10 Heartwarming Stories That Made Us Smile in 2019
Our favorite tales include bow tie-wearing dogs, a multi-generational photo shoot, and an inventive effort to save turtles.
With all the bad news that populates nearly every media outlet, it's easy to think there is little good left in the world. In reality, people are doing amazing things every day. So, as we prepare to start a new year (and a new decade), we reflected on the stories that brought us joy this past year. On this list, you'll find a young crochet prodigy raising money for charity, an organization that donates Christmas trees for military service members, a centenarian couple who celebrated their 82nd wedding anniversary, and more feel-good stories. Here are 10 articles that will remind you of all the good around us.
Of course, we love anything related to Better Homes & Gardens, but when you add Oklahoma couple named Carol and Charlie Rutledge, it gets even better. This duo had a photoshoot based on a 1929 issue of the magazine to celebrate their 64th wedding anniversary and help a local florist launch her business. The result is a collection of beautiful images the couple can cherish forever.
We first heard about Jonah Larson early in the year after seeing his seriously impressive crochet skills on Instagram. Then, in November, he caught our attention again when he began using the social media platform to help others. The 11-year-old entrepreneur from Wisconsin created a crochet beanie kit, and for each one sold, 20% of the proceeds go to the organization Roots Ethiopia, which helps improve schools and educate for children in the country.
Everyone needs a little help from their friends—even golden retrievers. After 11-year-0ld Charlie lost his eyesight due to glaucoma, his owners, Adam and Chelsea Stipe from North Carolina, brought home a 4-month-old companion named Maverick. The two are now best friends and love to play together. "It’s sweet to see them get along and enjoy each other," Chelsea says.
Carolina Waterfowl Rescue, based in Charlotte, takes in around 3,000 baby birds during nesting season in March, which means they need nests. Although the organization makes the same request every year, in 2019, their plea went viral, and people donated thousands of handmade knitted and crocheted nests. By the look of this content chick, it appears the cozy creations were much appreciated.
Christmastime can be difficult for service members away from their families, but Trees for Troops is making the season feel a little bit more like home. The program donates live Christmas trees to more than 75 U.S. military bases around the world. This year, they gave more than 17,000 trees. Make sure to keep this charity in mind next holiday season.
There are innovative individuals, and then there's Tracy Belle, founder of Wildthunder Wildlife & Animal Rehabilitation & Sanctuary in Independence, Iowa. She created a way to mend cracked turtle shells with a variety of items, including bra clasps. After asking for donations on Facebook, Belle began receiving bras, and now more turtles can be saved.
For his 100th birthday on March 2, Joe Cuba, a World War II veteran from Wichita Falls, Texas, had one request: To receive one card for every year he's been alive. Well, Joe's wishes were granted because he received a whopping 35,000 cards thanks to a viral Facebook post. He also received gifts and personal visits, including one from the town's mayor, who declared March 2 Joe Cuba Day.
Every year, Colorado photographer Rachel Perman does a birthday photo shoot for her kids. Her 5-year-old son Elijah decided to showcase his love for the movie Up in his session, and he invited his great-grandparents, Richard and Caroline Bain, to help out. The photos show the simple pleasures in life: true love as an adult and glee as a child.
Many dream of growing old with your love by your side. For Willie and D.W. Williams, from North Carolina, that's a reality. The couple celebrated their 100th anniversary in April and revealed their secret to a lasting marriage: Just be nice to each other.
What do bow ties and dogs have in common? They're two of Darius Brown's favorite things. So, the 12-year-old from Newark, New Jersey, founded Beaux and Paws, an organization that gives bow ties—which are made by Brown himself—to shelter dogs in an effort to help them get adopted. "It helps the dog look noticeable, very attractive," he explains. "It helps them find a forever, loving home."