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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Disturbing Dream

Do you believe that some dreams are sent from God? Do you believe that certain ones can foretell the future? I had a strange experience regarding a dream in April 2007. But before I relate it, first I will set the stage.

I think every writer reaches a point in her life where she wonders if she is chasing an elusive dream. In times like these we must remind ourselves that, “God and one are a majority.” He can turn your toughest situations around in a heartbeat. Just like He did for me during the spring of 2007

I was going through an emotional low that and would soon become worse. I had begun to write “Journey To Forgiveness” three years earlier on January 1, 2004, as a New Year’s Resolution. Between January and June, that same year, I had seven chapters under my belt. Then I took a job at a seed factory. The long hours on my feet, took a toll physically and otherwise. My energy was sapped. In the next two years, I added only three chapters to the manuscript.

After a bit of deliberation, I came to a decision. I would quit work on my birthday and finish my book. On July 20, 2006, I did just that. What a birthday present! On November 4th, only 3 ½ months and 12 chapters later, I wrote, “The End” at the bottom of page 340 of “Journey To Forgiveness”. The following months were consumed with edits and revisions.

Then in February 2007, my elderly mother was stricken with congestive heart failure. Everything in my life was put on hold until she regained her strength. In March I sent a synopsis to a recommended literary agency, and waited…and waited. The reply never came.

By April I was questioning the purpose of my life. On April 5, 2007, just past dawn, I awoke with a feeling of dread and uncertainty. I stared at the ceiling silently pleading, “God if you want me to continue writing, I need a sign from you. Am I heading in the right direction or am I just butting my head against a wall?”

I fell back asleep and into dream. It seemed to be just after sunrise. I was an adult in my childhood home, lying in the bed next to my sister when two small boys scampered into the room. The blond, fair-skinned toddler had a smile on his face. He looked to be around three years of age, and the boy with darker hair and skin, looked to be around two. His countenance was sad. The blond child reached his arms up to me and asked, “Mama, will you dance with me?”

I reached down and picked up the blond cherub. Hugging him close, we waltzed around the small room to, “Dance With Me Just One More Time,” a song made popular by Johnny Rodriguez in the mid 70’s. (If you recall, it was a sad song about two lovers’ last dance before their final parting.)

When the dance ended, I looked across the hall to my mother’s room and noticed a small, orange, blinking light. Curious, I crossed the hall to investigate. The light was from an answering machine positioned on my mother’s bureau. The strange part was the cord that ran from the answering machine to a portable, manual, typewriter placed on a small table nearby.

Suddenly my mother appeared beside me. She shucked off her coat and untied her scarf. “Where have you been, Mama?” I asked.

“To buy flowers in Dresden,” was her response. Dresden was a nearby town. Even in the dream, I knew the flowers weren’t a good sign.

“You have four messages on you answering machine,” I informed her. She told me to check them. I pressed the button. The static was so loud it drowned out the message. But that was nothing compared to what happened next. Fire blazed up from under the typewriter keys! I blew it out, then pressed the button again for the second message. More static, and flames burst from underneath the typewriter keys. This occurred four times, once for each message.

I awoke with a strange mixture of foreboding and intrigue. What could this mean? I was sure the blazing typewriter was connected to writing. But how? I penned the dream including the date, and tucked the paper away in a drawer.

A month later my eldest brother, Johnny was hospitalized after he stumbled over an end table and cracked a rib. The rib punctured a lung and his spleen causing fluid to build around his heart. He was flown by helicopter to a better medical facility 65 miles away. We found out later that the accident had occurred the month before, in April, but Johnny had tried to deal with it without medical attention.

The next months I spent praying for and visiting my brother in the hospital.

While he improved, I sent a synopsis to The Wild Rose Press. Then suddenly Johnny took a turn for the worse and was rushed back to the hospital. We drove the 65 miles to see him. When we did, we knew his time was short. Lines ran from every possible part of his body. He did not appear alert and his breathing was slow and shallow. My brother’s once muscular arms had shriveled to those of a withered old man.

My husband, younger brother, and I encircled Johnny’s bed and joined hands. I read the 23rd Psalms and John Chapter 14. We spoke The Lord’s Prayer over him, then released him to God’s will. The lines on the monitor leapt as we sang, “Jesus Loves Me.”

