A Tale with Tea and a Certain Tall Clock: When It’s Time to Dream – and Live!


Bird songs. Flower blossoms. Sunbeams. 

It’s a time of new life and growth. A time when it just might feel like anything is possible…even dreams that have been hibernating.

Have you ever had a dream? Not the “head-on-your-pillow” kind, of course, but the “tucked-in-your-heart” kind? Have you had a dream that stayed buried for years and years? 

Then you have something in common with Liz, Kellie and Opal – the three main characters of Sisterchicks Go Brit!

Let’s take a look at this trio. 

Liz  – a tender-hearted, cautious soul with a deep passion for British literature and dreams of meeting a “tall, dark and handsome” someone face to face. 

Kellie – a go-with-the-flow yet organized woman who loves creating beautiful environments and dreams of doing it as her work.

Opal – a late-seventies lady who specializes in inspiring others to live their God-given dreams – even if it means taking risks – and has a dream of her own.

But these women are – one might say – in the autumn of life not the start-something-new spring!

Opal is the one who makes the inspiring point,

“[My] dear, do you know what the dearest kindness is that a woman can offer herself in the autumn of her years?…It is the gift of giving herself permission to take risks.” ~pg 2 Sisterchicks Go Brit! by Robin Jones Gunn

Here’s a glimpse of the story from Liz’s perspective.

Ever since she was fifteen, Liz has wanted to go to England and see the fellow of her dreams – Big Ben himself. Years later and joined by her best friend Kellie and an elderly Opal, Liz’s dream comes true in extraordinary ways. But will time run out before she gets to “meet” Ben face to face? Even more importantly, will she realize and live out her truest dream of all? Come along with these Sisterchicks across the pond for a heart-lightening adventure pf merry cabbies, identical twins, castles, hot air balloons, cups of tea and the joys of unfolding dreams. 

Even from this short peek, I think we can learn a few things about those tucked-in-your heart dreams. 

  1. Sometimes dreams take time.
  2. Sometimes dreams take risks.
  3. Sometimes dreams are achieved when you help someone else live their dream. 

Now I will say that I think sometimes God gives us dreams that He intends to keep as dreams. Maybe they’re meant to be that little inspiration – that happy thought – that keeps us going through a tough time. I’ve had a few of those, so I don’t want to give the wrong impression and make everyone think all their dreams are going to come to fruition someday. Still, there are those other dreams that are simply meant to be, and God simply lets them steep for just the right amount of time.

Do you know someone who needs to live in spring even though her years put her in a different season? Perhaps you can share this story. Then you could have your own little high tea together. Or maybe you are the one who needs a little encouragement to dream – and then live!   

A note for all of my British-literature-loving friends: Within the pages of Sisterchicks Go Brit! are some fun connections to both C.S. Lewis and Tolkien. Yes, I thought you should know!

A Dream Come True

Once, not that long ago, a little girl was fascinated by how the brain works. In fact, she decided she wanted to be a brain surgeon someday.

As a forward-thinking ten-year-old, she decided to quiz her physician father about medical school. What was it like? What kinds of things would she have to study? How could she prepare for it? And, most importantly, how long would it take?

The answer to the last question shocked her ten-year-old self. It seemed like forever! I can’t wait that long to actually do this, she thought. No wonder not many people become brain surgeons…

This revelation sparked a new thread of discussion. “Daddy, there has to be a faster way to do school,” she said. “I mean, why do we have to go to college after high school anyway? Don’t they just teach a lot of the same stuff over again? After all, look at the Founding Fathers.”

And so plans began forming of how to save time. Knock off a year here. Save two years there. Surely there had to be a way to do education faster and better.

Well, as this girl grew up, she discovered that she really wasn’t built to be a brain surgeon and that what she really wanted to do was help people and serve the Lord. (And maybe do some outlandishly awesome science experiments with her children someday.) So she took all of that passion and poured it into a few others areas. But, even as the brain surgeon idea faded away, the dream of doing college faster stuck with her.

As she and her parents toured four-year colleges, she kept thinking that someday there had to be something different. At one of those colleges, she purchased A Different Kind of Teacher by John Taylor Gatto and read it. That book convinced her even more that something had to change in higher education.

Meanwhile, a few other people were thinking the same thing. In a couple of years, the girl’s and their paths would intersect via audio messages, books, kind friends and a conference. What was this new Accelerated Distance Learning thing really about? Maybe just maybe…

Fast forward. As a nineteen-year-old (one month before her 20th birthday), this girl received her fully-accredited bachelor’s degree. Clearly, it took heaps of work, but thanks to the foresight and help of CollegePlus and Thomas Edison State College, she had finished her BA in two years, joining the ranks of other CollegePlus and TESC students who have proven that it can be done. She recognized the opportunity as a God-given gift and a dream come true. Now she could step forward to live out other, bigger dreams.

Of course, I was that ten-year-old girl dreaming big, the sixteen-year-old girl reading that book and the nineteen-year-old girl receiving her diploma. This subplot of my life reminds me that God can bring dreams to fruition. Not often in the way we expect. Not always in the way we think we want. But I believe He cares. He gives us dreams. And He is the One Who can make them come true.

A Library of Dreams

Rows of wooden shelves bearing over 40,000 volumes that date from the 15th to the 20th century. Welcome to the Palafoxiana Library (Biblioteca Palafoxiana) in Puebla, Mexico.

When I entered this library, I gazed with awe. History, craftsmanship, and literature come together here. But something more than the dates, architectural details and words caught my fancy. Something intangible yet just as real – dreams. Not the while-you’re-asleep dreams but the longing-of-your-heart dreams.

What dreams belonged to the authors behind those books? Were they living their dreams when they penned their magnum opuses or were they yearning for something else?

Dreams are really kind of like books. Generally, we keep them tucked away on the shelves of our lives. Some come off for daily use. Maybe they’ve become battered and water stained. Others are tenderly taken down only at special moments. Then there are the dreams that sit, collecting dust and waiting for the right time to move. Perhaps once in a while we dust them, but we rarely take them down. After all, those dreams are often on the hefty side!

How are our dream libraries looking these days? Letting a dream wait until the right time is fine – in fact, it’s good (Ecclesiastes 3) – but are there any weighty dreams that just need some good muscle to get them off the shelf? Or does one of the for-daily-use dreams need a new spine or a new cover for a fresh outlook on life? Do some dreams need to switch places for a season? Could it be that this is one of those days to pull down an especially sweet dream just to nourish the heart?

Maybe you’re like me and have a tendency to collect books faster than you could possibly, much less realistically, read them. However, I don’t want to be a mere collector of books; I want to be a reader of books. In the same way, I don’t want to be a mere collector of dreams; I want to be a doer of dreams.

Visiting the Palafoxiana Library was part of doing a dream that had been shelved for a long time. Now I’m getting to do another, albeit simpler, dream of sharing this place with you. Grandma was right again: “The hardest part is getting started.”

Oh, and since we’re talking about libraries and dreams, what would your dream book library look like? I’m all ears!

Puebla Palafoxiana Library entrance