What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Thursday, November 29, 2012

PICTURES of Thanksgiving

Forget Google- I'll use Picasa.  HA!  Beat the system again!
How was your Thanksgiving?  Was it happy?  Was it calm?  Was it...filling?

We went to my parents' house this year and had a grand old time.

We ate.  We played scrabble.  We ate.  We sang around the piano.  We ate.  We showed off guns.  We ate. 

A true Cantrell holiday.


Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thanks to You

The fact that I have been a bad blogger lately, is not only because I am so busy these days but ALSO because every time I sit down to blog- Blogger won't let me upload any pictures!  I have been trying and trying, but to no avail.   Is anyone else having trouble like this?  Or it is just me?  We really need a new computer badly and I know this about ourselves.  Yesterday as I was working on blogging during rest time (for two pointless hours) the computer shut down five times.  Not fun.  (So maybe it is just me.)
 I guess I will just have to, as much as I hate to do it, start blogging sans pictures until Google decides to be friendly again.  Drat.  No pictures...what's a girl to do?!?  

Read on for a picture-less post.  If you can stand it.

Within ten minutes of posting the last plea  blog post, a kind reader made a first donation to the cause.  You have NO idea how happy that little message in my inbox made me!  Then another!  And another!  I am so proud of you!  Thank you all for kindly offering a bit of yourself to build up another family in need.  You all have earned a little over $200.00 for my friends so far!  One amazing woman made a very large contribution and one amazing woman made a very small donation and both contributions pleased me exceedingly. The large donation was so generous and thoughtful and loving to give for a family of complete strangers!  And the pittance, I know, came from someone who doesn't have a lot to give but who gave non-the-less.  Reminds me of another exceptional woman.  And all of you in between~ thank you, thank you, for taking part in something that means so much to me.

I can not thank you all enough, for helping me make a difference!  I do hope that, if you haven't already, you might consider contributing to this cause.  (You can read about it here.)  I am keeping the donation box open until Christmas and will be posting irritating reminders at the end of each post- just for a last ditch effort to raise as much money for them as possible.

It did occur to me after the donations started coming in, that many donations were under the $20.00 mark, thus not qualifying for the free gift.  And that seems so unfair!  Because each one of your kind contributions means so much to me (and will mean so much to this family, once they find out what I am doing.)  So I decided I was going to hold a drawing each week for a prize for EVERYONE who contributes to my friends' worthy cause.

I picked a name from last week and drew Paula P.  so Paula~you will be getting a bar of my peppermint soap and a crocheted dishcloth from me.  Happy surprise, right?!

And for anyone who donates this week (any donation amount is eligible for drawing)~ I will make you a Sterling-silver-plated Birds Nest Necklace (like this one) with Genuine Freshwater Pearl "eggs".  You can specify how many "eggs" you want in your nest, by the way, and whether those eggs are white, pink or pale yellow. 

This Thanksgiving, I have been especially thankful for you all~ my kind visitors.  You leave your mark on me and I can't help but marvel at the encouragement and friendships that this blog has brought into my life.  (Three cheers for technology!)  It has been a hard year with lots of work and sweat and tears- and yet, you all heap grace upon me.  You have been a little (actually big) bright, cheery spot for me. 

Thank you for all the prayers and support and love you all leave behind for me to enjoy.  I do, so much, enjoy it. Even if it means nothing to you, it means a great deal to me.

You all are too good to me...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Through Fingertips

While most of us are busily preparing the house for company and planning grocery lists for feasts, I know of one family who is spending their days quite differently these days, than even THEY anticipated...

Some of our dearest friends are that family.

Last week, their three story barn burned completely down.  Now a barn is a barn, you say, right?  Wrong. 

This Christian homeschooling family has twelve children and their sole income is in the form a thriving equipment business- that was run out their barn.  Before that, the husband/father was a successful and extremely skilled cabinetmaker and so the barn held his many valuable tools, accumulated through years of work in that trade.  They had just last year finished renovating the barn themselves to include a beautiful, custom-made office space and to house more equipment and so all the work they just did has now been lost.   Their barn was not only used for the business though or even to house tools.

In addition to housing animals, it was truly an extension of their living space.  They used a portion of the space as an exercise room and a play/game room.  Because their home is full of PEOPLE, they used the barn for storage as well.  They stored clothes there (to go to the next child), out of season clothes, homeschooling curriculum (to be passed down to consecutive children), outdoorsy things and holiday items.  Sadly, they had irreplaceable things in there too- sentimental things like hope chests, and family photos, and special tools and treasures passed down from their parents and grandparents.

It all burned to the ground.  Everything- lost.  The family that worked together to build an addition to the barn just last year, now doesn't even have single hammer to rebuild with.

