"Give Me a Word" (and Abbey New Year Giveaway)

New Year door

In ancient times, wise men and women fled out into the desert to find a place where they could be fully present to God and to their own inner struggles at work within them.  The desert became a place to enter into the refiner's fire and be stripped down to one's holy essence. The desert was a threshold place where you emerged different than when you entered.

Many people followed these ammas and abbas, seeking their wisdom and guidance for a meaningful life.   One tradition was to ask for a word – this word or phrase would be something on which to ponder for many days, weeks, months, sometimes a whole lifetime.  This practice is connected to lectio divina, where we approach the sacred texts with the same request – "give me a word" we ask – something to nourish me, challenge me, a word I can wrestle with and grow into.

Last year on New Year's Day, I embraced my word for the year and it ripened in me as the year unfolded leading me to new discoveries about myself.  This year's word was actually given to me back at the end of October when I was on pilgrimage in Ireland.  One of our leaders told a story about sovereignty – a word I would never have used myself.  It sounds so odd, old-fashioned, something from another time and place.  I resisted the word, making judgments about how I should respond to it.  I knew in all the internal energy it stirred up that I needed to pay attention.  When I allowed my heart to soften, the word began to shimmer in me, rang long and clear like a chime, and began its slow work of ripening.  It still has much more to say and so I claim it fully now.

What is your word for the year ahead? A word which contains within it a seed of invitation to cross a new threshold?

What word, phrase, or image is shimmering before you right now inviting you to dwell with it until it ripens fully inside of you?

** Share your word in the comments below before Friday, January 8th and enter into a drawing to win one of four wonderful prizes! **

As a way to support you in your own new beginnings and threshold crossings, I am offering four beautiful giveaways below from women whose work I am inspired by.  Just enter your word below in the comments (it will ask for your email, but that won't be published) and I will do a random drawing in a week's time. Winners will be announced here at the Abbey Blog.  I encourage you to visit each website and revel in all the goodness and possibility!



The lovely Rachelle Mee-Chapman at Magpie Girl has started a brand new and exciting adventure for the New Year – an online community called Flock a monthly subscription service where you receive all kinds of wonderful goodness to support you in your journey toward more soulfulness including:  rituals for holy day celebrations, a monthly creative project, book discussions, and a team of soulcare providers.  I encourage you to join the Flock as a way of finding kindred spirits and benefiting from Rachelle's wise and sassy presence.

** Enter your word for the year ahead in the comments below for a chance to win a one-month subscription to Flock on January 8th! **




Betsey Beckman, MM is one of my amazing and delightful teaching partners (together we co-teach Awakening the Creative Spirit – a five-day intensive in spiritual direction and the expressive arts. Our book of the same name will be published in February.)  Betsey's gift to the world is storytelling through dance and movement.  She inhabits sacred texts and brings them alive in entirely new ways.  Her latest project is a DVD of Mary Magdalene, one of Jesus' most intimate and courageous disciples.  Through Betsey's Introduction, her StoryDance, and Guided Movement Experience (plus a Guided Meditation led by me) this is perfect for women who want to experience a more expansive story and for women's spirituality groups to break open what it means to be a leader in new ways together.

Betsey has a new website – The Dancing Word – where you can order your own copy of Mary Magdalene or her previous DVD of Miriam and Mary

** Enter your word for the year ahead in the comments below for a chance to win a DVD of Mary Magdalene on January 8th! **



Kayce Hughlett, MA, LHMC is my other fabulous teaching partner.  Kayce and I lead Soul Care Supervision Groups in Seattle for spiritual directors and others in ministries of compassionate listening.  Kayce also co-wrote one of the chapters in Awakening the Creative Spirit on supervision and the expressive arts.

Kayce is a Seattle therapist, spiritual director, and writer (also known as lucy at her blog) who leads SoulCollage workshops (next one on Jan 15th) and Serious Soul Play Retreats (next one on Feb 6th).  She also co-created the beautiful art journal Grace Unbound: New Reflections on an Old Subject with her very talented photographer husband Bill Hughlett

** Enter your word for the year ahead in the comments below for a chance to win a copy of Grace Unbound on January 8th! **


Waverly 1GIVEAWAY #4: 2010 CALENDAR

I first discovered Waverly Fitzgerald's website Living in Season several years ago and then discovered that we actually live about ten blocks from one another along the very same street in Seattle.  With my love of seasonal rhythms and cycles I adore the awareness Waverly brings through her work of these gifts.

Waverly offers several different packets for the current season and this year she invited me to collaborate with her again on the French Republican Calendar for 2010 which is based on seasonal themes with photos by me illustrating each month.

** Enter your word for the year ahead in the comments below for a chance to win a copy of the French Republican Calendar on January 8th! **


New Year Blessing

May the year ahead bring
an awareness of the wholeness already within you,
a vision of the dreams you long for,
signs of the birthing of new life,
an experience of the peace you desire,
the courage to enter new doors, cross thresholds,
and discover possibilities
you have yet to imagine.

*Photo above and New Year Blessing are excerpted from my Reflective Art Journal: Crossing the Threshold: New Year, New Beginnings


© Christine Valters Paintner at Abbey of the Arts:
Transformative Living through Contemplative & Expressive Arts


(click the images for more details)

Lenten E-Course - Benedictine Spiritual Practices

Way of Monk Banner (general banner) Banner - Eyes of the Heart  (general banner)

147 Responses to ""Give Me a Word" (and Abbey New Year Giveaway)"

  1. Eveline says:

    Wow – what beautiful giveaways!

