Posted in Faith, Lifestyle

You Can Study The Bible With These 5 Easy and Effective Acronyms

Only 14% of adults in the US read their Bible daily.

American Bible Society, March 2018

In a recent study performed by the American Bible Society, it was reported that only 14% of adults in the US read their Bible daily (March 2018).

As a Christian I find this number to be quite alarming. It is apparent that many of us are not reading the word of God as we should, let alone studying it.

Can I be real with you for a moment?

Reading the Bible, let alone studying it, can feel a bit intimidating, especially if you are a new believer or you don’t know how to study.

After all the bible is made of 66 books divided into two sections the Old and New Testament.

The Old Testament consists of books of history, poetry, and prophecy, while the New Testament consists of the Gospels, Letters, and 1 book of prophecy.

Where does one even start? Do you just open the bible and just start reading whatever page you land on? (If you’re a new Christian I recommend starting in the book of John.)

Then you have to decide what version/translation of the bible you want to read: NIV, KJV, ESV, NLT, HSBC…It can all be a bit much.

Once again if you’re a new Christian I would recommend an NIV, NLT, or ESV Bible.

Luckily for us, there are a whole host of Bible apps that you can use for free that will let you read different versions of the bible.

So that part shouldn’t be too hard to figure out.

But wait… isn’t it the Pastors job to teach us what’s in the bible on Sunday mornings?

So why do I need to even read or study the bible outside of Sunday morning service?

I’m glad you asked!

3 Reasons Why You Should Study Your Bible

Photo by Wendy van Zyl on Pexels.com

1. God Commands Us Too

Yes, it is the pastor’s job to share the word of God with the congregation, but it is also the job of the congregation to study the word of God on their own.

In Deuteronomy 11:18-20, ”You shall, therefore, lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates…”

Note that it doesn’t say the Pastor is to do these things it specifically says, ”you”.

So as you can see we are commanded by God to study his word so that it becomes a part of our hearts and gets ingrained in our souls. That way we can share it with all that we come into contact with.

2. The Word Shows Us How We Should Live

When I was younger our pastors often referred to the Bible as our Basic, Instruction, Before, Leaving, Earth (BIBLE).

The bible has everything that a Christian need to live a life holy and acceptable to God.

2 Timothy 2:16-17 says” All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”

The Bible contains information on how we are to handle our finances, our relationships with our children, spouses, and neighbors, what to do when others treat us poorly, etc.

Whatever you need can be found in the word of God.

3. It Will Change Your Life

In my opinion, this is the most important part of why you should study your bible. If you are struggling with sin, bitterness, unforgiveness, reading and studying the word of God will slowly begin to erode all of that stuff away.

Romans 12:2 says,” Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

The key part of this verse is the renewing of your mind. If we want to see real change in our lives we have to change the way we do things.

You can’t keep doing the same things over and over again and expect different results.

When you constantly study the word of God and are in a relationship with Christ it will slowly (and sometimes quickly) change the way you think about and see the world around you.

How can the word of God change you? Simply put the Word of God is not just a book that you read.

It’s not just words on a page that don’t apply to your life and everyday situation.

Hebrew 4:12 states,” For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

Another interesting finding from the study done by the American Bible Society (March 2018) showed that people who studied their bible regularly:

  • Showed more loving behavior towards others,
  • Were more generous with their time, energy or financial resources,
  • And were more willing to engage in their faith

Reading the Word of God regularly is an important part of our Christian walk with God.

Now that we know why it’s important for us to read and study our bible let’s look at a few helpful acronyms that will help you study.

5 Easy Acronyms That Will Help You Effectively Study The Bible

In general studying, the Bible falls into 3 main categories: topical (word) study, chapter study, and character study.

Topical studies focus on a specific topic or concepts such as love, marriage, parenting, tithing, etc. When doing topical studies it is important for you to study these terms in context.

During a chapter study, you pick a specific chapter in the bible to study. Some popular chapters are Psalm 23, 1 Corinthians 13, Daniel 3, and Hebrews 11. These chapters can be studied in one setting, but are best studied in small sections or multiple study sessions.

