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Joy

10 things that made us smile this week

Turkey cuddle farms, frog hotels and quetzalcoatlus costumes—all gathered to make you smile.

happy joy smile

Feel a little joy today.

Each week, Upworthy rounds up 10 delightful things that made us smile so that you can enter the weekend with a dash of hope and joy. It's our way of providing a respite from the often heavy and dreary content readily available on the internet.

This week, there might even be some bonus emotions—perhaps a jaw dropped in wonder or the shedding of a happy tear. But still, we are sharing stories that celebrate humanity and the human experience.


And it's the embrace of these rich, complex feelings that lead to more happiness, humility and overall balance. So, doomscroll no more, and instead add a little bit of cheerscrolling to your online regimen today. Starting with...

1. A young boy's unbridled joy after finding out he gets to be a quetzalcoatlus (his favorite dinosaur) for Halloween

A) Kudos to this little boy for being able to properly pronounce quetzalcoatlus; B) His high-pitched squeals of excitement go straight to the heart.

2. Woman shares emotional reunion with her favorite teacher 30 years later

On National Teacher Day, no less. Lora is a customer service agent who spotted a childhood teacher getting on a WestJet flight in Toronto. She shared her memories about this special teacher on the microphone and shouted out Ms. O’Connell, thanking her for instilling a love of Shakespeare and piano playing.

Yep, this is one of those happy tear stories.

3. Artist's unusual painting techniques have people mesmerized and inspired all at the same time

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Jay Lee is a painter on YouTube who uses unconventional painting techniques that are not only extremely soothing to watch, but actually make the art feel a bit more attainable to anyone who'd like to try their hand but feel overwhelmed.

In other words, have we just found the next Bob Ross?

You can read about him here.

4. Librarian finds the sweetest way to help others find comfort with death

Usually, death isn't exactly something to smile about. But the way that Rosie Grant has delighted her followers on TikTok with recipes for delicious cookies, pies and other treats found on gravestones (cause yeah, apparently it's a thing) has people finding connection with those who've passed in a creative and heartfelt way.

You can read more about Rosie here.

5. Rediscovered clip of an 8-year-old martial arts badass is just so freakin' cool

@brannmanndan Flashback to 2014. JJ McParland winning thebCadet World Championships. #weapons#martialarts#kickboxing#sword#samurai♬ original sound - Brannmanndan

Jesse-Jane McParland is one of the best martial arts performers in the world. Now, at 16, she holds more than 300 martial arts titles, rightfully earning her the name of JJ Golden Dragon. This clip is from when McParland was but a wee dragon at only 8 years old, and really is the stuff of legend.

6. A farm that's hosting a turkey cuddle fest for Thanksgiving, because yay

A farm in California is already hatching plans to celebrate Thanksgiving by letting folks enjoy some family-friendly hugs with a feathered friend, followed by a slice of vegan pie.

7. Guy creates an authentic Terminator costume by creating a light-up prosthetic eye

@bsmachinist#terminator#terminatoreye#cyborg#cyborgeye#cyberpunk#cyberpunkfashion#ocularprosthetics#ocularprosthesis#retinoblastomasurvivor#fuckcancer#prostheticeye#prosthetics♬ Terminator 2: Judgment Day Theme - Everrune

Brian (@bsmachinist on TikTok) lost his eye to cancer, but creates his own prosthetic eyes that light up and come in cool shapes. People love his red glowing Terminator eye in particular.

8. Just a dog reminding us how to live a happy life

Forgotten how to frolic in the rain? Just take a look at how this doggo does it, and be reminded of the importance of play.

9. A beautiful display of green frogs chilling in vivid pink flowers looks like something straight out of a fairy tale

Frogs, welcome to the Dahlia Hotel.

10. An adorable puppy ready to lend a "halping" paw

Bringing a whole new meaning to the term "joy ride."

True

The last thing children should have to worry about is where their next meal will come from. But the unfortunate reality is food insecurity is all too common in this country.

In an effort to help combat this pressing issue, KFC is teaming up with Blessings in a Backpack to provide nearly 70,000 meals to families in need and spread holiday cheer along the way.

The KFC Sharemobile, a holiday-edition charitable food truck, will be making stops at schools in Chicago, Orlando, and Houston in December to share KFC family meals and special gifts for a few select families to address specific needs identified by their respective schools.

These cities were chosen based on the high level of food insecurity present in their communities and hardships they’ve faced, such as a devastating hurricane season in Florida and an unprecedented winter storm in Houston. In 2021, five million children across the US lived in food-insecure households, according to the USDA.

“Sharing a meal with family or friends is a special part of the holidays,” said Nick Chavez, CMO of KFC U.S. “Alongside our franchisees, we wanted to make that possible for even more families this holiday season.”

KFC will also be making a donation to Blessings in a Backpack, a nonprofit that works to provide weekend meals to school-aged children across America who might otherwise go hungry.