Around 6:30 the following morning, I received the call from Johnny’s doctor, “I am sorry to tell you this, but your brother just passed.” I was home alone. I broke down, then pulled myself together and managed to call family and friends.

After making numerous call, I checked my emails. I found one from Nicola Martinez , editor of the White Rose division of The Wild Rose Press. She requested “the first 50 pages of ‘Journey To Forgiveness.’”

“How could this happen on the very day I lost my brother?” I wondered.

Several months passed before I could completely make sense of the dream. Here is what I have concluded. The blond child I danced with was Johnny. The sad, gloomy boy was my other brother who had close ties to him. The flowers my mother spoke of meant a death. Even the town she mentioned, “Dresden” was the one where Johnny lived.

The four messages on the answering machine stood for “four months”. It was four months from April (the time of the dream and Johnny’s accident) and his resulting death in August. The flames under the typewriter keys? Could that mean that I will set the world on fire with my writing? LOL . I can always dream.

What I do know is that God wrapped his arms around me through it all. I believe He was showing me that my manuscript acceptance and my brother’s death would coincide? The email from Nicola was a special gift to ease the hurt of my loss.

My first release, a White Rose, Inspirational, titled “Journey To Forgiveness” is about healing from past wounds. It deals with physical abuse but doesn’t leave the reader without hope. A blend of humor and tears, those who read it will laugh, cry, and laugh again as they are drawn into the intricately-woven story and the likeable characters in the book. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Truly, it has been a “journey” for me. I only wish Johnny had been here to share the joy on the day it was released. But…who knows? He may be smiling down from heaven giving me a “thumbs up” as he winks, then applies his best Elvis voice to say, “Atta girl, Sis.”



When Jenny Hinson returns from using the phone in the Kankakee depot, her vanity case is missing. She had tucked it safely underneath a bench, or so she thought. The only thing there was a half-empty coffee cup…

Jenny placed a hand over her heart to still its erratic beating, then turned to the station attendant. “Sir, did you see anyone leave with a small blue vanity case? I pushed it under this bench before I made the phone call….and now it’s gone!”

The attendant rubbed his bristly chin. “No, young lady, I didn’t see anyone. “Wait!” he retracted. “A tall, blond man—rugged looking…” he flexed his arms to emphasize, “…poured a cup of coffee and sat down on that bench. He must have left while I was in the storeroom, which couldn’t have been more than a couple minutes ago.” He pointed. “See, there’s his cup.”

Jenny ran to the door and flung it open. A blond man languished near the loading ramp conversing with the porter. She could see the edge of a square, blue object underneath one arm. He will not get away, or my name isn’t Jennifer Annabel Hinson!

“Guard!” Jenny’s shout awakened the small, elderly man dozing against a light pole. She pointed to the would-be-thief. “Grab that man! He has my luggage!”

The groggy man shot to attention and shook his head before his eyes focused on the blond man near the train. Twirling a billy-club, he hobbled toward the culprit as fast as his stubby legs could carry him.


“Stop right there, mister, and hand over my luggage!” a female voice shrieked. Austin whirled to lock gazes with a petite young woman. She stamped toward him, bronzed curls flying around her face. He chuckled at the sight of her fierce eyes shooting daggers with each determined step. Obviously, she owned the object in his possession.

The breathless guard reached Austin’s side to gasp, “Hand over…that case…young man…or face the consequences! Son…didn’t your mother…teach you…it’s wrong…to steal? What is…this world…coming to?”

Austin ignored the guard to peruse the pretty instigator. She was cute…but definitely not happy. Slender hands gripped either side of a tiny waist. Flushed cheeks and a set jaw promised a volcano seething just below the surface. Austin grinned. He could almost feel the rumble as those flashing turquoise eyes seared into his twinkling blue ones. If looks could kill…

She stopped and planted her feet in front of him. A strong gust could have blown her away, but she stood solid, like a seasoned oak. Flinging up one hand, she glared up at him and spat, “You have some nerve…stealing my vanity case!”

She tossed her head and wisps of golden curls whipped about her face, beneath a navy-blue hat. Fists and grit her only weapons, the young woman stood prepared for battle. And as feisty as she was, she just might win. The animated face mesmerized Austin. Long, thick lashes encircled narrowed, turquoise eyes. Could she be any lovelier when she wasn’t angry? Was she ever calm? He doubted it as he gazed into those turbulent eyes.

