Everywhere There's a Sunrise,
Let's Tell the Good News!
Linda L. Linn
Revised edition of December, 2021
This novel is an inspirational romance. Bad news comes to Pine City, and halts a courtship that is just getting a good start. Can these two young people trust God for the outcome? How long will they be separated and what questions might result?
Both of them agree to pray and leave it in God's hands, but they both feel very close to tears. How could two bad things happen so close together and spoil things for them? They say a very sorrowful goodbye and God bless you. Life goes on for Matt, almost as it had before they had met, but now he has a big hole in his heart. Fiona has that same hole in her heart.
You might be surprised, but some of the events in this story could be happening right in your city or in one near you! Jesus still works through believers to heal, do miracles, save people, change lives, and guide decisions.
Come spend some time in Pine City, and watch the believers who attend the Grace 'n' Faith Church. They function in unity as Jesus body to show his love and bring the good results of the Good News to their city and other places. As believers they desire to live for Jesus because they love him and appreciate what he did for them, and because lost people need him. Their lifestyle is a ministry that is accomplished by the power of God. It is by grace, through faith, and is done with love.
This is a work of fiction, except for the Bible Scriptures, which are God's Word and are therefore true. No person in this novel exists in real life except for God the Father, God the Son, (also known as Jesus, the Messiah), and God the Holy Spirit. All the characters, places and events in this novel are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or to actual events is purely coincidental. It is realistic fiction because many of the things and especially the miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit can really happen.
This novel is meant for adults, not children, although with parental guidance, it has parts that children might learn from or enjoy.
Scriptures are shown by italics, and are this author's paraphrase of the King James Version of the Holy Bible. I chose the KJV because it has no copyright. Basically, what I do is to change words like "thee" and "ye" to "you", "thy" to "your", take the "eth," etc. off verbs, and sometimes use synonyms, to make it sound like more modern English. You can do the same thing as you read the suggested old hymns in a hymnal.
The author encourages you to look up these scriptures in your preferred Bible translation and read them there also. The Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs chosen for this novel really do have meaningful words and teachings. I encourage you to look up the Psalms in your Bible and each hymn and spiritual song in a hymnal or songbook.
There is a list of the characters in the story in the addendum at the end of this novel. It might help you keep track of who is who as you go along. If you decide to print out the story from a PDF file, you can use a regular bookmark to keep track of where you left off. If you are reading it off the computer screen, just write down the page number where you left off reading. If you are using an ebook viewer, it should have an electronic bookmark.
About the Author
Linda L. Linn, has lived in Colorado all her life. She has believed in, and loved Jesus since she was a young child. When not doing housework, cooking or baking, she likes to play the piano, sew, and read. She also enjoys photography and travel. Before she retired, she enjoyed teaching first, second, and third graders in the public school system for 27 years. Her husband, Richard, and she have traveled to see much of God’s beautiful creation in the western United States. They are presently living in Montrose, Colorado. This is the first novel she has written but there may be others. Thank you for reading this novel.
This novel is dedicated with gratitude to God:
the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
for creation and the gospel,
and for guidance and power to serve him.
Fiona O'Connor was shivering by the time she walked into The Garden Store on this cold winter day. "Good morning, Ernest and Connie," she greeted her bosses. "How are you and your kids?
"We're all fine. Ben and Amy like their new classes in high school. They even like this cold weather," said Ernest Clay as he waved and went back to work.
Fiona laughed, "This is the coldest winter I can remember in a long time. It's a good thing this place is heated. Otherwise the plants I take care of would all be frozen."
"You're right about that, but you look extra happy this morning in spite of the cold," Connie replied.
"Yes, I was thinking about a young man in the church small group that just started this January. I've been observing him for a couple weeks now and I'm very impressed," Fiona responded.
Connie asked, "Is he good looking?" They were talking as they walked into the break room where Fiona put her lunch in the refrigerator and hung up her coat.
