Lorena's words are in regular type. Richard's are in bold.
Lorena: Blame the fora ! LOL! Richard and I met after he came to my
defense in a heated discussion in the fora, and I e-mailed him to thank
him. We contacted each other occasionally after that, and when several
people formed a chat room (not affiliated with St. Raphael), he invited
me to it, and we continued getting to know each other via the chat.
I received a renewal notice near the end of my first year on CM. I
would check for new matches once a week or so, and log in anytime I got
a notice I had mail. I met three women in person; no second dates,
though. It hardly seemed worth it. I had a look around the website
before I decided to renew or not, and that’s when I found the fora. I
started participating. I had noticed Lorena’s posts, they were always
well-written and well-documented. At some point we were both battling a
forum harpy, then the thread got locked right after I got the last word
in, so we exchanged e-mail congratulations. By this time I had gotten
wrapped up chatting in The Room We Dare Not Name, so I invited her to
Lorena: We ended up planning a get-together for the
California members of the chat and met in person for the first time on
September 24, 2004, at a restaurant in Newport Beach. The weekend
included a trip on Sunday to the Getty, and Richard … well, Richard
asked a question that made me blush! We had finished going through one
of the galleries at the museum, and were wondering where to go next,
when Richard asked, “Where do they keep the Rubens?” I started
answering, but then turned and said, “Why do you want to know where the
Rubens are?” He didn’t answer, but grinned and gave me A Look. It hit
me what Rubens was famous for painting, and that I was a pretty close
copy of some of the models … and I turned bright red and started
laughing – it still makes me laugh!!
We had an easy first meeting – it was a group thing and we already knew
something about each other. Saturday we met up at Disneyland, and sorta
hung together. Sunday morning we met up at the church, and sat next to
each other. She later told me she was impressed that I knew the Creed
by heart. After Mass, we went with a small group to the Getty Museum. I
made her blush there.
Lorena: Our first meeting had no
pressure or anxiety because we were in a group. Despite the fact that
we lived 350 miles apart, I found myself hoping to see him again soon.
I soon discovered that Richard felt the same way, and he and I had our
first date on November 13, 2004.
We were still chatting for a few weeks, so I decided to pursue things.
We arranged to meet in Long Beach. We walked around a lot and took a
harbor cruise and had dinner for our first date. Sunday, she picked me
up and we went to Mass. Things were still casual, so we didn’t do
anything together throughout the holiday season.
Lorena: As luck would have it, an opportunity for me to visit
Richard up in the Bay area came in the form of the Walk for Life in San
Francisco. We walked, talked, and together with some other members of
CM, dealt with the loonies of the opposing side, and had a fabulous
We’ve commented that walking has been the common theme in most of
our dates, starting with the Walk for Life. We’ve walked through
redwood forests, through downtown Los Angeles, at Yosemite, and in
towns and parks of various sizes. As we walk, we talk, and talk. I
truly believe all the walking has helped us to center on the important
talks, since the 350-mile distance between us has meant that we don’t
see each other more than a few times a month. Walking together, rather
than being engaged in activities that might be fun but which don’t lend
themselves to conversation, has been a remedy for the distance.
The distance is a reality, though, one that can’t be ignored, but
thank God that Richard was willing to work with it – he’s often
surprised me by coming down to Los Angeles for just one day, driving a
total of ten hours to spend six hours with me! We’ve met at various
points about halfway between Los Angeles and San Jose – Yosemite,
Solvang. It’s been a challenge but well worth it.
Good thing I got the cellphone with nationwide calling and free nights
and weekends! I drove down in mid-February right after work on Friday
during a terrible rainstorm. I met her parents then. In March, she came
North again, for the Alcatraz trip with a big group of people. We
skipped the bar-hopping with the group afterwards because we wanted to
spend time together. I took her to meet Mom on Sunday after we took a
Three weeks later I visited again.
We did a long, long drive through the Angeles National Forest. In early
June, we went to Yosemite. She had never been there, and I wanted her
to see the falls when they were roaring, and they really were. I packed
a picnic lunch -how romantic of me! We didn’t get nearly enough time
there before it got dark. Later in June I made another day trip. It’s
only 750 miles round trip!
July 2005 we went to the Catholic Family Conference in Anaheim. I lured
her to my hotel room and asked her to do things no man should ever ask
a woman to do, and then I took pictures of her doing it – she ironed my
shirt in about 1/10 the time it would take me.
thank God every day for Richard – it makes such a difference to have
God in our lives, and the fact that he sent me a man who not only
“gets” my humor and who feels the same way I do about most subjects,
but who is a practicing Catholic, fills me with awe and gratitude for
His generosity. What a difference to date a man who wants to go to Mass
with me, and who is active in his own parish!
In August she visited me again, and I brought her to a big family party
for a few hours. She got to meet all my relatives, even the cousin I
only see about once every two years. I made another day trip in early
September. Later in the month, I went there again, since it was the
anniversary of our first meeting. I got to meet some of her friends at
a Baptism. In October I went for the day again. And then she came to
see me in November. When someone asked how our weekend was, I answered,
Lorena: When I visited Richard in November,
we decided to go to Mission San Jose, since I hadn’t seen it. While we
were there, Richard saw a sign for the Dominican Sisters’ “Holiday
Faire,” so we went. It turned out to be a great experience – I realized
once we arrived that the place wasn’t a convent, it was the Dominican
Mother House, and I had gone to a school run by Dominicans. I was
excited and hoping to see some of my old teachers, but especially I
wished I could find the grave of Sister Bernadette, my English teacher
and my favorite. Richard helped me find it, and he was wonderful in
helping me with the emotion of it all. We did also run into one of my
high school teachers, and we enjoyed walking around the peaceful and
very pretty grounds. It was a wonderful weekend – again!
The longing got to be too much, so I suggested a meet-halfway trip. We
met up for lunch then went and visited Missions Santa Ynez and La
Purísima Concepción as well as the touristy town of Solvang. Family
obligations kept us from spending Christmas together, but we made plans
for New Year’s weekend. We went out with her brothers and their wives
on New Year’s Eve. We did a lot of talking that weekend. Monday before
I left I proposed to her, and she said yes. The rest of the weekend
hadn’t gone according to the way I had wanted it to go, but I went
there on a mission, and I wasn’t going to leave without accomplishing
Lorena: Although Richard and I had been discussing
the possibility of marriage, it was still a real surprise when he asked
me to marry him – in fact, after I said, “Yes” I was speechless for a
while – something unusual, let me tell you! We’re excited about this
period of accelerated discernment, and we’re looking forward to
beginning the Church’s Pre-Cana process and continue to deepen our love
and understanding of each other. Above all, we place our trust in God
to guide us and to help us in the process of joining our lives together.