The Road to Spain, Update 4 ~ Mental Readiness

As the countdown calendar on my blog has turned to days (28 as of today) until I arrive in Spain, I feel the pressure mounting to get things done.  I have struggled with an internal battle in my mind—highs and lows—that leave me emotionally exhausted and stressed.

Immersing in the language

Immersing in the language

I suppose it’s only natural considering that I’m short on funds for the trip, wrapping up a challenging high school transition year for my son, and making decisions for a major remodel project on our home that will take place while I’m gone.  It has been hard to put all of that aside and cling to the joy that awaits me in Spain.

Over these last several months, the Lord has stripped me of so many expectations.  It started with the cancellation of a side trip to France to share my testimony.  Then there was the letting go of my desire to speak in Spain.  Last week I had another reality check when I realized that the Spanish Ebook for “Walking My Mother Home” won’t be ready in time.

As painful as those realizations have been, letting go of those expectations is allowing me to focus more on preparing my body, mind, and spirit for the trip.  (See my last Spain update for how I am preparing my body.)

Immersing in the country

Immersing in the country

Immersing my Mind

The biggest task to preparing mentally is to learn Spanish.  Although I took two years of Spanish in high school (way too many years ago), I knew re-learning would be difficult.  I hate having to rely so heavily on this family being my constant translator.  (Lo siento, Pedro.)  Besides that, the last week of my trip I’m on my own.  Regardless of how much I learn by June 24th, I am hoping that being immersed in the language and culture for six weeks will allow the language to just sink in to some degree.

I’ve also been immersing myself in the music, and reading about Spain in my spare time.  My love of Spanish music started three years ago after a gift of CDs from Pedro’s family.  My family has long since tired of hearing them, but not me.  I can almost sing the lyrics myself, but I have no idea what they mean.

Immersing in the music

Immersing in the music

Another way I am preparing for this trip is to de-clutter my mind.  I turned off the audible email alerts on my smart phone.  Unfortunately, I noticed I had an unnerving habit of checking my phone for messages.  (Can anyone relate to that?)  So last week, I unsubscribed to virtually every email list that I was on.  I was shocked to see that I had over 50 bloggers and marketing companies bombarding me with email.

The last piece of immersion I will do over the next few weeks is to re-read parts of my journal and emails during the time that Rosa and I first started to communicate.  I want to be in a frame of mind that makes those memories easy to access so Rosa and I can talk about it.  But if the story immersion doesn’t happen, I’ll need to let go of those expectations as well.

It’s a First!28 Days to Spain

This trip is the trip of a lifetime for me.  At times I fear it may be my only trip to Spain and try to pack in everything I can possibly think of to do or to prepare.  (My day job used to be as a project manager, by the way.)  Other times I am in such awe of how God has orchestrated this relationship and can’t imagine there not being future trips or a full-length book being published. That is the essence of the war that seems to be going on in my mind.

I know my mind will be at ease by the time I step off that plane.  My challenge for the next 28 days is to remember that regardless of whether or not there are future trips to Spain or what gets done in advance, there will never be the anticipation for my first trip to Spain or the first time I meet Rosa.  That is what I need to hold onto over the next four weeks.  That, and lots of prayer are the best defense for my mental readiness for Spain.

Expectant Hope, Part 2 – Spain Revealing

I’ve been longing to see Spain and meet Rosa, Pedro’s mother, for over two years.  I’ve been filled with expectant hope for this trip of a lifetime.  Last April, when a dear friend bought my mother’s wedding ring, securing the funds for my airfare to Spain, my dream became more real.  Except for the general time frame of the trip, no concrete plans were set until now.

Making My Plans

On New Year’s Day, I started to research flights and monitor airfares.  It has been an overwhelming process for me with lots of decisions.  Over the past two and a half years I’ve become accustomed to living in two different time zones, nine hours apart, and communicating across the internet.  The difficulty in planning  my trip was also compounded by the language barrier.  In the end, it became a family affair with Pedro and both of his parents assisting with my arrangements.

I AM GOING TO SPAIN THIS SUMMER!  I have my tickets!  The reality is finally starting to settle in.  So today I am revealing my official countdown to the day Rosa and I meet—June 24th—in 149 days.  Coincidentally my plans became final on January 24th, exactly five months to the day I will arrive in Spain.  June 24th is also the date that Pedro arrived on his return trip to Seattle two years ago.  So the date feels anointed to me.

Counting down the days until I meet Rosa, Pedro's mother, in Spain, this summer.

Counting down the days until I meet Rosa, Pedro’s mother, in Spain, this summer.

