Friday, April 27, 2007

Menu for a Foggy Spring Day

What do you serve when it's gone from sunny 70s down to rainy, foggy 40s? I suggest you start with hamburgers.

Not just any hamburgers, mind you. You need Ranch Burgers - a flavorful burger with ranch dressing mix, blue cheese crumbles and a hint of garlic cooked right in with the meat. Place inside Haley's homemade hamburger buns, made with freshly ground wheat, farm fresh eggs and the very finest ingredients. Don't forget a large slice of fresh tomato and some curly green lettuce. Top it all off with mustard and ketchup, to taste.

To bring back warm weather memories, serve some summer side dishes. We had homemade coleslaw, a fresh pineapple and mango fruit salad, and oven roasted potatoes with salt, pepper and thyme. Lemonade is the perfect beverage to complete the meal.

Be careful! Drooling on your keyboard may cause it to malfunction. ;-)

Here is our recommended after dinner entertainment. No, we're not using glue or any artificial assistance or computer alteration. You didn't know our family was so talented, did you? - GJ

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Green Belts

Nate and I got our green belts in Kamido Aikido last night, and started working on the green techniques. We've been taking Aikido for a year this month. Green is the fourth belt, preceded by White (What are we doing?), Yellow (I'm beginning to realize how much I don't know) and Orange (I think I might be starting to get some of this!).

We tested last week. Nate was thinking he would go all the way to green, but I wasn't even planning on testing! Mr. Barr made me test and promoted me against my will . . . the green techniques are really scary! There's one move where you flip your attacker over you, while doing a backwards roll. Thankfully, we're not there yet. And I must admit, even though I didn't feel quite ready for it, green is such a nice color! - GJ

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

First Picnic

It was so warm this Sunday, we decided to have our first picnic of the year. We packed up our chicken salad sandwiches and potato salad and drove out to Illinois Beach State Park. Unfortunately, once we arrived, we remembered that it is always much cooler at the lake. So much for our 75 degrees! Thanks, Nate, for reminding us to bring jackets.

The water was so blue, it almost looked tropical (didn't feel tropical with that wind though). The guys played some catch, and we all skipped stones and watched the wind surfers. Well, most of us skipped stones. Someone in our family has not yet learned the art - worse, she suffers from a deplorable lack of ambition in the stone-skipping way.

On the drive back home, we spotted this little friend. We decided to put the last half sandwich to good use, and the fox came quite close to the car. It seemed fairly tame. Someone suggested we throw one of the remaining lemon bars out as well, leading to a near riot of mutiny. Fortunately for all concerned, the motion was overturned. The fox ate the chicken salad, and carried Haley's bread back for its family.

Isn't it nice to live where we have spring! - GJ

Monday, April 23, 2007

Real Life Adventure

The guys were up in the trees on Saturday taking down some of the branches broken in our late snow storm. We girls had a perfect view of their gymnastic feats out Mom's second-story-bedroom window. Looks like fun, doesn't it!

When they came back in, both boys were covered with pine sap. Fortunately, we had plenty of dishes available - nothing takes the sap off like dishwater!

Nate was talking to a friend who went to a climbing-wall place over the weekend. As Nate says, he got the real adventure: climbing with a chainsaw, dangerous poking twigs and weak branches. Not to mention that pine sap!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Hearts fixed on Jesus

Saturday the 14th was the date set for a long anticipated tea, with the theme "Fixing our Hearts on Jesus". The Lord put it on my heart last year to do something with a number of different girls, and I've been praying and planning since last fall. It was a wonderful time!

I had a whole bunch of different girls (ages 13-19) and their moms, some old friends and some very new ones. Above, L-R Gramma Sisson, Gramma Glenna, Haley, me, Gretchen Mahkorn and Mrs. Mahkorn. Gretchen and her Mom drove all the way down from Milwaukee, and I feel so honored that they came!

Since I was the only person who had met everybody, we started with a little mixer game to help us get to know one another a little bit.

