10 Tips for CatholicMatch

Carol and Zackery E-Shoot-1018

Five years ago today, Zack and I had our first date. It was also our first time meeting one another in person because we met on CatholicMatch! While I’m by no means an expert, I did learn a lot through the experience, and I’m going to share that wisdom with you. Here are my recommendations (with some help from Zack) for online dating!

  1. Be called by God: Pursue online dating if you are being called by God to try this avenue for meeting people. Before I even considered joining CatholicMatch I prayed for God’s guidance because I only wanted to try CatholicMatch if it was truly God’s will. I experienced a great deal of peace in making the decision and had the support of people close to me so I decided to move forward. I think the process of online dating will be much more fruitful and enriching if God’s will is at the center, as opposed to using online dating as a last resort when you haven’t met anyone in person to date.
  2. Be thoughtful about creating your profile: Spend time writing your responses and choose your words carefully. Your profile is your first impression and your introduction of yourself. Describe yourself accurately and use language that is genuine to your personality. Be honest about who you are and what you are looking for in a significant other.
  3. Pictures matter: Select pictures that represent how you currently look and your interests. I was drawn to Zack’s profile because he had silly pictures, and I knew he had a great sense of humor! He also still comments on my pictures from my CM profile because a few of them were quite memorable! Also, if you are on the site for awhile I suggest changing your pictures occasionally to refresh your profile.
  4. Have a support system: I had a close friend who met her boyfriend (now husband) on CatholicMatch. She addressed all of my questions about online dating and was so reassuring! I also had friends who I talked with as I went through this process. I highly recommend having people to talk with as you go through the ups and downs of online dating.
  5. Don’t treat this like social media: As I started the online journey, I was concerned that I could treat the site as a form of social media. To counter this, I said a prayer before logging onto my account each time. I also was intentional about reading messages and reviewing profiles. I tried to use each profile I viewed as an opportunity to get to know that man and his interests.
  6. Assume the best of the other person: This is one of my greatest insights about online dating!! If someone doesn’t respond to you, please try not to take it personally. You have no idea what is going on in his or her life. In my case, I always reminded myself that a man I messaged could have been not as active on the site, met someone to date in real life, or was already pursuing a relationship. Yes, perhaps he also was not interested in me based on my profile. But that is ok! The right person will like your profile because your profile is an initial reflection of you!
  7. Online meeting: I’m a fan of moving things offline as soon as possible. I often refer to online dating as “online meeting.” Dating online doesn’t work. Messaging and texting are fine for initial communicating, but if it persists too long, I would question the other person’s commitment level. Besides the point ought to be to connect in person (or via Skype if distance is an issue) to see if you would like to keep getting to know one another. Sites such as CatholicMatch are a tool for meeting people, they are not intended to be a substitute for connecting in person.
  8. Continue prayer: Keep praying and include God in the process. God may call you away from online dating or bring someone else into your life. Remember to trust in the slow and beautiful work of God. It bears fruit in time, but it does take patience.
  9. Be intentional: Don’t send the same canned message to everyone you want to get to know. Trust me, that is obvious to the recipient and doesn’t make me feel unique! Those who have experience with CatholicMatch gain a sense of when a message is written for a specific person. Commenting on what the person mentioned on their profile is a great way to assist in making it more personal. In fact, that is exactly what Zack did for me – and it worked!
  10. Keep trying to meet people in real life: During our time on CatholicMatch we both continued living our regular lives and took opportunities to meet other people as much as we could. We tried to meet people through friends and Catholic events in our community. Though that wasn’t the way for us to meet our spouse, it might be for you. So be prayerful, patient, and always try to meet new people, preferably while doing activities you enjoy!

Photo Credit: OMG Photography

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Reflecting Back and Looking Ahead- Two Years of Our Simple Living Journey

Matesich-1308

We celebrate our second anniversary later this month. Hip hip hooray! As I think back on our two years of marriage, I see clearly how this journey has been marked by increased intentionality and simplicity regarding the care of our health and home.

When we got married and moved in together I realized we had all this stuff we didn’t need: books that I wouldn’t ever open again, clothes weren’t my style, worn out kitchen items, and so on. I started decluttering and letting go of items that weren’t needed anymore. Immediately I felt more peaceful about our home. In addition to decluttering, we became more aware about the zero waste movement (thanks to lots of guidance here). Though I’m gluten free and eat a mostly healthy diet, I started reconsidering the value of eating real, nutritious foods. While I don’t follow this protocol exactly, I did find lots of recipe inspiration here, and I became more motivated to eliminate processed foods.

In my simple living journey I’ve found value in hearing what works for others regarding the areas I’m pursuing. I will be sharing more on my blog about what works for me!

Last summer I incorporated another aspect into my simple living journey: thinking about what skincare and cosmetics I was using and how those could potentially impact my health. I read the book The Other Side of Beauty by Leah Darrow where she discusses the harms of the beauty industry and recommends Beautycounter as a positive alternative.

I’d heard about Beautycounter around social media and their mission to get safer products into the hands of everyone. Once I learned more about them I was delighted discover that their products contain safer ingredients while not compromising on quality. Though I tend to be more of a minimalist in the realm of skincare and makeup, I do like having a few trusted products that perform in the desired way. Some of my favorites from Beautycounter are the sunscreen, lip sheers, Countercontrol cleanser, and facial oils.

This summer, I’ve joined Beautycounter as a consultant so that I can share more about their products and mission with the people in my community. Beautycounter’s Fourth of July sale is going on this week (through the end of the day on July 5th). If you want to learn more about the sale or Beautycounter’s mission, check out this link. Let me know if you have any questions! I would be happy to share more about this wonderful company.

-Carol Matesich

A Fall of Marigolds

I’ve been reading a lot of nonfiction lately, and I decided it was time for a novel. I actually started several novels in the past few months and then stopped reading because I wasn’t enjoying them.

