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A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM UPWORTHY
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Heroes

A year after Hurricane Harvey, J.J. Watts’ foundation has done incredible things.

The silver lining to the dark cloud of tragedy are the heroes who emerge to help those whose lives have been devastated.

One year ago, Houston, Texas was devastated by Harvey, the most deadly and costly hurricane in American history.

Harvey took an estimated 88 lives and caused over $200 billion in damages.


Houston Texans star defensive end J.J. Watt was a bright light in Harvey’s aftermath.

He launched a campaign to raise $200,000 for relief efforts but his goal was surpassed by more than $41 million dollars.

Watt’s campaign would become the largest crowdsourced fundraiser in world history, earning him the NFL’s coveted Walter Payton Man of the Year award.

The downside to the ever-changing news cycle is that shortly after tragedy hits, the media moves on to the next story, and the work done by first-responders and charities often goes unseen.

But one year after Harvey, Watt has shared the magnificent things that have been done with the $41.6 million in donations.

Donations to the J.J. Watt Foundation supported:

  • The cleanup and rebuilding of over 600 homes
  • The recovery and rebuilding of over 420 child care centers and after-school programs that service over 16,000 children
  • Distribution of over 26,000,000 meals
  • Physical and mental health services to over 6,500 individuals
  • Distribution of medical to over 10,000 patients

“As I reflect on the events of Hurricane Harvey one year ago, the memories of destruction and devastation remain, but they are accompanied by memories of hope, selflessness and the beauty of the human spirit,” Watt said in a statement.

“The actions of professional first responders and everyday citizens alike were an inspiration to the world and a shining example of the inherent good that lies within us all.”

But the foundation isn't done yet. Over the next 12 months it will focus on rebuilding and restoring of Boys & Girls Clubs, assistance with physical and mental health services and home restoration.

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

A young mom with her kids in the ER.

Sage Pasch’s unique family situation has attracted a lot of attention recently. The 20-something mother of 2 shared a 6-second TikTok video on September 29 that has been viewed over 33 million times because it shows how hard it can be for young moms to be taken seriously.

In the video, the young-looking Pasch took her son Nick to the ER after he injured his leg at school. But when the family got to the hospital, the doctor couldn’t believe Pasch was his mother. “POV, we’re at the ER, and the doctor didn’t believe I was the parent,” she captioned the post.


Pasch and her fiancé , Luke Faircloth, adopted the teen in 2022 after his parents tragically died two years apart. “Nick was already spending so much time with us, so it made sense that we would continue raising him,” Pasch told Today.com.

The couple also has a 17-month-old daughter named Lilith.

@coffee4lifesage

He really thought i was lying😭

Pasch says that people are often taken aback by her family when they are out in public. "Everybody gets a little confused because my fiancé and I are definitely younger to have a teenager," she said. "It can be very frustrating."

It may be hard for the young parents to be taken seriously, but their story has made a lot of people in a similar situation feel seen. "Omg, I feel this. I took my son to the ER, and they asked for the guardian. Yes, hi, that's me," Brittany wrote in the comments. "Meee with my teenager at a parent-teacher conference. They think I’m her older sister and say we need to talk with your parents," KatMonroy added.


This article originally appeared on 10.24.23

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

The 40s inexplicably involves a whole new level of bird interaction.

Aging is a funny thing. You start off young and excited and eager to get older, and then at some point you reach a point where getting older becomes less fun and more…achy.

Your 40s is generally when you start to feel aging hit in random ways. Healthy living can help fend off a lot of aging woes, but not everything. And it's not even just bodily aging that manifests in your 40s. It's things like needing to sleeping less, realizing exactly how dumb you were in your 20s and developing a sudden, inexplicable fascination with birdwatching.

Or bird arguing, as the case may be.


Someone who identifies as Xennial (on the cusp of Gen X and millennial) shared a "Life in your 40s" confessional about an argument they got into with the birds in their yard, which prompted others to share their own mid-life quirks.

