Archive for the 'Rilyn' Category


guarding their hearts

Every Christmas James and I give our children three gifts each.  These three gifts represent the three gifts the wise men gave to Jesus.  We give them a want, a need, and a spiritual growth gift.  This year, for our girls, (ages 9 1/2 and 8), we gave them lockets for their spiritual growth gift.  These lockets represent our prayer for them-that they would continue to guard and keep their heart pure and dedicated to Jesus.  And James will, as their father and spiritual leader, spend the rest of his life praying and fighting for their hearts.   We are also praying that one day they will find a prince who will do the same.

(We got this idea from this website here.)

I wanted to post the letters on this blog because they are so sweet!  I know our girls will treasure these letters, as he hand wrote each one on special linen paper.

Rilyn’s locket

James reading his letter to Rilyn

My beautiful Rilyn,

Your beauty is displayed through your strength! God has blessed you with strength to love others. I see it in your pursuit of your family, your friends, and even your enemies. You love being with people and you love the people you are with.  I see it in the letters you right to your friends, the patience you have with your sister, the forgiveness you give to those who hurt you.

Your beauty is displayed through your mind! God has blessed you with a mind that loves to wonder and loves to learn.  I see it every night when you fall asleep reading. I see it in all those conversations with your grandpa and oma about nature, and history, and science.  Your love for fantasy and fairy tales is a great display of the wonder God has given you to ponder and think of things greater than ourselves and be in awe of the One greater than our imaginations dare to imagine.

Your beauty is displayed through your soul! God has blessed you with a kind, gentle, and enduring soul. I see it in your kind and gentle responses to the chaos that surrounds at school.  I see it in the kindness you extend to strangers.

Finally, your beauty is displayed through your heart! A new heart given by the Creator of heaven and earth filled with the true and greatest beauty that is our Lord Jesus Christ.   The bible says your heart is the wellspring, the source of all your strength, all your thoughts…all you are!

My prayer for you is that you would continue to guard and keep your heart pure and dedicated to our Lord Jesus Christ.  I will spend the rest of my life praying and fighting for your heart.   Your mother and I are also praying that one day you will find a prince who will do the same.

This gift is a symbol of that commitment and promise. I hope it serves as an encouragement…know that I am for you and I love you and remember the even better news that God is for you and loves you!  So guard your heart, paying careful attention to your thoughts, your emotions, your desires, and your choices.  Guard your heart by giving it along with all your thoughts, emotions, desires, and choices to Jesus…

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ JesusPhilippians 4:7

You don’t need to guard your heart with selfishness keeping you from loving others and you don’t need to foolishly open your heart to chasing after this world that will never satisfy.  But instead:

The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. Psalm 28:7



James reading his letter to Ella

My beautiful Ella,

Your beauty is displayed through your strength! God has blessed you with strength to love others. I see it in your affection towards your family, your friends, and even your enemies. You love cuddling and hugging your friends and family.  I see it in the sweet and creative ways you pray for and encourage others with gifts you make.

Your beauty is displayed through your mind! God has blessed you with a mind that loves to be creative and dream.  I see it in all the creative games and crafts you create.  I see in fantastic stories you tell and write.  Your love to play make believe and dream up imaginary places and stories that end with happily ever after points to a mind that longs for the ONE who is our happily ever after.

Your beauty is displayed through your soul! God has blessed you with a passionate and loyal nature. I see it in your relationships with your teachers, your friends, and your family.  I see it in your energy and spontaneity.  You are such an exciting and fun young woman to be with and to play with and to live with.  I feel it every time you jump on my lap or hop on my back and every time you give me a hug…even if it’s 10 hugs in a row before going to bed….(the rest of the letter is the same as Rilyn’s.)  🙂



putting the locket on Ella!



I went to my one and only Aggie game this season on Saturday. It was the last game of the season, which most likely means it was the last time Johnny Football will be seen playing in Kyle Field. 😦 The Aggies won, and we had fun bringing Rilyn along!



We went to our neighborhood Fall Festival last night and Rilyn got to FINALLY dress up in her Halloween costume!  She has definitely earned it-she read all 7 Harry Potter books in one year!  She is pretty obsessed, and wants to have her 10th birthday party Harry Potter themed next year!  Of course, she will be Hermoine!  🙂

I made Ella and Asher wear old costumes, because they always get stains on their clothes, and I didn’t want them to ruin their new costumes before Halloween. I was right too, Asher busted his top lip at the park and bled all down his “Jake and the Neverland Pirate” costume! That boy!


Preparing Your Daughter for Every Woman’s Battle

For the past 3 years, I have spent an evening in August having “the talk” with each of my daughters.  It is not easy.

