Dreams Don’t Work Unless You Do

Dreams Don’t Work Unless You Do

What are your dreams? What are you doing to achieve them?
This has been my motivational quote this past week. I have my dreams, I want to get there, but I’ve got to do the work. All the planning in the world won’t matter without action. Work, good hard work is the only thing that’s going to push a someday dream into a NOW reality. Procrastinating, little time wasters, self-indulging, self-doubt, these are the things that slow progress. 
What else is holding you back?  What else can you do to move forward?
I love lists, I am the queen of list making in our house.  All the lists in the world won’t matter without action though.  They help organize the action, yes, but they are just a tool.
I have all of these desires, dreams, projects, but until I take action, they are mere whimsy.  They are an idea.  They are a someday.  They are imagination.
You have a goal in mind.  You have this burning desire.  You ache for the fulfillment of this worthy goal.  How bad do you really want it?
Are you willing to take action?  Are you willing to do the work?  Are you willing to take the necessary steps and MOVE FORWARD?

Ask Yourself These Questions

  • What is your end goal?
  • What are the big steps to get there?
  • How can you break those big steps down into manageable steps?
  • Is this dream in line with God’s way of thinking?
  • Can I picture Jesus doing what I plan on doing?
  • What is the FIRST thing you are going to do to get started TODAY?
  • Is there something you don’t know how to do that is preventing you from moving forward?  Google it!  YouTube it!  Pray about it!  Bible it!   Research it like crazy until you get it!
  • Is fear holding you back?  Pray, pray, pray, every single day!  Ask for bravery, ask for motivation, ask for God’s wisdom, ask for forgiveness, thank him for His guidance.  Ask to be molded to his ways and to reflect his good qualities.  Jehovah is a God of action.
Now most importantly, get to work.  Get up, get moving, take steps, big or small.  Every. Single. Day.
Believe in yourself.  You can do this.  You’ve got it.
Dreams don’t work unless you do.

52 Project, Week 21: Simplicity

52 Project, Week 21: Simplicity

When I think of the word “simplicity” I think of nature.  Nature is an incredibly complex system, but being outside, in the woods, is where I feel peace and quiet.  When I am outside, surrounded by God’s creation, life seems simple, and less stressful.

I marvel at the diversity and beauty of all of the things growing and living in the woods.  I like to stop and capture some of my favorite finds.  Mostly, I photograph flowers.  I also really love finding mushrooms and different types of moss.

Trees have always held a special place in my heart.  There’s so much to love about them.  They are the lungs of the Earth, cleaning our air.  Some even look like lungs!  They give shade on a hot summer day.  Their leaves are beautiful and ever-changing.  Watching them grow from buds in the spring, to big leaves in the summer and seeing the brilliance when they lose their green in autumn is a marvel to behold.  Pine needles create a soft carpet underfoot when they shed or give a bit of color to a landscape in the winter.  Even the bark of trees is a unique style for each tree.

When I came across this leaf in the woods, I was instantly stopped by its brilliance.  The green popped out on the dark path.  It was decorated with either drops of rain from the recent storm or morning dew.

Editing the image, I could imagine it as a large print on my wall.  The image itself didn’t need editing as it was already beautiful, just as it was.  However, I do take all of my images RAW, so I had to make a few adjustments before converting it to JPEG, as I do all of my images.

I hope you enjoy my leaf in its simple splendor!  If you were to capture something simple this week, what would you choose?

Join us in the photography challenge! We’d love to see your images!
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Previous Week: 52 Project, Week 20: Favorite Color
Next Week: 52 Project, Week 22: Self Portrait
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52 Project, Week 19: Jewelry

52 Project, Week 19: Jewelry

I had an image in my head for the jewelry photography project.  It was one of those projects where you need two people.  I knew that a tripod would be difficult to get the angle I wanted and also to get myself into place if I were to do a self-portrait with a remote.  Cat was sweet enough to help me.

My children don’t really wear jewelry, so it seemed practical that I use myself, since I enjoy wearing it on a regular basis.  I’m not as comfortable in front of the camera as I am behind it, but I’m really pleased with the way the images turned out. My daughter is really becoming a great photographer.

I love wearing jewelry, I always have.  I remember wearing beaded bracelets as a little girl, I even still have my favorite rainbow star beaded bracelet.

When I was about 4, I begged my Mom to get my ears pierced.  She and my Grandmother brought me to a mall jewelry store in Minneapolis.  They messed up my left ear and had to re-pierce it twice.  Because of that, I will only bring my children to a professional piercer at a tattoo shop.

