Our Story

Our Humble Beginnings (The Friendship)

Kamaya and Maic first met at their small charter High School in Tempe, Arizona.  Immediately High School-type romance began (HS dance foto above), until Maic bluntly told Kamaya that 1) he was determined not to date during high school and 2) he couldn’t date anyone who did not share the same Faith.  For, as he would always say, he had to be able to share that which was closest to his heart with the person closest to his heart.  Despite Maic’s naïve insensitivity and blunt words, they began a friendship that deepened as each day went by.

After high school graduation, Maic headed to the Air Force Academy and Kamaya went to ASU to pursue her nursing degree.  Throughout the years they maintained their close friendship, making a point to see each other every time Maic returned to Arizona for break.  In 2006 Maic went to Mexico to serve as a youth minister, and their email conversations increased in length and depth.  They playfully bantered about being in a romantic relationship with each other, but never seriously – Maic still maintained his determination to only date someone who shared the same Faith.

The Dating

On May 2008, Kamaya graduated from ASU with her nursing degree and decided to go on a mission trip to Tanzania for a couple of weeks.  During this time, she did some intense soul searching and felt called to come into the Catholic Church.  As soon as she returned home, she started taking the Right of Catholic Initiation for Adults class at Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish in Tempe, Arizona.

Maic was elated that Kamaya had decided to enter the Catholic Church, but their friendship remained strictly platonic. 

In October of that year, Kamaya went to Denver for her sister’s engagement party, and Maic drove out to see her.  They spent the weekend together and were reminded of the unspoken attraction that had frequented their friendship throughout the years.  The only difference: they now shared the same Faith.  The weekend ended with their first date at Chili’s before parting at the airport.  However, instead of diving into a dating relationship, they decided to spend the next month in discernment – continuous prayer to see if the Lord was calling them into a romantic relationship.

A month later, Kamaya went to Colorado to visit Maic for his birthday.  That weekend, Maic presented Kamaya with a hand carved, wooden heart placed in the middle of a cross and told her that he felt the Lord was calling him to ask her to be his girlfriend, and that he would be honored if she would accept.  She said that she’d love to, and they both immediately sat and prayed that the Lord would guide their relationship and take it exactly where He wanted it to go. 

Their relationship kept growing, and they both learned the importance of communication.  They started habits that they knew they’d need as the Lord kept calling them into a deeper relationship.  They started writing each other Wednesday letters and started praying together every night.  In all things, they did their best to keep Christ as the center and focus of their relationship.

After six months of dating and much prayer and discernment, Maic felt the Lord calling him to ask for Kamaya’s hand in marriage.

The Proposal

Kamaya was confirmed on Easter Vigil (Saturday night) in Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish and Maic flew out for that milestone in her life. 

Little did Kamaya know, he had already asked her parents for her hand

in marriage and planned to propose the next day.  On the night of her confirmation, Maic gave her a leather-bound Bible with her name engraved on the front.  In the Bible were three laminated cards that Maic had made for her before coming out to Arizona for her Confirmation - one entitled "verses for those receiving their first communion", one entitled "verses for those receiving the Holy Spirit in Confirmation", and the last one entitled, "verses for those discerning Holy Matrimony".  After the confirmation, Kamaya and Maic read through some of the verses of the first two cards and prayed together before returning to Kamaya's parents' house for the night.  The next morning, as planned, they headed out to a small adoration chapel in the Franciscan Renewal Center and knelt down.  

Once again, Kamaya and Maic invited the Lord to take His place in the center of their relationship, and asked for His guidance and Blessing.  Next, in the Lord's presence, they asked each other for forgiveness for ever having hurt the other, covering every instance that they could remember.  They forgave each other in the Lord's presence, and began to thank each other for everything that they had been and meant to each other.  

Kamaya and Maic then sat down and opened the Bible he had given her the night before.  They read through each verse on the card entitled, "verses for those discerning Holy Matrimony" and prayed about and talked about what each verse meant to them and what they felt the Lord was telling them through the verses.  When all the verses had been read, Maic closed the Bible, looked into Kamaya's eyes, and asked, "Kamaya, knowing that if you marry me, our life will not be easy - knowing that if you marry me our marriage will constantly be attacked by our spiritual enemy - knowing that if we get married we will have to do the Air Force's bidding and go where it tells us to go for the next twelve years - knowing that we will be faced with an incredible challenge to raise a holy family in an anti-family culture - knowing that life will not get easier as a result of our marriage, would you still want to marry me?"

