“It all started with pictures of a pretty girl on a John Deere Tractor at a Professional Bull Riding rodeo that won this Cowboy’s heart,” says Greg, 29, from Wyoming.
Greg signed up for CatholicMatch in April of 2015, and shortly after he saw those two pictures of Sarah, 26. He noticed that she was beautiful and it seemed like she would amenable to living on a ranch.
“So I liked several of her pictures, but then I saw she was on the other side of the country [in Massachusetts] and I thought, ‘If it would work out, great, but I’m going to try seeing if there is someone closer.’
I didn't know what God had planned for me, but seeing those pictures would change my life forever.”
She Liked That Greg Was A Rancher
Sarah had been a member of CatholicMatch for over three years when she noticed the profile of a new member named Greg. “I read through his profile and really liked that he was a rancher, as I enjoy the farming/ranching lifestyle, and I also noticed that we had many shared interests, such as a love of the Latin Mass and music by country music artist Chris LeDoux.”
Sarah sent him a message, but when she hadn’t heard back, she started to think he wasn’t interested. It turned out that Greg had been on a pilgrimage to Poland, and he promptly returned her message when he arrived home. “I looked at her message, and it was very different than other messages I had received on CatholicMatch, and so I knew in my heart that this was different.”
Beauty in a Red Dress
They started exchanging emails daily, and after about a month, Greg asked to meet her. In late September, they met outside the hotel Sarah was staying at. “I was wearing a red lace dress and curled my hair. I still remember the moment Greg and I first saw each other. I was texting him asking where he was in the parking lot, and just as I sent it, I saw him and he saw me. He got my text just then and he threw his head back and laughed.”
They went to an Italian restaurant and enjoyed good food and nonstop conversation. “On many dates I had been on with CatholicMatch men, I felt like I had to keep the conversation going, but with Greg, that wasn’t the case.”
The next day, they went out for breakfast at a local restaurant and then took a drive to the canyon to do some hiking. “Seeing all the trees at the peak of their fall colors was a beautiful sight, but the best part of the hike was that I was with Sarah.
We spent the entire day talking with each other, learning more about each other’s interests. That evening there was a light show ceremony, and it was after this ceremony that I reached down and grabbed Sarah’s hand, which she gripped back.”
On Sunday, they attended the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. They parted ways agreeing that they would continue dating with the purpose of discerning marriage. This meant so much to Sarah, because it showed her how seriously Greg took their relationship.
The next few months, they communicated with each other over Skype and talked for hours on their cell phones. They also visited each other as often as possible. “God continued to sustain our relationship even though there was 650 miles between us. Yet no amount of distance can stop true love,” Greg shares.
Star Trek and Trains Led to First Kiss
One thing Sarah finds endearing about Greg is that his interests have been the same for his entire life—he loves Star Trek and trains. “He showed me some pictures he had drawn as a very young child, and they are about Star Trek or trains. So, with Omaha being the birthplace of the Union Pacific railroad, I thought it would be great to take him to some train related places. We went to the Union Pacific Railroad Museum, and Greg enjoyed discussing trains with the volunteer workers there,” she says.
Then they went to Kennefic Park, where two UP trains are parked above a sign for Omaha. “It was there that Greg and I really got into a deeper discussion about our struggles and past hurts,” she remembers. They were sitting next to a UP Big Boy 4023 train when they had their first kiss. “For this reason, UP Big Boy 4023 will always be special to us,” they say.
Meeting The Parents
Sarah visited Greg at the ranch for the first time for Thanksgiving 2015. She fell in love his family and their beautiful ranch. “Greg gave me a tour of the ranch, and we picked a spot for our future home, since we had begun talking about marriage.”
During her visit, they met up with two of Greg’s longtime friends, a couple with four children. Greg hadn’t told them that he and Sarah were discussing marriage, so what this friend revealed to them could have been awkward, but instead, it was a sign of affirmation for Sarah and Greg.
“The husband told us that he had felt the Holy Spirit during Mass and felt inspired to give us this message: ‘Greg and Sarah, you were not brought together by your own doing, but by God’s doing. Your marriage will be an inspiration to those who are married or will be married.’”
In December, Greg came to visit Sarah a week before Christmas and they had plans to meet for New Years. “I thought a proposal might be coming soon, as Greg had asked for my ring size, and I had also sent him some photos of rings that I liked as inspiration, so that he could still pick the ring himself, because I wanted it to be something special from him and not something I just picked out for myself,” she says.
When Greg came out to meet Sarah’s parents who live out East, she wasn’t expecting him to propose. He had thrown her off the scent by telling her he had something big planned for Valentine’s Day.
“Greg got along very well with my parents. The morning of New Year’s Eve, my dad came up the stairs and told me that Greg had just asked his blessing to marry me. I was very happy but also a bit annoyed at my dad for giving away the surprise. But I figured he had asked since he was at my parents’ place and was able to ask in person, but wouldn’t actually do it until Valentine’s Day, as he had said,” she recalls.
New Year's Festivities
They headed out for the New Year’s Eve festivities, and unbeknownst to Sarah, Greg had plans to ask her to marry him.“I knew I was going to ask her soon, and the excitement was just building in my heart and soul. The actual engagement was going to be two fold. I had a book for her entitled, For Better... Forever: A Catholic’s Guide to a life-long Marriage. There was a personal note in it, and as she was finishing up the note, I was going to get on one knee and ask her if I could marry her.
That was the plan, yet I didn’t know exactly when that was going to happen. As soon as we parked the car, I got the book out for her, which was wrapped. I gave it to her and she asked if she should open it right then. I said yes she should, and I became oblivious to my surroundings. I was watching her and as she was reading the letter, I started to reach into my pocket. Sarah saw this and she said that we should go upstairs where there is better lighting. I looked around and that's when I realized that we were still in the parking garage.”
Sarah shares, "We came up to a cobblestone street with some trees lit by Christmas lights, and the number “16” for New Year’s 2016 projected onto a building in the distance. I continued reading the letter, and Greg could see the excitement building in my eyes."
As she finished reading the handwritten note, Greg told Sarah, "I want to be your Last First Kiss."
Then he got on one knee and asked: "'Sarah, Will You Marry Me?' Sarah’s hand went up to her mouth, and as I finished asking, she said 'Yes!'" Greg remembers.
He then took her hand, which was shaking, and he placed the ring on her finger, and kissed her. "God was with us every step of our journey,” they say.
Sarah has plans to move near Greg in the near future, and they will be married in April of 2017.