Author Archives: Tara Lea

About Tara Lea

I'm a mom and wife first and foremost. I offer Life Coaching as well as speaking for large and small groups, while writing and teaching as opportunities become available. Writing, speaking, teaching, and coaching are my means for fulfilling my life calling of helping others fit together the pieces of their lives so they can move closer to becoming all God means for them to be.

The strangeness around us…

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This world is weird now. Everyday, I have to remind myself what day it is because so many days are basically the same. I’m relieved when I awake and realize it’s not a workday and I can simply take care of my home, enjoy my family, and rest. Yet, it’s mostly still the same…another day at home without friends, without extended family, hunkered down trying to figure out how to live this day.

Life may not feel exactly the same for you. Perhaps this pandemic has altered your day to dayness in other ways. However, I think we can agree, for most of us, life has changed and it’s not exactly how we would rather it be.

I find myself angry and frustrated a lot, just keep my head down and trying to push forward as best I can. Yet, at my core, I know my feeling are actually grief, feeling helpless and sometimes hopeless, but afraid to give in too much to the seeming tidal wave of sadness that threatens to engulf me. I mean, I’m made for crises; I kick into gear and am one of the first to come up with a plan when a tragedy hits. Day to day hiccups can throw me for a loop, but give me a disaster and I can shine. Yet, long-term , out of the norm, serious marathon-type battles, such as a global pandemic…well what do I do with that?!?

I’m exhausted…how ‘bout you?

So, here we are; it’s Thanksgiving week, time to reflect on all our blessings and be grateful. This is my second favorite holiday ( Easter being my first; Christmas is my third). I fully embrace the opportunity to focus on giving thanks to God for all the good in my lives fe, because I know it’s all from Him, yet, I’m finding this year more challenging. Are you?

I want to be intentional this week to purposefully look for all there is in life for which to be thankful. I’ve also just realized that maybe this year is also a time to be “thankful in all things,” to look for the good that God can potentially bring out of all the challenges and difficulties of the year. He doesn’t cause the bad to happen, but He does take it and transform it into something good…when I allow Him to do so…

I know this is truth because God has done it before in my life, in the lives of my family. We’ve had long, difficult journeys before in our time on this Earth, and God has worked through those times to bring each of us deeper into His grace , to a more spacious place in our souls. I have to believe He’s going to do it again…I have to hope…for my own sake, for my family , friends, and for all of you, too….God makes beautiful things from dust, just look at this world around us….

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The strangeness around us…

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This world is weird now. Everyday, I have to remind myself what day it is because so many days are basically the same. I’m relieved when I awake and realize it’s not a workday and I can simply take care of my home, enjoy my family, and rest. Yet, it’s mostly still the same…another day at home without friends, without extended family, hunkered down trying to figure out how to live this day.

Life may not feel exactly the same for you. Perhaps this pandemic has altered your day to dayness in other ways. However, I think we can agree, for most of us, life has changed and it’s not exactly how we would rather it be.

I find myself angry and frustrated a lot, just keeping my head down and trying to push forward as best I can. Yet, at my core, I know my feelings are actually grief, feeling helpless and sometimes hopeless, but afraid to give in too much to the seeming tidal wave of sadness that threatens to engulf me. I mean, I’m made for crises; I kick into gear and am one of the first to come up with a plan when a tragedy hits. Day to day hiccups can throw me for a loop, but give me a disaster and I can shine. Yet, long-term , out of the norm, serious marathon-type battles, such as a global pandemic…well what do I do with that?!?

I’m exhausted…how ‘bout you?

So, here we are; it’s Thanksgiving week, time to reflect on all our blessings and be grateful. This is my second favorite holiday ( Easter being my first; Christmas is my third). I fully embrace the opportunity to focus on giving thanks to God for all the good in my life, because I know it’s all from Him, yet, I’m finding this year more challenging. Are you?

I want to be intentional this week to purposefully look for all there is in life for which to be thankful. I’ve also just realized that maybe this year is also a time to be “thankful in all things,” to look for the good that God can potentially bring out of all the challenges and difficulties of the year. He doesn’t cause the bad to happen, but He does take it and transform it into something good…when I allow Him to do so…

I know this is truth because God has done it before in my life, in the lives of my family. We’ve had long, difficult journeys before in our time on this Earth, and God has worked through those times to bring each of us deeper into His grace , to a more spacious place in our souls. I have to believe He’s going to do it again…I have to hope…for my own sake, for my family , friends, and for all of you, too….God makes beautiful things from dust, just look at this world around us….

