The last week of the year is one of my favorites. The warmth of the holidays with family is lingering, and there is time to rest, rejuvenate, and reflect before the hustle and bustle of a new year begins. I wrote a blog last week called Abracadabra: I create as I Speak inspired by the holiday series, Dash & Lily, that I watched on Netflix this month. Following my post I continued pondering the magical word "Abracadabra". It is said to originate from the Aramaic word “avra kehdabra” meaning “I create as I speak”. As I thought about that phrase, I wondered how often I create my own reality by the words that I speak aloud and quietly in my thoughts. Why am I my own worst enemy? I continually am questioning my actions, my words, my creations, my thoughts and conjuring up false realities in my head of what others think of me. It’s something my empathic self has battled my whole life. I feel emotions across a room, a text conversation, or a Zoom screen. The internal dialogue goes something like this: Why did they not use a period rather than an exclamation point in their text…are they mad? Why did they leave me on “read”...did I say something that offended them? Their tone is different than normal…is it something I did? It’s sounds childish and it's embarrassing to admit, but it’s true. As an empath, I know when something is off…I feel it. The issue is, I too often absorb the emotions or actions of another and take them on as my responsibility to fix, or worse assume that the emotions are related to something I did or didn’t do. It is exhausting, and quite honestly destructive. It saps my energy and joy and causes me to spin into a lonely and negative place.
I know that I was given the gift of empathy for a reason. It allows me to be placed in someone else’s shoes. I’m able to read a room and respond accordingly. I can sense when someone needs to be listened to. I want to embrace the beauty of this trait and establish some healthy habits to keep my negative self-talk in check. As I look towards a brand new year, I’ve decided to choose Abracadabra as a one-word to help me speak into existence the reality that I want to create in 2022. In each daily interaction I have a choice to filter the emotions rather than absorb them as my own. I have the choice to speak words of kindness, praise, and truth to myself, rather than allow myself to spin into a negative spiral of self-talk. I have the choice to speak words of courage, love, and joy to those I serve, regardless of whether I think they want to hear it. I have the choice to speak my big audacious dreams into reality, rather than talk myself into thinking those dreams are for someone else. I will be saying abracadabra a lot this year. It will mostly be in my own head, but if I say it out loud you’ll know why! Let’s create a magical 2022! I’m ready! Abracadabra!
Would you like to create a one-word focus for 2022? Find some One-Word templates that I created in Canva below. Share to #CanvaOneWord and #OneWord2022! Would love to hear what your focus is for the year ahead!
I heard about a fun little Netflix holiday series called Dash & Lily over the holiday break, so I thought it may be a light-hearted watch as I wrapped gifts and enjoyed relaxing days in my jammies. True to the reviews, it is a fun and inspiring show about a friendship that develops between Dash and Lily all because of a little red notebook of clues found in a NYC bookstore. As they pass messages and dares back and forth through the notebook, they are sent on a series of adventures that lead them to discover truths about themselves.
I was in a heap of wrapping paper and ribbon, when a scene in episode four made me put down the scissors and tape and hit rewind. In this scene, Lily has written a series of clues in the red notebook that lead Dash to a home extravagantly decorated and lit for the holidays. When he arrives, she asks him to write down what he sees. Cynical Dash, lacking in the holiday spirit, replies: “Plastic nutcrackers and fake Santas…nothing that is real.”
Next, Lily instructs Dash to take another look at the holiday scene and give it another chance. He scans the extravagant display again and pauses at an affectionate elderly couple taking pictures in front of the house. He replies, “I see an older couple who probably come here every year to take a picture at the same house. They probably have those photographs on their wall. I see them holding hands. I think they must know each other very well”
Lily then responds by writing, “I told myself I didn’t fit in anywhere and kept telling myself that one day it would magically change. But a little known fact, the word abracadabra comes from an Aramaic phrase, Avra Kehdabra, meaning, I create as I speak. We make our own magic. We see what we look for. I hope you’ll keep looking for the good stuff. I believe in you.”
