The Road to Spain, Update 5 ~ The Writing

When I decided to write my manuscript for “Walking My Mother Home”, I made many decisions on what to include and exclude from the story. In fact, I sat on the fence about even writing it because I was afraid that if I wrote the novella that the full length book would never be written. Sometimes I still have those doubts. Yet when I finally sat down to work on the manuscript and review my journal and emails between Rosa and me, I knew there was more than enough material for a book—and I’m still in the midst of living it out in the here and now.

Spain mapWhile I have a good idea of what parts I want to include from the story, what is uncertain is what lies ahead with my trip to Spain. This trip is a part of the story from several different angles: the spiritual pilgrimage, meeting Rosa, partnering with Pedro’s music projects, or just visiting Spain in general. Regardless of what may ever be published or interests others, the main missing piece for me personally has always been what transpired from Rosa’s perspective of the story 5,300 miles away.

Communicating Online

Although over these two and a half years of emails Rosa and I have used an online translator, there have always been holes in our communications. Some words don’t translate accurately between Spanish and English. There was also a lot of reading between the lines and assumptions that I made in the process. Sometimes we would go back and forth over the course of a week or more to get clarity on something. That still happens from time to time.

From Day 1 of my telling this family my desire to write about our story, they have welcomed the opportunity with open arms. I’m not sure I would’ve done the same had the roles been reversed—having a foreigner I’d never physically met write about me in a book? It sounds kind of bizarre. Yet it isn’t bizarre or strange in any way. It is actually quite beautiful. I have been humbled to try to do this story and our relationship justice by writing about it.

Word for word Rosa translated the manuscript from English into Spanish.

Word for word Rosa translated the manuscript from English into Spanish.

Rosa’s true stamp of approval on this story came even before she finished reading the manuscript. I sent it to her as a gift on the anniversary of her mother’s passing. The manuscript was in English. Instead of having Pedro or Rafa, her husband, read it to her, she spent hours translating and transcribing it word for word by hand. She was only a few pages into it when we heard that Cladach Publishing had accepted the manuscript. Now that was dedication to our friendship.

Communicating Face to Face

So in three weeks, I will finally meet Rosa, after three years of waiting. I’ve played that scene in the airport over and over in my mind many times. Although I’ll be loaded with a new camera for my Spanish adventures, I’m relying on Rafa to take pictures of our meeting. I’ll probably look like a train wreck from my 18 hours of travel and the tears running down my face, but those first photos will be precious to me.

Barajas International Airport in Madrid, Spain

Barajas International Airport in Madrid, Spain

When I settle in and Rosa and I finally have some quiet time together, there will be no more second guessing her words on the computer screen staring back at me. There will be instant responses—verbal and non-verbal. There will be hugs, smiles and tears to guide us through the difficult territory of breaking down the language barrier as we relive those days leading up to our mothers’ passings.

It’s All About the Journey

Although this trip would be a great candidate for a second blog—a travel log—I’ve opted to keep it simple. Aside from any personal writing that I do for the book, I have no idea how often I’ll post, or how much social media interaction I’ll partake in. In fact, I may even fast from it all, in favor of complete immersion in everything uniquely Spanish.

After all, I’m living out everything I want to write about. This is a unique and significant time in my life. It’s about what God is revealing to me on this next part of my life’s journey. It’s about how He is working in me. It’s about walking out of the unknown and mystery of my relationship with this family into the known and reality of it.

Following God’s nudge to write the story put me on this path in the first place. Now this family’s gracious gift of hospitality has made this trip possible. How much and how often I write over the next few months will be dictated a lot more by our daily schedule than by my selfish desires or any other marketing or publishing ‘shoulds’ that are sure to surface.

It's all about the journey.

It’s all about the journey.

This is storytelling—plain and simple. This is memoir. This is His testimony in my life. I’m proud to share my story in any way God leads—whether it is connecting one on one with this family, face to face with the Spanish people I meet, or in the written word that I hope will one day be published.

In any case, it’s all about the journey; and in three weeks, I know I’ll be walking into the next layer of healing that God has in store for me. I know I will come back a changed person. I hope it inspires you to boldly follow Him and turn healing into hope.

Leave a comment


  1. Wow! This post blew my socks off! You’ve really piqued my interest now! The unfolding of the journey……love it! You sound so grounded and so ready to enjoy your trip and take each moment with an attitude of “awe” and “what’s next?” Being moved rather than moving. “I’m smiling.” Marveling at your most-amazing obedience. What a beautiful story Ardis! May you be an inspiration to those who seek their very foundation of “who” they are. I’m just so excited for you!!! You’re loveliness shines right through your writing. I am imagining that day I saw you and you were FULL of light and love – so precious! I will never forget that day! And you continue to grow and be all of who you are In Him. Absolutely lovely! I’m thrilled for you and Rosa and the rest of the family and all you will meet. What an amazing journey.


    • Susan, thanks for your support of my writing and joining this journey with me. God is definitely giving me new insights along the way. Vaya con Dios. Ardis



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    I'm an author, writer, speaker, mentor & mom. I've struggled to find my voice all my life as I lived in the shadows of a mother with mental illness. Thankfully that was not the legacy that she handed down to me. It took a lot of recovery and deep healing work to rise above it.

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