happiness, joy, delight, uplifting

Looking for a reason to smile? Here are 10 of them.

I know, y'all. This week has been rough. We've got the omicron thing coming around the corner, schools telling parents that today is apparently School Shooting Day on TikTok (but don't panic, even though we don't really know how to gauge if there's any real risk) and this on top of normal holiday season stress. It's … well, it's a lot.

All the more reason we need to look for small joys and reasons to smile today. It's easy to get bogged down in cynicism and negativity, but such things don't serve anyone, and if we're going to make it through these unprecedented times (oh, how I miss precedented times!) we need to maintain some hopeful energy.

While these 10 things won't solve the world's problems, they can help you smile, laugh and delight your way through the weekend.

Here goes:


Doggo loses it when it recognizes its human at the airport.

You can just see the instant of recognition, right? And then that tail wag. And that sweet squeaking. Puppy love at its best.

UPS driver goes the extra mile to congratulate a new mom on his route.

Dallen Harrell noticed he was delivering a lot of baby items to a particular house and decided to leave a message on Jessica Kitchel's doorbell camera. He said he was a new dad himself and wished the family luck with their newborn.

“I just hope everything is going good,” he tells the camera. “God bless, Happy Holidays.”

Kitchel was so touched she shared his message on her Instagram, which resulted in a flood of goodwill and all-around awesomeness. Kitchel's friends and family are buying out Harrell's baby registry and a diaper company is supplying both families with diapers for six months—proof that a little human connection and kindness can go a long way. Read the full story here.

Guinea pigs racing down a ramp. Why is this so delightful? 

I honestly don't know why this video made me grin from ear to ear, but it did. It's like perfectly coordinated chaos. Where are they coming from? Where are they going? Are they on their way to a guinea pig party? Who knows, but so fun.

This Lord of the Rings rap battle with the original cast is unexpected and hilarious.

A rap battle about why The Lord of the Rings is the best trilogy of them all on Stephen Colbert? Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Hugo Weaving, Andy Serkis, Orlando Bloom, Viggo Mortensen, Method Man, Killer Mike and Anna Kendrick all together in one video? Yes, please.

The epic saga of workplace cats, Jean and Jorts, and their overly concerned coworker, Pam. 

Jorts the dumb orange cat and Jean the smart torty.

@throwawayorangeccat/reddit/imgur

Once upon a time there were two cats, Jean and Jorts, who lived in a workplace with a bunch of humans. Jean was smart and Jorts was kind of a dolt, and the drama created around this fact resulted in the most hilarious coworker shenanigans ever told on Reddit. Jorts locks Jean in closets and Pam smears margarine on Jorts, and seriously, you just have to read this one in full. Trust me. Find it here.

This dog really, really, really wanted this very specific stick.

Poor snowman vs. perseverant doggy. Not sure who to root for here, but this is hilarious.

The 'Ted Lasso and The Missing Christmas Mustache' short is pure 'Ted Lasso' delight.

Some of us are missing Ted Lasso's wholesome wisdom, and this Christmas claymation short voiced by the original cast is helping fill that void.

Kind man packed up his grill and a truckload of food to feed tornado-leveled Mayfield, Kentucky.

After a tornado destroyed the town of Mayfield, Kentucky last weekend, Jim Finch decided to do what he could do: "feed the people." Humans helping humans. Love to see it. Read the story here.

Throwback to this hilarious hugging a stranger at the gas station Christmas spirit video.

Mary Katherine Backstrom loves humanity and loves Christmas, and her story about sharing that spirit with random people at the Wawa was a delightful viral sensation. Watch and you'll see why. Her laughter is contagious and the story is hilarious.

When one cockatoo is rocking out and the other thinks it's totally extra.

You simply have to watch this video in its entirety. It's like you can hear exactly what each bird is thinking. Totally different personalities. I laughed out loud like five times.

I hope that made you laugh a little or a lot and brought some much-needed delight to your day. Hang in there and share the joy, friends!

Joy

Man uses TikTok to offer 'dinner with dad' to any kid that needs one, even adult ones

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud.

Come for the food, stay for the wholesomeness.

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud. His TikTok channel is dedicated to giving people intimate conversations they might long to have with their own father, but can’t. The most popular is his “Dinner With Dad” segment.

The concept is simple: Clayton, aka Dad, always sets down two plates of food. He always tells you what’s for dinner. He always blesses the food. He always checks in with how you’re doing.

I stress the stability here, because as someone who grew up with a less-than-stable relationship with their parents, it stood out immediately. I found myself breathing a sigh of relief at Clayton’s consistency. I also noticed the immediate emotional connection created just by being asked, “How was your day?” According to relationship coach and couples counselor Don Olund, these two elements—stability and connection—are fundamental cravings that children have of their parents. Perhaps we never really stop needing it from them.


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All photos from Pilllsbury used with permission

Pillsbury is partnering with non profit, Operation Homefront, to provide housing for veterans

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It’s the dream of many veterans: a safe and swift return to the security of home – to a place where time can be spent with family while becoming part of a community and creating new memories. With the partnership of non-profit Operation Homefront, Pillsbury is helping give military families the opportunity to do just that.

For many of our American soldiers, the dream of making a comfortable return to civilian life is often dashed by harsh realities. Pew Research Center reports that 44% of veterans who have served since Sept 11, 2001 noted having a difficult time re-adjusting. From re-entering into the workforce to finding healthcare services, returning to civilian life can be a harrowing transition. While serving in the military is incredibly stressful, it also provides routine, structure and purpose that is not easily replicated in civilian life. Couple this with a lack of helpful resources for veterans, and the hope for a brighter future can be easily derailed.


However, some companies and organizations are stepping in to show support and provide resources. Operation Homefront, an organization dedicated to helping military families transition back to civilian life, launched its Transitional Homes for Veterans (THV) Program in 2018. The program places veteran families in safe, secure, rent-free single-family homes for a period of two-to-three years while providing financial coaching and training to reduce debt, increase savings, and prepare for independent home ownership. Since the THV’s inception, Operation Homefront has defrayed more than $500K in mortgage costs to military families.

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TikTok about '80s childhood is a total Gen X flashback.

As a Gen X parent, it's weird to try to describe my childhood to my kids. We're the generation that didn't grow up with the internet or cell phones, yet are raising kids who have never known a world without them. That difference alone is enough to make our 1980s childhoods feel like a completely different planet, but there are other differences too that often get overlooked.

How do you explain the transition from the brown and orange aesthetic of the '70s to the dusty rose and forest green carpeting of the '80s if you didn't experience it? When I tell my kids there were smoking sections in restaurants and airplanes and ashtrays everywhere, they look horrified (and rightfully so—what were we thinking?!). The fact that we went places with our friends with no quick way to get ahold of our parents? Unbelievable.

One day I described the process of listening to the radio, waiting for my favorite song to come on so I could record it on my tape recorder, and how mad I would get when the deejay talked through the intro of the song until the lyrics started. My Spotify-spoiled kids didn't even understand half of the words I said.

And '80s hair? With the feathered bangs and the terrible perms and the crunchy hair spray? What, why and how?

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