Words for Your Children’s Hearts

Many of you have been journeying along with me as we walk through the Breaking Fear fall bible study.  Tomorrow’s topic covers how to break out of living in fear over what happens to those we love the most, our parents, our spouses, our siblings, and more than anything (for me) our kids.  My dear blogging friend has come up with a key tool toward moving us toward breaking fear over our children:  Learning Scripture! 

I hope you will enjoy Kimberly as much as I have as well as her scripture card; my set sits at my kitchen table as a reminder of what we must instill in our children’s hearts.   Here are words directly from her:

As a young mom, I learned there was far more to parenting than getting my children to act right.

When my kids were young it felt like I was always correcting them, refereeing fights, and trying to keep the peace. This is certainly par for the course for a momma of three under the age of five, but I couldn’t help but think I was missing something.

Time outs and reward systems occasionally worked, however I wanted my children to be motivated out of love and a heart to please God rather than fear of punishment.

But how could they make Godly choices when they didn’t know what the Bible said? 

Asking myself that question was the beginning of our adventure in memorizing scripture. While there are plenty of fun and easy ways to teach kids the Word of God, and our family’s favorites fall into one of these three categories:

* Sing it – Words are remembered better through music rather than speech. Just listen to your child sing EVERY word to opening song of their favorite TV show and you’ll see what I mean. Many of the songs I enjoy listening to in the car or at home include lyrics straight out of the Bible. My kids get so excited when the memory verse we are learning echoes a song they already know.

* Read it – The more you read something, the easier it is to remember it. My kids and I like to read our memory scriptures together in the car on the way to school. Sometimes we take turns going around in a circle, each saying one word from the verse until we’ve said the whole thing. We do it either by reading it or reciting it from memory. To help us out with this, I wrote the Bible verse down on index cards.

* Pray it – In my own prayer life, I developed the habit of praying God’s Word. When I came across a Scripture that addressed a need or concern I had, I inserted my name or the specific details of my situation into that verse and prayed it. My kids have learned to do the same because I turned our memory verses into prayers and wrote them on the back their cards. As long as the need persists, we pray, and over time we can’t help but memorize the corresponding scripture.

When we put all three of these together we have a simple yet effective formula for scripture memory. 

It’s been so amazing to see the spiritual growth of my kids because the Word of God has been planted in their heart. My kids now make better choices. Not only that, I have witnessed them rely on God when they need His wisdom, peace, or strength.


The cards I mentioned are free to download on my blog.  However, if you prefer the convenience of receiving these cards professionally printed, trimmed, and delivered to your mailbox, you can purchase them in my Etsy shop. Choose from a variety of topics or purchase the Starter Set that includes all 48 cards shared on my site.  You can also find new scripture cards available in 3 month, 6 month, and 1 Year subscriptions available in the form of a digital download or printed product.

kamiciKimberly Amici is a writer, designer, and community builder whose desire is for hearts to be healed, minds to be renewed, and women to be connected in fellowship. She is known for her creativity, strong faith, and commitment to living life with purpose and passion. She is the co-founder and managing editor at Circles of Faith and a writer at Faith Gateway. She also blogs at Living in the Sweet Spot. Kimberly lives with her husband Carl and their three children in the NYC suburbs. 

When Action Calls Over Rest


It’s quiet save the steady swoosh from the waves.

Quieter than I expected.

The clouds hang low and the dolphins make their appearance jumping above the waves as if to bridge the distance between the sky and sea.

I wrote yesterday about how my tightly wound self completely unwound this weekend at the beach with a dear friend.  I rested. A rare find this year.

There’s a fair amount of blogging and authoring about rest these days.  Leadership writers, I among them, emphasize the need for self-care.  Christian writers post pictures of corners in fields where they quietly commune with God.

I love the idea of rest.

But I have grappled with how to incorporate rest when you are called to action.

I’ve been in seasons of solitude and waiting.  However, I am now in a season of ACTION.  A call to get up and do the things I’ve been designed to do.

I’d starting asking myself if there was something wrong with this flurry of activity when there’s a cacophony of voices calling for rest.

Then I remembered the words of a wise friend.

Everyone has a different set point.  Some people have set points with a greater tolerance for pressure or intensity or activity.  Some people need more rest and downtime and unplanned spaces in their daily calendars.

Where we get into trouble is when we start judging whether what’s right for us is right for another person.  I have had friends actively discourage me from pursuing an opportunity because it would be “too much.”  But I’ve judged others by wondering what they do with all their time.

You are only responsible for what works for you.  Not what works for other people.  Not what other people think works for you.

I have two checks, on a good day, I make before committing to more.  First, I pray.  Watcha think God?  This a go or a no-go? 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
(Prov. 3:5-6)

I believe He has a very specific purpose for me, and from the tiny bit I glimpse for right now, it requires a decent amount of activity.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.  (Eph. 2:10)

Second, once I believe I’m stepping out in the direction He has for me, I talk to my husband.  We are each other’s partners forever after and my decisions impact him and our children.  No moving forward until he agrees it’s something our family can absorb.

