Monday, October 17, 2011

...five years...

five years.

five years ago i sat weeping on the couch in my cousin's living room while she and her husband took their boys out to the porch to give them the life altering news.
even now, typing this, i can recall to memory the exact sound of isaac wailing.

five years ago, keira and i made the 2-hour drive to kansas city to pick up my aunt jane. two girls willing to do anything to help and desperately needing to not sit in a house full of mourners...our own sorrow was consuming us enough.

five years ago, my sister and i sat next to each other holding hands, crying and laughing and crying again, as we looked at photographs of someone who had brought so much love and happiness and joy to our lives.

five years ago today, the world said good-bye to a great man. possibly the greatest man i, or anyone, will have ever known.

five years ago today, william john flanagan left this earth for a greater home.

son. husband. father. uncle. grandfather. friend.

i miss him every day.

***but even in the midst of sorrow, we can still rejoice***
things i am still thankful for:

#51 - william john flanagan - gone...but not forgotten
#52 - legacy - my cousin, joy, found out she was pregnant right after the funeral and the next summer gave birth to a son (daniel william joseph)naming him after the three greatest men in her life - her grandfather, father and husband
#53 - linda flanagan - i think losing my husband would crush me indefinitely; but through all her tears, this lady was still sharing the gospel with attendees of the funeral...because she understands the greater picture and because she's amazing.
#54 - the weather has finally caught up to the season and it feels like fall
#55 - the smell of wood burning on chilly nights
#56 - the sound of leaves crunching underfoot
#57 - keira (bedore) luntsford
#58 - quiet moments
#59 - random phone calls about the most nonsensical of topics
#60 - denise kreighbaum. she's pretty awesome.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

...a much needed visit...

my sister came for a visit last week.

i love my sister. she is beautiful and hilarious and would give you the shirt off her long as you don't annoy the crap out of her.

i hadn't seen my sister in four years. the last time she came this way was a couple of months before my grandmother passed away. and...even though that trip was anchored in sadness, we still found ourselves cracking each other up.
that's just how we roll.

she couldn't have come at a better time. school was closed for the week because of the conference in kirksville, mo, so we had all day, every day to spend together. i did have two extra little ones with me (d & b went to the conference and only took miles) but they were as good as gold and so excited to be getting the chance to spend so much time with nicole.

it was a great 3 and 1/2 days. was only 3 and 1/2 days.
3 and 1/2 days is not enough time to cover 4 years.
we reminisced. told new stories. recounted old memories. made new ones.
it still wasn't enough time together.
not even close.

when it was time to say good-bye, ethan hugged my sister and cried. bawled really. he was not ready to see his new friend go. audrey, who was also not coping with nicole's impending departure, sat on the stoop next to my mother, chin in her hands and cried, quietly.

this expression of love was almost too much for nicole and i to handle. we, too, sobbed as we held each other and said good-bye.

i'm tired of always having to say good-bye.
so is she.

audrey is praying for nicole and bob to come here and live with us. of course, she won't settle for just living in the same town. she's trying to pray them into our house. because "if nikki lives at my house then she can play with me all the day".

how precious is that girl?
too...and very.

so...if you're looking for something to pray about, you can put that at the top of your list - a way for my sister and brother-in-law to be able to move out here. jobs. a home. whatever it takes.

things i'm grateful for today:

#41 - family

#42 - nicole marinelli-dunham
#43 - bob dunham
#44 - sharing old memories
#45 - making new memories
#46 - autumn is officially here - yay!
#47 - the return of long sleeve shirts, jackets and hoodies
#48 - comfy new shoes - i bought this grey pair last week and have worn them every day since

#49 - afternoons spent outside

...that turn into evenings spent outside...

#50 - hanging out under a shade tree best friends

Sunday, September 11, 2011


ten years ago today, a 3-year old isaac came running into my room.

'patti, patti, wake up! meme's new york city is on fire!"

i, of course, had no idea what he was talking about. "what?", i asked, as i groggily got out of bed.

"mommy said to come and see. meme's new york city is on fire and broken."

as i followed him into the living room rubbing the sleep out of my eyes i called out to my cousin, joy, who was sitting on the couch, "joy, isaac is saying crazy stuff about new york city being on fire."

joy was watching the today show, eyes as big as saucers. she motioned at me to sit down. i joined her and as i looked up at the television my heart sank.

