Table for one at the Gratitude Cafe…

Highway 101 just outside Santa Barbara...

Highway 101 just outside Santa Barbara…

Driving down Highway 101 from Santa Barbara to San Diego early Sunday morning, along the familiar coastline I’ve traveled seemingly all my life, a line from Jason Mraz passes through the speakers in the car:  “I keep my life on a heavy rotation, requesting that it’s lifting you up, up, up and away…and over to a table at the Gratitude Cafe.”  This analogy of placing yourself into a metaphorical space to be mindful of your gratitude for life, resonates deeply.

Harvesting lessons and ideas...

Harvesting lessons and ideas…

This particular visit to the Gratitude Cafe stems from having spent the past 3 days participating in the Cal TASH Summer Symposium and Board Retreat.  Cal TASH ( is a state chapter of TASH (, a national organization whose mission is to advocate for “Equity, Opportunity and Inclusion for People with Disabilities”.  Storytelling provided the framework for the event, and as we know all too well,  storytelling yields itself to powerful, deep and passionate lessons.

Waddie Welcome and the Beloved Community

Waddie Welcome and the Beloved Community

We opened the event with a reading of “Waddie Welcome and the Beloved Community” ( and followed it with one story after the other.  Real people, living real lives, sharing their stories of love, loss, success, failure, hope and resilience.

Mary Falvey reflecting...

Mary Falvey reflecting…

All in attendance, our 2-day community of people, walked away hopeful we are on the right track.  Connecting and bridge-building between areas of our particular field, in a harmonious rhythm, felt as it should.  It felt good.

Kristen Uliasz energetically shares stories about her students...

Kristen Uliasz energetically shares stories about her students…

I learned a tremendous amount from people I just met, from old friends, colleagues, teachers and from people I’ve looked up to for years. Being open to learning and evolving with people as we go along in life, ubiquitously lights my path now. When I heard that lyric on my drive home earlier today, it reminded me that a trip the the Gratitude Cafe was eminent.



Serving on the Cal TASH board, surrounded by amazingly talented and passionate people, is something I am truly grateful for.  It is an amazing opportunity and serves a mission residing within my core values.  I am grateful to be a part of such an amazing group of people.

Being able to spread the story of Waddie Welcome again, I am grateful for that.  I am grateful for having been introduced to this story a few years ago and am grateful for opportunities to pay it forward.

I am grateful for friends like Eileen and Matthew Medina.  They have been positive supporters for many, many years, and I wouldn’t have been involved with Cal TASH without them.

Eileen and Matthew

Eileen and Matthew

I am grateful for the people I work with daily at home: Beth, Joy, Lamika and Christy.  The love we five have for each other brings profound levels of strength in me, opening doors to beautiful moments.  I am grateful to all of you.

All In!

All In!

I am grateful for the opportunity to work along side Richard Rosenberg and Mary Falvey this past week.

Richard and Mary

Richard and Mary

I can’t begin to share how much I learned from both of them this past week.  People who blazed a trail and lit the way for myself and my generation to hopefully carry this work forward as well as they have for so long and continue to do.  Open, hospitable, brilliant, positive, supportive and genuine…just a few adjectives to describe Richard and Mary.  I am grateful to both of them.

I’m grateful for friends of 15-plus years, who opened their homes and schedules to give me lodging and great conversations. Having lived in Santa Barbara for 10 years prior to moving San Diego in 2007, it was great to catch up with people I consider  family.  Thank you to all of you…and you know who you are!

Perhaps the most important course of this meal at the Gratitude Cafe is the dessert. My drive this morning ended at home, greeted by the love of my life, Jody, and our three children.

Kade, Eliot, Rhiannon

Kade, Eliot, Rhiannon

I am grateful for Jody’s support of my increasingly crazy schedule.  I’m blessed to have the opportunity to travel in my work, learn from people all over the world and try to put these lessons into practice at home.  Jody is the foundation of my growth.

Jody and I

Jody and I

I am forever grateful to you for so many reasons, but today I hone in on your dedication to our family and my work, which takes me away frequently.  You are amazing!

Thanks for being a part of my stay at the Gratitude Cafe…I highly recommend making a reservation for yourself if it’s been awhile.  Love is cyclical…so send yours out!



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4 responses to “Table for one at the Gratitude Cafe…

  1. Michele Banks

    What a great post…..I love the idea of the Gratitude Cafe….I will definitely make my reservation there…maybe stop by right after I leave this comment. I loved Waddie Welcome…The Beloved Community…we actually hosted a reading of his book a couple years ago and it was quite powerful. Tom Kohler is a great guy with a strong message…very inspiring. Thank you!

  2. June Zoul

    Beautiful, Kirk! Your post has made me smile in “gratitude” and “appreciation” for all that life is………thank-you for all that you do. 🙂

  3. Christy

    Very great Kirk. It’s so great to see you so inspired and connected to those around you. You are definitely making ripples and making memories within all you come into authentic contact with!

  4. Jody

    We are grateful for you and all that you do. We miss you so much when you are gone but are always so grateful when you come back home again! Thank you for the amazing life that we have created together.

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