Creating Magic

2015 Valparaiso Popcorn Parade

2015 Valparaiso Popcorn Parade

2015 Meet & Greet

2015 Meet & Greet

You just never know where the magic will lead you.

Most years The Flanagin Fairies have a heartwarming story to tell after appearing at Valparaiso’s Popcorn Festival and this year was no exception.

Here is a little background….

Our sole purpose as the Fairies is to create magical memories for the children and sometimes we find out that we did exactly that.

After the parade the Fairies do a meet and greet for the children at the Festival.  The wonder and excitement you see in the children’s’ eyes make all the preparation worthwhile.  After chatting its customary to give the child a pre-printed photograph of your fairy character, a sticker or sometimes even a little fairy ornament.

Last year Crystal Snowflake (aka my daughter Erica Flanagin George) had a creative idea to give some of the children a very precious, one of a kind, keep it under your pillow “magical moon stone”.   Crystal presents it to the child with a cute little saying about how it has magic and it will make their dreams come true, but only the good dreams of course.  She keeps them in a pouch and the children cannot see them at first and sometimes will even tell the child that “oh wait that stone doesn’t have enough magic let me find you a different one.”

Spoiler alert:  you can buy them by the bag at most craft stores in pretty colors originally designed to put in flower vases.

So here is this year’s story……

The Fairy Gladmother was chatting with a sweet little girl and when it was about time to go on her way, the mother asked if I (The Fairy Gladmother) remembered the “magic moon stones” that we gave away last year at the meet and greet and I said YES, I sure do!   And then she pointed at her daughter Madelyn and…….there is was!

 

Magic Moon Stone (picture with mom's permission)

Magic Moon Stone

Madelyn’s mom had turned it into a necklace that Madelyn was wearing.

Our hearts just melted. We ARE creating magic!

You just never know where the magic will lead you.

IMG_4461

How creativity works

 

 

Our new door

Our new door

So this is the story of how a little idea turns into a London Phone Booth.

Our building is plain beige and has two doors in the front.

I often have people choose the wrong door even with the arrow posted to show them the way.

So one day I decided to change the color of the door so I could say go to the “green door” or “blue door” or “red door”.

After some discussion we decided on red.  Plain red door, good enough – boom!  Let’s buy the paint and get started.

For those of you that have visited our office you know that plain is just not good enough, so I had to come up with something different.

Something out of the ordinary.

Voila’ why not make it look like a London phone booth.

With the help of Master Imagineer Erica George and spray painter extraordinaire Doug,  this baby was born.

How do you like it?

Have a Flan-tastic day,

Donna Flanagin

Random me:  I love when a creative idea comes to life.  Warms my heart.

CONVERSATION STONES

Conversation stones

Conversation stones on a silver platter

Last weekend I was making some conversation stones for our reception counter.  Disney encourages making a personal connection with your customers (guest).  Thought this might be another way to get to know them better and in return they get to know us better.  Just a little something different and something fun.

At an appropriate time you ask the guest to randomly choose a conversation stone which have sayings on them like; what was your first car; what is your favorite hobby; who was your favorite teachers; etc etc etc.

While preparing these stones, it got the wheels turning.  Who was my favorite teacher?  Sadly, I couldn’t think of a favorite teach nor one that made a big impact on my life.  I don’t think that is, in itself, a bad thing.  They were all fine teachers, just did not make a big impact.

But then I realized there was someone that did make a big impact on my career.  I don’t believe he knows how important he was to my future.  His name is Ro Chabot and he held my hand many years ago when I was learning how to manage databases and beginning programming. I remember more than once calling him crying because I had tried everything I could think of and could not fix the problem and he would laugh and walk me through it.  At the time I did not know how valuable this education was going to be but I now make a living managing databases all day long in our bulk mail business.

I never regretted learning DOS, dbaseII and 123 (which is now called Excel) way back in the early 80’s. This old knowledge comes in handy every now and then.

Thank you Ro Chabot for all the knowledge you shared with me, your patience with my inexperience and your lasting friendship.  You may not have been a teacher in my formal education system, but you were truly my most valuable educator.  Thanks also to your lovely wife “Jo” for always being my friend.

(BTW the stones have only been out a week and we have had so much interesting conversation because it them.)

Ro & Jo

Ro & Jo

Have a Flan-tastic Day,

Donna Flanagin

Random me:  From shorthand in 1970 to WordPress in 2010.  Who knew?

RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS – buzzfeed

2014 best fairy pic

 

Here are some great stories about random acts of kindness from buzzfeed. (click here)

 

Have a Flan-tastic day,

Donna Flanagin

Random me:  I love a good bargain.

 

 

Published in: on November 15, 2014 at 12:08 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags: , ,

2014 popcorn parade

2014 best fairy pichttp://photos.ideasinmotionmedia.com/Festivals-Parades/2014-Popcorn-Festival-Flanagin

Can’t even explain the joy this day brings.

Published in: on September 7, 2014 at 6:06 am  Comments (3)  

Stories of Disney Magic – 1

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Story time! (Permission from Andrea Chum to re-post her story.)
Tony and I decided to go to Goofy’s Kitchen for dinner tonight and we are wearing our Celebrating buttons.
When it came time to meet characters, Minnie pointed to our buttons and shrugged, and Tony explained to her that it was our last weekend together before he deploys (we had already explained it to Dale and I was teary.)
Minnie then spent about the minutes hugging me and rubbing my shoulder as I began to cry, after she signaled for a picture and I explained that our phone had died as we got there, she nodded, hugged me again and then left.

After a few more characters came by (pluto, Jasmine) Minnie returned with her handler. Her handler said “Minnie explained you are having trouble with pictures, so we are going to take you to the photopass area and take a picture.” I started crying again from the sweet gesture. We went, got our picture, the lady asked if we had taken one with Goofy as well (I replied yes) and went back to our table.

We met Chip and after he left Minnie returned once more with a photo package of the pictures we took with her and goofy (which she also signed) and gave it to us, no charge. I lost it at the point, I was crying from the generosity of the cast (and Minnie) and the realization that it was my last weekend with my husband. Minnie hugged me for ages and left.

And then who else should appear but ALICE! I spent two days looking for her and after a long conversation about pocket watches, she asked the person next to us to take our picture and send it to us (which he did.)

This weekend has been most magical

I also made sure to speak to the manager about her amazing cast!

Have a Flan-tastic day,

Donna Flanagin

Random me:  Do you have a magical Disney story?  Comment below.

 

9 Insights on this Incredible LIFE

Carpe Diem

 This came from www.seetheperfection.com and re-posted by www.babeandbutter.com and I am re-posting it here because I enjoyed it so much.
 
I am re-posting this again because I needed a refresher.

