For the "Something That Made Me Happy This Month - May" swap on Swap-Bot, the goal of the swap is to tell three partners something that made me happy this past month (e.g., an event I attended, a book I read, a movie I watched, a new person I met).
There were many things that happened during the past month that made me happy. On May 3rd, Sophia and I went to Cascade Falls in Osceola, Wisconsin, to see the waterfall. She was able to stand behind it which was refreshing.
On May 5th, we experienced a fire at our farm. We lost the two-story hobby shed, playhouse, and 15 trees. The siding on our home is warped and the front, half of our horse barn's siding and doors were burned; and the left side of our car is melted.
Many outdoor things - gardens, furniture, and deck - all had embers that landed on them and either burned it completely or left burn marks. Across the street, the embers landed and started a 14-acre fire in a cornfield.
Despite the fire, a positive thing - something that made me happy - was to see how many people came forth to make and bring us food (which was especially appreciated when our propane was turned off during and after the fire for two days); help with Spring chores; and fix our mower which had not been working.
On May 8th, Sophia and I enjoyed a delicious barbecue meatball sandwich and fresh salad that someone from church brought us.
On May 9th, I walked around our farm to assess what had burned and to see what new growth was coming up. A red-winged blackbird, who was sitting on one of the cattails in the pond, flew by. I love their song and it always makes me happy hearing them.
Although sad that a tree had burned in the pasture, I was intrigued to see a heart-shape when I looked through it. This brought both reassurance and joy.
The apple blossoms were beginning to emerge.
On another apple tree, the white blossoms were attracting bees and giving off a beautiful fragrance.
On Friday, May 11th, Sophia and I went to the humane society where she played for dogs waiting to be adopted. We were happy to see that within a couple days, several of the dogs we spent time with were adopted!
On Saturday, May 12th, Olivia and I took a Saori weaving class together which was fun. I always enjoy taking art classes; and this one is a favorite of mine.
Olivia, Sophia, and I spent time after the weaving class exploring the Shepherds Harvest festival and enjoying seeing the brightly-colored wool, fiber art products, and variety of looms.
On Mother's Day, May 13th, I had a relaxing day which was nice. I wasn't feeling well, but was still able to get a lot done with the contents loss statement (from the fire). In the evening, the girls made me a delicious dinner that we enjoyed together as a family.
What makes me especially happy is seeing their beautiful smiles and thinking back on the many wonderful memories we have made together throughout the years.
On May 14th and 16th, volunteers from the Lions Club came to help with clean-up from the fire and Spring chores. A huge project that was accomplished was clearing out the loft of the horse barn. There was water-saturated hay and straw in the loft (the firefighters had to wet everything down so that it wouldn't catch on fire since the barn was already burning).
One of the Lions and I worked on clearing the loft. He said it was good when we did it because the hay was already getting hot (wet hay can start a fire). We are so thankful - and happy - that we didn't lose the horse barn!
On Wednesday afternoon, May 16th, Sophia, Olivia, and I - along with two other teens and another parent - packaged 1,012 books in 16 boxes and shipped them to the African Library Project.
Because of all the books we collected and money raised, we are able to create the first-ever library in Malawi, Africa, for 465 orphans and vulnerable children.
From May 17th-19th, Olivia and I went camping at Forestville State Park in southern Minnesota. We stayed in camper cabins there (a different one each night) and visited two caves during the days. One we visited was Niagara Cave which had a lot of interesting fossils.
We visited many Amish farms and greenhouses; and bought some plants for the garden and patio.
We went on several hikes at Forestville State Park and Lake Louise State Park. We had never visited either park, so it made me happy to be able to explore different beautiful parts of the state; and be able to mark off our list two more state parks that we've seen.
The other cave that we saw while was Mystery Cave. There's a turquoise lake in the cave which was interesting to see.
Another thing that made me happy this month was seeing Sophia share her musical gifts at church. On May 13th (Mother's Day), she was the piano accompanist to the children's choir. They sang two songs and did a nice job.
On May 20th, she played the harp with other youth harpists and her teacher. They played the prelude, during the service, and postlude.
Sophia also played the harp and piano at the homeschool graduation ceremony on Tuesday, May 22nd. She did a fantastic job - no errors - during the processional or recessional.
On Wednesday, May 23rd, one of the Lions came over with his Bobcat and moved the water-saturated hay and straw we got out of the barn into a compost pile; moved the horse bedding into another compost pile; and moved the fire pit where we used to burn brush into the haul-away pile (from the shed fire). Things look so much better now.
It also motivated me to clean the barn out completely on Sunday, May 27th. The horses now have fresh, new bedding which looks a lot better. It was a tremendous relief to get that done. Another thing that makes me happy: to have projects that I've wanted to get done finally accomplished!
On Sunday evening of Memorial Day weekend, we had a meal together since Paige was leaving for a business trip the next day. For part of the meal, I made a couple recipes that reminded me of my parents and grandparents: potato salad that my mom used to make and banana bread that my grandma on my dad's side used to make.
On Memorial Day, Sophia and I enjoyed a lunch at El Burrito Mercado after she donated platelets. We split a lunch meal because the portions are so generous. We each got 2 spicy chicken tacos, refried beans, and Spanish rice.
So, despite the fire and loss early in the month, there were many positive things that happened during May. As I look back on the month, it makes me happy to see so many things that brought joy to my life as well as to those we helped through volunteering and service.