Did we just become best friends?
This is me: Major friend and fan of Jesus, Native Houstonian, Baylor Graduate, Southwestern Graduate, Wife, Mom, Comic since 1980-something.
After Baylor, I attended Southwestern Seminary in Ft. Worth where I got reacquainted with a handsome dark-haired guy from Tyler, John Henson. Seven years earlier when my youth group performed our summer choir tour, FBC Tyler was one of our stops. He kept telling me how familiar I looked. I graduated with a Masters of Communication Degree in 1995 a year after marrying the Tyler guy and we have been married for 23 years. In a row.
I have been blessed to travel the country performing stand-up for over 20 years now. What began as a bad Rosanne-Rosanna-Danna impersonation at a youth camp “talent show,” somehow morphed into an actual thing. Crazy, right?
*Ok, if you cry when you watch “This Is Us,” which is anyone who watches “This Is Us,” does, be forewarned, it gets kinda rough. I always assumed that my greatest contribution to the world would be my children: Maggie Lee and Jack. I worked with that end in mind. In 2009 life took a bad bounce when our oldest died as a result of a traumatic brain injury she suffered when ejected from and pinned under the First Baptist Church of Shreveport Bus.
So with a son to raise who deserved a happy childhood and a very faithful and brave husband by my side, we sought to as Jerry Sitser says in his book A Grace Disguised to view the loss of our daughter as a bad chapter in a really good book.
*So, there totally, totally is a very happy ending here, people. Part of that has been the phenomenal idea to do a good deed on Maggie Lee’s birthday which came from a complete stranger from Texarkana, Kelli Alamond. Since October 29, 2009, Maggie Lee for Good Day has evolved into a world-wide grass-roots movement of kindness which completely amazes us. Thousands have donated to non-profits, given pony tails to Locks of Love, held food drives and quietly done a good deed in our child’s memory.
John and I wrote the book Maggie Lee for Good to share with the world the amazing triumph which God has brought out of a worst-case scenario. We wanted to encourage people in the midst of thier devastation that the rest of the story might look very different from the view they have right now. We also wanted to express our extreme gratitude to those who have taken part in MLfG since 2009. Which began with 18,000 good deeds and now who can even count that high? Not me.
But wait! There’s more! We still love Jesus and each other. I firmly believe that you are not responsible for what enters your life but that you are very responsible for how you deal with it. I wondered initially how grieving and comedy would even begin to work together. I still wonder but I do know that I am blessed to laugh every day and that the miracle of healing is quite an unexpected bonus. Yes, I still do straight comedy and people have no idea about my backstory. Yes, I do comedy and also tell our story and that’s been an amazing thing to watch how God does THAT.
While I’m on beliefs, I believe firmly in laughter being God’s Zoloft and as Anne Lamott says, “carbonated holiness.” I believe that I will never be able to accomplish an iota of what my daughter in her vibrant spirit would have yet am obligated to try.
We still make our home in Shreveport, Louisiana and feel very called to this place. We began Church for The Highlands seven years ago to serve the least of these. We are the chief ragamuffins, struggling to serve Jesus in all those we meet. It is a beautiful, diverse and messy place of ministry where our lives connect and where God’s healing happens. We are so happy to serve here. Maggie Lee’s Closet is our year-round project located in the Highland Center where our church meets. We are a free children’s clothes closet and have served thousands since 2013. IT IS A TOTAL BLAST TO WATCH KIDS BE LOVED & TAKEN CARE OF WITH STYLE!!!!
You are too kind to spend your time to reading about me! How sweet are YOU? I do pray that my words help you to laugh, cry and think.
5 thoughts on “About”
Congratulations on your upcoming anniversary! I do pray for you often Jinny, and you have been on my mind lately. Know that God does put you on peoples hearts, I am glad He still moves mine.
Beautiful message on John. I love you all dearly and happy to hear Jack is doing so well. God Bless you!
A friend from FBCRichardson, Texas shared your story today. I have a book I would love to send to you written in 1977 by Mack Hampton, a member of our church and a Baylor graduate. He shared the loss of their nine year old daughter, Martha, in a car accident. He allowed me to have it republished last year, and it has become my mission to share it. First we sent a copy to each of the parents who lost children in the awful Sandy Hook shootings. Then to parents whose children died in the Moore, Oklahoma tornado. And others who are grieving loss of loved ones. I call it a precious little book of comfort and hope.
Janice- thank you SO much for your beautiful book! What a treasure and how kind of you to think of me!
How can I send you a personal message? Email? Thanks so much.