Wait…did you convert?

Wait…did you convert?

It has come to my attention that a few folks are a little weirded out by my recent “conversion” to Christianity. For clarification, I was raised Christian. I was off in the wilderness for a long time but I’ve come home. I dabbled in neopaganism but I was never all in. I wasn’t a pagan believer (that feels as weird to type as it probably does to read). I had a LOT of books because I was fascinated by herbalism, mythology, and all of that stuff. The worshipping of many gods and all the ritual/witchcraft, etc etc. was never anything I participated in.

For a short time in my early 20s I did, very secretly, self identify as a neopagan. I eventually got bored with it. My late 20s and early 30s found me starting to drift off into agnostic and even dipping my toes into atheist. But all my walls have one weakness. We named him Jasper.

We’re a bit isolated out here in Sweetwater, the land of cows. I’ve never had a lot of friends to begin with but moving just far enough to be inconvenient for everyone (including me) has made it that much more lonely. I’m not worried for myself but I was worried for my boy because he loves to play with other kids. He was going to need a community. Where am I going to find kids for him to hang out with on a regular basis? Kids that had a similar foundation.

I started looking into going back to church only because of him. God, of course, can work with any and everything; including a stubborn woman named Beka. I don’t even remember the exact progression but I found a podcast which led me to a church in California. That then led me to a sermon which led me to the bible study which led me to another sermon which led me to the prayer of salvation which led me to “Ok, God, this whole thing started because I need a local church. I need a church. Here. That I can walk into. And be part of. That will be ok with the level of work I am going to need. Oh and the boy too. Please. Thank you.” (I think that was almost exactly how that prayer went. Yes, I do everything awkwardly.)

This was on a Sunday (July 27th) and over the next few days I kept my eyes out for my answer. I googled. I read reviews of churches (seriously, who does this? who is going to leave a church a bad review?). I couldn’t find anything out here in Monroe County that was clicking with me. Then on Wednesday of that week I had to go to Maryville on a service call. Something in me was saying keep your eyes open. It’s coming.

One of the sermons I had listened to during this journey was about the prodigal son. How the father didn’t wait for his son to come all the way down the road; he came running down the road and met him where he was.

So. Normal progression of a service call is that people stand in their garage or doorway and wait for you to approach then let you in whichever door they want. Some people want you to come through the garage, some people the front door. Doesn’t really matter but it’s always the service technician doing the approaching. Not this time. He came down the driveway and met me. Shook my hand and led me to the front door. Introduced me to his wife, asked if I wanted a bottle of water…totally nice. So welcoming.

Meanwhile I’m trying so hard not to cry. The front of his shirt said I AM FAITH PROMISE. There you go. There it is. Your ball. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to unclog photo printer jets with Qtips and isopropyl alcohol while you’re teetering on the edge of being completely overwhelemed by a spiritual moment but, somehow, I managed.

The more I learned about Faith Promise and FP Kids and their whole ministry, generosity, service, and the small groups. How they “baptized technology” and were making it hard to go to hell from East Tennessee by being a multi-site church. I had to get planted there and be part of what they were doing, right away. So I did and I was baptized a few weekends ago.

People ask me, why there? There are 100 churches between your house and their campuses…why are you traveling that far for church? I can think of only one time I had a prayer answered so loud and clear, so perfectly.

We named him Jasper…and I’ve come to realize he isn’t my weak spot at all.