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A time to be silent and a time to speak…

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Ecclesiastes 3 has helped many to navigate the ups and downs of life. I’ve pondered its verses today, this whole last few days, as mom’s 90th was today, 8/15. She’s gone but still I wanted to celebrate this day, honor her life once again, and remember…

I grow silent and pensive during times of grief, when my heart is troubled , and I’m pondering much, yet internally , there are many words, thoughts coursing through my mind, and songs too. If y’all could hear it, you’d ask me to be quiet. 😂

I’ve learned that I need to be silent in order to grow, to become, to learn, for God’s Spirit to transform and heal me. It may not be that way with you. We are all made differently. My hope is that my silence is never misunderstood, though I suppose it probably often has been, is, and will continue to be , by some who don’t take the time to actually know who I am.

I pray that I will always be a person who takes the time to know others in the depths of who they are, that I will listen to others when they speak as well as in their silences. I pray I will allow others to be who they are and to simply love them , if given the opportunity to do so.

My heart is heavy for many reasons tonight; however, missing my mom today seems like the most important reason for the weight of my grief , for today, for this week, not for always, though, yes, her passing changed me forever. That change is real but not bad, just like the grief is real but not bad.

I pray for you, whomever you may be, in your heart heaviness , whatever is causing you to grieve. May you feel okay about grieving and allow yourself to experience it however you need to do so, and may you feel God at work transforming you in the midst of it.

Its helped me to look through pictures again these last couple days. Being in WV, our family’s home state, has also helped ( how I miss it here…been singing Country Roads internally for about 36 hours now …”all my memories gather round her; miner’s lady, stranger to blue water …Mountain Momma, take me home”). I don’t know that I’ll do this every year, but this year, it’s exactly what I needed, and I share some more pictures here to finish this birthday celebration of my sweet momma’s life …

The Snake River runs through it….

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I have this last post about our trip out West. I realize I’ve spent all of July talking about this trip in some fashion or another, but some things must be shared, especially in this time of our lives. I’ve tried to soak up and reflect on every moment we had on our trip, and I would be remiss if I didn’t share it with others.

One thing I haven’t done in these posts, yet, is philosophize and pontificate, share my deepest spiritual thoughts with you. The primary reason I haven’t is because I’m still pondering on all of that. My soul was impacted deeply on this trip, so deeply that at one point I actually prayed to God that I didn’t know if I could take any more in….but that night we went to the hot springs in Emigrant, MT, and we soaked for a couple hours, then slept like babies in our little cabin, and the next day….well, the next day was Yellowstone, and you better believe my soul had much more to welcome into it, and yes, there was room….

The beauty we experienced on our trip was a healing salve for my spirit, so wounded by months of strangeness and violence in our world. I would highly recommend it to you if you’re feeling bruised and battered, sad and mournful, after these last six months of life that has happened around us. If you can’t get away to the West, or the coast, or somewhere immersed in God’s creation, then purpose yourself to go looking for beauty wherever you can find it around you.

I know that I’ve had to do this in the last couple weeks since our return from our trip. SW Ohio seems really rather blah after seeing what we saw, but there is still beauty and joy to be found all around us, whether in the city or suburbs or country, we just have to intentionally look for it, ask God for it (He loves to give us these good gifts), seek and you will find….

So, the Snake River seemed to be everywhere we went out in Idaho, et al. Even the river we rafted, the North Fork of the Payette, is a tributary of the Snake. I was comforted by the end of the trip when we once again crossed the Snake and I got to say farewell to it. lol I would go back again just to travel along it’s winding trek. Thanks to the Tracht’s for sharing all this beauty with us!

I took so many pictures of water, as we drove past in our van and when we stopped purposefully. I deleted many of them because they were blurry or just didn’t do it justice. I share here a few of those that seemed to be worthy of the grandeur I experienced along the Snake…

There and back again, the surprise of Salt Lake City

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I love to fly, and I hadn’t flown anywhere since 2012. When we first made plans to take our trip out West, I was a bit frustrated that our flight needed to be to Salt Lake City, given we would have to drive about 5 hours to our ID destination. Yet, I admit that I had a crush on Donny and Marie Osmond when I was a child and I was always fascinated with their UT origins, so the idea of flying into Salt Lake City grew on me.

I was not prepared for the beauty we experienced there. I sort of wish we could’ve stayed a while to explore it. The downtown was totally easy to navigate. I think the city overall is a large one, but the downtown isn’t huge, nestled right next to the mountains with the vast expanse of the valley before it, leading to the Great Lake itself. Beautiful and a bit awe-inspiring is how I found it.

My pictures don’t really do it justice, and I so wish I’d captured more of downtown, in particular, the state capital building area, but I didn’t. Even my few pics of the Morman Temple area are limited by the fact that it was under construction and we only drove around it without getting out . Nevertheless, here are my pics from our air arrival and departure, as well as a few downtown and then the rest of my Antelope Island pics on the Great Salt Lake….enjoy.

The West’s went out West….