“The generous donations from KFC could not have come at a better time, as these communities have been particularly hard-hit this year with rising food costs, inflation and various natural disasters,” Erin Kerr, the CEO of Blessings in a Backpack, told Upworthy. “Because of KFC’s support, we’re able to spread holiday cheer by donating meals for hunger-free weekends and meet each community’s needs,” Kerr said.

This isn’t the first time KFC has worked with Blessings in a Backpack. The fried chicken chain has partnered with the nonprofit for the last six years, donating nearly $1 million dollars. KFC employees also volunteer weekly to package and provide meals to students in Louisville, Kentucky who need food over the weekend.

KFC franchisees are also bringing the Sharemobile concept to life in markets across the country through local food donations and other holiday giveback moments. Ampex Brands, a KFC franchisee based in Dallas, recently held its annual Day of Giving event and donated 11,000 meals to school children in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.

If you’d like to get involved, you can make a donation to help feed students in need at kfc.com/kfcsharemobile. Every bit helps, but a donation of $150 helps feed a student on the weekends for an entire 38-week school year, and a donation as low as $4 will feed a child for a whole weekend.

Music

The legendary Kevin Bacon has given us the surprise Christmas song of the season

Time to add 'Here It Is Christmastime' to the holiday playlist.

Kevin Bacon sings 'Here It Is Christmastime' with Old 97's.

Holiday music is a funny thing. On the one hand, there are the old classics that we replay year after year—Bing Crosby's "White Christmas," Nat King Cole's "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire," Burl Ives' "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas" and so on. On the other hand, we have the ever-increasing repertoire of modern Christmas music, since every artist seems to feel the need to release a holiday album.

If it weren't for modern Christmas music, we would never have been blessed/cursed with "Last Christmas" or "All I Want for Christmas Is You," and there's no question that such songs can be a mixed bag. But this year's surprise breakout holiday hit comes from a rather unexpected source—the one and only Kevin Bacon—and it's simply delighful.

Even more unexpectedly, Bacon's Christmas song comes from Marvel's "The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special." If you didn't know there was a "Guardians of the Galaxy" Christmas special, you're not really missing much—except this Kevin Bacon song.

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
woman holding a cup of tea, writing in a notebook

It's no secret that everyone could use a little kindness in their lives and it can come in many forms. Sometimes it's the neighbor cutting your grass when your husband's away and you're too busy to get to it yourself. Other times it's sending a card to the elderly widow down the street.

One woman in Arkansas has taken to spreading kindness through writing letters to strangers. Allison Bond, 25, started writing letters over a year ago during COVID-19 when she couldn't attend school due to her medical condition. Bond has cerebral palsy and is at greater risk for serious illness should she contract the virus. Writing letters was an act of kindness that didn't require a trip out of the house.

Bond began by writing to soldiers and inmates. In fact, the first letter she received back was from a soldier. Bond told 5News, "I have one framed from a soldier. He had all his battle buddies sign it. So I framed it so I could put it up." She's kept every letter she's received.

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Joy

His aunt died on Thanksgiving and his 'rap' about how the family handled it is hilarious

The 95-year-old's 'bold, creative decision' to die on Thanksgiving when the whole family was at her house led to this chaotic masterpiece.

A viral video tells a wild, oddly hilarious tale of a guy's aunt dying on Thanksgiving.

A loved one dying on a holiday isn't normally something to laugh about, but there are exceptions to every rule. This video is one of them.

TikTok user Darien (@dairy.n) shared a story about his family's Thanksgiving Day that is so gloriously bizarre and delightfully real, it's hard not to laugh, despite the fact that it's about his aunt dying. The fact that he tells the tale in the style of a "One thing about me" rap is extra hilarious, and judging by the comments of some of the 6.7 million people who've watched it, it's struck people's funny bones.

Dark humor? A little bit. But his aunt was 95 and she died of natural causes, which helps the hilarity feel not quite so inappropriate. She also apparently had a fabulous sense of humor that she used to cope with her own difficulties throughout her life, so the video is more like a fitting tribute than a what-the-heck storytelling.

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Photo by Monet Garner on Unsplash

To have and to hold…

Love stories can take many twists and turns. But for one couple, one such detour lasted more than 40 years. In 1972, Jeanne Gustavson met Steve Watts at the German club at Loyola University and was instantly attracted. Their love story should've continued from this day forward, but sadly it was cut short when Gustavason abruptly broke up with the man she loved.

Gustavason explained to CBS News that her mother did not approve of her interracial relationship and wasn't shy about expressing her disdain for the couple. This disapproval of the courtship is what led to the breakup. Eventually, Gustavason and Watts married and divorced other people, but they never forgot about the love that ended too soon.

You'd think after four decades apart and all the life lived in between that the pair would have fully moved on. But it seems that true love really doesn't die because Gustavason went looking for Watts in 2021, and she found him.

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