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An Angel to Watch Over Me

About the Song

Make a list of all the things mothers do and you’ll run out of paper. Make a list of all the things mothers do that are poetic–things you can sing about–and the list becomes much more manageable. One doesn’t sing about casseroles or clean sheets. There is very little poetry in diapers or parent-teacher conferences.

As I wrote this song about the gentler, more poetic contributions that mothers make to our happiness, I’ll admit to entertaining a few errant lines that didn’t make the final draft. (There’s not much that rhymes with “carpool.” Perhaps that’s fortunate.)

These lyrics are based on the singable list, but the less poetic list, for which I am also grateful, is hovering there in the background.

A note on the solo marked “2” – the accompaniment for this one is a bit more bulky than the original.  I’m not sure I care for it, but there it is. 🙂 This song is a part of the Built Upon the Rock program.

Listen (and free 128kbps MP3 downloads)

Click the Soundcloud download icon to download the free track for personal use. Recording featuring vocals by James Loynes:

Accompaniment track:

Recording featuring vocals by Colleen Castleton:

Accompaniment track:

YouTube
Note: In this rendition, vocals by Colleen Thliveris were set to a new piano track by Marshall McDonald. Alas, the CD is no longer available, and the sheet music never was. The video itself was made to promote a book produced by Covenant Communications, which is… no longer available. **sigh** The video is nice though, and the artwork is beautiful. (Video provided to YouTube by outside parties may contain ads that may be skipped after a few seconds.)
Lyrics

She watched by my cradle through long, sleepless nights
She taught me to pray as she knelt by my side
She guarded my childhood, and all through the years
She echoed my laughter, she counted my tears
In the arms of my mother, I came to believe
That God sent an angel to watch over me

She taught me the meaning of courage and faith
She taught me to live with the Lord as my strength
She taught me to follow the pathway he marked
She guided my steps when the journey grew dark
And I know there were dangers that I could not see
But God sent an angel to watch over me

She taught me to serve with a spirit that sings
She taught me to seek after heavenly things
And because of her love and her kindness and care
Because of the place that I hold in her prayers
And because of her goodness, I still believe
That God sent an angel to watch over me

If you have questions, please check the FAQ
If you don't find your answer there, feel free to post your question here. 🙂

11 Comments

  1. Jeffery Pullan

    Sally
    I thank you so much my mother passed and requested be for she left us that I sing a song I was lost as to what to do then I heard this song I am shur my mother pushed it my way the beauty of the song is unbelievable now my Lord has asked me to sing it for Mother’s Day many mothers judge themselves on Mother’s Day and it is a bad day for them but I believe this is a mistake Mother’s Day is for us to celebrate our mothers thank you Sally this song has changed my life

    Reply
  2. Barry Haworth

    Dear Sally,

    I’ve been meaning to email & say thank you for your wonderful music. First, some context.

    I came across your web site quite a few years ago now when our church choir sang one of your songs – “Guard Him, Joseph” – one Christmas. Marvelous song. Our conductor told us where it had come from so I checked it your web site. The MP3 downloads in particular caught my attention, and I downloaded and listened to all the songs I could find.

    Among them, the song “An Angel to Watch Over Me” stood out – simple, beautiful, and so perfect a portrait of my own mother that it was uncanny. For some time after I waited for the right opportunity to suprise my mother by singing it to her, and the perfect occasion came when she turned 80. We had a big family party for her on her birthday, and I had the music and the backing track all ready to roll. The only problem was, my mother was ill – she had been in and out of hospital in the lead up to her birthday, and was in hospital for the party.

    We took the party to her of course, but a hospital ward didn’t seem quite the place for the song. She came out of hospital after the party, but was soon back in, diagnosed with cancer. She died not very long after – not from the cancer, but from a sudden stroke.

    I did sing her the song, though. With a good deal of practice to make sure my voice didn’t break, I sang it at her funeral. A most moving and fitting farewell for a wonderful woman, whom we have all miss.

    That was some years ago now, but I wanted to say thank you to you, for giving me the perfect words and music for the occasion.

