Time is flying and another class completed!

Just a glimpse of the brilliant colors all around

I can’t believe I’m near the end of my stay here. I can’t believe I just finished Effective Teams and Team Leaders. What a class… I have learned so much about myself as well as working in a team. One of the things I think that really hit home was that conflict actually builds unity and trust. (if done well)

Winshape Wilderness came up from Atlanta, GA to run a day coarse on team building using some low rope courses and activities they set up where we had to work as a team. The experience help bring out what works in a team as well as what doesn’t work. The experience also revealed things about each of us; areas we need to grow as well as areas of strength. A emotionally draining day as well as fun. It was great to be out of the classroom in the beautiful fall weather.

My Sweet Sarah and Treasured Tahmina

It has made me think back to Tahmina, our exchange student from Turkmenistan. Sarah and her would go at it heatedly and passionately. It took Sarah awhile to learn how to fight with a sister, fighting with her brother is totally different, but Sarah soon learned. Tahmina and Sarah would be quite heated with their discussions, both laying their grief out on the table then 15 minutes later were laughing and giggling. Upon returning home after being apart they would by pass everyone else to escape back to their bedroom to share all that had happened to each while away. Tahmina was with our family when Sarah’s Dad was diagnosed with lung cancer and a month later I had to have major surgery too. These struggles and willingness to engage with us on all levels drew us together and bonded us like ‘real’ family. Our love for each other grew and she will always be a sister and daughter.

The past few weeks have been jammed pack with school, homework and so much more. Two weekend ago 7 guest came and stayed in my dorm wing. One of CIT staff’s daughter was getting married. Friday night two women with their babies showed up at my door. I helped them get cribs and pack n’plays set up before retiring for the evening. The next morning as I padded around my kitchen getting coffee in my pajamas and bathrobe a man I didn’t not know showed up being lead down the hall by the smell of fresh brewed coffee. I offered him a cup and began another pot and before I knew it there were 5 adults and 2 babies around my kitchen table. I apologizing for not having any breakfast to offer only to have Betty disappear down the hall to return with banana nut bread and apple juice. I excused myself to dress properly and when I returned Joe & Mary called. I had forgot I had offered to keep their daughter’s dogs for the day while they went out. What’s two more in the chaos that was already in my small apartment. I knew the guest would be leaving soon for the wedding and I’ve missed my beloved KC so much so two dogs were more than welcomed. I have taken to feeding the neighbor’s dog treats just for a dog fix. So, it was actually a great joy and pleasure to have them for the day. I was planning on painting and working on homework so would be around and it was fun to walk them when I needed a break.

As a community activity over this past weekend Rich and Michelle organized a Chili and Pie back off. There are some amazing cooks in our group and the food as usual was delicious. We seem to do a lot of activities around food. Good food and good friends are a good combination.

This pass Wednesday my language helper group got the great honor and privilege to go to Natasha’s home for dinner. We got to meet her husband and two beautiful children. Natasha is not only a great language helper, but is a fabulous cook and warm hostess. We all had a delightful time tasting delicious Russian dishes and hearing Natasha’s passion for life. Her family is absolutely delightful and warmly welcomed all of us in their home. She not only invited our group but our families. I’m single of coarse, Clay has a lovely wife Meagan, Michelle has a delightful husband Rich, Bonnie not only has a delightful husband, but 5 fabulous children making for a large crowd of people to invade someones home, but Natasha and her family did it with great grace. It was such an honor and privilege to spend time getting to know them better.

Jon, Bonnie’s husband and Natasha’s husband Dan.

Natasha’s delightful son, Devin.

Natasha’s beautiful daughter, Victoria.

Natasha and I

The whole “Gang” (I’m taking the picture)

Thursday was our last day of Effective Teams and Team Leaders. Several of our original group will be moving on now so it is bitter sweet that we end the class. But the special friendships made will carry on across time and miles. Each good-bye brings the reality of the big good-bye I will make in February. It also is heightening my appreciation for the dear sweet friendships I have been blessed with. I have some amazing friends who have loved me very well indeed.

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Thank you dear friends for your kindness and love, compassion and encouragement for your willingness to speak truth into my life and willing to ask those hard questions even when you know I don’t want to answer. Thank you for caring enough to enter into the conflicts and struggles of life, to walk along side me during the heartaches and joys, during trials and celebrations. Each one of you are woven into the tapestry of my life bringing more beauty into the weaving than I could have ever imagined.

I am thankful for each one.

Love Vicki

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