There’s always at least one angel.

         Down through the years in random, casual conversation my mother would tell me that when it came time for her funeral service I was to be sure that someone sang her favorite hymn, “The Old Rugged Cross,” at her service. She also made it very clear that the song, “Somewhere The Sun Is Shining” was also to be a part of her funeral celebration. Blessedly, I had tucked these thoughts away, and when the day came I was determined to make good on the promise that I had made to her so many years before.

        In the final weeks before mom’s surrender to breast cancer, I knew the time was drawing near for me to begin making the arrangements. I had a good friend whose splendid singing voice my mother had always enjoyed, and I knew that mom would love for Marcia to sing the chosen songs at her memorial service. Marcia said yes as soon as I asked so I told her the two songs we would be needing. Of course locating “The Old Rugged Cross” was not going to be a problem, but Marcia was not familiar with “Somewhere the Sun Is Shining,” and I didn’t have the music in my collection. She knew I had my hands full in dealing with the impending death of my mother in addition to making the funeral arrangements so she told me not to worry. She would locate the sheet music.

        The day of mom’s funeral arrived and Marcia, true to her word, showed up with her accompanist and both requested pieces of music, performing each beautifully. I just know that mom was standing somewhere off to the side in the church that morning listening as Marcia sang.

        What I didn’t know until several weeks after the funeral were the circumstances under which Marcia finally located the music for “Somewhere The Sun Is Shining.” She shared the story in a card to me:

        “The actual title of your mom’s special song is really “Beautiful Isle of Somewhere.” My discovery of this is a story I think you’ll enjoy knowing. I was in Malone Music and Gary, the owner of the store, and I had been checking all over for the title with no luck. We were close to admitting defeat when a woman–unfamiliar to both of us as well as the other clerk in the store that day, was suddenly there while we were discussing our search. She knew the actual title and told us where to find the music! Angels are everywhere, Bec.”

There’s never been a doubt in my mind but that my mother wanted to make very sure that she had the songs of her choice, so she stopped by to lend a hand in the music shop when it was needed.

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Saints and Angels won’t lie to you.

      A good friend of mine gave me a beautiful set of Saints & Angels Oracle cards as a Christmas gift. The set was compiled by “The Angel Lady”—Doreen Virtue, Ph.D. She’s appeared on such television shows as Good Morning America, Oprah, The View and CNN to mention a few.

      There are people ‘out there’ who will never believe this, but we all have at least one guardian angel. And the saints really don’t care if you’re not Catholic.

      I tend to believe I have four guardian angels, but to this day I cannot explain what went wrong last August when I got a speeding ticket via the new speed cameras posted on I-380 around Cedar Rapids. Evidently, my four chose not to intervene on my behalf that day. Ah, well. I paid the fine and am getting on with my life in spite of it.

     Tonight I finally opened the deck and read the guidebook that came with them. The cards have beautiful artistic renditions of the major Saints and Angels. You will remember that it was an angel named Gabriel who brought the news of the new baby on Christmas—

     The card I drew was labeled ‘Steady Progress’—with a picture of St. Therese of Lisieux on it. She was a Carmelite nun who recorded her mystical experiences in a book called The Story of a Soul.

     The guidebook explained my card to me:

     “You’ve been making steady progress, and it’s important for you to recognize that this progress (not perfection) is what’s important. This is a message for you to appreciate how much you’ve already achieved and how many people you’ve helped along the way. Keep your focus away from any lapses that you think you’ve made. Guilt and regrets never helped anyone, so let them go today.

You’re also asked to forgive yourself for what you think you’ve done or not done.”

     Wow. Talk about a right-on card. I started thinking ahead to the writing projects waiting for me shortly. Maybe some of it is coming from a case of the post-holiday tireds, but for a little while today I felt overwhelmed at the thought of even starting on the shaping process on that NaNoWriMo manuscript I created in November, and scaling up my querying process for the completed Iron Angel manuscript. And getting the next two paid gigs done in the best shape and form that I can. And finishing that Unfinished Letter essay to my late grandmother that came to me one day . . .

     I put a concern to the Universe, and then drew the card that I did this evening.

     Saints and Angels. Who can’t use a little tender encouragement now and then?