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13 more reasons to be excited about the Dixie Chicks' return.

They've been a 'Long Time Gone' from the tour circuit, but they're BACK!

The Dixie Chicks haven't toured in a decade. But now they're back.

Photo by Vince Bucci/Stringer/Getty Images.


Yesssssssssssssss. Yes yes yes yes yessss! Yay!

We're so lucky, and here are 13 reasons why. Just in case you need 'em.

1. They support our troops, veterans, and those left behind in the form of the gut-punchin' song, "Travelin' Solidier."

Who could forget this song?

You can press play, but grab me a hankie first. Image by DVIDSHB/Flickr.

The song was originally written and performed by country singer Bruce Robinson in the '90s, but the Dixie Chicks were the first to release this musical story of hometowns, veterans, and heartbreak as a single. It reached #1 on what is now Billboard's "Hot Country Songs" chart.

My colleague (and Dixie Chicks superfan) Angie perfectly sums up the power of this song:

"'Travelin' Soldier' pays homage to people who serve our country and also shows their humanity in a heartbreaking way — one that suggests maybe we should be really careful about when and why we send our troops to war."

2. They're frank about fertility.

Not only do these ladies sing about love and loss, they up the girl-honesty ante by singing about in vitro fertilization. " So Hard" was written by band members (and sisters!) Martie Erwin Maguire and Emily Erwin Robison.


Photo by ShowBizIreland/Stringer/Getty Images.

The lyrics ding the real-talk bell pretty hard, and it's wonderful, especially considering how much stigma there still is around discussing fertility problems.

And I'd feel so guilty
If that was a gift I couldn't give
And could you be happy
If life wasn't how we pictured it


Band member Martie Maguire gives zero you-know-whats about speaking out about using IVF to conceive her three children. And she loves science, too. As she told ABC News:

"It feels strange to talk about it now because I have got three children, and when they're climbing all over me it's bizarre to talk about infertility problems. But thank God for science. We have been blessed to live in an era when we have been able to do something about it."

3. They meditate!

Lead singer Natalie Maines and bandmate Maguire apparently learned transcendental meditation in the mid-'90s! Zen country!

4. They're keeping alive the country tradition of strong female perspectives in their songs.

Loretta Lynn sang about the birth control pill. Dolly Parton sang about childhood poverty. Tammy Wynette sang about divorce. This is the real-talk tradition the Dixie Chicks inherited.

Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.

Sure, they spent a good chunka time writing about each others' relationships ... " Cowboy Take Me Away," anyone? (EVERYONE). That was written about bandmate Emily's then-boyfriend. But they also write about so many more things women face in life ... their music could basically be a documentary.

Songs like " I Hope" grapple with violence — both at home and in war. "I'll Take Care of You" could be an anthem for single parenthood, and "Don't Waste Your Heart" is an epic, and catchy-as-heck, takedown of the idea that humans must always be in a couple. Were the Dixie Chicks the original #SingleLadies?

I don't know, but I do know that I want a Beyonce/Dixie Chicks collab. Like now.

Beyoncé has a cowboy hat. Get her to Nashville!

5. Remember Lilith Fair!? They were in it!

Deep breaths. It's the khaki of the '90s. Image via Jason Philbrook/Wikimedia Commons.

Lilith Fair was a tour of exclusively female artists that was huge in the '90s. It raised around $10 million for charity in its three years of existence. And the Dixie Chicks were a part of it. Just sayin'.

6. They're role models for free speech, and they don't back down.

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.

It's so crazy to think, but back in the early '00s, America apparently didn't love it when our celebrities voiced opinions.

After Dixie Chicks' Maines said, "We do not want this war [in Iraq], this violence, and we're ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas" at a concert in the U.K., things got weird.

Country radio all but shunned the Dixie Chicks, people got real rude ... and death threats weren't far behind.

But at the first concert in the U.S. after the controversy, fans showed UP.

Maines told the audience, "They told me that you may not come, but I knew you'd come because we have the greatest fans in the whole wide world."

After witnessing that backlash in March, even Madonna (MADONNA) postponed her planned April release of a provocative and political video for her song " American Life."

The Dixie Chicks — #BraverThanMadonna (#AndMadonnaIsReallyBrave!)

7. They call out ignorance when they see it.

GIF via "There's Your Trouble/YouTube.

Maines was not into her country-music colleague Toby Keith going after an ENTIRE culture in his song, "Red, White, and Blue (The Angry American)."