Character studies are some of my favorite studies because I get to learn more about some of my favorite Bible characters like Samson, David, Paul, Esther, Ruth and of course Jesus.

Bible Journaling is an effective way to study the bible no matter what type of study you are doing. You don’t need anything fancy to use as your bible journal.

A simple spiral or composition notebook will work just fine.

Even though all of these methods are slightly different they all have the same basic backbone: choosing a scripture, chapter, topic etc, writing down your observations and some form of personal interpretation.

All 5 of these acronyms have already been covered in great detail by other bloggers.

Instead of rehashing what’s already been done I have provided a brief overview of each acronym and provided the link to the original blog post if you would like more information.

Without further ado here are the 5 easy acronyms that you can use to study the Bible.

1.SOAP

SOAP stands for S-scripture, O-observe, A-application, P- prayer.

I believe the SOAP method is currently the most popular acronym. Whenever I am on pinterest I always see pins for this study method.

2.WORD

WORD stands for W-write, O-observation, R-relevant, D-declare.

The WORD method does not simply end with prayer, but as part of the prayer you declare the applicable parts of the scripture over your life, which I thought was pretty neat.

3.APPLE

APPLE stands for A-attributes of God, P-promises of God, P-principles for life, L- lesson learned, E- example to follow.

The APPLE method is excellent for studying the Psalms. Unlike, the other methods this one has you look for the attributes of God and his promises.

This kind of study can be useful for learning scriptures on healing, finances, God’s provision, or doing a study on the Character of God.

4.REST

REST stands for R-read, E-engage, S-savor, T-Take charge.

The REST method is best for topical bible studies. For example if you wanted to learn about forgiveness, tithing, baptism, love, etc.

This one doesn’t have an observation section, but instead directs you to meditate(S-savor) on the scripture or passage that you’ve read. Once you’ve meditated you write down what you believe God is speaking to you through the scripture (T-Take Charge).

5.SALT(Y)

SALT(Y) stands for S-supplication, A-absorb, L-learn, T- Thanksgiving, Y-you.

This study method begins with prayer (S) and ends with giving God thanks(T). I like that you can add the Y, which causes you to examine how the verse applies to your life.

If you’re crunched for time this bible study would work well, but I wouldn’t recommend it for a more in depth bible study.

Final Thoughts

Taking time out of your busy day to read your Bible is an important part of any Christians day. Spending time in the word of God is essential to our growth as Christians and can radically change our lives if we let it.

While studying the Bible can seem intimidating it doesn’t have to be. Using any one of the 5 acronyms above can greatly enhance our time spent studying the bible.

Have you tried any of the acronyms above to study the bible? Maybe I’ve missed one or you know of another method. Please feel free to share it in the comments section.

Thanks for reading.

Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro

Posted in Crafting Corner

How To Design and Create Your Own Crochet Patterns For Beginners

Have you ever wondered how the people on sites like Ravelry and Etsy come up with those awesome crochet patterns? Have you ever wanted to try your hand at creating your own crochet patterns to sell or to list for free?

Honestly, if you’re interested in making money in the crochet world making and selling your own patterns is the way to go.

As a beginner crocheter, you may not feel like you how the skills to create your own crochet designs and write your own patterns.

But I’m here to tell you that if you have the basic crochet skills down, then you have what it takes to design and write your own crochet patterns.

So let’s get to it.

The Design Process

Find Inspiration

The first thing that you need to do is figure out what it is you want to create. If you are new to crochet or you don’t know many of the advanced crochet stitches I would start with something easy.

Some of the best and easiest crochet items for beginners are:

  • Dishcloths & Hand towels
  • Scarves
  • Baby blankets
  • Coffee Cozies
  • Headbands
  • Boot cuffs
  • Pillows
  • Coasters and
  • Hair Bows

If you are a little more advanced or want to challenge your skills you could try designing your own garments, purses or stuffed animals (amigurumi).

For example, a few months ago I attempted to crochet a replica of one of my favorite shirts that had become… shall we say a bit too small and had a little run-in with some bleach.

I’ve crocheted a cardigan before so I figured why not try to make my own sweater. That project was the inspiration for this blog post.

