We saved up our money and I took the girls to Disney. For about a decade I was fairly anti-Disney. The work I was doing to raise a family in the most holistic way possible didn’t really give itself to extra screen time (back in TV days), mainstream habits, and more expensive vacations. State parks and day trips were more our speed.
Somewhere in the back of my mind we’re two influences that Disney had in my life that I secretly wanted to share with my girls. Carter not to be excluded, but choosing his own special getaway, Sterling not quite ready for the adventure.
The first, each and every moment I was with my dad, while few and far between, he would take me to Disney or similar spaces. He encouraged me to see the innovation, creativity, opportunity people had made for themselves. He would say, “There was nothing and someone dreamed this up and then they worked hard to make it happen.” There’s no doubt those early experiences influenced my desire to apply creativity and innovation to my work as a mother and farmer. I want my kids, no matter what they do in life, to experience the same. Second, I did a brief Horticulture (landscape, flowers, walkways) internship with Disney in college and the “behind the scenes work” that everyone experiences, but few deeply appreciate has been long lasting motivation to put in that behind the scenes work for our community and then quietly watch people enjoy it. It’s the most deeply rewarding way to create.
Another influence came while presenting at Idea Festival a few years ago when a teacher who was in attendance shared her dream to start up a tourism business ✨ @alipicturethistravel ✨and I committed in that moment to support her once she did. Allowing her to plan our Disney trip for us (at an unexpected lower price than I expected) was a great way to teach my girls how to lift the dreamers among us up while supporting them with our resources.
We’ve had the best time, but with a sigh of relief, my girls are equally happy to get back to the magic of our family, home, friends and farm. The best way to do any “big thing” is to do it knowing that the people, place and routines of your every day is where your true joy begins and ends.
This is a portrait of Michelle Howell, a hardworking farmwife, mother of five, author, and advocate. On the left side of the bust you can read text from the poem “Anyway” that was on a wall of Mother Teresa’s home for children in Calcutta, India. “If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.” “The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.”
Leslie Nichols, Artist