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,...
The Powdered Donut Manifesto | 21 …7…217

The Powdered Donut Manifesto | 21 …7…217

Where in New Jersey? Ridgewood. That is in Bergen County he said… but I already knew. We had a few minutes before our conference call was to begin yesterday morning. I always like to ask where people are, physically, because even though we are voices on a phone, we are still somewhere. Well, that is true for those of us on this side of heaven. For those of us on the other side of heaven, like my beloved Maureen, she shows up in the most interesting of places. She also shows up at the important moments, those moments where her presence is a reminder, a reminder of not only her love but a reminder to me that I am following my own path of love. As an entrepreneur, husband and father, those reminders are important. My last post in the Powdered Donut Manifesto series was June 30, 2017 on the girls and my way to New York, actually. We were headed to New York City for the 4th of July weekend. We were not only going to celebrate, enjoy, and visit special places, but we were also headed to the Statue of Liberty for a special moment of remembrance. As I have written previously, the Statue of Liberty is a special place. It is where I proposed to Maureen during the 4th of July weekend in 1989. I remember the moment vividly and described it to my girls in detail as we walked around Liberty Island together last year. One can no longer walk directly up to the pedestal where Maureen and I had sat on the grass, where I...

The Powdered Donut Manifesto | 21 and a Cup of Dirt

21. “Once in a Lifetime.” A cup of dirt. You might wonder what any of these things have to do with a powdered donut or the fight with cancer for that matter, but they do. I’m on a flight from Minneapolis to New York City, and now seems like a really good time to add to the Powdered Donut Manifesto series (story of the powdered donut). Last Sunday, I flew up to Minneapolis with Kyla and Katelyn, our 2 precious daughters born from the love I shared with Maureen for almost 25 years of marriage. Kyla’s team, Austin Performance 15 Asics, was playing in the American division of the Girl’s National Junior Volleyball tournament. It was a fun week. Being a Texan, the idea that the highs were only in the 70s was a blessing in itself, but the time was precious for other reasons. Maureen was reminding us frequently that the line between heaven and earth is thin… I’ve written about “thin spaces” previously and explained the concept in this post.  One of the “thin spaces” that happened this week was at a Whataburger in Phoenix as my son, Taylor (18), and four of his high school friends, stopped for a “healthy” snack on their way to Yosemite to hike up Half Dome and explore the many other trails and falls there. As he made his order, he was handed this number to set on his table. 21. 21 is a pretty magic number for those that know our story. For you see, Maureen passed on the morning of October 21, 2014. Rather than allow this day, this...

The Powdered Donut Manifesto | Sometimes Your #onething is 2

I felt a weird tug. An instinct. Something said call. I left a message. After peeking at my friend’s Facebook page, though, I realized I had to call back. Before going any deeper into the next few minutes that unfolded on my phone call this past Friday morning, though, I need to back up a little bit. For folks that know me, you know that the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (the LLS) and Team in Training are big parts of who I am. These gifts came into my life because of my love for a little boy, Kethan, a little boy that should be finishing 9th grade with my daughter, Kyla. I met he and his family at the beginning of 1st grade at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School here in Austin. My life was forever changed, not just because he was fighting leukemia, but because he was a truly special human being. All who interacted with him were changed by him. His passing in the summer of 2013 left a huge hole in too, too many lives. Life is precious. Life is a gift beyond measure. His life changed mine, and because of the LLS, my life has been enriched by the many, many people I have met on my bike, at galas, and at meetings, like the one in Orlando several years ago. We were at a reception at Seaworld in Orlando. This was the site of our Volunteer Leadership Conference for the LLS that year. As my kids know, I love talking to people. I love people because I love life, and people are a gift. I...

The Powdered Donut Manifesto | Headed to Memphis with Habitat

I am sitting next to my son, Taylor, officially a senior as of yesterday. Yesterday was the opening chapel of the new school year at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School. His sister, Kyla, had entered the chapel first, along  with her 9th grade advisory. They both passed through the doors of the Upper School chapel where their mom’s celebration of life occurred 22 months earlier (Maureen passed on 10.21.2014 after an on and off 11 year battle with breast cancer). I stood in the back, along with many other senior parents, to be sure we got “that picture,” that picture we will cherish for a lifetime, that picture of our little ones growing up, pivoting into adulthood. Taylor and I are sitting on a Southwest flight to Memphis, and I am looking forward to the week ahead and not just because we will be participating in the Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter annual work project with Habitat for Humanity. I’m looking forward to spending time with my son. In a year, this part of Team Powdered Donut, the first child of the Thompson family, Taylor, will be walking back through these same doors of the Upper School chapel, heading out, not in. Heading into his future. I’ve also been looking forward to this trip, because it comes at an important time in my own life. A few weeks ago I woke up and realized that this is no longer just one more day since Maureen’s passing, but it is indeed the first day of my new life. It is an interesting moment in the grieving journey, because it forces you to...

The Powdered Donut Manifesto | A Return to Cinnamon

“Daddy, how did you know you were in love with mommy?” asked my daughter, Kyla, as we drove down from Austin to Mustang Island at Port Aransas this morning. For those that read my writing regularly, you may recall my post last summer, July 2 to be exact. It was also a Powdered Donut Manifesto, a manifesto “With a Touch of Cinnamon.” It was written at a table inside the same Seaside Cafe as I am sitting now. Today, however, I sit outside, because the weather is magnificent. It is late afternoon, the first day after Daylight Savings Time, and so the sun has a different light at this hour than it did yesterday. I brought Kyla down to spend the next several days over spring break with one of her dearest friends from school, actually, that isn’t quite right. This friendship is more than a friendship. These two, in many ways, are sisters, and as I said to Kyla, if we are lucky in life, we will have one family that loves us, ours. In your case, you have more than one, and one of them is your friend’s. Since it is a bit of a drive down, I always have the privilege of staying a night before driving back. It gives me a few hours of solitude, a few hours of peace, a few hours to reflect. Kyla’s question was a wonderful one, because I have been reflecting a lot about love lately. What is it? Really? Is it a word? Is it a feeling? Is it something more? I particularly like Brené Brown’s definition from her...