Kamaya looked right back into Maic's eyes fervently, replied with a very eloquent expression of her Love for him, and finished with, "and, in spite of all the things that you mentioned, I know that if God calls us to marriage, He will give us the graces to overcome any obstacle put in front of us and ward off any attack directed at us.  I know that if God calls us to get married that He will not abandon us and that our marriage will be the only path to our happiness.  I know that it will take sacrifices, but I also know that God will provide for those who follow His calling."

Maic fumbled in his pocket for what Kamaya thought was a tissue and said, "My Love, I honestly, truly feel that the Lord is calling us to get married."  He got down on one knee, gazed Lovingly into Kamaya's eyes, and asked, "Kamaya Leane, will you marry me?"

Tears of joy trickled down Kamaya's face as she saw the ring placed in her hand.  In her surprise and joy, she forgot to answer...so Maic asked once again, "So...will you marry me?"  In a laughter now coupled with the tears she replied, "of course, Maic Peter.  Of course."  In the presence of the Lord they expressed their Love for one another a very deep and heart-felt kiss, and knelt once more before the Lord, asking Him to guide and bless this new season of their lives and for the grace to put Him first in all things that they said and did.

The Engagement Season

That afternoon, the Lord opened a new chapter in our lives – a season of preparation.  It was incredibly refreshing to finally be able to share our dreams with a, “When we get married” versus an, “If we discern that the Lord is calling us to get married…”

In our innocence, we doubted that we would actually be able to get to know each other better through the engagement season – we had already discussed everything that needed to be discussed while we were friends and while we were discerning marriage.  We knew everything about one another already (or so we thought).  Little did we know that this season of preparation would provide innumerous opportunities for our friendship and relationship to grow in depth and quality. 

In order to fulfill the Catholic Church’s requirements for marriage, we had to take a marriage prep course, take a FOCCUS engagement exam, attend an Engagement Encounter retreat and receive training in the art of Natural Family Planning.  In all honesty, these requirements at first seemed like obstacles that needed hurdling.  Maic was finishing his studies in Colorado; Kamaya was working full time in Arizona; the practical aspect of the wedding still needed to be planned; Maic had an epic road trip to complete with his brother; the move to Del Rio had to be planned; Maic had to ensure there was a house to live in, etc.  It seemed like these requirements would only devour our time and frustrate instead of fostering Love.  In the end, however, they proved to be portals through which we were able to explore new depths in ourselves and our relationship. These programs allowed us to foster our Love for Christ and for one another.

Our Talk with God

When we got engaged, we had March 2010 in mind for the wedding.  It’s what we told everyone and what we started planning for.  Maic’s training dates seemed to leave a one month gap in March, which would be perfect and most logical time for a wedding.  Plus, it would give us 11 months to prepare for the wedding and get all the requirements knocked out without any unneeded pressure. God had something else in mind, though. J

A couple weeks after we got engaged in April 2009, Maic had a heart-to-heart with his friend and mentor Dave DiNuzzo (author of Truemanhood.com and youth minister at the Air Force Academy).  Dave urged Maic to pray very hard about the wedding date.  He related from his own experience and from the experience of close friends that the best part about the engagement season (though it is an amazing season of preparation) is that it ends.  It’s kind of like Lent – it’s an AMAZING season of preparation, but the best part is that Easter comes.  Why have an 80 day Lent when 40 days is sufficient?  

Maic put the wedding date to prayer and felt called to knock on the doors of September 2009.  It seemed like it would be impossible – there were only five months to go and there was SO much to plan.  On top of that, we didn’t even know if Our Lady of Mount Carmel would let us get married with only five months of engagement (the Church usually requires six).  By the grace of God, one door opened after another after another, and we were able to set 12 September 2009 as our wedding date.  Our engagement season turned out to be the perfect length.  We didn’t feel over pressured at all, yet never felt like we were twiddling our thumbs.  Glory to God for His incredible grace, wisdom, and Love!

The Wedding – YEY!

The Lord gave us a wedding that surpassed our wildest imaginations in beauty, blessing, joy, and celebration.  Thanks to all who helped us and opened themselves to be used by the Lord to make for such an incredible wedding. 

