Salmon and Halibut Recipes

salmon fillet

My husband is a commercial fisherman, and he and I both love to sport fish, so needless to say we have fish in our freezer most of the time.  Salmon is our staple fish, but we also catch halibut, rockfish, and cod.

There are a million recipes for preparing fish, but I want to share with you two of our family favorites.  One is for salmon and the other is for halibut.

The Salmon recipe can either be prepared in your oven or on a barbecue, but step 2 will need to be accomplished in a frying pan.  The halibut recipe is for a conventional oven.

Cajun Honey Salmon (My favorite)

Two salmon fillets with skin on one side (Coho, Silver, or Chinook is best)

1/2 cup soy sauce

cajun seasoning

4 TBSP Butter

Honey for drizzling

1.  In an 8×13 glass pan, pour in the 1/2 cup of soy sauce and place salmon fillets meat side down in the sauce to marinade.  Let the fish marinade in the soy sauce for at least 10 minutes or longer if you prefer.

If you are going to barbecue, make sure your grill is hot before you get to step 3.  If you are cooking in your oven, you will use the Broiler setting and will begin preheating now.

2.  When the meat is done marinading, heat a skillet on your stove top on medium and melt the butter.  Remove the fish from the glass pan, turn it over (skin side down) and shake your cajun seasoning all over the flesh.  You can do this to your liking depending on how spicy you like your fish.  If you have kids who don’t like spice, then just give the meat a light dusting all over with the seasoning.

3.  Cook the salmon, meat side down, in the melted butter of your frying pan on medium-high heat for about 3 minutes.  You only want to brown the meat slightly and cause the seasoning to blacken, but not cook the flesh all the way through.

If you are going to cook the fish in your oven, prepare a broiler pan by pouring about a half a cup of water into the bottom of the pan, then attach the top half and spray it with oil.

4.  Remove the fish from the frying pan, and place skin-side down on a greased broiler pan (if you are going to cook it in the oven), or directly on your heated barbecue grill. Drizzle the meat with honey and begin cooking.  In the oven, place the broiler pan on the middle rack and cook on the broil setting.

As a rule, fish needs only to cook for about 10 minutes per inch of its thickness.  So if your fillet’s are two inches thick, do not cook more than 20 minutes, and check the meat after 15 minutes.  Salmon is done when the meat flakes when pierced with a fork.  It will also take on a more opaque characteristic.  Test your meat at the thickest part, and if it needs more time, check it at 3 minute intervals.

5.  When the meat is tested and is opaque, and flakes away, you are ready to remove it from the oven.  Drizzle again with honey and serve!  You should be able to remove the meat from the skin using a metal spatula as you serve.

Serves 6 people

We like to eat this with rice, honey glazed carrots, and other steamed vegetables.

Since we are a commercial fishing family, I do have to put in the plug for wild salmon. Wild fish is by far better for you in nutritional value.  Farmed salmon is fed hormones, then injected with a red dye before harvested.  Say no to farmed salmon. 🙂













Ritz Covered Halibut Nuggets (The Kids’ favorite)

2 lbs of halibut

1 sleeve of Ritz Crackers (or more)

1/4 cup melted butter

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit

2.  Fill a ziploc bag with Ritz crackers, and smash them into crumbs. (Fun for your kids to do)

3.  Cut the halibut against the grain into finger-sized strips

4.  Dip each strip in the melted butter and then place into the Ziploc bag of crushed crackers.  Shake the bag to coat the fish strips.

5.  Remove the fish strips from the bag and place on a cookie sheet with a little space between them.

6.  Place the cookie sheet in the oven on the middle rack and cook for 10 minutes.

Again, the rule of thumb is 10 minutes of cook time per inch of meat thickness, so start with 10 minutes, and then check to see if it is done.  Halibut will become less transparent and more opaque, and will also flake away when pulled with a fork.  Do not overcook, as you will end up with a very dry and chewy fish rather than a moist flakey one.

