One of my visions has been to create a sanctuary in my back yard. My husband, Manuel, and I have always had a great appreciation for all nature and wildlife. We feed the birds, the squirrels, and although not intentionally, the deer, who seem to enjoy eating from our bird feeder.
We enjoy an abundance of birds in our yard, particularly cardinals. Every year families of cardinals multiply and seem to enjoy the sanctity of our backyard.
Cardinals have been in my life since I lost my mother unexpectedly in 2007. I have come to believe that the cardinals have been sent to me from Mom, to assure me that she is settled in Heaven and looking after me. I can share multiple accounts of cardinal encounters, inexplicable stories, that might be difficult for anyone to believe unless they experienced it themselves. I have doubted, and tested, only to be humbled by the miraculous occurrences that bring these beautiful red birds my way, time after time. There is no doubt in my mind that they are a gift to me from Momma.
Shortly after Mom passed, the vision I had for the yard inspired a passion within to begin the process of turning our back yard into a sanctuary. Step by step Manuel and I created a piece of our own little Heaven, here on earth. Every garden artifact we could find was collected. From an old broken pot to dozens of thrift store treasures; we gathered all we found to bring life to this project. My son, Aria, donated many plants that he had nurtured from seeds. Friends donated shrubs and pots, while beautiful plant cuttings were gifted from others. We collected every bird house we could find, old and new, while we continued treasure hunting at garage sales and thrift stores. Before we knew it, our back yard, which had been nothing more than encroaching woodland, was the beautiful sanctuary we had imagined.
Early one evening after Mom died, my father and I were sitting on his back yard deck in Florida. I had not yet shared with him about the cardinal encounters that had begun to happen to me. While sitting silently together, both of us missing my mother terribly, I heard the distinguishable peep of a cardinal coming from a nearby tree. “Do you hear that, Daddy?!”, I asked. His high frequency hearing loss did not allow him to hear the bird. A few moments later he said to me, “You know, Kim, your mother sure did love those red birds!” It was that moment I finally accepted that the cardinal’s presence in my life was not by chance and that they were sent to comfort me and to assure me that everything was going to be okay.
Please enjoy the photographs of our back yard sanctuary which is dedicated to the memory of my loving mother, Ida Brewer.