Maic’s account:

Saturday morning, the twelfth of September, started for me with a 6:30am wake-up call.  Inspired by my good friend Dan Kolar, I had decided that the best day of my life needed to include some sort of sport.  Having been strictly forbidden by Kamaya to participate in a friendly game of tackle football, I chose Ultimate Frisbee.  All the men at the wedding who were able to make it came out for the game at Meyer park – the very same park where I had spent two years shedding my blood, sweat and tears during Football practice.  The game was epic.

After engaging in our “man activity,” we headed over to Denny’s where my Grandpa (whom we very affectionately call Papalo) was celebrating his 90th birthday.  Still in our battle garb, we made a half-circle around Papalo and with deep, grisly voices we sang him “Happy Birthday.”  Twice.  The smile and gleam on his face communicated the joy and appreciation that resounded within his soul.  It seemed like the Lord was gifting him with an even more youthful countenance.

After breakfast at Denny’s, I headed over to my parent’s house in Tempe.  On my way back, I broke the age-long tradition of not having any communication with the bride before the wedding.  I sent her at text to tell her how much I Loved her and how much I was looking forward to marrying her.  She replied back with loving gratitude and matching anticipation.  I figured the tradition never said anything about text messaging, so I was fine…

When I got to my parent’s house, I had the opportunity to reflect on the beauty of the Sacrament we were about to enter into together.  I said a small prayer offering the entire wedding to the Lord, asking Him to make it turn out according to His will so that all glory could be His.  I put the finishing touches on my wedding gift to Kamaya, and hopped in the shower- 15 minutes before I had to leave for the Church.  I bathed, brushed my teeth, passed my fingers through my hair with gel, and deliberately donned my mess dress.  I left the house with one minute to spare. 

When I arrived at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, I met with my saber detail (my friends from the Academy who would form the traditional saber arch as we left the church) and did a quick dry run.  We finished with plenty of time before the rest of the wedding party arrived.  I excused myself and went to the front of the church to spend some time in front of the Tabernacle.  As I finished offering the wedding once again to the Lord, I was pleasantly surprised to find my friends from the Academy kneeling down beside me in their mess dress, praying with me.  Then, through the prompting of the Holy Spirit, they laid their hands on me and prayed over me.  The Holy Spirit spoke through them and filled us with a Joy that only He can give.  We were ready to celebrate.

As 1pm drew nigh, my wedding party arrived and I was ushered into the sacristy so I wouldn’t see my lovely bride until she was ready to be presented to her groom.  We patiently waited there, putting forth our best efforts to keep from sweating in the September heat. 

The moment had come.  I made my way to the back of the church after being re-assured that my bride was no longer in view.  The music started, and those in the procession ahead of me took their seats.  I then escorted my mother and father to their seat and took my place in front of the altar.  I stood there, breath abated, expecting to see my bride at the end of the aisle.  Instead I saw Christopher and Monikah, my sister.  I resumed breathing – I had forgotten the wedding party.  This was real.  I was getting married- to the most amazing woman on this earth.  As the flower girl and ring bearer made their way to their seats, I saw her: my beautiful, radiant bride.  As she approached with her parents on either side, her beauty transitioned from a distant radiance to a close, tangible magnificence.  As her dad lifted her veil, I was awestruck.  This was the woman I was going to spend the rest of my life with.  How blessed I am!  In my momentary trance, I almost forgot to hug my new in-laws and almost went straight to embrace my bride – not yet. I still had a while to go.  I embraced my new dad and mom and thanked them for their daughter.  Now, it was time to get married.

The Liturgy of the Word was beautiful.  During the reading of Ephesians 5, it was humorous, yet saddening to see men nudge their wives as the wives’ faces showed a sheepish look of embarrassment for us.  If only they had listened to the entire reading.  My heart longed to explain what the Apostle Paul was saying through the powerful analogy between Christ and the Church and the groom and the bride.  We pray that God will give us the grace to live an example that helps them understand far better than any explanation that we could give.

As Father transitioned from the Homily into the Liturgy of the Eucharist, my grandparents placed a large rosary (also called a Lazo) over our shoulders as we knelt in before the altar.  Father blessed us and the rosary.  The Blessed Mother had been such an important part of our relationship and in bringing Kamaya into the Church, we want to make sure that we dedicated our sacramental union to her so that she could intercede to her Son on our behalf. 