When your fish is done, remove from the oven and serve with tartar sauce, ketchup, or whatever your favorite dipping sauce is.  Serves 6

My husband and daughter with a halibut they caught
My husband and daughter with a halibut they caught

Sleepover Survival

Summer is here and life in the Morris house is in full swing, much like it is in your houses.  A few weeks ago I posted blogs about being a house guest, and being  a host, since this time of the year finds us as both.  Right now, our house is bustling with guests and it is pretty common for me to be preparing meals every night for 10 or more people.

Some very special guests we host in our home are the friends of our children.  Especially in the summer months, we have multiple little guests camping out in the bedrooms, family room, or in a tent in the backyard.  Nights are filled with laughing, jokes, boy noises, and girl squeals.  Bedtimes are pretty elastic and sleeping in is strongly encouraged! Once in a while, as the night wears on, the kids begin to tell each other stories.  I don’t know why it is always in the evenings that kids’ minds gravitate towards scary things they have seen or heard about, but somehow, being in the company of others prompts them to share their scariest thoughts.  Ughhh!!!

As a parent, or host to little relatives, you have likely experienced this phenomenon.  Maybe it was the ghost stories around the campfire at scout camps, or just the commercial that popped up on the TV during a favorite show that triggers an unsettling night for your kids.  Whatever it is, it is sure to interrupt your world as well, and cause your kids to be afraid.

Since our children were very young, I have introduced a few things into their world when they are scared at night.  First, we pray.  We talk to God about our thoughts and ask Him to fill our mind with good things.  We thank Him that He isn’t sleeping, but is always awake, and always watching over us so that we can sleep peacefully.  We thank Him for His angels that camp around around us, and all the good things He has done for us.  Often, this time of prayer is all that is needed to calm little minds and hearts.  I also teach my kids scripture to say to themselves or out loud when they are afraid.  My prayer is that they will carry that with them for the rest of their lives.

Sometimes, however, little imaginations also need a diversion.  So I would like to introduce you to “Fuzzy Bunny Circus Island”.  “Fuzzy Bunny Circus Island” is a mythical place I created years ago when I was a teenager sharing a bedroom with my then toddler little sister.  When she refused to lay down to sleep, I would tell her a story:  “My bed is a boat, and when I lay down in it, I float away to a magical place called ‘Fuzzy Bunny Circus Island’.”  This island is filled with carnival rides and cotton candy, and there are cute and fuzzy bunnies all around.

Over the years, and adapting with each of my children, “Fuzzy Bunny Circus Island” has become a place where there are always guest appearances from some of their favorite people, animals, or entertainers.  There are baboons that tell jokes, turtles that give tours around the island when you ride on their backs, and bumper car rides with lady bugs.  The idea is to create a picture and have my kids run with their imaginations and tell me what they see on the island.  After a few minutes, my kids are lost in their imaginations watching skunks having Nerf gun fights in a pool filled with jelly beans, or riding a Ferris wheel with a fuzzy raccoon.  Once the boat sets sail, the imagination is endless.

Last night we visited this island again with my youngest daughter and her two friends.  It was late, they were over-tired, and their imaginations had drifted to things that scared them.  My daughter came to my room and asked me to come in and pray with all of them.  I did.  Then I introduced my daughter’s friends to our imagination place.  I described the island to them, told them the kinds of things they would find there,  and then I asked them to tell each other what they saw.  I returned to bed, and the girls continued talking for a few more minutes.  I heard giggles and squeals as they told each other the fun and funny things that they were imagining on the island, and I knew they had shifted their thoughts.  Ahhhhh!!!!  Sleep found them eventually, and all was peaceful.

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Scripture speaks to us at every age, and although “Fuzzy Bunny Circus Island” is not a real or scriptural place, the principle of teaching my kids to put their mind on good things is important to me.  What they put into their minds, or watch with their eyes is a big part of my responsibilities as a parent .  We guard them as much as we can, and pray for them even more than that, knowing we can’t protect them from everything.

