Of Angel Stories: A Collection From You

Below is a collection of angel stories sent to me by my readers and friends. I implore you to send me yours too, short or long, so that I may in turn publish them and share them with the world. To participate, send your story to me at sbquah@outlook.com. I will post them here under the title series “Of Angel Stories.” Newest are posted at the top.

Stepheny’s Angel Story (told by Stepheny; written by Sara)

A few weeks ago I was playing at the Farmer’s Market in Terre Haute and a young woman came up and took my card. She was sweet and sincere and one of those people who make playing out worthwhile. A few days later, after reading through my blog and these angel stories, she commented on one of my Facebook posts; I was so touched by her kindness and intrigued by her words that I asked her to meet me for coffee. We did. It was lovely. Her green eyes glowed bright with the telling. And now, I have my final angel story:

Exactly one year before that day at the market—June 24th, Stepheny said goodbye to her dog Chico, a mostly black Dalmation mix that she and her boyfriend had rescued from a neglectful owner. Chico was a devoted and beloved friend whose daily doses of affection and service brought joy to her home and faithfulness to her life. Chico knew when Stepheny, an epileptic, was about to have an attack and would lay on top of her with his head pressed against her face to keep her safe. Chico died at fifteen years old, and his death marked a period of sadness and loss to the whole house; it seemed that joy left with him.

That summer after Chico died, everything seemed to go wrong– with jobs, with relationships, even with the house. Disconnection and dysfunction multiplied.  All that had been good seemed so fragile, so thinly present. For some solace and quiet one day, Stepheny went out alone to go fishing. While there she got a call from her boyfriend that a stray puppy was hiding underneath their camper. He had to go to work and couldn’t get him to come out. Could she come home and take care of it?

When she got home, her boyfriend had left but she could see the puppy’s shape under the camper. She called to him but he wouldn’t come out. She went inside, got a bowl of food and brought it out. As soon as she sat the bowl down, the puppy rushed to the bowl. And when Stepheny saw him it took her breath away. A very hungry, mostly black Dalmation mix puppy ran up and licked the bowl clean. She almost couldn’t believe what she was seeing. But truly a new friend had arrived.

Healing and joy, little by little, returned along with the new member of the family, Tito. Little by little, things got better. Stepheny decided she needed to focus on others, so she took a job caring for preschoolers, and supporting their families, in the poorest areas of town. At home, they began the slow process of fixing all that had gone wrong with the house that had seemed overwhelming, and with the smiles and laughter of the new puppy, strained relationships began to heal as well.

But it wasn’t just those tangible things that got better. It was something bigger too.  In the arrival and sweetness of this new puppy, a message was delivered as well. And it was the message that altered all. Within the disappointments and struggles, life is also precious and good. And there is someone who knows your need and longs to fulfill it. And there is someone who knows your sadness and longs to heal it. Your little life is meaningful. Your little life is deserving of a miracle. Your life will have joy, and love and faithfulness –and new puppies and sustaining angels.

Here’s a pic of Chico on the left and Tito on the right. Seriously wow, right?

Simon’s Angel Story:

It was about eight months ago, I was going through a bit of a rough time. I was living alone in a rundown bedsit and feeling utterly depressed. It was dark, cold and wet outside, almost time for me to start the second part of my shift that day as a home care worker. I wouldn’t get home that night until​ after 10pm. I just wanted to sleep, the thought of having to go to work was unbearable, I just wanted to die, I wanted to cry. I sunk to my knees and wept in despair and prayed for God to take away the pain. I then stood up, grabbed my bag and jacket, reluctantly stepped out the door, got on my bicycle and began the two mile journey to my first call. I was feeling so low, and I was fighting back the tears welling up inside of me. I told myself to get a grip. My clients home was set back off the main road, I thought that perhaps I’d be able to compose myself before going inside but the nearer I got the more my emotions were getting the better of me. That evening’s rush hour traffic was worse than​ usual, I was thinking that I needed to stop, to find an alleyway, anywhere to hide myself, just sob and get it out of my system but I was almost there​, just one more busy junction to navigate and a hundred yards further up the road I’d be at my destination and just maybe I’d be fine. As the tears began to cloud my vision and I gingerly weaved my bike through a stream of slow moving vehicles, a female voice called to me from her car asking for directions to Gipsy Lane. I never did look at her, I guess I was so preoccupied with oncoming vehicles and not getting involved in a collision. “Take a left then turn right at the next set of lights” I told her. I rode on but the odd thing was my tears were gone, the despair had instantly lifted, in that moment I felt completely fine! I pulled up on the driveway thinking to myself, ‘What just happened, was I losing it’? It was like someone had flicked a switch in my mind. That night when I got back home to my cold, damp bedsit, the thought of what had happened was still troubling me. I questioned whether it was so inconceivable that God had somehow answered my prayer. I sat down on the bed and thought about what had happened, what she said. She had asked for directions to ‘Gipsy Lane’. I grabbed a notepad and pen and quickly I rearranged those letters into ‘I spy angel’. There is no doubt in my mind that Jehovah God really did help me that night by sending his angel to look over me in my hour of need.