Start with the basics

Now, that you have decided what item you want to make you need to ask yourself a few basic questions.

1. What kind of stitches will you use?

I would suggest you start making something using a combination of the basic crochet stitches.

Basic Crochet Stitches:

  • Single crochet
  • Half double crochet
  • Double crochet
  • Treble crochet

These stitches can be used in combination to make interesting patterns and textures or you can use just one specific stitch. It just depends on the look you are going for.

Other ways you can add texture to your work are by using the following types of stitches:

  • Stitching in the front or back loops only (ribbed effect)
  • Shell stitches
  • V stitches
  • Post stitches

Remember you can use any combination of stitches that you want in your design.

Just make sure it is something that you are comfortable with and something that you can explain to somebody else.

To create a crocheted replica of the sweater I used single and double crochet stitches.

I used single crochet stitches at the base and the rest was made using double crochet stitches and single stitches for the border.

2. Are there any special skills you need to complete your work?

As a beginner, you might not know many of the advanced stitches, but don’t let that stop you.

However, there are still some basic skills that you need to make sure you freshen up on before you start creating your work.

For instance, will you be using one color or will you be using multiple colors? If you are using multiple colors you will need to make sure that you know how to change colors.

If you are going for a ribbed look, do you know the difference between the front loop and the back loops?

When you get to the end of your row how many chains do you need to do create before you turn the work so that your stitches are the same height?

To an experienced crocheter these may not seem like special skills, but if you’re a novice they are skills that are essential to your success as a designer and a pattern maker.

When I decided to create a crocheted replica of my shirt I had to know how to change colors, how to increase and decrease stitches and how to sew the two panels together.

All of these are basic skills, but I usually make blankets or scarves, which usually don’t require you to increase or decrease stitches nor do they require you to sew two pieces together.

3. What type of yarn will you need?

The next piece of information you will need is what type of yarn will you use? If you are making a dishcloth you will want to use something absorbent like cotton yarn.

If you are making a blanket or scarf acrylic or wool yarn would work just fine.

Most crocheted items are used making size 4 yarn. But maybe you want something super warm and squishy, then a bulky or super bulky yarn would work best.

If your making something a little more dainty and lacy then a size 3 or lower yarn would be the best option for your project.

5. What’s the size?

The final question that we need to ask ourselves is how big do we want our project to be.

For items like dish clothes, scarves and even baby blankets size is not that big of a deal. However, if you are concerned you can always look up what the average size of these items are.

Knowing the size of your item is important for making things like sweaters, hats, etc.

All bodies are not created equal and having correct measurements is a must when making any type of garment.

This information will also give you a rough estimate of how much yarn you will need to buy to complete your project.

Write Down Everything

Once you’ve gotten the basics figured out now it’s time for the fun part. Creating your masterpiece!

I assume you are reading this blog post because you want other people to be able to make your marvelous new creation.

If you want to be able to share your pattern with the rest of the world you will need to write down EVERYTHING.

If you took measurements. Write it down. If you changed colors in the middle of row 11 on stitch 22. Write it down.

If you don’t count the turning chain as a stitch. Write it down.

Whatever you do from this point on make sure you write it down. It doesn’t have to be neat, but it does need to be written down somewhere.

I can’t tell you how many scarves or blankets that I’ve created that I wish I had written down what I had done.

If you don’t write down what you are doing you will forget what you did by the time you are finished.

As you can see from my diagram. I wrote down everything I did and the measurements that I took on one sheet of paper.

It is important to note that in this phase, you will probably start over many times. But keep working at it until it turns out the way you want it too.

The crocheted sweater I made came out the way I wanted to, as far as the way it looks. But after making it and trying it on I realized that the yarn I had used was too bulky and stiff.

So I’ll have to try it again with a thinner yarn. But it wasn’t a total loss. I could rework the pattern and take out the increase to make it a “normal” fitting sweater.

This step will also make writing your final pattern easier, we’ll talk about that in the next section.

Will You Need a Gauge Swatch?

At some point you may want to create a gauge swatch for your pattern. If you are making a sweater, hat, cardigan etc these are very important and need to be included in your pattern.

