Selected Photographs by Barbara Brabec,
Previously featured in 2011 as her "Photo of the Month"
Barbara's Christmas photos of her
cat are HERE.
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
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
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
"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
"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"
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
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, 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."
artist, and speaker Vivian Greene.
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,
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
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"
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
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by Barbara Brabec
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