Things that Bring Me Joy

Since JOY is my Word of the Year (WOTY) and such an important decision in my life, I want to pay attention to sharing joyful moments in the coming months. But, I admit I stalled writing this for one reason. While I try to keep my family out of my blog as much as possible, my children, grandchildren and (mostly my husband) it feels awkward to plunge into lists of things that bring me joy, without first starting with my family. I would like to say “it goes without saying, that my family is part of my joy, one of the most important things in my life..” But it is precisely that ” ..not saying.’ that can lead family to feel unappreciated, taken for granted, missed or worse.

Picture of a painted sign that says "Chose JOY, with eh letters painted in Green, blue and red.
Photo by Bekka Mongeau from Pexels

I did not have to write a resume to become a pastor, but once I had been licensed to serve, I had to provide a resume. I came into ministry as a secretary and insurance clerk. I only had to write an application for those positions, and knew next to nothing about resume writing. I was appointed to work with a group of pastors and when they read my resume, they did not let me live it down for a long time. You see, I did not realize I was expected to list my husband’s name. But in the course of describing our dog, Sammy, I did name him (the dog). I had thought it was enough to say that I was married, and that my husband and I lived with our dog, Sammy. (sigh!) Pastors are supposed to be a compassionate lot, but not, apparently, with each other!

Every day when I pray, I thank God for my husband, my family and friends who nurture and enrich my life. Please let me stipulate that my husband, family, and friends bring me joy. In addition, I have a special category of “cousins and classmates” who only recently came into my life, or in the case of classmates and friends from home, recently reconnected. They too, are treasures of my heart.

Bourne Photography

I don’t know if folks who are reading this will jump there to check it out, but Bourne Photography is a Facebook group of Photographers from my home area. They are amazing and every day, because of their passion for getting pictures and posting them, i get to travel home, if only virtually. Every day, I see pictures of the Cape Cod Canal, the Bourne Bridge, the Sagamore Bridge, the Railroad Bridge in Buzzards Bay, all kinds of flora and fauna and so much more. It stirs my heart. Seeing their pictures does more than bring back memories, their pictures give me a sense of pride of place, of identity, and belonging.

A picture of the Cape Cod Canal taken by the author.
The Cape Cod Canal, looking towards Buzzards Bay, October 2018, my picture.

I went for several years without seeing anything of home, and now thanks to Bourne Photography, I can almost smell the heady scent of the salt water, hear the cry of the gulls and see the subtle eddies in the water. I have posted some pictures of my own here. This is partly laziness, on my part, rather than take the time to get permission to post someone else’s photos.


Sheba continues to keep life interesting. She started something new around the time I was celebrating her “gotcha day.” I wish she would let me get a picture, but she is camera shy. When she sees me with my phone in my hand set to take a picture, or a video, she walks away or turns her head. Here is her latest trick though. she will sit net to me and lean against my knee, and tilt her head back and look up at me, as if to say, “Aren’t I adorable?”

Not sure my interpretation is correct or if it is some dog behavior that means something else, but it is cute and sweet as the dickens. My husband and I have both teased her that one of these days, she is going to fall over backwards and one night last week she did. She looked so shocked as she lay there looking up at us from the floor. Maybe she was playing a dog’s version of “Courage Camille,” a trust fall game that I obviously did not know do correctly. I thought I was just supposed to soak up her adoration; didn’t know I was supposed to catch her.

Picture of a black and tan dog standing on a green carpet.
Camera Shy

I am a fairly patient person, but this year winter in Pennsylvania has tried my patience. What I mean by that is I try to accept every day as a gift. I do not want to wish my life away, wishing it was another time, like saying, “I can’t wait until Spring, or Summer, or fill in the blanks. But this winter has brought much more snow than we have seen in years. I have heard my husband and others say that our winter of 2021 harkens back tot he winters of the 1960’s and 1970’s. Not exaggerating here; we got a heavy snow in mid-December, and several more after that. The snow is just now going away in March, and I am sure that some of the snow out in the yard is from the original snow from December. .

You can see a lot of grass, but there is still a good bit of snow. Our front yard is covered with snow. I would post a picture to show you, but pictures of grey-edged dirty snow, or yellow snow just are not pretty. All of this to say, the signs of spring give me joy. Taking each day as it comes, and

Not holding back the tide,


Copyright 2021 Michele Somerville, The Beach Girl Chronicles and

Published by msomerville2014

About: Michele Somerville is a wife, mother, stepmother, grandmother, sister, aunt, cousin and friend. She lives with her husband and their dog Sheba. Sheba is their fourth rescue dog in 30 years. She is a retired ordained United Methodist Elder and serves two churches part-time in North Central Pennsylvania. She obtained her Bachelors’ Degree in 1999 from Mansfield University and her Master of Divinity in 2004 and Doctor of Ministry in 2016, both from Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, New York. My Doctor of Ministry Thesis was:” Prophetic Words of Grace: Biblical Storytelling in the Local Church.” Michele began writing and performing character monologues for worship in 2008. She began by asking the question about nameless characters in the Bible, “What would they say if they could speak for themselves?” and then using her theological education and experience of the human condition to attempt an answer that is both academic and creative. Much of what you will read here are memories from growing up in a tourist town, in a bar, in the 1960’s, shaggy dog stories about our rescue dogs, life in a small town, and stories of faith and hope. Throughout her life she has lived in many states, including small towns, large towns and cities. She lived in Rota, Spain, for nine challenging months. Despite all the places she have lived since moving away from home in 1970,Michele is at the heart of all things Jack and Maggie’s daughter, and a beach girl from Onset, Massachusetts.

