With a maiden name like Oâ€™Kelley, I am proud of my Irish heritage. My Dad instilled a sense of honor in my two sisters and I from an early age. We grew up making sure we knew how to spell our name correctly with an â€œeyâ€ and not just a â€œyâ€. I can still hear my rendition of telling someone how to spell my name as a child â€“ â€œO-aposophe (intentionally misspelled) -K-e-l-l-e-yâ€ emphasizing each two letters especially the second â€œe.â€
One of the sweetest memories of my Dad was when he decided to take the entire family (including our husbands) to Ireland to visit the land of our ancestors. His health would not allow him to enjoy each new unexplored site along with us but he took great joy in watching our delight and hearing our conversations as we piled in and out of our chartered van. My Mom had planned a full island itinerary minus the pub outings much to the dismay of our driver. I can still visualize how green the rolling hills were separated by low hand-built rock walls, the herds of sheep as they wandered in the pastures and across the roads and how we laughingly hollered â€œsheepâ€ every time we came across them, and the mossy, old, mysterious stone castles that dotted the landscape. We even participated in Irish dances and ate Irish stew, lamb, and blood pudding.
Needless to say, I am fond of Irish blessings. They often recognize the gifts of God to be showered upon the reader. More than once Iâ€™ve used the following Irish blessing when speaking or corresponding:
May God give you . . .
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial,
for every problems life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.
The truth is, God does, in fact, do all of those things: give rainbows, smiles, promises, blessings, faithful friends, songs, and answers to prayers. Sometimes we donâ€™t recognize them. Or maybe we just arenâ€™t accustomed to receiving blessings. We are more accustomed to giving blessings. I wonder what we may be missing out on. We tend to focus on the â€œstorm, the tears, the problems, and the sighs.â€ Isnâ€™t that more the way we are geared â€“ to lean towards the negative? Why donâ€™t we instead try to focus on the â€œrainbow, the smiles, the blessings in each trial, the faithful friend, the sweet song, and answers to our prayers.â€ I bet it would lighten our load and brighten our mood. I dare ye!
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Ewe R Blessed Ministries / Karen O. Allen
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