A Fall of Marigolds was a pleasant surprise. It follows two main characters: Clara, a nurse on Ellis Island in the beginning of the twentieth century and Taryn, a fabric specialist in post 9/11 Manhattan. Both are grieving profound losses and trauma in their lives. These women, though living a century apart from each other, are linked through a scarf decorated with beautiful marigold flowers.

Stories that jump back and forth can sometimes be confusing or burdensome, but the author does a great job linking the two together, especially towards the end when more of the connections are unfolding. I definitely felt like Clara’s story was the focus, and I enjoy historical fiction so that was delightful!

I was displeased during only one point in the book. A story line progressed in such a way that a man starts acting pushy towards a woman he fancies. I found that part offensive because I felt like he was beginning to violate her emotional boundaries. However, I was glad when the unfavorable encounter was short lived and their relationship moved forward in a very positive and hopeful direction.

I thought this novel was a lovely read, and I’m looking forward to reading more from Susan Meissner!

 

Grateful Thursday: Community

Welcome back to Grateful Thursday, a time when I share what I’m grateful for lately. Right now I’m appreciating community in my life. In particular, I’m seeing how community evolves over the years and continues to fulfill an important role in my life through every unique season.

In the years of growing up and college, community was primarily focused on my family and school. After college, my communities grew to be focused around a shared commitment to serve the Church in various ministries. Most notably, my MDiv community holds a special place in my heart. Though our time of formation has concluded and I’m far in distance from these lovely people, our hearts remain united in Christ through the Eucharist, close in our prayers for one another, and joyfully expectant of reunions in person. This time post graduation is not without heartache and longing because I truly miss our connections in real life, but I remain grateful for the cherished memories and role each person played in shaping my life as a disciple. Our MDiv group offers community that persists even as lives move on. I’m also reminded that our Christian community recalls the past, dwells in the present, and hopes for the future.

Now as my husband and I live in a new place, community changes once again. We are forming community in our town, especially at our parish. This month, I’m grateful for the support of a strong faith community as Zack and I navigate the newlywed days. I’m grateful to share life with people striving after relationship with Jesus and to know that in discipleship we are united as we journey towards God.

The opening words of Gaudium et Spes describe community rooted throughout the ages so beautifully: “The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ. Indeed, nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts. For theirs is a community composed of men. United in Christ, they are led by the Holy Spirit in their journey to the Kingdom of their Father and they have welcomed the news of salvation which is meant for every man. That is why this community realizes that it is truly linked with mankind and its history by the deepest of bonds.”

Community, past and present, I’m grateful for you all!

How We: Take Care of Ourselves

I’m linking up with Mix and Match Mama and A Little Bit of Everything today! The topic is taking care of ourselves. I love this topic! I think it is important to be mindful of ways we can nurture ourselves so that we can maintain our health and give lovingly to those in our lives.

Self care is a broad term with different meanings and manifestations depending on the person. For me this means taking care of my physical health, nurturing my relationships, developing my relationship with God, and creating time for fulfilling activities. I have certain practices I strive to do daily or weekly to take care of myself in all of these areas.

Physical Health: When I was in graduate school I attended a presentation about sleep, and the presenter emphasized sleep, nutrition, and exercise as all key for maintaining a healthy life. The importance of the three has stuck with me, and I try to be continually improving in each of these areas. With sleep, I strive to have a consistent bedtime with a night time routine, including not looking at my phone before bed. I’m not the best sleeper though so this area can be challenging for me, but the book Sleep Smarter offered some great insights that I’m hoping will help me!

Nutrition is one of my favorite areas to focus on because well, I love food! I’m gluten free and although I do have a sweet tooth, my diet is mostly proteins, fruits, veggies, and a few GF grains. Don’t get me wrong though, there’s a ton of ice cream in our freezer right now 😉

Finally, exercise is the third area of focus. I grew up studying classical ballet, jazz, modern, and musical theater. I like to dance, but now that I’m an adult that is much less structured than it was when I was a student. I enjoy dance fitness classes as my primary means for working out. The dilemma comes around if I need to miss a class or if a class is canceled. Well, my workout kind of goes out the window. One of my goals this year is to pursue more exercise options. I look forward to continuing to work on this so I can set myself up for a healthy life.

Community/Relationships: One of my favorite ways to spend my time is with family and friends. I’m especially fond of time with smaller groups or one on one. As a general guideline I try to make sure I have one of each per week: date with my husband, phone call with my immediate family, and time with a friend (on the phone or in person). This doesn’t always happen perfectly, but usually I feel better when I’m able to nurture these relationships each week. As for community, I’ve found it necessary to be connected in my local community through work, school, parish, or volunteering. Having a place to be at home away from home, especially a faith based community, really helps me.

Relationship with God: This point is foundational to everything else I’m discussing regarding self care. If my relationship with the Lord isn’t my first priority, then everything else I strive for won’t be as fruitful. I incorporate daily prayer, time reading Scripture, Sunday Mass, and prayer with my husband into my weekly routine. Aside from specific prayer times, I strive to make my life centered around God, following God’s will, and growing as a virtuous woman.

Fulfilling Activities: The first few points are so central to meet my basic physical, emotional, relational, mental, and spiritual needs. But I also like to have fun by traveling, reading, writing, and listening to podcasts. I enjoy these activities that enrich my life and help me to value life long learning as well as grow as a person.

Taking care of myself is a big priority. I want to be able to give generously to God, my husband, my family, my passions, and my community. It all begins with filling my own cup so that I am able to give from a place of abundance rather than scarcity. I’m grateful for people in my life that encourage me as I take care of myself. I hope you enjoyed reading about my life, and please do take some time to reflect on your own self care!