we met. I really wanted to feel him out! And actually, I had to cancel our first meeting because my cat got sick and I had to take her to the vet on the only day they offer evening hours, Tuesday. (I much later found out that Steven thought I was blowing him off ...your cat got sick? really? and your vet is open at night? yeah, right!.... but googled to see if there was a vet with night hours and saw there was one. Because of his doubt in me, I have kept the receipt from that vet trip ever since so I can wave it in his face every so often!) So we rescheduled for the next week and got together at..... Coldstone! So appropriate! We had a good time, and continued seeing each other. The first time he came to my apartment, he brought a toy for my cat. I knew he was a keeper.
They are both smitten.

Things were pretty much history from there. We got along really well and had a great time together. We did have some very big bumps in the road, but we stuck it through and figured out what needed to change and what our priorities were. Our lives transformed more in the next two years than either of us ever thought possible. I started to get really interested in my faith, and Steven began going to Mass with me every weekend that he wasn't working. After many, many years of going to Mass alone, I really enjoyed the company. I thought that the best I could hope for was his support in raising our children Catholic (which by the way, I told him somewhere around the 3rd date that Catholic children were a requirement lol!) and I was happy enough with that. A year and 3 weeks after we began dating, Steven proposed to me in front of the Biltmore house in Asheville. I knew we were headed towards marriage, but I was actually completely surprised at the proposal! I didn't think it would be happening for a few months. When my parents visited a few weeks before, he took the opportunity while I was using the bathroom to ask for my parents' blessing. How they were all straight faced when I came back out, I will never know!

Minutes after we became engaged!

One of our engagement photos 

After our engagement, Steven started thinking about joining the church. Last fall, he joined RCIA and asked me to be his sponsor. I'm pretty sure that's right up there with him asking for my hand in marriage! We attended RCIA together from fall through spring, and it was such a growing experience for our faith and our relationship. We gave up our old ways of life and accepted the challenge of living the teachings of the church... together! We grew in love with God and even more in love with each other. This past Easter morning at the 7:30 Mass, he was welcomed into full communion with the Catholic church.... a week early and all by himself since our honeymoon was beginning the next weekend! Six days after joining the church, we entered the sacrament of marriage together. I'm not sure that week of our life will ever be topped. Seeing my fiance become Catholic and then marrying my Catholic husband..... swoon!

A brand new Catholic! 

Our wedding day! April 14, 2012

In case you were wondering, yes, that IS the Cathedral that I said I wanted to get married in! 
So there you have it- our Catholic love story!

Stacy is a newlywed who blogs about a variety of topics including faith, natural living, frugality, and PCOS at Catholic and Crunchy

5 comments:

Anabelle Hazard said...

Stacy what a great story--a love story and conversion story all rolled into one. Now, that's evangelization right there -- bringing fiance's to Jesus. Thank you for sharing it here.

Stephanie said...

Love it!! Stacy, your humility and willingness to accept God's will is so amazing. I can't even imagine how great it must have been to celebrate Easter, Steven's coming into the Church, your wedding, and your honeymoon all at once! He definitely wasn't holding back on the blessings =)

MCH said...

I love it all...and love seeing God's hand clearly at work! That picture in the chapel is just breathtaking, too!
Thanks for sharing :)

Allison said...

LOVE it! Great to read these stories of God leading us to love and Love.

mary333 said...

Great story! I've loved all the stories so far. Can't seem to write one though, unfortunately. My mind is blank lately for some reason that I just can't fathom. Weird - I hope my brain comes back from vacation soon! Anyway, I love reading these wonderful stories.