Author Archive for James Paquette

26
Jun
11

Marry Me

took a little while but here is a short video our trip to Kauai celebrating ten years…I’d ask her every day if I had to! I love you Julie

22
Dec
10

pictures from Fort Worth Christmas

James and me in downtown Fort Worth
Ella elf
Rilyn elf
Uncle Ben and Ella
Ella, Asher, and Rilyn
26
Nov
10

The first SNL Thanksgiving

Rilyn decided she wanted us to do a family thanksgiving skit this year. So she and Ella got the props and costumes ready and Julie added her creative SNL twist and we performed it for our family yesterday.

Make sure to stick it out until the end, my favorite part is Rilyn’s nervous anticipation before the ‘grand finale’.

18
Aug
10

eternal conversations

Yesterday was Rilyn and I’s annual back to school daddy-daughter date and like last year we headed over to Austin Park n Pizza for some miniature golf, go-karts (Rilyn gets to drive her own car), video games, and tea-cups; I almost let loose on that ride, Rilyn ended up riding again by herself just so she could spin as much as she wanted. We ended the trip at Sonic sharing a blended root beer float.
Chilling at Sonic was our first time in a long time to really get to talk about the upcoming school year and for me to get to listen and share my heart with her. We talked about what to expect in 1st grade from tests to social woes and from what I can tell, she seems ready and excited to get going. She takes after her mom in that arena. Her affinity for organized days filled with achievable tasks fits right in with her Julie-like personality.
While we were there, I wanted to take the chance and talk about more eternal things also. You see, for a while Julie and I have been wrestling with our role and responsibility as it relates to her faith in Jesus Christ. From an early age, God has graced Rilyn with special affinity for God and His Good news. She is fascinated by and attracted to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus; to the point that if you ask her if she believes in Jesus, she says yes. We ask her if she loves Jesus and she says yes. To hear Rilyn say this gives Julie and I great joy.
This joy is in response to our deeply rooted longing for all our kids to love Jesus, to trust Him, to put their faith in Him, and be reconciled with their Heavenly Father, the Creator of the universe. God’s word reveals to us that this reconciliation with our Heavenly Father comes only to those who by grace have faith in Jesus. Romans 10:9-11:
“9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”
I discussed this very truth with Rilyn last night and she clearly communicated her love for Jesus, and that she believes He is the Lord of heaven and earth. Does this mean that she is saved? That is the question Julie and I are wrestling with. It is clear that the word of God teaches that salvation comes to those who confess with their mouth AND believe in their heart that Jesus is who the Bible says He is. How can you know what is really going on in her heart?
I tried to assess that on our way back home. My first question was, “Rilyn, who is the giver of all good gifts?”
“Jesus” she replied
Right answer, but I wanted to get to the heart, so I asked, “What if Jesus took all your toys away, would you still love Him?”
“Yes,” she replied
“Why,” I asked.
“Because He was crucified for me,” she responded.
Wow, that was a big word, not one we use very often. I probed a little deeper, “What if Jesus took daddy away, would you still love Him?”
To which she wilted a bit and weakly said, “Yes”
Torn between giving her a hug and pressing on, I asked her, “Why?”
Sniffling a little bit she responded, “Because He loves me.”
Looking at Rilyn I am encouraged and overwhelmed by the grace bestowed on her by our Heavenly Father that at such a young age her words would echo the truth revealed through Paul’s letter to the Philippians chapter 3 verse 8,
“8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ”
Is Rilyn His? I believe so. Only time and a life full of faith in Christ bearing fruit of His spirit will tell. The Bible teaches that those who are born-again will continue trusting in Christ forever. God, by His own power through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, keeps or preserves the believer forever. Praise be to God whose does not sleep or slumber, who will never forsake his children no matter what.
My part to play in all this is not to doubt her words or question her heart but to teach Him & His word and trust His work through the Spirit so that she will put her confidence in Him leading to a life of obedience. There is a great sermon on Our Calling as Parents founded on Psalm 78:1-8.
Listen, O my people, to my instruction; incline your ears to the words of my mouth. 2 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, 3 which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. 4 We will not conceal them from their children, but tell to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and His strength and His wondrous works that He has done. 5 For He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers, that they should teach them to their children, 6 that the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, that they may arise and tell them to their children, 7 that they should put their confidence in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments, 8 and not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that did not prepare its heart, and whose spirit was not faithful to God.
In His truth I will put my trust and in His promises I will put my hope.