    Barry

    Reply
  3. Elizabeth

    This is quiet possibly the most beautiful song I have ever heard. the content beautifully written. that beautiful voice. who is singing this. I have been looking at one page then another for over an hour and the only name that refers to a possible singer is Colleen…I would love to know if and where I can find more of your work and more from the singer of this beautiful song. You must have such a caring heart to have written this. I do not have children and at my age I am not likely to (52y/o). the easy flow of this would make for a wonderful lullaby. it is soft, encouraging, filled with love and hope. in light of the fact that it is not 3am I must put off my search for more until later in the day. I will be giving this website a closer look to see if you have a product available for purchase or some other way to support your works of art. thank you so much for sharing this song and I give the glory to God that he lead me to this song.

    Reply
  4. Jill

    Our primary is singing this in Sacrament Meeting next week and I know there won’t be a dry eye in the chapel, it is just too beautiful. Thanks!

    Reply
  5. Melissa

    Hi Sally,

    This is such a beautiful song! I would love to teach it to our primary children for mother’s day. The music rule in our ward is that it has to be in the Children’s Songbook or have appeared in “The Friend” magazine. Was this song ever in “The Friend”? I had heard from a source that it was in 1999.

    Thank you!
    ~Melissa

    Reply
  6. Jenifer Fernald

    Dear Sally,

    I wanted to tell you of an experience I had that involved you:-) Two years ago my mother passed away. It was an extremely difficult time. One Sunday evening, after a particularly hard day, I was standing in my parents’ room. I was sobbing and talking to my mom. I asked her if she could see me? If she could hear me? Was she there? Did she know that I loved her? I was heartbroken and missing her so much. I just needed to KNOW that she was there. The next afternoon I went out to get the mail and you will never guess what was in my mailbox! “An Angel to Watch Over Me’! I sat down and read the book and cried like I have never cried before. I read it over and over. I KNEW then that she was there, that she had heard me. She was, in deed, my Angel and she was watching over me! I was familiar with your songs and have sung them in church even:-) So, I went to your website and found the song ” An Angel to Watch Over Me”. So beautiful, of course! I listened to IT over and over. And, of course, cried and cried. What comfort I received knowing that my angel mother was watching over me:-) Thank you for your sharing your amazing talents with the world. I am sure that I am not the only one that has received much needed answers and comfort through your writings.

    Now here is a question…I went to Deseret Book to get this wonderful book for a sweet 16 year old girl in my ward. Her mother just passed away and I just knew it would bring comfort to her like it did for me, but they no longer carry it and neither does Seagull. I cannot part with my copy. Is there anywhere that I can order this book?

    Thank you, once again, for being such a source of comfort during a very difficult time in my life,
    Jennifer Fernald

    Reply
    • Sally DeFord

      I wish I could point you to a copy of the book, but it’s out of print. You might try a search on half.com though–I’ve had good luck finding used copies there.

      Jennifer, your story is such a sweet example of how our Heavenly Father watches over us and knows our needs. Thank you so much for sharing!

      Reply
  7. A thankful singer

    Thank you for your music. The words are always beautiful, the piano accompaniment is always so tender and brings the spirit for whatever purposes I need it- the music is always inspired and uplifting– I always feel a little guilty to receive the compliments when I only had such a tiny part if the overall experience of those listening whether it be a choral piece ive conducted or singing with a choir or a solo performed for a special occasion. I am singing this one today for my grandmas memorial service & it makes me feel so peaceful every time I practice it. And the words are perfect for today– So thank you for the gift of music you have shared so freely, that blesses so many– more than you will probably ever know.

    Reply
    • Sally DeFord

      What a kind comment! Thank you so much. What an honor for me to get to be a small part of your grandma’s service.

      Reply
  8. JL

    Ms DeFord:

    Our Primary is singing “An Angel to Watch Over Me”. I notice you have a simplified version of “If the Savior Stood Beside Me” and wanted to ask if you have any plans to post a simplified version of “An Angel…” – ? It would be easier for the children to sing if the melody line were included in the accompaniment. So far, we’ve just been playing the melody line for them; however, I’m anticipating problems when/if we switch to the existing accompaniment. Thanks for your time.

    Reply
    • Sally DeFord

      No, I won’t be doing a simplified version of that one. It wasn’t specifically written for children, so they may well have difficulty with it. Best of luck!

      Reply

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