Woah! Think about that for a minute.
I create as I speak.
We make our own magic.
How often do we chain our possibilities by limiting our thoughts and speaking words of negativity and doubt into existence? What if we unchained our possibilities by looking for the hope and promise in our circumstances, rather than the constraints and limitations? What if we stopped doubting, and started doing? What is we stopped complaining, and started praising? What if we stopped fearing, and started trusting? We all have the power to make our own magic! What could we dream? What could we experience? What could we accomplish? If only, we believed it could become our reality.
In the current state of our world, it is easy to focus on the negative and quickly become overwhelmed with discouragement and despair. However, as I look towards a brand new year I will choose to see hope and joy in the world around me. I will choose to speak words of positivity and possibility. I will choose to create my own magic. I hope in the year ahead you’ll join me in looking for the good stuff. I believe in you.
let’s make some magic in 2022!
It's #GratitudeSnaps time! Each November of gratitude has found us in a different chapter of our story and yet, it always seems to come at the perfect time. When people begin to flood the Twittersphere with an outpouring of gratitude and love, you can't help but feel the joy. I am almost giddy with excitement to announce that #GratitudeSnaps 2021 is launching Monday, November 1st!
Listen to Tara Martin and I share the #GratitudeSnaps origin story on the Make Learning Magical Podcast and read our original blog post! Then, join us! It will bring joy to your heart, I guarantee it!!
Co-Written with, Tara Martin @TaraMartinEDU
The #GratitudeSnaps Challenge is as easy as 1-2-3.
Focus each day on one thing for which you are grateful. It could be a thing, a person, a feeling; it’s personal to you.
Educators, students, community members...anyone who would like to participate is more than welcome. The more positivity we can flood the world with, the better.
Create a GratitudeSnap by connecting it to something positive in your life. Add pics, text, anything you choose.
Take a picture with your phone and share why this image makes you grateful. You can use any picture app to create your #GratitudeSnaps. (We will be using SnapChat.)
Click here for a quick 3-minute video to show you the basics of Snapchat. (Just create#GratitudeSnaps instead of #BookSnaps.)
Click this link for many apps used to make #BookSnaps, which can easily convert to #GratitudeSnaps.
Post it to Twitter including #GratitudeSnaps & tag us @TaraMartin EDU and @tishrich.
Let’s begin our 22-days of #GratitudeSnaps on Nov 1st, 2021. It will last until Thanksgiving, November, 25th. You're welcome to keep it going; there is certainly no "time frame" on being grateful.
The world has plenty of negativity, let’s spread a grateful attitude! We have so much of which to be thankful.
Journal of Snaps
If you’d like to follow Tisha’s 30-day #GratitudeSnaps Challenge, click the Padlet below.
When I read the agenda for a meeting I recently attended and saw “Happy Salmon” as the opening activity, I was instantly intrigued. I was almost certain I had seen a card game with this name on one of the many game store shelves I'd perused in the past and was hopeful there would be some type of correlation. Sure enough, the facilitator began handing out the Happy Salmon game cards and I sat in anticipation and excitement as she introduced a super fun opening activity. As usual, my head started to spin as I experienced another game that could be reframed for learning not only for staff, but for students as well.
Find the Happy Salmon whole group version as it was presented by our amazing Director of Curriculum and Assessment, Lisa Yamashita, as well as other variations that were sparked from her idea. I also created resources and a variety of prompts to go along with the activity. Thank you, Lisa, for your creativity and inspiration!✨
Happy Salmon by Tisha Richmond
What games do you have in your game cupboard that could be used for a card game reframe? Share them on #MLmagical on Twitter or Instagram! I'd love to share or highlight in a future blog post!
In honor of my dear friend, KathiSue Summers, who left this earth much too soon.