    My word for this year, which has kept tugging at me for a few days now, is "Radiant". I keep feeling this will be year to blossom forth radiantly, in my spiritual life, creative life, work life, etc…

    I'd just finished writing this up on my blog, when I saw your blog post, how cool!


  2. claire says:

    My word for this year is 'lightness', for I do need to take myself lightly if, like the angels, i want to fly.

  3. Frangelica says:

    My word for this year is VICTORIOUS. I am purposefully clearing out everything that has taken place before today. I feel liberated and determined that no past experience has any power or influence over me. 2010 is the year to win!

    "For whatever is born of God is victorious over the world; and this is the victory that conquers the world, even our faith." ~ 1 John 5:4 (Amplified Bible)

  4. Roxanne says:

    Discipline – that's my word for 2010. Discipline to show up at the page, everyday, for writing practice, for morning pages … discipline to commit to my Self. I, too, have just written a post about my three words for 2010 – discipline, healing, authentic.

  5. Kate Jobe says:

    My word for 2010 is PARADIGMS…my intent is to transform old paradigms and embody 2010 and all years following with the energy of Empowering Paradigms…out with the old and in with the new!…Kate

  6. Suzie says:

    A recent New Year's tradition has been to pick an Angel Card and allow that word to inspire my year. Last year I picked 'commitment', which scared me, but led me to extraordinary places. This year, my word is FLEXIBILITY. The angels appear to have been listening when it recently became very clear that I needed to 'loosen up'.

  7. Cindy says:


    I think that is it. It's still shimmering around the edges of my awareness, but I believe that's the essence of it. It might be "opening" but I'm feeling "unfolding" today.

    Lovely blog post!


  8. Susan Phelps says:

    My word for 2010 is SOAR. It shows my intent to stretch my wings & reach for new heights in knowledge, skills, & wisdom this year.

  9. Margaret Redman says:

    My word for this year is Presence. It has been stirring in me for sometime and yesterday and friend gave it to me again. She had looked at my underlinings in a book and she said "presence" is what I was drawn to. I long to feel and see God's presence each day and to be present to all those along the way.

  10. Terri says:

    My word for the year is Blaze.

    then the blaze comes

    the blaze dances wildly
    like a tango of love
    between earth and air

    it reaches a full roar
    like an orchestration
    of heat and wind

    it creates a searing heat
    blistering the senses like
    the forces of good and evil

    be the blaze

    dance passionately
    roar completely
    and sear injustice.

    (c) 2009, T. Stewart

  11. Donna Farrell says:

    My word for 2010 is CELEBRATE.

  12. Aleksa says:

    My word, my intention, for this next year is bold, to live boldly, to keep the weight of fear from falling on me.

  13. Wes McIntyre says:


    It has seemed to me of late that the desire to control the world around me (both situations and others) is a source of considerable anxiety and much more. Rather I sense the invitation to catch this inclination in myself and move instead toward trust, especially in God.

  14. Maureen says:

    My word: Reach

    Reach from, reach out, reach in, reach for, reach to . . . .

  15. my word is joyful – there is joy in our journeys when we open to the Universe.

  16. Joy says:


  17. Bethany says:

    My word is Dominion, a word I never would have chosen and am not quite sure what it means. I was thinking about all kinds of lovely words, then sitting next to my Mary Magdalene wall ( several pieces of art on the wall) I quieted my mind and loud and clear came the word Dominion. It will be very interesting how my understanding, growth and demonstration of the word evolves in 2010.

  18. Lucy Wynkoop OSB says:

    I chose the word "simplicity." I feel called to a deeper interiority of being.

  19. Helen Folsom says:

    Dear Christine,

    Reaching into my bag of runes I came up with "Mannaz" meaning 'Man' in the universal sense — humanity. This year may I discover deeper ways to be a true human being.

  20. Initially, I resisted choosing a word this year, instead focusing on some intuitive, visual arts-based prayers. Then up pops a word last night, just before the new year rang in. My word for 2010 is "heal." It is a bold, and welcome companion for one who is chronically ill and often shrouded in ambiguous sorrow. I'm excited about your give away, but more than that, it is lovely to be able to share my word, affirming it once again. Thank you, Christine.

  21. Jo-El says:

    My word for the new year is "expand."
    Just as wood and cork contract and expand, so do we in our lives with ourselves and with others. We can be open or hide within. I would like to see a year of expanding to others. Thank you.

  22. Thank you for a beautiful site and intriguing and inspiring resources, Christine!

    My word for 2010 is 'release' — about which I've written on my blog. I was widowed almost 3 1/2 years ago after nursing an ill spouse for a decade. I wanted a word that would send me into both the new year *and* the new decade with a fresh attitude, and a hopeful perspective for the first time in a very, very long time.

    "Release" (or re-lease) reminds me not only to let go of the past, with its attendant grief, anger, frustration and resentment, but to embrace the present, with its blessings, its gifts, its graces and God's mercy, which is truly 'new every morning'.

  23. Rachel says:

    My word is silence. I have been talking too much for the first 60+ years of my life. I want to be silent, observe, live interiorly. *Mary kept all of these things in her heart.*

  24. mike says:

    my word for the year is the verb surface – to become visible after being concealed.

    too often we sit on our feelings and don't allow them to appear. this often leads to confusion or misunderstanding to those around us.i hope this word will help me bring my feelings forth like a fish from the water into the light.

  25. Karen Benson says:

    The word I have chosen is "serenity", as in the prayer:

    God grant me the courage to change the things I can,
    the serenity to accept the things I can't,
    And the wisdom to know the difference.