Tammy’s Angel Story:

We have a few of these types of stories in my family, but my grandmother’s is my favorite.

In 1937, my grandmother was pregnant with her first child. Like most new moms, she was scared to death about giving birth. One of her favorite sisters (Grandma was one of 12 children) had died giving birth and she was understandably fearful the same thing would happen to her.

The time came to give birth to my uncle and the birth was taking a very long time. Things didn’t seem to be progressing and she was getting more and more scared that she really would die. She was under to medication, so she was pretty aware of everything that was going on around her and knew the doctor and nurses were concerned, too.

About halfway through the labor, her sister, the one who died in childbirth, walks in the room and sits in a chair by her bed. She never spoke to my grandmother, but sat there until my uncle was born. My grandmother said it was very calming and she was able to relax. Once she relaxed, everything progressed as it should and her healthy baby boy was born.

Once the delivery was done, her sister left and she never saw her again.

Cheryl’s Angel Story:

We went through two and half years of infertility before finally getting pregnant only to have our hearts crushed almost halfway through the pregnancy (19 weeks) to find out we had lost our baby. And then found out after having a DNC that we had lost not just one but two babies. We were expecting twins and didn’t even know.

I got pregnant a month later and began having problems at 10 weeks gestation. I was told I would most likely miscarry again and was placed on bedrest for a month. Low and behold the rest helped and our baby was doing well. At an ultrasound we found out that there had been damage to my placenta and that our baby was getting all of the oxygen needed but only half of the nutrition so he was undersized. Once again I was placed on bedrest and had to continue going to Peoria for routine checks every two weeks in order to monitor the baby’s growth.

On my 28 week appointment I was told there was little to no fluid and that I was being admitted to the hospital immediately; I wasn’t even able to go home and pack a bag. They immediately started me on surfactant injections to try and develop the baby’s lungs with the expectations of having to deliver within the next 36-48 hours. That turned into a 5 week hospital stay. They couldn’t explain it but my amniotic fluid levels had come up and they wanted to keep the baby inside to finish developing for as long as possible, so I was monitored throughout the day, every day and through the nights as well.

At 33 weeks the fluid was once again depleted, and it was time to deliver via c-section because a normal delivery was too risky given the size of the baby. Doctors and nurses were talking to us right up to the delivery to prepare us for the very worst. Things like cerebral palsy, lengthy hospital stays, potential surgeries, and the worst yet…the potential of going home without a baby at all. We were scared, terrified really probably describes it better.

We were about to become first time parents and while we were so excited for that role we also knew our fight wasn’t over and we were trying so hard to not think about the “what ifs” and to just focus on one step at a time. On November 24, 2003 we delivered a 2 lb 3 oz 12″ long baby boy that we named Corbin Reid. He never needed any oxygen to assist him in breathing, didn’t need a feeding tube; his Apgar scores were perfect and he was perfect in every way; just super tiny. He needed to grow and learn how to maintain his own body heat but considering everything he had stacked against him he was remarkably healthy and happy. He spent 1 week in the NICU, then another week in the PICU and then he was transferred from Peoria via ambulance to St Joe’s here in Bloomington where he spent a week in the mother/baby nursery on the maternity ward. We brought him home on his three week birthday weighing a mere 3 lbs 7 oz. The doctors had never seen anything like it and told us we had angels watching over us.

I believe with every fiber of my being that my grandfather (who passed away my senior year of high school in 1996) is Corbin’s guardian angel. Corbin knows who my grandpa is, and not because we have told him about him. When he was almost 2 years old he would point to a picture I have on our book case of my grandpa and and say “papa”. We had never told him at that point who was in that picture. I believe Corbin’s story is a success story because my grandpa was by my side every step of the way making sure he was protected and healthy. Corbin is our miracle baby. ❤️

Morgan’s Angel Stories:

Mom’s:

Years ago, my mom was coming home from Kmart. She had the green light to cross over Veterans while on Empire and as she got into the middle of the intersection, a cement truck (full of cement) SLAMMED into her car going 45 mph. Mom didn’t have a seat belt on. Her airbag deployed, windows shattered, car was totaled, and the fire dept had to jimmy the door to get her out. She walked away from it with some minor bruising. One of the police officers came up to her with a picture of Jesus in his hand and said it had been sitting upright in her backseat. That picture of Jesus was given to her by a foster kid and placed in a pocket in her wallet. Her purse had not been blasted around the car, and her wallet was still in her purse when she got out…

