Barbara Brabec’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.
ONE YEAR when I got to thinking about all the things I love or have a passionate interest in, I surprised myself when I saw how long my list was getting to be. While many of us may complain about our lives at times, if we really sit down and make a list of all the things we care about or love about our life, we might discover that we have been taking some pleasures in life for granted.
I now challenge YOU to make a list of all the things you love—the things that make you a unique individual—and then I urge you to look for new ways to maximize the enjoyment you’re getting out of life. May my list inspire you to remember what’s wonderful about YOUR life.
• I LOVE my family (both immediate and self-adopted), my friends, and my memories—especially of my life with Harry, and growing up in Buckley, Illinois with my parents, grandparents, and two sisters.
• I LOVE cats, dogs, wolves, tigers, elephants, polar bears, teddy bears, and the resident chipmunk in my back yard. Harry didn’t like cats, so I didn’t get my first one until after he died. So I loved my cat, Charlee (2005-2019), whose companionship made all the difference in my ability to be content as a widow. Thankfully, I found another cat in 2019 that I named Liza and love just as much. (As long as I live, I don’t ever want to be without a cat for company.)
• I LOVE carousels and, like Harry, have a great love for circus wagons, calliope music, and old-time circuses with lion tamers and a parade of elephants in a circus ring. I regret that I can see circuses now only in old movies or in Harry’s collection of circus tapes. I’m grateful he didn’t live long enough to see the end of this colorful era of American entertainment because this would have broken his heart.
• I LOVE cross-stitch embroidery, and my favorite motifs are carousel ponies, wolves, and Bengal tigers. Needleworkers will appreciate the story related to the seven Bengal tiger pictures that grace my office wall, which you can see here. I stitched these over a period of several years, and I’m grateful to my sister, Mollie, who in 2013 helped me frame and hang all of them in my office. Each piece took hundreds of hours to stitch; now looking into all those tiger eyes each day as I work in my office is a great stress reliever.
• I LOVE my work on the Web because it gives me something satisfying and meaningful to do every day while also connecting me to both old and new friends around the world. I especially love knowing that I will never run out of things I want to write about. (And I hope I will never run out of readers, either.) I also love my digital camera and have populated my website and articles with many of my photos. (See a collection of them here.)
• I LOVE the way I’m able to live now. In evenings and on weekends, I enjoy cooking from-scratch meals for myself or friends, playing the piano, or curling up with a good book or my needlework. I love TV shows that excite my senses, make me cry, or give me something to think about. I especially love the old Gene Kelly musicals and classic Westerns featuring the great stars that are long gone. (And how I treasure the personal note and autographed photo Jimmy Stewart sent me after I sent him a fan letter in his old age—the only fan letter I’ve ever written to a movie star.)
• I LOVE my yard. After being mostly an indoor person all my life, I spent the summer of 2007 working with a friend who began to implement my landscaping ideas and designs for the whole yard. In the process, I found that I enjoyed yard work and flower gardening far more than I thought. During the next five years, several perennial garden areas were added to the yard, and now every year finds me and my dear friend Kirk making modifications of one kind or another to this or that part of the yard. As my neighbor told me when I started this project, “Once you start, you’ll never be finished with your yard.”
She was right. Decorative wood fence dividers and trellises and a back-yard bench have since been put into place, and every year now one area of the yard or another needs attention as plants grow out of control, die, or are killed by animals or the weather. Some simply need to be transplanted for practicality or beauty’s sake. I enjoy views of my yard from various windows, and the winter landscape is as satisfying to me as the flowers are in the summer. I snapped this back-yard picture after a heavy snowfall.
• Finally—and most important of all—I LOVE my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, without whom life would have no real meaning for me now. Throughout my life—long before I knew it—God was providing for my every need and surrounding me with people who would love me as I loved them. I love living in God’s abundance, beyond anything I could have expected or anticipated. I find enjoyment in every day I’m given and love that my days never contain a boring minute! I hope you can say the same about your life.
“We do not remember days, we remember moments. The richness of life lives in memories we have forgotten.” – Cesare Pavese
“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”- Humorist George Carlin
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