Unfortunately, I’m allergic to nickel.  This means that I can only wear high-quality jewelry.  I enjoy high-quality jewelry over cheap jewelry, so I’m not complaining about the upgrades.  The downside is that chains and earrings are a bit more expensive to replace.  I also can’t get jewelry on a whim if I find something cute at a craft show or on vacation.

I don’t own a lot of jewelry.  I love necklaces for their convenience.  Simple, elegant pieces make me happy.  My Mom buys me a beautiful new necklace from Kay jewelry every year.  I wear one almost every day.

I have a few bracelets.  Funnily enough, I never grew out of my love for beaded bracelets.  The bracelets I wear most often are plastic children’s bracelets.  I have a favorite fluorite bracelet I got while on vacation on the north shore last year.  I also couldn’t resist the bracelet I’m wearing in the images below.  It is silver with stars.  I got one for my daughter Cat and myself.

It was a beautiful day, so Cat and I decided to walk down to the river for our project. I love to spend alone time with each of my children.  I try to give them each a little bit of alone time once a month.  This breaks down to a once a week Mother/Child date with one of my children.

Looking for a location, I didn’t really see any place that jumped out at me as THE spot.  As we started walking home, I thought we might take a different route and keep looking for a good location.  In one spot, we found a cute painted rock that someone had left.

The spot I found was actually a place that might not appear to the naked eye as a great location.  To me, it was perfect.  If you look at the image below, you might see why some might rule it out.  It’s in a parking lot without a lot of great visual appeal in the background.  However, I loved the tall grasses bordering the parking lot.  I knew that with the right angle, it would be exactly what I was looking for, and it was.


What is your favorite jewelry?  Join us in the photography challenge!  We’d love to see your images!  You can post your image on our Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/cisforcomfort/posts/1452792044806017
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Previous Week: 52 Project, Week 18: Spring Trees
Next Week: 52 Project, Week 20: Favorite Color

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52 Project, Week 17: Light

52 Project, Week 17: Light

I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the light photography project.  I have seen beautiful images that others have taken of sparklers and I wanted to create an image of my own.

Ever since I was a little child, I have loved the glittery glow that sparklers give off.  I can remember my parents giving me sparklers and the joy I had running around, waving them in trailing arcs, trying to make an M for Melissa or making stars or circles.  I can remember being burned by the hot end and learning quickly to be careful, even after the light had gone out.

Cupcake, Mr. Awesome, and Princess joined me outside for this project.  I lit sparklers for them as I snapped away at my own.  After I was satisfied with my work, I continued to light them for the children and enjoyed watching them run happily around the yard.  Even after being warned, poor Princess learned the hard way, just as I had, to be careful of the hot end after the light went out.

After all of the sparklers had been spent, we gathered up our mess and went in for bedtime.  Hopefully, the children had smiles on their faces as they drifted off to sleep, imagining glowing sparkles and running through the warm summer air.  I sat happily at my computer, editing my images and feeling content.  I love that two dollars can easily buy a night of joy for our family.

What do you like to do with your sparklers?

Previous Week: 52 Project, Week 16: Multiple
Next Week: 52 Project, Week 18: Spring Trees
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52 Project, Week 15: Hobby

52 Project, Week 15: Hobby

Choosing one hobby for this project was no easy task!  I have many, many hobbies and interests.  I love learning, I love being busy and creative.  Ultimately, at the base of that, has always been reading

I love to read.  I have always loved reading.  I can remember my Father teaching me to read my first books, The Fox and the Box and Green Eggs and Ham.  As a child, I was teased for being the girl who always had a book in her hand.  I could read 7 books in a day at one point.  My elementary school librarian told me that I read too much and I needed to get out there and live a little.  There was more to life than books!  I still laugh remembering the shock I felt.  If a librarian tells me that I read too much, it might be a wakeup call.

There is no limit to the type of book I like to enjoy.  I love learning about many different topics, so the non-fiction section is where I spend most of my time in the library.  I do love fiction, but I usually listen to those as audiobooks while I work.  With 4 small children, sitting down to enjoy a great novel can be difficult.

When it comes to learning new subjects, I love to have my children join me.  I took an anatomy course online earlier this year and I really loved it, but going through the textbook and pouring over the pages was such a thrill for me.  I read and reread so many sections, took notes and I probably drove my family crazy with my exclamations.  Everyone got a chance to learn along with me as I described the wonders of cell structure, the fascination of a neuron,  The complexity of all of our systems, working together in harmony.  It’s beautiful and awe-inspiring.  I felt closer to God, marveling in how he created us with such intricacy and detail.