Once I’ve cleared those two hurdles, not minor ones, then I go forward.  It may look incredibly busy.  It may not be a season with much rest.  But with an anchor like God and the love of my life, I won’t come unmoored.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. (Heb. 6:19)

The Gauzy Family Life v. Reality

I read these delicious blog posts. 

They’re all about slowing down and savoring each moment.  

Finding the joy in the soap bubbles in your sink.

Leisurely walking down the sidewalk soaking in moments of family togetherness.   

Filling your house with the delicious aroma from a big cast iron pot filled with vegetables you plucked from your backyard garden.   

They are incredibly relaxing to read. 

But I do not personally know any of these people.  Or what they do for a living.  Or how their children learned to leisurely walk next to them without careening into oncoming traffic.   

Seriously.  Who are these people?  Where do they live? 

I know.  I sound like a cynic.  But I’m not.  (Most of the time.)

I am an optimist.  A glass-is-half-full, see-the-good-in-people, embrace-your-best-self optimist. 

However, I don’t have soap bubbles in my sink because I throw half rinsed dishes in the dishwasher and hope for the best.  We avoid sidewalks with our children because of the aforementioned darting into oncoming traffic as well as 100 plus degree temperatures (at 8 PM AT NIGHT!).  I have no garden, of vegetables or anything else, and the few times I tried to plant a flower or bush were miserable failures. 

Our family is frenzied because we live in 2015 and have triplets and two-career parents.  We probably snap when we shouldn’t, and that’s all five of us, because we’re not cooking homegrown vegetables and taking naps in familial hammocks (We had a hammock. It broke. Not from use but a storm.). 

Most mornings I leave at 6:15 in the morning so I can keep my commute under an hour, and it enables me to get home in time to make dinner in the evening.  My hubby leaves later so he tries to make it home most nights in time for the big dinner hour.  We swim in the summer after dinner which is our “downtime.” 

School starts back next week so early mornings will involve lunch packing and bag checks for folders and new schedule changes with gymnastics and soccer starting up.  I’m guessing that Monday nights, with our first ever 6 pm kid activity, will mean Chick-Fil-A for dinner, and it probably won’t be the grilled chicken.  Bray and I have tag team trips in September so we’ll face time and make it up when we both get back. 

Weekends we’ll split between kid games and the farm.  We’ll have some downtime there though one kid will be atop a tractor while another brushes the horse and yet another is on the buggy with grandpa.  We don’t regularly stroll around down there holding hands. 

I love seeing the pictures of the relaxing strolls on the beach and the late morning cups of coffee, but that’s not our life and I’m okay with that.  My kid beach experiences involve insane amounts of sand in hard-to-get-out-of places and unexpected wetness and attempts to avoid jellyfish.  And a late morning cup of coffee for me is 7 am. 

I wonder if that’s a little of what your life looks like too?  I encourage you to not get caught up in an idealized, and highly pictorialized, notion that your life and family can’t connect and grow without organic tomatoes and spotless vacations. 

Most of our families are messy and rushed.  We carve out little moments with each other.  I still catcall my husband, and we read bedtime stories with the kids.  We have family dinners together during the week, even if it’s only messy spaghetti, and we share our daily stories.  If I took photos of those moments, you probably wouldn’t get wistful wishing your life looked like ours because (a) I’m a bad photographer, (b) they’re messy and stained and uncoordinated. 

So here’s a little encouragement from the peanut gallery today.  If you were worried your family was going to need therapy because your moments don’t look like those beautiful blog posts, they probably will end up needing therapy but it will have nothing to do with long walks and pots of vegetables.  At least mine probably will, but it won’t be for lack of effort and love. 

Love comes on in along with the messy and hurried and frazzled, but love always outshines all the rest of those.

Hard Stories: Being Selfish

I was torn.  Little bit kept wavering on whether she’d stay at the main house or the bayou house, and the baby was wailing because of an injured ankle.  I started the car, it was already late because we had so many fireworks to pop, and tried to load the boys.

Little bit said she would stay with her grandparents, and the remaining four of us set off across the pasture.  The car parked at the back door with me still in a quandary over whether to stay with the boys or go back to the main house.

I got the baby settled in a chair with a wash cloth and icepack and decided to head back.  The boys were tearful and asked me to stay.  I said I’d come back if little bit was still dressed.

I drove back across the pasture with my headlights full of bugs in the dark night and lugged my bag into the main house.  Little bit was happy as a clam in her p.j.s “making her beauty” with grandmother, her pink blanket already settled in between her grandparents pillows.

She brushed her teeth and told me she would stay in their room.  I decided to stay put, and I washed my face and laid down in the guest room, alone.

And cried.

