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Joy

10 things that made us smile this week

good news uplifting heartwarming joy

Upworthy's weekly roundup of delights from around the internet.

Hi there, happy, hopeful, helpful, heartwarming humans! And hello hurt, heartbroken humans who are handling helpless and hopeless feelings as well.

Here we are all together on this tiny rock floating through the vastness of space. Most of us are trying to figure out how to use our fleeting time on Earth to make this place a little bit better, while simultaneously being bewildered by those who insist on destruction and chaos.

It can be so easy to let our spirits get bogged down by it all, especially when narcissistic dictators suck all the air out of the room. But no matter what, there are always beacons of light we can turn to for hope—people doing things large and small to better the lives of those around them.

And in moments when those beacons of light and hope are hard to find? Well, we always have silly dog videos to fall back on for a momentary reprieve. What a time to be alive.


As we engage with the push and pull of the positive and the negative, the uplifting and the disheartening, the integration and the disintegration happening in the world, let's always make sure we're making room for joy. We've seen time and again how important moments of beauty and simple pleasures are, even for people hiding out in war zones. These are things that not only help us get through whatever we're going through, but they bring us together around our shared humanity as well.

These weekly roundups of delights from around the internet may not be life-changing, but hopefully, they can help uplift and inspire us all to see the good around us and to make our own little slice of the world, wherever we are, a little better.

A hotline where you can get life advice from kindergarteners? Yes, please. 

The kindergarteners know where it's at and their pure, wholesome wisdom will definitely make you smile. With the "Peptoc" hotline (named for the way the teacher's 6-year-old son spelled "peptalk") students of the Bay Area's West Side Elementary school are making people smile with their words of encouragement. Read the full story here.

You don't have to like basketball to smile at this incredible ending.

I don't even follow college basketball, but this video definitely made me smile. The Wildcats, who haven't won a conference championship in 40 years, were the underdogs coming in. At one point they were down by 15 points to No. 1 ranked South Carolina, then pulled this out in the end. Amazing coaching and great teamwork.

Forager Alexis Nikole making wisteria syrup is just pure delight.

@alexisnikole

WISTERIA SYRUP 💜💗 #wisteria

All of Alexis Nikole's foraging videos are delightful, but this week she was in Los Angeles and brought home some fresh wisteria blossoms to make syrup. She shares hilarious, educational videos about foraging on her TikTok channel and is definitely worth a follow. Learn more about her here.

Dogs rushing out to play—but wait for the crash at the end.

I mean, watching the dogs run with the epic music is fun in and of itself. But the slo-mo crash is too hilarious (assuming the doggo is okay—I imagine it looked more dramatic than it actually was).

More and more people's loved ones who've passed are being taken out for "one last wave."

The One Last Wave Project was begun by surfer Dan Fischer as a kind deed for people who have lost loved ones who loved the ocean. He offered to write the loved ones' names on his surfboard to take the out for "one last wave," and the response was so great, he now has multiple boards with thousands of names of people who have passed. Learn more about how the project originated and grew here.

This dog's reaction to a lemon slice is hilarious.

So. Much. Drama. The growl. The head toss.The flopping back in disgust. Silly doggo.

Mom shares her son's love of his 'big hair.'

Scroll through to see how excited and proud this kiddo was on his first day of preschool. Love to see hair love.

On a similar note, check out this heartwarming note from a daughter to her mom.

Imagine if all kids grew up with such positive feelings about how they look. What a gift.

A beautiful moment of reconnection in a coffee shop. (Yay for healthcare workers.)

Imagine running into the doctor who helped save your life while you're out getting coffee. Imagine being a doctor, running into the person whose life you helped save and seeing them thriving. Imagine being someone in that coffee shop witnessing that reunion. Just beautiful, all around.

Our moments of connection don't have to be that life-altering to have an impact, though. Even giving a stranger a compliment or going out of our way to make someone's day in some way can make more of a difference than we know. We can all share a smile. Pass along some encouragement. Be the reason someone feels a bit lighter and brighter today.

Hope this week's list brought you some joy! Join us again next week for more.

Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

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via Pexels

A couple celebrates while packing their home.