21 thoughts on “Things that Bring Me Joy

  1. thanks for sharing the things that bring you joy with us. I couldn’t help smiling as I read them, so you brought me joy too. I “liked” Bourne Photographers on Facebook. There are some very talented photographers who post there! I was amazed by the quality of the pictures that the group posts.

    I don’t want to wish my life away either, and I do try to express my appreciation for each day, but…I long for the warmth and light of spring. These balmy spring-like days bring me joy. We still have some snow in our front yard too. Here’s hoping it’s gone by the weekend!

    And thanks for feeding my dog fix today with the tale of Sheba! 🙂


  2. Thank you Laurie! I haven’t so much had writer’s block as simply time block. Ideally I would write a nd read the early part of the week, and focus on worship and sermon planning the end of the week. But it is seldom that neat. So with some administrative stuff, medical appointments and working on taxes, this post has sat unfinished for a few weeks.. I am just not one of those disciplined writers that writes something every day or the same time every day, YET. You are right too, the warmth and promise of springtime, the green buds shooting through the ground are thrilling. Do you know the song “Hymn of Promise?” There is a verse that I love, that says, “in the cold and snow of winter, there’s a spring that waits to be, unrevealed until it’s season, something God alone can see.” (Words and music Natalie Sleeth, 1986 Hope Publishing).


  3. Thank you for sharing things that bring you joy.

    I was amused at the difference in your style and mine. My blog features my family and neighbors. All are aware that I write, and they know I will honor their wish to not write about any particular incident. So far, so good.


    1. HI Anne, I have some catching up to do. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Yes, differences, but both of us wise and funny women! My husband knows he has gotten a few mentions, my daughter would not be happy, so I am careful. Blessings, Michele


      1. Oh, yes! It’s best to be very careful! Daughter Lise once commented on something dangerous, saying, “You could be severely killed.”

        Immediately she said, “You can’t write that!”

        We were both laughing. A short while later she said I was free to publish it. That was probably 30 years ago, and this could be the first time I’ve written it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Lest you think I leave my family totally out of my blog, it is my parents, who are not here to defend themselves, who get the most coverage. They, and simply my sense of home, are why I started writing “The Beach Girl Chronicles” in the first place.


      3. I’m glad to know you enjoy blogging about family, but I certainly understand there are reasons to keep quiet about some.

        I was asked to remove one post by a nephew, because his wife was being stalked on line. There was a good reason for pulling that one! We don’t see that family often, and I avoid taking photos of them and never write about them.


  4. Hi Michele – Sheba is definitely a cutie and what a laugh that she doesn’t like having her photo taken (I can certainly relate to that!) Sorry that you’ve had such a miserable Winter – our Summer here in Western Australia has been a really hot one and there have been a lot of bushfires in Australia this season. The cooler weather is just starting to creep in and it’s such a relief – as I imagine the warmer weather will be for you too.


    1. Thanks Leanne, I have been in a bit of a, not a slump, just not able to get to my blog because of pressing committments. Thanks for taking t he time to read and comment. Are the bushfires common? any concerns about them getting out of control? Yes, cooler weather for you and warmer for us. I try not to complain about the weather, but am really enjoying the warmer days. It is still winter, and more snow could come, though hopefully it will be mild. One never knows. Several years ago, when I was a relatively new pastor, I preached a sermon at Easter that I titled “Celebrating Christmas at Easter” and it snowed! My husband said, “You are never allowed to preach that sermon again!” Silly man. Blessings, Michele


  5. The story of the Pastors ribbing you about your Husband’s name is so funny! Also a poignant reminder that there are things that we may assume to be Truth, but still need to be Spoken! 😊


  6. Joy is a wonderful WOTY, Michele. “Joy” evokes such great vibes. I am with you about “family” top on my list. You remind how Pastors are human with good and possibly challenging qualities. Your photo of the Cape Cod Canal is stunning! I had no doubt your love for Sheba. I told my husband your snow story……only funny because it all turned out okay. An interesting post, Michele. It is great to learn more about you. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Erica/Erika. Glad you shared the snow story with your husband. He should know what kind of people you hang out with on line, ha ha! Hope all is well. Getting ready for tomorrow morning, always with a mix of joy and healthy fear. Hoping what I have to say will make sense to the flock. Working on few posts at different stages of being done. Sheba just came to tell me she wants a walk. Blessings, Michele

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hello Michele! I love this word, Joy! I look for things that bring me joy everyday. It’s not too difficult when you’re surrounded by beautiful nature and people and animals! I also try not to write to much about my husband or family, and always ask their permission, especially when they’re in photos I want to post in my blog. I love how passionate you are about your hometown. Have a lovely week, Michele.

    Liked by 1 person

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