Flanagin’s Bulk Mail adds a little magic of Disney

CREATING MAGIC

CREATING MAGIC

Click this link to read the ValpoLife article about our experience (click) with being in the book The Disney Way.

 

Have a Flan-Tastic Day,

Donna Flanagin

 

Random Me:  I was so proud of our float this year and all the Flanagin Fairies!  They all did an outstanding job Creating Magic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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.

 

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.

 

Random Act of Kindness – The Question

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?”

This question came up recently between myself and my two daughters. 

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.

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.

What are your thoughts?

Have a Flan-tastic Day and Scatter some Kindness,

Donna Flanagin

Random me:  I will give you my thoughts in the next blog post.

 

Random Act of Kindness – 100 Day Challenge Lives On

 

Scatter Kindness

Random Act of Kindness – The Ripple Effect

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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A couple of weeks ago, a friend asked for a reference. She was leaving her job of 24 years. Of course I said, “But would you like to work in my office?  We have a part time position.” She came on board.  She is great. We love her. 

Yesterday my boss handed me a cash bonus; a finder’s fee. Also yesterday another friend called to say she was kidnapping me after my religious Ed class. We hadn’t chatted in a longtime, beyond the quick check in. 

So at 8:45 PM we went to a posh restaurant in town for coffee; not much else was open.  They have a small function room and as we walked in I remembered I was thinking of reserving it for my daughter’s Confirmation celebration in May.  When we arrived I asked the host about the details.  He had none but I could call back in the morning.  No worries. I’ll add I was dressed in my usual Patty dressed down relate to teenagers comfortable complete with church baseball hat.  Not a glamorous sight but I don’t really care.  And the host gave me the attention on par with my outfit.  Still fine.

We ordered coffee no cake or anything and chatted.  Asked for water.  Chatted some more.  My dear friend was paying the bill but I wanted to leave the tip.  Told her my boss had just given me a bonus and would love share it. To over tip the waitress for she was lovely and not her fault we just had coffee.  Needless to say the waitress was very surprised.  No I didn’t give her the entire bonus but her tip was about 4 times the bill, maybe slightly more.  So probably a bit surprising. And she must have told the host for a few minutes later he offered us a tour of the private room and a folder full of dining options.

It’s interesting how life unfolds.  If my friend hadn’t joined our merry band in the office, I would never have had the cash to truly show our appreciation of waitress’ patience for friends having a late night coffee — decaf.  And as I type I wonder where the kindness will next lead me. 

 

Have a Flan-tastic Day and Scatter some Kindness,

Donna Flanagin

Random me:  The 100 day challenge ripples on.

Random Act of Kindness-The Ripple Effect 5-19-14

Scatter Kindness

 Random Act of Kindness – The Ripple Effect

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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Kurt wrote: “On my way to work today, I found someone’s check on the sidewalk. I thought to myself, “Donna Schmidt Flanagin”  would want me to be kind and turn this in.” I called the company that issued the check and the lady who answered the phone was the person who lost it. It was her weekly mileage check. Now I’m enjoying the Starbucks she brought me when she picked her check up! Mmmmm!”

Have a Flan-tastic Day and Scatter some Kindness,

Donna Flanagin

Random me:  Kurt went on to say: thank you for spreading your kindness around and causing me to go the extra step to help this lady out!

 

Scatter Kindness 5-1-14

Scatter Kindness

 Random Act of Kindness – A Ripple Effect

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

I have bloglovin permission to re-post this incredible RAK.  (click here) to follow bloglovin

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Last night my boys went to the NJ Devils game with my dad. When they got home, DJ said, “Drew, are you going to tell mom what you did at the game tonight?”  I replied, ‘Uhoh, what…” and DJ said, “No mom, it is good!”  We all laughed and Drew got embarrassed and told me this story,
You know how I always go up to the glass for warm ups?  Well, I went there tonight and I was hoping that a player would toss me a puck after practice.  There was this kid standing near me who had special needs and he was wearing a Toronto jersey.  He reminded me of that girl we saw at The Newark Bears Game.  That was the kind of special needs he was.  Well, he wanted a puck so badly but he didn’t get one and I guess he got tired of standing there because he and his dad went back to their seats.  Then, I got a puck and I went over and gave it to him instead of keeping it. The kid was so happy!  Later, the dad and the kid came over to our seats and thanked me.  At the end of the game, I went up to where the referees leave the ice and NJ, (the Devils mascot,) tossed me the game puck!
I was so proud I nearly cried.  DJ was just nodding his head the whole time telling me that really happened.  My dad told me how proud he was of him.  I had to share it – I was so filled with joy that he had done such a generous thing.  For anyone who knows him, he is a collector and giving up a puck was probably not the easiest thing for him!!  I shared the story on Facebook before I left for work this morning.  I got home this evening and found that there were just under 200 likes and almost 50 comments about it!  Comments saying others were going to pay it forward today after reading it.  Comments about how he is growing up into such a kind young man.  Comments about how Dave and I “must be doing something right!”
He and I just read the comments together and he is embarrassed – self-conscious perhaps, but I can tell he is pleased with himself.  It is so nice watching him grow into such a kind hearted boy.  Many of the comments mentioned “great parenting.”  I had great role models to follow, and now my children are following in those footsteps as well.  We talk all the time about how easy it is to do the right thing and last night, Drew demonstrated that perfectly.

Thank you bloglovin for allowing me to re-post this.

Have a Flan-tastic Day and Scatter some Kindness,

Donna Flanagin

Random me:  the 100 day challenge is over, but the ripple effects are not. 

 

Random Act of Kindness 4-24-14

Scatter Kindness

Random Act of Kindness – 4-24-14

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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So I had a random act of kindness bestowed on me today.

As some of you know I am in the bulk mail business and right now we are in the height of political season.  It get extremely chaotic and I have to draw upon all my organization and prioritizing abilities just to get through the day.  Not complaining, just painting the picture.  My wireless decided to act up, I narrowly escaped a laptop BIOs disaster, my new expensive tabbing machine accidentally came crashing down to the concrete floor, and a customer had me researching and calling all over for his “missing” mailing, when in fact it was not missing at all.  He was polling people to see if they had gotten his mailing and they were telling him they had not, but what he didn’t realize is that none of these people were on the list he sent me.

Little time to eat and even less time to go out and get lunch today.  In comes a delivery man with two pizzas, completely took me off guard.  I look at him, he looks at me and says “For Donna from Debbie!”

Oh how sweet it was.  She even had 1/2 vegetarian for my daughter to eat. 

Can’t tell you how grateful I am for this RAK.  For so many reasons.

Thank you Debbie for always showing me how wonderful life really is.

Have a Flan-tastic Day and Scatter Kindess,

Donna Flanagin

Random me:  Pizza is one of my favorite treats.

 

 

 

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