In the continued and often described “dumpster fire” that is 2020, there are many things that aren’t making me happy. From the pandemic and other world events through to a myriad of concerns in my own life, it’s far easier to focus on stress than joy.

Yet, and especially in this particular year, I need to focus more on small everyday joys and savour moments of calm when I find them.

So, in the spirit of small things that make me happy, here are five from this week.

Being in nature 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is FallLeaves-October-2020-1024x768.jpgLast weekend, a friend and I went for a socially distanced, mask-wearing walk in a nearby nature conservation area.

Crunching through fallen leaves, admiring trees decked in brilliant autumn foliage and breathing in the crisp, fresh air pulled me out of myself and my worries and “grounded me” in something solid and necessary—and gave me a sense of timelessness too.


Like most of us, I’m missing social connections so being able to see a friend for that walk in “real life” was a blessing not to be taken for granted.

My friend is having her own challenges and while “a problem shared wasn’t a problem halved,” being able to talk about those problems made some of our worries seem a bit less daunting.

A sense of achievement 

In a chaotic world, ticking a few manageable things off my “to-do” list like tidying a kitchen storage unit gave me an inordinate sense of achievement.

And the bonus? My candle holders are now more accessible to use and enjoy candles on these dark autumn evenings.

My books 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is VintageBooks-1024x768.jpgNot ones I’ve written (although those give me joy too) but looking at my bookshelves and the reading memories and encouragement they hold brings me a sense of comfort, happiness and connectedness to other times and places that’s invaluable right now.

I’ve also been dipping into old favourites—a return to a reassuring world I need.

Family photos 

With not having many close living relatives, and the pandemic meaning I’m not able to visit with extended family, looking at the photo albums my late dad compiled and sorting through boxes of even older family pictures (some going back to my great-grandparents’ generation) has reminded me of roots, history and more.

It’s also made me laugh (my teenage hair didn’t look nearly as good as I thought it did!), recall happy memories and remember old friends.

Hitting the “reset” button

In these days of isolation, chaos and fear, I still have much to worry about but there are also things that make me happy.

And hitting that “reset” button to focus on those things has made an important difference to how I’m managing stress and finding more joy. 

What makes you happy now?

Sale alert…Get Back Home at Firefly Lake for only 1.99 ($2.99 in Canada)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is BackHomeAtFireflyLake3_RGB300-632x1024.jpgLooking for cozy, feel-good reading? The e-book of Back Home at Firefly Lake, the third book in my Firefly Lake trilogy (although it also stands alone) is currently on sale in Canada and the US for only $1.99 (up to $2.99 on some retailers & in Canada).

I don’t know how long this sale will last so if you haven’t read it or would like to gift the story to a friend, grab a bargain now.

“Gilroy’s wistful third Firefly Lake contemporary brings two sad and lonely people together for a second chance at love…But when these two broken souls come together, magic happens.” —Publishers Weekly.

Amazon |B&N Nook |Kobo |Google Play |Apple


  1. Heidi Vanstone

    Like you, I am finding joy in the small things. A hug from my child, the fresh, delicious intake of air when I leave my job and can remove my mask, the deal on a grocery item, the luxurious feeling of waking up without the buzz of my alarm- I am blessed beyond measure! Sometimes, seeking out the rainbow in the storm is hard to do, but it’s always there!

    • Jen Gilroy

      I’m glad you’re finding “rainbows” during the current “storm,” Heidi. Thanks for sharing what’s making you happy and yes, it is indeed the “small things.”

  2. Deb

    Beautiful thoughts, Jen. I had to laugh – I stepped outside my door this morning to humid, hard to breath, heavy air. Then I glanced at my hedge, which I have hated since I bought this house 30 years ago. And there among the hedge were numerous, encroaching maple trees, each about 2 feet tall, and all in glorious red color. I began plotting on how to get rid of the hedge without disturbing the maples to let them grow. The maples and their color, colored me a brighter day on this dreary, soon-to-be stormy day. I so miss my old maple that had to be removed a few years back (it was hollowed out, it was so rotten.) But now, maybe I’ll have a few replacements. And that made me happy!!! As did your wonderful Firefly Lake series. A recommended read for sure!

    • Jen Gilroy

      Thanks so much for reading my blog, Deb and for your kind comment. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and my Firefly Lake series too.

      Your comment about your hedge made me laugh too. I hope you’re able to let some of those maples grow. That glorious red maple colour which I’m seeing here in Canada too now brightens my days! We had to have an oak tree removed a few weeks ago (it was dying) and I miss it so much.


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