The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. Revelation 21:18


Grace, You’ve shown me grace
You’ve lifted my shame
Drawn me with loving kindness
Washed whiter than snow
You have redeemed and made me whole

Jesus, You have won me You have broken every
Chain with love and mercy You have triumphed over
Death and You are worthy of glory and praise

Love, You’ve shown me love
By leaving Your throne
By bleeding and dying on a cross
That wonderful cross
That took all my guilt and sin away

Shout it out and lift up one voice in worship
Sing it out until all the earth can hear it
Jesus is alive and He saves, He rescues and saves

You Have Won Me – Bethel Music

You can experience Faith Promise and worship from anywhere in the world! Check out the iCampus or come visit one of the 5 (soon to be 6!) locations in East Tennessee. <3

Tips and Tricks For Getting the Most Out of Your Combo Washer Dryer

tips and tricks for combo washer

We have an LG Combo Washer/Dryer that I bought when we were living in an apartment with no facilities or hookups. Jack of all trades, master of none? Not if you have your expectations in order. I love this thing but they’re a little quirky. They can take some getting used to if what you are used to is having a load of laundry washed and dried in little over an hour.

Yes. They really do take 2+ hours to dry. It isn’t the end of the world if you’re short on space or have other issues such as the lack of a dryer vent. If you have a special situation you will say “it only takes 2 hours to dry” and “what a godsend!”

In this first picture you can see that we had this in our apartment’s bathroom and used the sink and a quick connect faucet kit. We removed the stopper for the sink and put the drain hose directly into the drain. I also had to manually control the water. Preheat hot taps, turn hot off and cold on when rinsing, etc. I also put zip ties and made loops on the hoses so we could hang them on command strips when we weren’t using the machine. Very tidy. Very convenient.

It worked beautifully at our apartment. When we bought our house, we discovered the dryer vent wasn’t actually vented to the outdoors so we opted to keep our ventless machine. I paid cash for this machine so we are going to use it until we can’t.

I’ll also say, so far this machine has been a dream to work on. I’ve had to replace the circulation pump twice and the drain pump once. The pumps are terrible but they’re not terrible to replace. The first time I replaced the circulation pump I was 9 months pregnant. It’s not hard and Repair Clinic has all the parts you need AND a video. Repair clinic and I are BFFs, especially since I bought a house.

What else do I love about this machine? It doesn’t stink like other HE front loaders can. It gets filled with lovely mold, mildew, and germ killing steam after every cycle.

  1. First things first. Don’t overload it. You might be tempted to. Your brain will say things to you like, “If this thing is going to run for 3 hours, it’s going to be FULL.” Resist. These machines do not have huge capacities to start with. On top of that, my LG combo can efficiently wash more than it can efficiently dry. If you have a clothes line this is GOOD NEWS! Please believe me. It will wash better and dry faster if you underload it then add one more thing.
  2. Next, don’t go crazy with the detergent.
  3. Give up the softener!
  4. Don’t use homemade laundry soap. Don’t use Charlie’s Soap. This stuff is terrible for washing clothes and diapers in. TERRIBLE. You will get scum in this machine that you can never get rid of.
  5. Run the Tub Clean cycle with vinegar and do it regularly. Stay on top of it to keep the biofilm and residue under control.
  6. Clean the seal every single load. Pull it back and clean the lint out when it is wet because it’s much easier to collect then than after it’s been dried. Clean the filter after every 5 or 6 loads.
  7. Drying on the top of a combo washerUse the top of the machine to dry delicate things just a little faster! My string grocery bags would shrink like crazy if they were dried in the machine. I also put bras and baby clothes up here. If you have one of these machines, you’re probably going to be running it more often than not. Put your shoes, socks, jackets, etc on top of it to gently warm them on cold days.
  8. While you can put clothes in and have it wash then automatically start drying when finished, we NEVER run a continuous cycle. Why? Because the spin always, always, always has stuff plastered to the sides and it doesn’t always fall off. You may end up with wadded up, mega wrinkly half dried laundry. I run the wash cycle. Pull everything down off the sides and back of the tub. Start the dryer.It really does make a significant difference.
  9. These machines are not magic wizards. Use low spin for items that get super wrinkly like dress shirts. Throw an extra rinse on there if you’re still seeing a lot of suds. Don’t use a full dose of detergent for a small load.
  10. There are times when you are going to have a lot of your clothes hanging up across the shower curtain. It’s ok. Pat yourself on the back for saving a little bit of energy.
  11. Buy a folding drying rack. This one looks nice too.
  12. With the length of time between cycles there’s really no excuse not to put everything away. It happens though! Get a laundry folder or two if you’ve got help and knock it out.There are plenty of videos showing you how they work and how to make your own.
  13. The most common laundry advice is Do A Load A Day. Pfft. With one of these machines it’s more like 2 loads a day, minimum.