The post read:

"Today I had an argument with the birds of our backyard.

I took down the bird feeder to fill it and all the foliage had a cacophony of noises as if to say, 'Took you long enough.' This was not the happy sounds of birds loving life. This was the sounds of demands. I told them I’ve been busy and they’ll just have to wait.

I then decided to shift the hummingbird feeder a bit because lately I’ve been banging into it despite having it in the same spot for several years.

I shit you not, as I was on the ladder a hummingbird came over and hovered near me giving me the death stare. I told her that I was just moving it and to give me a second.

My god what has happened to me?

What’s your recent 'life in your 40s' story?

Update: The hummingbird has come back several times now rather pissed the feeder has moved 3 inches. She won’t drink out of it, but keeps checking to see if I have put it back.

Update 2: After hours of me telling her I’m not moving it, she finally drank. I win."

from Xennials

Other Reddit users' 40-something stories did not disappoint.

Some had their own bird encounters to share:

"My husband is hell bent on befriending the local crows. He bought a 25 lb. bag of peanuts and throws a handful out on to the deck every morning. They’re getting more and more comfortable eating closer to the house, and now they 'summon' him with aggressive caws if he’s late putting out their breakfast. His goal is to Disney Princess it at some point. #lifegoals"

"Hahaha I am the crazy bird lady in our neighborhood and my husband says it's like a scene from Snow White when I open the backdoor to let the dog out. All the birds and usually a chipmunk go flying!"

Someone shared this classic:

Bird watching sneaks up on you
byu/Due-Paramedic8532 inXennials

And another added:

"Well, I'm glad it's not just me.

I'm 42, and last summer I really started feeding the birds, but I'd intentionally let the feeder go empty for a day or two. My goal was that they'd eat some of the yellow jackets that are frequently hovering near my south facing wall. They bitched an absolute ton when I would fill the feeders. They would eat the yellow jackets though.

Then, this last fall, my cameras caught me singing 'Muh birds, muh birds, gonna feed muh birds' while carrying my bag of seeds. I was happy as clam. The wifey showed me, and the kids, the footage. Now, whenever I'm feeding the birds, my middle son starts singing it to me.

I used to chase bad guys, with a gun, and a taser (I was in law enforcement for a decade, I fix robots now.) Now, I have an eleven year old harassing me because I'm nice to the local wildlife."

There were also lots of body betrayal experiences:

"If I sit for too long it’s exhausting and I have to go lay down and get some rest."

"I slept funny last night, and I don’t think I’ll ever recover."

"No joke. I literally slept weird 4 weeks ago and have been dealing with a pinched nerve in my neck ever since. Went from 42 to feeling 82 overnight."

"Last week I sneezed while in the shower and threw my back out."

"If I feel a sneeze coming when I am in the shower, I sit down. Standing shower sneezes are how you break a hip."

"Can’t trust my lower GI to do anything right anymore."

"I start peeing the second I head into the bathroom to pee."

And a host of other random middle-agey realities:

"Complaining about the price of cereal.

No clue of today’s music.

Go big or go home? Buddy you didn’t even need to ask the question. Home.

Lastly, my daily word search."

"I didn't make it to the store today, and the window/will to leave my house has passed, so I'll probably go another week without the items I intended to purchase today 🙃"

"My friend is having a pool day and I don’t want to go. I don’t want to take off my clothes and I really just want to chill in my house because I work tomorrow and I need a day to get ready."

"I went to bed at 4pm and woke up at 11 on the 4th of July. 41 doesn’t hit like 21 did. 😂"

"I’m 45, and my boyfriend is 32. We went through an exhibit Friday and he finished long before I did because I had to stop and read all the plaques and information, which I never use to do."

"Yeah I just built a raised garden bed and am super excited to plant squash! Wtf happened to me…."