And Dad’s:

After my Dad died, I was very distraught for several months. I had been hashing up old memories of Dad, like the time he was a chaperone for my 5th grade trip to Chicago. We took the train up (first time for many of us from Towanda had been on a train) and Dad had us laughing the whole time. He chatted it up with a guy from the government and got him to let my classmate use his “cell phone” to call his mom. It was one of the first phones in a suitcase. (I’m 37). Another classmate had broken her leg the week before so Dad piggy-backed her through both museums and the aquarium. All the kids wanted to be by him. They thought he was the coolest. It was a great day with Dad.

In one of the gift shops, there was a paper weight I loved that had beautiful colors. Dad must’ve seen me gawk at it as he surprised me with it when I got home. After he passed and I was telling a friend this story, I remembered I hadn’t seen it for a long time. I searched my house high and low and was frantic I couldn’t find it. I remember sitting on the kitchen floor sobbing and praying I would find it as I needed to grasp any bit of Dad I could. A couple days later, I was having a dream that got completely interrupted by Dad telling me to check the keepsake box in my closet, which I had already checked. I immediately woke up, checked it and there it was. Now it sits on my end table next to my bed. Never losing that again.

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Lou Ann’s (My Mom) Angel Story:

It was Christmas Eve, 1984.  It was really, really cold in Eastern Kentucky; around 20 degrees below zero.  Our family of four was packed into our old panel van with all the Christmas presents, the dog, and the cat.  We were headed to Indiana to celebrate the holidays with our family.  We were happy and excited and over-tired and a little stressed.  It wasn’t easy getting everything into the van in the bitter cold, and it was so early the stars were still out.

About thirty miles into our trip, the old van started acting funny.  The engine made some sputtering sounds, and then – it died.  My husband managed to coast to the side of the road.  There was no need to worry about traffic behind us – there wasn’t any.  We were in the area of a little-used state park and several miles from a town or a gas station.  And our van had died.  And it was 20 degrees below zero. And it was Christmas Eve. 

My husband, who knows very little about cars and engines, got out of the van and opened the hood.  He looked inside, but I knew he had no idea what he was looking for.  I climbed into the back of the van and started wrapping up the kids and trying to corral the cat.  I tried to figure out a plan…how to keep warm, how to get help, how to get home to Indiana.  Should my husband start walking?  How long would it be before he started getting hypothermic?  Should we all stay together?  Wrap up in one blanket and try to share our body heat?  Hope a Good Samaritan or state cop would drive by?  No cell phones in those days, and there wasn’t a house in sight.

While I was in the back of the van and my husband in front of the raised hood, he felt a tap on his shoulder.  There was a man (in a flannel shirt and jeans – no coat!) holding out a bottle of gas tank antifreeze.  He handed it to my husband and said, “Put this in your gas tank.  It will fix the problem.”  My husband lowered the hood of the van, and I saw him and the man.  My husband walked to the side of the van and put the antifreeze into the gas line.  When he turned to thank the man, he was gone! 

Was the man an angel or just a nice guy with a bottle of gas line antifreeze in his glove box?  Of course we’ll never know for sure, but as soon as our old panel van started back up the road and home for Christmas, my husband and I were convinced we had been rescued by an angel. 

Tony SanFilippo’s Angel Story:

The Hammond Organ Angel

So I was out watching Sara play solo a couple weeks ago. It was a lovely outdoor show, in the dusk of a perfect night in Central Illinois. She closed her third set with a song called Stylevester Brown, a song that is about a man she met in Chicago who may possibly be an angel. This reminded me of a gentleman I once met who I believe to be an angel, specifically the Hammond Organ Angel.

The story starts early one Saturday morning. I had fallen asleep on the couch and never went to bed that night. I still had a land line and its ring is what woke me that morning. I was surprised by it, and by the fact that it was daylight and I was on the couch and never made it to bed.  The voice on the other end was the deep bass of my friend Mike White. Mike is a bass player, singer, guitar repair guru and all around great guy. He also is one of those guys who gets up to hit all the garage sales, and read the classified sale listings in the newspaper.  [For the youngsters reading this: a newspaper is like the internet, only made of very thin pieces of wood.] 

So its somewhere around 8am and I pick up the ringing phone to hear this booming radio announcer voice saying, “Tony, its Miiiike.”  It took me a moment to come to and react. “Hey man, what’s up?”  He said, “There’s a Hammond M3 in the paper for $50 that you should buy for the studio.” There was no part of that I didn’t like. I asked him a bit about the M3 and he explained that it is in fact a tone wheel organ, and some even call it the Baby B. It has a built-in speaker, but Mike mentioned that he could put a 1/4” output to interface with the Leslie rotating amp the studio already had. I fumbled around to find a pen and paper to write down the name and number of the owner. 