There we have it. My combo machine tips! Have you got any tips to share?

Hard Times Gazelle Folk, lend me your gaze

When I get in the car after The Mister has been in it, the radio is almost always changed to newstalk/conservative radio. I tend to leave it on my FM transmitter or NPR. I’m saying this to preface the conversation regarding Dave Ramsey we’re about to have and how I have never gone out of my way to listen to him but I have listened to him.

His approach is interesting and it works. Obviously it works. Families have been saved by Financial Peace University. The radio show, though. Debt-free screaming. Ew. I just can’t. If it’s not someone with a HUGE income, just pissing it away, it’s someone with a huge income following his guidelines and celebrating.

This is fine. Yay people making money and getting out of debt. Unfortunately, our buddy Dave doesn’t seem to understand poverty, living in it, or struggling to get and stay out of it.

His advice on how to get out of debt is sound and it works for a lot of people. But he’s rich and he’s made his fortune telling rich-to-middle-class Christians how to escape their debt and build wealth. I’m sure he’s a good man. I’m willing to bet money (that I don’t currently have) that he donates to charity and he’s made the lives of many families so much better by doing the work he does.

However. Things I have heard him say about being poor in the American economy are along the lines of “grow up”, “make more money”, and “you reap what you sow.” To those struggling, this evangelical capitalist sounds like a smug butthole. The tough love seems callous and uninformed.

When someone on his show is able to save and pay off more money than I make in three years that’s not inspiring. That’s discouraging. You know that phrase “beyond my wildest dreams”? That’s what it is for lots of us. We would be happy to hoot and holler about not needing to sit down and brace ourselves for the power bill.

How do you engage in gazelle intensity when you’re already not going on vacation, not going to the doctor, not buying new clothes, not paying every bill on time every month? We can feel cheetah breath on our neck, Dave! These are things we need to write about and talk about here in the Just-Getting-By American population. Beyond couponing and menu planning. Beyond being compared to prey. What do we do about systemic injustice?

How about some Puma Mindfulness, Grizzly Dauntlessness, and Rhino Indomitability?

I will always link back to this post if I mention Dave Ramsey or talk about something he is known for (ie, Budget Envelopes). I don’t want readers to get the wrong idea. I’m not endorsing the man or his products but if they work for you, I’m not knocking them either.

Clean Up Microsoft Word in Vim for HTML

Sometimes I get these Word docs that need to be used in WordPress or PHPlist. Sending out mass attachments is a huge no-no so I needed a way to quickly clean these things up in vim. I’m sure there are other tools out there that could do this in one or two clicks but vim is now a major part of my workflow.

:set fileencoding=utf-8
" Leave Latin-1 behind, set to UTF-8

" Convert ampersands

" Convert elipses

" Convert double quotes, left

" Convert double quotes, right

" Convert single quotes, left

" Convert single quotes, right

" Convert N Dashes

" Convert double dashes to N Dashes

:%s/.  /. /g
" Remove double spaces after periods

:%s/.   /. /g
" Remove triple spaces after periods

" Remove double non-breaking spaces after periods

" Remove single non-breaking spaces after periods

Mac for Development Setup

I recently installed an SSD in the MacPro 1,1. Instead of cloning my current OS to it, I opted to start fresh. Since many of these tools need XYZ before you can install them this it the order I went. It took a few days and I’ve not migrated any of my data (address book, config files, email).