My older kids have graduated to some degree from the “Island”, but I hear them from time to time, telling the stories to their younger siblings, and recounting the things they used to imagine when they were smaller.  Maybe they will tell the stories to their own kids some day.


No More Excuses

I have to admit that I am not a believer in New Year’s resolutions.  I figure if I didn’t have the ambition to do it in July, I won’t have the ambition to do it in January; besides I have so much life change that happens in my life on an almost monthly basis, that I don’t ever feel the need to change with any kind of deliberation.  Does this sound like an excuse?  Well, it is.  Believe me I have a quite a list of excuses that I have collected and added to.  All of them have validity, and some I am more adamant about than others.  I especially like the excuse “I am a creative person.  Creative people don’t think like that.”  Well, my excuse list is expiring and this girl is learning to change.

There was this “nudging” from my husband….well okay, sixteen years of pleading, for me to become more organized.    I usually met his pleadings with “You knew I was like this when you married me.  It isn’t even in my genetic make-up.”  (Excuses #27 and #32 respectively).

I’ve made several attempts at organization and honestly, I have made huge strides, but not at a consistent tempo.  Four children, one dog, and 12 or so moves later, I realized that we need a consistent tempo of order and cleanliness, and somehow I am supposed to be the one to lead it.

Coinciding with this pleading, has been a conviction from the Holy Spirit as He has been dealing with my heart in the areas of home management.  My personality, and make-up could no longer be my excuses for my lack of change, because I am supposed to be able to “do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)  But of course, I only want to be strengthened to do the things that I like. 🙂  So, realizing my need for some instruction in this area of life, I began talking to friends and asking for input.  I needed ideas, systems, help, and even someone to come help me tackle the hard things.

So, I began with a small plan.  Once a week, on Fridays, a friend and I would take an hour for each person’s home and help the other tackle a project that had gone undone and needed attention.  We gave each other permission to not like the other’s ideas, to try them out and change them if we needed to, and to speak honestly to one another in the process.  So the first Friday was at my home and we tackled my counter-top clutter.  For an hour or so we asked questions like:  “Could this item live anywhere else in the house?”  “Is this something you need to access often?”  “How badly would you miss this if it disappeared?”  With laughing, talking, and a furrowed brow here and there, we finished the project with ideas and a plan for purchasing tools to keep that area more organized.  The following Friday we spent at her house organizing her pantry and making better use of some kitchen cupboard space.   It has made me look forward to Fridays and tackling the projects I hate most.

While I was putting together this plan with my friend, another friend gave me a book to read that she claimed changed her life.  Her testimony was that she was not a “born organizer” either, and that she learned about this book from her mom who had read it and it had changed her life.  Well my interest was piqued.  She gave me a copy to read and that’s when this change thing really took off.  The book is called “Sidetracked Home Executives“, and was written in 1977.  I had never heard of it, but of course, I’m an artist and I don’t read books like that. 😉  It was written for people like me, by people like me and I could identify with every story.   The book came with instructions for a system that would keep me and my children on a steady course of organization that even I, an artistic, right-brained individual can manage.

Terrified, I struck out on this new venture, almost certain I would fail.  (I’m not a real optimist when it comes to organization), but nevertheless, I was determined to try.  All I can say is that after the first week of implementing the things I learned, my husband sat on the couch and said this to me:  “Cate, do you remember when you got saved?  I was only four at the time, and even though I didn’t live a life of deep sin in those first four years, I felt like a huge weight had lifted from off of my shoulders.  I remember how it felt.  I have to say that after this one week of your organizing and managing our home, I feel like I’ve just been “saved” all over again!”  Well, that was convincing enough for me.

The changes I was making were worth every minute, and even my son said to me:  “Mom, this is great.  Now we know what you are expecting from us and we’ll get grounded a lot less.”  That was some logic I had never connected, but caused me to reflect.  Yes, I have gone days ignoring home duties in order to finish projects, only to burst from my room yelling at the family to clean the house and get it done quickly, because I couldn’t handle the clutter.  The day would usually be fraught with tears, melt-downs and hurt feelings, and end with me spending hours doing most of the housework, because everyone knows that “It’s easier to do things yourself.” (Excuse #33).  That was all changing.