07
Feb
10

a night at ‘the ball’

Tonight was my first sweetheart dance with Ella, (at Lifetime Fitness with Jeff and Anna Richardson), and for some reason, (which was quite puzzling), I felt like I was back in sixth grade going to my first school dance. “Why am I so anxious?” I kept asking myself. I have nothing to prove, it’s just another dance and it’s not like I have to impress anyone. And yet as we danced the night away I found myself wanting to prove myself as the knight in shining armor that Ella deserves. One of the silly games she wanted to play was for me to go off to the side by myself and pretend to be this prince who, as she walked by, was awestruck with her beauty and wanted to sweep her off her feet and dance.

It was during our slow dance to Bob Carlisle’s “Butterfly Kisses” that I realized two things:

(1) This is one of the cheesiest songs ever written (side note: Julie’s dad’s version is my favorite at our wedding), 🙂 and
(2) My anxiety building up to the dance was simply a reflection of the truth that I am not always going to be her prince charming, that some day she is going to be awestruck by some dude from who knows where and this is a very anxious thought…

So my hope and prayers are for her heart and eyes to be protected and guided by Christ’s love through my love for her….

James, Ella, Anna, and Jeff
daddy’s girl
22
Jan
10

When does 5500 = 4?

When it takes 5500 miles to get to a place that you can walk to in four steps.

For those of you that don’t know, Dell sent me to Brazil this week for a business trip, or at least that is what I thought. I left on Sunday afternoon and was in my hotel room the next evening.  This was my first international trip using Skype to keep in touch with the family. Sitting in my hotel room 5500 miles away from home, I logged on to see how the family was doing.

The purpose of my trip had not started. And of course I was feeling anxious about the week not really knowing exactly what I was going to find or do to make sure I came back successful.  The flight over was exhausting and this was my first international trip where I was asked to do more than just teach/present on a certain topic.  I was actually commissioned to go and make sure everything was okay and fix anything that is broken.  That ‘pressure’ plus the constant turbulence only made my coach seat that much more uncomfortable. Not to mention the bottom of the back cushion that felt like a brick in my back.

So, I was hoping that my time seeing and talking with my family would be a good distraction away from it all. It was very nice to be able to see faces and hear the chaos that is my family all they way in Porte Alegre, Brazil.  But it was the words of my youngest daughter Ella, relayed through Julie, that reminded me of something I all to often forget.  Julie, recapping the days events, told me that when she asked Ella where I was she responded, “He went to Brazil (well actually she said Taco Bell-same difference) 🙂  to tell people about Jesus.”

“That silly girl” I responded, “I’m here to work…to fix FX accounting issues.”   Blowing kisses goodnight, I logged off and started to get ready for the next day. Then it hit me…She is right.  That is why I went to Brazil.  How quickly and how often I get bogged down and focus on the temporary struggles and projects of life.

Over the last several weeks I have been reading through the Book of Joshua and my heart is consistently stirred with the desire to Go, as Joshua was called to Go. To be “strong and courageous,” and obey my Lord’s commands, abiding in His word.  And over and over again, my response seems to be, “Where do you want me to go?  What do you want me to do?”  Hoping for some sort of deep voice to come out of the clouds and say, “James, Go and….”, only to realize that He has already given me the direction I need.  And as if that was not enough, which it is, that booming deep voice came in the form of the cutest four year old girl I have ever laid eyes on.

