It’s been pushing fifteen years since I hand picked the trees, bushes, and flowers for my yard. I made sure each one was placed strategically around the yard; front, sides, and back, to make the most of the shade, but more importantly for the tropical oasis that I’d envisioned in my mind – a getaway from the world…

I’ll admit that the selections were a strategic as well as a self serving endeavor. And while I was trying to create an escape from the world, I stumbled into bringing some of the most beautiful parts of this world into my oasis.

The west and east sides of the house, where the morning and afternoon Arizona sun pierces even the toughest dual pane windows, are now massive yellow bells and orange jubilees.

In the backyard, among the same yellow bells and orange jubilees, behind the queen palms and orange trees, is a mixture of bougainvilleas, red and purple, and hibiscus trees.

Hibiscus flowers are my favorite. And I have every color hibiscus God made in my backyard.

For all I accomplished in hiding neighbors yards and road noises, as well as creating an oasis to find solace from the vicious world, probably the best thing I accomplished was creating a home for all the birds and critters that don’t pay rent.

The trees are filled with nests of all types of birds; doves, cactus wrens, sparrows, blackbirds, but mostly my favorites, hummingbirds.

We have hummingbird nests in front, side, and backyards. There’s been more than a couple of seasons when we were flogged by a tiny hummingbird mom trying to get us away from the nest she’d built in the tree under our back patio.

But just like the movie “Field of Dreams”, “Build it and they will come”. The squirrels are winning the battle to take over underneath the spa and boulder water feature. It’s also a losing battle trying to keep the rats from the orange trees. They aren’t pretty, but the baby lizards perform the nighttime dinner show by eating the bugs gathered to the light coming from the windows under the patio.

The pigeons have been in retreat for over a year now since I went on the offensive to rid them from destroying the front of the house. They’ll come back. They always do. I’ll be ready.

Death and destruction are part of this fallen world… and even in a retreat designed for a break from the world, it falls there too.

In Matthew 10:29 I’m reminded that a small bird doesn’t have a lot of value in this world, but they matter to God and He knows when one dies… which means He cares.

With all the birds that live in my yard, I’ve seen many fall. And it reminds me that it’s a fallen world. Children are dying and being abused… evil is real.

We need rest from the world, but even a beautiful oasis can’t bring peace. That only comes from God.