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Joy

10 things that made us smile this week

smile uplifting viral

This week's roundup of delightful finds from around the internet.

Hello friends!

It probably shouldn't be surprising, but this week's roundup of delightful finds from around the internet is saturated with babies. Not just human babies, but animal babies, too. Hilarious babies. Adorable babies. Babies babies babies.

It makes sense, what with their unbearable cuteness and all. Babies are the best. No matter how ugly things get in the world, we can always look at the sweet innocence of new life to remind ourselves of humanity's potential. We can delight in the wonderment of their discoveries and try to capture some of that wholesome curiosity ourselves. We can revel in their smiles and giggles and share that contagious joy with others.


Of course, if babies don't make you smile (is that really a thing? no way that's a thing) there are some other fun finds here as well, from a silly Wordle parody to a heartwarming gush of library love.

Enjoy!

Woman stops traffic to help a mama duck and her zillion ducklings cross the street.

A human taking the initiative to help a little animal family avoid getting squished by cars is really sweet. But it's the way the mama duck follows the woman's hand signals that does me in. How does she know??? (And how on Earth does she have that many ducklings at once?)

Author Clint Smith reminds us that public libraries are one of the greatest human inventions.

Writers make money selling books, so saying "get my book for free from a library" is awesome. It's also a reminder that libraries are one of the best things humans have ever come up with. "I mean think about it, a place where you can go and get books...for free!" Smith wrote. "And then pass them along to someone else. And then...get even more books. And it's open to everyone. What a concept! It's a testament to public community institutions, and one we shouldn't take for granted."

Tired of winter? Let these kitties being fascinated with the snow refresh you.

Those of us who live in the northern climes are pretty much over the snow by mid-February. But seeing these cats' wonderment at watching the snow fall is a good reminder of how magical it can be.

Speaking of the magic of snow, watch this humongo doggo freak out over a little lip of snow.

He gives it a go several times, chickens out each time, and then absolutely refuses. Hilarious.

And this tiger kitty spooking its enormous mama momma is hilarious, too.

Snow tigers are gorgeous, aren't they? This little one's pounce is so cute, but its mom's genuinely startled reaction is too funny.

This 3-year-old reacting to "Goofy" calling her through her walkie-talkie is too adorable.

@zeth

I don’t know if we can top this reaction 😂

The video was shared last summer, but it's my first time seeing it. I've now watched it a dozen times. The little mini-hyperventilation is just the best. And the "And he answered!" Find more Zeth and Saylor here.

"A Whole New Wordle" parody hilariously nails the word game phenomenon.

"Let me share my Wordle score with youu..." The Holderness Family does awesome parody videos, and they hit all the high spots in the Wordle phenomenon with this one.

This monkey momma is all mommas. 

"Hey, get down from there!"

"Okay, momma. Now lemme smother you with big, open-mouthed kisses."

Basically parenting a wee one in a nutshell.

Dad gets baby to stop crying in 18 seconds and is so happy about it.

@tuquedaddy

Reply to @king.marcellius I wanna see people try!! Duet this and try if you can!! I wanna see y’all super heroes 🥰🥰🥰 #tuquedaddy #fypシ #parenting

Sorry for the first 10 seconds of this video—baby cries are torturous. But the way he talks to his son and the smile on his face at the end is just the sweetest. That is one dang cute baby. Read more about this video and the baby hold here.

Speaking of cute babies, check out this little one discovering the joy of cheese.

Mmmm, the queso promised land. Been there, baby. Same smile and everything.

Hope you enjoyed this week's roundup! Come back next week for more snippets of delight to make your week a little brighter.

True

Larissa Gummy was first introduced to the work of the Peace Corps in high school. All it took was seeing a few photos shared by her ninth-grade teacher, a returned Peace Corps Volunteer, to know that one day, she would follow in those footsteps.

This inspiration eventually led Larissa away from her home in Minnesota to Rwanda in East Africa, to give back to her family’s country of origin and pursue her passion for international development. Though her decision confused her parents at first, they’re now proud and excited to see what their daughter has accomplished through her volunteer work.

And just what was that work? Well, it changed from day to day, but it all had to do with health.