This will help the person reading your pattern determine what size hook and tension they will need to use to get the same look and dimensions of your finished work.

Gauge swatches are usually a 4x4in square and include the type of stitch, the number of stitches it took to get 4 inches wide and the number of rows it took to get 4 inches in height.

Example Gauge Swatch: 10hdc and 4 rows created a 4×4 in square using a size M hook (the hook size is mentioned in the supplies section of the pattern).

Depending on how tightly or loosely the person reading your pattern crochets will determine if they can use the same hook size or if they will need to go up or down a hook size.

Writing the Pattern

If you remembered to write down everything you did during the design process. Then this part will be relatively easy.

All you have to do is transfer what you wrote down into a standard crochet pattern format.

Use Standard Crochet Terminology & Abbreviations

Before you begin writing your pattern you will need to become familiar with the basic terminology and abbreviations used in crochet patterns

Depending on what part of the world you live in some of the terms and abbreviations are not the same. For example, in the UK a single crochet is called a double crochet.

When I first started crocheting I didn’t know that the names for stitches and hook size were different. The first time I tried to follow a pattern written by someone in the UK I was thoroughly confused.

Here are a few of the basic abbreviations and terms used in the US and the UK when writing crochet patterns.

Common Crochet Pattern Terms and Abbreviations (US & UK)

Us Term

US Abbreviation

UK Term

UK Abbreviation

Chain

ch.

Chain

ch

Single Chain

sc

Double crochet

dc

Half Double Crochet

hdc

Half Treble Crochet

htr

Double Crochet

dc

Treble Crochet

tr

Treble Crochet

tr

Double Treble Crochet

dtr

Slip Stitch

ss or sl

Slip stitch

ss or sl

Yarn Over

yo

Yarn Over

yo

Explain Any Special Stitches Used

If you used a special stitch or technique that might not be familiar to the person reading your pattern you will need to provide an explanation of this stitches for your readers.

You can provide this information at the beginning of your pattern or you can explain it in the pattern.

If it’s something that is going to be done frequently or is a major part of the design I would explain it at the beginning of your pattern.

For example if you used a cluster stitch in your pattern in the section for special stitches you would explain how to do a cluster stitch. It would look something like this:

Cluster stitch (cl): yo, insert hook, yo, draw loop through, yo, draw through 2 loops over 3 stitches, yo and draw through all loops on the hook.

You could explain it again in the pattern if you think it will be easier for the reader to understand in the context of the pattern.

Basic Crochet Pattern Outline

Hopefully, you took excellent notes during the design phase. If you did, writing your crochet pattern will be a breeze.

Now that we’ve covered the basics I’m going to provide you with an outline to use to write your pattern. You can also download my free crochet pattern template here as an editable word document.

Basic Crochet Pattern Outline

Title:

Materials Needed: {yarn used (include size,color, and brand), hook sizes, scissors, needle, etc go here in bulleted form)

Gauge: (if needed)

4×4 in gauge square: 11 hdc wide and 4 rows

Special Stitches: (if needed)

Finished measurements:

Skill level( is this pattern suitable for beginners,intermediate, or advanced skill levels)

Pattern

Ch. 36 (always start with the number of single crochets used in the starting chain) This does not count as a row.

Row 1: insert hook into 2nd ch from the hook, sc in each stitch (35) ← this number indicates the total number of stitches at the end of row 1. If you are not adding or removing stitches then this number isn’t necessary at the end. Ch 1 and turn. Indicate how many stitches are in the turning chain

Row 2: sc in 2nd ch from the hook and across the rest of the chain, ch 1 and turn (35)

Row 3: repeat row 1. Ch 2 and turn (35)

*If you have repeating rows you do not have to keep writing the same thing over and over again. Simply write row 3-row 5: repeat row 2.

If your super lazy like I tend to be sometimes you can just right R instead of row.

R 4: 2 dc in 1st ch from the hook, dc across, 2 dc in the last stitch, ch 2 and turn (37)

R5-R17: repeat R4 (57)

Cut yarn, tie off, and weave in any loose ends.