I gathered myself a bit and called the owner. When I said I was calling about the organ she asked, “Is this Tony? I spoke to Mike a few minutes ago and he said to expect your call.”  OK, this is working out well. I make arrangements to drive out to see the organ, in between afternoon and evening gigs. I drove out, the organ worked and looked pretty good as well. I handed the nice lady a fifty dollar bill and told her I’d need to make arrangements with my boss to come out with his pick-up within the next few days. I was still working at a studio called Shiny On Top at the time. The owner was Edwin Pierce who played rhythm guitar on Taking Me Back.

Either Monday or Tuesday evening Edwin, myself and our good friend Dean Carlson (who sings and writes for the rock band Wiplot that I’ve played with since moving to Bloomington) went to retrieve my new Hammond. Even though the M3 is a smaller and lighter model compared to the venerable B3, or its even heavier brother the C3, it is still a heavy beast. We muscled it into the small pick-up, strapped it down, and drove to the studio.

Shiny On Top was housed on the second floor of a fairly old building in Downtown Bloomington.  It had a straight staircase, no turns or landings. It was never fun getting gear up and down those stairs, and this was no exception. Ed, Dean and I may have been the three skinniest musicians in Bloomington at the time, which becomes important as this story continues. Being it was a weeknight, we were able to park close to the door. I opened the doors on the street level, ran up to open the studio and turned on the lights. 

Back on the street we jockeyed the organ to the doorway, which was luckily wide. Edwin and I were on opposite long sides of the instrument, me on the keyboard, Edwin at the back, and poor Dean was on the short end- and thus the bottom of the weight. We were pretty tight in the staircase, and were trying to move carefully.  It was fairly impossible to move fast, but we were making progress.  At about the halfway point, Dean said, “Um, guys, guys, GUYS!!!”  He was having a rough time dealing with the weight and the force of gravity. I got quite nervous that things were going to go south quickly (and literally). I had visions of knocking on Dean’s door to tell his wife that he was in the hospital or dead at the hands of my $50 Organ. We were trying to figure out what to do when it happened…

Out of nowhere, an Asian man appeared behind us and asked with a slight accent, “You need a hand?” In almost perfect sync, Ed and I turned our heads as the three of us said “YES!” in perfect unison. He jumped to our aid, taking one of the bottom corners to free Dean from the brunt of the weight. We quickly got up to the second floor and set the organ down in front of the studio entrance. We were all thanking the mystery man when he said, “One more floor?” I smiled and told him that this was it and we could get it in place. As I was reaching in my pocket to give him literally whatever money I was carrying, he was already at the bottom of the stairs. I called to him as I ran to catch up, but he kept moving forward out the door. By the time I hit the sidewalk, there was no sign of him. Main Street in Downtown Bloomington was deserted. The studio was in the literal middle of the block, and I can’t see how he could have turned the corner in either direction so quickly; the speed needed to clear the remainder of a city block to take him out of my view would have been inhuman. There were no moving cars that I could see or hear.

I am CONVINCED that gentleman was the Hammond Organ Angel. His ethereal mission is to save musicians from certain death by Hammond. He can hear the distressed calls of keyboard players the world over, and he appears saving the day. He’s gone as quickly as he appears.


Janine’s Angel Story:

When I was in my twenties, my dad died. It was traumatic for me being a daddy’s girl, but even worse for my mom who had been married to him for 34 years. About a month after his passing, I was on my way home from work and a thought popped into my head to stop at the florist. Now, I’m not prone to visiting the florist, so it was random but I went with it. When inside I decided to send my mom some flowers. It was easy, it took maybe 10 minutes for the entire transaction, almost like I was outside of myself and someone else was driving. I walked to the case, picked out yellow roses in a vase, had the florist write “He still loves you” on the card and planned to have them delivered to my mom the next day.

The next day my mom called me in tears, and my heart sank. I did not send her the roses to make her sad, I had hoped to bring her a little joy. She said “You don’t understand. I’ve been praying. Asking God to send me a sign that your dad was doing OK. I prayed that he would send me yellow roses that I might know it was a sign from your dad that he was with me and that everything would be alright.”

Why had I sent flowers? Specifically yellow roses? What in the world had possessed me to do such a thing? After much thought I have come to the conclusion that angels work through ordinary people like you and me. The next time you get that little itch to do something that seems out of the ordinary, do it. I’m convinced it’s an angel compelling you to do something for someone else.

J9's parents edited

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