and… I’m back

Well, sort of. Just wanted to pop in and say hello! It’s been a hot, messy minute hasn’t it? I’m grateful if you are still here, that you have stuck with me. Although this is not a full post/episode. I wanted to let you know that I am still here. Just been going through a bit of rough water in the past 6 months.

Isn’t that how it always goes? I had just reached the 50th episode of my podcast, Pointing toward Hope, and I wanted to take a few weeks off for the birth of my new granddaughter (my 6th grandchild, YAY!). And when I got home… life just hit and I’ve been going through a lot! More to come on that in the next few episodes/posts.

But for now I just wanted to pop on and say thanks for sticking around! One big announcement that I have is….drum roll please…….I have a new line of journals!!!! I have been doing so much journaling over the past six months and I was looking for a new journal. I couldn’t find one that I liked so I decided to create my own! So I did, and they can now be purchased on Amazon. More will be coming soon so keep an eye out!

I want you to know that I see you! God sees you and knows of your struggles and your challenges! Never have I known this more than I do now. Man oh man is He big God! We’ve got to stick together in these tough times and I am here for you!

XO Wendy

Let it Refine You

Well hey everyone!  It’s good to be back.  I planned on taking a little break but it just ended up being a little longer than planned.  But that’s ok, because that’s kind of how life is right?  We think we have it all figured out or we have a plan and then the Lord comes in and says, “nope, I’ve got something else prepared for you…it’s going to be hard but it’s something better.”  

And that’s kind of how I feel about this whole past year.  I was looking back recently at some of the goals that I set for myself at the beginning of the year and I am nowhere near where I thought I would be because of the circumstances that I went through in the beginning months of this year.  And you know what?  I am not even unhappy about it!

 I feel like I am in such a better place than what I would have been.  I don’t know for sure, I mean my situation today would certainly look different than it does.  But I can most assuredly tell you that I see the hand of the Lord working in and over my life in so many ways as I look back and as I see things unfolding before me looking forward.

It’s a marvelous thing to have the spirit of the Lord guiding and directing you as you go.  But in that, there is a lot of ongoing work that has to take place to get to that point.

 As you may have guessed from the title I’m going to talk just a little bit about the refining process that we go through when faced with trials, challenges, adversity, etc. And how we can gain the inner strength to let them be a refining process rather than a defining process. 

It is the 50th episode!!!  YAY!!!! I felt like I should definitely lean in to what we are all about here at “pointing toward hope”.  And I feel like the pieces for this episode have kind of been collecting over the last several days as I have had mini moments of inspiration when things that I heard or read or dreamt just sunk in.  So I am going to try to collect all of those things and hopefully organize them into something that will be meaningful and impactful for you as you listen today.

I found a great talk By Ellen W. Smoot from April 2002 General Conference talk Called Developing Inner Strength.  I will be referring to that  throughout this podcast and will link it in the notes.  I loved this question she posed.  “How do you and I become so converted to the truth, so full of faith, so dependent on God that we are able to meet trials and even be strengthened by them?”

That just got me thinking about how we sometimes tend to lean into our trials more than lean into the Lord.  If that makes sense. 

For example, we might tend to say this is just who I am, this is how it’s always gonna be and there isn’t a thing that I can do about it.  So in my situation instead of saying I HAVE bipolar, it becomes I AM bipolar.  Which is a totally false statement.  

Do you see the difference? To say I AM something… is basically removing the possibility that I can change it from something that defines me. Just changing that one word or that one negative feeling, can allow me to turn it into something that refines me and grows me as a person if I let it.  

From my standpoint, having Bipolar is definitely not something I enjoy. But it’s definitely not who I AM either.  Changing my view of it has allowed me to turn something that has such a negative connotation into something of a miracle.

When YOU do this, then you can see the opportunity in the trial to make it into something miraclous. Something that will strengthen you from the inside to the outside.

Personally, I have worked really hard to take that feeling of being defined by my trial to being strengthened by and through it. I’ve tried to turn it into something positive that I can learn and grow from rather than feeling defeated by it. Which is not easy at all!  To be honest, somedays it just downright stinks and I do feel totally defeated by it. There are just so many negative feelings that surround it.  

I don’t think that I’m alone in that, when it comes to trials or adversity.  There are a lot of situations where negative feelings and thinking take place. Thinking that you are defined by your trial, can happen with a lot of different types of experiences that we go through. 

There are so many big traumatic parts of your life for sure!  I am not diminishing those experiences in any way!  

However, I feel like our tendency as human beings having an Earthly experience, we do tend to want to let those things define us or maybe we tend to look at them with negative thoughts and feelings. Like this is how other people define me or describe me.

I mean I could fall into that category very easily by letting those labels that are thrown around so lightly, be overwhelming and  defeating.  But I have gotten to the point where when someone says something like, “So and so is so dramatic and does this and this and this, they are definitely Bipolar”.  I can blow that off.  It always stings a little and sometimes I want to get defensive about it.  But I’ve learned that I can’t take things like that personally.  And you have to understand that when someone says something hurtful in a situation like that, they probably don’t have any idea that you were hurt.  So why make yourself a victim over it?