I was assembling Spark Moment jars for our district's digital engagement team when I received a call from a friend with news that shattered my heart in an instant. My good friend, KathiSue Summers, had passed away from Covid. To be honest, I’m still in shock and haven’t fully processed the emotion that comes with knowing a friend, whom I’ve experienced countless moments with, is no longer on this earth. However, as I look back on the 101 photos on my phone (thank you iphone for recognizing faces) I am captivated by the “spark moments” we shared. The irony isn’t lost on me that it was in the moment of creating these spark moment jars to capture life’s most precious and fleeting moments, that I’d be confronted with how truly precious these moments are.
These are just a few of the lessons KathiSue taught me from our moments together that I will carry with me always:
Love people fully and unconditionally. KathiSue never knew a stranger. She loved extravagantly and always made people feel special and cared for whether by verbal words of encouragement or a thoughtful note, card, or gift. I'll never forget the sweet little gifts she found for me and the words of encouragement she gave me throughout the years. They always came at the perfect time. She loved to share about her family, friends, and those she served. She was always so proud of the successes of others. There was never a doubt how much the people in her life mattered to her. What a powerful love!
Never stop learning and growing.
When I met KathiSue, she was a retired public school educator/administrator, however you would never know it. Her passion for education was like nothing I’d seen before. She had a thirst to continually learn and find the best ways to make education amazing and reach ALL students. She was always eager to share the latest thing she learned and participated in every educational opportunity she was able to take part in. She leaned into all experiences and "cannonballed" into learning. I'll never forget the video she shared with Tara Martin and I of her "cannonballing" into the swimming pool at her gym to illustrate her passion for trying new things. Her passion was unmatched, awe-inspiring and a great reminder that learning never ends.
I remember when I was first getting to know KathiSue as a member of the Southern Oregon Edtech Cadre, my friend Heather Marrs and I shared the power of Twitter at our regional meeting. KathiSue immediately shared her dislike for this social media platform, but characteristic to KathiSue’s thirst for learning she decided she’d give it another try. Goodness did she! She found her people and before long was jumping into Twitter chats and becoming a vital part of various educational communities. Soon after, she became a part of Voxer conversations where she was in daily conversation with educators from around the world. These communities fueled her. The lives she touched through her connections in these spaces is far-reaching and profound. Find your people. Whether that is in your community, on social media, or on apps like Voxer, community is essential and life-giving.
Smile big and laugh often.
KathiSue’s smile and laugh filled a room. As I scroll through my pictures, I am captured by the joy that emanates from her even in a photograph. Her smile came easy and her laughter was infectious. Smiles and laughter are contagious and bring joy to those who are fortunate enough to receive it.
Be a mentor.
KathiSue was a mentor to many: former students, her connected professional learning network, and new teachers she mentored through the Southern Oregon Education Service District. She found great purpose in sharing her learning and experience with others. There are always people who can learn from our story and journey.
Find ways to bring people together.
KathiSue loved bringing people together whether it was for a CoffeeEDU, dinner, a game night, or virtual event or meet-up. Community meant so much to her and she jumped at any chance to be with those she loved. As the tributes come flooding in as news of her passing spreads, I'm touched by the intersections of her far-reaching connections and relationships. She truly brought so many people together in ways I didn't realize. We are truly better together.
These are just 5 lessons of many that I will carry with me always. It is no coincidence that I’m busy making spark moment jars today. I am so grateful I have captured so many spark moments with my dear friend, KathiSue. The jars will now take on a deeper meaning as I cherish even more each day and moment with those I love and serve.
If you’d like to make a spark jar for yourself, colleague, or team you work with here’s how:
Spark Moment Jar
1 mason jar (quart or pint)
1 colorful pen
Gift tag with hole for threading
Spark Moment card (printed on cardstock or paper)
Some of my favorite spark moments with KathiSue that I will forever cherish.
Student Engagement & PD Specialist in Southern Oregon, Canva Learning Consultant, Canva Education Creator, and author of Make Learning Magical. I'm passionate about finding innovative ways to transform teaching and create unforgettable experiences in the classroom.