Right now I’m listening to a book on neuroscience, a book on pediatrics rounds, a book on integrative holistic medicine, a book on genetics and DNA, a sci-fi novel (I read this series when it first came out.  Now I’m listening to it again while I work),  Anne of Green Gables when the kids are around, and the bible and bible study guides.  I’m reading a couple different books about camping(Minnesota Vacation Days and Camping Activity Books for Families), a book about tiny houses, The Water-Saving Garden, Dakota County in the Twentieth Century, and also, again, the bible.

Personally, I love the feel of a real book in my hands.  I love to look at them and feel their weight in my hands.  I enjoy feeling the surface of the cover, smooth on newer books and soft and bumpy on older ones.  I love turning pages.  If there are diagrams and images to enjoy, or words to mull over, I can pause and take it in.  I love hugging a book to my heart, or a stack cradled in my arms.

Overall, whether a real book or an audiobook, there is always great excitement in something new.  A new book is a whole adventure contained in one small package.  The thoughts and works of the author, which maybe took months or even years to gather and put together for our benefit is such a gift.  A book is a doorway to another place, a guide to a new curiosity, a page away from changing the rest of your life.

For this project, I photographed my daughter Cat, holding an old copy of Shakespeare.  Since my children share my love of reading, I thought it was appropriate to use one of them for my hobby project.

Cat chose to photograph her piano for her hobby project.

What is one of your hobbies?  What do you love about it? Do you love to read?  What books are you reading right now?

Previous Week: 52 Project, Week 14: Favorite Scripture
Next Week: 52 Project, Week 16: Multiple
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52 Project, Week 8: Winter Trees

52 Project, Week 8: Winter Trees

It was snowing heavily as I dropped Mr. Awesome off at school.  Princess and I went to one of our favorite parks and were excited to see thick, fluffy flakes covering everything in sight.  It was the perfect conditions to capture some winter trees.  It was snowing so heavily, I was worried we wouldn’t be able to get a clear enough shot of the trees for the project!  Maybe that’s what being a winter tree is all about though.

After playing for a little while and enjoying the wonder that is a thick snowfall, it started to lessen and I got some clearer shots of Princess and the trees.  Thankfully, my little snow princess loves to play outside any time of year so she was still in a great mood so I could get a cute portrait of her.  I’m hoping to get the same spot for spring, summer, and fall.  Maybe I’ll even take a different child for every season.

I love these trees because of the tangle of branches that seem to bend and twist in weird angles as though they are dancing.  In winter, when their leaves are gone and you can see the branches, trees remind me of the human body.  Some trees look like lungs, with the trachea as the trunk and the bronchi and bronchioles as the branches.  Others remind me of neurons.  Nature repeats itself in beautiful and fascinating ways.  We can’t see the artistry that is inside of the human body without special equipment.  It’s far too small for the naked eye.  Seeing it with technology is just as incredible though!  It’s amazing to think of all of these wonders, this art from our great creator, are hiding inside of us.  Looking at the same patterns in trees makes me feel in awe of God and all that he has done for us.

I hope you enjoyed our winter trees!  Do you have a favorite grove of trees?  Share them with us!


Cupcake’s 52 Project, Week 8: Winter Trees

Previous Week: 52 Project, Week 7: Blankets
Next Week: 52 Project, Week 9: Ice/Snow/Frost
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52 Project, Week 6: Hair

52 Project, Week 6: Hair

A woman’s hair is her glory.  Depending on how great, or awful, someone’s hair looks, can determine their self-esteem.  A bad hair day might dampen someone’s spirits and a good hair day can put an extra bounce in their step.  Hair comes in a wide variety of styles, types, colors,.thickness and lengths.  I love how different and beautiful we all are.

I can remember having lighter hair when I was young.  My hair was blonde as a toddler and it started to darken when I was still very young.  One of my early memories is while I was walking with my parents and some friends of theirs.  They commented on how beautiful my hair was and my parents mentioned that it was getting darker.  I can remember feeling astounded.  I had no idea my hair could change color!  Later, while playing in the bathtub, I remember studying how my hair got darker as it got wet.

