Everyone was smiling on that sunny August day. Parents waved and whistled from the bleachers as a motley group of children in blue and red uniforms straggled onto the playing field. It could have been any ordinary Sunday afternoon tee-ball game; but when President George W. Bush placed the ball on the tee and shouted, “Play ball!” it was obviously something quite different.

This was the South Lawn of the White House, and acclaimed Rocketown recording artist Ginny Owens had just sung the National Anthem to kick off a special game between two Little League Challenger teams, comprised of mentally and physically disabled children.

Just a few weeks earlier, a White House staffer had heard Ginny’s music and decided to make the phone call that brought her to this unusual two-inning sporting event. While nobody kept score of the game, the crowd cheered wildly as each batter knocked the ball from the tee. Many onlookers wiped away tears as the Challengers painstakingly crossed home plate, some on their own two feet and others in wheelchairs pushed by a “buddy.”
 
These children may not fit society’s definition of “winners,” but they give courage new meaning. And the same could be said of Ginny Owens, the disarming young woman who, despite meeting him in person, will never see the face of President George W. Bush.

Homeward Bound

Just like the Little Leaguers who struggled around the bases, the 30-year-old singer/songwriter has needed extra courage to overcome her physical handicap, blindness since the age of 2 from a congenital eye disease. And while Ginny knows these children will continue to wrestle with their imperfections, she hopes “they get a moment to feel whole. A moment to feel, not really like they accomplished something, but to feel like they were needed … and that someone’s asked them to join the world.”

Since Ginny joined the world of Christian music eight years ago, the results have been extraordinary. She was signed as Rocketown’s first female artist, released three full-length studio albums (plus an EP and live project), nabbed the 2000 Dove Award for New Artist of the Year and penned four Top 5 radio singles, including the hit “If You Want Me To.” But the Jackson, Miss., native is far from sitting back to survey her handiwork.

“I think what really has kept me going is the challenge to develop myself as a whole, rather than just a songwriter or artist,” Ginny says of the past year. And she’s not kidding. On top of a rigorous tour schedule, she’s made several television appearances, conducted songwriting seminars, sung on a David Wilcox record and founded The Fingerprint Initiative, a non-profit organization to help meet the needs of disadvantaged children and families. She’s also squeezed in working on a book, a series of essays about her life similar to the immensely popular memoir "Blue Like Jazz."

But making music is still Ginny’s calling, as evidenced by a much-anticipated fourth project with a title that could easily describe what a tiny, red-headed tee-ball champion in a wheelchair felt as he rounded first base: "Long Way Home." Her newest offering focuses on the ultimate home – heaven – and the courage that’s required in the process of living until then.

“I’m waiting/waiting for tomorrow/ Staring out my window/ Until today is done./ I’m living/living for the future/ Just biding my time here/ till something better comes along./ Resting in the shade of my daydreaming,/ Till I finally awake to what’s been missing.” (“Waiting for Tomorrow”)