The truth is I like excuses.  Growth is painful, change is scary, and I am prone to fail.  I don’t like change, but I can’t stay the same.  I am on a journey of life that will change me physically, and emotionally whether or not I like it, and though I can’ t control all of life’s changes, I can, with the help of the Holy Spirit in my life, learn to manage my actions and reactions, and allow my creativity and personality to grow in new territory.  And so it is…..I am changing.  I am growing.  I AM ORGANIZING!!!!

P.S.  I highly recommend this book for all of you who just weren’t “born organizers”. 🙂  Order it from Amazon by clicking here.

So here is a list of my excuses that I use now to motivate me to change.  Some I borrowed from the book I am recommending, with my own personal additions:

  1. I don’t have enough money
  2. It’s too hot
  3. It’s too cold
  4. I’m not in the mood
  5. I’ve got too many kids
  6. My husband is working away
  7. I’ve got cramps
  8. My house is too small
  9. My house is too big
  10. We just moved in
  11. We just got back from vacation
  12. I don’t have enough time
  13. We’re remodeling
  14. Nobody cooperates with me
  15. I’d rather play solitaire
  16. I’d rather be on Facebook
  17. I don’t want to do it
  18. I’m too intelligent for such remedial work
  19. My mother didn’t teach me
  20. I hate housework
  21. Nobody appreciates it anyway
  22. Creative people are messy
  23. I’m on the rag
  24. I’ll start tomorrow
  25. I was up all night
  26. It’s the flu season
  27. It’s not in my genetic make-up
  28. I have too many interruptions
  29. I’m just too busy
  30. I don’t know how to
  31. It’s just too hard
  32. I was like this when you married me
  33. It’s easier to do it myself
  34. ………………………………………………

Feel free to add your own!

Of Moose and Men

As I promised, here is another story from the “Jamin Files”.  Jamin, my beloved husband of over 15 years has given me many adventures to collect and write about.  Some have taken years off of my life and shaved years off of his, but nevertheless, they keep us believing in the grace and mercy of God.

It happened about five years ago…

The staff at a local Bible college was having their yearly retreat in a town 80 miles north of where we lived and I had been invited to come and lead the worship for the sessions.  My friend Kitri was there as well and helping me lead worship on that first evening when after concluding our last song, I heard my cell phone ringing in my purse back at my seat.  I was a little embarrassed that I had forgotten to turn it off or silence it, but I couldn’t get to it because I was still at the piano.  My phone stopped and then Kitri’s began ringing.  I wasn’t the only one who forgot to turn off their phone!  We left the stage and Kitri picked up her phone and said “It’s Jamin.”  We both quickly stepped outside to take the call and this was what I heard on the other line:  “Hey Cate, ummm…could you call us a helicopter?  Jonathan and I are stranded on a sandbar in the middle of a raging glacial river and the water is rising.  My cell battery is about to die, so I can’t talk long, but if you could just call a helicopter and tell them where we are we need to be picked up right away.  I think Jonathan  could be hypothermic and most of our supplies have washed downstream.” Jamin’s voice was fairly calm and even.

“Ummm…is this a joke?” I asked.

You see, Jamin and Kitri’s husband Jonathan had taken off on a moose hunt just a day or two before.  They were flown in to an area below a local glacier where they had seen some moose activity a few days before.  They had brought a tent and supplies and a raft so that when they were done with their hunt, they would raft down the small creek from the glacier to the ocean and be picked up there.  The plan was a pretty good one.  They had scoped out the whole area a few days previous and had charted their course, surveyed the water and decided where to camp.  The only variable that changed it all was rain– incessant rain.  It had not stopped raining since the day they left to hunt, and that little creek they had planned to raft down had become a torrent of water that swallowed up boulders and washed trees into its wake.