  26. Carolyn says:

    ….the verb 'shed', which carries in it a tension I am curious to explore: to pour forth, to let flow, surge out, radiate….. to discard, to get rid of, to cast off, to abandon.


  27. Al Roehl says:

    the word I have chosen was given to me by a resident at Foss for the month of January, but i will use it all year. My word is kindness.

  28. Mary Hickey says:

    My word for the year is mindfulness.

  29. Waverly says:

    I'm so amazed to see that Sovereignity was your word for last year because it's my word for this year. It seems to be popular on the Internet this year; I got it from Havi Brooks and Fluent Self blog. I't seems just right to me as a way to fully claim my life and my power and my space.

  30. Marcia says:

    My word is RESPONSIBILITY – the ability to respond as Mary did- a response that brings forth Jesus over and over again each day.
    A beautiful blog! Thank you.

  31. Ali says:

    My word is Spaciousness.

    To me this word opens the portal to my experience of acceptance, presence and open-heartedness.

  32. Deb says:


    I made a vow to honor my creative self and to value my art this year. It means putting more awareness on my inner life and making space in the schedule and the house for creating. I have put energy into assisting others -clients, students, colleauges- to do this in the past 5 years. This year its my turn!

  33. Chris Flynn says:

    Thank you for the gift of "Lectio Divina"! I am now on my way with the Tao and will join you in February. My word(s) Lectio Divina. The sacred spiritual practice I've been waiting for.
    thank you and sweet blessings.

  34. Jo says:

    The word that has found me is "humility"

    My family is going through an extremely difficult financial time. I was praying passsionately the other day, and lapsed into a kind of "why me" litany. Consciously, I don't believe in obedience equals blessing, but sometimes things seem so unfair. I opened my mouth and expecting my list of why I deserved better. But the words were not what I expected. "Have mercy on me". That was it. That was all. For the first time in my life, I realized humility was something you received by having nothing left to achieve. Until that emptying happens, there is no room for the abundance He is dying and did die to share.

    I could almost hear His audible "Yes!"

  35. Kat says:

    My word is still. "Be still and know that I am God." I am so tired. But, in the still, small voice I hear Him whisper, "I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." No matter what the year 2010 holds, my caregiving future is His. Mom is at stage 5 Alzheimer's disease. As a home educator, my days are His. As a wife, my scant time to offer my dear husband must come from the Lord.

    Still. Be still. Peace, be still. Know my strength in the stillness of the morning, fresh each day with the manna of my Word and the breath of my Spirit, and strength out of Zion.

  36. Christie says:

    My word this year is INTENTION. I've been thinking about this word for the past few days and setting an intention for myself each morning before I get out of bed. It helps me put my mind, heart, and awareness into every moment.

  37. Kel says:

    one word for an entire year!
    as a 'word' person, it's been too hard in past years for me to choose just one
    but this year there is one
    resonating, shimmering and revealing itself as


  38. Tess says:

    Will you be sharing more about "sovereignty" as the weeks and months go by? I'd be interested to know what it means to you. My word, about which I'll be writing a blog post later, is "hospitality".

  39. Martha Louise says:

    What a wonderful invitation! My word/phrase for the New Year is one I just read in the beautiful book Lost in Wonder, by Esther de Waal… it's the Latin phrase Vacare Deum, "Live free for God." Someone told me that it's a phrase often used by the Carmelite Order. Do you know if this is true?

  40. Evelyn says:

    During my month in France, the word 'pilgrimage' kept surfacing and re-surfacing. I've been thinking a lot about it…both as a noun and as a verb. So, my word for 2010 is: Pilgrimage.

  41. Paula says:

    Mindfulness…I want to be present in my own life!

  42. June says:

    My word for the year is "courage."

    I am seeking courage to send my work–words and art–into the world without *too much* anxiety and fear over how it will be received and perceived.

  43. Rebecca says:

    My word for the year is AWEareness.

  44. Louise says:

    In November a woman offered me a word. "Redemption". I experience you as having healed and reclaimed and forgiven and done all those things necessary to live with peace in your heart. I wonder — have you claimed your own redemption.

    My senses stirred. Resistance shimmered and pushed the word away into that void where I fear coming face to face with my own creation.

    I have meditated on 'not thinking about' redemption. Resisted through my assumptions of what it doesn't mean, cannot mean, will not mean to me.

    Your invitation challenged my assumptions (which is my resolution for 2010) — to challenge my assumptions.

    Thank you.

    My word is "Redemption".

    Don't know what it means. It frightens me. It unnerves me. It confuses me. It pushes me up against my wall of comfort.

    A perfect word to embrace.

  45. My word for the year is "Peace". I chose it New Years Eve, and then attended the vigil mass for Mary, Mother of God, where the homily was around finding peace in our busy world. To me, this was a sign that I had heard my word correctly.

    Yesterday, I blogged about my January efforts to develop a peaceful life, mainly around increasing physical and mental energy.

  46. My word for this year is "lacuna"—-I am reading Barbara Kingsolver' snovel "The Lacuna"—and this word and its multiple meanings resonate deeply. A lacuna is a hole or most often a missing passage in a literary work. In anatomy it is a bony space—"a hole". I want to reflect this year on what is missing, what is empty, what is needed to fill this missing piece—perhaps emptiness is the answer—-what is needed for completion…

  47. Diane Fobes says:

    My word this year will be "Strength" not just physically, but spiritually – as in – the "everlasting strength to endure" and and the "quietness and confidence will be your strength" – solid and strong for the sake of others.

