Love Letter to Maggie Lee

My precious Maggie Lee,

Your 24th birthday is next Thursday and it is still an outlandish thought that you are in Heaven and not here with us. Time marches on and even the movie Legally Blonde turned twenty this year! Speaking of which, Elle Woods Henson was particularly excited by her prominent placement in this year’s T-shirt graphic. She’s so extra, just like her mommy.

It is always so amazing to see the kindness people perform in your name by many who knew you and even more who never did. I cannot wait to see you again and watch you watch the video roll of all of the good deeds your spirit inspired in people. Who knows but that the box of groceries in Detroit or the simple hand-written note in Phoenix was just the touch God used to restore someone’s broken soul. As you know, kindness is not wimpy and sentimental but rather a force both fierce and transformative.

What began as a simple seed to carry on your legacy of love has grown and next Thursday photos will pour in from different parts of the country where your spirit has spread. Four West Point Grads are having a golf scramble in Las Vegas to raise money for Wounded Warriors, crossing guards in Frisco are being assaulted with showers of Little Debbie’s and children in Jackson, MS are being treated at Batson Hospital because of donations someone made in your name. How wonderful is that?

Amid the celebration, however, there will always be an empty seat at our table. Time forever demarcated before 2009 and after. I suppose this is the frightening risk of loving a soul; the possibility that one day it will be gone. Our insides swell at the thought of love, enlarged by the fulfilled presence of another, but desperately deflated should it be taken away. How miraculous to feel the flat disappointment of grief eventually give way to the infilling of God’s grace? Life can almost kill us and then we least expect, catch it being beautiful once more.

I treasure what we had in you, Maggie Lee. Your sparkle remains like glitter found in the baseboards of an old house years after the craft project has wrapped. Your essence is both impossible to remove and ever present. You will always be the undercurrent in my soul when I react out of love and patience when I have the choice to be selfish. You will always be my inspiration to pull up a chair at the lunch table to make room for one more. You will always be one-half of the best things I ever did in my life on Earth and I cannot wait to celebrate you next week!!!

To join the world wide wave of kindness on October 29, simply go to fb group

Maggie Lee for Good

or email jinnyhenson@gmail.com

#maggieleeforgood #onedayonedeedonedifference #godsgrace #kindnessmatters #grief #daughter #hope #brokenhearted #mourningintodancing #butgod #parenting #parentingtoday #dylandreyer #grievingparents #love #lifelessons #god #help #why? #encouragement #overcoming #thebestisyettobe #motherslove #busaccident #seatbelts

Changed for good, maggieleeforgood

MLFG Year Six

Six years of Maggie Lee for Good. And you people are still out there being fabulous on her birthday? What gives?

John and I scratch our heads when asked, “How does one start a movement in a child’s name?” Since Maggie Lee for Good was not even our idea we truly cannot answer that very well. I have learned that most parents prove excellent stewards of their loss. Countless projects, scholarships and foundations exist because people funnel their dire devastation into positive action. And usually friends and family gladly lend support.

What support we have felt. When Maggie Lee died her Caring Bridge Site had over 250,000 visits. All of that interest and good will really had no where to go when we lost her. People just truly wanted a happier ending for Maggie Lee. There is something beautiful in the human spirit that rallies to bring good out of bad and so many of you have. It’s phenomenal.

As most of you know the song, “For Good,” from Broadway’s Wicked was sung at Maggie Lee’s Celebration Service. She and John had seen Wicked the Fall before on her school’s New York trip. This year, the Wizard from Wicked (actor Tom McGowan) is actually on board with MLFG and I cried when I learned that their 11th anniversary of being on Broadway was none other that October 29th. Like so many others he has given generously of his support for the cause.

Another wonderful aspect of this year’s MLFG day next Wednesday is the MLFG Donation Celebration. Since local school and church groups commonly ask for ideas for Maggie Lee for Good Day, we finally just created some. Four local charities will be highlighted along with Maggie Lee’s Closet. The party will be on October 29th from four to six p.m. Groups will bring in their precious donations to thankful agencies and we’ll all celebrate. Wouldn’t Maggie Lee love other people get great presents on her birthday?

