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Give Me a Word 2016: 7th Annual Abbey Giveaway


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.  The word which chooses us has the potential to transform us.

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

Share your word in the comments section below by January 6, 2016 and you are automatically entered for the prize drawing (prizes listed below).


As in past years, I am offering all Abbey newsletter subscribers a gift: a free 12-day online mini-retreat with a suggested practice for each day to help your word choose you and to deepen into your word once it has found you. Even if you participated last year, you are more than welcome to register again.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and you will receive a link to start your mini-retreat today. Your information will never be shared or sold. (If you are already subscribed to the newsletter, look for the link in today’s email).


We are delighted to offer some wonderful gifts from the Abbey:

So please share your word (and it would be wonderful to include a sentence about what it means for you) with us below.

Subscribe to the Abbey newsletter to receive ongoing inspiration in your in-box. Share the love with others and invite them to participate.  Then stay tuned – on January 6th we will announce the prize winners!

If this is your first time commenting at the Abbey, or you are including a link, your comment will need to be approved before appearing, which usually takes less than 24 hours.

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712 Responses

  1. My word for 2016 is OVERFLOW. My heart’s desire is to abide in Jesus day by day so that as His love is poured into my heart by the power of the Holy Spirit, it will overflow in every area of my life. Luke 6:45 “A good man from the good stored up in his heart brings out what is good; and an evil man from the evil stored up brings out what is evil; for from the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”

  2. The word “dawning” for me is DAYBREAK . The concepts and words that have emerged over these days are summed up in this one word. A New Year, a new day, so much potential and beauty ….everywhere.

  3. CONSTANT : For many years now I have felt, and actually been, living life as a pilgrim. Leaving home and family in California, moving to a spiritual community in Hawaii, and then on to managing and housekeeping an Oratory house in rural France. Pilgrim has been my word and my life in places and cultures unfamiliar to a seventy year old. Ten plus years on , I feel pilgrim life is what most of us live – always being on our way to something new. The awareness of this as a spiritual life is a great gift not granted to all, and to be CONSTANT in that awareness is my prayer and hope for the coming years.

  4. This was a tricky process for me this year. A word would appear one day and then another the next. Each one spoke to me but did not stay after it’s initial presence – words for a day. Then EMBRACE presented itself and enveloped me in warmth and energy. It called to my soul and invited me into the coming year with hope and expectation and positivity. So I embrace my word as I embrace life and all that presents itself in each moment.

  5. “Washougal” is an Indian word meaning “rushing waters.” I was drawn to this place and the feeling of nature here in the Pacific Northwest. I feel more complete, balanced and peaceful here as I enter the next phase of my life as a more spiritual, centered and healthier human being. Being middle aged and chronic health problems has led me to this place and its life source on my journey to health not only physically, but also mentally and spiritually.