St. Andrew’s Senior Homily | Kyla Thompson

There are simply no words for how much I love my kids. I love them because they aren’t just my kids. They are our kids, a lasting reflection of the love Maureen and I shared. Although her life was cut short by metastatic breast cancer on 10.21.2014, our love was not. We stumbled around a lot in the early days of our grief, but one thing became quite clear as the fog started to settle. Maureen lived and loved each and every day until her passing after her diagnosis in late 2003. The kids and I knew that she would want the same of us. None of us were going to be the first to heaven and have to answer her question, ‘so what have you been up to since I left?” St. Andrew’s Episcopal School has a beautiful tradition senior year, the homily, or offering. On the 2 anniversary of Maureen’s passing, our son, Taylor Thompson, stepped to the podium in the same Upper School chapel where we held Maureen’s celebration of life and delivered a moving testimony to love. To his mom. To legacies. To making a difference. His sister, Kyla, took to the same podium a week ago Monday. On 10.21.2019. The 5 year anniversary. She made her dad proud. She made her dad cry. ❤️?❤️ As a senior, we’ve been working on college applications. Last week, we visited TCU in Ft. Worth after a visit to Susan G. Komen the day before. For Taylor, his #onething has been Habitat for Humanity. For Kyla, her #onething has been breast cancer and #pinkkids, making sure the children...

Love and Strength | What My Mom Taught Me | Kyla Thompson

Originally submitted as an English essay on October 18, 2018. Kyla is a student at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School. My mom. My mom is richly deserving of so many more years on this planet; teaching my siblings and I valuable lessons; being a compassionate and caring friend; being a wife, and truly just being herself. She was taken from us way too early. But with the time she had on this Earth, she put her whole heart and full self into everything she accomplished. She was strong. If I could only describe her in one word, that is is the word. Strong. After her recurrence of breast cancer in late 2008, she woke up every morning knowing the day was going to be hard, but not letting the negative effects of cancer ruin the day she was going to have. None of us know how much time we have on this earth, so we must use the time we each have to the fullest. That is what my mom did. My mom woke us up, drove us to school, worked from 9 to 5, drove us home, made dinner, and put us to bed. To sleep. All of this while there were cancer cells inside her body, mutating, eventually metastasizing in early 2014 and overwhelming her good cells on the morning of October 21, 2014. If that isn’t strong, I don’t know what is. She was as strong as the scent of her perfume. She put her family before anything. She put her family before her cancer. She realized that yes cancer can kill physically, but it can’t kill...

The Powdered Donut Manifesto | You Must Release to Receive

We have never started the drive on a Friday, but we’ve done the drive so many times. We’ve done the drive in Honda Pilots. Honda Odysseys. And a few other cars along the way. With car seats in the back and luggage racks on top. And, now, those that used to be in the car seats sit up front. In the driver’s seat. Sharing the miles. For 15 of our 16 years, we’ve come here for a week. The third week of July. From Sunday to Sunday. Sharing laughter. Sharing joy. Sharing meals. Sharing sand. Sharing ice cream and mini-golf. Sharing… well, life. And love. As a family. This year our house rental shifted from Saturday to Saturday. And, this morning, on my mat at Glow Yoga, something else shifted. More on that in a moment. For now, a little more about the beach. These journeys to the beach started back in the summer of 2003. Heading east from Austin. Along Route 10. Through East Texas. Louisiana. Mississippi. Over the Atchafalaya bridge before Baton Rouge. To connect with Maureen’s family. To go to the beach. In Ft. Morgan. Ft. Morgan is just west of Gulf Shores, Alabama, and our beach house is just 4 miles from the end of what is the Florida panhandle. Where the sand runs out from what starts all the way down near Key West. It is called by some the “red-neck Riviera.” It is full of white sands and blue waters and depending on the weather in the Gulf of Mexico, there are waves. Sometimes really good ones. And for a couple of years,...

Embracing Uncertainty | Plugs, Coffee and Sextants

“The quadrant quickly evolved into an even more accurate device, called a sextant, which incorporated a telescope and a wider measuring arc. These additions permitted the precise determination of the ever-changing, telltale distances between the moon and the sun during daylight hours, or between the moon and stars after dark.” Dava Sobel – Longitude I only wanted two things in San Francisco a few weeks ago. Coffee. And a plug. I had flown out to the city by the bay to host a dinner. It was a grand evening, but after a long day of travel, I wanted nothing more than to go to my hotel and sleep. I didn’t plug in my computer or my iPhone, so when I settled in for an espresso at Sightglass Coffee the next morning, I started to do “the walk.” You know the one. The one where you wander around, looking at walls, under tables, usually about a foot up, and look for outlets, plugs. Not. A. One. So, I asked the staff. “Nope. We don’t have plugs. Or wifi.” At this point, I thought, well, that might just be a Sightglass thing, so being a coffee lover, I packed up my things to find a new space. And plug. From one coffee shop to the next. No luck. No plugs. I was getting frustrated. Granted I was lucky to be in San Francisco on a blue sky day, in between storms and rain, but geez. What was the deal? As I poked my head into Vega Coffee on 12th and Folsom, my frustration was peaking. As the coffee shop owners informed...

Red is in the Morning | Red is In the Holly

I stood at the window. In my bedroom. Looking out. A week ago. It was early. Just before Katelyn and I were to head out for the drive to school. Tears streamed down my face. However, for any of what transpired in the next few seconds to make any sense, I have to go back to Fredricksburg. Twice. Once just a few weeks ago, and then for the first time not long after Maureen and I had moved to Austin from Chicago in the summer of 1994. As a dear friend from our early Apple days commenting on a photo of Maureen and I during one of our early Christmases put it, “Of all the things we have in life, memories are the most valuable.” He could not be more right. I continue to write because I know others share my story. Not my exact story. Their own stories. Stories fused by the tragedy of life, yet also fused by the magic of life. Because if you have loved at the depth I have for even one day, then you know. You know just how powerful love is, how it fuels the memories, and how the memories fuel the love. As I said in one of my earliest CaringBridge posts as Maureen’s cancer metastasized, moved around, got harder to beat back, I am not going to write about cancer. I am going to write about love. I write about love because as I said at my daughter’s Dig Pink game at the beginning of breast cancer awareness month several weeks ago, quoting the show, How I Met Your Mother,...