So that’s what I did.  Pretty simple.  Oh how I always seem to find a way to make things complex. Perhaps its an effort to feel more important or smarter when I get tasks done, forgetting my worth lies not in my ability and I am working with the intelligence of a stupid sheep. Anyways, I digress…this week I flew 5500 miles to share the good news with a friend/coworker who sits no more than 4 steps away from me at Dell.

Was the trip a success? Not for me to decide, however, I hope that my renewed focus stays true to the call for all of God’s children.  Go and tell people about Jesus.

22
Aug
09

dating my daughter

What a fun and meaningful night I had on a date with my oldest daughter Rilyn.  I say meaningful because it was a moment of grace where my heavenly Father gave me a chance to cherish my role as a father and realize what I can offer and what only He can offer.

Gotta have the silly pic!

We did have a blast tonight…I took Rilyn out on a date to ‘Austin Park & Pizza’.  We started out on the bumper boats, played some video games, ate some pizza, drank some root beer, played some miniature golf, and topped it off with Rilyn driving on her own in her first Go Kart race.

Proud moment for daddy:  Rilyn leading!

But amidst the chaos of buffet pizza, black lights, and the blurry Japanese anime projecting in the background, we sat there in our little purple booth…just the two of us, my little girl, my little baby, my first baby…Rilyn.  She heads to kindergarten in four days, man how time flies. It feels like yesterday that I was trying so hard to get her to crawl to me, now all I hear is, ‘I can do it by myself’.  So I feel like this is a major jump for Rilyn into the waters of this world and I wanted to convey to her how much I love her and how I will always be there for her, whenever she needs me.

Golf lesson

Two things hit me in that moment. First, no matter what I said, I felt as if there were no words I could convey powerful enough for her to know how much I love her and how much I want to be there for her whenever she needs me.  The emotion behind that was enough to start the swelling in my eyes. Then it really hit me, as much as I love her and yearn to be there for Rilyn, ultimately I can’t.  It is humanly impossible to be there for her every second of everyday…and eventually I won’t be around.

look alikes

Yet, with tears in my eyes, I looked at Rilyn and said, “Rilyn, look at me, look in my eyes.  I love you so much, and no matter what I will be there for you.  You can come to me for help whenever you need it.”  She looked in my eyes and said, “But how can you be at my school when you have to be at work?”  Wow, she is right….as much as I want to be there for her, there is a limit.  And at first I ached inside, but then grace came and my Heavenly Father reminded me of two awesome truths….

First, He loves Rilyn, (and you and me), more than words can convey…His love is infinite and powerfully revealed through the sending of His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die so that Rilyn, (and you and me), would be able to have abundant life, if we would only trust our life to Him:

John 15:13Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

John 3:16-18″For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

Second, what I can’t offer, my heavenly Father can give…He is not limited by time or space and will be there for Rilyn, (and you and me), always and forever:

Hebrews 13:5-6…He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU….THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT WILL MAN DO TO ME?”

So it’s more than pizza, more than go karts, even more than quality time…I can offer her Him….that turns my tears of angst into tears of joy and peace.

From august 2009
10
Aug
09

swimming lessons

(Going Public part 3)

One of the biggest obstacles Julie and I face as we continue to wade through the issue of our children’s education is trying to determine how much influence we allow the world to have on each child and when.  Of course when it comes to the world ‘out there’ it is really a matter of trust and timing; eventually they will have to swim.  We want our kids to be able to swim and navigate through the waves…that is, not to drown in the waters of the world around them.

On the one hand, it is easy when our eyes are fixated on the world to become overwhelmed and perhaps over-protective of our little ones to the point that home schooling is the only option.   (Note: we definitely see a place for homeschooling, but the question for us is whether that is for our family…not whether it is right or wrong.)

On the other hand, we fully trust that God is Sovereignly in control of our children’s future and that it would take more faith for us to send them out, and thus, for our family (at least for Rilyn….this is a year by year issue), public school is the answer.