"Extremely! He's tall, blond and very muscular. His smile lights up the whole room. But looks aren't everything. I'm also impressed with his comments and the way he acts. I'll keep you posted as I learn more. Right now I want to show you an idea I've been working on for the store." Fiona handed a stack of cards to Connie. "Would you please read these and see if you think they would be good to hand out to the people who buy potted plants? If you like them, would you proofread them and tell me if there are any mistakes that need to be fixed?"
"Sure. But here come some customers. It looks like I'll be too busy right now," said Connie. "I'll keep them with me and read them while I eat lunch. I'll let you know later today."
After lunch she found Fiona and told her, "These cards are fantastic! It's such a good idea to tell people how to take care of the plants they buy. It looks to me like you did a lot of research to be able to write such accurate information. You even made them plant specific and put the plant name at the top. I only found a couple errors that need to be fixed, and I would suggest that you put the plant name in bold. When you have that finished, bring them to the store on your thumb drive and we'll download them to the store computer and print them on some heavy paper. We can use the paper cutter to cut them into cards to hand out with the plants people buy."
"Thank you, Connie, for all your kind words. I'm glad you like this suggestion. I had fun doing the research. I feel like I know the plants even better now. Besides that, you are the one who gave me such good on-the-job training all the time I've been working here ever since I graduated from high school. I appreciate that very much," replied Fiona.
"It's been a pleasure for me. Wow, you've been working here for four years! Time flies," Connie exclaimed.
Matthew (Matt) Anderson hurried from his pickup into the house the Evans Construction Company was building. "Walt, I sure am thankful that we got this house closed in and can use the heaters in here while we're working!" Matt exclaimed.
"I agree with you. It's been such a cold winter that we would not have been able to work at all otherwise," commented his boss and friend, Walt Evans.
"What's the plan for today?" Matt asked.
"Before I tell you that, I want to know when you are going to find yourself the perfect girl and get married so I can have some 'grandkids' to spoil. You're so much like a son to me, Matt. I wish I could legally adopt you, but I guess that at 24 years old, you are too old for that. But my dear wife, Betty, and I still claim you as our son in our hearts. You definitely take the place of the children we could never have," stated Walt.
Matt responded, "Thank you, and I hope that you know the feeling is mutual. You and Betty have become like parents to me, and that has helped me a lot after losing my own parents in that accident a little over two years ago. I miss them a lot, but my pastor, Don Ross, counseled me, and reminded me that I'll see them again in heaven when I die because all of us believe in Jesus. I hope someday soon you and Betty will believe in Jesus also. But, back to your question about the perfect girl. I have one in my sights."
"Tell me all about her!" Walt exclaimed. "Is she pretty? What does she look like? How old is she?"
"Whoa! How much time do we have? I don't want to talk away all our work time," answered Matt.
Walt replied, "We have enough time. You got here plenty early today and the other workers aren't here yet, so tell me as much as you can before they come!"
"Okay, I would say that she is more than pretty. She is beautiful. She's tall, slender, and has auburn, shoulder length hair. I would make a guess that she's a couple years younger than I am. She carries herself like a princess, and when she smiles, I just melt inside," responded Matt.
"Sounds to me like you are already smitten!" Walt exclaimed.
Matt answered, "I think I must be. I've only known of her for a couple weeks, but everything I've seen and learned about her tells me that her beauty is more than just skin deep. We met in the new small group our church organized the first week of January. When I listen to her voice as she shares what she's thankful for, or when she prays out loud, it sounds like music. Her laughter is even better than music."
"Please keep me informed. I think I'm a romantic at heart, and I'll look forward to everything you can tell me. Here come the rest of the workers. The plan for today is to just carry on from where we left off yesterday," said Walt.
Fiona observed Matt at the small group meeting the next week and was even more impressed this time. After that meeting she was talking to her mother, Glenda. "Matt is the nicest young man I've ever met. I'll get to spend some time watching him in another setting because we'll be in a group of four doing a project next Saturday."
That weekend, all four of them in the group enjoyed working together to help an older couple repaint a couple rooms in their house. Lots of talk and laughter made the work go quickly. Afterwards, they all went to eat supper at a quiet restaurant where they had a chance to talk some more and get better acquainted. It was easy to see how they had paired off by the end of the meal.