9 Insights on this Incredible LIFE

1. You are not your mind.
The first time I heard somebody say that,  I didn’t like the sound of it one bit. What else could I be? I had taken for granted that the mental chatter in my head was the central “me” that all the experiences in my life were happening to.
I see quite clearly now that life is nothing but passing experiences, and my thoughts are just one more category of things I experience. Thoughts are no more fundamental than smells, sights and sounds. Like any experience, they arise in my awareness, they have a certain texture, and then they give way to something else.
If you can observe your thoughts just like you can observe other objects, who’s doing the observing? Don’t answer too quickly. This question, and its unspeakable answer, are at the centre of all the great religions and spiritual traditions.
2. Life unfolds only in moments.
Of course! I once called this the most important thing I ever learned. Nobody has ever experienced anything that wasn’t part of a single moment unfolding. That means life’s only challenge is dealing with the single moment you are having right now. Before I recognized this, I was constantly trying to solve my entire life — battling problems that weren’t actually happening. Anyone can summon the resolve to deal with a single, present moment, as long as they are truly aware that it’s their only point of contact with life, and therefore there is nothing else one can do that can possibly be useful. Nobody can deal with the past or future, because, both only exist as thoughts, in the present. But we can kill ourselves trying.
3. Quality of life is determined by how you deal with your moments, not which moments happen and which don’t.
I now consider this truth to be Happiness 101, but it’s amazing how tempting it still is to grasp at control of every circumstance to try to make sure I get exactly what I want. To encounter an undesirable situation and work with it willingly is the mark of a wise and happy person. Imagine getting a flat tire, falling ill at a bad time, or knocking something over and breaking it — and suffering nothing from it. There is nothing to fear if you agree with yourself to deal willingly with adversity whenever it does show up. That is how to make life better. The typical, low-leverage method is to hope that you eventually accumulate power over your circumstances so that you can get what you want more often. There’s an excellent line in a Modest Mouse song, celebrating this side-effect of wisdom: As life gets longer, awful feels softer.
4. Most of life is imaginary.
Human beings have a habit of compulsive thinking that is so pervasive that we lose sight of the fact that we are nearly always thinking. Most of what we interact with is not the world itself, but our beliefs about it, our expectations of it, and our personal interests in it. We have a very difficult time observing something without confusing it with the thoughts we have about it, and so the bulk of what we experience in life is imaginary things. As Mark Twain said: “I’ve been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.” The best treatment I’ve found? Cultivating mindfulness.
5. Human beings have evolved to suffer, and we are better at suffering than anything else.
Yikes. It doesn’t sound like a very liberating discovery. I used to believe that if I was suffering it meant that there was something wrong with me — that I was doing life “wrong.” Suffering is completely human and completely normal, and there is a very good reason for its existence. Life’s persistent background hum of “this isn’t quite okay, I need to improve this,” coupled with occasional intense flashes of horror and adrenaline are what kept human beings alive for millions of years. This urge to change or escape the present moment drives nearly all of our behaviour. It’s a simple and ruthless survival mechanism which works exceedingly well for keeping us alive, but it has a horrific side effect: human beings suffer greatly by their very nature. This, for me, redefined every one of life’s problems as some tendril of the human condition. As grim as it sounds, this insight is liberating because it means: 1) that suffering does not necessarily mean my life is going wrong, 2) that the ball is always in my court, so the degree to which I suffer is ultimately up to me, and 3) that all problems have the same cause and the same solution.
6. Emotions exist to make us biased.
This discovery was a complete 180 from my old understanding of emotions. I used to think my emotions were reliable indicators of the state of my life — of whether I’m on the right track or not. Your passing emotional states can’t be trusted for measuring your self-worth or your position in life, but they are great at teaching you what it is you can’t let go of. The trouble is that emotions make us both more biased and more forceful at the same time. Another survival mechanism  with nasty side-effects.
7. All people operate from the same two motivations: to fulfil their desires and to escape their suffering.
Learning this allowed me to finally make sense of how people can hurt each other so badly. The best explanation I had before this was that some people are just bad. What a cop-out. No matter what kind of behaviour other people exhibit, they are acting in the most effective way they are capable of (at that moment) to fulfill a desire or to relieve their suffering. These are motives we can all understand; we only vary in method, and the methods each of us has at our disposal depend on our upbringing and our experiences in life, as well as our state of consciousness. Some methods are skilful and helpful to others, others are unskilful and destructive, and almost all destructive behaviour is unconscious. So there is no good and evil, only smart and dumb (or wise and foolish.) Understanding this completely shook my long-held notions of morality and justice.
8. Beliefs are nothing to be proud of.
Believing something is not an accomplishment. I grew up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they’re really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because “strength of belief” is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you’ve made it a part of your ego. Listen to any “die-hard” conservative or liberal talk about their deepest beliefs and you are listening to somebody who will never hear what you say on any matter that matters to them — unless you believe the same. It is gratifying to speak forcefully, it is gratifying to be agreed with, and this high is what the die-hards are chasing. Wherever there is a belief, there is a closed door. Take on the beliefs that stand up to your most honest, humble scrutiny, and never be afraid to lose them.
9. Objectivity is subjective.
Life is a subjective experience and that cannot be escaped. Every experience I have comes through my own, personal, un-sharable viewpoint. There can be no peer reviews of my direct experience, no real corroboration. This has some major implications for how I live my life. The most immediate one is that I realize I must trust my own personal experience, because nobody else has this angle, and I only have this angle. Another is that I feel more wonder for the world around me, knowing that any “objective” understanding I claim to have of the world is built entirely from scratch, by me. What I do build depends on the books I’ve read, the people I’ve met, and the experiences I’ve had. It means I will never see the world quite like anyone else, which means I will never live in quite the same world as anyone else — and therefore I mustn’t let outside observers be the authority on who I am or what life is really like for me. Subjectivity is primary experience — it is real life, and objectivity is something each of us builds on top of it in our minds, privately, in order to explain it all. This truth has world-shattering implications for the roles of religion and science in the lives of those who grasp it.
Have a wonder-filled day,
Donna Flanagin
Check out my business website (here)
Random me:  I am a fan of Oprah’s network OWN.
Published in: on July 1, 2014 at 5:00 am  Leave a Comment  

RAK the Happiness Multiplier

Scatter Kindness

ScatterKindness

All Acts of Kindness are written in the participants own words and the only purpose of this post is to scatter kindness.