Here's to the joys of aging! May your backs be limber and your birds be plentiful.

Using the FORD method to make small talk.

There are many reasons why people are nervous about entering social situations where they have to make small talk, such as a work event, a party where they don’t know many people, or at school.

Some people don’t enjoy small talk because they get frustrated talking about seemingly unimportant topics. At the same time, others are shy and afraid they’ll say the wrong thing or run out of topics of conversation.

Psychologists suggest those who are uncomfortable knowing what to say should use the FORD method. It’s an acronym that’s an easy way to remember four different topics of conversation that work with just about anyone.


According to Nicole Arzt, M.S., L.M.F.T at Social Self, FORD stands for Family, Occupation, Recreation and Dreams.

Family

Just about everyone has a family, so it’s a great way to ask someone to share some information about their personal lives without being too forward. Arzt suggests the following questions when making small talk:

Do you have any siblings?

How did you two meet? (if you are meeting a couple for the first time)

How old is your child?

How is your____ (sister, brother, mother, etc.) doing since ____ (event that happened?)

Occupation

Just like a family, almost everyone has a job. Or, if they do not, that can be an interesting topic as well. Here are some starter questions you can ask someone about their job.

What do you do for a living?

How do you like working at _____?

What’s your favorite part of your job?

What made you interested in becoming a _____?

Recreation

You can learn a lot about a person after knowing how they spend their free time. It’s also an excellent way to determine if someone is like-minded and shares the same interests. Here are some questions to get the ball rolling:

What do you like to do for fun?

Have you watched (or read) ______(popular show/book)?

What are you up to this weekend?

Dreams

Learning someone’s hope for the future can tell you much about who they are on a deeper level. They may have just told you about their current job or how they spend their time. But, ultimately, what do they wish to do with their lives? Here’s how to ask someone about their dreams.

Where do you hope to be working in the next few years?

Where would you like to travel?

What’s something you’d like to try in the future?

Would you ever consider trying _____ (particular hobby or activity)?

Arzt also notes that you shouldn’t just be an interviewer. You have to talk about yourself, too. In other words, you need a mutual take-and-give. “Pay attention to someone else's answers and think about how you can draw from your own experience to connect," she wrote.

Not sure how much to say during a conversation? Follow the 43:57 rule. A numbers guy at Gong.io analyzed over 25,000 sales calls with AI and found the perfect speaking-to-listening ratio. Sales soared when the salesperson talked 43% of the time and listened for 57%.

Even though this insight is from business calls, it applies to everyday social interactions. It's really about listening and making the other person feel special. After all, who doesn't love feeling heard and appreciated?


This article originally appeared on 10.20.23

Man builds rollercoaster through his house for epic ride

The thrill of flying down carpeted stairs inside a laundry basket as a kid is something that doesn't get old. You just get too big to fit inside the laundry basket so you have to resort to paying high fees at an amusement park. Unless...you can figure out a way to bring the amusement park home to you.

Drew Dirksen decided to give building a roller coaster a try, but not just in his backyard. The thrill seeking man built a homemade rollercoaster that travels through his house and out the door taking riders on an unexpected adventure. Dirksen and a few visitors take turns riding the coaster, at some point looking like two riders were chasing each other to joust.

The mini rollercoaster seems to go pretty fast for something that's fully propelled by gravity and the bodyweight of the passenger. There are no bars or harnesses holding the riders in either, they appear to be sitting in a seat fastened to what looks like a moving dolly. But the lack of safety equipment doesn't stop them from jumping at the chance to ride the backyard coaster.


Clearly the people visiting Dirksen had more confidence in his ability to provide a safe rollercoaster than commenters on social media where the video has gone viral.

"Just waiting for the head bonk on window," one person writes.

"Man did anybody fall yet with no seatbelts??," another says.

"Looks Soo fun. But definitely would add a seatbelt and helmet. Better safe than sorry. But totally looks so awesome!!," someone shares.

