Saturday, October 8, 2011

So this is where Katt ended up.... (AKA Newsletter coming soon!!)

Hey everybody.
 So quick update, I no longer am in Mexico, as most of you know.  I'm working here in Arvada, Colorado as a Teacher's Assistant in a school with a high population of English as a Second Language students, and also very poor students.  I love my job, though it is different to no longer be the classroom teacher, I'm learning a ton!!!  And I am blessed to work with a pre-kindergarten teacher who really knows her stuff.  So God has definitely provided a great opportunity for me here.
Flowers in my mom's garden...yeah, it's good to be back.
 I just moved out of my parents house into a house with three other girls, one of which is my little sister, Alli Lovejoy.  (Who, by the way, just got engaged two weeks ago WOOHOO!).  I am enjoying being on my own again, and working hard at my job and trying to get other important life things done as well...  Also a good learning experience :).
 Anyway, I need to let you all know that I am working on a final update from Mexico, kind of an end of the year thing. because I want you all to know what God did there and how I so feel used and blessed to have been a Mexican for a year of my life.  To those Mexicans out there who are reading this...I'm so going back to visit..A LOT.
 I hope you all are well, and blessed in this season.  I'm glad to rest in Jesus acceptance as I move forward in this new stage of life.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The time has come...

My good friends at the Reunion (bible study).

Hi everybody!
 I know you are probably wondering what became of Katt since school got out on July 9th, and I apologize for not having updated you earlier.  I had a great two weeks of a break in Mexico before I came back to Colorado to begin life in the States again.  I spent great time with the kids, families, missionaries, and friends just enjoying my last days in Mexico.
Last day of school with my students.
Saying goodbye to family.
 Again, I feel so blessed to have the friends that I made in Mexico who supported me, and friends that I continue to stay in contact with, and feel supported and loved by as I make this transition back to life in Colorado.  We had a big party the day before I left in which my good friend Ramiro organized a pool party for me and had all our friends from our bible study come out and swim and eat and talk about memories.  It was a blessing to get to thank Tex and Marissa, remember, and just share my appreciation and thankfulness for my Mexican family.  They told me a lot of very encouraging things too as I took those first steps forward.  They let me know that the time and effort I put into my job and the students at the school was admirable, and that I had made an impact not just in the lives of the kids, but also in their lives.

 Luckily, they made a great impact in mine as well, as they encouraged me and offered advice and love not only in those last days but throughout my time in Mexico.  Have I mentioned I'm thankful for them?  I'm grateful also for  the experience I had with the kids and at the school.  I'm not sure of how many times I've written this in my blog, or told this to teams...or at churches.  But we feel like the seeds that were planted for so long at Nava school are finally producing fruit.  The school is flourishing, and so are the kids.  I really feel like they know they are loved in that school, content, and I have seen as my students became more fulfilled and more like kids as they learned and grew at school.  I continue to pray for this, and ask that you will too.  The school has a lot of growth to do, but no lack of support.  I pray that it becomes a shining place for that community as God shows Himself there.  I hope to continue to support them as they move forward even from Colorado.
Mini Pinata, last day of school.
 That being said, I want to thank you for your support of me, and how you have been present and praying for me, even without my knowledge for the past year.  I have had the most amazing experience, learning Spanish, learning how to teach, and becoming Mexican, and I'm glad to move on after having this experience and taking it into real life.
I want to update you now on where my life is in Colorado, and my plans.  So stay tuned and ask any questions you would like to!

Colorado Rocky Mountian High, Seen it rain and fire in the sky....