Anyway, I kind of got sidetracked there for a little bit but I want you to just take a second and think about some of the things in your life that you see as negative experiences or trials.  Maybe it’s not a sickness or illnes. Maybe it’s something that happened when you were a child, a mistake you made, or something that happened unexpectedly that has changed your life immensely.  We’ve all experienced that in the last two years haven’t we?  

The point I’m trying to get at is, can we try to see ourselves and our trials as a growing, learning, refining process? Think of it as being purified and polished just as a piece of metal when it’s being molded? And I’ll talk a bit more about that in a minute.

Recently, there was a brilliant woman that gave a talk in my church.  And I think her talk was what kind of started the ball rolling for me.  She gave so many good nuggets of wisdom.  Her topic was having gratitude through adversity.  That kind of sounds like an oxymoron, right?  I mean how do you have gratitude when you’re going through really difficult situations? 

While I was listening to her speak (it was a phenomenal talk btw) I kept having a thought run through my mind that I’d heard someone say on a podcast that I listen to.  “Sometimes the miracle is IN the tragedy”.  I don’t know why I was thinking that specific thought, but maybe it was because when we are going through something, anything really, if we try to look at it from a different perspective (which is what I think having gratitude in adversity means), then the whole experience can become a beautiful miracle.

At the end of this woman’s talk she said one thing that I have talked about before here on the podcast. And if you weren’t paying attention to her talk then you would have missed it.  She said, when it comes to hard things and being grateful for them, think of them as refining you, NOT defining you!  And even though I’ve said it myself many times, the way she paired it with gratitude just made me look at it from a little different perspective.  

There is a video that I have watched and I’ll try to link it if I can find it again.  About the process that a Blacksmith goes through when refining metal.  I’m not sure if you are familiar with the process but let me just explain somewhat. It is a long and grueling process that requires intense heat and repeated hammering. A refiner is really good at knowing when the fire is hot enough but not too hot!  And you also have to use fire and water, and you need to know how to use both of them together.  And the reason is because the Blacksmith (or the refiner) needs to be able to bend and mold that piece of metal into something completely different.  Free from impurities and something polished and beautiful.

Nobody wants to go through a refining process, right?  I mean it is super intense.  But in this process from what I understand the refiner is right there the whole time.  He is completely in the entire process.  The metal can not be left alone.  There are certain things that need to happen at certain times.  And you love this because in Isaiah, he teaches us about what our refiner, meaning Jesus Christ is like, when he says this in 

Chapter 43:1-3  1 But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob (insert your name), and he that formed thee, O Israel (insert your name), Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.

2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

3 For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour…

So He’s basically saying, Don’t you worry, I am going to be here every step of the way.  I love you and I’m not going to leave you!

Is’nt that just so cool?  He knows when the water comes and you feel like you’re drowning, He’s gonna be there!  He knows when you feel like you are walking through fire and the heat is too intense and you want to give up, He’s gonna be there!

He is our refiner.  

So I want you to remember that process as we talk about a couple of other mini moments of inspiration that I had this past week.  So I was reading the Book of Heleman, and if you are familiar with this part of the Book Mormon, it is part of the war chapters and it can be difficult chapters to get through.  But I determined when I started the war chapters back in Alma that I was going to get something to apply to my life out of these chapters.  And you guys,  I feel like the Lord answered my prayers on that so completely.  I have really had so many mini moments.  So I encourage you to really dig into those chapters and see if you can’t grab some gold nuggets out of there.  

Anyway, back to Helaman it is Chapter 3 So just a refresher this is a time when many people are dissenting from the church and persecuting members of the church.  At that time Nephi the son of Helaman is filling the judgement seat and he decides that because of the persecution they are going to leave Zarahemla and move to the land Northward.  And it says it was a great distance. And you know they didn’t have cars and carts and all that back then. So I’m sure they were traveling with everything on their backs or their donkeys.  It was probably extremely hot and they were thirsty and it was super hard.  

And it says they crossed over many waters and rivers (remember the water and the heat of the refiner’s fire?).  And when they arrived it was a land called Desolate.  Why? Because there was nothing on the land it was barron, everyone!  And so what did they do.  In verse 7 it says this: nevertheless the people who went forth became exceedingly aexpert…..  And then it goes on to say how they built houses and when trees grew they took care of them until they could use them.  They built cities!  So they took this trial that was upon them and they turned it into something amazing. And the Lord was with them through every step.

But then in verse 16 I believe, it was Mormon talking here.  He goes back to before they left Zarahemla to explain what was happening there and what caused them to leave.  And the following verse is what stopped me that morning.   

35 It reads  Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.

And that’s the word that caught me, everyone! Yielding.  What happens when we yield?  We give others the right of way, right?  So in this case they are yielding their hearts to the Lord!  They are turning it over to the Lord knowing that he will sanctify them and purify them.  Just like a Blacksmith does with the metal.  When it is under that intense heat it is purifying it.  Jesus is our refiner!  He sees things from a much grander perspective.  He can turn us into something beautiful.  Something so much more than we can achieve on our own.  