Some people were worried about the takedown process and wildlife having free access to the home with the rollercoaster keeping windows and doors wide open. Others simply wanted to know if they could come by for a ride.

"The open doors are giving me such anxiety cause all I can think about are the mosquitos running rampant in the house! But insane skills in building that roller coaster," another person writes.

"Omfggg can I come and try it out lol," a commenter asks.

Several people thought the idea looked like an episode of "Phineas and Ferb" where the two step-brothers were always getting into some sort of hijinks when left unattended. Either way, let's hope there's a quick solution to break down the coaster before the electricity bill is higher than the mortgage.

Joy

Man parodies wife's frantic cleaning 10 minutes before guests arrive and it's so relatable

"The quick mental break sitting on the toilet and staring into space just makes this a relatability masterpiece."

You can't let company know you actively live in your home, of course.

Unless you're someone who manages to keep a perfectly neat, tidy and sparklingly clean home every minute of every day, you're probably familiar with the mad-dash-to-clean-before-company-arrives. You know, when you start shoving random piles of things into drawers and closets and bedrooms, simultaneously dusting and vacuuming while yelling, "OMG, WE LIVE IN A PIG STY! DOES ANYONE EVER CLEAN THIS HOUSE?!?"

If that drill sounds familiar, wait til you see this parody video from online creators Micah and Sarah Wallace.


Micah shared a reenactment of his wife greeting guests at the door and "apologizing" for the state of their objectively clean house, claiming it's "a little messier than usual" and that they "have just not gotten around to cleaning it."

Lies. All lies, as evidenced by his reenactment of his wife 10 minutes before those guests arrived. That you just have to see.

Watch:

"WE NEED TO SET UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS OF HOW WE LIVE!"

Feel that one? Yep.

"There should be NO TRASH in the TRASH CAN! I want them questioning if the bin is even real!!!"

Umm, ouch.

It's exaggerated for comedic effect, but it's actually not that far off of how many people panic imagining all of the imperfections someone might possibly judge them for when they come over and frantically clean accordingly.

"I DON'T APPRECIATE THIS ACCURATE IMPERSONATION OF MY HUSBAND'S WIFE!"

"Bro you took me out running the vacuum on the ceiling because it’s literally what I feel like I had to do‼️🤦🏾♂️😂😂😂🫠"

"The quick mental break sitting on the toilet and staring into space just makes this a relatability masterpiece."

"'There should be no trash in the trash can!!' 😂😂 I feel attacked!"

"She’s 1000% correct bc why is there Trash in the Trash can 🫣🤯🤯 Thats Honestly a serious violation in “Guests are coming Over 101” in my House 😂😂"

Some commenters added things he left out, many of which had to do with what the husband would be doing during the frantic clean-up.

"Forgot the part where you pretend to be a guest.. you go outside and come in the front door to make sure everything looks good!"

"You forgot to light the scented candles and make sure the wall flowers are full."

"Now make one where the wife needs assistance making the house presentable and the husband does some nonsensical unrelated chore like cleaning out the gutters."

"Meanwhile the husband is doing something completely useless like using the leaf blower on the roof 🤣"

"Every single time when we expected guests my husband do some nonsense stuff...like organizing his screwdrivers or something like this."

Some shared that guests coming over is the only thing that gets them to clean the house.

"Guest coming over is my biggest motivation for clean up the house within a day😎"

"Yes!!, for normal days, it feels like why the housework got no ending…
Before the guest coming over, oh so it’s possible to clean the whole house 😂"

"I only invite guests to finally be able to enjoy my clean home 😂"

"I invite friends so I clean the house 🤣🤣🤣🤣"

There's nothing wrong with wanting to provide guests with some nice, clean home hospitality, but there's also nothing wrong with letting people see that you actually live in your home. Micah and Sarah clearly hit a nerve with this one. You can follow them for more comedy on Instagram.