Mostly, Larissa worked for Rwanda’s First 1,000 Days Health project, which aims to improve the conditions that affect the mortality rate of kids within the first 1,000 days of being born (or almost three years old). These conditions include hygiene, nutrition, and prevention of childhood diseases like malaria and acute respiratory infections (ARI). Addressing malnutrition was a particular focus, as it continues to cause stunted growth in 33% of Rwandan children under the age of five.

In partnership with the local health center, Larissa helped with vaccination education, led nutrition classes, offered prenatal care to expecting mothers, and helped support health education in surrounding communities. Needless to say—she stayed busy with a variety of tasks.

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Family

Wife says husband's last name is so awful she can't give it to her kids. Is she right?

"I totally get we can’t shield kids from everything, and I understand the whole family ties thing, but c’mon."

A wife pleads with her husband to change their child's name.

Even though it’s 2023 and schools are much more concerned with protecting children from bullying than in the past, parents still have to be aware that kids will be kids, and having a child with a funny name is bound to cause them trouble.

A mother on Reddit is concerned that her future children will have the unfortunate last name of “Butt,” so she asked people on the namenerds forum to help her convince her husband to name their child something different.

(Note: We’re assuming that the person who wrote the post is a woman because their husband is interested in perpetuating the family name, and if it were a same-sex relationship, a husband probably wouldn’t automatically make that assumption.)

"My husband’s last name is Butt. Can someone please help me illuminate to him why this last name is less than ideal,” she asked the forum. “I totally get we can’t shield kids from everything and I understand the whole family ties thing, but c'mon. Am I being unreasonable by suggesting our future kid either take my name, a hybrid, or a new one altogether?"

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Dog runs away to go to Metallica concert across the street

Maybe all of those kids' movies that feature personified animals getting into very human-like mischief when their owners are away are based on true events. Sure, people have put GoPros on their pets and haven't captured any wild parties and secret conversations in a discernible language coming from their four-legged pet, but what if dogs understand more than we think and enjoy very human pleasures? Maybe some part of them is tuned into things they like that aren't expected from human's best friend.

A German Shepherd named Storm has certainly proven she's been paying close attention to what humans do. In fact, she even joined the audience of a concert without her owners knowing.

In Inglewood, California, Storm decided to take her furry self on a date since clearly, her owners missed the memo on Metallica being in town. She heard the band start playing and decided to sneak away to get a better listen.

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Joy

Woman shares the powerful impact of a 'hardcore' gym bro's words of encouragement

Previous experience had her feeling nervous when the man approached her at the gym, but what he said brought her to tears.

Steph shares how a few simple words made all the difference.

Going to the gym can be a daunting prospect for a lot of people. It shouldn't be—the whole point of going to the gym is to exercise, which is something that should universally be applauded—but sometimes it can feel like there's pressure to be at a certain fitness level or have a certain physique before stepping foot in the door.

For people who are heavier, gym culture can be especially intimidating. Unfortunately, not everyone remembers to practice kindness and fatphobia appears to remain a fairly tolerated prejudice. That shouldn't stop people with big bodies from enjoying all that fitness centers have to offer, but all too often, it does.

It hasn't stopped a woman named Steph from working out regularly at her gym, albeit with some trepidation. As she shared in a hugely viral TikTok, she's experienced some unkind behavior at the gym that made her nervous when a man approached her recently. But her description of the encounter ultimately demonstrated how powerful a few positive words can be.

In a video made from her car just after leaving the gym, Steph explained that a "hardcore" gym-goer who is "super tough" and covered in tattoos had came up to talk to her. Her initial response was to be afraid of what he was going to say to her, based on previous experience. She shared in the video how hard it's been to stay steady with her workouts, especially with medications she's on making her body hold onto weight, but she's been working hard to be consistent. She steeled herself for whatever he might say.

She didn't expect it to be this: "I've seen you in here every week, almost every day. I've seen you in here every week—and I'm proud of you." Nor did she expect that such simple words of encouragement could make such a huge impact.

Watch her tell the story:

@steph5468

#gymprogress #workputjourney #keepgoing #healingjourney

People had a lot to say about the interchange and Steph's emotional response to it.