You guys, so the month that I have been in Colorado has been CRAZY, in a good way...  A week after I returned from Mexico I had found a job.  The only place that replied to me offered me a job as a TA in a Charter school in North East Denver.
Time spent in Gunnison shortly after returning from Mexico.
  I now work as a Teacher's Assistant in a school that is 75 percent English Language Learners (mostly Spanish speakers), and 95 percent free and reduced lunch (meaning that students cannot pay for lunch as a family but the school/district must provide them with food).  I really feel like this was God working, because this is the kind of environment I was most interested in and passionate about working in, and one with a culture close to Mexico.  That being said I fit in well, and I'm excited to begin my career in Denver Public Schools.  By next year I hope to be a first grade or Kindergarten teacher, but right now I'm enjoying a little less responsibility and continuing to learn.
Time spent in Gunnison
 I have also changed schools.  By next week I will be a student at University of Colorado Boulder, seeking a master's degree in English as a Second Language.  This not only fits my desires for later in life, but I also get 1/3-2/3 of my schooling paid for by the school that I work at, and by the University of Colorado.  I'm unsure about another several years of school...but we'll see.
 Other than that I'm searching for a church home here in Arvada (a suburb of Denver) and a real home as well (right now I'm staying with my parents).
 It feels good to be in Colorado.  No doubt I miss Mexico, the friends and family and students and school, but I feel like it is time for me to be here and begin to get settled in a job and community for a while.  I'm not sure if my time in Mexico is over, but I do feel like I won't return for some time, because I need to be settled here and learn how to teach before I return for an extended period of time.  I will be visiting regularly, and I keep in contact with most from Mexico.I ask for your prayers as I find a church community and a good group I can be real and grow with, also in my job, finding a house, and in finding a balance through a busy (apparently adult) schedule. 
Time spent in Gunnison
 As I move on, this blog will be a little different.  I'm not sure how I am going to use it, it may not be in use much anymore, or I may try to update people on Nava school and what is going on in Mexico.  In the meantime please check out the Hands and Feet website or email/facebook me.  I love you guys, and thanks for taking this adventure with me!  I'm sure your prayers have made my experience a safe and amazing one that I will never forget.
Hands and Feet:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Green Eyes for Luck.

Quick story:
 So a few months back the teachers from the school went to another school to observe a class on reading.  It was a good experience to see another school and learn how other Mexican teachers manage their classroom and give lessons.  Anyway, I was seated with the director of the district and three teachers from our school and we were very much enjoying watching students do tongue twisters and read out loud.  All of the sudden a student raised his hand, and when the teacher called on him, out of the blue he said: "Profe, I think they say that having green eyes is good luck right?"  The student had noticed me and my light skin, light hair, and light eyes (they are blue by the way) and couldn't hold in his interest.  So he announced this question out- loud.  It was kind of awkward, and a little bit funny, but it was definitely a special moment that I will remember forever.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Well, time sure does fly when you are having fun!

Hi friends and family,
 Well, looking at my last update I can say that a lot has changed.  Hace una semana....about a week ago school at Lazaro Cardenas, Nava School, let out for Vacaciones.  It was a great blessing to be a teacher in the last week, as I did my best just to enjoy the students.  Our last day of school was a party, and it was a great fun to be with the students and give them a fun day with pizza, candy, a pinata and games.  I hadn't done that before, but giving them that gift was definitely a blessing. 
I think all of you know I was ready for a break from planning and all the hard work, and now that it is over I'm doing my best to remember the students and what I've learned.  It is hard to put all of my thoughts together as I write now, because I know that my time in Mexico is short....But as I look back over the last year, I really do feel like I have done my best and it was a good year.  I'm grateful for everything I've learned and getting to know the students.  I want to continue to pray for them and remember them as I move on.
In the weeks that follow I will just be hanging out in Mexico...something I never really got to do before...visiting friends and saying goodbyes. 

I've already had a sleep over with the kids of a fellow teacher, and visit with the family of some of my students.  I'm really enjoying just hanging out and being with the families and my friends in the last few weeks.  I guess the goal is just to BE in Mexico.
I will also be working to move my mindset back to Colorado.  I'm looking for jobs, applying for my teaching license and beginning to think about how life will be when I get back.  I'm excited to teach and bring what I've learned to a classroom in the I'm praying for a teaching job in Colorado as well.  I'm excited to get back to A-town (Arvada, Colorado), and I'm hoping...and praying... that I can take Mexico with me.
 I just wanted to give a short update today...but more are to come...Pictures of our last party at school, and other events.  I'm also thinking about writing memories sporadically, so if you feel like checking in to hear some crazy stories...that would be awesome.
Love and thanks for your prayers,

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Son's still Shining in Mexico!

Hey everybody!
 For those of you who were wondering, I'm still alive and kicking!  Man, in the last month since I wrote to you it has repeatedly hit me over and over again how hard it is to be a teacher...Of course it is even harder to do it while going to school and trying to speak a different language. 
 Needless to say I've been pretty tired in the last few weeks. comes my excuse for not writing to you sooner :).... really, really , really busy trying to turn in my portfolio to the state of Colorado in order to be able to begin to apply for my teaching license. 
 But I turned it in Wednesday, and though I still have work to do (look for a job, and continue to teach until the first week of July) I have begun to feel a bit of accomplishment and moving forward.
 Anyway, let's get on to the good stuff... The biggest thing I want to tell you is that I have learned a lot in the last few weeks.  We received a new technical director about a month ago, and her input and observation has come to point out the fact that my students are very behind still.  This comes somewhat from the environment, the school system, but also has some to do with the teacher, and I have learned in the last few weeks areas in which I have lacked in instructing my students, and ways in which I can improve.
 It has been kind of rough to realize, but I've learned a lot (and from learning to snowboard) that you have to get back up when you fall, and in the last few weeks I have begun to use more assessment in my classroom, to guide instruction, and I have worked and focused really hard on being sure that my students as a whole are improving.  The cool thing is that they are in improving in reading and math: the two areas that are most important for them right now!  And I'm learning ways to really help them grow...and be a better teacher.
I’m grateful for everything that I have learned, and that this will make me a better teacher in the long run, and how I’m seeing my students improve…

Finally! Prayer Requests!!

