Shot of Joy 8

Obligatory vacation selfie!
– taking a long weekend trip – brunch followed by an afternoon of sharing lofty goals – mornings at the farmer’s market, I don’t think I’ll ever tire of it – eating 80% of my food from local resources – granny smith apples sprinkled with cinnamon –

– getting a day off from work – everyone giving me parts of their lunch when I said I didn’t have any – looking at classes to take in November – (I get to take them for free since I work for the church) – finding some genmaicha tea in the cupboards while making coffee at work – drinking tea throughout the day –

Lazy afternoon reading.

-one of the volunteers brought me a chai tea to start my morning – watering the plants at work – the lasting sunshine – finding out an In-N-Out is in the works in southern Oregon – getting some really decent clothes from Goodwill for cheap –

-editing photos – planning other trips – finding out I’m getting more days off for the holidays the next two months than I thought – the weather cooling down – doing some emotional work – feeling lighter –

What are some thing you are enjoying lately? What are some good things in your life?


What’s for Breakfast?

I’m not a big breakfast person. I just don’t sit down in the morning and eat breakfast. If I have a few hours before work to wake up fully, drink a few cups of tea, then I would be a breakfast person. That’s why I love weekend brunch. I’m usually up by 9 and eating around 11am, the timing is great. But waking up at 7 and eating by7:30? Not a great match for me.

Vahid has been making me “Breakfast Tea” as I call it. It’s a version of a Bulletproof Coffee that he makes for himself. It’s great because I get to spend fifteen minutes before I have to leave for work sipping a nice filling tea rather than trying to choke down some eggs or toast. This fills me up and by the time lunch rolls around I’m hungry but not ravenous.

Below is a modified recipe of the traditional Bulletproof Coffee.

Breakfast Tea:


  • 1 cup strongly brewed Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 t raw cacao powder
  • ¼ t vanilla powder
  • 3 drops of liquid stevia


  1. Brew your tea (I like to let it steep for a good five or so minutes)
  2. To a Blender add: butter, cacao powder, vanilla powder, stevia
  3. Once tea is done brewing add tea
  4. Blend!
  5. Enjoy your lovely morning drink

What is your “go to” breakfast? Are you a big eater in the morning or do you have to wake up a bit first?


A Field Guide to Happiness

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Sometimes I pick out books simply because they sound like something I wouldn’t normally read. I’ve read some amazing books that way and some not-so-amazing books.That’s how I came to read A Field Guide to Happiness: What I Learned in Bhutan about Living, Loving, and Waking Up by Linda Leaming. I don’t normally read memoirs but something about it caught my eye. I had never heard of Bhutan and it was a relatively short book and I wanted something fun to read.

Leaming’s book is a collection of stories, practices, and advice she’s picked up living in Bhutan. This book doesn’t tell her whole story but rather gives snapshots of her life. She tells you a story about her husband, about climbing up the mountains to visit a nearby village, her garden, the bull she tried to tame and each time you a glimpse into her life. She gives you little snapshots of what her live is like at different points while encompassing things she’s learned living in Bhutan.

Now she splits her time between Bhutan and Nashville, TN. She writes about how she tries (and sometimes fails) to bring Bhutan with her when she comes back to the U.S. She will tell you a story and give you some advice about how she (and you) can incorporate Bhutan into your life.

Bhutan is a small Buddhist country in the Himalayas. Leaming’s stories are quirky and she’s always quick and willing to point out her foibles navigating living in a world that’s completely different to the one she was raised and socialized in.

I’d classify this as a nice Sunday read. If you are in the mood to read something light, grab a cup of tea and settle in. Leaming’s stories are easy to read and it feels like having a conversation rather than reading a collection of essays. It’s easy to breeze from one chapter to the next; the stories flow not unlike the stream she lives near in Bhutan.

If you are looking for something to read and Buddhism, memoir style writing, or Bhutan interest you pick it up, give her book a read through. You might even find one of her stories or pieces of advice useful.