Not one to pass up an opportunity to tease, Austin propped a hand on his hip and dangled the vanity case from two fingers. Flitting his curly lashes, he mimicked in a feminine voice, “Little lady, there’s no need to panic. I’ve decided against the dress. Why…it’s practically obscene. Doesn’t even come close to my knees.” He swiped a spot at mid-thigh. Adding fuel to the fire he clucked his tongue, slapped a hand to his cheek, to drawl, “Not to mention that dreadful color. Why-y it just plum washed me out!”

Color rushed to the young woman’s hairline. She shook her fist near his chin. “How dare you go through my things…you…deranged moron! Men like you ought to be committed!”

The train whistle blew a final warning. The young woman turned her head at the shout. “All aboard that’s going aboard!”

When she grabbed the case from Austin’s dangling fingers, its contents scattered over the ground. “Now, look what you’ve done!”

She knelt to gather her things. When Austin bent to scoop up the dress, she snatched it from his hand. “Get away from me!” Stuffing most of the dress inside the case, she snapped it shut and fled up the ramp.

Austin yelled after her, “Wait a minute! We weren’t properly introduced.”

She whirled, gripped the rail and glared. “You imbecile!” I hope they never let you out! The young woman disappeared inside the passenger car, holding onto her hat with one hand, gripping her luggage with the other.

Austin scratched his chin as he watched the train disappear over the northern horizon. Hmmmm. The little spitfire was headed for Chicago.


JOURNEY TO FORGIVENESS, a White Rose, inspirational romance, is available in print online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Target.

Available in e-book at White Rose Publishing, www.whiterosepublishing.com ,

Kindle, and several other sites.

Be sure to read the five-star review of “Journey To Forgiveness” on “You Gotta Read”. And pop on over and view the book trailer on the author’s blog. Laurean’s Lore: http://laureanslore.blogspot.com

Laurean Brooks is a member of the White Roses in Bloom blog: http://whiterosesinbloom.blogspot.com . Check her out along with two dozen other inspirational authors.


Sharon Donovan said...

Hi Laurie. Wow, what a dream. I have chills racing down my spine. But you are such a spirited woman I am not surprised God chose to grant you this dream, a peek into the future. Perhaps He chose you because of your faith, giving you warning of a time where family would need you. I'm sorry for your loss, but I believe Johnny is an angel up in heaven cheering you on. As you know, I have read Journey to Forgiveness and highly recommend it to one and all. Jenny grows in strength and spirit through the book, coming to terms with some pretty heart-wrenching things from her past. But the humor throughout keeps it light and you did a marvelous job on the fashion trends of that era. Just one thing before I leave. About Nicola offering you a contract on the same day as your brother's death. When there is a death, there is a birth. And the birth was your writing career. Best of luck in all your journeys, my dear friend.

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

Wow what an incredible story and dream, Laurie! We all go through the agony of wondering whether or not writing IS God's call on our lives. I go through it with every rejection LOL! I'm glad you didn't give up your dream of writing.

As for the dream itself, I think you have a pretty good idea of what it meant.

Best of luck and God's blessings with your writing!


lastnerve said...

Awwwww, I wrote this long comment and my computer messed it up! Yes, it was my computer, not me, I shall not take the blame today for electronic blunders! lol

Laurie, I loved hearing the story of how Journey to Forgivess was born and I think you are right, the typewriter meant you will set the literary world on fire! I think there is a time for everything and nothing will happen unit just the right time. THIS IS YOUR TIME! I think the world needs to see your work as you have a strong message to send out. I loved Journey to Forgiveness and I loved Jenny and Austin together. They made me laugh and made me cry! This was an outstanding piece of work with a message not to be ignored. While I was reading your book I had my own issues of forgiveness to deal with and this book helped me see that. I look so forward to watching your writing career flourish with you. I honestly feel that the best is yet to come! Big hugs Laurie!

Donna B said...

Sounds like a rocky journey with a blessing at the end as with all of God's work on us. You were faithful through it all and obviously He blessed you so you could be a witness to others through your writing. the dream? I never know what to think about dreams - they can be viewed to make them mean whatever we want really. Was it a message? Who knows? But your writing is and that's what counts!

