Week Twenty-one: Amanda Kasper

What are you most thankful for?

Develop an attitude of gratitude, 

and give thanks for everything that happens to you,

knowing that every step forward is a step toward 

achieving something bigger & better than your current situation.

~ Brian Tracy

This week, most of us will sit around living rooms and dining room tables, amongst family or friends, food, and for most – tradition. In my family, for the last 10 years or so, we’ve had two thanksgiving meals – one very different than the other. One small, informal, peppered with incredible aromas, fast paced gossip, overwhelming love, so much food, and an undeniable sense of comfort. The other larger, more structured, less food, less talking, and more questions. Over time, I’ve come to cherish and accept both versions of the holiday, as both include pieces of my family. Yes, I have a preference for one style over the other. But all that means is when I make it myself, I know how it’ll be done.

The thing that surprises me is actually a tradition I did not embrace when it first started. I have no doubts that families and groups of friends across the world do this not only on Thanksgiving day, but some even maybe every day of the year. We went around the table, and individually, in a quiet room, shared what we were most thankful for. My resentment had nothing to do with the question being asked, and everything to do with the circumstances it was being asked under. It was the first year that my Thanksgivings involved parents in two different places – and it was something I was so unready to accept. That year, that November, at age 15, it felt near impossible to find something to be thankful for.

I’ve grown since then. So much so, in fact, that I am saddened by that child. I think the most important lesson I’ve ever learned is that developing an attitude of gratitude, even in the darkest of night, is enough to survive.

I have always said that I believe in tiny miracles. But I think what that actually means, how I’d actually like to define that is that I believe little things can raise our spirits, spread sunlight across our hearts and glitter our worlds in ways we didn’t expect, ways we weren’t looking for, ways that surprise us into smiling.

This year, more than anything, I’m thankful for my family. I’m thankful for my friendships. The kind that offer encouragement, support, strength, advice, and patience. For sunshine. For ambition. For seeing silver linings. For wanting more. I’m thankful for people who understand that patience is a virtue I’m trying so hard to attain. For the ability to understand that I am more than the circumstances that surround me. For somehow being able to believe that with child gloves and time and strength and support, that I will re-learn to live my life in a way that lets me enjoy the small moments and still feel as if I am in control of my body, instead of the other way around. I’m thankful to find passion in many things I do. To know that I’m making a difference. I’m thankful for a new look with the same eyes & for remembering that home is where the heart is.

This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for you. I’m thankful for me. ❤


Amanda Kasper is a writer, reader, quote lover, CASA advocate, and non-profit believer, seeking space as a lifelong learner, passionate lover, and irreplaceable friend. Amanda tweets at @AKasper513 and blogs over at “& this I believe”


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