Barbara Personal

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Barbara Brabec’s
Personal Life Experiences
and Lessons Learned

“The next best thing to living a good life
is remembering it all over again.”

–Barbara, in The Drummer Drives! Everybody Else Rides,
a memoir about her life with legendary Chicago drummer Harry Brabec.


15 Interesting Things to Ponder instead of the News. Writing and Word Usage, Tips for Better Health, Stunning Statistics, Time out for Fun, and an Inspirational Story you may have missed.

Barbara’s Personal Interests. What I Love about My Life. Barbara reflects on the things she loves and why we shouldn’t take ordinary pleasures for granted.

Barbara Brabec, Marimbist and Entertainer [PDF]. Prior to becoming a professional writer, and before she met and married Harry Brabec, Barbara Schaumburg had another life as a freelance musician in Chicago in the fifties and sixties. This tells Barbara’s musical story along with that of her teacher, James Dutton, virtuoso marimbist; with 14 photos/illustrations.

Barbara Brabec, Speaker [PDF]. A rare historical document that tracks the history of the home business industry from 1981-1996 through Barbara’s many speaking engagements in those years.

 Bring New Peace and Joy into Your Life. How the colors in our home, the trees around us, and our faith in God affect our mood, emotions, and even our health.

NEW: Developing New Life Perspectives. Lessons learned from a garage sale, a friend’s perspective on downsizing, an unusual “purge and reorganize” experience, and more.

Divinely Connected by the Marimba. How Barbara’s grade school choice of a musical instrument led her directly to the man she was destined to marry.

How to Create a Durable Financial Power of Attorney without a Lawyer. Here’s a legal step Barbara took after accepting the reality that she might not always be able to do everything herself.

NEW: How to Create Legal Documents without a Lawyer. Aging prompts us to think about the future—ours and those we love—suggesting the need for helpful legal documents we can create ourselves.

In What Season of Life Are You Now? This article discusses the need for reflection on where you are in life’s journey and how we change with each passing decade.

NEW: The Life-Changing Consequences of a Bad Fall. Lessons Barbara learned after her second bad fall, products that helped her recover, and her strategies for getting help.

NEW:  My 85th Birthday, Baptism, and Celebration. How being baptized on her landmark 85th birthday changed Barbara's life and drew her nearer to her family, friends, and the Lord.

My Last Garage Sale Experience. Amusing stories and surprises, what sold and what didn't, disposition of unsold goods, and reasons to be thankful. 

My Memory Box of Life with Harry Brabec. This creative endeavor was essential to Barbara’s emotional healing as a grieving widow and one that will inspire many to create a memory box of a loved one. Includes ideas and tips on how to combine memorable photos with a loved one’s personal possessions.

“The passing down of memories is the strongest link in the gossamer bridge that binds us as people.” - From Wish You Well, by David Baldacci

Reflections on Covid-19: My Story of Adaptation, Change, and Acceptance. Adapted from Barbara’s Brabec Bulletin in August 2020.

“Prediction is difficult, especially about the future.” - Yogi Berra

Remembering Harry Brabec [PDF]. A special widow’s tribute that documents Harry’s unusual and amazing professional life, with historical music information and colorful stories; includes 25 photos.

“May you never forget what is worth remembering, nor ever remember what is best forgotten.” ‑ Old Irish Blessing

Ten Photos with Anecdotes. [PDF]. Barbara shares some of her photos and related anecdotal stories and quotes about cats, hummingbirds, kaleidoscopic art, paper cuttings, flower gardening, and the changing seasons.

 The Time-Honored Tradition of Saving and Sharing Recipes. Adapted from one of Barbara's unfinished books titled “Stories in My Recipe Box: Kitchen Tales, Cooking Tips, and Old Family Recipes”

Wall of Bengal Tiger Cross-Stitch Embroideries [PDF]. Of special interest to cross-stitchers, cat lovers, and home office workers, this wall in Barbara’s office represents thousands of hours of stitching over a period of years, and it’s one of her best stress-relievers now.

What are Your Plans for the New Year? Are you where you want to be in life? Or do you feel you need to get your act together this year?

A Widow’s Thoughts and Advice: An Uplifting Series of Articles for Widows and Other Grieving Hearts [PDF]. Three months a widow, Barbara began a ten-year series of articles in which she shared her widowhood journey and advice while reporting on conversations with other widows and their mutual strategies for dealing with grief and loss and moving on.

“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.”- from a headstone in Ireland

I have a contribution to make. I am not just taking up space in this life; I can add something to the lives I touch. I don’t like everything I know about myself, and I'll never be satisfied, but nobody's perfect. I'm not sure where the next years will take me, what they will hold, but I'm open to suggestions.” – Lauren Bacall, from her book, By Myself.

(I wish I’d said this because it’s exactly how I feel at this stage of my life.)

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