  48. Light: I'm reading "God's Secretaries" about the translators who put the King James Bible together. The book dwells on the Jacobean period as the time in which the translation was prepared, and the importance of light in the architecture of the time. Thomas Fuller, a contemporary churchman, and England's first fully professional writer, called light "God's eldest daughter." The phrase struck me. We grow toward light, and without it we're lost. Let there be light!

    Light is my word for 2010.

  49. Diane says:

    My word for this year is "intention".

    Intention regarding my spirit-care, my physical care, in discovering play more fully, in being present with those I love, in discerning God's direction for my vocation. Intention in being more fully present with God.

  50. Laurel says:

    I am living with three words and started wearing them on a black leather necklace with an amber colored crystal and hand-made amber and black glass circular piece in December. They are: "heal" that which needs healed, "forgive" that which needs to be forviven, and "celebrate" that which is whole and good and doesn't need to be forgiven. They were from an invocation at the end of a Penitential Rite during a Mass I attended in 2004 that I have never forgotten. Myprayer is to "heal, forgive, and celebrate" during 2010, so I may be more in the present moment and not in my ego.

  51. Gordon says:

    Ruach – Hebrew for "Spirit Wind"
    when i started meditating i used "Maranatha"
    during one meditation a new word came to me ' Ruach"
    For me it describes movement of the Holy Spirit within me and
    around me as it inspires me to write inspirational poetry.

  52. Linda says:

    The word that surfaced as my touchstone for this year was, "ASK." I have kept my distance for awhile. I felt that now is the time to approach, and face to face with God, come right out and ask for what I need, what I desire, what I don't even have words for. On New Years Eve, I created a collage and penned many "ask"s in the negative spaces. As I continued to meditate and work on the collage, I added a "B" and the word became "BASK." I will rest in that pursuit.

  53. I love the idea of lingering and savoring a word for a year. I chose Kairos.

  54. Lynn Penney says:

    The word that is calling to me is Wisdom.

    Inner and outer knowing – right action – creativity – with my attention on the Holy Presence. This word can hold my ongoing prayer for greater wisdom within myself and in the world during this year.

  55. Jessica says:

    My word for the year is "adventure". There are a lot of changes coming up and rather than feel overwhelmed by them, I want to experience them as adventures.

  56. Dawna Petersen says:

    Thank you for this invitation! My word for this year is going to be "jubilate" (and it's variations, jubilant and jubilation). As I read and pondered Psalm 100, the words "Jubilate Deo" bubbled forth. This was not a word I would have thught to choose; nor would I have thought it would choose me. I had actually been thinking about the word "bask".

    "Jubilate", however, came wrapped as a gift, not dredged up from some current stockpile. I await its surprises as I unwrap it throughout the year ahead.

  57. Lisa says:

    After reading your invitation to chose a word for the year, the word "Providence" just popped into my mind. I have been thinking about my goals for the new year, and like many of your other readers am focusing on using my creative energy this year toward writing and toward becoming happier. I have spent so much time nurturing my family, and I am spent. I need to receive back this year, and the image I get from the abstract noun "providence" is of ample, abundant, tender care, of God raining down blessing upon blessing, which I have been too dry and tired to even see much less experience. So. 2010, the year of Providence! I feel an eagerness, a fledgling hope to see what God has in store.

  58. Jemma says:

    movement. It isn't the word that I thought that I wanted! But movement: playful, purposeful, embodied…

  59. Elaine says:

    The word that has been revealed to me for 2010 is "Inseparability."

    For the past year my mantra was "I am yours and You are mine" and I have prayed for greater understanding of this truth.

    Today while reading, the word "Inseparability" appeared in the text and immediately reached out to me. I believe that the inseparable Spirit will make this truth known in a beautiful and loving way this year ~ and I will be attentive.

    Thank you for the opportunity to listen for the still and quiet voice.

  60. Sage says:

    My word for the year is "freefalling" – yes, it's time to let go!

  61. Lisa Wynn says:

    My word is "mindfulness".

  62. Joanie says:

    My word is COMMUNION. For I have been without spiritual community for too long, I long for nothing more than intimate communion with the Divine, and deeper communion with other Divinely-Aware souls. Thank you for inviting us into this "word meditation."

  63. Ellen says:

    I love the idea of choosing a word for the year! My word is Creativity. It comes from recently living into a new identity as a creative person, recognizing what a spiritual act and experience creating is, and encourages me to move further in the new year into endeavors (already begun) with photography, poetry, music, collage, and more.. . . . Interestingly, I realized in retrospect that my word for 2009 was Authenticity! I hadn't consciously chosen a word but that was the one that kept coming up in my journal and in my prayer. I only recently found you, Christine, and Abbey of the Arts, and am finding it all so soul-nourishing and helpful for my spiritual journey just now.. . . I really love the reflective art journals too and have given several to friends as Christmas gifts.

    One of my favorite quotes is: "We can have as many beginnings as we need." (unknown) And I tend to think of it each year at this time. Blessings of the New Word and of New Beginnings to everyone reading this!

  64. thymekeeper says:

    Just as I was pondering that last year was clearly a year of "closure" comes Christine's invitation to consider what is our word for the year ahead. A delightful way to move forward; my word for this year came forth easily. . .


    Pain lessening,

    health returning.

    Seeking creative wholeness,

    making room…


    Stretching not only my muscles

    but also my spirit.

    New life emerging,

    making room…


    Claiming my gifts

    as they find expression.

    Listening in new ways,

    making room…


    Come Holy Spirit,

    open my heart

    to the touch of your love,

    open my eyes

    to the beauty of your grace,

    open my life

    to all that awaits me.