Optional Information

At the end of the pattern you can include any other information you would like.

Some designers indicate whether people are allowed to create and sell the items they made from this pattern as long as they give credit to the author in this section.

If your handy with a camera you could create a tutorial and insert the video or link here.

Now to our final and most important step before you hit that publish button!

Test Your Pattern

The last thing you want to do before you submit your crochet pattern to the world wide web is to test your pattern.

You can either find a friend to test your pattern or you can set it aside for a few days and come back to the pattern and try to make it again yourself.

If you do this part it’s important that you follow the pattern as you have written it. If you notice any mistakes or can’t figure out what to do next, chances are neither will a complete stranger on the internet.

The best thing you can do is take notes on what went right and what went wrong. Then you will have to go back and tweak your pattern.

If you can get somebody else to test your pattern that’s even better. Make sure you ask them to leave you feedback.

Final Thoughts

I hope you found this post helpful and informative.If you create and design your own pattern please share your success with me. I’d love to hear and see all the wonderful things you have made.

I would not consider myself a pro at crocheting so if there is something I’ve missed or you have any questions please feel free to contact me or leave a comment.

Once again if you would like the free crochet pattern template you can download it here.

If you thought this post was awesome please share it or save it on Pinterest.

Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro

Posted in Family, Finances

Save Money & Pay Off Debt by Paying Your Bills Weekly

25% of Americans do not have an emergency savings.

Anna Bahney, CNN Money

In the wake of the recent government shutdown, it has become even more apparent that a vast majority of the American population is not prepared to deal with a severe financial crisis.

According to CNN Money, only 29% of Americans have the recommended six months worth of living expenses saved in case of a financial emergency.

25% of Americans do not have any emergency savings and only 50% of Americans have 3 months or less of their living expenses saved.

However, when you are struggling financially and living paycheck to paycheck it can be difficult to find money to set aside.

Before we became a single income household we were living paycheck to paycheck and like most Americans, we didn’t have an emergency fund set up.

Before we transitioned to one income we were able to set aside some money in our emergency fund.

However, we have not been immune to various financial emergencies and have had to dip into that account on several occasions.

Even after dealing with these major issues we have been able to save a little each month to put back into our emergency fund by paying our bills weekly instead of monthly.

This payment strategy has allowed us to save money and pay down our debts.

I’m going to walk you through the 3 steps I used to set-up a weekly bill payment plan and how you can use it to save money and pay down your debts.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

1.Gather Your Bills

The first part, and the most tedious part, of the process, is fairly straightforward.

You will need to gather all of your monthly bills and write them down. Sort your bills into two categories: Predictable/Recurrent bills and Irregular Bills.

Predictable bills would be things like: rent/mortgage, cell phone, internet, credit card, and car payments. Pretty much any bill that is the same amount every month.

Irregular bills would be things like your gas, electric, and water bills that fluctuate depending on how much you use.

Depending on where you live you may be able to turn some of your irregular bills into predictable bills. For instance, our electric company will allow you to enroll in their budget billing plan.

Once you are enrolled in the plan your electric bill is the same each month no matter how much electricity you use that month.

For example, our monthly electric bill is $160 every month. Before we joined the budget billing plan our electric bill would range anywhere from $120- $200+ depending on the season.

Now that you’ve divided your bills into two separate categories write down the due dates and the amount for each bill. Use these numbers to calculate how much you spend per month.

(If you can gather bills from the previous months you can use this information to get a better understanding of how much you spend on average per month.)

This is also an excellent time to create a budget if you haven’t already.

Since you already have all of your monthly bills in front of you might as well kill two birds with one stone.

If you’re interested you can read my post on budgeting here.

2.Create A Way to Track Your Spending

There are many different methods you can use to calculate your weekly spending. We record our bills in a Google sheet like the one below.

I like using Google sheets (you can do the same thing with excel) because all I have to do is input the due date and the amount due and it will automatically break down how much we need to pay per week.

However, unlike Excel, you can share a Google sheet with other people and all of your information is automatically saved when you put it in.