" I hate it. It's ignorant, and it makes country music sound ignorant. It targets an entire culture — and not just the bad people who did bad things."

This whole clash of civilizations vibe is still alive and well in the world's response to terrorism, and it's very unkind. I'm proud that Maines had the guts to speak out against it so long ago.

8. Merle Haggard, country outlaw legend, stood up for the Chicks' right to speak their minds.

When people were doing real classy stuff, like making bull's-eyes out of the Dixie Chicks' faces and being proud enough to pose for photos...

Picture by Mario Villafuerte/Stringer/Getty Images.

...Merle Haggard, country jailbird, generally cool rascal (and author of such lyrics as "If you're runnin' down my country, man / You're walkin' on the fightin' side of me") jumped to the Chicks' defense. He said, in his awesomely nonchalant and straightforward way:

"I don't even know the Dixie Chicks, but I find it an insult for all the men and women who fought and died in past wars when almost the majority of America jumped down their throats for voicing an opinion."

9. EARL HAD TO DIE!

The Dixie Chicks performed a song about domestic violence. It was intense. The characters in the song killed a dude!* That song was called, "Goodbye Earl" and it was great.

Maines intro'd the song like this:

*No one's condoning murder here, but come on ... it's a great song. GIFs from Austin City Limits performance via Kohl Harrington/YouTube.

Which was also great.

10. They want you to be able to have your opinion, too. Through voting!

The group performed for Rock the Vote and donated $10,000 to the organization, which helps get young people participating in civic life and voting!


Maines spoke about how her experience being criticized for speaking her mind inspired the band to put their support behind Rock the Vote.

She told Rolling Stone, "I believe everything that's happened in the last few months happened for a reason... A lot of positive things have come from it, and this is just one of them."

11. They created a beautiful and heartbreaking song, "Silent House," about having a family member with Alzheimer's.

Maines told AOL Music:

" This is a sad song that tries to be sweet. ... It's about my grandmother, my Nonna who has Alzheimer's ... she touched a lot of people, and we all remember. So this song is about that: it's okay to forget, I'll try and carry on."

12. The Dixie Chicks mix the traditional with the contemporary in every way — all while being so true to themselves AND being incredible musicians.

From mixing bluegrass roots with rock 'n' roll, to speaking their minds and fighting the idea that country music artists can only have one opinion ... these women have always been true to themselves.

Picture by Al Bello/Getty Images.

They're not just an example of what's possible when women own their own destinies; they're an example of the hunger we all have for art that speaks truth.

And that art? It's dang catchy, too!

Now that they're touring again, we can all feast!

13. Oh, and also ... they've got 13 Grammy Awards. NBD.

And let us all just celebrate their Friends-on-NBC era fashion. The spikiness, the chunky lowlights, the glory! Photo by Vince Bucci/Stringer/Getty Images.

BOOM.

See y'all at the concert.

By the way, here are the 2016 Dixie Chicks North American tour dates.

GIF via "Goodbye Earl"/YouTube.

So excited!

Images courtesy of Letters of Love
True

When Grace Berbig was 7 years old, her mom was diagnosed with leukemia, a cancer of the body’s blood-forming tissues. Being so young, Grace didn’t know what cancer was or why her mother was suddenly living in the hospital. But she did know this: that while her mom was in the hospital, she would always be assured that her family was thinking of her, supporting her and loving her every step of her journey.

Nearly every day, Grace and her two younger sisters would hand-make cards and fill them with drawings and messages of love, which their mother would hang all over the walls of her hospital room. These cherished letters brought immeasurable peace and joy to their mom during her sickness. Sadly, when Grace was just 10 years old, her mother lost her battle with cancer.“

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Losing my mom put the world in a completely different perspective for me,” Grace says. “I realized that you never know when someone could leave you, so you have to love the people you love with your whole heart, every day.”

Grace’s father was instrumental in helping in the healing process of his daughters. “I distinctly remember my dad constantly reminding my two little sisters, Bella and Sophie, and I that happiness is a choice, and it was now our job to turn this heartbreaking event in our life into something positive.”

When she got to high school, Grace became involved in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and a handful of other organizations. But she never felt like she was doing enough.

“I wanted to create an opportunity for people to help beyond donating money, and one that anyone could be a part of, no matter their financial status.”

In October 2018, Grace started Letters of Love, a club at her high school in Long Lake, Minnesota, to emotionally support children battling cancer and other serious illnesses through letter-writing and craft-making.


Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Much to her surprise, more than 100 students showed up for the first club meeting. From then on, Letters of Love grew so fast that during her senior year in high school, Grace had to start a GoFundMe to help cover the cost of card-making materials.

Speaking about her nonprofit today, Grace says, “I can’t find enough words to explain how blessed I feel to have this organization. Beyond the amount of kids and families we are able to support, it allows me to feel so much closer and more connected to my mom.”

Since its inception, Letters of Love has grown to more than 25 clubs with more than 1,000 members providing emotional support to more than 60,000 patients in children’s hospitals around the world. And in the process it has become a full-time job for Grace.

“I do everything from training volunteers and club ambassadors, paying bills, designing merchandise, preparing financial predictions and overviews, applying for grants, to going through each and every card ensuring they are appropriate to send out to hospitals.”

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

In addition to running Letters of Love, Grace and her small team must also contend with the emotions inherent in their line of work.

“There have been many, many tears cried,” she says. “Working to support children who are battling cancer and other serious and sometimes chronic illnesses can absolutely be extremely difficult mentally. I feel so blessed to be an organization that focuses solely on bringing joy to these children, though. We do everything we can to simply put a smile on their face, and ensure they know that they are so loved, so strong, and so supported by people all around the world.”

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Letters of Love has been particularly instrumental in offering emotional support to children who have been unable to see friends and family due to COVID-19. A video campaign in the summer of 2021 even saw members of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings and the NHL’s Minnesota Wild offer short videos of hope and encouragement to affected children.

Grace is currently taking a gap year before she starts college so she can focus on growing Letters of Love as well as to work on various related projects, including the publication of a children’s book.

“The goal of the book is to teach children the immense impact that small acts of kindness can have, how to treat their peers who may be diagnosed with disabilities or illness, and how they are never too young to change the world,” she says.

Since she was 10, Grace has kept memories of her mother close to her, as a source of love and inspiration in her life and in the work she does with Letters of Love.

Image courtesy of Grace Berbig

“When I lost my mom, I felt like a section of my heart went with her, so ever since, I have been filling that piece with love and compassion towards others. Her smile and joy were infectious, and I try to mirror that in myself and touch people’s hearts as she did.”

For more information visit Letters of Love.

Please donate to Grace’s GoFundMe and help Letters of Love to expand, publish a children’s book and continue to reach more children in hospitals around the world.

Upworthy is sharing this letter from Myra Sack on the anniversary of the passing of her daughter Havi Lev Goldstein. Loss affects everyone differently and nothing can prepare us for the loss of a young child. But as this letter beautifully demonstrates, grief is not something to be ignored or denied. We hope the honest words and feelings shared below can help you or someone you know who is processing grief of their own. The original letter begins below:


Dear Beauty,

Time is crawling to January 20th, the one-year anniversary of the day you took your final breath on my chest in our bed. We had a dance party the night before. Your posse came over. Aunts, uncles, grandparents, closest friends, and your loving nanny Tia. We sat in the warm kitchen with music on and passed you from one set of arms to another. Everyone wanted one last dance with you. We didn’t mess around with only slow songs. You danced to Havana and Danza Kuduro, too. Somehow, you mustered the energy to sway and rock with each of us, despite not having had anything to eat or drink for six days. That night, January 19th, we laughed and cried and sang and danced. And we held each other. We let our snot and our tears rest on each other’s shoulders; we didn’t wipe any of them away. We ate ice cream after dinner, as we do every night. And on this night, we rubbed a little bit of fresh mint chocolate chip against your lips. Maybe you’d taste the sweetness.

Reggaeton and country music. Blueberry pancakes and ice cream. Deep, long sobs and outbursts of real, raw laughter. Conversations about what our relationships mean to each other and why we are on this earth.


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Images courtesy of AFutureSuperhero and Friends and Balance Dance Project
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The day was scorching hot, but the weather wasn’t going to stop a Star Wars Stormtrooper from handing out school supplies to a long line of eager children. “You guys don’t have anything illegal back there - any droids or anything?” the Stormtrooper asks, making sure he was safe from enemies before handing over a colorful backpack to a smiling boy.

The man inside the costume is Yuri Williams, founder of AFutureSuperhero And Friends, a Los Angeles nonprofit that uplifts and inspires marginalized people with small acts of kindness.

Yuri’s organization is one of four inaugural grant winners from the Upworthy Kindness Fund, a joint initiative between Upworthy and GoFundMe that celebrates kindness and everyday actions inspired by the best of humanity. This year, the Upworthy Kindness Fund is giving $100,000 to grassroots changemakers across the world.

