To find happiness, help others

In my life I’ve learned that true happiness comes from giving. Helping others along the way makes you evaluate who you are. I think that love is what we’re all searching for. I haven’t come across anyone who didn’t become a better person through love.

Marla Gibbs

Michelle and I at the Nutcracker in 2019

One thing that has brought me great joy in the past is being a host Mom to exchange students from other countries. It is so wonderful to welcome them to our country and to have the chance to see our “ordinary” routines and places through new eyes.

I considered hosting again, but even though it is incredibly rewarding, it can be challenging and very time consuming as well. I got on the sites from organizations that I have hosted with before but kept talking myself out of clicking that button. Finally, I decided to leave it and I said to God that if He sent me a sign, I would be open to being a host Mom once again.

Everything good that’s ever happened to me came out of helping others.

Danny Trejo

It didn’t take any longer than two months before I received a forwarded email from my sister with “Interested?” preceding the message. Marta from Spain was looking for a host family and was hoping to be placed with a Catholic family so she could attend Mass on Sundays. I paused for a short time, considered that this would be a big responsibility and my free time would be limited quite a bit. Then, I realized that yes, it is a big responsibility, but one that will give me a renewed purpose and will make me feel needed again. Having less time for myself means I will also have less time to feel sad that I am not “half of a couple”.

I contacted the coordinator, Morgan and told her I was open to hosting if nobody else stepped up. I said that perhaps a home with another teenager would be better, but that I was willing to host her. She said that I could host two students if that was a possibility.

A huge benefit of the new/old house is the fact that it has five bedrooms. It didn’t take much thought for me to decide that God has a plan and that this can be a win-win situation for everyone.

I will have two more people to do things with and to do things for. My two host daughters will have someone to help them get used to life here, to cheer them on in their accomplishments and to help them with challenges like the inevitable homesickness. I know it won’t all be sunshine and roses, but that is not what life is. It will be a new adventure!

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.

Audrey Hepburn

I may meet new friends as well because of this. I have become very good friends with Michelle’s mom Andrea. I hosted Michelle in the 2018-2019 school year. Andrea was kind enough to host us, feed us and show us all around when we came to visit Germany in December, 2019 We were also able to reconnect with Muriel and Max, two other students we previously hosted. Muriel’s parents hosted us, fed us a delicious dinner and took us to a German market that was so much fun! Max and his wife served us a delicious dinner and we got to see their beautiful baby daughterโค

I am just in the beginning stages and haven’t even connected with my host daughters yet. I have so much to look forward to! Oh the anticipation!!! โค๐Ÿ˜Šโค

About Beth W.

I try to look for the positive in the people and situations I come in contact with! I believe in the power of positive thinking and I believe that even challenging circumstances can be learning experiences if we have a positive mindset! I'm having fun blogging at: http://picturingpositive.com
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15 Responses to To find happiness, help others

  1. Happy I am following site…are you following my site?

  2. janieleeds says:

    I can’t wait to hear about your adventures with helping Marta! That’s wonderful! Do you speak Spanish? I lived with a family in Spain during college and loved it.

    • Beth W. says:

      I don’t know too much Spanish, but I’m sure I will learn a bit more with Marta here. I’m sure your time in Spain must have been a wonderful adventure!! I think seeing a foreign country with someone who lives there is the absolute best. I do think that it IS a small world and that we have so much more in common than we would ever guess ๐Ÿ™‚

      • janieleeds says:

        That’s the truth – so much more in common and it being a small world! I think when we can find the commonality and connections between people, that’s when we rise up to an ever happier level in life! I am sure that you and Marta will each make a wonderful impact on each other’s lives! 30 years later and I am still in touch with the family I lived with in college in Spain and love them very much. I can’t wait to hear all about your experience! When does Marta arrive?

        • Beth W. says:

          She arrives in August as well as Mara from Germany. ๐Ÿ˜Š i will have 2 host daughters. Crazy, probably, but no different than when I had my own daughter and Michelle from Germany. The only difference is that I will be the only driver, but once we get a routine down, it will be fine. We may have to figure out nicknames since Marta and Mara are so similar. ๐Ÿ˜„ You are so right about connections rising us up to a happier level. I’m already grateful for your kind, very motivational comments! ๐Ÿ˜Š

          • janieleeds says:

            Marta and Mara are certainly similar names! Perhaps they already have nicknames they will share with you or one will develop while they’re here with you. Your attitude and kindness will certainly makes these girls feel at home and I can’t wait to hear all about this next chapter for all of you! I’m so glad we’ve found each other’s blogs too!! Have an awesome weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Doug Goodman says:

    I’ve always been a positive vibes person, so I had to check out your site. I’m so glad I did. We’ve been hosting international students for over ten years now. Last year was the first time we didn’t host because of COVID, and now that we are in the process of moving, I don’t think we will remain in the program. But it has been one of the great adventures of my life hosting these students. We’ve had students from every continent, and we have gained from them more than we’ve ever given. At least that’s my perception. Given the opportunity, I’d do it in a heartbeat. That’s a long way of saying I’m probably going to be living vicariously through your blog.

    • Beth W. says:

      That is awesome, Doug!! So you know how rewarding it is! I love the whole process from getting to know them before they arrive, to meeting them at the airport to the inevitable sad goodbye when they head back home โค

  4. kagould17 says:

    Hosting students from other countries is so rewarding. We hosted our first students in 1987, right after the birth of our first son. They were two boys from Japan for 2 weeks. We wonder how we did it all at that time. A few years later, we hosted a Japanese girl for 2 weeks and then again twice more, ending in about 1996. They were all rewarding, but the last girl only wanted to spend time with her friends and did not realize what a gift we had given her until she got home. When my oldest son was in the final year of his undergrad degree at our local University, he roomed with a Japanese student for 1/2 a year. He called us up and asked us how we would like another Japanese son. Naturally we jumped at the chance. When we travelled to Japan in 2009, we met him and one other of our students who returned the favour and showed us their country. Giving this kind of gift comes with many rewards. Stay well. Allan

    • Beth W. says:

      Hi Allan! I agree that there are so many rewards! That must have been a challenge with two students AND a newborn!! Our first experience was with Anja from Germany when our oldest son was in Kindergarten. It was so much fun having her there for the year. She was a big sister to them and everyone bonded so well. Saying goodbye was the hardest part, though. I know I was so sad to see her go. My daughter is now attending college and chose to major in German due in large part to the wonderful students we have hosted from Germany. She has been able to visit Germany twice and hopes to possibly live abroad in the future. I love how much hosting these students opens our eyes to cultures and traditions from other places and at the same time shows us how alike we are as well. Thank you so much for visiting! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Its a great blog. So much joy. Iโ€™ve followed it and humbly invite you to my blog

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