I didn’t stay where I was most needed mainly because I was angry at my husband.  As the night had worn on, we had a silly argument, and I could tell he was angry at how I responded.  I started the fireworks with the kids before he came out, and we didn’t interact for the rest of the evening.  I wasn’t particularly interested in staying with him.

Had we been home, we’d have gone to sleep in the same room, maybe angry, but we’d have slept in the same bed.  Yet here I had an out.  Another house and a paper thin excuse that the one child with two adults might need me specifically.

The baby with the injury and the eldest with his pleading, and even my husband who had taken my bags to the other house earlier, were the ones who really wanted me with them.  And I left for selfish reasons.

I had also had three glasses of wine over the course of the evening, and I can make foolish decisions when my brain is fuzzy instead of fueled with the clarity of action my faith requires me to take.

I had also shared a story with my mother-in-law about the first time I saw my father after the divorce, quite sometime as the case was and in less than ideal circumstances, and I had never spoken the story out loud before, not even to my husband.  I somehow managed to feel the wounds fresh on my heart all these years later.

I can still be selfish.  I can still be foolish.  I can still be wounded.

It was not an irreparable action.  Yet those selfish, foolish, wounded-fueled decisions in marriage and parenting can add up if you don’t watch it.  It becomes all too easy to write off the instance as “a one-off” and not ask for forgiveness and determine to do better the next time.  Then those costly one-offs add up to more distance and more damage.

There is hope.  In the midst of the I can be’s… (add your own laundry list of less-than adjectives).

I can do all this through Christ who gives me strengthPhil. 4:13

So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.  And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.  Romans 11:5-6

He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ JesusPhil. 1:6

There is grace for a new day.  So I can be forgiven.  I can start anew.  I can do it better.  I can be selfless, and wise, and healed.


This week is about the hard stories.  The ones I’m not particularly happy to share.  But if we don’t start talking about the hard stories, how we will find our way to the other side?

Vincent Vacation, The Grandeur and The Fear

Our introduction to Yosemite National Park was an early June afternoon at the northern Tioga Pass which only opens in late May because of snow.


As soon as we passed through the park entrance gates, snow began to fall.  The kids have never seen snow since it’s not snowed in Houston since they were two months old.  We pulled over so they could catch a few flakes on their tongue.  The next day in the Valley it was 100 degrees.

Such is the grandeur and unpredictability of Yosemite.

El Capitan greeted us at first view when we drove in Sunday morning:


We ate on the Merced beach across from El Capitan’s trail with the rain beginning to fall:


We drove past the tiered Yosemite Falls on one side and Bridalveil Falls on the other:


At the top of Tunnel View we could see most of the Valley spread before us – from Half Dome to the falls to El Capitan with glimpses of Cathedral Rock and Three Brothers:


The wildness is breathtaking.  Spectacular.  Extraordinary.  It’s also a little bit terrifying.  The hairpin turns around mountain ranges with no rail or views beyond the next curve.  The warnings of roaming bears and coyotes.

Truth be told, I’ve been scared by a lot lately.  News reports are chilling.  Headlines from Nigeria to our backyard have set me on edge.

I was acutely aware of my growing fear in the wilderness.  I stood guard over the family picnicking by the Merced in case of a wandering bear (despite my husband’s chuckling that no person in recorded history has been killed by a bear in Yosemite).  I gripped the door handle and pressed my foot on the invisible passenger brakes as he slowly inched up the mountain’s edge.  I packed extra food and drinks in case of weather or misdirection.

Yet everything was beyond my control.

So much in my life is.  Funny, those are the things I worry about.

I shared what I began to see about my fear out there in the wild with a dear friend, and she wisely remarked, It sounds like you are afraid of the big.  But it’s in the bigness of God that we also find safety. 


Great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain.
eautiful in its loftiness, the joy of the whole earth,

like the heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion, the city of the Great King.
God is in her citadels; he has shown himself to be her fortress.
As we have heard, so we have seen

in the city of the Lord Almighty, in the city of our God:
God makes her secure forever Psalm 48

This wasn’t the vacation post I’d set out to write about the grandeur of Yosemite.  There are plenty of words to fill a page to share the beauty of each nook and cranny.  Not just the mountains and the waterfalls, but the flowers and the rocks and the dappled light through the trees.

DSC_0229 DSC_0012


I would have done them all injustice, but I could have easily written that post.

But I wondered if maybe there’s not someone else struggling with fear over the big.  Fear which could easily take over even though it’s everything beyond our control.

I found tremendous peace in remembering the bigness of my God is the antidote to the bigness of my fear.  {==> Click to Tweet}

You see, the God of all this grandeur, isn’t about fear; this extraordinary God is about extraordinary love.  And as big and unpredictable as life, and my fears, are, He is bigger:

 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  I Tim. 1:7

God is love… There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment.  I John 4:7

He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day…
Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.  Psalm 91


I know it’s scary when we can’t see around the corner, but He can, and He’s there.