I’m running 10.6.8 until I can get a new video card, new processors, flash the EFI, and install Mavericks. Because of this there are things missing from this list (RVM, Bower, node.js, grunt, and jekyll to name a few off the top of my head) that I will add to later. published March 30, 2015

  • Enable TRIM
  • rename to wednesday
  • Move home folder to /Volumes/Data/
  • Install Firefox
  • Move Firefox cache to /Volumes/Data/firefox_temp
  • Move Downloads to /Volunes/Data/Downloads
  • Install firebug
  • Install colorzilla
  • Install iWork
  • Install CS3
  • Mac RDC
  • Transmit
  • 1Password
  • Dropbox
  • Inconsolata font
  • uTorrent
  • Postbox
  • Komodo edit
  • Linkinus
  • TextExpander
  • Xcode
  • Iterm
  • Git
  • iTerm
    • git clone git://github.com/stephenway/monokai.terminal.git
  • Homebrew
  • Fish shell
    • set PATH /usr/local/bin $PATH
  • Macvim
    • brew install macvim --with-override-system-vim
    • brew linkapps macvim
    • git clone https://github.com/VundleVim/Vundle.vim.git ~/.vim/bundle/Vundle.vim
    • mvim ~/.vimrc
    • set nocompatible              " be iMproved, required
      filetype off                  " required
      " set the runtime path to include Vundle and initialize
      set rtp+=~/.vim/bundle/Vundle.vim
      call vundle#begin()
      " alternatively, pass a path where Vundle should install plugins
      "call vundle#begin('~/some/path/here')
      " let Vundle manage Vundle, required
      Plugin 'VundleVim/Vundle.vim'
      " The following are examples of different formats supported.
      " Keep Plugin commands between vundle#begin/end.
      " plugin on GitHub repo
      Plugin 'tpope/vim-fugitive'
      Plugin 'ap/vim-css-color'
      Plugin 'tpope/vim-surround'
      Plugin 'tpope/vim-repeat'
      Plugin 'lsdr/monokai'
      " All of your Plugins must be added before the following line
      call vundle#end()            " required
      filetype plugin indent on    " required
      " To ignore plugin indent changes, instead use:
      "filetype plugin on
      " Brief help
      " :PluginList       - lists configured plugins
      " :PluginInstall    - installs plugins; append `!` to update or just :PluginUpdate
      " :PluginSearch foo - searches for foo; append `!` to refresh local cache
      " :PluginClean      - confirms removal of unused plugins; append `!` to auto-approve removal
      " see :h vundle for more details or wiki for FAQ
      " Put your non-Plugin stuff after this line
      set number
      colorscheme monokai
    • Save. In mvim,
  • dnsmasq
  • Clacks overhead
  • Flatten the dock (10.6.8)

rest in peace

add_action ( 'wp_head', 'sir_terry' );

function sir_terry()
$clacks="<meta http-equiv=\"X-Clacks-Overhead\" content=\"GNU Terry Pratchett\" />";
echo $clacks;

Cloth Diapers On A Tight Budget

Cloth Diapering on a Budget

I hear it all the time…

We thought about cloth but it was just too expensive.

…and I totally get it. When I was pregnant and looking for advice I would see people with drawers FULL of pockets, AIOs, prefolds, every kind and brand of cover under the sun. I wondered if I had seriously underestimated the amount my baby was going to poop every day.

There is a tendency…for cloth users…to accumulate a huge stash. It makes parents new to cloth feel like they need to get 2 dozen whatevers just to get started. (It’s really not necessary unless you’re 40 miles from the nearest washing machine.)

It didn’t seem like an economical choice at all. I started to worry. “How are we going to do this? It doesn’t seem like we can afford disposable diapers OR cloth. I am a failure as a parent.

If you’re feeling like that, pump your brakes. Once you’ve gotten over the initial hump, they’re really much cheaper. It does look like a lot to buy at once but it doesn’t have to be that way. I have some tips for you. Advice I wish I had found when I was getting started.


People are going to give you diapers (and wipes!) whether you ask, want them, or not. At your shower. Co-workers. Acquaintences. The hospital. They’re free. USE THEM while you build your stash.