I share our Google sheet with my husband, which works out well because sometimes I forget to put in how much we paid onto the sheet. He can easily go into Google sheets and add the information for me.

It took me about a year to get this Google sheet to look and work the way I wanted it too. But I’m going to let you download it for free.

If you would like to use the Google sheet above you can download it for free here.

All of the formulas have already been entered into the cells. All you have to do is enter the information in the spaces provided.

I’ve also set it up so you can see how much money you’re spending per month, how much you should be spending per week, and how much you actually spent each week.

3.Automate Your Weekly Payments

Once you’ve set up your spreadsheet and you know how much you should be paying towards each bill every week, then you’re next step is to automate your payments.

Most bank accounts have an online bill pay system. Once you enter all of the necessary information you can arrange to have a recurring payment monthly, biweekly, or weekly.

In step 2 we determined how much we would need to pay each week. Now all you have to do is put in the amount you want to pay and set the payment frequency to weekly.

Now you’re all done. You can sit back, relax and let the system take care of the rest.

All you have to do now is fill in your spreadsheet and keep track of your due dates.

That’s it. You’ve just created your weekly bill payment plan!

Now we’re going to look at how you can use this method to save money and pay down any debts you may have.

How To Save Money & Pay Down Your Debts

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Saving Money

Now that you’ve gotten everything set up let discuss how you can use this method to save money and help build your emergency fund.

On average the total amount of money my family spends for a whole month is about $3000. Now, that total includes things like food, gas, etc. But these are all expenses that we include in our monthly budget.

I added them to our spreadsheet because it helped me see what I should be spending per week on food.

But I find it easier to keep track of our budget expenses using our budgeting app, Mint, there are several free budgeting apps out there. I just prefer to use Mint.

If I take out all of the other expenses and just look at how much we spend on our bills we average about $2500/month. If I divide this number by 4 our weekly bill expenses are on average $625/week.

My husband is our primary source of income. He makes about $900/week after taxes. After we’ve brought food and other necessities we usually have about $50 left over at the end of the week.

Or a total of $200 of extra money at the end of the month. This money can be transferred into a saving account or used to help pay down debt.

Paying Down Debts

Maybe you don’t want to use this system to pay all of your bills, but I highly recommend it as an effective way to pay down your debts.

Credit cards, students loans, car loans, etc take forever to pay off because we are paying the financed amount plus interest.

One of the best ways to pay off your balance, outside of coming into a large sum of money, is to pay on your debt weekly.

When you pay on your loan weekly more of your payment goes to the principle, which reduces the amount of money you owe on the loan at a faster rate.

When you pay on your loan monthly most of the payment goes towards the interest. If you don’t believe me try it and look at your next statement to see how much you paid in interest vs how much you paid on your principle.

In addition, any extra money you manage to save weekly can be put towards paying off any debt you’ve accumulated.

Issues To Be Aware Of

Like all new things that we try there can be a few issues that we may encounter when trying to incorporate a way of doing things.

Here are a few that we ran into when we made the transition to paying our bills weekly.

Adjusting to The New System

Adjusting to paying your bills weekly can seem like a challenge if you get paid monthly or every two weeks.

We are fortunate that my husband gets paid weekly, so it’s easy for us to keep track of what has been spent.

However, no matter how often you get paid if you’re disciplined paying your bills weekly can still work in your favor.

I would suggest having at least three accounts that you transfer money into one for your bills, general expenses, and savings.

Getting Behind On Bills

Initially, you may get behind on your bills. When we first started paying our bills this way we ended up being a week late on a few of our bills.

The nice thing about paying your bills weekly is that you can adjust the amount you pay based on the number of weeks you have to pay them.

For instance, if my power bill is due in 3 weeks. I can change the number of payments and divide by 3 instead of 4. Now here comes the fun part.

I could decide not to pay anything that 4th week or I can pay something towards it. Preferably, whatever the payment would be for 4 weeks, and effectively get a week ahead of my bill.

This should also solve the due date issue and put you back on a 4-week payment plan.

Forgetting to Pay Your Bills Weekly

Most of us are used to paying our bills monthly. So changing how frequently you pay your bills can be somewhat of a challenge.

