uplifting, happy, joy

Need a reason to smile? Here are 10 of them.

Holy moly, it's already almost Christmas, which means it's already almost 2022, which means we're heading into our third year of the COVID-19 pandemic. That's … I don't know, but it's something.

It's easy to get bogged down in the sucky parts of pandemic life, but as we reflect on this year, there's a lot to be grateful for. For instance, it was announced that malaria was officially eliminated in China in June, Europe sold more electric vehicles than diesel for the first time ever in August and we found out that cheese isn't actually bad for us in February (seriously, science says).


As always, we can find reasons to smile—we just need to know where to look. And right now, you can look straight down this page to find 10 delightful things to bring joy to your heart and a smile to your face as you head into the holiday.

Never thought about how many birds are in the 12 days of Christmas song. LOL.

Six geese a-laying, no less. So, in protective mama mode. Not exactly the best gift, to be honest.

Seriously, though, what is with all the birds in that song? Is that all people had to give in the olden days?

Ms. Fitz makes a wicked 3-point shot on the playground and the kids go wild. 

She did promise them hot cocoa if she made the shot, but knowing how much kids love teachers like this, I'm sure their reaction was much more about celebrating her awesome skills. Go, Ms. Fitz, go!

Watching dogs pick out their presents on Santa Paws Day is too much joy to handle. 

Come on now. Is this the best or what?

This baby blissing out on her first bite of pizza is all of us. 

@oh_shoot_girl

Same girl, same. 🍕 #firstbite #fyp #pizzababy

We've all been to pizza heaven, little one. And yep, it's just like that.

This dog races a human on a sled and goes soooo hard. 

@chuckledaily

#fyp #funny #dogs #dogsvideo #dogsofttiktok #funnyvideos

This is a serious race, folks. Look how he speeds up as the sled starts to overtake him! Amazing.

Halftime dancer lives a 20-second nightmare, which then becomes a dream come true.

She got so lost! The vicarious embarrassment was too real! But then it turned into such a sweet moment and all of that anxiety vanished. Phew! Read the full story here.

Soon-to-be-uncle thinks the baby onesie is a gift for the cat, totally missing the hint. 

This would be an adorable reaction even if the onesie were for the cat. The fact that he doesn't catch that there's a baby on the way just adds a layer of hilarity to it.

Baby elephants can't control their trunks and it is hilarioussssss.

It's true. They start gaining some control around 6 to 8 months, but don't gain full control until about year. Learn more and watch other baby elephants trying to figure out that long, dangly thing on their faces here.

Speaking of elephants … watch (and listen to) these gorgeous giants come running when their caretaker calls.

Definitely want the sound on for this one. (This video comes from the Elephant Nature Park in Thailand, where elephants are rescued from abusive elephant tourism and rehabilitated with plenty of space to roam.)

Uber driver left her full-time job to become a caregiver for her 88-year-old passenger.

Jenni Tekletsion first picked up Paul Webb for an Uber ride in March 2020. The two got to talking and she realized how lonely he was. They enjoyed one another's company and began sharing a meal together each day. As Webb's health began to decline, Tekletsion graciously took on the role of caregiver for him. Read the full story here.

Hope that brought some light and happiness to your day! Have a lovely holiday weekend!

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

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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