Wendy Davy said...

Wow, Laurie. My stomach dropped when you mentioned April 2007. That's the month I lost my mom. It will be forever seared into my mind, and heart. I've been trying ever since to find ways to deal with it. Thankfully, God has given me the grace to write, which is theraputic for me.
Yes. God speaks to us in many ways, dreams being one of them. Sounds like your dream was one of those times.


Laurean Brooks said...

Great to be here, Tami. I burned the midnight oil last night, so just now popped in.

Thank you, Sharon, Pam, Val, and Donna. You girls are soooo encouraging. With God's help and people like you to cheer me on, wha more could I need?

Right after Johnny's death the reality of the dream hit me. But the 4 messages, I didn't figure out until a few months had passed. It must have meant the "4 months" between the time of the dream and both occurrences. Johnny's death and the acceptance of the manuscript. I just wish Johnny could be here to share it with me. And to read "Journey To Forgiveness."

Celia Yeary said...

LAUREAN-I have a long list of duties, today, my left eye has a viral infection, I'm still in my jammies, and I haven't washed my face this morning. I said to myself, I'll zip through all the digests, get that out of my hair--then I have to get to that list. But your post stopped me--the dream--I had to read your post. And Laurean,if your book is as good as this post, you're on your way. I was riveted! So, congratulations--Celia Yeary

Laurean Brooks said...


April seems to be a bad month for me. It could make me paranoid if I let it.

Over the past 6 years I've lost three dogs in April. Including my precious little lab three weeks ago today.

And my Dad had a similar "falling" accident to my brother's in April 1980, then passed away two months later. The morning of his death, June 9th, 1980, I dreamed that my husband grabbed his chest and fell. A couple hours later while at work, I received the phone call that my Dad had died from a heart attack. He was scheduled for a trip to the Veteran's hospital that very day. His kidneys had been malfunctioning.

He had been seated at the table, just finished a breakfast of sorghum and biscuits. Mama came in from hoeing the garden and found him lying on the floor near his chair.

I had seen him only the day before. Daddy loved to fish and had just returned from the Obion river with my brothers. My blond, curly-headed toddler was 2 1/2 at the time. Jeremy walked over to where Pawpaw was seated on the porche pressed on his knees and looked up in my Dad's eyes to plead, "Pawpaw, when are you gonna take me fishing?"

My Dad replied, "Honey, I don't think that will ever happen. But Pawpaw would love to take you, if he could I know you would love it."

Jeremy's lip pooched out like he would cry, but he didn't make a sound.

It was a very hard time. My dad had been a heavy drinker for years. Two months before, my sister and I were in a revival meeting. We felt an urge to go to the altar and pray for him. I felt the burden lift and knew that God would take care of Daddy. I had visions of my Dad going back to church and witnessing to others.

It didn't happen that way. When Daddy passed, I was angry at God. I was worried about his relationship with the Lord. Why had God allowed this to happen before I could see the change in him. He had quit drinking right after the falling accident, but he hadn't gone back to church.

We always visited our Mother on Sundays. This compulsion to search Daddy's bedroom (He and Mama had slept in separate rooms for the past decade) overcame me. For the next month I did just that...thinking Daddy must have left something to let me know he was right with his Maker.

I had never closed his bedroom door. A month later, I did. After the fourth time I'd pilfered through all his things, including books on the shelf, I glanced toward the door. A small square of paper taped to it, caught my eye. I moved closer and read a poem that went something like this:
"Lord, guide the hands of the surgeon, give him skill. And if I don't awaken in this world, take me to be with you."

I cried tears of joy and told God how sorry I was that I had been angry at him. I thought God had failed, me. He hadn't.

It's just that His ways and timing are not ours. His plan are higher than ours. I have to keep reminding myself of that in other situations. I know my Daddy is in heaven.

One morning, I asked God, "What is Daddy doing right now?" I got a clear picture of my dad casting his reel into a swift river and pulling out the biggest catch of his life. I could see a big smile spread across his face.

Wouldn't you know it?

Laurean Brooks said...

Thank you, Celia! I could tell that your comment came straight from the heart. That is the only way I want to write. From the heart, with God's inpspiration.

Ashley Ludwig said...

