Selected Photographs by Barbara Brabec,
Previously featured in 2011 as her "Photo of the Month"

Barbara's Christmas photos of her cat are HERE.

 
Barbara Brabec's cat

February, 2011 - "Winter Dreams"

Barbaraís cat companion Charlee, taking a "cat nap" in a sunny spot in the kitchen. Did you know that cats sleep an average of 13 to 16 hours each day? And that, according to EEG studies on cats, they have REM (dreaming) sleep for 30 percent of their sleeping time?

According to the National Sleep Foundation, we could all use a short cat nap from time to time. Unlike a slumbering cat, we arenít likely to dream then, but such a nap can improve our brain function, job performance, alertness, stamina, and mood.

"Cats are rather delicate creatures and they are subject to a good many ailments, but I never heard of one who suffered from insomnia." ~Joseph Wood Krutch

"Authors like cats because they are such quiet, lovable, wise creatures, and cats like authors for the same reasons. ~ Robertson Davies

 

 

kaleidoscopic art

April, 2011 - "Kaleidoscopic Art"

Life is full of surprises when you approach it with a mind open to the possibilities. I had fun one day taking digital pictures of views from a couple of my kaleidoscopes. Frankly, I was amazed by the delightful images I was able to capture, each one unique and impossible to recreate. Try this sometime. Just hold the camera lens against the eye-hole of the kaleidoscope and click away.

"Creativity is a lot like looking at the world through a kaleidoscope," says speaker and consultant Rosabeth Moss Kanter. "You look at a set of elements, the same ones everyone else sees, but then reassemble those floating bits and pieces into an enticing new possibility. Effective leaders are able to shake up their thinking as though their brains are kaleidoscopes, permitting an array of different patterns out of the same bits of reality."

"The world is your kaleidoscope, and the varying combinations of colors which at every succeeding moment it presents to you are the exquisitely adjusted pictures of your ever-moving thoughts." ~ James Allen

 

a paper cutting story

May, 2011
"A Paper Cutting Story"

Whether you call it paper snipping, silhouettes, or Scherenschnitte (the German word for this popular folk art form), for centuries millions of people have used scissors to make intricate paper cuttings. Art historians say that this art form dates back to A.D. 750 in China, from where it later spread to many other countries in Asia, Europe, and eventually America. Today countless individuals all over the world make Scherenschnitte art for both fun and profit.

This particular piece, given to me about fifty years ago by a friend who found it in her mother's attic, is very old. I have always treasured it and been fascinated by the scene portrayed here, imagining that Garden Fairies are welcoming Spring as Old Man Winter slips away. Since winter went begrudgingly this year, holding on well into April, this picture seemed appropriate for my May Photo of the Month, and my serendipitous find of the charming verse below couldn't have been more timely:

"Faeries, come take me out of this dull world,
For I would ride with you upon the wind,
Run on the top of the dishevelled tide,
And dance upon the mountains like a flame."

~ William Butler Yeats, The Land of Heart's Desire, 1894

hummingbirds

August, 2011 - "California Hummingbirds"

Last year, for the first time in my life, I set up a hummingbird feeder and took great delight in being near the birds once in a while when they were feeding. I tried without success to photograph them then, but finally achieved that goal while visiting my sisters in California earlier this year. Sister Mollie's patio feeder was attracting one hummingbird after another, so I grabbed my camera and only had to wait a few minutes to catch these shots.

I remain in awe of the speed at which these tiny birds take flight after they've had a drink of nectar. In fact, according to Humming-Birds.com, their flight speed averages 25 to 30 mph and they can power dive up to 60 mph, hover in space, and fly backwards and sideways. These are truly the tiniest and most fascinating birds in God's Creation.

September sky

September, 2011 - "September Sky"

Many areas of the country have had record-breaking rainfalls this year, and the Chicago area was no exception. But I'm thinking now about all those in the Northeast and South who have lost their homes due to hurricanes, tornadoes, storms, or massive flooding. Thankfully, the sun will eventually peek from behind the darkest cloud if one only waits long enough for it.

"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass
. . . itís about learning how to dance in the rain."
~ author, artist, and speaker Vivian Greene.

Story of a Clematis plant

October, 2011 - "I'm Not Done Yet"

This year I planted two varieties of Clematis on my arch, the white "Sweet Autumn" on the right side and the purple "Miss Bateman" on the left. Miss Bateman gave me about a dozen blooms on the bottom area of the arch in the spring, and then nothing until the Sweet Autumn practically brought the arch down with thousands of blooms in early September. One day a couple of weeks later, on passing through the arch to the other side, I found this single purple bloom hogging the spotlight, almost shouting to me, "I'm not done yet!"

I think many small business owners must feel like this when they're competing with thousands of other businesses that offer similar products or services. "Look at me!" they proclaim from their websites. "I

November 2011 - "November Leaves"

Gazing through my kitchen windows is something my cat, Charlee, seems to enjoy as much as I do. I take all my meals here, and from different angles I can see most of back yard, which now contains several perennial gardens. This is an older picture that doesnít show my newest landscaping features along the fence, but it remains my favorite picture of this particular tree, which I consider the anchor to my whole back yard. I almost lost it one year when it was attacked by disease, but I treated it and prayed for it and God restored it to health. Thus I always feel blessed when it gives me glorious color in the fall and then fills out again in the spring to give me a summer shade umbrella for my little patio.

 

For Christmas photos of Barbara's cat, Charlee, and a little Christmas story that will warm the heart of any cat lover, click here.

offer something others don't have or can't deliver." Certainly that's how I felt when I launched my editing and consulting services a few years ago. Today I am competing with nearly five million other book editors, but now my book manuscript editing and critiquing services are coming up on the first page of Google and Yahoo and I've had more editing queries this year than I could handle.

There is much to be said for being patient and persistent as we continually strive for excellence in everything we do. (And learning about SEO strategies can make a big difference in the number of clients or customers that will be attracted to your website. Check my Google keyword strategies here.

"A Respectful Christmas Cat"

A respectful Christmas cat

One year when I was blessed to be with my sisters over the Christmas holiday, I happened to be in the right place at the right time with camera in hand to catch this shot of sister Mollie's cat, Jivette, kissing Baby Jesus in the Wakeman's Creche.

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