  65. Kory Wells says:

    I love the idea of living with a word for the entire year. I debated two very different words for equally important reasons – both "audacious" and "order." In the end, I decided that for THIS year, I'm choosing ORDER. Thanks for the inspiration!

  66. Elaine T says:

    amazing amazing amazing
    amazing is my word-the organs of our bodies, the stories of kindness, the blue blue waters, the spiritual dynamite of prayer, the depths and complexities of my beloveds
    our lives are gifted and amazing
    let me fall on my knees in amazement

  67. Sue says:

    Hmmm, well, this year I take on the word 'impermanence'. There is a decade's worth and more of ponderance and holding and learning from that word. Impermanence. Expectancy not expectations. So much of my suffering of the past several years has come from a rigid attitude towards things, a belief that things do not really change. Which is weird because in my spirit I know and love and hold to the impermanence of things. And so this is my word for the year … impermanence. Here's to continual change *clink*

  68. sharon says:

    Shine: gather-hold-reflect the light of the Spirit, sparkle with self expression, purify by letting go, spread joy by saying YES to love and life!

  69. Katherine says:

    My word is COURAGE. Courage to live into where I hear the Spirit calling me and to respond with: "Here I am! Send me!"

  70. Lisa says:

    I walked a labyrinth today for the year's focus and my unbelievable word is "pain." Walking in the pain or despite the pain or with the pain. I guess its full meaning will emerge as the year unwinds.

  71. Jan Lawry says:

    Thank you all forr sharing your words…they were inspirational.

    After doing several meditations near the end of the year, it would seem that my word is
    "manifest"..for which the dictionary offers the following: to make evident of certain by showing or displaying. I believe I am to make my intention in all I do more manifest and
    also to make manifest certain projects that were put on hold some time ago.

  72. Claire says:

    my word is 'tribe' – though i like the idea of a flock :o)
    when i turned 40, five years ago, i decided to leave the anglican church, since then i've been searching for my tribe/flock…
    i found it two years later through the artistic blog community and loved participating in handmade global swaps and giveaways! then in 2007 i suffered a serious stroke which left my right side paralyzed…
    since then i've been searching for a new tribe which doesn't depend on being fully able-bodied…
    art is deeply important to me, and as i can operate the computer one-handed, i'm finding writing about it and telling stories in response to images, is something i CAN do…
    this new year, i will commit to seeking my tribe, maybe even restart my blog…

  73. Rebekah says:

    My word is "supple." Flexible, yet very strong.

  74. christine says:

    my word for 2010 is 'laughter'. just the fact that i am slightly embarrassed to admit that this is my word is proof that this is the right word… for me… for this year.

  75. Tanda says:

    I feel chagrined that my will to self-discipline has diminished in recent years, and I am being called to learn in new ways how to rediscover in wonder and in awe and to embrace self-discipline. My word for the year is "discipline", and after wrestling with a definition that resonated for me what was born was: Surrendering my will to the will of God time and time again.

  76. Jane says:

    My word for 2010 is "threshold," so this post really resonates. I especially love your description of the desert as "a threshold place where you emerged different than when you entered." That's my hope for the new year.
    And I join Tess in looking forward to hearing more about "sovereignty."
    Thanks for your wonderful blog! It's such a source of inspiration!

  77. Deb Hillman says:

    My word for 2010 is DISCOVER! I am on a journey of discovery this year: who am I now that I have dismantled the false self; who is this God who is now being revealed to me as Sophia; what will the next part of my journey be like as I enter my Crone years. DISCOVER! What is outside those open windows and doors; what is under those rocks I have stepped over for so long; what does Sophia want me to see as I Discover how to see through the veil! DISCOVER!

    Thanks for your words of Wisdom and the opportunity to meditate on this task. I look forward to seeing what 2010 will bring to me through you! Deb

  78. Cathy C. says:

    When I noticed I was gritting my teeth and feeling angry more often, I wanted a way to understand why I was feeling this way. One day, just before Christmas, I felt myself getting angry again about many things at work. Be gentle is the phrase that I spontaneously told myself when I paused to try to resolve my anger . Since then, when I realize I am feeling angry, or not mindful, or I'm rushing and too busy doing for no reason, I tell myself to be gentle. The word gentle slows me down, physically relaxes the tight muscles when I feel frustrated or angry, reminds me to be kind to myself and others. After I prompt myself to be gentle, I sense myself in the moment, and so happy that I'm taking care of myself that sometimes I find myself smiling. I'm in a better position to step away from my anger (or whatever it is that made me remind myself to be gentle) and think about what I am feeling and/or doing. I find myself responding to life rather than reacting. Gentle is my word for 2010.

  79. Cheryl Macpherson says:

    Thanks Christine for the invitation.
    My word this year is gratitude. It calls me to let go of the need to judge, censor or control, to surrender and open with thankfulness to the experience of life just as it is both internally and externally.

    "I hear you calling me to praise,
    to raise
    my voice in gratitude for simple days"

    From "The Book Of Enneagram Prayers"
    by Kathleen M. Henry

  80. My word for the year is SAVOR – and you were right in your prediction – it came to me out of "nowhere?"


  81. Shelley says:

    I think my word is "sing", although I've never chosen a word for the year before. As I've been praying about it, this is what seems to come up for me. I don't sing alot but maybe it will help me in healing chronic fatigue and depression. I don't have much of a voice range (I miss all the high notes in church) but there are a few songs I have been enjoying lately – "Be Thou my Vision" and "Thou Lovely Source of True Delight"…

    Blessings to you all.