The Significance of This Trip

If you’ve been following my blog or read my story in Journeys to Mother Love you know why this trip is so significant to me.  The stage was set for this trip when my mother died two years ago—just three short weeks after Rosa’s mother died.  As we encouraged each other and prayed for each other during this painful time, our hearts were inexplicably bonded.

My writing started the day of my mother’s funeral.  I know it won’t be complete until I meet Rosa face to face, hear her side of the story and how her faith and family got her through it.  Rosa has been learning English to facilitate our communication.  I’ve been working on the book in preparation for our meeting.  It is our gift to each other and a way to honor our mothers.

Over the next few months, I’ll be sharing more about my plans.  For now, I can reveal that this is not a typical trip.  It is a pilgrimage for me with deep spiritual significance.  I will be staying for 5 weeks with Pedro’s family and one week on my own to write.  My time will be split between Madrid, in the center of Spain, and Mallorca, one of the Balearic Islands off the coast of Spain, where they have their summer home.  It is a dream come true.  I am blessed to be able to write about all of this.  It is hard work, but it is also a labor of love.

Tears of Joy

Falling Rain

Madrid forecast, June 24, 2013, 100% chance of rain showers, concentrated around the airport.

Pedro teases me that the forecast in Madrid on June 24th will be unseasonably rainy.  He is referring to my tears, and those of his mother, as we meet for the first time.  I welcome those tears because they are a sign of my love for this family, my devotion to the Lord and the joy that has been restored in my soul.  So bring on the rain!  I’ll be armed with a box of tissue and an umbrella (just in case).

I am filled with expectant hope of the summer to come.  I hope you’ll join me on the journey by following my blog, liking my Facebook page, or investing in my trip by purchasing Journeys to Mother Love through this site.

Viva España and praise the Lord!

Goal Setting 101

As I worked on my 2013 goals, I had a sense that it is time for me to slow down.  But how can I do that?  I have a big year ahead of me.  I am traveling to Spain this summer for an extended stay. I need to continue my memoir writing to be prepared for my visit.  I need to study Spanish.  I need to promote my book so I can earn money for the trip.  I want to publically speak about how God turns our healing into hope.  I want to continue blogging.  While all of these things are good, I cannot do it all.  I need to trust that God is going to point me in the direction of what is most important.

Realistic Goal SettingGoal Setting

On my first pass at writing down my goals, I came up with a very long list of tangible and measureable things to get done this year.  I also came up with a list of areas in my life to improve on.  Right off the bat, I can admit that I’m not going to blog once a week like I planned (witness my first post of 2013 is dated January 12), get the number of Facebook ‘likes’ I want or sell the books I need to cover my trip.  (I’m not being pessimistic; I’m just realizing that I’m not going to push myself so much to make it happen.)

With the addition of my physical exhaustion over the last few weeks, I’ve been running around with a critical voice in my head.  It’s been telling me I shouldn’t have pushed so hard to write for NaNoWriMo, I shouldn’t be blogging, and worst of all, I shouldn’t go to Spain.  Ouch!  Where did that come from?  D-O-U-B-T!  It creeps in so insidiously—especially when you are exhausted.  And it’s a sign that I really do need to slow down and refocus on what God wants me to do.

In setting my goals for the year, I want to make sure that they align with His will for me.  I expect to continue blogging; I know I will work on my memoir, and I will most definitely be traveling to Spain.  But I am letting go of making measurable goals around them and trying to be hyper-vigilant about meeting them.  I have to be realistic about what my mind and body will allow.

Renew and Restore

Last month when I started to realize how burned out I really was, a friend and mentor, Tamara J Buchan, reminded me that without a season of rest, we lose our effectiveness.  That is exactly how it feels to me right now.  I need time to renew and restore physically, emotionally and spiritually.  In light of that I have made a positive decision to attend her “Reclaim the True You Identity Retreat” in a few weeks (based on her book).  It will be the perfect opportunity for me to get in touch with God’s direction for my life and this year in particular.  Identity Crisis Book

Goal Collaboration

I’m still a work in progress and trying to find the right balance for my life.  In the meantime, it helps me to be reminded of the following Proverbs (TNIV):

  • Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. (Proverbs 16:3)
  • In their hearts human beings plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. (Proverbs 16:9)
  • Many are the plans in a human heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. (Proverbs 19:21)

When I collaborate with God to set my goals for the year, I know this next season will be fruitful and that He will direct my path.  How about you?  What goals are you collaborating with God on for 2013?

  • WELCOME to my site!

    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.

    I am thankful to God for Making Me Bold in the process. Now I use my writing and speaking voice to help others on their journey to turn healing into hope.

  • Returning to Spain

    Arrival on Spanish SoilApril 29th, 2018
    Vamos a España!
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