Laurean - You choked me up this morning. What a journey, indeed. I'm so grateful to have you as a friend. You are a beautiful writer, and have been blessed with an amazing gift. Your decision on what to do with it is what Blesses Him, and us all.

Thank you for sharing your heart.


Miss Mae said...

Wonderful excerpt! That Austin sounds like a lovable rascal! :)

Laurean Brooks said...

Thanks for dropping by, Miss Mae and Ashley.
Yes, Austin is a rascal, but a loveable one. His teasing frustrates Jenny.

Ashley, I always pray that God will give me the words to write. If I don't say at least a short prayer before I begin, the words fall flat. I give Him all the glory. I told Him many times when I hit a brick wall on JTF. "This is YOUR book, Lord. If you want it out there, YOU will have to give me the words."

Rebecca J Vickery said...

Dear Laurean,

So strange that along the road to publication I lost my sister who was also my closest friend and editor. I know the sorrow and pain that you've dealt with first hand.

But out of the sorrow, it is almost as if God has made her my Guardian Angel and now I have three contracts and verbal agreements on 2 more books.

I can assure you that your brother is nudging God occasionally and asking for special blessings on your work. Stay true to yourself and to God and everything else will fall into place.

Rebecca (Dixie on Sweetest Romances)

Teri Wilson, Romancing the pet lover's soul said...

Hi Laurean, Wow, what a dream. Isn't it funny how our dreams sometimes reflect what is going on in our lives? I dream a lot about tornadoes and those dreams are not pleasant. Recently, I started trying to visualize God's hand reaching out a calming the twisters. I haven't had the tornado dream since and hope it's gone for good.

We all have doubts, but rest assured you are using the gift God gave you and touching other peoples' lives.

Blessings, Teri

Teri Wilson ~ Romancing the pet lover's soul


Laurean Brooks said...

Rebecca, How strange that we went through similar losses. I believe they are keeping an eye on us, too. A few years ago an elderly man who always encouraged me and to whom I had come to dearly love, passed away unexpectedly. (I think I alluded to it in the post). It was a double whammy since I lost my job the same day.

Three weeks later I was called for an interview at the same place, my deceased friend had been recommending to me for months. I hadn't even put in an application. Whew!

Teri, thank you for your comments. You are so right about dreams reflecting our lives. I've had the tornado dreams too.

I read a dream interpretation that said "if a tornado is headed for your house, it means there is a danger that close relationships will be ripped apart."

Scary thought. I should have done like you and visualized God's hand destroying the tornado. I haven't had one of those dreams for years.

Linore said...

Yours is a fascinating story, Laurean, and what a dream! I'm sorry you had to go through such sadness, but it truly is reassuring that God reaches out to us before, during and after the painful times in life. I have long believed that He gives special glimmers of light to those who feel as if they're in darkness. He truly does walk beside us, if we will but look for His presence. He can also bring truth to us in very strange, unexpected places, such as dreams. I've had a few very special "God dreams" myself, so I know of what I speak!
Many blessings on you and your writing!


Laurean Brooks said...

I would love to hear your "God Dreams." Thanks for stopping by and for your precious comment.

I put your name and titles on my "wish list" for Mother's Day, along with a few other authorsand titles.

I do hope my son honors it. I asked him to skip the flowers and buy the books. LOL. It will be interesting to see which of a half dozen titles he selects. Hmmm.

MarthaE said...

Laurean! Whew - that brought tears to my eyes! Yes I definitely think God can speak to us in dreams and quiet times. Its usually us being too busy to listen! So sorry for the loss of your brother. We who remain feel the pain of loss but there is joy for the soul that is with God.
I am glad that God is blessing your efforts! The Journey sounds like a lovely book! May God continue to bless you.

Sarah J. McNeal said...

First of all, I want to tell you how sorry I am about your brother. It is a terrible loss.
No one knows better than the dreamer what their dream means. I feel you have an accurate idea of what it meant to you.
I've done some reviews for Wild Rose Press/White Rose edition and I truly enjoy them.
I wish you every success in your writing career and extend my sympathy to you and your family for your loss.
Sending warm sunshine to your corner of the nverse.
Sarah McNeal

Lyn Cote said...