  82. Rich says:

    I read your post a few days ago, but didn't feel the tug of a word right at that moment. However, in the interim, I've found the word "authenticity" or, I think, more appropriately, the word found me. It is not an easy word in many ways. It doesn't exactly roll of the tongue. Upon reflection, that is probably on purpose, just to remind us that we need to work to let our "authenticity" glow. New Year Blessings to you, the hubby and dear sweet Petunia.

  83. I have two words this year: self-trust and sovereignty. I see sovereignty popping up a lot on other friend's word of the year post.

  84. Annie Kelley says:

    My word for this year is "Reflections"…reflections of the world, of God and of myself seem to be coming at me from all directions!

    Reflections is my word for 2010…


  85. Barbara says:

    The word joy has been weighing upon me of late. It was recommended by a priest-friend that I seek joy and the peace that surpasses understanding as a Christmas gift/grace. I seek joy to supplant any sadness lingering from a spell of depression.

  86. Laurie says:

    My word which, pales in comparison to these insightful people is a word I made up –
    "Heartitude" – that means the space between breaths. A delicate place of stillness where one can experience boundless grace and compassion.
    Recently, when faced with the opportunity to create a name for my small business and register it with the state, the words "Heartitude – Heart+Soul" came to mind. This simple formula states as best as words might what it is that I do. And since my focus this year is to find ways to be still, and find that life is not about how strong you are or how much you do but how quiet you can be and how vulnerablity and fragility might actually virtues.

  87. Sharie says:

    My word popped up on New Year's Eve while leading an InterPlay gathering. I was leading and didn't get to do the exercises where I invited all of them to dance with a witness…and then come up with a word from their dance as their word for the new year…then to bless each other in a hand to hand contact dance. It looked like a meaningful exchange…but since I was leading I didn't get to choose one.

    Right before Midnight with toast glasses in hand…someone suggested that we all share our words. I didn't have one…but the group insisted I come up with one, so I just said the first thing that came to my mind. It was "adventure". I wasn't totally committed to the word until tonight as I was wishing my children joy-filled "adventures" as they left to return to college. Parting is usually a big challenge for me…but this word seems to have eased some of the pain. so…ADVENTURE is my word for the New Year…we'll see what it brings.

  88. Joy Fry says:

    I had thought my word to be TRUST, but then on a New Year's Day walk and another one today it became crystal clear that my word for this year is TREE. Trees embrace trust and I look forward to drawing on their wisdom, strength, beauty, courage and hope. So many images dance in my thoughts.

  89. Bridget says:

    "tree" – perfect, thanks Joy. Tree has been my image, I hadn't considered it for my word, but it is.

  90. Mary James says:

    BEING is my word for 2010.
    When I turned 21 I became a woman
    Now I am learning how to be one

    I wrote those words some 40 years ago, and it seems like yesterday, for the journey has never stopped, only been waylaid at times.

  91. the holly says:

    last year's word for me was hope. this year is the verb live.

    i'm looking forward to living a bit more this year now that i have some margin and space.

    and a month of soulcare from magpie girl. :)

  92. Wronda says:

    I haven't felt like it for a long time – too tired, too busy, too something. Someone important to me just reminded me that dancing is the right response – always.

  93. Thérèse says:

    What inspiring words! Thank you.

    I have long been nourished by the concept of the 'fulness of life' which Jesus came with. This particular year is a transition on many levels for me, so I will allow myself to be challenged by the encouragement in Deuteronomy to 'Chose Life!'

  94. Macrina says:

    My word is SURRENDER; not a doormat kind of surrender but a joyful, radical handing over my life to the moment; a kind of Morning Offering.

  95. Sally Brower says:

    I was struck by the line "It is not over, this birthing" which begins a poem by Ann Weems in Kneeling in Bethlehem. Birthing is my word for 2010 as I begin work on a memoir of my adoption, weaving together the search for my birth parents and my journey to priesthood in The Episcopal Church. This new year is about those creative things I am birthing and those things God is birthing through me.

  96. Jillian says:

    SACRIFICE is the word and practice that moves me, seeing each conscious offering as sacred in an effort to be a clear vessel for "THY WILL BE DONE."

  97. Hi all, My word for the year is gentleness— May we listen to the strength in this word, its impulses that are beyond passivity, and recall the power of compassion. :)

  98. Adriane says:

    ~~whappah~~!! Not so much a word as a sound… an exclamation… playful doing with abandon… presenting self to life and all it entails and doing so without the need to apologize for self. :) May you all have a wonder-filled year!

  99. Tara says:

    The word God gave me last year was "birth." This year, as I asked for a word, I tried on quite a few. I wanted "completion" or maybe "joy" (which was my word two years ago, so I was being greedy!) I wanted something large and opening that moved me toward the promises with which 2010 shimmers. God gave me a word, and I knew it was *the* word, but I didn't like it. I began to become petulant and demanding. I think I'm still in that state right now. But I know the word, and it is the word for this year, and it contains promises and fulfilments that I can't even realize now.

    My word is SLOW.

  100. Joy M says:

    I searched and planned and many good words came to me, but what God gives to me this year is "RESTORATION". You know, I'm sure it will be the best word for me this year.

  101. CARVE.
    carve more woodblocks.
    carve new paths.

  102. Cathy Beckley says:

    My word is Alignment.

  103. Mary Beth says:

    The word for this year is "listen"

    listen to the new trying to come in.
    listen to what the universe is trying to say
    listen to my own heart beating.

