Tough week, huh? You might have missed these 7 awesome things that happened.

Hey, quick question: How are you doing? Are you hanging in there?

It's been a rough couple of weeks, no doubt about that. You don't need a recap; just flip on the news or check Facebook, and you'll be knocked over by the avalanche of horrifying political developments that have taken place over the past 14 days.

It's a little overwhelming, to be honest. Things have felt hopeless, and even all the good people out there fighting for what's good and right sometimes seem like just a drop in the ocean.


But I'm here to tell you it's not all bad! A lot of it is bad, definitely. But, somewhere scattered underneath all the rubble of alternative facts, Muslim bans, and special operations gone horrendously wrong is evidence that this world we live in is, indeed, worth the fight.

Victories big and small are happening, along with pieces of news that are just a welcome reprieve from the madness.

Here are seven awesome things that happened this week you may not have heard about.

1. An amazing federal judge in L.A. demanded an Iranian man with a valid visa be allowed into the country.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

According to Matt Hamilton of the L.A. Times, Ali Vayeghan had been waiting for years to fly from Tehran to see his son in Los Angeles. He just so happened to book his journey right as Donald Trump's already infamous executive order came down.

Vayeghan was detained when he arrived at LAX and promptly sent back to Iran by way of Dubai.

ACLU lawyers petitioned the courts and won a decision to honor Vayeghan's travel visa, but by then he was back in Dubai. So U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee told authorities to transport him back to the U.S. immediately.

No word yet on whether Vayeghan has been reunited with his son in the U.S., but knowing there are judges out there willing to uphold the Constitution is a victory in its own right.

2. We thought this adorable frog was extinct but recently discovered it was just hiding!

Science and discovery still matter, damnit. Just ask the cave squeaker, a small African frog that hadn't been seen for nearly 50 years.

That is until a team led by Robert Hopkins, an associate researcher with the Natural History Museum in Bulawayo, found a handful of them in Zimbabwe. The frogs had simply changed breeding sites, which made them hard to track down.

Scratching just one species off the extinct list is a major deal, and now we can work on protection and conservation for these little brown hoppers so they can thrive again one day soon.

3. A Texas mayor came out as transgender, and the support was overwhelming.

A transgender mayor of a small, red town in Texas? Sounds like a recipe for disaster, and that's what Jess Herbst expected when she came out this week as transgender.

Much to her surprise, the reaction from her friends, neighbors, and peers couldn't have been more supportive.

One of my Facebook friends challenged people to post a picture from high school and current. So here is mine. 1977-2017, I haven't changed a bit.

Posted by Jess Herbst on Wednesday, January 18, 2017

"I was hoping for tolerance, and what I've gotten is overwhelming support," she said, according to The Dallas Morning News.

Read her brave, and refreshingly honest, open letter to the people of her town on the official New Hope, Texas, website.

4. A woman arrested for firing a warning shot at her abusive husband was finally released from imprisonment.

In 2010, Marissa Alexander's husband threatened to kill her. Protecting herself and her newborn child, she fired a warning shot from a gun she owned and scared him off.

Though the bullet did not hit her husband, Rico Gray, and the fact that Gray had a known history of abusing her, Alexander was convicted of aggravated assault with a lethal weapon. She has been in prison and under house arrest ever since.

Until this week.

Having accepted a shortened sentence in 2015, Alexander's punishment is finally, and fortunately, over. She's now free. And though what happened to her was a travesty, her story is going to fuel the fires of anti-domestic violence workers everywhere for a long time to come.

We have a lot of work left to do.

5. The Boy Scouts are finally allowing transgender boys to join.

Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images.

The Boy Scouts have not always been known as the most, er, progressive organization on the block. It took them a pretty long time to get comfortable with the idea of gay troop leaders, all the while doing a pretty poor job of handling accusations of abuse.

But, hey, this week at least, there's some progress.

