Monday, December 28, 2020

The Keeper of Dreams

by Ane Mulligan @AneMulligan

Have you ever traced God's hand through your life? 

When I did, I found the most amazing thread. It began long before I was born. On one side of my adopted-family tree, it began with my grandparents. From New Jersey, my grandfather, who was a jeweler for Tiffany's, decided to go to Alaska and be an assayer. 

My grandmother, who pregnant with my mother, was quite sick. In Seattle, she refused to go any further. So, they settled near Puget Sound, where my grandfather started his own fishing lure company and became a legendary fisherman. My mother grew up on Beacon Hill.

On my dad's side of the family, his parents lived in the tiny town of Castlewood, SD, where my grandfather was the sheriff (late 1800s style). Daddy was a graduate of the University of Minnesota's first aeronautic engineering class. After he graduated in 1935, he went to Seattle, where the aircraft industry and Boeing were booming. He met my mother in Seattle and they married in 1939 and moved to Inglewood, California.

Back in the Dakotas, there was a young girl and her family. In 1943, her father had died, so she and her mother and siblings moved to Seattle. There, in 1946 she met a young soldier, home from the war. He took advantage of a young, naïve girl who fell in love.

When she discovered she was pregnant, she went to his work to tell him, but there was no one who worked there by that name. She never saw him again. Back then, nice girls didn't get pregnant before they were married. Unable to tell her family, she fled to Southern California, where her older brother was a Naval officer. She gave birth to a little girl on January 5, 1947, and placed her for adoption.

By now, you know where this story is going. I was that baby girl. But God orchestrated so many events to bring my birthmother into proximity with the man and woman he wanted to raise me. My parents adopted a boy and me; my brother is nearly four years older. We were great friends, but I always wanted a sister. I prayed and prayed for a sister.

Fast forward to 1999, with mom in the throes of Alzheimer's, I received a letter from Daddy. In it, were my adoption papers. And I discovered I have sisters! You can read the whole story on my website. I had only asked for one, but God gave me five—four of whom I’ve gotten to know well, and we built a loving, lasting relationship. 

Are you the keeper of your character's dreams?

My point for telling you all this is that God is the Keeper of our dreams. Are you the keeper of your character's dreams? Do you make sure if one character's dream finds its way into the manuscript, it gets fulfilled, or if not, it's replaced by another dream? Their dreams are born out of their motivation, so it's vital they are fulfilled or changed in a natural way.

In the third book of my Georgia Magnolias series (By the Sweet Gum, 2022) the hero has a dream. He's tethered to it. His life revolves around it. My heroine is bound by duty, but she also has a dream of escaping from the mill town they are tied to. Being more of a seat-of-the-pants writer, things come up I don't expect. And when that happens, I have to make the corresponding changes. 

If I don't, my characters won't have their dreams fulfilled, and my readers won't be happy. I must remain a faithful keeper of dreams.


Ane Mulligan has been a voracious reader ever since her mom instilled within her a love of reading at age three, escaping into worlds otherwise unknown. But when Ane saw PETER PAN on stage, she was struck with a fever from which she never recovered—stage fever. She submerged herself in drama through high school and college. One day, her two loves collided, and a bestselling, award-winning novelist emerged. She lives in Sugar Hill, GA, with her artist husband and a rascally Rottweiler. Find Ane on her website, Amazon Author page, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and The Write Conversation.


  1. Ane,

    Thank you for this fascinating article about God's hand on your life and how he is the keeper of our dreams. As a loving Father, he loves to gently guide our writing and storytelling. You give us a pointed reminder and I appreciated reading it.

    author of 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed

    1. It was eye-opening to me, Terry. It was 10 years after starting my search and giving it up and my prayer before a woman contacted me with answers. He truly keeps them safe, and we must do the same for our characters.

  2. Your personal story is beautiful and could fill the pages of a novel. Blessings to you as you use your talent and personal life to write stories for others to enjoy.

  3. I’ve loved “YOUR STORY” from the first time you told it to me! I too have seen dot-to-dot connections in my life when The Keeper of My Dreams gave me a look back at the conception of my dreams!
    Thank you, Twinner, for this great reminder of His Leading/Guiding and our responsibility to our readers! Blessings as you continue to build in your dreams❣️

  4. Thank you, Joy. But more than my story, remember to be a keeper of dreams for your characters! Love you, Twinner.

  5. Beautiful story! Thank you for sharing!

  6. This is such a uplifting memory. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Wow. How exciting for you to discover your sisters! God is good - all the time!

  8. Thanks for sharing your story. How wonderful to find your sisters! Blessings to you.

  9. Ane, Thank you for sharing your incredible story. God is indeed the keeper of our dreams. He also does a lot to inspire us to dream those dreams.

    1. Key, He truly does. He also whispers to our hearts, inspiring our hearts to whisper back in stories.