As the bread and wine turned into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord and Savior before us on the altar, I felt like I was being given the opportunity to taste Heaven – Jesus was before us, we were worshiping Him, and my bride was next to me, the person on this earth who would encourage me the most to grow closer to Christ.  And, all around us was our community – our friends and family who will be able to share in the Beatific Vision with us.  This realization carried into the moment we received Holy Communion.  As I consumed our Lord’s body and blood, I felt an incredible closeness with God and Kamaya.  Both of our focus was on Him – which in turn drew us closer to Him.  As we drew nearer to Him, we drew nearer to one another.  It was in Loving Him first that our Love for one another became even stronger.  It was humbling to think that the intimate communion we were having with Jesus would be mirrored by our marriage.  I knelt there in awe and thanksgiving before the altar with my beautiful bride, marveling at the mysteries of the Sacraments in which we were participating.

As the Eucharistic Celebration came to a close, we took one last opportunity to honor Mary our spiritual mother for how incredibly good and persistent she has been with us.  Before we processed out, we placed a bouquet of flowers at the foot of her image as the Lady of Mount Carmel and said a quick prayer consecrating ourselves to her and her most precious son.  We thanked her for her persistence and faithfulness, and asked her to always intercede to her Son on our behalf.

After the wedding, we headed to the cocktail hour – or, rather, cocktail hour and a half.  Longer than the traditional cocktail hour, but such was the dynamic of the facilities available.  And, as the Lord did with everything, He made it the perfect length.  We had the opportunity to greet everyone and spend time with them while enjoying hors d’oeuvres and a 15 minute slideshow of photos of our past 23 years of life.

We headed over to the reception area and began dinner.  Honestly events in the reception don’t seem to take any particular order in my memory.  I remember it going very, very smoothly, thanks to God and the incredible work of our DJ.  I remember Carly and Nichole’s (Kamaya’s sisters) touching speech; my new dad’s welcome into his family; my brother Matthew’s well formulated and even better delivered speech; my friends from the Academy singing “You’ve lost that loving feeling”; the cutting of an amazingly delicious cake (the best tasting wedding cake I’ve ever had); and epic dancing. 

One very vivid memory, actually: my first dance with Kamaya.  It was surreal to finally be able to hold her in my arms, as her husband, and sing to her the words of our favorite song.  I had sung the very same song to Kamaya in the car ten months before on the weekend we started dating.  I had inscribed the scripture reference from the song in a hand-carved cross I had given her as a sign of the beginning of our discernment of marriage.  I was honored to be able to sing her the very words that Christ sings to His church in a longing to be one with her and to hear her respond with a longing for me as the Church longs for her Groom.  During that song, time seemed to stand still.

Kamaya’s version:

My morning had a slightly different tone than Michael’s.  I don’t remember what time my alarm went off, but I’m assuming it was around 6:30am because we had to transfer all of my clothes over to the presidential suite.  My mom and I had stayed in a really nice hotel room at the resort to spend some quality time together on my last night as an unmarried maiden.  After turning off the alarm, to celebrate and kick-start the morning, I started jumping on the bed and chanted, “I’m getting married today!” to the background chorus of my mom saying, “Kamaya, please don’t hit your head!”  We got everything over to the presidential suite and most of my bridesmaids started making their way over to get their hair and makeup done by a hair stylist and makeup artist.  I chose to go last for makeup and hair, so while they were getting beautified, I was relaxing on the couch eating breakfast.  There was a lot of hustle and bustle in the room, and I answered a lot of questions about being ready and being nervous to get married.  But I was calm and confident and I trusted in God’s plan for us.  I was so relaxed, in fact, that I was ready to take a nap when I got called out by my mom. J The young woman who was supposed to do my makeup was more nervous than I was and, in the end, couldn’t do my makeup.  By the grace of God, there had been another makeup artist there and she did my makeup.  I was getting the finishing touches on my hair when the photographer came in for photos.