My mother loved the color of my hair and would often tell me how beautiful it was.  For, me, hair was something I had to brush, but didn’t want to.  My Mother would rip the brush through my hair and I would cry.  As an adult, the tables have turned and I get to be the one making my little girls cry, much to my dismay.  I try to be careful and work through their hair gently, but I do accidentally hit a snarl or two.

I used my Cupcake’s hair for this project.  She has the thickest and longest hair in our family.  It’s beautiful and it reminds me of my best friend, Linda’s hair.  Linda had thick beautiful hair too and she would always brush it before exiting her vehicle.  Unlike Linda’s hair, Cupcake’s hair is a golden blonde, much like mine was as a child.

Do you have a favorite or funny hair story to share with us?  Leave a comment below!

Cat’s 52 Project, Week 6: Hair
Cat’s 52 Project, Week 6: Hair


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Next Week:52 Project, Week 7: Blankets
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52 Project, Week 4: Socks

52 Project, Week 4: Socks

This week was a bit more challenging than my other ones.  Last week, Mr. Awesome had some stomach problems due to allergies.  My poor little buddy was not able to make it to the bathroom fast enough, resulting in a lot of laundry and towels that needed washing.  I picked up some probiotics from our local health food store and he is doing much better, thankfully.

In addition, photographing socks was a lot harder than I thought it would be!  I had a hard time choosing exactly which socks I would wear.  I love socks!  I have so many favorites.  I have them in all sorts of colors and styles.  I ended up trying on 7 different pairs!

My original idea was to photograph my feet on my bed with the TV fireplace screensaver in the background.  Oh, how I wish I had a real fireplace!  This plan did not work as I had hoped.  My feet were too low.  I raised up the end up my bed, and thankfully that worked great!  However, the screen of the TV does not photograph well.

Scrapping that, I decided to shoot from above, but I was not able to look through my viewfinder and I was guessing at where my feet would be.  Princess was jumping around me, gleefully and kept messing up the comforter.  She kept jumping on me for hugs too.  I can’t resist a good cuddle, so it took a bit longer than I had intended.

Thankfully, the sun was shining and our bedroom was full of bright, natural light.  I’m wearing my favorite socks here.  They’re cream with tiny, multi-color specks that remind me of sprinkles.  I’ve got my favorite bedspread and my favorite tea, roasted dandelion root.

I hope that wherever you are, the sun is shining and you have a nice warm pair of socks on your feet if it’s cold out.  Do you have a favorite pair of socks?

52 Project, Week 4: Socks

Cat’s 52 Project, Week 4: Socks

Previous Week:52 Project, Week 3: Silence
Next Week:52 Project, Week 5, Warmth
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Join us for the photography challenge! We’d love to see your images!
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52 Project, Week 2: Cold

Project 52, Week 2, Cold

52 Project, Week 2: Cold

I love winter.  I even love the cold.  I would happily take a cold winter day over a humid hot summer day.  Once it started snowing, I knew I had to run out with my little Princess for this week’s photography project.

Princess is my little shadow.  She loves doing everything with me, sleeping, cuddling, cooking, cleaning, playing.  No matter what it is, she’s content to be right by me.  Honestly, I could say this about any of my kids.  They love to pile around me like little puppies.

I bet you’re wondering WHY I love the cold.  Maybe it’s because I’ve lived in Minnesota my whole life.  I can’t tolerate heat very well.  My ideal, happy temp range is 15 degrees Fahrenheit to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.  I can be comfortable in the 70’s, but the 80’s are uncomfortable.  The 90’s are intolerable.  You might find me hiding in my igloo, er, house with the air conditioning on full blast.

Did you know that Minnesota is one of the coldest states in America?  On average, year-round, Alaska beats us for the coldest temperature.  We beat Alaska for the coldest winter season though!  Last week Thrillist put out an article where we won the number one most miserable winter.  Yet, even if it’s -35, kids still go to school and life functions like normal.

For us, if the weather rises above zero, that’s reason enough to take off a layer or two or leave your jacket open.  Once it reaches the 20’s we don’t see the need to wear a warm jacket, a good sweater or a light spring jacket will do.  In the 30’s, you’ll find people walking around in shorts and t-shirts.  I’m not exaggerating.  Although I do make my children bundle up, even though they fight me to strip down like everyone else.  We are polar bears and arctic foxes.  Our blood is thick and the cold is where we feel happiest.

Not everyone feels this way.  You’ll still find a couple of people who would rather be in a warmer state.  For me though, Minnesota is my home and I couldn’t be happier anywhere else.

