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

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Five Years of Maggie Lee for Good

Five Years of Good

Maggie Lee for Good Day 2013


Duck Dynasty’s Sadie Robertson Threw out a pitch for Shreveport Little League’s Maggie Lee for Good Invitational in early April. This event raised clothing donations for Maggie Lee’s Closet a free boutique for underprivileged children in Shreveport, LA.

Maggie Lee for Good Day began five years ago after the First Baptist Church of Shreveport bus accident in July 2009. Several of those headed to Youth Camp in Macon, GA were seriously injured and Brandon Ugarte and Maggie Lee Henson were killed as a result. MLfG Day was launched as a way for friends and strangers alike to bring good out of tragedy. So far over 25,000 people have celebrated Maggie Lee’s birthday, October 29th, by performing a kind deed for someone in need.

Each MLfG Day brings heartwarming sights in the Shreveport-Bossier area. “Happy Birthday Maggie Lee!” shoe polished on cars, throngs of kids in MLfG t-shirts, bake sales, school events, and Chick-fil-A Signs encouraging good deeds. Each School in Tifton, GA participates in MLFG Day and last year I was honored to spend their MLfG Day (October 16th,) with them and meet those so passionate about this event honoring someone they had never even met.  It was absolutely incredible and thousands of dollars were raised for the Ronald McDonald House in Macon, GA.

Maggie Lee for Good Events once more spanned from Houston to Chicago, Seattle to New York and many locations in between. There were food drives in Tifton, GA, a Doucet Family hot chocolate stand in Flower Mound, TX,  FBCS Cheerleaders in MLfG Shirts with Kelly & Michael Show in New York, N.Y.,  Jessie Keener’s fun run in Fayetteville, North Carolina,  senior bingo for The Carters in Dallas,TX,  a bake sale in Escuelo Campo Allegre in Carracas, VN and a food drive by students of Mary Hardin Baylor in Belton, TX just to name a few.

Fast-forward to Spring: Community Renewal International’s  Maggie Lee Henson Celebration of Caring brought Shreveport’s first flash mob (yes I danced and whoa… was it ever ugly.) The Caring Angel Award was presented to Shalon Lewis and hundreds of Shreveport-Bossier Residents from every walk of life enjoyed a free picnic courtesy of Red Ball Oxygen.

This Spring a year-round opportunity for good was birthed: Maggie Lee’s Closet.  Last Fall John noticed children in dire need of uniforms as he officed in The Highland Center. Some of these kids only had one set of clothes to wear Monday through Friday. Starting with just a $500.00 donation of uniforms and a passion to clothe kids, Church for The Highlands volunteers renovated a basement space in The Highland Center to house Maggie Lee’s Closet. Academy-Award Winning Moonbot Studios painted a beautiful mural, a donor gave the mirror, John and our son Jack built the runway stage and uniform and clothing donations came pouring in. MLC is currently open on Thursdays from 3-6 pm to correlate with the Highland Blessing Dinner (a free, hearty homestyle meal).

Maggie Lee’s Closet is a learning experience for the many different children who give their time to straighten racks or Lysol shoes. There has been a tremendous response to the positive benefits of hands-on kindness, perspective-enlarging service which happens in Maggie Lee’s Closet each week. Volunteers from Church for The Highlands, Cathedral of St. John Berchman’s, St. George Greek Orthodox, King’s Highway Christian Church, St. Marks Episcopal, Noel UMC, First Presbyterian Church , FUMC Shreveport, Bel Air Baptist Church, Asbury UMC, Broadmoor United Methodist, St. Joseph’s School, Church of Latter Day Saints, Southfield School, FBCSchool, Caddo Middle Magnet, Byrd High School, Broadmoor Middle School, Eden Gardens, Youree Drive Middle School and  Alpha Chi Omegas from LA Tech and others have donated their clothing and time organizing the closet. Cosse-Silmon had a clothing drive for MLC as well. Nearly 500 children have been served in this free children’s boutique where children find love and self-esteem not just a new pair of jeans.

Shreveport Sports Icon Tim Fletcher and Duck Dynasty’s Sadie Robertson threw out pitches for the Shreveport Little League’s Maggie Lee for Good Invitational in April. Clothing donations were collected for Maggie Lee’s Closet.

The book Maggie Lee for Good which we wrote 2 years ago tells the story of loss and God’s ongoing redemption. One night I was struggling to write the closing for a book whose story was ongoing I was stumped. I went to bed and dreamt that Maggie Lee and I were sitting in a closet just talking. She kept interrupting me and saying, “Jesus is so awesome.” When I awoke, I knew that was the one message I needed to communicate. And it still is. Both time and The Holy Spirit have brought healing beyond anything I could ever imagine. Though there are still bleak days there are far more grateful ones as we try to communicate Jesus’ awesomeness through service to the least of these. Please join us…for good.

Please like the face book group https://www.facebook.com/MaggieLeeforGood

for the latest information.