The biggest thing I need to ask you all for now is prayer.  I am REALLY tired, and I think burned out from teaching.  But I still have three weeks to work hard with the kids to be sure they move forward as much as possible before the end of the year.  Please pray for
1) Wisdom in giving my students instruction and assessment so that they continue             to learn as much as they can in Reading, math, and writing.
2) Perseverance in planning lessons and doing my best in the last three weeks of school.
3) A job:  I have decided to return to Colorado next year, to continue to learn as a teacher, and I would like a teaching job using the Spanish I have learned.  I think it is also important that I am teaching for my last year of my Master’s degree.  Please pray for my job searching and finding the job God wants for me. 
4) That I can enjoy and get the most out of my last month in Mexico, with the students at school, in the bible study, and with my friends here in Piedras Negras. 
5) That I would know that it is God who does the work not me, that I would rest in that and focus on that.  Also that I would be able to focus on the fact that I am in Mexico, working at the school, in to show the love of Jesus and that is most important.  Pray that I know the best way to share that with the students in this next month.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

One fifteen Sunday Morning...time for some updates :)

Family and Friends,
 I apologize again for not updating sooner.  I visited home two weeks ago, and upon returning I had jobs and scholarships to apply for, school to finish, and begin updating my work sample which I will send into the state in order to petition for a teaching license....And apparently I'm still a teacher in Nava. 
Old Church in Piedras
 I don't mean to sound pessimistic, I'm still very grateful for my job, friends and my experience here.  I have had times of discouragement, which is the nature of the job and still working on College school work, and some days I have wanted to quit.  However, I'm reminded regularly that I don't really want to quit. 
 I have had many awesome opportunities these last two weeks.  We had a party for the students for Dia del Nino (kids day), and it was good just to get to hang out with the students and love on them in a non educational setting.  I went to visit with a teacher and her family last week, and spent four whole hours with her family, talking, eating and playing with her students.  We have become good friends, and I'm blessed to get to be a part of her family.  Even tonight I was able to spend time with my Piedras friends watching a movie.  I'm regularly reminded, too, of the friends I have here in the Gathering (our bible study) and in Tex and Marissa.

I don't want to overwhelm you with information, so I'll leave the rest for a later date.  Thanks again for your support, friendships, love, and prayers. 
I'll leave you with some prayer requests:
BIG NEWS: I have decided (it was very hard) to return to Colorado after this year and work as a teacher or teacher's aid.  I need prayer for provision in a job (Preferably one in which I can use my Spanish and experience from here).  I will also need prayers for when it comes time to leave, as it will be very difficult for me.
-School:  I finished school with a 4.0!  Thank God!  But I still have to submit all of my work from this year to the state by June 14th (first draft) and July (Second Draft) in order to be accepted for a teacher's certificate.  I also have to send in paperwork to Western for my student teaching experience and accountability with Zac my mentor.  I need prayer for perseverance, a positive additude, and balancing my time.

-Please pray that my joy would remain in my job.
-I also need prayer for BEING here in Mexico my last two months.  I don't want to miss out on the time I have less.
-Please pray for wisdom as we finish out the school year in teaching students the best.  Especially in Reading and Math.
-Prayer for students growth in education, in Christ and in knowing their value.
-Also, I could use prayer for my family at home, they are all going through some difficult times with losing jobs and surgeries etc.

Thanks again, I need your prayer and support, and thanks for sticking through it with me, even though I'm not always consistent.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Semana Santa (Spring Break!?!?!)