  104. Lois Perron says:

    I have been following an e-series over Christmas and this quote came from the e-series (Lynn Jericho).

    "Awe is an awareness that something has come to dwell in you that is not you. You must come to know/love this otherness"

    I am also prepareing to begin a Master's Holy Yoga certification and we are beginning with a scripture based discussion of the Holy Spirit.

    The message that keeps coming to me rests in the word "abide" – so that word seems to be asking to be my word of the year.

  105. Margretha says:

    Mercy. To trust in the mercy that has been shown to me. To meet others with mercy. To keep it in mind in the way I meet myself. Mercy.

  106. Kathy Flugel Colle says:

    Transformation. In communion, i enter and dwell in the possibility of transformation—-open to all that is, willing to be transformed, surrendering my heart and ego to become my truest self…..

  107. Rosie says:

    Having identified with sadness for a good portion of my life my new word for 2010 is HAPPINESS. I am choosing to be happy and to identify the thoughts that make me feel good.

  108. Tricia says:

    With trepidation, I choose the word commitment. I am a self-proclaimed commitment-phobe, but lately, that description no longer feels right. In several places in my life I feel I'm being called to embrace commitment, and so I will explore where that word and its meaning takes me this year.

  109. Sister Monika, OSB says:

    What an inspiring list of words… thanks, Christine, for facilitating this fun and this thought/heart-provoking moment. "Live" is my word for this year. I want to live like never before!

  110. Andrea Cox says:

    ~Self-Love~ is mine.
    What wonderful inspiration which is keeping on and on and on…

  111. Marybeth says:

    Wonder! It came to me when I first read your thought-provoking questions and has grown in the days since…encapsulating mystery, awe, play, letting go, questions, living with unknowing and delight. I wonder what will unfold this year!

  112. Lynn says:

    This is all new for me. My word is "presence" as I need to stay put in the moment
    instead of dwelling on the other side of future time fences.

  113. Julie says:

    to my children – my husband – my friends – my sisters – my parishioners – the Word – myself.
    Stop whatever else I am doing and listen!

  114. Sarah says:

    I think, at this point, that my word for the year is "Contemplation." At least that is what came to mind after reading this post…I really want to enter more deeply into a contemplative rhythm of life, despite the pushes and pulls to go in the opposite direction.

    Thank you for these giveaways; it would be wonderful to win any of them!

  115. McMaster Ground says:

    Right now, in this moment, a new experience. I can already begin to imagine the possibilities. I hope this gives me what I want. Probably more of what I need. Writing has always been a part of me – I feel as if I have already sacrificed a lot fior my parents, bit I know I can write or read whenever I like. Sometimes I wonder is it only love or pain that I can use as motivation to create beautiful thoughts? What if my intention becomes selfish and I want to write about life, about dreams, hopes. My image confuses me but whatcan see is that it is time for me to make myself happy. More time to be free, to create. Find new hobbies or give more time to old ones. I came here thinking this would be a one time thing. But now I am seriously reconsidering committing. A new year for new beginnings, or maybe just a rekindling of old passions. With escape I see myself. With discovery it comes from within. I have neglected things that I cared most about, but now it's time for myself to remember what's most important. Set my priorities straight. I feel myself growing. I know I imagined more for myself, of myself. I lost my path for awhiles, but I think it's time to get back on track. To be who I want to be. To be who I am.

  116. My word is "Love." Or if stretching it to two isn't cheating, it's "quiet Love." Pure and simple.

  117. Teresa says:

    My theme for 2010 is Enliven.

    I like the definition of 'enliven': to invigorate physically or spiritually; to bring or restore to life; to animate, inspirit; to make lively or cheerful; to relieve the monotony of; to brighten’.

    My intention is to enliven every aspect of my life. My son died in 2009; much of my life has changed, irrevocably, and for quite a while I've felt dead myself. Enlivening is what I need. I also meet many others who could benefit, both from the enlivening that comes from spiritual practice and the physical, immediate lift that comes from connecting with people who are supportive, awake, and willing to care. Enliven is the name of the bed and breakfast I hope to open in my home, a project in process before my son's death that is now being 'enlivened' and revitalized in 2010. (The B&B is for people healing from chronic illnesses–something I've gone through myself and had to travel for treatment for–much more pleasant to stay in a B&B that serves organic, healthy food, uses chemical-free cleaners, etc.). Anyway–enliven. That's my word. Thanks for providing a place to declare it.

  118. Amy Palko says:

    My word for 2010 is UNITY. I chose it because throughout 2009 I experienced a scattering of my energies; I finished one big project (my phd) and then I started lots of new ones. I feel that I need to find some sense of coherence in my life, in order to start moving forward. Also, as I started to journal my word, I began to discover that what I was also looking for was unity within my inner and outer reality, by connecting my spirituality with my contemporary lived experience.

    I get such a good feeling when I think about the 12 months that lie ahead; I just know that it's going to be a wonderful, wondrous year :-)

  119. Dianne says:

    I've been doing this "word for the year" thing for the past few years now. This year the word that chose me, that jumped out and surprised me one evening as I journaled, is "abandon." And not the verb form, as in to leave or abdicate, but the adjective form, as in "dance with abandon." I think the adjective thing is significant in that this is not something I need to do but rather a way I want to describe my life in this coming year. I see myself being able to let go and really live, without any regard for what others may think or my own natural reservations.

  120. My word for the year is "journey". Because I need to focus less on the destination and more on the journey.

  121. I have signed up to be part of Christine's Contemplative Photography e-course. The words that chose me for this year came to me from some of the information that she sent about the course. They are the words "light" and "shadow". 2010 is an exploration of all the gifts and the challenges of what is light and shadow in me and also in the world. Thank you Christine!

