Friday, August 28, 2009

On a More Serious Note: The Key to Happiness

I was reading today in the Ensign a talk given by President Uchtdorf in General Conference called “Happiness, Your Heritage” and was immediately inspired that I needed to read this talk. He states the greatest happiness we might ever have is the Happiness of our Heavenly Father. We cannot know exactly what our Fathers’ happiness is because His ways are greater than ours. However, His work and His glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. He then states that He is able to accomplish these two goals because He is a God of creation and compassion. So it then follows that we, as His children, might experience that kind of happiness as we create and as we are compassionate.
There is a patient in our intensive care unit that mystifies us all. In morning rounds yesterday, I joked with the doctors that we needed to call HouseMD to figure it out. No one knows what is wrong with this lady. She has been intubated (on a breathing machine) for almost two weeks now and her pneumonia has not improved. No one knows what kind of pneumonia she has, as it is not responding to our treatment. The doctors seem grim about her outcome and she will need to get a tracheotomy. Despite being intubated, this lady is almost completely awake. We usually sedate our patients who are intubated, but for her, we have not. When I came to work yesterday, she was very anxious and depressed. She was tapping on her bedrails, bouncing her legs up and down in such a way as to express anxiety. My first reaction, as many of us nurses in intensive care, is to sedate. But before I increased her propofol drip or her fentanyl, something stopped me. I started to think of all those nursing interventions I could do without medicine that might help the situation. Working in intensive care, I am often so busy with trying to stabilize that often we forget to care for the spirit of the person. I leaned over and asked if she’d like to listen to some music. She nodded yes. I then proceeded to list different genres of music, as she could not speak. When I got to classical, she nodded yes. I then went and got a few CD’s from our music collection that she might like. We started with Andrea Bocelli and she instantly calmed. I then noticed how awful her skin looked, as she is on a steroid that makes skin quite fragile. Because she was my only patient at the time, I had extra time to give her some TLC. I applied lotion to her skin and gave her a massage and talked to her. As I did this, I noticed on my monitor, her heart rate slow, her breathing slow, her blood pressure lower and the anxiety decrease. And then something interesting happened, as I did these things for her, I felt a sense of happiness come over me.
I have always felt I was a creative person. When I was younger, I loved to paint, even if I never had lessons nor was any good. It brought me happiness to create something individual to me. I also have always loved to cook. As I create meals, I feel a sense of joy because I am using my creativity for good. Cooking for others is a passion of mine. I had a friend who told me that they knew I loved them because I show my love in my cooking. Recently I have had a greater desire to learn photography. Some love to take pictures of nature, architecture and what have you, but I love humanity. I want to photograph God’s greatest creation: His children. I had this thought a few years ago about what my vision is for myself. I have been educated as a nurse and have that skill available to me to teach others. Ever since I was a young girl, I had a strong desire to care for the sick of the World. International work excited me and filled me with a sense of adventure and accomplishment. In fact, thinking of nursing in Africa got me through nursing school when I thought I couldn’t do it anymore. As I have grown in my profession, my vision for my international endeavors has shifted from caring to teaching. As the scriptures teach, give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, he eats for life. (In fact, I don't know if that's scripture or just some old adage but, oh well). This applies to international nursing. My greatest goal would be to travel the world and teach nurses in Africa how to care for Africans. If I ever accomplish this great goal of mine, I think I will feel a happiness I’ve never felt before in my life. And this just in: I'm taking a sewing class! I found a sewing class through PCC and am very excited to learn another means to be self-sufficient. I love being self-sufficient!!!
So often in life we look towards things that won't make us happy. Doing things. What I mean by that are those things that are fun but not truly lasting in their happiness. Yes, it's fun run marathons and compete or go mountain biking, but I'm not a believer that those things will sustain happiness. As President Uchtdorf so eloquently proclaims, happiness comes through creation and compassion.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Learning New Things

Canning Adventures!!!
My fantastically crafty friend Beth has long been a wonderful canner. I mentioned to her my desire to learn how to can and she offered to be my teacher. We each canned fifteen pounds of beans. At first I was really scared and intimidated by the pressure canner. But Beth needed to leave to pick up some dry cleaning and left me to man the two pressure canners, within minutes I felt as comfortable as can be and had a great time! She was such a good teacher and we had so much fun! Since the beans, I've also canned tuna. This weekend I'm canning pears and peaches. I am more excited for the peaches than anything! I really like canning. It's interesting how the things that your mom did when you were younger that used to annoy you (like canning, sewing, clipping coupons, etc) now become the things that excite you when you're older!

