Mar 13Liked by Kelly Flanagan

Finally was able to have time to read this. Your words are exquisitely beautiful. I love what you said about the snow as I think I am the only one who loves it! The way you talk about the snow seems to be what I experience ! Then the adding of God! Absolutely beautiful!!!! 💙💙💙💙💙

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Mar 5Liked by Kelly Flanagan

Wow. I am loving all the comments. So thought provoking. I am reminded we all attend to what our frame of reference is. I love imagery and also am drawn in by how crystal clear your words draw out the scene for us. The snow, the silence and the cartoon images delight the communicator in me, so I enjoy your ability to always 'bring it home for us' with a genius setup. I love when images create the feeling and i can feel it.

I also cannot help but instinctively set aside the references to Jesus, as a Jewish person, i am unfamiliar with the references so in full confession, they alienate me somewhat. Or i feel excluded because i am outside that group of readers. Also, conversely, I have this reflex to read from the place of my IFS (Internal Family Systems) bent, seeing whoever is calling you as a part of yourself and why are there only 3? lol. So, it is a reminder that we all read from our own interpretation and our own life stories. I love the suspense of the end of the chapter and i am thoroughly engaged.

Regarding a spiritual experience, i would love to share with the group when we are on zoom, as i have had a very profound one and when i went to share it with others, they were not able to appreciate it on the level i experienced it, so it was disappointing. They were interested, but again, it didnt speak to their own desires or ability to experience life that way, so they listened from a somewhat detached place :(

However, the person who i had the spiritual experience with, was so blown away as well and it validated like minds really do think and feel alike, creating (God's) magic.

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Mar 4Liked by Kelly Flanagan

The imagery of your words strikes close to my heart, Kelly. I’m reminded of the silence created by the thick fallen snow in a forest and how it heightens my ability to hear the smallest sound. In this peaceful stillness I’m fully aware of every thing around me but especially able to hear the whisper of God’s voice. I could use a blanket of snow each morning to cover all the other voices speaking simultaneously in my head, drowning out Gods voice and the words I need most to hear. The words I waited for, but never heard from my parents; the truth that I’m His beloved child with whom He is well pleased. Just as I am- I’m beloved. Such a welcomed assurance to begin a new day.

I’m anxious for your awakening to continue for it appears our stories are in many ways aligned which leads me to believe your words will be hitting close to the hearts of many other readers as your story unfolds. May God continue to bless you and guide you on this journey.

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Mar 3·edited Mar 3

I need more. Next one please. ...good stuff.

For the sake of continuing to put on a thoughtful hat I wonder at the Jesus reference. You know I'm all on board for sharing the gospel of Christ anywhere any time, so no issues with that. I do try really hard to be a proper Christian and I also refrain from judging the context of belief as expressed by another Christian or even another person not of the Christian faith because I know how precious inner beliefs are. With that I dare not make any truth claims from my perspective or try to demand any truth claims from yours. This is a part of life where I truly believe in what some people out in the media call a "lived truth". I think in the media they use that phrasing the wrong way for the wrong reasons but it fits in my mind in this place.

Now back to my "wondering". Even though I dare not try to fix the expressions of faith or belief that others have, what I wonder is if in sharing a very personal and intimate detail such as this if there needs to be a mild caution to keep "pearls from swine" so to speak. To expound on that a little more I mean that it could be worded a little differently so say you heard a voice in your mind. You took it to be a deeply spiritual source where it came from, then you followed your prompting...Potentially a little more generic but still indicating the significance of your own experience.

All I ask if I'm even allowed to ask is that if you decide to share such an intimate and private detail from the core of your own soul, and it relates to the Savior whom I feel safe in assuming is the central part of worship you are expressing here, then at least make sure you have given Him a chance to respond to your particular method of sharing. In more immediate and direct Christians terms, I'm trying to coyly ask if you prayed on it or not. If you feel as inspired to share this part of your experience in this way just as much as you felt so inspired on that very morning you are describing, then go forth and preach on brother. If not, maybe some of the details really are just for you.

I only bring it up because in my faith practice, we often share our testimonies and our experiences with the ever developing relationship we have with Christ. Sometimes we experience miracles or have revelation and in so gathering what has been so graciously given to us into our hearts and then turning to share our gratitude for it with others, we take a minute to determine if what we share needs to be something that is just for us from the Savior or if it is something meant to share abroad. No shame should ever be felt for having a spiritual experience. I do not want to even think of such a thing being the case even if it does happen. Hopefully my thoughts can be received with some grace on this as I'm hoping not to offend. I'm happy to try to explain my thoughts differently if that can help.

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Your writing is really relatable, and I enjoy how it draws on multiple senses, not just vision. I found myself really engaged.

I had the same thought as Lindsay about your description if the cartoon figure floating off on a scent. Really potent, and fun for me as a reader.

I also enjoyed the description of your internal world as if snow had fallen inside you. This is what I mean about drawing on multiple senses. Anyone who has experienced snow can relate to that blanket of silence cradling everything around them. I don’t see much snow where I live in California, and I do miss that silence. There are so many beeps, buzzes, and other noise these days. Silence is a precious commodity. The snow image felt very peaceful.

Your description of criticizing yourself internally and hearing a voice echoing or one-upping your self-criticism is also really relatable. I did an exercise once where I gave myself 3 minutes to write down every negative thing about myself running around in my head. When the 3 minutes were up I read my list and realized who the negative voice was was coming from. I had decided to let that person go a while before because the negativity was too much. But, in that person’s absence, I filled in the negativity myself. Prison of my own making? Yes.

The only thing that surprised me was when you said you got up, grabbed your book, and planned to take some more time for yourself. The last I had read, your wife went out to celebrate with family and you were alone in the hotel room with the kids. So my first reaction was, “Yay for taking more time for yourself but wait - you can’t leave the kids by themselves!” But then I realized that since it was morning your wife was probably back already. It’s early here and I obviously need some coffee!

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I really like the imagery of the “floating to follow a scent.” I can picture the cartoon. It’s playful and it also captures a feeling, a pleasant peaceful invitation. The whole juxtaposition of thinking it’s a prison cell vs an invitation to peace. I enjoyed your recollection of how the events transpired, combined with an explanation of how you internalized the experience. It invites readers to pause and consider if/when they’ve had a similar experience. It’s relatable.

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