I was talking to an older couple last month, and we were talking about the generational gaps.  It was acceptable in their generation to keep things hidden, especially things that were not socially polite to talk about such as sex.  In church back then, you just didn’t talk about your struggles out loud either.  If you went to church, you were probably pretty holy, but no one was going to ask you about it, just in case you weren’t.  And you certainly didn’t have social media to share things!

But my children live in a generation which I would describe as the “authentic” generation.  Everyone, everywhere is okay with talking about who they are, whether that be heterosexual, bi, homosexual, Republican, Liberal, prolife, prochoice, etc.  Even Christians now feel the freedom to confess sins and repent to others on their blogs, in church programs, etc.  Facebook is filled with statuses of how it’s okay to be different, this is who I am, love me for me!

While I believe it is good to be authentic, and not hide struggles, this creates a dilemma for us as Christian parents of young children.  I believe we MUST tell our children the Biblical view of sex and marriage at young ages.  I don’t care if you never let your child step foot in a public school, they will see/hear people of all kinds doing things you will not approve of on the TV/movie screen, commercials, on the sidewalk, at the neighborhood pool, social media, their older cousin’s house, billboards, and…brace yourself…CHURCH.  And parents, I want broken people (which is all of us!) to feel welcome at church no matter how much of an outcast they may feel they are.  After all, in Luke 5 it says,

29 Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. 30 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”

31 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

So, starting at age 5, we age appropriately share the Biblical view of sex and marriage to our children.  I know, you’re thinking, “Really?  5 years old!” But we must prepare our kids for the battles that lie ahead in this world.  And our kids are experiencing things that we have NEVER experienced as children because we didn’t have the internet.  Don’t be naiive parents to what your children will see and hear.

This year, I decided to get a new book to help with my oldest daughter, age 9.  She HATES talking about sex.  And although What’s the Big Deal?: Why God Cares About Sex (God’s Design for Sex) is good, I need something that I can read to her, that is written for her (i.e. written FOR girls) since she feels SO awkward about talking with me about “it.”   Book 3 in God’s Design for Sex series is written in a question/answer type format and does not naturally flow conversationally in my opinion.  It still is a good book to discuss with your 9-11 year old, but like I said earlier, for a child who doesn’t even want to look at you during “this” conversation, it just isn’t the right book for the job.

Preparing Your Daughter for Every Woman’s Battle: Creative Conversations About Sexual and Emotional Integrity (The Every Man Series) has been a great resource for me to use when talking with my almost fourth grader.   First off, I would recommend this book for girls ages 9 and up.  I also bought my daughter a journal before we started so we could do the activities at the end of each chapter in the journal.  The first half of the book is written just for mom to read alone.  The mom section convinces you that it is good to read this to your daughter BEFORE she starts puberty.

After I read that, I skimmed the back half of the book and saw there was 16 mini chapters for me to read with my daughter.  Every chapter is about a new topic:  getting curves, starting your period, dating, sex, sex before marriage, friends, etc.  I started doing a chapter a day with her during the later half of July.  Each chapter took about 30 minutes from start to finish.  What I really liked about these chapters was at the end of each one, there was a short activity to do with my daughter.  She got out her new journal I bought her and a Bible, and together we did the activity and then I wrote a sentence that I wanted her to remember for that day.  Example:  After we read about getting curves, she had to draw different fruits on a page of her journal.  We then talked about if a banana could ever be a pear or an apple could ever be a banana, etc.  Obviously the answer is no, each fruit is made with unique curves.  We are to be happy with the bodies God gave us!  So I wrote on the bottom of her page:  “Thank you God for creating Rilyn in Your image!”  My hope is that she can look back over this journal throughout the school year and remember everything we discussed, (because she is not one to comfortably talk to me about these things, although my prayer is that she will one day.) Warning, this book is very graphic about sex.  It feels very unnatural to read these things to an innocent 9 year old, but 1.) I have to remind myself no one is innocent and 2.)  I want her to hear these things from me first, not on the playground at school.  My prayer for her is that knowing all these things now, she will be a friend of influence rather than be influenced by peers at school.  (And parents, just tell your daughter not to discuss the things in this book with others unless the topic comes up!)  🙂

me and my girls!


Pine Cove Base Camp again!

Our girls went to Pine Cove Base Camp last week.  This is a true camp experience minus the overnight stays in cabins, (which we are planning on sending our girls to next summer!)  This is their second year, and next summer Asher will get to go!  I highly recommend looking for a Base Camp in your city next summer for your kids ages “going into first grade thru sixth grade.”  (Base Camp will be called “Camp in the City” from now on.)

