Invitation to Photography: Give Me a Word

Welcome to this month's Abbey Photo Party!

button-photographyI select a theme and invite you to respond with images.

We began this month with a Community Lectio Divina practice where you were invited to pray with one of the stories of the desert fathers and mothers where one monk asks another "give me a word."

You were invited to share your word for 2014 here (you can still share it, although prize winners have been announced).

I invite you for this month's Photo Party to hold your word for 2014 in your heart as you walk in the world and see which images shimmer forth in response.  See what new dimensions of your word are revealed through the gift of photography.

You are also welcome to post photos of any other art you create inspired by the theme.  See what stirs your imagination!

How to participate:

You can post your photo either in the comment section below* (there is now an option to upload a file with your comment) or you can join our Holy Disorder of Dancing Monks Facebook group and post there. Feel free to share a few words about the process of receiving this image and how it speaks of your word for you.

*Note: If this is your first time posting, or includes a link, your comment will need to be moderated before it appears. This is to prevent spam and should be approved within 24 hours.

40 Responses to "Invitation to Photography: Give Me a Word"

  1. Julia Stackpole says:

    This photo I call Up to Heaven, because it draws the eye there with the lines and angles.

  2. My word Fortitude resonated with me during Mass this morning. Father spoke in his homily that we should look upon the Baptism of the Lord, the close of the Christmas season, not as an end, but instead, a beginning. Looking at the altar, with the lit trees of white lights, I became conscious that next week the altar would be dressed for ordinary time. At that moment the sanctuary reminded of a photo I was inspired “to receive” after Christmas 2008. I titled the photograph "Alpha and Omega". It was one of those days that will always be with you. One evening I had been sitting in my former parish church alone (I had a key). The altar was lit, the trees sparkling, and I found myself leaving the pew and kneeling in the center of the aisle gazing upon the altar. The stable was set in front of the altar (which has statues of the Last Supper encased) and as I looked up at the Crucifixion I felt strength come over me.

    There were many changes to come during 2009 (and they came) and I had a creative yearning to preserve it. I went home and came back with my camera. Resolutions rarely happen, but one or two intentional changes do, the rest depends on the gift of fortitude, especially accepting the changes that come our way we didn’t plan.

    I have a strong sense that 2014 could be one of those years, and this morning was a reminder of keeping Fortitude.

  3. Evelyn says:

    My word for 2014 is Ripening and along with the word has come a recurring image of the pomegranate. I've been reading about them and find they are an ancient symbol in several religions for fertility. While I'm personally beyond the age of the fertility thing, my spiritual and creative lives are not! These are what I hope ripen during 2014. And I've chosen the pomegranate to symbolize that. Too rainy to walk in Nature today, so I strolled through a pomegranate. Hoping all those plump, juicy seeds burst into new, ripe directions for 2014

    • Fiona Grace says:

      Thank you Evelyn, this photo and your sharing about ripening into the fertility of creativity. This image is glorious! I love the juiciness, and the colors and composition of your photo.

  4. Mary M says:

    thanks for the reminder to take a closer look at the simple things right in front of us in our daily lives. I love the way the seeds glisten with juice!

    • Augustine Baron says:

      I agree with Mary M's comment about reminding us to "look up close" at the beauty that is all around us if we really take the time to *see.*

  5. Augustine Baron says:

    As I was walking around a neighborhood with my camera, I noticed that someone had playfully twisted and fastened a pipe cleaner onto a utility pole. This brought a smile to my face as I appreciated how someone had taken the time to contribute such a simple pleasure to our visual world.

  6. Pam says:

    commune 2 |kəˈmyo͞on|
    verb [ no obj. ]
    1 (commune with) share one's intimate thoughts or feelings with (someone or something), esp. when the exchange is on a spiritual level: the purpose of praying is to commune with God.
    • feel in close spiritual contact with: he spent an hour communing with nature on the bank of a stream

    • Pam says:

      My word "commune" was immediately evident, though I had not articulated it aloud. Now it announces its importance, relevancy, even urgency, to live fully in community with All.