The barn burning down is a completely devastating event to their family.

They are starting from scratch not only with household things like clothes-(even winter coats and boots!), pingpong tables and hope chests but with their sole income source-their business, as well.  To do this would be extremely difficult for a family of three.  How much moreso for a family of 14?

Even through this tragic event, God's merciful hand was evident in that the many people in the barn at the time of the fire were able to get out to safety and that, though the barn was incredibly close to the house- the house was not ruined as well (due mostly, in my opinion, to the fact that it is made of stone.)

I praise God that our friends are wise enough to see God's goodness even in this time of grief.  Their eyes are fixed upon Him; they are positive despite the pain, and thankful despite the hardships they now endure.  When asked what they needed, they said "We only covet your prayers."  They are truly exemplary people.

But I know that while prayers are so important...God often answers prayers through the fingertips of people.  Every moment we are praying for them.  So many times a day I stop and pray.  So many times, a moment flashes when I recall what has happened, and I pray without stopping.  But I want my fingers to work for them too.  I NEED my fingers to do work for them.

Would you consider it also?

I have added a DONATE button to the bottom of this post and to my sidebar and I will keep it up until Christmas.  If you have a few spare dollars that you would consider donating to this wonderful family, I would be so, so very thankful.  And your generosity will touch them in ways we cannot even understand, I am sure.

For every $20.00 donation, I will send you a package of four postcards featuring some of my one-of-a-kind photos.

For every $50.00 donation, I will send you a handmade photo pendant (like the one here) featuring (you guessed it!) one of my photos.  (Photos will vary.)

Any gifts larger than that will receive both items and a nice, warm fuzzy feelings in their hearts.  :-)

Feel free to donate as little as $1.00 and as much as you could dream up~ each gift, given freely, will mean the world to this family.

Because I couldn't find an option through the DONATION page on Paypal, if you make a contribution and would like to claim your free gift, please email me at nuevohombres@gmail.com with the following information:

Donation Gift Earned:
Name and Address:

I know my contribution to you is very small and meaningless compared to any contribution you might make on behalf of my friends, but I want to thank you (even in a small way) for helping this wonderful family who are faithfully trying to moving forward after such a hard blow.   

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Dear Leah O'Connor~ Since I can't comment on your blog: your childrens' latest handmade knits are to.die.for.  (Blessed children, they, to have a Mama like you!)  You do such good work.  (And I love that hobbit house they are in.  Can I have it?)   I love your daughters' Narnia costume.  (The fact that her school had Narnia day is pretty great too, in my book.)  Such a pretty birthday girl (and handsome birthday boy).  Your blog hates me still.  But I WILL PREVAIL!  :-)   PS.  You will love the Victorio.  LOVE.  (Trust me.) P.P.S- was there a little cloodle in the knitting post about the gender of your wee little womb-baby?  Hmmmmm? 

Dear Bonnie~ I can comment on your blog but I'll ask it here too because I lay awake at night thinking about the answers to this question and never come up with anything:  WHY (oh why?) can't you share some of the handmade present karma?  Hmmmm?  Why, oh why, can't I be so cool?  Serious skills you have. Can you be my Mom?

Dear Mothers who make things for their children- don't measure children in the middle of the night, while they are curled up in a ball, snuggled in their beds and fast asleep.  The long sleeve sweater that you intend to be an all-purpose, warm and toasty, through the winter, wardrobe necessity will turn into a short sleeve sweater that is decidedly NOT toasty.  TRUST ME.

Dear Adele'- you sure look cute in short sleeve sweaters.

Dear People with Mice in their homes,  I join your ranks.  I made delicious (!!) cranberry almond scones the other day for breakfast and there were two left.  Knowing we have a little mouse afoot in the house, I put them in the oven so I could have them for breakfast this morning.  But, when I pulled them out of the oven- there were nibbles!  I very nearly ate them anyway (after all, I have little boys and girls who nibble too) until I saw the mouse poo.  Ew.  The oven is NOT a safe place to store yummies from mice it turns out.  Save your scones!  Eat seconds!

Dear Knitters~ Look!  I can INCREASE!    There is a class going on at a local library twice a month to teach one (ME!) how to knit.  I whined a bit too loudly about it always being during the day, when children are not in bed and husbands are not home) so the librarian worked out a babysitting gig with a local home-high-schooler for those of us Mamas with children.  The first class I went to was on Tuesday.  And I love it.  I might just be able to make socks someday after all!

Dear Librarian and Home-High-schooled-Library-Babysitter~  I love you.