That’s why I strongly encourage you to use your bank’s bill pay feature to automate your weekly payments from your account.

Some people don’t like using the automated system and prefer to take a more hands-on approach to pay their bills.

You can do it manually, but in my experience, it’s better to just have it automatically taken out of your account.

It eliminates the hassle of remembering to sit down and pay your bills each week.

We’ve tried it this way before and it never fails that we miss at least one payment each month because we got busy and just forgot to pay it that week.

All Bills Are Not Created Equal

Now, there are some bills, like your mortgage/rent, that you may not be able to pay weekly. You will have to call your mortgage company or talk to your landlord.

Some mortgage companies will allow you to make payments every two weeks and some won’t even let you do that.

You can still use this process to pay these types of bills, but instead of paying it to your lender you would have that money transferred into a saving account you created specifically for your mortgage/rent payment.

Then you could have the money drafted from that account once a month.

Unlike your credit card company or the car loans, which apply your weekly payment to your balance, most mortgages will just hold your weekly payment in an escrow account until you’ve sent the full amount.

I learned this lesson the hard way.

If you want to tackle paying down your mortgage I would suggest seeing if they will allow you to pay your mortgage every two weeks.

This will add up to 1 extra mortgage payment each year. It doesn’t seem like much, but it will make a difference.

Parting Words

Alas, we have come to the end of this blog post. In my opinion, paying our bills weekly has been the best financial decision we’ve ever made.

We’ve had some ups and downs adjusting to this new method of paying bills, but it has been worth it.

However, what works for us may not work for you. It’s all about finding what will work best for you and your family.

If you would like to use the Google sheet I created you can download it here

If you are interested in learning how we transitioned to living on one income you can find that post here.

Please feel free to leave any questions you may have about the spreadsheet or any comments you have in general in the comments section.

If you thought this post was helpful and insightful please feel free to share it with others or pin it for later.

Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro

Posted in blogging

What I’ve Learned After 6 Months of Blogging

Hi everyone! Can you believe that it has been since month since I started blogging? I can’t believe that time has flown by so quickly. Honestly, by now I thought I would have thrown in the towel on blogging.

But as a SAHM blogging has been an escape for me and a way to reconnect to the real world. So here I am 6 months into this blogging thing.

If you haven’t read my previous post on the 4 things I learned my first-month blogging you can check that out here.

I’ll do my best not to recap anything I shared in that first post. So without further ado. Here is what I learned after six months of blogging.

Blog Because You Like It

Photo by Martine Savard on Pexels.com

I know the internet would have you believe that blogging is one of the best ways to make money on the internet.

It would also lead you to believe that it’s easy and that anyone can do it. Unfortunately, those claims are not true for most bloggers.

It is very rare for someone to build a following of thousands of followers in the first few months of blogging. At this moment after six months of blogging, I only have 33 followers.

And that’s OK because I didn’t get into blogging to make money. I started blogging as a way to express myself and share my thoughts with the world.

Would I eventually like to be able to make money from my blog? Yes. As a SAHM I would love to have a successful source of passive income.

But if it never happens, I’ll still continue to blog because for me it’s a source of escape from the crazy life that is being a stay at home parent.

If you’re not blogging because you like it. You will eventually find yourself burnt out, stressed out and disillusioned as a new blogger.

Be Consistent

Photo by Black ice on Pexels.com

When I first started blogging I was very inconsistent with my blog posts and what I was posting.

For instance my blog is about faith, family, and my craft corner. However, if you look at the number of post I have made, there are more post in my Craft Corner section, than in my other categories.

Some of those 33 people followed my blog based on posts that were made in the faith and family categories.

If that is the case then I owe it to my readers to post something in each of those categories on a consistent basis.

Many blogging experts will tell you that you need to blog every day to gain followers and to be found on the internet.

I tried that for a little while, but for me, it just didn’t work. So at the beginning of the new year, I made it a goal to write 1 blog post for each category once a month.

That boils down to one blog post a week and the fourth week I have free to do whatever I want with my blog such as: making pins for Pinterest, responding to comments, customizing my page, doing research on an upcoming topic, or planning for next months posts.