      As I searched for an image, I realized this painting I did years ago speaks clearly my word. I also see that most of my art has been in service to this word. I am moved deeply to allow this word to steer my year ahead, in art and in life.

      "Even the Rocks Have a Song"
      mixed media painting on canvas

      FYI–the image isn't showing up in my comments but,I assume it will after moderation.

    • Pam says:

      My word "commune" was immediately evident, though I had not previously articulated it aloud. Now it announces its importance, relevancy, even urgency, to live fully in community with All.

      As I searched for an image, I realized this painting I did years ago speaks clearly my word. I also see that most of my art has been in service to this word. I am moved deeply to allow this word to steer my year ahead, in art and in life.

      "Even the Rocks Have a Song"
      mixed media painting on canvas

      FYI–the image isn't showing up in my comments but,I assume it will after moderation.

  7. Fiona Grace says:

    One of my two words for 2014 is GLOW. This mandala image expresses that for me. In the center of an aqua & lavender pottery bowl gifted to me as a wedding gift from a dear friend, is a turquoise blue Irish crystal ball, radiating healing fluorite crystal blue green and lavender bead streams, all glowing in the light of the four directions. Thank you for this lovely opportunity to share my process & others!

  8. Stephanie says:

    My word for this year is Quiet, and so I've begun observing a weekly Sabbath, something I've been thinking about doing for a while. Last Sunday, I sat quietly by a stream near my house and saw this beautiful orange leaf, pressed hard against a rock by the rushing water. A gift from the Silence.

    • Fiona Grace says:

      Thank you for sharing your word, thoughts and gorgeous photo here, Stephanie! I feel a quiet myself in looking at this, and a deep inner beauty. I love all the colors and textures, the swirlings and the single beautiful bright leaf so steady there, it appears. And in looking longer, I see how other shades of orange resonate with the leaf in the photo, and how I can see thru the swirling water to other layers and patterned rocks. Very peaceful. gratefulness for this your way.

  9. Rita Simon says:

    "OPEN" ~ my word. This photo taken last April at Machu Picchu shows the doorway, open to a beautiful world that speaks of present, past and beyond.

  10. Mike Luedde says:

    My word is Light. I have prayed with my camera for several years as a way to focus my attention upon God's visual gifts. I received this picture early one morning at Brazos Bend State Park in Texas, where I frequently go for a personal retreat day. The simple beauty of light in Spanish Moss flowing from an ancient Live Oak tree speaks of wonder and transcendence.

  11. James McLemore says:

    Connect. By happenstance I came to possess three Raggedy Andy dolls (circa 1930) from my late grandmother’s things. It signifies her three sons. Long after we acquired them, my wife and I also had three sons, separated in age exactly as were my grandmother’s. Our third son was born on her 100th birthday, and we had already named him William for my father, also the third son. I know that all in the world are related, but the connections are mysteriously deeper than that. I pledge to engage everyone around me more fully, and to discover our close relations that too often are missed.

    • Fiona Grace says:

      Dear James, thank you for sharing this wonderful story and sweet, beautiful photo!
      What a magical, amazing story you have lived here with these fabulous red haired ragamuffins! I am very moved, and thrilled by this. Gratitude your way!

      • James McLemore says:

        Thank you. There's a little more to this and in a recent reflection we pondered that one of the dolls appeared more neglected than the others. Like my dad had been as a late-born, last child. Like, shudder, our last born appears too. We're remedying that.

        • Fiona Grace says:

          So interesting James, how so much speaks to your sensitivity in these darling dolls. Reminds me of that saying, "…heaven in a grain of sand, and eternity in an hour…"

          I have my first teddy bear that I rec'd for Christmas when I as one year old. I have a photo of myself with it, and it definitely looked like a different animal at that time! In the photo it had it's eyes and nose, and all its fur, beautiful and fluffy, and a big beautiful turquoise bow. Now it has no eyes, nose, the fur is rubbed bare, and in some places the stitching is coming out. When I was 21, my father found it in our basement and wrapped it as a Christmas gift for me. I hadn't seen it in years. When I opened it, I burst into tears, at the tenderness of his thinking of this for me. Teddy had been through a lot…accompanying me thru the flu where he got 'the short end of the stick' and went thru the washer numerous times. I sometimes think of having him restored in some way, but then he wouldn't be himself…so I will just stitch him up in places and maybe put some button eyes and nose on, a patch or two, and maybe a new bow. In the story , the Velveteen Rabbit, …'you're not real until a child loves you and your eyes have fallen out and all your fur has been rubbed off…" or something to this effect….thank you for your tender sharing. I also love the red hair on these dolls!