Dear Judah- please do NOT take kitting projects off the knitting needles and pull the yarn throughout the house EVER AGAIN.  The nice knitting instructor saved my big blue shawl/scarf that I thought you had nearly ruined.  You are SO lucky.


Dear Self- finish that big blue scarf/shawl already---so Judah doesn't "happen" to it again! 

Dear Admirer of Westinghouse the Cute Crocheted Squirrel~ it just occurred to me, I don't think I ever commented back where the pattern was that I used to make Westington.  It was from this book, which can be found in pretty much any craft store.  Or online.  (Obviously.) But, if you buy it from a craft store, you can use a 40% off coupon!  ;-)

Dear Blog, I miss you.

Monday, November 05, 2012


Not many words tonight. My fingers are cold. (The fact that the computer is in the coldest room in the house might complicate things this winter. Either that or simplify.) Plenty of pictures, though, of the little moments I get to live.
Who needs a sister when you have Skeeter?

He insisted that queen anne's lace was blowable like dandelion.  I am ashamed to say, I didn't correct him, he was so stinkin' cute blowing his little lungs out.

History comes alive-

And battles in the schoolroom.

And there is Mattie.  Doing what he always does.  Work, work, work, work, work.

Cookie making in the Newman household is assembly line.

Last weekends' project: cleaning up the remnant of the fallen Middle Barn.

If my feet weren't boats, I might consider cleaning that shoe up.  It was CU-UTE. 

 It was exhausting.  Apparently.

This boy simply DOES.NOT. fall asleep randomly.  And yet- he did.  First, and probably last time.  AFTER (if you notice) he skeefed a banana.  Stinker.

Sunday, November 04, 2012


Happy November! (I can't believe I just typed that.)

Today it SNOWED. The dusty kind that gets all the children running around like chickens furiously looking for their snow pants and mittens and heading outside to retrieve sleds, before abruptly stopping and melting away. But it was cold! And it was WHITE! It was SNOW (though, barely) so it COUNTS! :-)

What a wacky week last week was! The Frankenstorm (fitting.), that ruined the lives in various ways of much of the east coast, sort of peetered out before it reached us and I am blissfully, enthusiastically, incredibly thankful for that fact. Matt and I woke up every hour on the hour, often sitting up in bed at the latest loud BANG! or the rattle of our poor windows (at several points in the night I woke up to our bed literally SHAKING. I kid you not.) but God was gracious and all was well come morning. No damage to the property. No flooding anywhere. No lack of electricity. Nothing. Praise God.

 In the middle of the week, a friend came over and stayed the night- helping us with Jack o' lantern carving and accompanying us on our candy hunt. We chatted, we yarned, we had fun. And of course, Halloween!

What? A christian who celebrates Halloween? Hey, it happens.

Some years I get all fancy with the costume making (because you KNOW, I am not going to pay store prices on costumes! I wouldn't even pay that price for fancy REAL clothes!) and some years I fly by the seat of my pants. This year fell into the latter category. We totally looted the dress up box.

Now, if I were a good photographer, I would have dressed the kids up-oh, about noontime, spent a leisurely while snapping photos of their cutenes and had them trick or treating and back, unwrapping candies and eyeing their loot well before dark.

 But noooooooooooooooo.

Instead, we carved pumpkins. I made chili. We ate chili (over Fritos- a special treat! YuM!) I sewed an eye patch during supper. I spray painted a hook for my sea-faring lad. We lit the pumpkins on the front porch. The children got their duds on- well past dark- and I took a hurried photo (with flash-eek!) of each before frantically scurrying out the door. Here they are, in all their horrible, ghastly, super scary glory. (The photos, not the children.)
We had a Judah Bear. (Get it? Judahbear? har har) This was a handmade costume, but not by me. One of those glorious hand-me-down treasures that you get from time to time.)
And a rag doll. Why yes, I totally did this twice. And I'll do it again if I ever have another girl! Why not? We have the hat! (That is from one of my homemade costume glory days.)
And a pirate. Gotta love the chest hairs. We totally made an El Cid beard during homeschool history a couple weeks ago and were going to use that, but last minute, couldn't find it. Bummer. That would have been awesome.
And a jockey. I found this helmet at Salvation Army and snatched it up for our horse-owning days, fast approaching. We had had quite a few calls from neighbors hoping we would be showing up ("And what time?" and "What type of candy do your children prefer?"). Can you tell we are the only family on our road with children? ;-) It was a new experience for me, country trick or treating. More a night of house calls and visits, than a simple trick or treat. But it was nice.

Pumpkin carving. It works better with your tongue out.

Someone takes after his Mama....
(That is an AUTUMN wreath on the door, by the way.)

It was a good night.
PS. I roasted the Hubbard the next day. And he smiled still!