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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.

Education

12 books that people say are life-changing reads

Some books have the power to change how we see ourselves, the world, and each other.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Books are powerful.

As a participant in the Amazon Associates affiliate program, Upworthy may earn proceeds from items purchased that are linked to this article, at no additional cost to you.

Out of all human inventions, books might just be the greatest. That may be a bold statement in the face of computers, the internet and the international space station, but none of those things would be possible without books. The written recording of human knowledge has allowed our advancements in learning to be passed on through generations, not to mention the capturing of human creativity in the form of longform storytelling.

Books have the power to change our lives on a fundamental level, shift our thinking, influence our beliefs, put us in touch with our feelings and help us understand ourselves and one another better.

That's why we asked Upworthy's audience to share a book that changed their life. Thousands of responses later, we have a list of inspiring reads that rose to the top.

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Representative Image from Canva

Wondering where she got that rested glow? She hurkle-durkled.

Hurkle-durkle might be the silliest word ever, but it could be the missing step in your self-care.

Hurkle-durkling simply means to linger in bed long past the time when you “should” already be up. It’s a Scottish term dating back to the 1800s—-originally having more to do with sitting in a crouching position either for warmth or secrecy, but eventually taking on a more relaxed and positive connotation.

It’s a word that only the biggest etymology enthusiast would know, had it not been plucked from obscurity thanks to TikTok.
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Joy

Terrified, emaciated dog comes to life as volunteer sits with him for human connection

He tries making himself so small in the kennel until he realizes he's safe.

Terrified dog transforms after human sits with him.

There's something about dogs that makes people just want to cuddle them. They have some of the sweetest faces with big curious eyes that make them almost look cartoonish at times. But not all dogs get humans that want to snuggle up with them on cold nights; some dogs are neglected or abandoned. That's where animal shelters come in, and they work diligently to take care of any medical needs and find these animals loving homes.

Volunteers are essential to animal shelters running effectively to fill in the gaps employees may not have time for. Rocky Kanaka has been volunteering to sit with dogs to provide comfort. Recently he uploaded a video of an extremely emaciated Vizsla mix that was doing his best to make himself as small as possible in the corner of the kennel.

Kanaka immediately wanted to help him adjust so he would feel comfortable enough to eat and eventually get adopted. The dog appeared scared of his new location and had actually rubbed his nose raw from anxiety, but everything changed when Kanaka came along.

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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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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.


This article originally appeared on 9.5.23

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Things new parents think they need but don't.

There's nothing like preparing for a new baby. The excitement and anticipation take hold and before you know what's happening, your baby registry is five pages long full of things you've probably never heard of. I've been there before, and now, four kids later, I can tell you with absolute certainty that there are tons of things you actually don't need. It's easy to get carried away when everything is so tiny and cute, especially 'cause marketing around baby stuff is bananas. The following offers some alternative items to the ones you'll likely only use a limited number of times before practicality takes over.

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