Wicked's Wizard Tom McGowan
Wicked’s Wizard Tom McGowan


Inspired By… Maggie Lee for Good

Inspired By... Maggie Lee for Good

A tiny glimpse at the outpouring of kindness on October 29th, 2013, Maggie Lee for Good Day.
From Sweden to Shreveport, Carracas to California in a greater movement than we have ever seen, acts of kindness continued. Words limit our expression of awe that God has taken our worst nightmare and through your very hands woven something beautiful, enduring and impactful. Here are just a few of the great things which happened on MLFG 2013:

Our son Jack had a party for some precious kids from Bossier. They were paired up with some outstanding young men form Loyola. They fished together ate together and played a rousing game of football on Saturday, Oct. 26.

The AXO sorority from Baylor University collected socks for Maggie Lee’s Closet. Michelle Osborn had a doggie treat station for neighborhood dogs in Shreveport and Madeline and Melanie bought Chick-Fil-A for strangers in Houston.

Loyola Prep in Shreveport sold tickets for a free dress day on Halloween and raised money for Maggie Lee’s Closet. Coach Keel’s Loyola Basketball Team unloaded and carried all the donated books to Maggie Lee’s Closet.

Every school in Tifton, GA collected food for the Tift Co Foodbank. Cindy at Sunset Elementary School in Moultrie, GA gave treats to the staff as they do each year on Maggie Lee for Good day.

The Ponders from Shreve Island Elementary held a book collection at three Shreveport Schools. Lakeview Elementary in Trophy Club, TX had a toy drive for the Roanoke Food Pantry.

Colleen, Jeff and family held a hot chocolate stand and raised $600. for Maggie Lee’s Closet.
Tina in Shreveport delivered hot doughnuts to a fire station while Aprile & Debbie brought lunch to teachers at an under resourced school who rarely get such a treat. Madeline provided Bingo treats for an adult day care facility.

Whitney and Delaney collected 300 books for Cooks Children’s Hospital in Ft. Worth. Lin in San Diego collected coats for the homeless. LeAnn, a teacher in San Diego, bought new shoes for one of her students.

Abby in Shreveport shared her toys with a neighbor boy across the street while Kandee’s preschool class made a treat for the office workers at her Elementary School in Shreveport.

Judy brought Dunkin Doughnuts and warm coffee to the homeless on State Street in Chicago
Bill and Jody gave blood in Libertyville, IL. The Bossier City, LA Chick-Fil-A gave away cow calendars and gift cards at the top of every hour.

Joannie in Chicago, IL, paid for a young mom’s groceries and Teri in Shreveport paid for another young mom’s Halloween costumes for her kids. Katherine and her 5th grade students in Baden, Switzerland planned rainy-day recess for the younger classes and carried them out on Oct. 26.

Escuelo Campe Allegre in Caracas, Venezuela gave away cupcakes. First Baptist Church School in Shreveport collected towels for Robinson’s rescue, money for the Louisiana Association for the blind, socks and clothes and donations for Maggie Lee’s Closet.

Gina and kids held a costume party & collected socks in Frisco, TX while the AXO’s at LA Tech supported Maggie Lee’s Closet through t-shirt sales. Noel Methodist in Shreveport collected clothes for Maggie Lee’s Closet. Maureen and kids in St. Louis paid for unsuspecting customers bakery treats.

Kathy and Camille in Trophy Club, TX donated bean bag chairs and book cases for Maggie Lee’s Closet. Antonia in Brownwood and her dog gave free hugs on MLFG Day.

And then there was this from a Mom named Ashley who stayed in The Ronald McDonald House in Chapel Hill:
I can’t be 100% certain, but I’m pretty sure MLFG was behind the $200 donation to our stay at the UNC Chapel Hill Ronald McDonald house on 10/29. I don’t know who, but whoever you are, you will never, ever, EVER understand the blessing you were to us as we checked out this morning and found out our $330 bill was only going to be $130. But wait, the $100 bill we were given yesterday left us with only $30 to pay… and the lady at the desk at the RM house took care of that last $30. Your good deeds do not go unnoticed. Thank you so very, very much… ️️

I received an email from someone earlier in the month who told me that their family was paying the bill for this family on October 29th, so it was indeed a “Maggie Lee”- a good deed done on MLFG Day.

And so it goes, this simple idea of doing one act of kindness; deeds tiny and spontaneous or methodically planned. All of these beautiful deeds echo together for good.