Sunday, November 10, 2019

A Story About a Boy and a Girl from Oregon

Once upon a time there was a red-haired boy growing up near Harrisburg, Oregon. He liked to research animals, do dangerous things, and take mechanical things apart.

His name was Matt.

His mom, Dorcas, wrote for the newspaper in town, the Register-Guard.

Seven miles away a little dark-haired girl was growing up. Her name was Phoebe. She was creative and liked science.

Phoebe's dad was named Tom. He also worked for the Register-Guard newspaper, as a graphic designer. He would design the page where Matt's mom's articles appeared.

Tom and Dorcas didn't know each other, but in 2012 Dorcas wanted to self-publish a bunch of her articles. She asked her friend Bob, another RG columnist, who he'd recommend to help design the cover and inside pages.

Bob said, "I always ask my friend Tom."

Tom was willing to help. He found an artist who drew pretty teapots, and he set up the cover and inside pages of Tea and Trouble Brewing. He found a special font that could be used for future books as well. "Your signature font," he said.

Meanwhile, Matt finished up his engineering studies at Oregon State University and moved to Washington, DC, to work for the Navy. 


A few years later, Dorcas wanted to publish another book. Again, she called on Tom. He came out to their farmhouse to discuss it. They sat at the kitchen table along with Dorcas's dad, Amos, who frowned at Tom with his bristly eyebrows and demanded, "So, are you British??"

Tom was gracious. Yes, he has some English ancestry, he said.

This book was to be called Footprints on the Ceiling. Dorcas wanted a picture on the cover of old barn boards with a big footprint. Tom said he could do that, and again he did all the layout and design, and served as a liaison with the printer, Friesens, in Manitoba.

When the time came for another book, Tom was doing the work of at least two people at the Register-Guard, since the newspaper was cutting staff in an effort to stay alive, so Dorcas kept the same font and the teapot artist but hired someone else to take care of the design.

Meanwhile, Matt kept working in DC and Phoebe finished college in Oregon. Matt enrolled at the University of Maryland and studied aerospace engineering while working full time.

In June of 2018, Dorcas wrote an article for Fathers Day. She mentioned that when her son Matt comes home from Washington, DC, he and his dad talk about work and politics, while she and he discuss life, feelings, nice girls, church, friends, and such things.

Tom set up the column, as usual. When he read it, he had an idea. His mother always read the column when it came out on Sundays, and she had the same idea. The two of them discussed it. The grandma was sure this idea came from the Holy Spirit.

Tom sent Dorcas an email. Did she realize, he wondered, that his daughter Phoebe was working in DC? Did Dorcas think her son and Tom's daughter would enjoy meeting for coffee?

Now Dorcas had tried her hand at matchmaking and it had been a dismal failure, so she didn't let herself go into that mode in this situation. Besides, she had never met Phoebe and didn't know if she passed her strict standards. But she knew Matt would enjoy seeing someone from back home, since he always enjoyed Oregon connections, including figuring out that there was exactly one other Oregon license plate in the big parking lot at the Navy Yard.

Phone numbers were exchanged all around.

They met for coffee.

Matt texted a short, nonchalant message to his mom.

A week later, word filtered back home that they had met again.

"Oh!" said Dorcas.

Matt said they went to the Air and Space Museum for three hours.

The Smuckers discussed this at length. Matt's brother Ben said, "Any girl that can listen to Matt at the Air and Space Museum for three hours is something special."

Matt and Phoebe continued to meet. Phoebe's friends at the ladies' boarding house where she lived were deeply invested in the story. "But Phoebe, is he a Calvinist? You can't date someone who's not a Calvinist!"

The two families back in Oregon were deeply invested as well.

By August, Matt and Phoebe decided they were officially dating.

Phoebe spent time with his family at Christmas. Matt went to Phoebe's grandpa's birthday party. The families were delighted all around, and it was so convenient to have the families living only a few miles apart.

By the following September, everyone was anxiously waiting for Matt to propose. To help him out, his mom and sister bought a little unicorn ring from a vending machine. He considered using it when he and Phoebe were by a lake in Minnesota one evening after his grandpa's funeral, especially when a lovely shooting star blazed by, but somehow it didn't seem right to propose right after a funeral.

In October, they came to Oregon again because her grandpa was turning 100 years old. Matt took Phoebe out to the coast one day. When they returned, Phoebe had a pretty ring on her finger--a real diamond ring. Dorcas was so happy she burst into tears.

Her daughter Emily wrote about it here.

They discussed dates, and Dorcas and Phoebe looked at wedding dress patterns.


"Wait. Is this real?" thought Dorcas. It was.

She gave thanks.

As for the "Is he a Calvinist?" question, Emily wrote: “But it’s even funnier now,” Matt says, “because our whole relationship seems predestined.”

For one thing, Tom first emailed his idea only two weeks after Matt had finished getting his master's degree in aerospace engineering. He would never have had time for a relationship while he was in grad school, he said.

And in the most goose-bumpy coincidence of all, it turned out that way back when Tom needed a footprint for the cover of Dorcas's book, he asked his daughters for help. Phoebe painted the bottom of her foot and printed it on a piece of paper. "We have a picture of it," she said. "I was in pajamas and laughing hysterically."

So for the last four or five years, while Dorcas was praying for Matt's future wife, that mystical faceless woman, 2000 copies of that same young lady's footprint were right in front of Dorcas as she sent out orders or arranged her books on a table at book events.


That is how God works.

They all plan to live happily ever after. 

And, in case you're wondering, Phoebe says they're Calminian.


17 comments:

  1. This is a beautiful story, especially because it is true!

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  2. That is simply beautiful. Congratulations all around!! ❤️❤️❤️

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  3. Thank you for sharing this. What a blessing to see the Lord work

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  4. Oh! This is lovely! Congratulations to both of them :) You are such a good storyteller!

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  5. Isn't it amazing how God works?This was a good read and I am sure will be a great memory.Congratulations to all of you.

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  6. Oh congratulations to all of you. I can't wait to see pictures of the wedding. And she is a lovely girl too!

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  7. Beautiful! And Calminian is the best way to be!

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  8. Thank you, Jerri, Rozy Lass, Pamela Mix, Diane, Patricia Lee, Becka, Marland, Margo, Mary Ann, and Regina for being happy with and for us!

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  9. This is just a delightful story! It reminds me of God's sovereign design in the Biblical account of how He brought Isaac and Rebecca together. All of the details you shared are just so interesting; but I can especially see why you mentioned "goosebumps" in explaining how Phoebe's footprint appeared on the cover of your book before you ever met her. I am rejoicing with you--all of you!

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  10. For Better Or For Worse12/09/2019 7:03 AM

    Congratulations!!!You must be very happy!!

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  11. Visited here from Emily's recent blog about the successful wedding. You folks are all incredibly sweet and this world needs a lot more sweetness. We need to slow down and appreciate God and family. Thanks for keeping the lights on.

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