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!

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.

Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Actions speak far louder than words.

It never fails. After a tragic mass shooting, social media is filled with posts offering thoughts and prayers. Politicians give long-winded speeches on the chamber floor or at press conferences asking Americans to do the thing they’ve been repeatedly trained to do after tragedy: offer heartfelt thoughts and prayers. When no real solution or plan of action is put forth to stop these senseless incidents from occurring so frequently in a country that considers itself a world leader, one has to wonder when we will be honest with ourselves about that very intangible automatic phrase.

Comedian Anthony Jeselnik brilliantly summed up what "thoughts and prayers" truly mean. In a 1.5-minute clip, Jeselnik talks about victims' priorities being that of survival and not wondering if they’re trending at that moment. The crowd laughs as he mimics the actions of well-meaning social media users offering thoughts and prayers after another mass shooting. He goes on to explain how the act of performatively offering thoughts and prayers to victims and their families really pulls the focus onto the author of the social media post and away from the event. In the short clip he expertly expresses how being performative on social media doesn’t typically equate to action that will help victims or enact long-term change.

Of course, this isn’t to say that thoughts and prayers aren’t welcomed or shouldn’t be shared. According to Rabbi Jack Moline "prayer without action is just noise." In a world where mass shootings are so common that a video clip from 2015 is still relevant, it's clear that more than thoughts and prayers are needed. It's important to examine what you’re doing outside of offering thoughts and prayers on social media. In another several years, hopefully this video clip won’t be as relevant, but at this rate it’s hard to see it any differently.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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