Day 357 – “Suddenly, all my troubles seem so far away.”

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Gratitude. That is what I feel today. I’m delayed at the airport but I meet my daughter in a few hours to celebrate Christmas. Our whole family will be together.

Last night a good friend sent me this list from Wikipedia. I am currently 4th in all-time Big Years in the ABA Region. Even in the traditional ABA, I’m at 754+4 (and counting).

On January 1st, I looked at this list and visualized being on it someday. To think that I will end the year in the top ten is exhilirating. I have worked so hard. Even if other Big Year birders describe the challenge to you, the reality is truly overwhelming.

I have so many people to thank that it might take a lifetime to show my gratitude. I thank all of my followers who have never even met me, yet provided me with daily encouragement and support.

I have had support from men, women, old and young. I will be spending many days thanking individuals but right now, I need to single out a special woman: Laura Keene

I had never met Laura. She had just finished her amazing 2016 Big Year, yet she found the time to send me a personal note on January 1st. She wished me well and told me that it would be the best year of my life.

It was one of the single, most generous things that anyone had ever done. She continued supporting me throughout the year. Many times “talking me off the ledge” when I wanted to quit.

She knew I had a chance to beat her record. It never deterred her from offering help. In an age when women can still be horrible to other women, I am thankful for the friendship that Laura has offered me.

She is a class act.

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