  12. My word is eternity. This year I hope to live in the present. I want to experience each day as part of the unfolding journey of eternity. My eternal life has begun, and I want to enjoy each moment of it! My photo reminds me of the eternal cycle of regeneration. The new poppy is striving upward. It is finding nourishment in the sun, which it will store as energy to grow and produce the seeds of new life. I likewise strive upward. I find nourishment in the Holy Spirit. This nourishment of the Spirit gives me energy to produce seeds of love that will restore and relationships and give new life.

  13. Genora says:


  14. John Paintner says:

    Gratitude: I am no morning person, but I am very grateful for the grand, late Winter morning sunrises in Galway.

    • Fiona grace says:

      Thank you John! Your gratitude becomes mine too marring this gorgeous
      Photo! My father was born in co Galway but
      Not as close to the see as you are living.
      This makes me nostalgic for his home and mine,
      Seattle. This may not be a Seattle sky but
      The Sea and shore are Soul homes and always
      Make me feel grateful. Blessings!

      • Fiona grace says:

        Typo in my msg above here from using iPhone
        I typed "marring" or autocorrect did. I don't recall my exact word but sharing your photo
        Shares your gratefulness!

  15. Barbara says:

    My word for 2014 is EMBRACE. This word has already given me so much to ponder. I have been using my camera for many years as a way of contemplating the beauty that surrounds me , allowing nature to speak to my soul.
    Winter, with its cold and dreary days, one after another, is a challenging time for me. With my camera in hand and a new, very warm coat, I have gotten outdoors and EMBRACED this season with a surprising joy. Lately, I am adding haiku-like words to my images to create a kind of photo-haiga. When the Spirit EMBRACES me, the words flow. For this, I am humbly grateful.

  16. Joanie says:

    My word for 2014 is allow. I am learning that it is the first of a two word invitation. The second word keeps changing. This week "allow longing" is unfolding. I chose this photo to help me visualize and embody my word more fully.

  17. Barbara Fox says:

    ESSENCE is the word that choose me. It amazes me how this word continues to offer me deeper and deeper lessons. Through "what is the essence of something"…to "what is of the essence"…to "the essence of an herb or flower is it's soul" which I am embracing as I study essential oils…and now to the breath prayer and how my very breath is the essence of God and my prayers are the essence of me. This is the image I created to express the lessons that my 2014 teacher/my word has brought me thus far.

  18. Gabe says:

    I hope you don't mind a link, but I ultimately had six photos, and a bit of writing to go along with them.

  19. Penny says:

    My word is Abandon. I had a few moments the other day so I found a quiet spot within some trees and lay down…this picture was my view as I spent some time in God's presence. As we surrender to God throughout our busy lives…God uses His creation to show us how beautiful He is!!!

  20. Joanie says:

    This is a composite of the word dream I had during the 12 days of Christmas. I ate "allow" cereal for breakfast and dressed in an "allow" garment. I've taken the liberty of creating some "allow" jewelry also.

  21. Mike Luedde says:

    The world shimmers, and my word is light. I will try once more to upload a photo I call "light painting." I received it early one morning at Brazos Bend State Park in Texas as I looked for alligators and waterfowl. Contemplative photography has made Light a pathway to Presence for me.

  22. Sister Helen E. says:

    Into the UNKNOWN! This is my "word for 2014" By entering this photos I am taking a step into the UNKNOWN, since I'm not sure how to undertake this step; just going into the UNKNOWN.

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