Don’t lose sight

A statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse stands in the park they built together. Disneyland, California, April 2003

A statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse stands in the park they built together.
Disneyland, California, April 2003

“I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing — that it was all started by a mouse.”
Walt Disney

Walt Disney’s success is legendary, and the tough road he took to get there is well documented. He died in 1966, soon after his 65th birthday, an age that sounds far too young to me now.  I had recently had my tenth birthday when he died, and I remember feeling sad when I heard of his passing.  Though at that time I had never been inside a Disney park, or seen more than one or two of his movies, I can remember thinking that he had changed history as surely as any politician or statesman.

Our family has always been fond of Disney, and we have spent many happy hours enjoying the parks and movies that bear his name, so it’s not surprising that we find him inspirational.  But surely even the most anti-Disney curmudgeon out there would have to admit that it’s rather amazing that such a huge empire came from a little cartoon mouse.

Mickey had an early name change (he started out as Mortimer Mouse) and several cosmetic alterations over the years.  His first feature film, Steamboat Willie, was rejected by nearly every film executive in the industry, leaving Disney deeply in debt until he found success by allowing just one theater to run it at a very low price.  Mickey was a smash hit, and the world — especially the world of children — would never be the same.

Big things almost always start small, which can be good news or bad news, depending on which direction things go in the beginning.  Are there any small things in your life that later became great assets, or more unhappily, tremendous liabilities?  Are the small steps you take each day leading you in the right direction?

If it seems that you are not accomplishing as much as you wish, remember the plucky little cartoon mouse with the dubious beginnings, and channel his cheerful, never-give-up attitude. It’s doubtful that you will ever build the kind of game-changing industry that Disney did.  But I’m sure he would be the first to agree: if you set your sights high and refuse to let discouragement get you down, you CAN live happily ever after.



  1. Cherie

    Good morning,Julia, this is exactly the encouragement I needed today! I am continuing on my eating and exercise program and have been stuck. I am going to take your advice and think of that little cute mouse and meet my goals. It is not going to be a quick fix, so I am in for the long haul. I pray your day is as bright as the sun. Love and Light. Cherie

    • Thank you Cherie, I’m glad you found the post helpful. For me, it’s SO easy to get stuck because there is hardly anything I do in my life for which I see instant results. I love washing dishes because the results are instant. But for most things, not so. As I write this the sun is ducking in and out of the clouds, but my day is bright with good cheer and connection here! Sending prayers and cyber hugs your way.

  2. Well said, Julia. We need more men like Walt Disney. Someone to soften the hard edges of life. We do tend to give up too soon. Have a wonderful week.

    • Thank you Marlene! You too.

  3. Great, Julia.
    I remember Disney’s weekly TV shows. Ferdinand the Bull, Goofy and other’s. My mom would make pop corn to much on during the show. Sadly it was off to bed right after.
    From tiny acorns do mighty oaks grow.

    • Thank you, Alan! I too remember seeing Disney on TV. He used to introduce some of his shows by looking directly into the camera and talk as if he was speaking to just one person; something Mr. Rogers was to do a few years later. I think that’s one reason I remember Disney so fondly. It’s so reassuring to reflect that he was once fired from a job because his boss thought he was not creative enough! Those tiny acorns have to overcome all sorts of obstacles, but when they do, the results are amazing.

  4. Julia, thanks for the post about Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney. Yes, we lost Walt way too soon. We’ve always enjoyed Disney movies.
    Blessings,,, ❤

    • Merry, our older son used to try to explain to me why Disney’s work in animation was so ground-breaking and phenomenal. I still don’t understand most of what he was trying to tell me, I just knew how captivating it was. 🙂

  5. Amy

    You know that I have always had a great fondness for all things Disney though in recent years as it has become the most expensive park in the world and the morals of what would be a childhood institution are in question I wonder if I will share Disney with my grandchildren. Having said that I do believe that if we set our goals high we can achieve them by whittling away at the hurdles in our path. At least that is how I approach housework. Ha ha. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Amy, I know the Disney parks have become very expensive, but to me it’s still worth the price. We long ago outgrew the slightest desire to go to any other amusement parks (even when they had free attendance for military people we didn’t go to Busch Gardens) but to us, the Magic Kingdom is still magic. Even Jeff was saying the other day that maybe we could take Grady to Disney World next summer, and as you can imagine, it did my heart good to hear him say that. Good for you for whittling away at the housework hurdles. They are the type that I tend to go around or ignore altogether. As you have seen for yourself, hee-hee. 😀 Miss you — let’s get together sometime soon! I need to hear all your latest.

  6. Julia, I find it astonishing that such an empire was built out of one theater (maybe even one person) that would take a chance and believed in this man and his little cartoon mouse. His world of characters, movies, and theme parks have brought so much excitement, thrills, and happiness to so very many. I was very surprised to see Mickey Mouse on the face of the new Apple watch. His toe tapping foot replaces the second hand.❤️ Thank you so much for the beautiful note and the cards that came yesterday. I gave one today and it was so warmly appreciated. We can take “baby steps of kindness” together, yet across the miles. I think of you so many times during every day, hoping all is well! 🙏 Sheila

    • WOW, I didn’t know that about Mickey Mouse being on the new Apple watch. If his foot is the second hand, he has certainly kept his flexibility in old age! Glad you got the card. I love sending things by regular mail, always have, though I’m not quite sure why. We are all doing OK here. The morning was wonderfully cool; I even opened my bedroom window to let the cool air in! It’s too early for fall, but it was a wee taste of it which was quite welcome.