  122. Jen says:


  123. I thought my 2010 word would be "light" because I have a blogging practice dedicated to "100 Lighter Days," and I recentlysubmitted a reflection on light at this website: thebridgemeditations.wordpress.com

    But. . . as I dust off a resolve to be more faithful with posts in 2010, I see my last blog confession leads me to the word "grounded."

    For me that means celebrating the holy ground of God, reverencing my mind, body, and spirit just as my Creator reverences me. Italso means listening to the Spirit, so I may walk with light and balanced footsteps. And. . . of course, it means laughing with children!

  124. Marjorie Donnelly says:

    My word is space.
    I embrace the discipline to make space to be surprised and delighted by God!

  125. Gloria Tiede says:

    My word is "yes". My intention is to say "yes" exuberantly to each new day of 2010 and each new moment of each new day.

  126. Kate I says:

    My word for 2010 is Commitment. My commitment is to "me"…my spiritual, physical and creative growth and wellbeing. As I read through the comments and all of the wonderful words that people are drawn to, it reafirms for me how we are all beautiful beings doing the best we know how, to live our lives fully and meaningfully.

    I feel so hopeful for the world when I read these words of intent.

  127. Becca says:

    I sense that things are a-changing in my community/ life, again… and yet amid all the chaos I am committed to slowing down to see and grow compassion, gentleness and shelter. So I will nurture creativity, friendships, quietness, integrity and sorrow.

  128. My word is 'joybird', because that is what I decided to become about 8 months ago. I am only feeling this fully, now, in the year 2010 as I have left a terrible job as of Dec. 31 and start anew.

    I loved the word 'radiant' that another person wrote of. It's the only comparable adjective for how I want to be. Hey, how about it? A radiant joybird! That seems like asking for way beyond what is imaginable!

  129. Julett M. Broadnax says:

    Awareness is my word for the year – to become more aware of what is within me, within others and to see with the eyes, the mind and the heart all of creation in new and different ways – so as to awaken those positive aspects of myself waiting to be birthed in service to self and others.

  130. Jim Burke says:

    "Delight" that comes form the courage to taste and enjoy the beauty, not to be pulled down by the darkness or to let the self-shadows pretend to be the real you

  131. Jan Blencowe says:

    It's taken me some time to find my word for the year,and appropriately enough my word is SLOWLY. It came to me yesterday after thinking about it for over a week. Mind you my usual way would have been to instantly choose something upon reading your post, and believe me I tried but just drew a blank. But last night during lectio it came to me.

    I tend to do a great many things quickly sometimes because of excitement and enthusiasim for the task, sometimes for efficency and productivity, sometimes to get through an unpleasant task or situation. But this year I will go more slowly, and not rush through things so that I may be fully present in each moment.

  132. Edelle says:

    My word for this year is "Play"

    Play with my 2 year old grandson; play with words;play with life, my pets, my partner, myself. Lighten my grip on everything.

  133. Anita says:

    When I first saw this post I was struck by many words but didn't dwell on any one. Yesterday I was coming home after taking my daughter back to college and was feeling worn out and a bit sleepy after driving nearly all day and getting "lost" twice. Then it came to me: adventure. It wasn't getting lost. It was more like having the courage to live and that's what I think I'll need for 2010 — both adventure and courage.

  134. Rhia says:

    "Rising Up" is the phrase that came to me for this New Year 2010.

    A friend emailed me about choosing a word/phrase, and the site, I contemplated it for some time. Where I've been, where I am, and where I'm going….Yes, RISING UP fits!!

    Peace & Blessings To You

  135. Antares says:

    I have just found this wonderful site. As I ponder what my word might be, I'm struggling with fear. I have for many years. I instantly thought of freedom. "For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline"
    (2 Timothy 1:7)

  136. My word for this year is: Lifegiving

    I am to return to what I was made for. In the midst of everything that is not, I am choosing to believe in the Life in me. Christ at work.

    The first step, therefore, in lifegiving is "resuscitatio". Thus, my post:

    A True New: A Soul Resuscitation


    Thanks to Maureen Doallas @writingwithoutpaper for the pointer to you!

  137. Bev says:

    I think my word for 2011 will be "palm." As I struggle with breast cancer and a mastectomy, I feel myself drawn to music and prayers that have to do with being held in the palm of God's hand. And I have recently begun to paint with watercolors and acrylics. I seem to paint a lot of palm trees. I'm not sure how much of that has to do with images of water and regeneration and greenery in the desert and how much to lack of skill – palm trees are easy!

  138. Sherri says:

    Breathe……puts all else in perspective if I just slow down and breathe, listening to the voice within and the voice without…….breathe……holy

  139. Susan Arneson says:


    "Enthusiasm" came to me recently in a dream of my deceased husband, David, who died more than 6 years ago. Enthusiasm was his signature attribute. He awoke daily full of spirit and energy, singing "This is the day the Lord has made" and ready to await the day's wonders. His life-long favorite saying was, "The Best is yet to come."

  140. Christy Brink says:

    I sense that God has given me the phrase "Lighten Up" for this coming year.

  141. claire says:

    My word is 'Sacred' as in Sacred Encounter.

  142. Dale Lavely says:

    I have many times sought for a word from the Lord for my year and it involved prayer and searching this out. This year I think my word came to me easily and surprisingly…it is "Dance". I will look for scripture to encourage my understanding. This year has started jarringly and not good. I will seek for more understanding.

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