Above: Mariah Lewis and Gramma Glenna.
Everyone had a sheet of paper with nine different statements on it, such as "I have a spring birthday", "I like don't mind snakes", "I have three sisters" or "I've had a drivers licence for over twenty years". Then they had to go and get the signature of someone that was accurately described by that statement.

It didn't take too long for everyone to get their sheets filled up. Some ladies and girls even went for two signatures to a statement, just for the fun of it!

Above: Mallory Grutzius and Mrs. Heather Patenaude.
My dear friend Heather came to share what the Lord has taught her about Emotional Purity, saving our hearts for our future mate. You can read more about Heather and the book she wrote at

Above: Gramma Glenna and Mrs. Rdzok.
Prov. 31 says that the godly woman does her husband good all the days of her life, not just after she is married. We can do our future husband good right now by not investing our emotions and thoughts in the young men that are around us, but by saving our heart for him.

1 Cor. 7:35 says that the purpose of singleness is to serve the Lord with undistracted devotion. As young unmarried ladies, we need to fix our minds on Jesus, reading His word, learning to hear His voice, following His leading, and falling in love with our Lord!

After the talk was finished, I had somthing special to give to the girls. The Lord gave me a love letter from scripture for each one. I know it was hard for some to wait to open them until they went home! We ended our time with tea and treats.

I am always blessed by time spent with others who love Jesus and are seeking to follow His ways. Thank you all for coming! I enjoyed the time with you girls, and I am excited to see God's good work displayed in your lives as you submit to Him! - GJ

Monday, April 16, 2007

Historic Moment

April 12th is an important day in Sisson Family History - it's Dad's birthday! Traditionally Dad ate lambie cakes as a little boy, since he was born so close to Easter, but this year he contented himself with brownies. It sure made it easier to blow out all those candles. ;-)

Happy Birthday Dad! We love you SO much.


The Hero in his Camo.

How do you like the Robot?
Must be a little hard to navigate when you can only see straight ahead!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


You can never tell about the weather in our area.
After a few chilly spring-like days, we are having a snow storm!

The crocus, daffodils and hyacinths have been blooming
for the last couple of weeks.
We hope the snow doesn't kill everything that's coming up.

Can you believe it?? It is very sticky wet snow that's actually
broken a large pine branch in the front yard. Yikes!

I guess it's time for [hopefully] our "last" snowman for this season.
Said with a smile and my fingers crossed.

Anyone for a snowball fight?

Wax and Fire! - Ukrainian Pysanky Eggs

Yes, we did go a bit egg crazy this year!
It's such a fun thing to do with family, and we haven't done anything with eggs since 2001.

Pysanky eggs are reserved for the older ones - they take a good bit of time, they involve fire, and that dye is permanent. Period. Clockwise from left, Aunt Karilyn, Haley, Nate, Tim, Elli and Becca.

First you melt the beeswax in your little kistka, then you apply the wax to every area of the egg that you want to be white. When you dip the egg in the dye, the wax preserves the original color.

After you've covered your white parts, you move on to yellow, from there to green and so on. You continue covering and dipping in progressively darker colors until you end, traditionally, with black.

Here is what the eggs look like in process. You can see whatever the current color is, and the rest is ugly black wax . It's really fun at the end when you melt off the wax and all the beautiful colors are finally revealed. Mom likes to say it's like what happens when we allow Jesus to remove our sins and make us like Himself!

We had eight or nine different colors. The traditional colors are white, yellow, orange, green , red, sometimes blue, and black. I think we also had pink and dark blue (which, if used after red made a lovely shade of purple). Traditionally, different designs stand for different things. Fish stand for Christians, the Cross represents Christ, animals show prosperity, grapes stand for the Fruit of the Spirit, flowers for spring, triangles for the Trinity, and so on.

I think Pysanky eggs are my favorite kind to make. You put a lot of thought and planning into each egg, but it's always a surprise to see what it looks like in the end. Of course, the delight of getting to do things you're not normally supposed to probably adds to the appeal. There is something very fun about melting wax and playing around with fire! - GJ

Monday, April 9, 2007

Meditations: Lookin' Up!