Ella cried on Friday at the closing ceremonies.  Ella always cries at good-byes.  But James reminded her there will be no more good-byes in heaven!  And going to Base Camp this past week was an earthly taste of what heaven will be like:  dancing and worshiping Jesus with joy, laughing, neon colors everywhere…(okay maybe not that part!)  🙂

Ella with her counselor, Wala Wala!

Pine Cove is all about crazy and silly!

At the end of the closing ceremony, the counselors present their camper with a character quality that they saw in them during the week.

Ella’s was, “Ella is virtuous. Her authentic personality is refreshing to those around her. Ella is faithful in her words and actions.”

Rilyn’s character quality was, “Rilyn is nurturing in the way she encourages others. Her enthusiastic attitude inspires others to be engaged. Rilyn is respectful.”

Rilyn with her 4th grade girl group and counselor, Minty.


the day my daughter got punched in the face

It was 3 weeks before 3rd grade was ending when I got the dreaded phone call no one wants.  The vice principal called to tell me that Rilyn, almost 9 years old, got punched in the nose by a boy on purpose.   When we decided to enroll in public school, we didn’t just enroll our kids, but our family.  I am very active in the school, and go up there at least twice a week to help in the classrooms.  Rilyn is well-liked at school, and most of the kids know me, having seen me for the past 5 years at the school.  Who could of done this?!?

All this to say, initially I was shocked she got punched.  Then I remembered that  this world we live in is not our home, and many things here are dark and scary.

First thought:  “How could someone possibly punch my daughter?”  (selfish and angry)

Second thought:  tears streamed down my face.  I was sad for Rilyn, but I was even sadder when the vice principal asked Rilyn if she wanted to talk to me on the phone and she said no.  Rilyn was embarrassed and emotionally hurt.

The VP told me that Rilyn was not badly hurt, no swelling or blood.  The incident occurred in the cafeteria, (they sit next to the person who was next to them in the cafeteria line at the tables.)  Rilyn was next to this boy (who was a new kid this year, and I had not met him personally yet), and Rilyn was “shushing” him, (she put her finger over her mouth and leaned in to the boy) because lunch was over, and they are to be quiet as they are waiting for their teacher to come pick them up.  This boy felt like Rilyn was invading his personal space, so he punched her.  The VP told me that this boy would have consequences, his parents would be called, and he wouldn’t be able to participate in any of the end of the year activities.

I hung up knowing Rilyn was safe, and called James to discuss how we were going to handle it when she got home.  You feel so hurt for your child, but on the other hand, you don’t know this boy’s situation and what he goes home to each day.    We didn’t want Rilyn to play victim when she got home, because I knew she would be getting a lot of that “poor me” treatment from her classmates and teachers.  It’s nice to have people that stand up for you, and want to protect you, but it can easily go too far, and we don’t want our kids feeling that false sense of security.

Rilyn got off the bus that afternoon, and I brought her into her room alone.  I told her, with compassion, that I was so sorry that happened to her, and asked her if she was feeling any pain.  She recounted the whole story again, and told me she was okay, but she was scared.  The boy is on her bus, and she was scared that without the protection of teachers, he would strike again.    I told Rilyn that Satan wants us to live in fear.  He wants her to be scared to come back to school and see him.  We prayed through a verse that we had memorized during the school year:

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me? (Proverbs 56:3-4)   “Lord, help my child not live in fear.  You are her protection!”

Then we talked about how she feels about the boy.   We talked about how Jesus feels about that boy. We talked about Jesus, who lived a perfect life and did nothing wrong, was nailed to the cross and how He was beaten, spit on, persecuted for Rilyn’s sin, my sin…our sin.  And what were some of His last words?  Luke 23:34:  “And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

I ended our time telling her that “Jesus came to rescue us so that we can live in peace…peace with our creator and peace with each other.  This peace with each other requires forgiveness; a forgiveness He gave us on the cross to share with each other.  Jesus wants us to forgive the boy who punched you.  It’s okay if you don’t feel like it right now.  God knows your heart, and you can’t fake forgiveness with Him anyway.  But dad and I will pray for you that you will be filled with God’s love and forgiveness, and in turn be moved to share it and forgive him.”

And she did.  (And there was no reaction from him she said.  He was just quiet, staring at her when she told him she forgave him.  Sometimes life isn’t like the movies.)

Thank you Lord for parenting moments like these, although they are hard, they are GOOD because they lift Your name higher!



On June 3, 2004 Rilyn Jalie Paquette made me a mommy!  And now, nine fast and furious years later, we are HALF WAY done with raising her in our home!  Does this make me sad?  A little, but more than anything, it makes me want to charge, and be that much more intentional in these last nine years.  I want her to be prepared as she enters college in 2022, with a faith that is HER OWN.  If she has that, nothing else matters.  I do believe she is a Christian, and James and I want to give her all the tools she needs to walk faithfully, even when no one is watching.