"People do not realize, how one person can change everything," wrote one commenter.

"Girl you are CRUSHING IT," wrote another. "That man you encountered is what real men do. Encourage. Support. Be human! It isn’t hard! ❤️"

"No one knows your story, your struggles. You're doing the dang thing and that takes courage and strength. You. Keep. Going. I'm proud of you too!" shared another.

More and more words of encouragement flooded Steph's comment section, and people on Upworthy's Instagram page weighed in as well.

"I'm a fitness coach and this made me cry 😢 just having someone say they are proud of you can move mountains for so many of us who didn’t/ don’t get the praise growing up," wrote one person.

"Who knows? He may be going through something too and saw a determined, consistent, fellow traveler," wrote another. "You share your Truth so powerfully. You may not know how many people will see this and be encouraged by your honesty. I’m in awe that you show up for YOURSELF every day. And as for the rude and ill-mannered? Well they struggle too—just to be decent kind human beings. Some people have not been shown Empathy and therefore do not know how to use that muscle. You are beautiful, smart, articulate, wise and a woman who knows where she’s headed. Keep walking, head up knowing there are many many more who do empathize, who see you and are on your side❤️"

"It’s amazing to think about how this man’s single act of kindness, spread through you to affect us all in a positive way," shared another. "This made all of our days, and I’m crying tears of joy while I write this. Please thank him from all of us the next time you see him, if you’re comfortable with that. And thank you for sharing! ❤️"

Indeed, thanks to both Steph and the hardcore, tattooed gym bro for being wonderful examples for us all. We never know what a small act of kindness or a few words of encouragement will do to make someone's life significantly better, but it's always worth trying.

Identity

People are sharing how they discovered their sexual orientation and every journey is unique

"I first realized that I liked men at the tender age of 12 while watching 'The Mummy' with Brendan Fraser for the first time."

Everyone's journey of self-discovery is different.

Discovering one's sexual orientation is a deeply personal journey that unfolds differently for everyone. Some people have a defining moment when they know what they’ll be into for the rest of their lives, and others go through life without much questioning.

Some people go for more of a trial-and-error approach where they come to an understanding over numerous experiences, while others view their sexuality as fluid and would rather live without any label.

What’s important to remember is that there's no "right" timeline or method for this self-discovery. What matters most is allowing oneself the time, space and love to grow and evolve organically. Everyone deserves the freedom to find their truth at their own pace.

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Democracy

How would a homeless person spend free cash? The answer may surprise you.

Fifty people experiencing homelessness were given $5,400 and told to spend it however they wanted. Here's what they did with the money.

Canva

A study revealed what a homeless person actually spends their money on.

In 2018, 50 individuals in Vancouver who had become homeless in the past two years were selected to receive a lump sum equivalent to around $5,498 USD to do with whatever they wanted. No questions asked.

In addition to the cash, they received a year of coaching and workshops that could help with developing life skills, goal setting, self-affirmation and brainstorming strategies to gain more stability.

The gesture was part of a peer-reviewed PNAS study, which also included the research team separately surveying 1,100 people, asking them to guess how the recipients would spend their money.

The general prediction was that these individuals, if experiencing homelessness, would spend 81 percent more on “temptation goods” like alcohol, drugs or tobacco than if they were not.

A follow-up survey proved that prediction wrong.

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Joy

Woman uses ‘malicious compliance’ to get around employer’s rule against pink hair

She wears terrible wigs on purpose, and they each have their own names.

Malicious compliance gets woman around work rule against pink hair.

Work dress codes aren't always practical, especially when you want to have a little room for self-expression. Most dress codes include things like no open-toed shoes, no spaghetti straps or no facial piercings, but some employers have a policy against unnatural hair colors.

One TikTok user, @emuhleeebee, whose first name is Emily, recently started a new job that does not allow for her brightly colored pink hair. Since she interviewed with her pink hair on full display and still got the job, she didn't realize until after she started that the company dress code called for natural hair colors.

If you thought, easy enough, she'll just dye her hair brown or some other natural color that would cover her pink hair, you'd be wrong. Emily decided to participate in what she calls "malicious compliance," meaning she will comply with the company policy but in the most obnoxious way possible.

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