At that time, Matt suggested, "Maybe we could do some more things together as a foursome, since this has been so much fun. I would like to get to know you better, Fiona."
She replied, "I think that's a very good plan. I would like it also, Matt. I can see our friends nodding so it looks like we all agree."
Consequently for the next four weeks they went together with the other couple to do something one day of every weekend. They did fun things like hiking on snowshoes, playing table tennis, ice skating, and eating out. They made sure to have time to discuss things as separate couples. They were learning what the other one believed and why certain things were important, plus plans and goals. Fiona was amazed at how often they agreed.
Fiona enjoyed telling her mother and her boss the new things she was learning and admiring about Matt. Likewise, Matt had something new to tell Walt every Monday after his time with Fiona and the other couple on one day of the weekend.
"In the early spring, Matt commented, "Fiona, I would like to be able to date you. What do you think about doing that?"
"I would like to go with you on dates," she answered. "My father, Patrick, is very old-fashioned and he would want you to come and ask for his permission to court me. I think he would expect you to promise certain things, and he will tell you what they are."
"I'll be willing to do that. When would be a good time?" Matt inquired.
"I don't know, since I've never done this before," she explained. "I think I need to ask my mother if I could have you over for supper. Then you can talk to my father after supper while Mother and I clean up the dishes."
"Okay. You can let me know at the small group meeting this coming week," said Matt.
So, instead of going with the other couple as a foursome, Matt had supper with her parents and got to know them a little bit. He was very nervous about asking for permission to court Fiona, because she was already 22, but he would do it so they could continue their relationship.
Patrick O'Connor was very nice about it and made it easy for Matt to ask and make the promise to take good care of Fiona and keep her pure. Permission was granted and the family visited for a while afterward.
For the next several weeks, Matt and Fiona enjoyed dating. It even warmed up enough to play tennis. Matt told her about the house he was planning to build. He had the blueprints ready and showed them to her. She was very interested and told him she really liked the plans for the house. He wanted to tell her it would be their house but he knew it was too soon to mention that. He didn't want to scare her away. He had even decided to keep living in his studio apartment instead of moving to a larger one bedroom apartment, so he could use the savings to help build the house. He was taking note of things she liked and wrote some of them down so he wouldn't forget them.
Just when things seemed to be going so well, and they liked each other more and more each time they went anywhere together, the O'Connor family got some bad news one morning about Fiona's great aunt and her younger brother, Riley. Both reports came within minutes of each other.
"Glenda and Fiona," said her father, "that was my Aunt Cara on the phone. She is your great aunt, Fiona, my mother’s oldest sister. She's gotten to the point that she cannot do her daily care because her arthritis has twisted her fingers so much and the pain is very bad. She needs someone to be there 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help with her care, and her son does not seem to be concerned about what happens to her. She's asked him several times for assistance, but all he wants to do is put her in a nursing home. She asked if one of us could come and help her."
Just then the phone rang again. It was the doctor at the hospital in the city where Riley was attending a university. Patrick turned on the phone’s speaker so everyone could hear. "Your son, Riley, went on the last skiing trip of the season today and had an accident. Both of his legs are fractured, and so is his right arm. He needs to have you come pick him up at the hospital when we release him to go home in three days. He will need a lot of extra care until he recovers. If someone in your home could also help him with his studies, he might be able to finish the semester at the university using the computer and the web. In two weeks he will need to start physical therapy to keep his muscles from atrophying. The therapists will tell you how to continue the therapy."
When that phone conversation was over Patrick suggested, "Let's pray about these problems together and get the Lord's guidance about what to do. Everything has changed so suddenly and unexpectedly and we really need God's help."
When they finished praying Glenda said, "I feel that we, his parents, need to be here to care for Riley. Patrick needs to keep working, but he can come home from work whenever Riley needs a man's strength to do something. I can quit my job for as long as it takes Riley to recover, and I can help him with his studies."
Patrick asked Fiona, "Would you be willing to quit your job and go take care of your great aunt, so we can both be here for your brother? I