About 17 miles Soth there is an old white house that sits high on a hill as a farmer works his pastures below. As the tractor moves back and forth over the land the farmer thinks of his wife and children and the life the ranch provides for them. He is a man of God, a selfless man who has been called to help others and does so with great obedience. His wife; a certain quietness about her exemplifies the woman of Proverbs 31. Born to this husband and wife are healthy children who spend summer evenings catching lightening bugs in the tall green grass and gathers treasures of the farm.
There is a man who walks the streets of a busy city miles away up North. A Vice President of a household known medical cooperation he spends his days working with the suits of the company, bringing people together who will work to ensure their product is safe for their consumers. There is a sense of compassion about him that one would not expect from such a man of his position. He is a leader, well spoken and a family man.
A bus rolls down the busy interstates crossing state lines; home for a country singer who brings his music to hundreds of thousands of fans day after day. Southern, handsome, talented. Managed by a top notch team, loved by many and can make any girls day when his one of a kind sound makes its way onto her playlist.
And then there is Elizabeth. The days leading up to this day we had all been dreaming about were filled with phone calls, text messages and Facebook posts from a community that was as excited for us as we were for Elizabeth. Our favorite girls at The Rustic Mule dressed us in plaids, florals and boots that would rock out to the sounds of Luke. The ever so sweet stylists at Solange dolled up the girls with hairstyles that would last through farm exploring, downpours and late night dancing! The amazing staff at Walker Brothers helped us pick out the perfect thank you gifts for Luke, Bayer and their teams including a very thoughtful note to Luke thanking him for his role in Life with Elizabeth and the impact he had made on one city that was sharing the story of a little girl and her purple wheelchair who wanted to make a difference in the lives of those who live life just a little differently. Elizabeth’s story was becoming a household conversation, people were beginning to realize that there is so much more to be discovered than just accepting a disability.
When we arrived on the farm we were welcomed with open arms and warm hearts. Everyone wanted to help, to make Elizabeth’s day as easy for her and our family as it could be. The terrain of a farm and a wheelchair can be a bit challenging but there was always someone right there wanting to help. Special provisions had been made for parking, transporting Elizabeth easily over the creeks and pastures and facilities that she would be most comfortable in. As much as I politely declined the help (obviously word had made its way throughout the farm that I don’t ask for or accept help willingly) it was given no matter how stubborn I had become about it. The manly Ogden men took charge of the wheelchair and without a second thought assigned themselves the duty of making sure I walked beside Elizabeth and not behind her pushing the chair through the muck and mud! Just days before I had stood in the middle of the open fields with nothing around me but green pastures, this night I was surrounded by tour buses, semi trucks, stages and lights that you could see from miles away. And then this happened ….
The look on her face says it all! One minute we are hanging out with the amazing Ogden family and then the next, there’s Luke! It took her just a minute for the shock to wear off and then all the “Hey’s” started and blowing of kisses, which if you know Elizabeth that’s her signature greeting! The one question I get more than any other is What’s Luke really like in person …
Well, let me tell you I have never met a kinder man. I can’t find another word to describe him and his time with Elizabeth, Caroline and Alex. He held her hand when he spoke to her, called her baby and hugged her sweet neck. He kept one hand on her as introductions were made. He told Caroline he was proud of her, and Alex that he was one good looking boy. Please let me stop right here and tell you that Alex has reminded me every single day that Luke Bryan told him this. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. When it was time for the concert Luke gave me a hug and said God bless you and Elizabeth. It was the purest kindness from a man that simply didn’t have to be. There are no other pictures to post, no selfless to edit and filter, no official poses with Luke. This was a very private and intimate time with a man who brought a little girl out of her once very silent world into a life of sounds and emotions felt through his music. It wasn’t about what he looked like, what he had on as so many people have asked. It was about his voice that echoed through Elizabeth. I have no idea if she actually saw him. I don’t always know from day to day which fields of her eyesight work, if at all. What I do know is that she felt his touch at the time she heard his voice and that brought a smile to her face that I have only seen a few times in her young life.
I can’t tell you the last time we had such a fun filled Thursday night! We laughed and danced in the rain to the music of Elizabeths favorite guy! We played with family and friends we’ve known a lifetime and met some pretty amazing people from near and far who have followed Elizabeth’s story. Strangers would stop us and ask if they could say hi to Elizabeth, some would hug her and others would put their hands on mine and tell us they were praying for us. Caroline was very grown up while Alex took advantage of his All Access pass and made his way from tent to tent and managed to climb to the top of whatever had a set of stairs!
There are several people who I owe a very special thank you to. One particular person who we’ve never met, although we have communicated through text messages and phone calls. We spent the entire day together on the same farm and our paths never crossed, not from lack of trying! It was her efforts that began this amazing adventure, this journey that we will forever hold close to our hearts. So many people played so many roles that we are incredibly humbled by and thankful for, but this woman … she just decided it was going to happen and it did. Rachelle, we love you … love your girls. Thank you!!
Bayer, you and your team … we are in awe of how a group of men and women all the way up there in New York could spend so much time sitting around a table reading a moms blog about her life of family, challenges and dreams! We appreciate all of you. Ray …. you are the MAN!!
Luke, you gave a little girl the night of her life. There’s this quirky little smile that lights up every time we hear you come through the speakers of our life. Your kindness gave us hope that there are people, no matter who you are can take time out of a famous life and just be a true Southern Gentleman.
And finally …. to the Ogden family. The audience God chose. Forever grateful for each of you, we pray daily for this family who restored our faith in this world we struggle to raise a little girl who so desperately wants to fit in. A family who looked past her disability and just simply saw Elizabeth.
How all these people came into her life to make all her dreams come true in just one day is nothing short than that of the Hand of God whose love lives in the heart of those who spent so much time on a girl that until this day not one of them had even met.
Here are just a few more pictures of our most memorable night!