The Boy Scouts of America finally announced it would honor the gender listed on a child's application instead of the birth certificate. This paves the way for kids who identify as boys to join.

After all, everyone deserves the chance to learn how to tie sweet knots and race wooden cars.

6. Two Republican senators vowed to vote "no" on Trump's pick for secretary of Education.

You may have heard a little about Betsy DeVos, who is currently awaiting confirmation to become secretary of Education. In short, she is immensely unqualified for the job.

Unfortunately, that hasn't stopped some of Trump's other picks from coasting their way into his cabinet.

This time, though, it seems there may be a few Republicans willing to stand up for what's right rather than playing party politics. Both Republican senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said they could not support DeVos in the upcoming vote.

Whether that ultimately affects her path to the job remains to be seen, but it's at least a good sign not everyone in the GOP is willing to let Trump have his way when the stakes are high.

7. Beyoncé and Jay Z are having twins. Twins!

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

OK, this might seem trivial, but it's honestly been a while since a non-Trump story grabbed the country's attention the way Beyoncé's Instagram post announcing her pregnancy did.

We need trivial and giddy news like this to nourish our souls.

Think about it — we used to complain, but don't you kind of miss the days when pictures of cute puppies and all the latest Brangelina rumors ruled the internet? So do I.

Queen Bey has brought us back to that time, if only for a moment.

There's bound to be great news next week, too. You just have to look a little harder for it these days. But I promise you, it's worth it!

More
Photo by Toni Hukkanen on Unsplash

Are looks more important than the ability to get through a long work day without ending up with eyes so dry and painful you wish you could pop them out of your face? Many employers in Japan don't permit their female employees to wear glasses while at work. Big shocker, male employees are totally allowed to sport a pair of frames. The logic behind it (if you can call it that) is that women come off as "cold" and "unfeminine" and – horror of all horrors – "too intelligent."

Women are given excuses as to why they can't wear glasses to work. Airline workers are told it's a safety thing. Beauty industry workers are told they need to see makeup clearly. But men apparently don't have the same safety issues as women, because they're allowed to wear their glasses square on the face. Hospitality staff, waitresses, receptionists at department stores, and nurses at beauty clinics are some of the women who are told to pop in contacts while they're on the clock.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture
via The Guardian / YouTube

Beluga whales are affectionately known as sea canaries for their song-like vocalizations, and their name is the Russian word for "white."

They are sociable animals that live, hunt, and migrate together in pods, ranging from a few individuals to hundreds of whales. However, they are naturally reticent to interact with humans, although some solitary belugas are known to approach boats.

Once such beluga that's believed to live in Norwegian waters is so comfortable among humans that it played fetch with a rugby ball.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

No reward comes without risk - or in the case of Vilnius - risqué. The capitol city of Lithuania has a population of 570,000 and regularly makes lists as an underrated and inexpensive European destination. Lonely Planet called it a "hidden gem" of Europe. In 2016, it was rated the third cheapest destination for a bachelor party in Europe by FairFX. And you've probably never heard of it. In August of 2018, the city started running racy ads to increase tourism, calling it the "G-spot of Europe." The ad features a woman grabbing a map of Europe, clutching the spot where Vilnius is located. "Nobody knows where it is, but when you find it – it's amazing," reads the caption.

VILNIUS - THE G-SPOT OF EUROPE youtu.be

Keep Reading Show less
popular

The truth doesn't hurt for an elementary school teacher in California who's gone viral for teaching her class an empowering remix of one of Lizzo's hit songs.

Ms. Mallari — who teaches at Los Medanos Elementary School in Pittsburg, east of San Francisco — took the singer's song, "Truth Hurts," and reworked the lyrics to teach her students how to be great.

Lizzo's song made history this year for being the longest running number one single from a female rap artist. The catchy original lyrics are about boy problems, but Mallari's remix teaches her students about fairness, helping each other out, and embracing their own greatness.

Keep Reading Show less
popular