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Of course, a huge part of the joy from our family trip was the fact that we shared it together and with some of our dearest friends. We so so missed Noah and Legend, but their job situation just wouldn’t work with it this time around. I’m sharing just about every picture I took that had a person in it as well as the random pics of the signs from the places we visited. Some of these are duplicates I’ve already posted, but they belonged in this collection….more still to come….

Look for the little things

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Yes, I love sunrises and sets, huge mountains and the expanse of the ocean, but in the day-to-day of life, it’s more often the little bursts of beauty, laughter, and provision that carry us through…

Better late than never

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While on our vacation, Tom and our kids decided it would be good to celebrate my MA degree “graduation” from Northwest Nazarene University (that happened in May 2016). I didn’t get to attend at the time because it was the exact same day as Taylor’s BA graduation from ONU, and his graduation definitely took precedence in my book.

Heidi works at NNU, so she was able to borrow a cap, gown, and hood for me to wear for pictures. It was fun (after I got over the shock of being surprised by it all….because I don’t like this type of surprise…or anything that throws me into the center of attention unprepared…lol). I appreciate that my family wanted to show they are still proud of me for this achievement in my life.

Honestly, though my MA in Spiritual Formation hasn’t opened the doors for a career that I had hoped it would, I have no regrets at all about getting this degree. It has been one of the best decisions of my life, for my personal development and the calling God placed on my life way back when I was still a teen at MVNC getting my BA in Christian Ed.

We got ice cream with the Tracht’s that day, so I’m counting that as my “graduation party” ……lol (though I did share a cake party with Taylor back in 2016). We also went to Oregon a day and had lunch with the Tracht’s, also part of just celebrating time together with friends who are like family. White water rafting was another day, along with catching some beautiful scenery and a sunset, but I’ll share that on a different post…

First thoughts on our vacation…

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I’ve been waiting a few days to process all I experienced on our family vacation out West. I decided to write a few blogs and share the pics that go with my thoughts.

I had flown over parts of the West, and once visited my sister’s family in Grand Junction, CO, a more desert type of landscape. However, I had never experienced in person the majority of the landscapes we were in while on our trip.

One land feature in particular has stuck in my mine, with an old hymn that came back to me while driving from Salt Lake City to Nampa, ID.  Tablelands....how clearly they are defined out there. 

I’ll share a few pictures below that might give you an idea, albeit a poor representation of what it’s like in person. The song that came to mind is Higher Ground, and though it specifically speaks of Heaven’s Tableland, all in all, I think it was the theme of my soul for our trek across the mountains and valleys of these great Northwestern states, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, and Wyoming.

Higher Ground
I’m pressing on the upward way
New heights I’m gaining every day
Still praying as I’m onward bound
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground
Lord, lift me up and let me stand
By faith, on Heaven’s tableland
A higher plane than I have found
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground
My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay
Though some may dwell where those abound
My prayer, my aim, is higher ground
Lord, lift me up and let me stand
By faith, on Heaven’s tableland
A higher plane than I have found
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground
I want to live above the world
Though Satan’s darts at me are hurled
For faith has caught the joyful sound
The song of saints on higher ground
Lord, lift me up and let me stand
By faith, on Heaven’s tableland
A higher plane than I have found
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground
I want to scale the utmost height
And catch a gleam of glory bright
But still I’ll pray, ’till heaven I’ve found
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground

Long silences…

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“It’s never too late to give up our prejudices .” Thoreau

I haven’t written for almost two months. My heart has been so very troubled. I try not to share unless I’m clear on what to say, feeling prompted by the Spirit, and though I’ve had a couple of those moments in these last two months, still I haven’t written. The emotions have been too deep and too draining.

I was raised to love others as I would want to be loved.  I try to live by this, even with those who have not reciprocated the same.  It saddens and disturbs me to see others treated poorly, no matter the circumstances, to see selfishness, greed, and evil perpetrated upon others for no legitimate reason, whatsoever (not that any terrible action upon others is ever justified).  

My longing is to intentionally care for all others, to love others with the love of God flowing out from me to whomever you are, wherever you’ve been, whatever you may or may not have done, to see each person with the eyes of our Abba Father (see Amy Grant’s old song, Father’s Eyes…).  If given the opportunity, I will be your friend, I will listen, I will share, I will help in whatever way I can.  I long for the same to be done for me, to be given the grace from others, the gift of being truly known for who I am, not judged and stereotyped by outward appearances.

This is that for which we were all originally created….designed out of the love of The Trinity who wanted to extend the love they had within their Oneness, because it was too big to be contained…thus, Creation happened, the artistic expression and beauty of the depths and riches of the love between the Father, Son, and Spirit, culminated with us, created in Their image, made to be in relationship with them and with each other, designed to love God, others, and ourselves.

Oh dear Father, why can’t we all allow You to transform us to be the people you meant for us to be from the start….?  This is the cry of my heart when I am silent in these troubled times…