Jamin and Jonathan had successfully taken a moose and were beginning their departure plan but realized that the water had risen and was moving a little faster than what they had planned for, so they lightened their load by leaving their moose meat behind in a place where they could come and get it with the airplane later, but decided to still raft down to the ocean.  That’s where it all went wrong.  The water was fast and of course freezing…being from a glacier.  They were unable to control their raft and had been pinned several times against sheer cliff edges then soaked and nearly drowned.  The story is too involved to tell it all here, but the end result was that many of their supplies washed out of their raft, they were soaked, hypothermic and they nearly lost their lives trying to get out of the river.  Jamin told me that he remembers jumping from one edge of the raft to the other as the water was pulling it under while pinning him to a rock wall, as he was trying to force the raft to pop back up out of the current.  He knew then that he was going to die.  There was no place to climb out and no place to bank the raft.  Miraculously, the current gave up its hold on the raft and they were able to push away from the rock wall and re-enter the white water currents.  Eventually they came upon a sandbar where they were able to jump out and call for help.

Kitri and I looked at each other…”call a helicopter?”  Neither of us had that programmed into our phones and we were at a retreat center at leasts 90 miles away from where our men were.  So we quickly found a phone book and began going through the yellow pages at 7:30 or 8:00 in the evening trying to find someone to answer their business line and get a helicopter to our men.  Thankfully someone did.

It was already getting quite dark and the pilot of the helicopter was hesitant to take off in the dark for fear he would not find them.  He was willing if the water was rising, but if they could hold out til morning he would leave at first light.  He was able to contact Jamin and Jonathan on the sandbar and they decided to stay the night, but would call if the water level rose any higher.  Thankfully, the rain stopped and the water began receding some so that our guys were able to stay safe through the night until the helicopter could reach them the next morning.

Grateful for their life, the men returned home via helicopter and hired a pilot to retrieve their moose for them the following day.  Let’s just say that Thanksgiving had a more personal dimension for both of our families that year. Instead of turkey, we ate Moose Meat Sandwiches (French Dip style) and thanked God for preserving the lives of our men.

I never would have known about helicopter rescues if not for my husband.  I am glad I learned because this would only be the first time they would need to be contacted….

Learning to Wait

Did I happen to mention that since our return from our winter travelling, we moved into a two-bedroom, 600 square foot apartment with one bathroom?  Our Anchorage home was not selling, so we decided to continue to rent it as a vacation rental back in February, and we left all our furniture behind in order to set up house in Homer in an available apartment in a six-plex we own.  Using many of the items from the trailer we travelled around in we made our “temporary” home.  Foam mats have been our beds on the floor up until a couple of weeks ago when we purchased some beds and a futon/couch.  I set up a card table for our dining table, but it sagged in the middle and glasses kept tipping over, so we eventually swapped it out for a real table that is in slightly rough condition but keeps all things level.  Dancing on one leg outside of the bathroom door is a common scene in our house as we learn to wait our turn for the bathroom– only we have to instruct everyone to “dance quietly” since we are now neighbors with people living above us and below us.

Not knowing how long we are planning to stay here, I decided against getting internet wired into our apartment and opted for a mobile internet device that I can take anywhere with us and can connect up to five devices to.  It takes care of our basic needs to check email, blog, facebook, and craigslist.  But it can be heard from time to time in this house:  “Someone is using up all the bandwidth!!”  Suddenly the internet blacks out, and someone is left with a frozen computer screen.  It’s like the end of the known world!  “I was just about to download this video!”  or “I can’t get on Craigslist!!”  is followed by:  “Who is on the internet???  Please turn off your wi-fi!!” Yes, waiting is difficult.

The truth of the matter is that sharing space means a lot of compromises.  Compromises that even I have to adjust to.  Life for us right now does not hold a lot of certainties.  Employment and location of home are not yet settled, so I feel unsettled and restless.  I keep myself occupied homeschooling the kids and even setting goals for myself musically as I prepare to release another album, but I have to admit that I am doing alot of adjusting and growing weary of waiting on some answers.