To apply, campaign organizers simply tell Upworthy how their kindness project is making a difference. Between now and the end of 2021, each accepted individual or organization will receive $500 towards an existing GoFundMe and a shout-out on Upworthy.

Meet the first four winners:

1: Balance Dance Project: This studio aims to bring accessible dance to all in the Sacramento, CA area. Lead fundraiser Miranda Macias says many dancers spend hours a day at Balance practicing contemporary, lyrical, hip-hop, and ballet. Balance started a GoFundMe to raise money to cover tuition for dancers from low-income communities, buy dance team uniforms, and update its facility. The $500 contribution from the Kindness Fund nudged Balance closer to its $5,000 goal.

2: Citizens of the World Mar Vista Robotics Team: In Los Angeles, middle school teacher James Pike is introducing his students to the field of robotics via a Lego-building team dedicated to solving real-world problems.

James started a GoFundMe to crowdfund supplies for his students’ team ahead of the First Lego League, a school-against-school matchup that includes robotics competitions. The team, James explained, needed help to cover half the cost of the pricey $4,000 robotics kit. Thanks to help from the Upworthy Kindness Fund and the generosity of the Citizens of the World Middle School community, the team exceeded its initial fundraising goal.

Citizens of the World Mar Vista Robotics Team video update youtu.be

3: Black Fluidity Tattoo Club: Kiara Mills and Tann Parker want to fix a big problem in the tattoo industry: there are too few Black tattoo artists. To tackle the issue, the duo founded the Black Fluidity Tattoo Club to inspire and support Black tattooers. While the Brooklyn organization is open to any Black person, Kiara and Tann specifically want to encourage dark-skinned artists to train in an affirming space among people with similar identities.

To make room for newcomers, the club recently moved into a larger studio with a third station for apprentices or guest artists. Unlike a traditional fundraiser that supports the organization exclusively, Black Fluidity Tattoo Club will distribute proceeds from GoFundMe directly to emerging Black tattoo artists who are starting their own businesses. The small grants, supported in part with a $500 contribution from the Upworthy Kindness Fund, will go towards artists’ equipment, supplies, furnishings, and other start-up costs.

4: AFutureSuperhero And Friends’ “Hope For The Holidays”: Founder Yuri Williams is fundraising for a holiday trip to spread cheer to people in need across all fifty states.

Along with collaborator Rodney Smith Jr., Yuri will be handing out gifts to children, adults, and animals dressed as a Star Wars’ Stormtrooper, Spiderman, Deadpool, and other movie or comic book characters. Starting this month, the crew will be visiting children with disabilities or serious illnesses, bringing leashes and toys to animal shelters for people taking home a new pet, and spreading blessings to unhoused people—all while in superhero costume. This will be the third time Yuri and his nonprofit have taken this journey.

AFutureSuperhero started a GoFundMe in July to cover the cost of gifts as well as travel expenses like hotels and rental cars. To help the nonprofit reach its $15,000 goal, the Upworthy Kindness Fund contributed $500 towards this good cause.

Think you qualify for the fund? Tell us how you’re bringing kindness to your community. Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis from now through the end of 2021. For questions and more information, please check out our FAQ's and the Kindness Toolkit for resources on how to start your own kindness fundraiser.

A round-up of delights from around the internet this week.

Hey all!

Welcome to Upworthy's weekly round-up of delights from around the internet. This week's list features a little of everything—gorgeous music, cute kids, adorable animals, hope for the planet, and a brand new video message from the late and great Betty White.

That's right, Betty White left us one last message of gratitude shortly before her passing. It's brief, but how lovely to see and hear her speak to her millions of fans one last time. Few celebrities are as universally beloved as Betty White was, and though we knew she couldn't live forever, it would have been fun to see her celebrate her 100th birthday. Now at least we get to experience her joy and warmth one last time with a few last words.

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The airplane graveyard that 3 families call home is the subject of a stunning photo series.

From the skies to the ground, these airplanes continue to serve a purpose.

This article originally appeared on 09.18.15


What happens to airplanes after they're no longer fit to roam the skies?


An abandoned 747 rests in a Bangkok lot. Photo by Taylor Weidman/Getty Images.

Decommissioned planes are often stripped and sold for parts, with the remains finding a new home in what is sometimes referred to as an "airplane boneyard" or "graveyard." Around the world, these graveyards exist; they're made up of large, empty lots and tons of scrap metal.

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