One of the topics that we like to highlight on Upworthy is people who are redefining what it means to be in a relationship. Recently, we’ve shared the stories of platonic life partners, moms who work together as part of a “mommune” and a polyamorous family with four equally-committed parents.

A growing number of people are reevaluating traditional relationships and entering lifestyles that work for them instead of trying to fit into preexisting roles. It makes sense because the more lifestyle options that are available, the greater chance we have to be happy.

A recent trend in unconventional relationships is married couples "living apart together," or LATs as they are known among mental health professionals.

Actress Helena Bonham Carter and director Tim Burton, actress Gwyneth Paltrow and producer Brad Falchuk, and photographer Annie Leibovitz and activist Susan Sontag are all high-profile couples who’ve embraced the LAT lifestyle.

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Family

Professional tidier Marie Kondo says she's 'kind of given up' after having three kids

Hearing Kondo say, 'My home is messy,' is sparking joy for moms everywhere.

Marie Kondo playing with her daughters.

Marie Kondo's book, "The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up," has repeatedly made huge waves around the world since it came out in 2010. From eliminating anything that didn't "spark joy" from your house to folding clothes into tiny rectangles and storing them vertically, the KonMari method of maintaining an organized home hit the mark for millions of people. The success of her book even led to two Netflix series.

It also sparked backlash from parents who insisted that keeping a tidy home with children was not so simple. It's one thing to get rid of an old sweater that no longer brings you joy. It's entirely another to toss an old, empty cereal box that sparks zero joy for you, but that your 2-year-old is inexplicably attached to.

To be fair, Kondo never forced her way into anyone's home and made them organize it her way. But also to be fair, she didn't have kids when she wrote her best-selling book on keeping a tidy home. The reality is that keeping a home organized and tidy with children living in it is a whole other ballgame, as Kondo has discovered now that she has three kids of her own.

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Pop Culture

YouTube star MrBeast sponsors 1,000 people's cataract surgery to help them see again

"I had never heard of MrBeast so I almost hung up. But gratefully did not hang up."

YouTube star sponsors 1,000 people's cataract surgery

Blindness touches people's lives around the world and YouTube star Jimmy Donaldson, more popularly known as MrBeast, is trying to do something about it. Donaldson made it his mission to help 1,000 people regain their eyesight with the help of Dr. Jeff Levenson, an ophthalmologist and surgeon in Jacksonville, Florida.

Levenson has been operating a program called "Gift of Sight" for over 20 years. The program provides free cataract surgery to uninsured people who are legally blind for free, so long as they meet certain criteria. Levenson had never heard of Donaldson, and he almost hung up on him when the YouTube star called to ask about a partnership.

"I had never heard of MrBeast so I almost hung up. But gratefully did not hang up," Levenson told CNN.

After figuring out that Donaldson was indeed a real person who wanted to help others, the duo called around the Jacksonville area to determine the people who needed help the most. They got their list of clients from free clinics and homeless shelters, which covered the United States portion of the surgeries.

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A mom makes sensory sand by putting Cheerios in a blender.

A parenting influencer who goes by the name @ellethevirgo on TikTok has shared a brilliant hack that can turn a simple box of Cheerios into a fun sensory sand experience. The great part is that the sand is edible, so you don’t have to worry if your child puts some in their mouth, which they will inevitably do.

The recipe for Cheerios sensory sand is pretty simple:

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Gaël Monfils makes tennis a must-see.

Tennis isn't always the most entertaining sport to watch, especially if you're not particularly interested in seeing a ball get slapped across a net at 1,000,000 mph approximately 17,000 times. You could probably get whiplash or eye strain if you focused too hard on it. While some people love the sport, others need a little more than grunts and sneaker sounds to capture their attention.

If you're in the group of people who need to be entertained, look no further than Gaël Monfils, a professional French tennis player that has earned the nickname, "The Entertainer." Monfils turned pro in 2004 and has multiple championship matches under his belt, and yet he still takes the time to be...extra while playing.

In a compilation video uploaded to TikTok, we see the 36-year-old tennis player dancing after hitting the ball across the net just out of his opponent's reach. But of course, he also doesn't hit the ball like your average player, either. In one part of the video, Monfils jumps up extremely high and bicycle kicks as he hits the ball with his tongue hanging out of his mouth.

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