I am reminded in this season of life about the story of Moses and the Children of Israel from Exodus 24-32.  God called Moses up to the top of Mt. Sinai where he allowed Moses to see his glory and then he gave him specific instructions for the Children of Israel–The Ten Commandments.  The problem for the Israelites was a sense of restlessness and uncertainty waiting for Moses to come back down the mountain.  I mean, it was cool and all that Moses got to talk to God, but did he have to take such a long time in getting back to them?  They were in a wilderness, it wasn’t exactly “home” and they needed something to give them comradary and bring them all together with a sense of purpose.  Waiting for God was just not feasible in their minds.

Their decision?  Gather up gold from among themselves and make a golden calf to worship and party around.  They needed a reason to explain their situation and make it feel comfortable.  God and Moses took too much time and they needed some social activities to boost the morale!  Furthermore, if Moses happened to have died while up there on that mountain, it would be okay, because they had their spiritual life covered.  The golden calf would fill the gap, meet the need, and be a portable icon for the rest of their journey.

The consequences of their decisions were severe and irreversible.

This story reminds me that there are no quick fixes or substitutions for God’s plan.  When I am tempted to make my own way, my temptations lead me on a lonely path where “I do it myself”.  My thoughts become full of independence and very little on dependence on the Lord.  In many ways I am no different than a restless, homeless generation wanting to belong.  So I have to discipline myself to “wait”.

Isaiah 40:27-41 (New International Version)

27 Why do you complain, Jacob?
   Why do you say, Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD;
   my cause is disregarded by my God”?
28 Do you not know?
   Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
   the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
   and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
   and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the LORD
   will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
   they will run and not grow weary,
   they will walk and not be faint.

I am grateful for sunny days when the kids can play outside.  I am grateful for uninterrupted internet.  I am thankful for the “white noise” app on my ipod touch that helps me to drown out the sounds of neighbor dogs, trucks and people in order to sleep at night.  And I am thankful for a God who sustains me in this season of waiting.

If you see me restless, impatient and frustrated, (because you might), would you please help me by reminding me to “wait”?

Herring Fishing 2011

 Jamin called me the other day (April 1, 2011 to be exact) a little shaken to tell me that the boat he is fishing on in Sitka,  “Infinite Grace”, nearly went down.

They were fishing for herring and had a large set* (about 400 tons they thought) when the herring suddenly sounded**.  The weight of the fish swimming towards the bottom all at once pulled the boat directly over onto its side.  Jamin was the first to jump from the boat into the skiff.  Brittini, the captain’s daughter and crewman, was in the cabin when the boat began to roll and had to be pulled out of the window by Scotty the other crewman who then helped her down to the skiff with Jamin and then Scotty joined.  The captain of the boat, Tom climbed up onto the railing of the boat and remained there ready to jump if the boat were to go under.  If the fish had not hit the bottom at about 75 feet, the boat would have been pulled under before they could release their rigging to free the boat.   They were able to release the seine*** and ended up losing all the fish in the process.

If you watch the video below, you will see at about minute 2, the boat listing to one side and then the rigging being pulled over as the fish begin their dive and the boat begins to roll.

Everyone was okay, albeit a little rattled.  They spent the last few days making repairs to the boat and also to their net which ripped in the process.

*set—what they call the catch of fish captured in the net

** sounded—when all the fish captured in the net decided to swim to the bottom of the ocean all at once.  (Like on Finding Nemo)

***seine—the type of net used in this particular fishery

I have decided to start a new category of blog on my site called the “Jamin Files”. As I write this blog I am reminded of other near death experiences my husband has had in our fifteen years of marriage. His sense of adventure combined with the setting in which of these adventures take place makes for some harrowing stories. I will share more in the weeks to come.
For now I want to say “Thank you, God” for preserving his life and the life of the crew of the ‘Infinite Grace’.” I know it is God’s infinite grace that keeps us all alive!

The Return Home

It has been a wonderful, adventurous, and soul-filling four months of traveling.  I wasn’t sure if I could do it and I certainly wasn’t sure how the four kids would take to sleeping in a trailer and being someplace new every few days.  It proved to be a great time.