What are you reading right now? Have any awesome recommendations? I’d love to hear them!

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for this review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.


Shot of Joy 7

Flowers on my desk :)
– weekends spent with friends – enjoying a good hard cider – crisp mornings – enjoying some fresh brewed loose tea at work – the busier days – planning for a long weekend trip – the changing colors of the leaves –

– coming in to work and seeing flowers on my desk – my four day work week – getting a day off for my vacation – getting some new volunteers at work to help out – feeling a bit more at ease in my role now that the swing of the year has begun –

– building up my savings, it’s slow going but it feels good – the new mattress we bought – getting a good night’s sleep! – getting some new toms shoes at a discounted price – the farmer’s market on a crisp fall morning –
Meet Hubert. My new crab coworker.
– bringing lunch to work – my little crab mate, Hubert – feeling ready for the change of seasons – watching Supernatural (again) – getting the new season on Netflix –

– being happy

What have you been enjoying lately? What’s making you all happy right now?


It’s not so much raining as it’s just the feeling of wetness. The fall here feels that way. Some days it will rain and some days are grey and wet but you can’t really say it rained for sure, the water just somehow appears, clinging to your skin and clothes, wetting the street enough to be slick. It was wet as we made our way to the entrance. My glasses became blurry, the world looked distorted, the way it does in a dream you can’t quite remember.

The place was closing. The garden was shutting down for the night. I pulled out my member card and we strolled through. The light was grey, matching the sky. The place was muted, the vibrant greens and reds toned down as if changing colors for the change of seasons. Vahid wandered to a structure and we sat and watched the pond, the flowers, talked about the persimmons growing.


The pond grew alive as the rain started. The water falling from the sky was musical, some hitting the lily pads, most hitting the water, the sound of it falling on rocks mixed in. We sat and watched and after a few minutes when it had calmed to a drizzle we meandered some more.

Earlier that month I got an email. It was the last Members’ Night of the year, the last Monday of September. There would be wine and food and the garden would be open, along with the Tea House, an extra two hours for members only.

Vahid and I made an evening of it. We had sushi for dinner before and made our way to the Lan Su Chinese Garden for their last Members’ Night.

We ended up in the Tea House. We always end up at the Tea House eventually. I tried the licorice tea, it was earthy and a little sweet and perfect for the wet weather outside. We shared a mooncake and chatted a while about different things.

It was interesting being there with only other members. The atmosphere feels different, more respectful, more appreciative. Whenever I go, it never fails that at least one person who has never been there before, maybe they’ve never been anywhere other than Applebees, makes faces about the teas, the food, thinks everything smells weird.


The sun sets earlier now, between 7:30 and 8:00 most nights, and the grey skies helped it feel later, darker. The lanterns were lit along the paths, something I don’t think I’ve seen before. Water glistened everywhere in the dim light. The place was aglow, a soft light floating everywhere and nowhere all at once.

I always say I don’t think I’ll ever tire of visiting the chinese garden and I think it’s true. Seeing the place at night it felt like visiting it for the first time again. Everything looked different, felt different. I remembered why I love the place so much.

We both lamented not bringing our actual cameras as we tried to take pictures. I couldn’t capture the feeling of the garden at night with my phone. I don’t know if I could have with my camera but I would have been more successful. I leaned out over the bridge trying to angle my phone just right and looked down to see water beneath me. I reeled myself back in and gave up trying to capture the picture I wanted. Instead I just enjoyed being there and told myself I don’t need the perfect picture every time I go. I don’t need a picture at all. I still took a couple though.

As we made our way home I could help but be struck by how wonderfully different my life is now. I enjoy so much more now than I did when I lived at home. I’m spoiled by a city with wonderful food, beautiful places to visit, and scenery that still makes my jaw drop.

It was a simple visit to the garden, yet it was so much more than that.