The Powdered Donut Manifesto | Raising the Walls on Love

“Hey dad. There is a full moon today.” My son, Taylor, said this to me several times last Saturday, as he started to raise the walls on his dream, his dream to build a home with Austin Habitat for Humanity in memory of his mom, my bride, Maureen. It was a busy day last Saturday. It was a day full of powder. It was a day full of love. For those that don’t know the story of the powdered donut, we have to go back to the weekend before October 21, 2014. That weekend Maureen’s oncologist had prescribed donuts. He wanted Maureen to add a few calories. Put a little weight on. This is one prescription we filled quickly. There was a donut shop next door to his office, and I popped in while Maureen waited in the car. I brought her one of her favorite powdered donuts. Since she was having a little trouble breathing and had an oxygen tube, she liked to turn up the A/C and have cold air blow over her. With powdered donut in hand, she leaned forward, turned up the air, and blew powder everywhere, just like she blew love over all of us. I tell the whole story in my love letter to Maureen which I shared at her celebration of life a few days after her passing that Tuesday morning, October 21, 2014. On the 21st of the month for a year after my bride, Maureen’s passing, I took powdered donuts to special places around Austin to say thank you and to share love with those that made Maureen’s life and...

Love, Powdered Donuts, Dragons and Dragonflies | Changing How We See

“We each carry within us our own dragon.” As I sat with my dear friend, Martin Kohout, over a drink this summer, these words didn’t resonate in that moment we were together, but they have been tickling my soul for weeks. As fellow parishioners, Heather Kohout said so many things over the years that caused me to think about scripture and life differently. Her children did the same thing at their mom’s celebration of life, not days after Maureen’s passing last October. “We each carry within us our own dragon.” The past month has been an intense one. When I wrote “The Love of My Life | Have We Left our Mark?” at the end of July, I noted that my precious daughters headed east after our beach vacation. They headed east with Maureen’s mom and dad for time with both their grandparents and cousins, first in South Carolina, and then to North Carolina for time with my mom and dad, sister, brother-in-law and their “Thompson” cousins. Taylor and I not only headed west, but I realize now that I also headed inward. By closing my eyes and opening my heart this past month, my vision has both deepened and expanded. For those that follow me on Facebook, they know that the dragonfly was an incredibly important symbol during our time at the beach. I’ve been allowing this image of the dragonfly to “flutter” in my mind’s eye for the last several weeks, just like Heather’s dragon. Unlike the crystals of sand along the beach, Maureen’s ashes and the powdered donuts that led to Have We Left our Mark?, the...

The Powdered Donut Manifesto | With a Touch of Cinnamon

“Thinking about a future without cancer.” Those are the words I wrote as I finished part one of this powdered donut manifesto. It is interesting to look back on those words from the end of May, because so much has happened in June. What is more incredible about this past June is that the last 30 days simply never would have been possible without a simple question and an even more profound answer at the foot of the Statue of Liberty 26 years ago. 26 years ago I proposed to the love of my life, Maureen. I wrote in detail of our journey of love and of our journey to Liberty Island and my proposal over the 4th of July weekend in 1989 in this post, Our Story | The Next Positive (The Proposal). I still glow thinking about Maureen’s answer. Never have I been so happy to hear the simple word, yes. As I look back on the date of that post, I wrote it October 7, exactly 2 weeks before Maureen passed from this world to the next. Time stood still the morning Maureen passed, just like time stood still 26 years ago. In both cases, I had no idea what was coming next. However, in both moments time stood still. Time stood still because love is timeless. That is a really powerful thought to let stew around for a while. Love and timelessness. I talked about this idea with a cherished family friend, Kelly, this morning on Mustang Island, south of Corpus Christi. It is where I am as I write the third installment of the...

The Powdered Donut Manifesto | Part Two

On Friday, June 5, on my way up to Lake Tahoe for my 6th ride in 6 years of 100 miles with Team in Training for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, I noted as I wrote “Cured,” that it was National Donut Day. I also pointed out that part 2 of the Powdered Donut Manifesto did not quite feel ready. It simply wasn’t time for the manifesto to continue. On Monday morning, after the ride on Sunday, as I walked around Heavenly Village in South Lake Tahoe, I realized why part 2 of the manifesto was not yet ready to be written. Before I share that reason, though, I need to talk a little bit about why Lake Tahoe is such spiritual and sacred ground. Six years ago, on the first Sunday in June in 2010, I came to Lake Tahoe for the second time in my life. The first time I came to Lake Tahoe was in the late 1980s, before I had met Maureen at the Apple office in Chicago. I had joined Apple in 1987, after graduating Northwestern University, and was part of an incredibly cool job called the Field Sales Associate. This FSA position was created by Bill Campbell, then VP of Sales and Marketing for John Sculley. Bill would later return to Apple and become its chairman, along with Intuit’s CEO and Chairman. I was privileged to speak with Bill recently and thank him for what this position meant to my career and my life. The FSA position was unbelievably cool. It was an 18-month new graduate management training position. There were three of us in...

The Powdered Donut Manifesto | Part One

For the last several months, I have been privileged to share many stories about the love of my life, Maureen, and our journey together these past 26 years. Not long before my sweetie passed on Tuesday, October 21, 2014, we had reflected on the fact that we had passed the “half-way” point. We had spent more of our individual lives together than we had spent without each other. If you asked either one of us point blank, though, we’d both tell you we feel like we had been together forever. That is the beautiful thing about eternity and love. I am me, because she was she. With the wild and crazy storms the last few days in Austin, these words from Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s “Closer to Believing” seem appropriate: I need me You need you We want us to be together On sundays in the rain Closer than forever Against or with the grain To ride the storms of love again After 7 months, I am coming to grips with the reality that I will not be together with my sweetie in the physical world again, riding the storms of love, but I do feel closer than forever. Assuming my Lord grants me a normal lifespan, I’m about to spend at least the next 26 years without Maureen, just like I spent the last 26 years with her. That is an incredibly sobering thought, sobering because I love her so very, very much. With all our kids to school this morning, I was back at our house alone for a bit, and I cried thinking about all of this. However, as I sat looking at Maureen’s pictures, something started to stir. Maureen knows me like no other, and I got that “doing” feeling that...