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I had a million important things to do yesterday, but instead I chose to take a little time to yard sale.  As I browsed the items I spotted dishes that were on the Ronald McDonald House wish list.  (My daughter is in the process of fulfilling items on the wish list for her annual trip to RMH in Indianapolis to payback for what they did for her family in their time of need.)

The price was just a bit more than I wanted to pay so I asked if they would entertain a cheaper price. They said sure and I went on to explain that I would be donating them to RMH. 

After carefully wrapping my purchase I asked how much I owed. They proceeded to tell me that I owed nothing!  They explained their daughter was in the Indianapolis hospital as a child and there was no Ronald McDonald House at the time to help them and it was their pleasure to donate these dishes.

Spontaneously my hands covered my mouth and my eyes began to tear behind my sunglasses.  Absolutely did not expect this Random Act of Kindness.  The generosity of strangers often blows my mind.

After a truly heartfelt thank you, I picked up the dishes and walked away.

About 1/2 way down the driveway, I stopped, turned around and walked back.  I handed her my card that read “Thank you for making the world a better place.  Scatter Kindness”

Never ever a better time to use this card!

~~

Fast forward to the next yard sale.

As I walked up a young boy about 7 asked if I had a grandson that could use any of the toys he was selling.  I smiled and told him I did indeed have a grandson, but he was now 19 years old.  We chuckled and I proceeded to browse.

I did not find anything I needed/wanted but as I was leaving I handed the little boy a $1.00 and told him I was sorry I didn’t have anyone that would need his toys but that I wanted to give him a little something for his great sales skills.

Seriously can you imagine how scared this little boy must have been asking a strange lady who doesn’t look a day over 39 (cough cough) if she had a grandson!  He will grow up to be a fine salesman someday.

~~

Fast forward one more time.

As I walked up to this yard sale, there was a lemonade stand.  I always try to buy lemonade from children when I see a stand.  It was actually pretty good tasting, which is not always the case.  As I returned to my car and was about to put the lemonade in the cut holder I spilled the entire cup all over me, my seat, my council, my purse and my jacket. 

Only for a split second did I feel frustration.

How could I after this marvelous day?

Have a Flan-tastic Day and Scatter some Kindness,

Donna Flanagin

Random me:  Mentally I know better, but I struggle with taking time for myself when I have so many things that needs to get done. So worth the immeasurable joy this day.

 

How did this 5-Year old Teach his Mom about Kindness?

Kindness Blog

How did this 5-Year old Teach his Mom about Kindness?

by Marni Rivera

heart kindness u - FACEBOOK SQUARE (2)

One beautiful morning, I was having breakfast with my 5-year-old son, Finn. I noticed our waitress walking toward us and thought to myself, she needs to smile. She hardly said hello and hurriedly took our drink order.

We both noticed that her mouth was wired shut. My son asked me why her mouth looked that way, and I told him the few cosmetic reasons why someone would need their mouth wired. Then he looked at me with his big, cute eyes and told me to ask her why.

When she dropped the drinks, Finn gave me the ASK HER stare, and when I finally did her answer shocked us both.

A few weeks earlier she was waiting for a bus early in the morning when the next thing she remembered was waking up in the hospital with a broken jaw, broken chin…

View original post 601 more words

Published in: on June 11, 2014 at 6:01 am  Comments (1)  

Random Act of Kindness – To Tell or Not to Tell

Scatter Kindness

A Question About Random Acts of Kindness

All Acts of Kindness are written in the participants own words and the only purpose of this challenge was to scatter kindness.

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“Should you talk about your random acts of kindness or should you keep them to yourself?”

One daughter believes that it feels like bragging to talk about your Rak’s.  That you are not doing them to get recognition but doing them out of kindness.

         I AGREE

The other believes it is important to spread the word because it will make the world a better place.  Scattering kind thoughts

is so much better than scattering negative thoughts, or no thoughts for that matter.

        I AGREE ALSO

I agree with both positions.  Sometimes it is probably better not to tell but most times I believe talking about it WILL make the world a better place.  

I also think you should do whatever you are comfortable with.

What I think is just that,

what you think is just that.

Neither one is right nor wrong.

Simple as that!

Have a Flan-tastic Day and Scatter some Kindness,

Donna Flanagin

Random me:  Next post an example of how it worked.

 

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