Last week I ran across one of my favorite verses again, and I’ve been meditating on it ever since. The verse is Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee.” I love the phrase “perfect peace”, but recently I’ve been reflecting on the condition. To gain that peace, my mind must be stayed on Jesus.

Where is my mind staying these days? What am I meditating on, what am I considering, where do my thoughts “live”? My worries should cause me to run to Jesus in prayer. My desires should be submitted to Him in trusting contentment. My fears should be allowed to dissolve in the warmth of his omnipotent love. How often I allow my mind to stay on these other things, instead of on Jesus with His goodness, love and power.

Here are some of the words to a song that has been going through my head. It’s called “Looking Up”.

If I look out upon the world, I’ll loose my vision,
If I look in at my own strength, I’ll loose my might,
If I look down the road ahead, I’ll loose my courage,
So I’ll look to Christ, and my faith becomes sight!

I’m lookin’ up for the things that really matter,
I will not look to the things that pass away.
My hope is fixed upon eternal treasures,
So I’ll just keep on lookin’ up each day!

With God’s help, I’m lookin’ up. Jesus provides a great place for the mind to stay! - GJ

Egging on the Cousins

On Good Friday we got all the cousins together and decoupaged Easter eggs. It was great fun to do with the younger ones - it's really easy and you can't go wrong! Well, you mostly can't go wrong. Someone (name omitted to protect the humiliated) did get some comments about one of her eggs looking like it was done by a five year old. But the rest of my-oops!- her eggs were very nice!

Kelly, Elli and Matthew. I think Elli is working on her "tea cup" egg. Aunt Kay had some tissue paper with tea cup designs that was very popular. ;-)

Aunt Kay and Kelly. Our artistic Auntie Kay came over to help, and supplied all sorts of marvelous patterned tissue paper. She even had zebra and leopard paper for the little boys! She always finds and knows the neatest stuff.

Ta da! The master artist presents two of her creations. Kelly was so careful with her cutting and designs. She used a lot of fun and different designs and colors. I think she did four whole eggs!

Below are best buddies Nate and Tim, who each made an egg, like the good sports they are. Nate's egg has old fashioned clocks, Tim's has . . . lilies and roses?

In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love? Hmmm!

Yolked together in love? (Things did get a little pun-y.)
L-R Elli, Becca, Nate, Haley, Me, Matthew, Kelly, Uncle TD and Grant.

The "little cousins" - Kelli, Matthew, Grant, Jack and Aunt Karilyn.
We like that zebra egg Jack, and just take a look at Matthew's tiger stripes! Thanks to the cousins and aunts for making it such a fun time! - GJ

Tuesday, April 3, 2007


Ken, Nate and Matthew had the privilege of joining a great
group of men on an Arkansas fishing trip last weekend.

Thanks to the Wendricks family the guys had fishing equipment
& waders. I don't think they lost a single pole!

Boat buddies.

Ahh. Fresh air, sunshine and quiet.

This picture was taken by Matthew from his vantage point.
He wanted to say to everyone who reads this:
"This is what you see when you are in the front of the boat
and everyone else is behind you. It was kind of quiet as we hoped that the boat wouldn't turn over because of the strong wind and current. It was so strong that both of our anchors were dragging. "
Matthew 11 years old. :-)

Nate spent 5 hours standing in the stream fishing.
He said it wasn't so bad once your feet and legs went numb.
The Sun was strong enough though to keep him warm
even standing in cold water.

There were awards for everyone. Nate's was for locating the
"honey hole" where the fish were biting.

Ken learning the Happy Trout Hand Shake! Yes, he did catch 3 fish.
One was a carp and he threw that one back.

Chris Miller leading the men together in devotions.

"And walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon
who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net
into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them,
'Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.'"
Matthew 4:18 & 19

Here's the whole crew of men, many fathers with sons!