So far it has worked out well for me and I hope to develop a well round blog.

Share/Comment On Other Bloggers Posts

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In the world of blogging, you do not have to go it alone. Find other bloggers who are blogging about the topics that you are interested in. Don’t be afraid to comment on or share other bloggers posts with your audience.

In my experience, many of the other bloggers in the community are pretty nice and are willing to lend a helping hand.

Commenting on another bloggers post and sharing links are also ways to build your following.

However, I would suggest that if you’re going to make comments or share links do it because you genuinely have something to say about what was written or think that information will be valuable to your readers.

Blogging and bloggers are about building a community to help and support each other. Nobody likes to be taken advantage of for their own selfish gain.

So be a productive part of the blogging community.

Take Advantage of the Freebies

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There can be a steep learning curve when it comes to blogging and learning how to manage your site and growing your following.

WordPress has a lot of wonderful tutorials that can help you become a better blogger and learn how to take your blog to the next level.

If you started your blog on wordpress.com you should have taken the Blogging University Course: Learning Fundamentals. However, those are not the only course on Blogging University.

There are courses on branding & growth, photography, and writing. All at no cost to you.

If you’re looking for amazing pictures to put on your post you can find a list of 21 free photosites here. 

If you need to create awesome graphics for your site try Canva for free. You can make Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest graphics that you can add to your blog or social media platforms.

I’ve heard that there are free web hosting sites, but I don’t have any experience with any of these sites.

But if you are looking to give self-hosting your blog a shot then you may want to take a look at a few of those free hosting services.

Be Yourself

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The last thing that I’ve learned in the my six months of blogging is to be true to yourself.

Yes, there may be 1,000’s of blogs on your topic, but on thing remains true there is only one you.

There are people out there that will resonate with your voice and your personality. So don’t try to pretend to write like or be like someone else.

Just be yourself and let your personality shine through your blog.

I hope you found this post enlightening and encouraging. Always feel free to leave a comment. Thanks for stopping by.

Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro

Posted in Faith, Family

Finding Comfort In God’s Word

I think everyone has that moment in their life that they will never forget. That one moment, that one incident that will forever alter their reality and changes that person for better or worse.

If you haven’t had that moment in life trust me you will.

For me, that moment took place four years ago on a dark cold January night, much like tonight. As I think about it our bedroom was set up in almost the exact configuration.

I remember laying in my bed next to my husband. Anxiously awaiting the news he had to tell me. News that would forever shatter the happy world I once knew.

I had an affair and I have daughter she will be one next week…words no wife wants to hear. A situation no wife wants to bear.

At that moment, four years ago, my life changed. It was the worst day of my life and without a doubt the hardest year of my life.

And even though I found myself broken emotionally and mentally. God was there to comfort me spiritually.

Even in the midst of my pain and my anguish God was there through it all. His word was a constant light shining into the darkness.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Psalm 119:105

When I felt like the wounds would never heal He reminded me that He would heal my heart.

He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.

Psalm 147:3

When low self esteem tried to take me to the pits of depression He said…

…You are fearfully and wonderfully made;your works are wonderful…

Psalm 139:14

I cried many tears and had many sleepless nights, but…

…weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

Psalm 30:5

And years later the weeping has subsided and has been replaced with His joy.

No, things aren’t how I want them to be, but they’re not as bad as they could be either.

When I found myself struggling with trusting those that I had once held so close He reminded me of where my trust should lie.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6

When we are in consumed by the darkness in our lives, we often overlook the promises of God.

You know, human nature is funny that way, when we need him the most we often pull away from God. But it is in those times that we should draw closer not farther.

It is in His word where you will find hope for your tomorrow. It is in His word that you will remember that trouble won’t last always( 1 Peter 5:10). It is in His word that you remember that He is near the broken-hearted(Psalm 34:18).

You see no matter what you are going through God is there to comfort you. Waiting for you with outstretched arms.

For those who believe, the word of God provides us with light and hope in the midst of the storm.

Maybe you have a favorite verse that brings you comfort and hope. Please share it in the comments section.

Until Next Time,

The Crafty Afro