Enjoy the pictures of her special day!

Traditional “wake up to a donut and us singing to you” on your birthday!

Run through the crepe paper to your presents and cards!

Rilyn got matching dresses for her and her new doll, Serenity. Here she is about to go to school!

Rilyn chose Austin Park and Pizza for her birthday dinner!

Love the Laser tag game faces! Rilyn chose one special friend to go with her, Eveany.

Rilyn is a pro at the climbing wall!

This however was Ella’s first time, and she was a bit fearful and frustrated!

bumper boats!

Asher loves wild rides! He took a big swig of root beer before this ride and I really thought he was going to lose it. But, fortunately, it wasn’t the carnival scene in Sandlot, and he was great!


Rilyn loved racing around the track!

Asher could ride with daddy, and he loved it too!


Rilyn’s “cool” 9th birthday party!!

We had Rilyn’s 9th birthday party at a local ice skating rink!  Rilyn chose this because she had been to a previous birthday party there and loved it!  I thought the party ran very smoothly, and the rink gives the kids a lesson right at the beginning of the party.  However, one girl broke her wrist, and another twisted her ankle…so, maybe having an ice skating party wasn’t the best idea!  Rilyn had a “cool” time though!

Off to a slippery start (before the lesson!)

Lesson time!

Rilyn and her best friend (who sadly broke her wrist during the party!)

All her guests!

Gotta have the sparkler!

Reading a birthday card!

Rilyn opened her presents from grandma and grandpa after the party at home!

I love how excited Ella is! She knows she gets to play with Rilyn’s presents!

Rilyn finally gets the American Girl doll she has been wanting!


Girls club!

Rilyn and Ella were blessed last school year to be a part of a neighborhood girls club.  The girl who lead it was our pastor’s daughter, (who was in 4th grade), and it really was an awesome first time “discipling” experience for the girls.  Once Rilyn started going, she told me she wanted to start a girls club one day!  Well, fast forward through our busy fall (no excuse though!), and the pastor’s daughter has moved out of our neighborhood, and Rilyn and Ella have plenty of girlfriends from school that live in the neighborhood-we are ready to start up girls club!

The flyer we made to pass out said, “crafts, Bible lesson, snack, and play!”  The girls meet every Friday afternoon from 4-5 p.m.  I wanted to keep it in the neighborhood, so parents could feel comfortable at the ease of sending their daughters over to our house.  We are trying to live missionally in wherever God has put us.  This girls club is a great way to help with that!  They have lots of friends with whom they can share the gospel with in a very non-threatening way-what girls doesn’t love crafts, girl talk, and snacks?

Rilyn wanted to start with Genesis, and so for 10 minutes she “teaches” a lesson that James has helped her with.  James has taught Genesis for a few years at church, so he is very good at asking the right questions that get to the heart of every story…Jesus.  Every story whispers His Name.  This week Rilyn is teaching about Noah. James typed out some questions for her to answer so she could go over them with the girls. She took the questions to bed last night, and we found them answered next to her head when we went in late to tuck her in.  Her answers warm my heart.

The activity that Rilyn did with the girls is she gave them a box full of popsicle sticks, tape, yarn, pipe cleaners, etc. and their job was to build an “ark”. Then the girls tested their arks in water with plastic animals on them.  They were testing how many animals did it take to sink their ark.  They discussed afterward how challenging it was to build a boat, (especially for all those animals!), and how Noah must of felt, especially when there was “no reason” to build an ark.  Noah had to step out in faith.

building their arks

Hosting a girls club requires a little sacrifice.  Last week, a parent picked up their daughter 30 minutes late, which made us late for our dinner plans.  Yes, as parents, we have to help Rilyn think of and create a Bible lesson/activity each week.  I might have to spend some more money in my grocery budget for snacks, materials for the craft, etc.  Having a bunch of  girls over (ages 5 and up) can be a bit loud…:-)

But the rewards?  We dream of Ella leading girls club one day, as she watches her big sister, (who is naturally gifted as a leader), step out in confidence to share the Gospel.  We dream of these girls (who mostly go to school together) become a community of their own at school where they can pray with and support each other because they have built up this (spiritual) bond.  We dream of girls coming to know Christ who otherwise would never have opened a Bible.  We dream of having daughters who have a BIG heart to evangelize because they are so used to doing it each week in girls club.

So, come on!  Help your son/daughter start an after school club!  🙂



Rilyn has started a new season!  She is on the Dazzler dance team for the Manor Falcon basketball league!  She had her first “half time” performance last night and it was fun to watch!  She really loves performing!


My photography business!

March 2021