So, from 7am until 2pm, I was basically just hanging out and eating: now that is my kind of preparation!  The Lord filled me with a certain peace so that whole morning passed quickly.  The main feeling I remember is that everyone was nervous on my behalf and loving on me.  Oh, and of course, Jessica’s exciting entrance, “Praise the Lord!  Kamaya and Michael are getting married today!!”  It was so funny and just the love and energy that I needed.  After the photographer got there, I got the finishing touches on my makeup, and my mom helped me get into my dress.  It was an exciting, bizarre, and emotional moment because the dress was the symbol of marriage for my mom and me.  That was clearly the moment when I became the bride and I was no longer the little girl. After donning my gown, we quickly got everything semi-packed up and cleaned up in the room, and made our way towards the front of the hotel to get the limo ride to the Church – the longest 10 minute ride of my life.  I remember that distinctly, actually- it took a really long time to get there.  (A funny side note: the limo was originally going to be a hotel van until my mom recommended that it would be a much more reliable and classy form of transportation to have a limousine.  Yay Mom!)

When we arrived at the Church, I was guaranteed that Michael was NOWHERE near the front and it was safe to proceed.  When I started to get out of the limo, I saw the saber detail practicing out front and, at first, I thought Michael was outside, too.  To my relief and slight disappointment, he wasn’t there.  The waiting time to walk down that aisle was ridiculous.  I’m not really a patient person- I really wanted to get married.  I heard the musicians practicing, and I heard guests arriving, and I was just inside a little hidden area waiting – just waiting for them to tell me that it was my turn to come out.  While I had prayed at some points throughout the day in small, soft prayer, I asked Jessica, my AMAZING friend , to lead us in prayer – my bridesmaids, myself, my mom, and my flower girl – to remind us that this day was not mine or Michael’s, but it was the Lords and for His greater glory. 

And then the magical words: it’s time!  I still had to wait inside the room with my mom and with my dad, but it was good time to be with them in that quiet anticipation.  And then we came out and began to walk down the aisle.  I couldn’t see Michael as we were walking down the aisle because everyone was standing up; but I could see the Tabernacle, which was an amazing thing to see because I could very clearly see that God was calling Michael and me to marriage with Him and through Him.  Seeing the families all around as I walked down, and being escorted down the aisle by my mom and my dad was one of the best transitions in my life.  And then there was Michael.  I finally saw him.  I finally got to the end of the aisle and wanted to jump into his arms, but thank God Michael hugged both my mom and my dad first.  Then it was to begin: the ceremony and celebration. 

And…isn’t it amazing how quickly celebrations pass?  It is all a blur now in my memory.  I remember random, joyful specifics (like sleeping altar servers), but have in my memory a soft haze of joy.  For more details on the wedding, refer to either Michael’s description or the 3 DVD video.


Our Talk with God- Part II

Right after we got married, we told everyone that we were going to wait at least a full year before trying for a baby.  It was the logical thing to do.  Today’s culture says that a couple needs at least one year (if not ten) to get to know each other and settle in.  In addition, most people in the Air Force don’t recommend having a baby during pilot training – it’s just “not the right time” and we needed to “concentrate on pilot training.”

The first couple of months we were very careful with our charting and were resolved not to conceive until it was wise for us to do so.  But that begged the question, “when will it be ‘wise’ to do so?”  The obvious yet not so easy-to-swallow answer was when God said it was time.  Just like our initial wedding date, we had gone with what was logical instead of what the Lord was calling us to do.  So, we laid it before the Lord in prayer.  And He answered.  The time was now. 

Knowing that God was calling us to try for a baby was both exciting and daunting.  And, as usually happens when you surrender your will to the Lord, our will began to conform to His.  We began to yearn for a baby.  All of a sudden, each month that passed by without a positive sign of pregnancy became a blow, especially to Kamaya.  Doubts started to bombard our minds – had we really heard God correctly?  Rationally we knew that it can take months, or even years to conceive, nevertheless the emotional blows were staggering.
As each month passed without a pregnancy, however, we learned the importance of waiting on the Lord.  He has always been faithful to us – there was no reason to doubt it now. 

On the third month (January), one night during evening prayer the Magnificat (a monthly publication that has daily morning and evening prayers) included a blessing of a child in the womb.  Kamaya felt very strongly that the Lord was letting us know that He had given us a child, but was reluctant to share the news because of the fear of being let down.  A week and two positive pregnancy tests later, however, she remembered what the Lord had shared with her during evening prayers.  When we checked the date, it turned out that the Lord had shared with her that that we were pregnant only a few days after we had conceived!

Glory to God for His incredible gifts of grace and life.  We whole-heartedly embrace His will, knowing that He will give us the grace to overcome the struggles that lie ahead.