Ok everybody,
 So I realize that it has been like three weeks since I last updated you, and my explanation for this is both due to being really, really tired, and really really busy.
Yeah... We're that excited about it.
 I think since I last left you Mary Beth Cauthen came for a visit, and was a great help in the classroom.  She and Roy ( the head of the ministry) both helped me catch a glimpse of letting go and allowing myself to rest.  For those of you who know me well, he all but had to slap me in the face, but took my hand and led me through an oath in which I swore I wouldn't do anything that night.  Haha!  Man I needed it though, and I'm grateful for that support and wisdom.
  Speaking of breaks, today was our last day of school before a two week hiatus for Spring Break.  You guys, I'm not sure I've ever needed a break more, and I'm very excited to spend some time in Colorado recuperating in beautiful Colorado with family, friends, below 90 degree weather, and of course mountains!
 The last few weeks otherwise have been pretty normal. We have been blessed with groups, time between groups and obvious blessings at school.  I want to tell you about some of them, and then you can enjoy another picture summary of the next few weeks.  Feel free to comment if you want more information than just pictures ( you can also comment on Facebook if you don't want to subscribe to the blog).

Recent Realizations

 A few weeks ago when Mary Beth came to Piedras to help out at the school, I was reminded of what changes have gone on in my classroom in the last year and what a blessing it has been to be a part of them.  We talked with groups in those weeks about that scripture where Paul talks about some people planting seeds and others coming along and watering them, and others pruning them etc.  As Tex read over and talked about these verses he brought up the school as one of these scenarios (of course that would be expected).  But what he pointed out, what I realized and what I think is very important for us to see at the school is that we are in a time of fruit being bared at the school.
 I think sometimes in my frustration and tiredness I talk to you a lot about needing patience and wisdom for my classroom and students.  Well, don't worry I'm not going to go back on those requests.  But I also need to tell you that what I see at the school daily, what Tex has seen, and what Zac and Kat are helping put into action is true renewal.  Someone described it as thriving, and I really think that is a great way to depict it.  I think the students really feel safe there,  they know are loved, and seem content.
 In my classroom alone, the students who at the beginning of the year were a huge handful (one which we expected to go on for the rest of the year) are those that now have taken the greatest responsibility for their actions and respond to instruction.  My students are slowly but surely learning to read, and they understand the concept of addition and subtraction.  Not to mention, they have all begun to get the hang of classroom procedures and behavior and sometimes surprise me when they do what is expected without being asked.  I think the biggest blessing is what I mentioned earlier, the whole school thriving.
 We still need prayer requests, but I need to remember to thank Jesus for the way that he has renewed the school.  I need to be more humble and thankful for this renewal daily.  Prayer requests to come.

Soccer, Pink Party, Flags, Church Family....

For Ramiro's 30th birthday we had a double Quincenera party, and everyone wore pink!

Gym the week that Mary Beth helped out was very eventful as you will see!

Sunset from Tex and Marissa's house (thanks MB).

Getting goofy with some kids :).

Every Monday we salute the flag.  A very cultural experience!

The children of one of the families that goes to church with us.

The Boys.

The Girls.

Girls from the Reunion at Ramiro's Pink Party!

Crazy relay races during gym...

Hey, I said crazy relay races ;)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Some prayer requests...

Hello again friends and family,
 I wanted to give you guys a short update and then let you explore some pictures from the past couple of weeks.  As you know, I love it here and every day I feel so blessed to experience life in Mexico.  I need to ask for prayer though because lately I have been extraordinarily tired and definitely feel in need of a break.  I ask for your prayers in:
-Wisdom in how to take time to rest at home, but also wisdom in how to allow myself and the students to have productive breaks so that we can be refreshed in the school setting.  The most important thing for me is to remember that my job is to love on my students, and when we get bogged down with all of the work we have to do, I lose sight of this.  We need times in which I can just focus on enjoying them outside of stressful environments, whether that be in small activities each day or taking a half a day to recuperate and recognize what is important.
-Wisdom that I don't take on too much work and can balance my work and rest time.
-Wisdom and guidance in deciding where I will be next year.
Thanks for your prayers and support.  A much needed break is coming in April when we have two weeks of spring break.  I'm holding out for that time :).
Love you all

Oh Mexico: Sounds so simple I just got to go

Ramiro leading Bible Class with some group members
Kids eating in the kitchen:  Some people from a local Church in Piedras Negras, have begun to support the school and raise money and get food donations.  We have a plethora of food and some very blessed kids and teachers!
Here is a little picture update of what has been going on in Mexico lately.  Again, I am so thankful and blessed to be able to experience life in this country and with family here!
Basketball with the Reunion bible study:  We've played twice in the last three weeks and had a blast!

Bible Class

Field trip to the Nava Museum!!

Julio and Ramiro played Soccer with some of the fifth graders.

Whole group after basketball!
Winning team!

At the museum (field trip!).

my friend Jorge Romero and Sweat Tacos

Lunch Saturday: Sweat Tacos.  Called this because they are steamed...but delicious!! (Jorge ate twelve...I only ate four..just to be clear.)