First my sincere sympathy on the loss of your brother. I lost my only brother in 1997. Your dream certainly did have deep meaning.

I hope your first book will be a success in every way.
Lyn Cote

Laurean Brooks said...

Thank you, Martha, Sarah, and Lyn. I appreciate your comments. You sound like you've been there, too. It takes God to get us through. We have to hold on for that brighter tomorrow. God always provides that light at the end of the tunnel.

The 23rd Psalm says, "...though I walk 'through' the valley of the shadow of death.." "Through" is the operative word.

I pray God's richest blessings on all of you. Thank you for reading my blog.

Laurean Brooks said...

Thank you Martha and Sarah, for your touching comments.

"Journey To Forgiveness" was difficult to write because it is based on my mother's life. The abuse, the move to Chicago to support her family. One time while writing an abuse scene, I had to shut down the computer. I was shaking so.

Anita Mae Draper said...

Hey Laurean, I've been in the city most of the day where the free Wifi is almost non-existent. I read your post - loved it! - while parked at a Husky Truck Stop. I wrote up a comment too but when I tried to post it, I'd lost the internet service. So, I'm late, but still wanted to comment.

Yes, I believe God talks to us even when we're sleeping. I haven't had dreams like yours, but I've had other personal encounters with Him. I'll just say it sounds like you couldn've given Joseph a run for his money. :)

Fingers of fire? Yeah, I believe it. Now go fire up your next flaming story...

Larry Hammersley said...

Hi Laurie: What a heartfelt experience. I'm sorry for your loss but am glad for your release. I intend to pick it up as soon as I finish reading Linore's first book. I can identify with those inside fast balls that life throws us as I know everyone does. My two SF novels have been influenced by the loss of our daughter in 1985 after fourteen years of illness that left her nonresponsive. God blessed us with her presence for fourteen years. Likewise, early 2005 was a bad time for me, having lost Mom in February and my having an operation for removal of a cancerous prostate in January that year. These were low points in my life. After Tisha died, I've asked myself many times what purpose I have in life. When she was alive I had purpose. I'm glad you found your answers and penned what I'm sure I'll find is a very wonderful story. Larry

Laurean Brooks said...


I have been checking for your post. I knew you'd come! Thank you for believing in me. And the comment about "giving Joseph (or Job) a run for his money?" Maybe not that bad, but it felt like it at times.

Even with the book trailer, things have come up to cause delays. Their hard drive crashed, then the software failed. She will be glad when that's all done. And tomorrow is the big day. The trailer will be on Laurean's Lore: http://laureanslore.blogspot.com along with Sharon Donovan's interview. Pop on over. I may run a contest for one of my books.

You keep writing, girlfriend. I can see that you are full of stories with conflict and characters with emotion. You are on the money with those two things. Blessings.

Laurean Brooks said...

Larry, it sounds like you've been through some Job experiences. Rest assured, God has something good in store. There is excruciating pain before any birth.

I'm sorry for your loss. If there's one thing worse than losing a sibling, it's losing a child. But from this sorrow, will come the inspiration for many glowing stories.

You have already inspired me many times. I am so glad to share the "Sweetest Romance" loop with such authors as you, Miss Mae, Linore, Ashley, and all the rest.

Danielle Thorne said...

Very, very touching. A sacred thing--when disturbing dreams becomes ones of comfort. You're very brave to share such a private experience.

Laurean Brooks said...

Danielle, you are right. It does take a little courage to open up and share private experiences. But I think our writing becomes richer when we share from our hearts.

Your books sound so intriguing. Love the pirate theme and time era. Wishing you much success.

Laurean Brooks said...

Regarding my upcoming book trailer. Due to unforseen circumstances, the book trailer for "Journey To Forgiveness" will not be available on Laurean's Lore blog until Monday, May 11th.

Come on over on Monday and view the trailer blast along with an awesome interview with the talented author, Sharon Donovan. Who knows? You might just win a gift or two?

Woo-hoo! I can't wait!

Cami Checketts said...

Thanks for sharing Laurean. I am so sorry for the loss of your brother and so grateful that the Lord put his comforting arms around you.

Best of luck with your writing,

Loree Lough said...

Amazing! Fascinating! Inspiring...and I can't wait to get my hands on this book.

Way to go Laurean. And thanks, too, to your lovely hostess!