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These neighbors hung up 40 rainbow flags when a gay couple's house was vandalized.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." — Margaret Mead

After a restful vacation, Cari and Lauri Ryding returned to a disturbing sight at their home in South Natick, Massachusetts — their porch had been egged, and their rainbow pride flag was gone.

"We were both disillusioned and confused.  We didn't want to believe that it was an attack on us," Cari wrote in an email.

The couple had gotten their pride flag several weeks earlier from Rainbow Peace Flag Project — an organization that distributes rainbow flags with the word "PEACE" on them to the Natick and MetroWest areas for free in the name of peace.


Cari and Lauri's front door today. Photo by Cari and Lauri Ryding.

The flag was meant to be a symbol of love and solidarity in the wake of the tragic Pulse shooting in Orlando in June but had inspired an act of vandalism — presumably from someone with homophobic views.

Cari has lived on the same street in South Natick for 23 years. Even when she separated from her husband and later married Lauri, she always felt she had unwavering support from her neighbors, which made the incident all the more difficult to comprehend.

Their neighbors, however, refused to let that act of vandalism be the end of the story.

They decided to show Cari and Lauri that they would always stand behind them. Their neighbors immediately contacted the Rainbow Peace Flag organization and ordered numerous flags.

One by one, the rainbow flags began popping up all over the neighborhood — until 40 houses were showcasing them proudly.

Photo by Cari and Lauri Ryding.

Photo by Cari and Lauri Ryding.

Photo by Cari and Lauri Ryding.

Photo by Cari and Lauri Ryding.

"We were not surprised that the neighbors responded, but we were surprised by how many did. People that we didn't know well got into action," wrote Cari.

According to Cari, local kids delivered the flags to all their neighbors on their bikes, stopping by Cari and Lauri's last. The couple gave them a tearful "thank you."

Photo by Cari and Lauri Ryding.

This colorful act of solidarity proves hate is no match for love in small communities like this. It's also a shining example of what the rainbow flag is meant to do.

"Displaying pride out in the open can be risky.  It can lead to heartbreaking rejection. The Rainbow Peace Flag Project is a way to invite and empower neighbors to become allies," Ian Mevorach, co-founder of the Rainbow Peace Flag Project, wrote in an email.

Any fear Cari and Lauri might've felt as a result of this hateful act of vandalism was quelled by the ever-growing support they've received.

Several religious organizations are standing behind them, and more and more people in the Natick area and beyond are ordering rainbow flags to show they're part of the unified front. The response has filled the couple with an overwhelming hope for a better future for the LGBTQ community.

Photo by Cari and Lauri Ryding.

And to think it all started when a few small-town people refused to let their neighbors be knocked down.

As Cari put it succinctly, "The actions of a few people can change things, and inspire the world."

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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