Top Students

Jordyn's school picture

Jordyn’s school picture

Students-well, this applies in multiple ways tonight.  Jordyn called me at work early this morning to tell me-“guess what, Granny?”  “What, Jo?”  “I am student of the month for January!”  What a nice thing-I mean she is in kindergarten so it not like she made the Harvard Law Review but still.  I am proud that she works hard and studies hard.

Likewise, our friend Caitlyn (the one who rode the national horse finals this year) was awarded another scholarship from yet another major university.  The decisions as to who will be named to each college’s NCAA equestrian team will not be known until April, so Caitlyn has yet to make a decision as to where she will be going, but what an honor.  She has worked hard to have the test scores, the grades and equestrian abilities to get noticed by the top schools.  She is exemplifying the word student-or more accurately Top Student.  I can’t wait to see where she ends up going!

And in Arizona, Jim continues to trudge along, re-learning what used to come so easily to him.  His basic skills, dressing, bathing,  and daily living activities are going well.  But his ability to say exactly what he thinks is a little impaired.  But he is a good student and improving each day.  How incredibly frustrating for such an articulate, intelligent man.  Now, the expected dismissal date home is Feb. 21st and I bet he makes it happen.

I have been challenged to learn all types of new things at work.  I have been overwhelmed, impatient, not the best of sports.  I am old.  I am needing to learn three new computer systems.  But today, suddenly, things clicked.  I have been covering one position and the newly hired employee is now in place (thank God!).  I found out today that I actually knew and understood way more than I thought.  There were multiple times when I had the right answer-oh, my goodness, it was amazing.

One of the other specialized reporting systems, that has given me trouble for the last two years, suddenly made sense.  I had to go ask two other co-workers to help me get it downloaded and operational (it takes a village to train me!) but we did it!  I was a little ridiculous, clapping my hands and exclaiming with glee.  I guess I can still be a student, too!  Top student, well, maybe not, but at least I am getting it done.

Congrats to all the students.  School, training, re-hab, are all tough jobs.  Well done.


Caitlyn with Ky-her partner and friend.Photo courtesy of Morgan German Photography

Caitlyn with Ky-her partner and friend.
Photo courtesy of Morgan German Photography

I want to celebrate some goals set and reached by a couple of my favorite people. Goals by definition should be attainable but require a stretch, a reach out of the norm to allow for them to come to pass. If a goal is simple, it does not mean anything once you reach it.

I have talked before and sung the praises of Lauren’s and my friend Caitlyn.  She is the one that as a youngster struggled to find her place in the world, struggled to make the world make sense, but once she started riding, it gave her motivation to try harder with everything else in her life.  My second goal achiever has much the same starting story, but we will get to that.

Caitlyn qualified for the top equestrian national finals this year in a process that requires skill, stamina, determination and seemingly being in multiple places at the same time, all while mounted on a spectacular bay horse and jumping jumps.

Caitlyn is a senior this year and has only the regret that she didn’t get to do the national finals sooner,  only that she wished she had tried sooner and harder to reach her goals.  Not a bad regret to have.  Who of us, don’t regret the passing of time and opportunities, but at least Caitlyn got to make the run at nationals one final, glorious year.  And it will pay off for her.  While it is still unclear exactly where, at what school, Caitlyn will make her NCAA debut, I am certain that she will.  She has talked to a few schools, one in particular that has already told her that they want her on their team, and who knows who else may come along and ask her to the big NCAA Collegiate Equestrian dance.  She will reach her goal (Lord willing) of being on a college equestrian team. 

So, again I say Bravo, Caitlyn!  Way to ride and way to reach your goal.  I also know Cate has a few more big things on her list of goals like riding a Grand Prix.  It is inspiring and exhilarating to watch this young woman stretch her limits and reach the big stars.

Luke, proud with his family- wife Ally and daughters Jordyn and Kendyll

Luke, proud with his family- wife Ally and daughters Jordyn and Kendyll  Photo courtesy of Memories by Elvia.

My daughter Ally was in college, it was Christmas time, and she and her new boyfriend (of just a couple of months) sat me down to tell me they were having a baby.  Not the way you dream for your daughter’s life to unfold.  I was devastated that night for the loss of Ally’s dreams (in completing school), my fear that she like I would be a single mom and mostly because neither Ally or Luke had any idea what they were getting in to with having a baby. 

Their plan was to have the baby and then see if their love was still strong enough to support a marriage.  Turned out to be a good plan.  Jordyn was born in 2007.  They were married in 2009 and had baby Kendyll this year. 

Luke is five years older than Ally.  He had an entry-level job with a big utility company.  He had never really had to work too hard at anything.  He got by.  Luke decided to make some changes in his life for family and for himself.  He put some goals on paper and committed himself to completing them. 

I watched as he progressed up the line at his job.  He was accepted into the advanced training program.  He committed to it and completed the physically and mentally difficult course with the best of his group.  Luke set some new goals.  He and Ally bought a great house after saving money sharing houses and apartments with other families.  Luke made some lifestyle changes as well.  He knew with his new responsibilities and family he had to run the straight and narrow.  And he has.

This year-2012-he set his own goal for how hard he would push himself and how hard he would work-to meet a monetary goal that was WAY out of the reach of the young man who sat across from me at Christmas six years ago.

Certainly, Ally has supported the goals of this man who is her husband in caring for the family and being alone more times than she would have liked but knowing that her family would reap benefits from the time her husband was working.  Most of this year has been spent with Luke working nights and missing out on family dinners and the lively evenings with his two adorable daughters.  It is been a hard year.

Tonight we surprised Luke at a local steakhouse to celebrate him bursting past his annual goal with some of 2012 still left to go.  He made a goal to support his family, he put a number to that goal and he worked literally sometimes night and day to achieve it.  I did not know the man who would be my first grand baby’s father would ever even be my daughter’s husband, much less that I would grow to love and respect him.  I applaud his goal setting, his hard work and his love for his family. 

To Caitlyn and Luke, keep setting the goals, keep reaching high and thank you for letting me be a part of your journey.