We are now day three into our journey home through Canada.  We should be home in the wee hours of the morning and not a moment too soon for showers and beds.  The temperature here in the Yukon Territory has been below zero and dropping steadily as we go.  Our cousin, Mason, who is traveling with us said he had never been in weather colder than 5 degrees below zero.  So it is almost a challenge now as we watch the thermometer drop, to see how cold it will be before we get home.  As I type, the temperature is -23.

We haven’t stopped on this portion of our trip because of the cold weather.  Jamin, Mason and I are just rotating drivers and the kids sleep in the car through the night.  Again, I have to say that the kids have done fantastic being cooped up in a car for this long of a stretch of time.

The last portion of our vacation time was spent with my family in Idaho.  During that time I was able to hear my sister lead worship for a few events, be at the release cd signing for her band Mellatonic’s new album, and spend time with my mom, brother and step-dad.

Squeezed into that month or so was a quick trip to Redding, California with our kids, my sister, and two of our second cousins for a youth conference called “Jesus Culture”.  This was an incredible weekend where my kids got to experience the presence and the power of God.  It was such a delight to watch Bethany in worship and Jaron praying for the people sitting to his right and his left side.  The services were long, we were short on sleep, but soaked up every minute.  I am so grateful for that jaunt to California.

I wish I could say I am ready to go home, but in reality, I’m not.  I can think of a thousand reasons to stay in the lower 48, but responsibilities call us home and our home is currently vacant.  I know I will enjoy having my bed again.

When I return, I will be repacking and preparing to leave for Port Alsworth, Alaska to lead worship and speak at a Ladies’ Retreat there.  I have been looking forward to this time and the anticipation of this weekend event keeps my mind a buzzin’ and keeps my heart in prayer.

It has been so fun to take this journey with all of you, and I am sure that when I return home I will have more thoughts to share.  For now I will spend my time in preparation for the weekend ahead and then settle in to life back here in Alaska.

Blessings to all of you!


We arrived at our home in Anchorage in a record time (for us) of 51 hours.  Sleeping in our own beds was magical!  The coldest part of our trip home -37 degrees.  Mason was thrilled!


Raindrops on roses, and whiskers on kittens….

For as much as I stressed and complained about the transition from  living in an 1888 square foot, three bedroom house, to a 2002 suburban and 10’x6’ cargo trailer, I have to say that the trade- off has been surprisingly refreshing.   I had a sneaking suspicion that I would come to love aspects of our adventure, but I really had no idea what they would be and how they would influence me.  Now, almost three months into our travels, I want to share a few of my favorite things!  I’ve listed these;  not in order of importance, but in the order I have discovered them.

First, my greatest joy on this journey has been the ability to visit dear friends in the “Lower 48” as it is affectionately named by Alaskans.  My happiness quotient has tipped the scales since this adventure began with every friend we visited.  People are some of my favorite things.  Friends in particular make me smile!  I have enjoyed all the visits in Washington, Idaho, California, and now Arizona.  I am blessed that my husband loves people too and has indulged me by meeting with every friend I could possibly contact in each area we have passed through.  (Let me insert a plug for Facebook here, for without it, I may have not reconnected with so many friends. 😉

Secondly, I have enjoyed so much the time we have been able to spend together as a family.  With Jamin’s traveling/fishing schedules, we missed out on several months with him this year.  I love that we can catch up now and be together.  I have to say that I couldn’t be more blessed with children who have enjoyed the traveling as much as their parents.  Very rarely have I heard, “Are we there yet?”  Instead, when our car stops and we turn off the engine, the kids ask, “Why are we stopping?”  They have been so flexible.

Thirdly, I love the simplicity of having our whole world contained in just 10’x6’ trailer.  There is so much less responsibility, fewer messes, less dishes, and no arguments about what to wear.   Meals are simpler, and outings to restaurants are a treat.  I will have to admit, however, that I still over packed.

