Five Things Making Me Happy

photoSpring is finally here in Maine. The snow is gone and the first daffodil bloomed in our yard yesterday, and to celebrate I decided not to wear long underwear today (although I did debate; the thermometer registers just 41 degrees). It’s been a long, hard, cold winter, and I’m ready for spring.

Jackie Cangro’s recent blog really resonated with me. She wrote about why she’s thankful for spring. Even on gray, cold days like today, I’m feeling inordinately happy about Spring along with the need to celebrate the things that make me happy.

Wikipedia says…Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.

And here, in no particular order,  are five things creating my personal state of well-being…ranging from contentment to intense joy!

1. Bird life is returning! We still don’t have leaves on the trees (they’re just starting to pop), but that’s almost better—I can see all the birds I hear. This morning we saw a Great Blue Heron land at the tippy top of a tall pine (it was pretty amazing). We also saw a Downy Woodpecker, a Pileated Woodpecker, and two days ago we saw a bald eagle (that’s not the royal we…by me I mean me and MEH—My Engineer Husband). The Ospreys have also returned to the coast of Maine and I’ve seen plenty of those. Along with the exciting, the usual cadre of robins, finches, juncos, chickadees, and gulls are out in full force.

2. And speaking of MEH, he’s back at work… definitely adding to my sense of well being (although I do miss him being around all the time).

3. I’m also learning to live with 24-hour supervision…how can this be good you’re wondering? I recently got a Jawbone UP. Like I said it’s been a long winter and I haven’t gotten nearly as much exercise as I should have. On top of that, I haven’t been sleeping too well. This handy hi-tech bracelet-gadget will hopefully help me by tracking my steps and sleep. It’s also a good way to remind me to not be quite so sedentary in my writing habits—I’ve set it so that it buzzes every 45 minutes to remind meto get up and move around for a while. Now that the ice is gone and the weather is a little warmer I can get outside and walk!

4. Instagram is my new social networking favorite. I’ve been snapping up a storm and (best of all) connecting with other photographers from all over the world. What a wonderful community! I’ve found the Maine group (#igersmaine) and one of my photos was already selected as an #igersmaine picture of the day (the one accompanying this post). I’m mostly enjoying the photos of horses, ranches, cowboys, and the open lands of the western United States because they’re providing inspiration for my WIP. But I’m also loving the photos from all over the world: Moscow, Nairobi, New Zealand, Australia, England…just to name a few. And I’m learning how to do timelapse videos which has been very cool (thank you @timelapse_California for all the help!). Oh… and I love the baby goats…because what’s not to love about baby goats? If you want to connect with me on Instagram, find me @juliamunroemartin.

5. The song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. It’s on my iPhone’s “Feel Good Songs” playlist. The list is an eclectic mix featuring songs of Michael Buble, The Spiral Staircase, Darius Rucker, and Taylor Swift. Call me corny, but these songs really do lift my mood and make me feel more positive—which is one of my big resolutions for the year: focusing on the positive.

What’s making you happy this spring?




  1. LOVE seeing you on Instagram! You’re quite the photographer, Ms. Julia! What’s making me happy? Well, if what you mean by “happy” is “miserable,” then that would be my current manuscript. LOL! Misery before happiness, as I like to say. 🙂

    • Thank you Dina!! What a sweet comment! It’s great to see you on Instagram, too Sorry that your current ms is making you miserable, but yes — I agree — misery before happiness in many writerly pursuits (btw had this post been about writing, then I might have said that today, I join you in writerly misery…you’ve got your good days, you’ve got your bad days, haha, right?).

  2. Lisa says:

    This post made me happy. May your spring be filled with ever more happy moments.

  3. Music for me, too! I’m making it a priority lately, so I try to remember every time we’re just hanging out in the house to put some on.
    I’ve been thinking about becoming more active on Instagram — I think I have an account but haven’t used it. My husband and I are taking a road trip out west in about a week, and that just BEGS for photo documentation, right?

    • Happy to meet another music person — so instrumental (sorry, couldn’t resist). I hope you will get onto Instagram. It’s really amazing to be centered around a visual art instead of words (although there are plenty of those too) and just selfishly for me, I’d love to see more photos of the west! Definitely begs for photo documentation, no question!

  4. Such a positive post, Julia, and so lovely to hear that you have your mojo back (as we say over here… actually, we may have pinched it from you!) Similarly to you, Spring, birdsong, buds breaking out, the smell of lilac in the garden right now, and music (I too love the Pharrell Williams song) – all make me feel happy. Starting a new writing project is making me happy and creating some space to do other things is added to the mix. Instagram sounds great – I haven’t checked it out yet but dort loves it! xo

    • Thanks, Abi, and so funny you would say I’ve got my mojo back… exactly! We still have lilac to look forward to, can’t wait. Usually around 2/3 through May but we’re running late. Happy we’re in tune over happy 🙂 xox

  5. Cynthia Robertson says:

    I love that picture of the pier, Julia. It’s beautiful! Wish I was walking out on it.

    • Wish you were here to walk out on it, Cynthia! It’s another gray day and I’m heading out to take more pics. It’s addictive especially with feedback from friends 🙂 Have a great spring!

  6. Thanks so much for the shout-out, Julia. I’m happy that my post inspired this one. I love hearing about the little things that inspire people. I’ve been wanting to get more involved in Instagram. I’m so mired in words all day, it’s nice to express myself in pictures once in a while. And it’s a good way to get inspired with photos.

