We are thankful

Four Kirkland locals tell us what they’re thankful for – and how they practice gratitude.

Article by Bree O'Brien

Photography by Photos courtesy of the locals

Originally published in Kirkland Lifestyle

What are you thankful for this year? The pandemic lingers, news headlines emphasize scary things happening in the world, and division is rife within our country. Amid all of that, four Kirklanders gave us candid answers illustrating that there’s always something to be grateful for if you look for it.

Karin Quirk, Moss Bay neighborhood

What are you particularly thankful for this year?

What I am thankful for is that as I approach my 80th birthday I am in good health and my loved ones are in good health. I have many good friends and I continue to maintain a flourishing business in which I am able to help others.

How do you practice gratitude?

I do have a gratitude practice in which I list six things I am grateful for every morning. This has been a practice for a long time and I encourage others to do the same.

Jessica Secan, Holmes Point neighborhood

What are you particularly thankful for this year? 

In a year that was particularly challenging for everyone, I'm most thankful for the community I've been surrounded by. I'm thankful for the group of neighborhood women who sat in my driveway on Friday evenings sharing stories and laughing. I'm thankful for my son’s teacher keeping students interested in remote education while also managing her own family. I'm especially thankful for my husband working 24-hour shifts as a firefighter, masked up, coming home exhausted and managing the remote learning going on so I could continue my full-time remote job. Something else I've been especially thankful for has been humor. A great meme from a friend, or an easy to watch comedy show goes a long way in lifting spirits and we could all use laughter right now. 

How do you practice gratitude?

Gratitude is in the small things. A quick text to say hello or check in on a friend, a short thank-you note, a bottle of wine for the school principal working in ways she never imagined. Everyone has been impacted in some way by Covid, and I'm learning how important it is to recognize how everyone has adjusted, and to thank them along the way. My goal this year is to be even better about practicing gratitude by telling people just how glad I am to have them in my life. So: thank you driveway moms club, school employees, my family, and everyone who sent a fantastic Schitt's Creek meme my way, I'm grateful for the people I keep close, and hope they all see how valued they are.

Monica Chin, Highlands neighborhood

What are you particularly thankful for this year?

I am thankful for our community as a whole. For our friends, and for the friendships we've seen our kids build.  I am thankful for the relationships that have blossomed during COVID.  I am thankful that our kids are back in school with their friends and playing sports again.  I am thankful we can participate in fun events like the Wednesday Farmers Market and other outdoor events put on by the City of Kirkland.  We have learned to make the best of these times!

How do you practice gratitude?

As a family, we regularly talk about the things that we are grateful for.  We also show gratitude by doing what we can to help others, even if it's just doing something to brighten a friend's day or a kind word.

Ronda McNae, Norkirk neighborhood

What are you particularly thankful for this year?

My therapist!! Without question! I suppose the silver lining with this dreadful pandemic has offered me more opportunity for self-reflection, with the help from my counselor. Mental health isn't like a broken arm, a torn ACL, or an infection that can be diagnosed with blood work or scans. After a period of time that is different for everyone, you recognize you aren't well. This past year I've had debilitating anxiety and panic attacks from a recent assault which is currently being investigated. I would never have mustered up the courage to confront this without the support and encouragement from my biggest cheerleader.

When we think of our frontline workers, let's not forget mental health psychologists. They don't get the recognition they deserve especially during these unprecedented times.

How do you practice gratitude?

I take inventory and appreciate those who have been instrumental in my life. For example, after taking the kids to school I’ll shoot a mentor of mine a “good morning” and let them know why they’re valuable.  When I look over prior journal entries I’ve written, I do my best to honor my own personal growth by contemplating how I am able to think or react differently. I often tell myself, "What I have is more than enough" which becomes my reminder to be proactive and intentional with serving, volunteering, and giving to help others.

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