Hi! Thank you for all the love on Facebook and Instagram last week on what would have been my 9th wedding anniversary. You always make a difficult day brighter with your love and encouragement. On that particular day, I was flying to Las Vegas to join my mom for a speaking conference.
After several days of learning, and my head ready to explode, my mom told me we were going to take a break because she got tickets to see Britney Spears. I’d grown up listening to Britney Spears and watching her career soar from Disney star to pop princess. She’s only a few years older than me, and I always remember her birthday since it’s the day before mine. I grew up performing on stage and putting on singing and dancing shows daily for my parents. I’m getting payback as now my daughter returns the favor. Secretly, I always wanted to be one of those triple threat kids who could sing, dance, and act on the Disney channel. So when my mom said we were going to see Britney, my inner childhood Disney star was feeling giddy.
My mom told me how we’d barely gotten tickets because she bought them so last minute, so I assumed we’d be sitting somewhere in the back of the theater. When we got there, my mom walked straight over to the VIP information desk and I knew something was up. I heard them tell my mom to stand to the left for the backstage tour and meet and greet. She turned to me and said, “Surprise!!” I couldn’t believe it, I was about to meet Britney. It all started to make sense. Earlier in the day, after initially telling me we were going to the concert, my mom told me to bring one of The Ellie Project books to the performance, in case we got to give it to someone who could give it to her. I thought, You never know…, so I went ahead and signed it to her two boys.
On the tour, we were guided by Britney’s long-time family friend and personal assistant, Fe. I felt right at home as she talked with her sweet southern accent. I liked her from the start as I could tell she was genuine, kind, and warm. She shared all kinds of facts about the show, introduced us to Britney’s makeup artist, and showed us some props from the show and Britney’s costumes. The highlight of the tour for me was walking onto the stage, looking out into the audience and seeing the stage as Britney saw it while she was preforming. It surprised me how inspired, comfortable, and at home I felt being up there. Standing in the middle of the stage looking out into the empty chairs, I wondered if I would ever speak to an audience that large.
After the tour, I asked Fe if it was possible to give Britney a copy of The Ellie Project. She informed me for security reasons, I would have to give the book to her to give to Britney, but she promised me she would hand it to her personally in a few days. Full of gratitude, I thanked her. When it was time for the meet and greet, our 29-person group was guided outside and searched by security. Fe looked over at me and asked, “Is that the book?” I told her yes as I handed it to her. She realized that I was the co-author and asked, “Are you Bailey?”
I said yes. I watched as she flipped through the book while walking down the hallway. I was second in line for the meet and greet and we waited in a hallway between the backstage and the outside entrance. Fe popped her head through the door and handed me the book. She said, “You can give it to her.” I was beyond excited as I thanked her and gave her a big hug. All the security guards looked at me holding the book and turned to the head security guard. He reassured them, saying, “She can give it to her. Fe said it’s OK.” I couldn’t believe I was going to get to personally hand Britney this book that’s meant so much to my family and me. I thought about how Andrew’s words and drawings might bless, encourage, and impact Britney and her family the way it’s done for so many others.
I always knew Andrew was an instrument of God and, given the time, his work would have impacted even more lives than he already had. To be a part of carrying on his legacy and sharing it with those who would be able to carry his message even further is a dream come true. Andrew’s life and words gave my life new meaning and purpose. I’m passionate about sharing his impact on me with others in the hope that what I have learned might inspire them in their lives.
When it was my turn, I walked up to Britney, introduced myself, and told her my late husband, Andrew, wrote and illustrated this book for our daughter in the final months of his life and how I hoped her boys would enjoy it! She thanked me with a big smile, we took a picture, and then I wished her luck on her performance.
It was a magical night and what made it the most special was sharing it with my mom. Thank you, Mom, for going out of your way to create such a memorable experience. I’ll never forget it!
Moral of the story: Don’t’ be afraid to ask. If you don’t ask, you don’t receive. Be bold and choose courage in spite of fear (check out letter C in The Ellie Project!). Who knows how many more lives your work will touch because you asked for the opportunity?
I would love to know about a time in your life when you asked for something, even though you were afraid, and something positive came out of it. Please share in either the comments or on Facebook. Excited to read your responses!
I know this was a long one today, so thanks for hanging with me. It’s always a pleasure connecting with you every Wednesday. Have a wonderful week! Love and Blessings.
PS – I appreciate you sharing this special book with your friends and family! I love hearing about how it’s impacting lives all across the country. Go to www.ellieproject.com to get your signed copy of The Ellie Project!
PPS – I’d love to come share my family’s inspirational story and empowering message about transforming challenges into a purposeful life with a group you are a part of. Email me today at firstname.lastname@example.org.