If you’re alredy using disposables it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Use what you have, build your stash.


Skip the newborn sizes. We didn’t get any because I simply couldn’t. It worked out fine because our baby seemed to triple in size the first month.

  1. Newborns poop and pee A LOT. This is why people give you diapers. To get enough cloth to keep up with a newborn is expensive. Especially if you are looking at fitteds or certain WAHM brands.
  2. Your baby will grow out of them so fast. Unless you have a preemie or VERY tiny baby who will be able to put enough miles on that size to make it worth it, don’t bother.
  3. Unless…you know for sure you are going to cloth diaper more newborns. Buy some. Buy more when you have another little.


You don’t need that many covers to start. There’s no reason to buy 15 covers. We started with 4 Thirsties Duo Wrap aplix covers (1 blue, 1 green, 2 white). I didn’t like the way they fit the baby. I didn’t like the way the aplix seemed to make the front take longer to air dry than the rest. Some people love them…they didn’t work for us.

One of those were given to us so I actually bought 3. I over-bought 3. I knew within the first week of using it that I wasn’t going to be a huge fan of that particular cover.

My suggestion would be buy 1 of 3 different covers. The three covers we have used, in order of most loved to least:

  1. Blueberry Coveralls – Snap
  2. Bummis Pull-on
  3. Thirsties Duo Wrap – Aplix

Right now we have 6 Blueberry covers with snaps that we trifold medium GMD prefolds into. I wish I had started with those covers because they are truly birth to potty. I adore the pull-ons and they are ideal to use with a fitted or diapering with prefolds and a snappis. Never used any pockets or AIOs because I didn’t want to deal with microfiber or not being able to nuke the diaper with hot water because it was attached to a PUL shell that would ruin if I did.


100% cotton is your friend. Microfiber tends to be cheaper but more fussy with stains and odors.

All our prefolds are GMD’s Cloth-eez. Start with 1 dozen, Yellow Edge Smalls.

I can’t recommend any Chinese knock-off brands of anything because I have never used them. People love Alva and Sun Baby brands but you’ll have to look for more specific information from other people.


Register for covers at Amazon. Set up a cloth diaper registry at Green Mountain Diapers. On your shower invites, make sure to note that in lieu of a gift, a monetary donation towards your cloth diaper fund would be greatly appreciated. Every little bit helps.

…and finally

It’s ok.

It’s ok if you buy “china cheapies” on ebay.
It’s ok if you use disposables from time to time.
It’s ok if you look at the Good Mama diapers and want to cry. (Seriously, don’t look.)
It’s ok if you don’t get the cutest covers
It’s ok if you can’t afford adorable made in the USA WAHM fitteds and covers
It’s ok if you decide cloth isn’t right for your family

Ultimately, these are utilitarian products. They are to catch and hold the feces and urine of our sweet little babies. Don’t try to be the Valedictorian of Diapering. I promsie you will be looking at tiny potties and step stools before you know it. Don’t sweat it.


Jasper. Today…you are 17 months old. It’s the last month we’ll say “He’s X months old.” This time next month you will be a year and a half old. From now on your age will be defined by years and halves (until you learn fractions and figure out where the 3/4 mark is).

He’s 2. He’s 2 and a half. He’s almost 3.

18 months, almost.

Last night when your Uncle Paul set up the green picnic table (which has been the kids’ table since I was a kid), I picked you up and put you in your spot for the first time. You were delighted. You sat through the entire meal with Meme’s Finding Nemo spoon, eating nuggets and hashrounds. Drinking from your sippy, watching the big kids.

You figured out how to get up and down by yourself in pretty quick time. After dinner, you climbed up all by yourself and had some more to drink. Swinging your feet and waiting for cheesecake.

I don’t know if you’ll ever read this one day but you’re fascinating to me. Every thing you do is amazing because you’re the one doing it.

Can’t believe you’re mine…

xoxox, momma

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