      • Julia, that little toe tapping guy can be seen on YouTube, displayed on the watch. Just saying, in your spare time! 😳 This morning is so welcomed with a gentle (low humidity) breeze and a cardinal chirping his distinct, “Good morning, World”! I opened your note by cutting the end off to slide out the contents and leaving the envelope intact! It’s too beautiful and still sealed. 💌 Sheila

        • Sheila, I’m so glad you told me about this. I had somehow pictured Mickey’s foot having to travel in a circle around the face of the watch. Just another example of how our thinking patterns get so fixed. I found the video and it looks like basically he’s just keeping time. Plus, I had forgotten that, being an Apple watch, it would CERTAINLY have to have way more than just one screen on it! I’m glad you liked the envelope — I’m not sure I even remember which one I sent it in but one of these days you may get one of my repurposed “magazine page” envelopes that I make sometimes when I’m listening to books on tape. I’m just odd that way. 😀 So glad you are getting some of the same pretty weather we are enjoying here!

          • I like you odd THAT way, from odd THIS way! Haha! Does that make us “Southern Oddities”?? 💞👏🏻

            • Sheila, I almost said that the term “Southern Oddities” is redundant, but actually quite a few of the Southern folks I know are pretty normal. Maybe not a majority, but quite a few of them. 😀

  7. Good morning, Julia! Your photo is delightful. The man-and-mouse team suggestion of an eternal springtime decorated by pink budding trees …. I just love it! Disney gives us permission to take a break from “adulthood” and embrace childhood with all its wonders again. (I say this as I lounge on my Winnie-the-Pooh sheets)

    • Don’t you just love Pooh and his friends? Getting re-acquainted with them was one of my favorite parts of my sons’ early childhood years. Disney has given us so many delightful characters to enjoy. Plus he has kept some old folk and fairy tales alive for our generations. I wonder how many children would know some of these stories if Disney had not retold them (and yes, sanitized them in many cases, with which I have no problem).

  8. As always, I find good advice to take along my way here J. We couldn’t go wrong if we fashioned our days after Walt and Mickeys tenacious, go-getter, “we can do it” attitudes.

    Disney was really someone quite extraordinary I think. My gosh, my childhood would not have been the same without all those fantastic cartoons and movies. We didn’t go to the cinema much as kids, but late night drive-in’s with our blankets and pillows and homemade snacks were a summer staple. Now, having visited the Walt Disney Family Memorial Museum in San Francisco, I really have a bigger appreciation for what Mr Disney accomplished in his all too short time with us. Talk about making every day count. Plus, he inspired so many others to hop on his magic-wagon to help achieve his dream together. Wouldn’t that had been a fun place to work? The final hallway at the museum is a ‘farewell’ to Walt that includes letters from many names we all recognize and a beautiful cartoon of his much loved characters all teary eyed and saying goodbye. I must admit, I was teary as I left.

    I guess Pixar is the new Disney these days at the cinama’s. I love all their movies, especially ‘Up’. Always with a good moral to be told along with action, music and lovable characters. But Walt was the one who started it all and it’s great to be first. xo k

    • We used to go to the drive in with our blankets and pillows and snacks too, but usually it was a Doris Day/Rock Hudson type movie that my parents took us to because the whole car could get in for one price and they didn’t have to hire a babysitter. The movies were boring to us so we would just play and then sleep while they were watching. Can you even imagine trying to watch a movie at the drive in with four kids in the back seat? And people say parenting is hard today! Remember those static-y metal boxes that you had to attach to the car window to hear the movie? Hilarious, when you think about it. My Daddy used to cook up lots of popcorn in a skillet and put it into a big paper grocery bag to take with us since we would NEVER go to the concession stand because it cost too much. Nothing like having four kids and not much money!

      I left NorCal before that Disney museum was open, when the Presidio was just being converted from a military base, but we were so excited about the wonderful things they were doing with that prime real estate. When we go back we will simply *have* to go to the Disney Museum and see all the other things that are open now. Maybe we can even have a picnic for old times sake at Crissy Field like we used to. I always loved the Presidio from Jeff’s earliest days in the Air Force, when we were stationed in Ohio, and we took a trip to SFO and visited there. I’m so happy they have done such a great job with transitioning it to a place the entire community can enjoy.

      • Hey! That’d be a great place for us to hookup. There’s just so much to see and do. I’m watching the late news right now and man-o-man, San Diego got a giant rainstorm.

        • I hope those rains move up the coast, but not too quickly, since the ground will be too parched to soak it in if it’s a deluge. A quick jaunt to SFO sounds wonderful. In my book, fall is the best time to visit there, unless one is trying to escape the heat — July and August are usually wonderfully COOL in the bay area.

  9. raynard

    Julia today on my way home from work, one local radio station played the old broadcast of the opening of Disney World or was it land/ You say” Tamato i say Tomato lol… I know someone at work going to Disney for vacation this week and that’s all they talked about” Hi Boys& Girls! lol Be blessed

    • Raynard, if the broadcast was in 1955, it would have been Disneyland. I think Disney World opened sometime in the late 1960’s or early 70’s, although there was only one park there in the beginning and now there are many. Hope you are having a great weekend!

  10. I hope my small mouse steps will lead me in the right direction. Thank you for the inspiring post.

    • You’re wecome, Marta! Again I apologize for being so long in responding. Our father’s unexpected passing has thrown my schedule off even more than usual. I am so happy to have you here!

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