10 uplifting things that made us smile this week

The internet can be a complicated place, but when you dig beneath social media's problematic elements, there are so many gems of joy to be found. From personal triumphs to adorable animal encounters to delightful moments caught on film, here are 10 things guaranteed to bring a smile to your face this week.

1. Woman celebrates becoming a published author at age 83.

Mary V. Macauley said she couldn't even send an email a short time ago, and now she's officially a published author in her ninth decade of life. It's never too late to follow your dreams, kids. (You can find her book "Free to Be Me" here.)

2. Daughter surprises her parents with her optometry school acceptance letter, and their reaction is priceless.

Her dad reading "Dear Gurjiv, COMMA" is just pure delight. So much joy in this family.



(Read the whole story here.)

3. Dog insists on joining a couple's first dance as a married couple.

Doggo doesn't want to be left out of the lovefest! Equally impressive and adorable.

4. Groom swats his bride's face mid-wedding ceremony, and it's actually hilariously sweet.

He was saving her from a bee! His expression after the instinctual swat is precious, their mutual laughter is adorable, and the officiant's "There was a bee" clarification for the people in the back is just perfectly timed.


5. Woman shared a sweet story of beloved children's author Eric Carle's unexpected response to her missing cat poster.

Eric Carle, the creator of more than 70 children's books including "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," didn't just help a stranger look for her cat, but also supported her emotionally through the whole ordeal. She didn't find out until afterward that the kind man who had helped her was famous children's author. (Read the whole story here.)

Lara B. Sharp


6. The same judge who gave a drug dealer a second chance swears him in as a lawyer 16 years later.

Judge Todd Russell Perkins saw something in Edward Martell when he showed up to his court as a drug dealer 16 years ago. Martell got his life together and became a lawyer this month—a beautiful story of second chances and redemption. (Read the whole story here.)

7. Disabled man celebrates overcoming obstacles to achieve independent living

Reddit user u/A-a-ron98 shared his celebratory announcement that he'd moved into his own place, living 100% independently. "Adulting" is hard for many, but for people with disabilities, being able to live independently can be a significant challenge. The support on Reddit for this win was beautiful to see (in addition to the education of folks who didn't understand that a disabled person can have a job.)


8. A woman who died at age 97 had her fudge recipe engraved on her tombstone.

There are people who take their secret recipes to their graves, and then there's Kathryn Andrews, who had her fudge recipe engraved on hers. "She really loved people," her family said. "She would take fudge whenever people got together." Gonna have to try out this recipe now! (Read the whole story here.)

via Find a Grave


9. Donkey recognizes the girl who raised it and holy moly the reunion is beautiful.

Who says animals don't have memories or emotions? Watch this donkey snuggle up to the girl who raised it and try not to smile. (Sound up.)

10. Microscopic image shows that grass is always happy to see us.

Okay, so they're actually "vascular bundles" that look like they're smiling at us, but still. How fun is this? The image originally came from naturalist Phil Gates, who shares wonders of the microscopic world on his blog "Beyond the Human Eye," and was shared by computational biologist Dr. Bethany Nichols on Twitter. Amazing.

As we work on our individual and collective challenges, let's also remember to celebrate the best of humanity wherever we see it. Joy is energizing, and the more we focus on what's good in the world, the more vitality and strength we'll have to confront the problems that need fixing to make it a better place for everyone.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

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Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani wows audiences with his amazing musical talents.

Mozart was known for his musical talent at a young age, playing the harpsichord at age 4 and writing original compositions at age 5. So perhaps it's fitting that a video of 5-year-old piano prodigy Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani playing Mozart has gone viral as people marvel at his musical abilities.

Alberto's legs can't even reach the pedals, but that doesn't stop his little hands from flying expertly over the keys as incredible music pours out of the piano at the 10th International Musical Competition "Città di Penne" in Italy. Even if you've seen young musicians play impressively, it's hard not to have your jaw drop at this one. Sometimes a kid comes along who just clearly has a gift.

Of course, that gift has been helped along by two professional musician parents. But no amount of teaching can create an ability like this.

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