Through time in the Word, prayer, and discussion with each other we are convinced that the answer is not black and white.  We know that we are called and given the responsibility to train our children (Prov. 22:6  Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.).  From this truth, we feel the weight of a responsibility to influence each child in a way that will draw them closer to their heavenly Father.

We also know that ultimately God is in control and has the Ultimate influence on everyone and everything (Romans 11:36, “From him, through him, and to him are all things, to Him be glory forever Amen!”)  From this, we are able to draw a peace and courage that God never calls us to do anything apart from him.

So what is our calling?  What is God telling Julie and I?  Something that helped us is the analogy below:

None of us who have children want them to drown.

But how can we prevent it?

One way is to keep them away from bodies of water deeper than two feet.  It works.  Kids won’t drown if they don’t get into deep water.

But we can also guard them from drowning by another method:  teaching them to swim.  Though it isn’t foolproof, it works rather well and provides more freedom.

In the same way, we should teach our kids to “swim” against the currents of the world.  Avoidance of the world is ineffective-children eventually go away to college or start their lives and encounter all the things we guarded them from.

They will be more ready to face worldly currents if we have taught them to swim. (Dennis McCallum, “The Postmodern Puzzle”, The Real Issue March 1998)

Public school is an excellent pool in which to train our young sons and daughters.  Yes, it’s deep and noisy and the water’s cold and sometimes the chlorine gets in your eyes.  Sometimes you get splashed by other swimmers.  But this is preparation for even bigger bodies of waters to come.  Someday they’ll have to swim in Lake Michigan.  (David & Kelly Pritchard, “Going Public”, pg. 27)

Obviously, none of us want our kids to drown… but even more so, we desire our kids to do more than stay afloat…we desire for them flourish, to live life to the fullest….to swim like Michael Phelps and win the race…(1 Cor 9:24).

We didn’t throw Rilyn into the pool as a baby…it wasn’t even until age 3 that she took her first lesson…Julie and I both know that one day she will dive head first into the the waters of this world…so we start today with the swimming lessons. For each parent, this will look different.  Have you ever been to a 3-5 year old class learning to swim?  It is often obvious which kids are ready to learn and which kids are still afraid of the water.  In the same way, each child will  learn to swim at a different age…but we mustn’t let their first lesson be the first time they go into the pool by themselves!

Rilyn’s swimming lessons              From May 2008

Going Public Part 1
Going Public Part 2

28
Jul
09

organic + Paquettes= ?!?!

If you know our family, you know that we aren’t the most sophisticated or perhaps disciplined family when it comes to our diet. While we try and ensure that plenty of fruits and vegetables are a part of our family’s regular diet, we are not picky about where the food we eat comes from.

However, I am starting to become more aware of exactly where the food we eat comes from and what it goes through before it hits my palate and let’s just say, I have no intention of ever eating a quarter-pounder again. This recent awareness was probably inevitable being that we live in Austin. (For those who don’ t know, Austin and organic are somewhat like Austin and independent music). So when Julie suggested we try out this new ‘organic’ burger joint today, I was much more inclined to say yes than perhaps I would have been in days past.

So we packed up the minivan and took one small step toward an organic lifestyle by heading over to the new TERRA BURGER located off Research Blvd. On the way over, I find out from Julie that her reasoning to check out this new place is the playscape they have for the kids, (not necessarily for the ‘organic’ side of life).  The food was good and the kids had a blast.  From Ella’s perspective, “We can live here!”

For you ‘Austinite’ families looking for a organic way to have some family fun, check it out.

  1. Cell phone pics

DISCLAIMER **(This is Julie, and after previewing James’ post, I just want to clarify that I have NO intention of going ‘organic’ and I was only eating at Terra Burger for the kids playscape. I love my chocolate and junk food too much.)

And yes, regardless of the source, burgers and fries are not necessarily the most healthy meal, but hey, it’s a start right?




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