    I love that you have a playlist called Feel Good Songs. What a great and simple idea for a pick-me-up. I’m going to set that up on my iTunes. 🙂

    • Instagram is so wonderful. Quite addictive be warned! Yes, I agree about the miring in words leading to a desire for the visual and expression via the visual. So happy to hear you’re setting up the Feel Good Songs. Honestly, such a small thing with such huge payoff. Happy spring and thanks again for the happy idea 🙂

  7. Micky Wolf says:

    Ditto the comments on your photo, Julia! Gives me goose bumps–evocative, intriguing, begs the question, “a story waiting to be told?” Not necessarily in your having snapped the shot, but simply in the mood it stirs within. 🙂 Spring, good music, and ‘focusing on the positive’. A great message for any moment! Thanks for the inspiration.

    • So glad you liked the photo, Micky! Thanks for your kind words! You’re welcome for the inspiration. I’m on a roll with the positive and I’m riding the crest 🙂 Let the positive times roll!

  8. Julie Luek says:

    Julia, a lovely post. I hung our hummingbird feeders the other day because I heard thee trill of their beating wings. To me, that sound and their presence is the most optimistic sign that summer is impending, despite the gloom trying to convince me otherwise. I woke up this morning and the poor birds hovered around the frozen sugar water, desperately trying to get a drink. Sigh.

    As for the music, I too have a collection of happy, upbeat songs to jog to. They’re not always tunes I would just sit down and listen to, but they keep my feet moving and my soul humming!

    Happy spring, my friend.

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Julie! Ahhh–hummingbirds!!! How wonderful! I’ve never been able to successfully keep them around so I’m envious! But yes, those signs are huge. How did they fare with the snow? Like you, my happy songs are not ones I’d usually listen to… but yes, they keep me humming body and soul; just occurred to me, we’re not unlike the hummingbirds 🙂

  9. Julia – I thoroughly enjoyed reading your delightful happiness list! Two weeks ago we moved cross country from Crystal Lake, Illinois to Boise, Idaho. We’re happier than pigs in slop (so to speak)!

    • So glad you enjoyed the post, Laurie! Congratulations on the move! Sounds like a wonderful adventure you’ve embarked on and can’t wait to read more about it (on your blog, I assume?). Thanks for the read 🙂

  10. Lisa Ahn says:

    Oh, how I miss those osprey! Great post, Julia. Glad to read all your happy news.

  11. Gloria Laflamme says:

    Love your photos. Glad to learn you are a writer. Runs in my family. Just had my 60th birthday and danced to the “Happy song”. Love it. My son ,the film school graduate, is now living on Zapata Ranch, CO doing film work for them. Check out the great online magazine “Ranchlands Review”. He is Isaac Cole. Think you will enjoy it. Look forward to reading your works.

    • Hi Gloria — so nice to meet you and see you on my blog! Nice to meet another Happy song dancer, too 🙂 I actually already follow your son on Instagram (and Ranchlands and everyone else I can there…what an amazing place! Incredible pics!). His photos are something else! I love the magazine too. Amazing. I am so appreciative that you found me from Instagram; nice to make a new friend! Thanks again for the read and for the comment. Are you a writer as well?

  12. Shary says:

    I love that song, too. It always makes me want to dance. I will have to check out Instagram… I’m so behind!

    • I feel so validated that you like to dance to “Happy”!!! Yes, please do check out Instagram, it would be great fun to see you there, Shary. You could post pics of Lola and of the dances! 🙂

  13. Boy howdy, do I feel you on this one. Spring has been soul food for me lately! The birds have been amazing so far and I’m enjoying my morning wake-up call to quite the symphony of sounds. I put my hummingbird feeder up last Sunday and within an hour I had a visitor. That made me quite happy.

    We went shopping for new carpet yesterday for our first floor (husband’s idea!) which is terribly worn out. Three kids and two dogs can do some major damage. I don’t even remember what our carpet’s original color even was. :/

    Music has made me extremely happy as well. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty has some great songs and I’m addicted to Lord Huron, Jose Gonzalez, and Rogue Valley! Check them out–total chill yet inspiring.

    Make sure you share some Instagram accounts you love! Would love to know some of your faves. xo

    • I had to laugh at you not knowing the carpet color… boy have I been there! Yay for new carpet! I haven’t seen Walter Mitty but really want to (one of my grandmother’s favorite books) and will definitely check out the songs. As for Instagram accounts, I think you were the one who told me most of my faves. The horses. Colorado and Montana. Oh, and there’s one with amazingly cute puppies right now (and horses TOO!) and of course they’re in Montana: @openrangeranch1114.

  14. Nina says:

    Glad you like the UP! I’m enjoying my fitbit. I for sure find myself walking places I wouldn’t normally or parking further away. I can easily get swept up in numbers. But hey–if that’s what it takes it works for me.

    • I get swept up in the numbers too — and stressed out about not meeting goals. I honestly do think it’s miscalculating because I can’t get any writing done I’m walking around so much! I read that Fitbit is more accurate so you made the right choice. MEH has offered to take the UP so I could get a Fitbit… we’ll see. As you say, whatever it takes to work.

  15. Pamela says:

    I concur with your ‘happy’ reasons. I lived in NE for 10 years before returning here to the SF bay, and when our first crocus sprang out between the snow piles, I’d do a happy dance for an hour. Spring is more subtle here, but also beautiful in its own way. Writing a blog and meeting other ‘like’ bloggers makes me happy, and I’m glad I found yours.

    • Hi Pamela, so glad you found my blog! I agree too that finding other bloggers is another thing that makes me happy. As for the bay area, I used to live there so I know exactly what you mean — more subtle but also beautiful. And you have the advantage of the mild climate yearround, so wonderful. Thanks for the visit and for your comment!


  1. […] In my last post I wrote about how addicted much I love Instagram. If anything—since I wrote that post I’ve become even more of a fan. But that’s not what this post is about. […]