Hi friends, Welcome to the Pointing Toward Hope podcast. I am your host Wendy Bertagnolli. This podcast is filled with positivity for anyone seeking to find more hope and joy in daily life. The goal is to reach as many people as we can to help them to overcome and find joy even in the midst of extremely hard adversity. Thanks for listening. Be sure to subscribe and leave a review so that we can help as many people as possible. If you or someone you know has a trial that you have been able to get through or are working through with the help of our Savior, please contact me so we can get you on the podcast.
So this week’s podcast is going to be a little bit different. You see, back in 2009 (holy cow, 11 years ago). I wrote a book. They say that every person has a least one book in them. Well I guess this one was mine. I never had it published. It talks about motherhood and what I was going through at the time.
So I thought it might be fun to stick those chapters into the next few episodes, aside from the interviews that I will do inbetween. And I have some really good interviews coming up, so even if you don’t like the book, I mean it is kind of old and I’ve been through an awful lot since then, but still tune in for the interviews because they are always amazing!.
So here it goes. I will start with the prologue and then chapter 1.
Here it is, The Book I really never ever thought that I would have a chance to share this with the world. I wrote it mostly for my children, in case they suffer from some of the same things, they might have some sort of a reference. But I do believe that we are all put on this Earth to help one another make it through our individual journeys. I have learned throughout my life that God puts people in our path who will help lead us in the direction that he desires for us,(if we are willing to let him guide us), to learn and grow and progress in the ways needed for our spiritual, physical, and mental growth. It is my hope that the things that I have experienced throughout my life can help someone else who might be experiencing some of those same things. If it helps you, then I feel honored to be that person placed in your path. Setting the Pace Memoirs of a Stay-at-Home Mom by Wendy Bertagnolli (formerly Wendy Carter)
Introduction When I first decided to write this book, I had a lot of critics. With good reason, you see I am not a college graduate (…yet), nor did I ever take a creative writing class in any of my college courses. I am a stay-at-home-mom of four children. Chris, McKayla, Saydie, and Cody. I have started and failed at five home sales businesses. I Directed a Teen pageant for two years which I no longer do. I have suffered from the effects of Depression for 10 plus years. I almost lost my last child during child birth. I had one miscarriage. I have a child with anxiety, and one who became suicidal at an early age. Two of my children live with ADHD.
I have doubted my abilities from day one, and most often, continue to do so. Thank goodness I have a supportive husband of 21 years, who puts up with all my crazy ideas and ever changing hormones! And my one claim to fame, isn’t that I was crowned Mrs. Utah International 2001, it is the culmination of the above experiences that have shaped me into who I am today! I guess what I am trying to say, is that this is not a book that will tell you exactly what you need to do to be successful, or how to have a great marriage, or how to raise perfect children. It’s not a book that will tell you how to win a beauty pageant, or how to look and feel beautiful (although that may be side effect) . . . This book is not about telling you how to live your life. It is about sharing my personal experiences in an effort to help you take control of your life and your life alone. So get ready and let’s set the P.A.C.E.!
chapter 1. Attitude The most powerful weapon on Earth is the human soul on fire. Marshall Foch
Attitude is the most important ingredient to a successful and fulfilling life. I remember when I first heard the term “attitude adjustment”. My family was on a camping trip (we have always been big on recreation) and I had pulled a chair out from under one of my brothers. One of my Aunts started to tell me how I needed to learn how to share and so on. I began to defend myself with the typical “it wasn’t my fault”, “He started it”, excuses. And although I don’t remember much of the argument I do remember her telling me I needed an “attitude adjustment”. Hmmmm . . . I wondered, what is an attitude adjustment? That was the first of many times I was told I needed an attitude adjustment.
You see, I was very moody during my early childhood years and on into my teenage years. It’s a wonder that anyone was able to put up with me. Thank goodness we grow up (well, most of us)! So let’s just explore the statement “attitude adjustment”.
If you were to look up the word attitude in the dictionary you will find a definition much like this one: Manner, disposition, feeling, position, etc., with regard to a person or thing; tendency or orientation, esp. of the mind.
Now let us define the word adjustment: Adaptation to a particular condition, position, or purpose. A modification of behavior and attitudes, so as, to achieve a balance between personal needs and interpersonal or societal demands.
Now, because I am a simple person with a simple mind, I like to find analogies that will sort of put things into laymen terms. When I read over these definitions, what I came up with is this. Most of us have been in the driver’s seat of a car at one time or another in our lives, and if you haven’t, chances are you soon will be. So now compare the attitude adjustment to driving a car. If your vehicle is anything like mine, there are times when it runs like a dream, and times when it leaves a little bit to be desired.
When my vehicle is running like a dream it is clean, it has enough fuel, it has the proper amount of oil, it has a battery that is fully charged and ready to go, in short it has a positive attitude!
At those times when it is leaving a little bit to be desired, it is usually dirty, littered with empty fast food containers (maybe even a few cold, hard French fries). Is low on fuel, the oil needs to be changed, and a myriad of other changes are in need. Basically it is in dire need of an attitude adjustment.
So it is with our own lives. When I am feeling on top of the world, like nothing could possibly bring me down, this is what my life looks like. I am organized, I am eating nutritiously, I am able to set time aside to exercise. I am able to make time with each of my children and my husband, and I have time set aside to rejuvenate myself spiritually. I have a positive attitude (which by the way, this hardly ever happens that all of these things line up, lol)!