Fourthly, the time of prayer with my kiddos has been priceless.  On this trip we have been walking through the book of John together.  As we have studied who Jesus is and how he affected His world, we have followed up with prayer times that have been heaven on earth to me.  The Holy Spirit has been so precious, and my kids have had the chance to feel the presence of God in their prayers.  We learned that God gives us the Spirit without measure.  He doesn’t give six- year-olds a smaller portion than adults.  He gives all of Himself to each of us.  This has been a powerful lesson that I hope my kids will always remember and live in.

We haven’t just stayed in our trailer on this trip.  We have stayed in hotels, the homes of friends, and have camped in a tent.  As I write, we are staying in Queens Creek, Arizona in the currently vacant home of some very generous friends of ours from Alaska.  There is a pool in the back yard and we are taking full advantage of it. Although people around here are in coats and Ugg boots, this 70 degree weather suits us just fine.

We have another week or so here, and then it’s back to Idaho for a white Christmas with my family in Boise. 

 Friends, family, and the God who continues to surprise me with blessings in unexpected places…these are a few of my favorite things.

Morris Family Adventures Part 4

We’ve cuddled mice and chipmunks, hugged dogs and bandicoots, posed with princesses and kissed sponges.  This Southern California adventure is coming to a close, but not before it has conditioned me to be suspicious of every day sights and sounds.

We ate dinner tonight at the Macaroni Grill.  As we sat at the table with our cousins and aunt and uncle, I noticed that the light above the Hostess table was flickering.  Immediately I anticipated the need to buckle a seat belt in the event that our dinner table would turn into a rollercoaster that would be launched by a magnet directly out the door.  While I watched the walls suspiciously for rats and cockroaches to appear, I realized my plight….I have been on sensory overload! It’s time for a day of unplugging.

We purchased Southern California passes which gave us three days at Disneyland and California Adventure, a day at Universal Studios, a day at Sea World and a day at the San Diego Zoo.  The only catch being that we have to complete our adventures in 14 days.  So, we set out to explore Disneyland and ride every ride and after two days we switched gears to Univeral Studios.  By day four there were melt downs…but surprisingly not by the children, but by us, the parents.  So we took day four to rest, do laundry, enjoy the hotel pool and catch up on sleep, paperwork and business.  Then back to Disneyland for our last day there, then we spent the following day unplugged enjoying the beach and coast and visiting with a friend of mine and her family.  It felt so good to play in the sand, explore the tide pools, and reconnect with someone I had not seen in 19 years.

My friend Heidi Viselmeyer Afusia and her three kids with us at the beach.

We left that night for San Diego.  We have been here for almost a week now and have enjoyed the San Diego Zoo, a trip to Lego land and a visit with a friend that used to live in Homer, Alaska who now resides here.  The highlight of this visit for me was getting to meet my second cousin Mike Hardin who is the owner of famous local diner called Hodad’s.  I contacted him before we arrived to tell him we were in town and would love to meet him.  We were welcomed to his restaurant with open arms where we met him and his son Shane.  We dined on burgers the size of my face, onion rings, fries and a malt that contained at least a quart of ice cream.

Mike Hardin, me and Shane Hardin his son.

  Mike sat with us and chatted, his son Shane waited on us and when our meal was over we were informed that it was “on the house”.  “After all”, Mike said, “we are family!”  We haven’t stopped talking about Hodad’s.

panda at the San Diego Zoo

We have one last day to finish here in San Diego….that would be Sea World.  But not before unplugging again, washing our laundry, and repacking for the next phase of our adventure which will be………….

… be continued…….

Machu Picchu

The City of Cusco where the adventure begins

I promised pictures from Jamin’s adventure hiking Machu Picchu in Peru.  Here they are!!!

These photgraphs were taken by our friend Chuck Skeek who was also on the trip with Jamin.  If you want any copies of his photos, message me and I’ll pass the word along.



Cusco at night


Jamin and Chuck plan their journey...Chuck photographs the moment via a mirror.


Jamin catches up on some sleep


llamas on the mountainside


Machu Picchu


misty morning


The mist is lifting...


Another look