Project 52, Week 2, Cold

For Cat’s cold challenge, we headed down to the river, looking for inspiration.  We found a beautiful field that looked perfect.  Cat and I had a lot of fun amongst the soft grasses.  I snapped a couple of cute images of her while she was capturing her shots.

How do you feel about the cold?  Are you a fan of snow or do you prefer the heat?

Previous Week:Project 52, Week 1, The Bible
Next Week: 52 Project, Week 3: Silence
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52 Project

52 Project

I have always wanted to challenge my photography with a 365 or 52 project.  I’ve tried taking an image a day without officially having a 365 project or having a theme.  I missed days, I waited until the last minute on many days and ended up photographing my kids in bed and some days I had no idea what I would do.  This time, I want to do it right.

As a photographer, I rarely feel satisfied with my own work.  I always want it to be better.  I believe this pushes me to keep improving.  There has always been part of me that feels that my work is not good enough to be able to complete a 365 project and have it be something I can be proud of.  Sharing my work publicly feels almost as though I am baring my naked soul to the world.  I finally feel as though I am brave enough to commit to a project and share it.  I’m hoping I’ll be able to flex my creative muscles, learn some new things and have some fun images.

I chose a 52 project instead of a 365 project because I know that with my busy schedule I wouldn’t be able to commit to a daily project.  One photograph a week is attainable and fun.  I’m hoping it will give me more time to plan each image carefully, edit it and post it within a reasonable time frame.

This is not just my project, it’s a mother, daughter project.  We will both be taking our own images.  Since my oldest daughter, Cat,  is taking photography in high school, I have been able to enjoy seeing her grow as an artist while she photographs projects for class.  She often models for me and assists me during some of my shoots, so working together is not new.  Doing a photography project together gives me great excitement and joy.  I’m thrilled to be able to share something I love with my daughter.  I’m hoping that doing this together will help keep us both accountable.

We both chose words for our list.  I’m planning on letting Cat make her own interpretations of the words and how she would like to photograph.  Since she has a good grasp of using the camera and adjusting manual settings, I’m excited to see what she comes up with.  I’ve welcomed my other children to join me, but they will have to have me adjust the camera to the appropriate settings so they can focus on composure.

52 Project Photography Challenge

52 Project, Week 1, Bible
52 Project, Week 2: Cold
52 Project, Week 3: Silence
52 Project, Week 4: Socks
52 Project, Week 5, Warmth
52 Project, Week 6: Hair
52 Project, Week 7: Blankets
52 Project, Week 8: Winter Trees
52 Project, Week 9: Ice/Snow/Frost
52 Project, Week 10: Mother/Daughter
52 Project, Week 11: Art
52 Project, Week 12: Reflection
52 Project, Week 13: Kindness
52 Project, Week 14: Favorite Scripture
52 Project, Week 15: Hobby
52 Project, Week 16: Multiple
52 Project, Week 17: Light
52 Project, Week 18: Spring Trees
52 Project, Week 19: Jewelry
52 Project, Week 20: Favorite Color
52 Project, Week 21: Simplicity
52 Project, Week 22: Self Portrait
52 Project, Week 23: Green
52 Project, Week 24: Words
52 Project, Week 25: Patterns
52 Project, Week 26: Watermelon
52 Project, Week 27: Flip Flops/Sandals
52 Project, Week 28: Water
52 Project, Week 29: Summer Trees
52 Project, Week 30: Glitter
52 Project, Week 31: Love
52 Project, Week 32: Silhouette
52 Project, Week 33: Relaxation
52 Project, Week 34: Hot
52 Project, Week 35: Walking
52 Project, Week 36: Animals
52 Project, Week 37: Apples
52 Project, Week 38: Happiness
52 Project, Week 39: Explore
52 Project, Week 40: Hands
52 Project, Week 41: Pumpkin
52 Project, Week 42: Autumn Trees
52 Project, Week 43: Favorite Outfit
52 Project, Week 44: Comfy
52 Project, Week 45: Boots
52 Project, Week 46: Black and White
52 Project, Week 47: Scarf
52 Project, Week 48: Baking
52 Project, Week 49: My Cup
52 Project, Week 50: Natural
52 Project, Week 51: Hope
52 Project, Week 52: White

Check out the completed project collage!
Things I’ve Learned From Doing A 52 Project

Have you done a 52/365 project?  How did it go?  You are welcome to join in and post your own images as well!  Post them on our Facebook page.  We’d love to see what you come up with!