Here's proof that we did two pressure canners at a time. Even with two canners going, we were canning over six hours!!! Our townhouse got to about 85 degrees inside. We were sweaty!
The fruits of our labors! This is my portion of the beans. I think they're beautiful!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Husband Doting

I know I've posted once already today, but as I was getting dressed for the gym to go meet my husband, I got to thinking how lucky I am to be married to Daniel. As I was thinking of all his wonderful qualities and the things he does for me, my heart filled with love and I felt I had to share. I am so blessed and here's why:

1. Daniel makes the bed almost every day.
2. Since we've been married, I've done the laundry maybe five times. He usually, washes, folds, and puts away all our clothes.
3. I cook and he ALWAYS cleans after the meal. Even on nights when he cooks, he still cleans.
4. Daniel wakes up just slightly before I do on days I work. Most days I can expect to find a love note on the counter from him. It always brings a smile to my face.
5. Even though I get annoyed when he first does it, he keeps me in check with my spending.
6. He supports and encourages me in all my endeavors.
7. He never pushes his beliefs on me. I never feel like I need to do something just because I know he feels one way or the other. I feel freedom to do the things I think are best for me.
8. He is SOOO forgiving. As I bumble along this journey of marriage, he always immediately accepts my apologies and never makes me go through a 'make up' stage.
9. He loves my family! You always hear stories about the husband getting annoyed of spending 'too much time' with the in-laws. Dan has never said a word about it, in fact he loves to spend time with my family. We live just a mile from three of my sisters and that was a selling point for him to move where we did. I love that I married a family man.
10. He is amazing at remembering morning prayer (I remind of nightly prayer... clearly you can tell he is a morning person and I'm a night person). He does amazing FHE lessons and I am always impressed at how amazing he is at bearing his testimony. He has a strong testimony of the gospel, and shares it willingly yet is never pushy and NEVER EVER judgmental. He's taught me so much about not being judgmental and not engaging in gossip. I really lucked out with him!

Beach Trip with our Friends!

The Longs' at the Beach!

I wrote The Longs' on the sand, but failed miserably to make it look presentable, so my very neat and tidy husband wrote The Longs' which is pictured. Of course it looks perfect!
And the funniest picture of all time: Branden with the sad face in front of the 'me' in the sand! What a crack up!

Later that night we headed over to Del Ray Beach for a bonfire and hot dogs. It was Chad's first time ever to roast hot dogs on the beach! Crazy! The group shot took about ten times before we got one that worked! Aren't we all so cute!?

And it wouldn't be us if we didn't have a goofy shot! Beth can't do goofy so Chad just made her laugh. And I'm pretty sure my goofy face just looks constipated!

Our reduced fat hotdogs on whole wheat buns... We live on the wild side!

Our wonderful friends Chad and Beth. Beth is my best friend and Chad is Dan's... And they are an item. No pressure but we hope it works out!!! Love you guys!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Wednesday Date at the Rose Gardens

This week, I planned our date to the Rose Gardens. I planned to stop at Chipotle and bring dinner to the Gardens where we'd eat on a blanket. As we arrived, to our surprise, there was a free concert! The music was pretty good. It was a full on orchestra with a lady who sang soul music. I'll be honest, Dan and I had a good laugh at her expense with all the "oooh" "No, no, no" "uhhhh huhhh" -- It was kind of comical in a way. Nonethelesss, we really enjoyed the cooler weather and live music.

At first we sat next to these really drunk English people. I leaned over to Dan and commented on how hard it was to take them serious with their accents. Even drunk they sound so professional! They soon left and instead we were surrounded by the dozens of 'earth muffins' sippin' on their wine out of a box from handcrafted cardboard paper cups. You have to hand it to them though, they're very resourceful!

After the concert, we headed into the Gardens to take a few pictures... And this is what we ended up with.

While we listened to the "uhhhhh huhhhh's," we played Blokus on our picnic blanket, a family fun game. Dan had never played it before and ended up being a natural at it. It was quite fun. I am certain that men have within them a natural ability for perceptual ability. He sees moves that I cannot and I feel perceptual disabled!!! But this game is too fun to give up on... I believe I can!!!
Adios from the Longs! We love you all!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

DaTe NiGhT!!!

Daniel and I have decided we are going to continue to "date" now that we're married. We've decided on a date a week. I read in a book about an idea to each write five date night ideas and draw out of a "hat" where the date will be that week. I really liked this idea because it gives you a chance to think creatively about possible dates and then you can still be spontaneous because you're drawing from ten choices. Yes, dinner and a movie is fun sometimes, but I LOVE being creative on dates.

My date ideas for this 'go round' are:
1. Go to a free concert somewhere in the Portland area.
2. Walk the waterfront and get dessert somewhere.
3. "Ready, set, Fire"! Paint your own ceramics
4. Go to a "drive-in" movie (in the back of our car somewhere or an actual theatre)
5. See a play, musical, broadway, or any show in Portland.
While I love my ideas, I need more. I'm searching for fun, fairly inexpensive date ideas. Please post any particularly memorable dates for us to try!!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


So Daniel and I were out to dinner at Chevy's when we came back to the car and discovered Dan had broken his sunglasses. My jaw dropped and I started to laugh because two days prior, I had broken a pair of sunglasses in the exact same spot resulting in my left lense falling out. I thought it was funny when Dan proceeded to wear the sunglasses while driving. A few moments later he explaims that the bi-lense is causing him to feel sick to his stomach. He then pulls out the lense, and squints the lense in place. We were about to pee our pants we were laughing so loud. It was a sight to see... but little Isaiah in the backseat was confused at the commotion.