"joy, what's going on? is this real?"

"yeah....there's been some sort of explosion at the world trade center."

we sat there in stunned silence. watching. waiting.
i was having trouble processing.
i think i thought it was all a dream.
i was hoping it was a dream.

we watched, in horror, as a plane hit the second tower.

this was not a was a nightmare.
and it was actually happening.

i grew up on the east coast. new jersey to be exact.
seeing the sun shine off those two towers was part of my everyday life.
and then, in an instant, they were gone.
...and so many people with them.

i haven't been back to the city since the attack.
in fact, i've only been back east once since then - when my sister got married.
and, even though that was maryland, something was different.
you could tell something was...missing.
the atmosphere was strange. heartbreaking.

ten years have passed.
i can hardly believe it.

today, our boy scout troop (troop 14) honored those who lost their lives on that fateful day with a flag ceremony.
and that once 3-year old boy, who is now 13, carried in our country's flag.

today, my thoughts and prayers are with all those who lost loved ones in the attack on our nation - september 11, 2001 - we will NEVER forget

but, i am still thankful.
thankful for...

#31 America - land of the free, home of the brave
#32 unsung heroes
#33 firemen
#34 policemen
#35 the US armed forces
#36 hope
#37 courage
#38 memories - good or bad
#39 renewal
#40 restoration

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

...a red wheelbarrow (for joy)...

this post is a shout out to one of my favorite people...and a plug for blog.

my cousin, joy, is a magnificent writer.
for her birthday this year, her husband had an actual website made for her.
and actual website.
not a page on blogger (no offense, blogger).
not wordpress.
a real, honest to God, dot com.
he's cool like that.

i highly encourage you to give her a read over at so much depends.

also...i found this video on youtube.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

...autumn approaches...

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns. ~ George Eliot

today was gorgeous. a perfect pre-fall day.
brisk enough to grab a jacket on my way out the door this morning.
golden warmth and a cool breeze.
did i mention it was gorgeous?

my wonderful cousin, joy, and i both have the hour before lunch free and, being that today marked the return of the pumpkin spice latte at starbucks, we made took a little trip for a cup our favorite seasonal beverage.

these two peanuts tagged along for the adventure.

we shared drinks and donuts on the outside patio.
hot coffee. warm sun. umbrellas flapping in the breeze.
smooth jazz playing on the outside radio.
audrey and daniel slowly scooted farther and farther away from us.
they must have wanted some alone time.
you're never too young to have a best friend.
joy and i giggled. we felt like chaperons on their first date.
audrey talked about being old enough for her and daniel to go to starbucks on their own.
joy and i giggled some more.
...a side note...

if you haven't noticed, i cleared away all my old posts, save one (i just couldn't bring myself to delete the video of ethan and audrey from nearly two years ago).those stories have been boxed up and placed in the attic of my mind. memories stored up like treasures. gathering dust. waiting to be day.

so this is it. the official rebirth of my blogging life.

before i leave you tonight...a few more things i'm thankful for (just one more thing i've dropped the ball on...but at least i'm attempting to pick it back up and get in the game) case you missed what i've already posted on my gratitude list...
#1 redemption
#2 friends - new and old, near and far
#3 road trips
#4 the written word
#5 music
#6 inside jokes
#7 watching the wind blow through a field of tall grass
#8 the night sky
#9 laundry fresh out of the dryer
#10 nook color
#11 iced coffee
#12 warm breezes
#13 "staying left and keeping left"
#14 my own bed
#15 getting lost in worship
#16 the tangible presence of God
#17 coming home
#18 going barefoot
#19 snail mail
#20 catching up

#21 Pumpkin Spice Lattes

* After Daniel got a look inside Joy's coffee cup, he was quite concerned that she might be drinking was priceless*

#22 Audrey

#23 Ethan

#24 Miles

#25 Isaac

#26 Josiah

*Pictured here with his dear friend Bethany....I chose this picture because Josiah is one of the most loving people you will ever meet*

#27 Daniel

#28 the hope of autumn
#29 jacket weather
#30 crisp evenings