So what happens when life catches up? Here is what happens to me. I become disorganized and can’t seem to find time for anything. My eating and exercising habits have gone down the drain, and the last thing I have time for is the seemingly endless demands of my children and husband. Guess what? It’s time for an attitude adjustment!
So how exactly does one go about making an attitude adjustment? I am not going to claim to have all the answers but I will tell you what has worked for me and thousands of other successful men and women. And that is to sit down and make a list of priorities. Write a list of the things that are most important to you. These are the things that if you were to pass from this life tomorrow, you would want to have accomplished. Then write down the things that you are doing now that have become a priority that could possibly be lowered a little bit farther down the page.
I will give you an example of what my positive list might entail just to give you an idea. Keep in mind that this is a work in progress, not to be confused with something that is attempted and accomplished on a regular basis!
Positive Attitude List of Priorities
1. Taking care of my personal needs Building my personal relationship with God
2. Taking time for my Husband
Building a relationship with God together Keeping the communication lines open Spending time together alone as a couple Being receptive to his needs
3. Taking time for my family
Teaching my children how to build a relationship with God
Being there when my children come home from school
Helping my children with homework
Listening to the events of each child’s day
Spending a few minutes with each of them on and individual basis
4. Building relationships with immediate family
Attending family functions
Calling my parents and in-laws regularly
Remembering birthdays Being aware of the
special events that are going on in their lives
5. Setting time aside for personal enjoyment
Building lasting friendships (telephone, email, luncheons, etc.)
Going on photography outings
Participating in sports or hobbies that I enjoy
I feel that it is important to point out that each one of us are unique and one-of-a-kind (thank goodness).
No two lists of priorities will or should be exactly the same. For example if you have a job or go to school you would definitely want to make that part of your list. We are at different stages at specific times in each of our individual lives. But, it is important to always have a current list of priorities to look upon. Think of it as life insurance. You would not wait five years to add your last child to an insurance policy. Hopefully, you continue to update your insurance as specific events take place.
Likewise, you should keep your list of priorities updated as your life changes and evolves throughout the years. In reading over my list (which by no means is how my life runs on a daily basis), you can see that in general a positive attitude means maintaining balance in interpersonal, and societal relationships and activities. In order to achieve this delicate balance, we have to be able to adapt to a particular condition, position or purpose. We have to be able to make an attitude adjustment.
The only person that has control over this is YOU! Unlike your vehicle, you drive your own life. A vehicle needs someone else to control it and take care of it’s needs. But you can, and should control your own life and take care of your own needs. Granted, as parents, part of our role is to teach our children how to take control of their lives and their needs and become independent. It is important to take some control of their environment and teach, teach, teach, them while they are young what it takes to control their own needs. My Husband and I, are constantly reminding our son, to “drive his own car”.
Children have a somewhat limited understanding and it can be effective to use an analogy that they can relate to. Our son has wanted to control his own needs from the day he entered this world!
When he was just two years old Mike and I would tuck him in at night and ask him if he wanted a kiss good night. He would reply, “NO” and so we would proceed to leave the room and by the time we got to the door he would be begging for a kiss good night. He wanted to control his own needs. After a while We grew tired of this little game.
We found it important to let Our son know that we were taking care of our needs and that if he wanted a kiss good night he was going to have to take it when we offered or he would not get one at all.
Need less to say, after many temper tantrums and kissless nights, he decided he did not like that idea very much and that this was one need he would take when he could get!
As Our son has gotten older, we have had many opportunities to teach him how to “drive his own car”. Like his mother, he tends to be very moody and when he does not get things his way his temper can get the best of him.
For example there was a time when he wanted to watch a certain television show. With four children, regulating the choice of television viewing can be quite a chore. It was not his turn to choose and I had to remind him of that fact.
He then proceeded to drop on the floor and throw a typical temper tantrum. In the process he kicked a hole in the wall the size of his nine and half foot! We had just moved into a new home and I did not find this amusing! In order to teach Chris the importance of the effect that his attitude has on others, and that he must be accountable for his actions and realize the importance of being a good example for his younger brother and sisters, we taught him to repair his own mistakes. We made a trip to the local hardware store to pick up a wall repair kit. And then at the tender age of seven, he learned how to repair a hole in the wall. Mind you, it was not a professional job. In fact we still have the bump in the wall to remind us of this little experience. But, this was the beginning of the end to his temper tantrums and taught him a very important life lesson.
I can not stress enough the importance of having a positive attitude in life. Life is a roller coaster of ups and downs, highs and lows, good times and not so good times. We have to learn how to adapt and make the necessary adjustments in order to maintain balance, harmony, and optimism.
Someone once questioned me, “How does one have a positive attitude in such a negative world?” This is such a valid question in the world in which we now live. It is ever changing, values are shifting and becoming twisted. I believe that the answer to the question lies within. If you can learn to set priorities and then adapt with each experience that you have, holding to those priorities, you will be on the road to setting your own attitude adjustment.
PACE. YOUR ASSIGNMENT:
Make a list of priorities and post them where you will be continually reminded of the Attitude Adjustment that you want to make. But… don’t just read them, actively make them a part of your life. By completing this exercise on a regular basis (weekly bi-weekly or monthly)you can evaluate your progress and what other adjustments need to be made. By doing this you will be taking control of your life and moving closer to maintaining a positive attitude.