It just gives me chills when I think about how many times the Savior has walked with me through my trials, and turned them into a miracle.

It reminds me of when I was younger and I went through a pretty hard experience with some friends.  I won’t get into the details, but I will tell you that it was something that happened to me way back when I was barely 13.  And it concerned being bullied. 

So you can imagine at 13, you are at such an impressionable age and you’re molding your identity and just changing so much and trying to figure out who you are. 

And just at the peak of that time in my life is when this experience happened.  It was an event that happened because of something careless that I said to someone, not thinking anything of it.  Someone walking behind us heard it, and within minutes….. I’m not even kidding.  I was surrounded by a group of girls pointing and laughing and bullying me.  My friends that were with me when they surrounded me, quickly slipped out of the circle.  And I felt so alone at that moment. 

And to make matters worse, the bullying continued for several weeks.  To the point that the principal and parents got involved.  It was really quite hard as a 13 year old.  I remember days when I thought I just couldn’t go to school.  I would get stomach aches thinking about it.  It still makes me anxious to this day. 

But it was during that time that I decided to yield my heart to the Lord.  What did he want me to do?  I decided that I needed to have my patriarchal blessing. 

So we scheduled it.  And I was determined that I was going to prepare myself and be so ready for this because I really, really needed to hear from the Lord himself that everything was going to be ok.  

So I did those things from verse 35… I fasted and I prayed and I humbled myself and I had faith that the Lord would come to me. Or at least be with me during this fire that I was experiencing. I yielded my heart to Him with all that I had. 

Well the night came that we were to go to the blessing and I remember so distinctly like it was yesterday.  I was so nervous and my palms were sweating and my stomach was growling and the Patriarch seemed to talk forever before he started the blessing.  

And so he began… it was still and quiet except for when his clock chimed at the beginning.  And at that moment I got my miracle.  In the midst of my trial I recieved a miracle.  It wasn’t from the words that were said, because honestly he was very well spoken and I didn’t understand a lot of the big words he used.  Or the way he worded it.  It was like scripture.  But…. I do remember how I felt.  When his hands and my father’s hands were on my head and the patriarch called upon the priesthood power, I felt a tangible presence like I’d nver known before.  And it stayed with me until the clock chimed again and the patriarch closed the prayer.  

It was so powerful that as we were driving home I remember asking my dad if someone else had joined them in the prayer.  He was surprised at that of course and I explained what I had felt.  And my parent’s and I were all in awe at the sacredness of that moment.  He was there to let me know that He was with me every step of the way.

When I got my blessing and read it.  There was one little part that talked about the friends I would have in my life.  And some counsel on the importance of choosing good friends. 

One thing that I determined at that time, is that I would do everything in my power to never make anyone feel the way I had through that experience

It left such an impression on me that I have never doubted the power of the priesthood.  And I never hesitated to call upon it in times of great need. 

Would I have been able to have that experience if I hadn’t gone through the bullying and felt abandoned by my friends?  Maybe, but I don’t think so.  I had to go through that trial to experience the miracle.

So let’s go back to talking about finding that inner strength to keep moving forward. As we have been studying the Doctrine in Covenants, in come follow me, about all the horrible things that the early members of the church went through, it has made me think more about where that inner strength comes from.

“In sister Smoot’s talk she shares an experience from a Pioneer woman who traveled across the plains from Navoo, ILL to Utah.

She shared the following: “To demonstrate the kind of inner strength I am talking about, I would like to share the story of Susanna Stone Lloyd, who at the age of 26 left England in 1856 and traveled to Utah alone. The only member of her family to join the Church, Susanna was a member of the Willie Handcart Company. Like so many other pioneers, she endured life-threatening hunger, illness, and fatigue.

Upon arriving in the Salt Lake Valley, Susanna borrowed a mirror to make herself more presentable. Despite her best efforts, she recounts: “I shall never forget how I looked. Some of my old friends did not know me.” Having sold her own mirror to an Indian for a piece of buffalo meat, she had not spent much time looking at herself. Now she did not recognize her own image. She was a different person, both inside and out. Over the course of rocky ridges and extreme hardship came a deep conviction. Her faith had been tried, and her conversion was concrete. She had been refined in ways that the very best mirror could not reflect. Susanna had prayed for strength and found it—deep within her soul.

If someone like Susannah can take a horrible situation like that and turn it into something so beautiful, can we?  I am sure that she had to dig pretty deep within her soul to find the strength that comes in and through our Savior.  Because let’s face it.  We don’t get through these experiences without divine intervention.  We can try.  But speaking from experience, it sure is a lot harder when we try to do it alone.  Without the help of our refiner.

We can walk through the fire on our own.  We can feel like we’re drowning in our adversity.  We can be hammered over and over again by the  happenings of this mortal life. But it is so much more doable when we allow our Refiner, Jesus Christ, to be a part of the process.  This proving process.  This refining and growing and polishing process.  Yes it stinks.  Yes it hurts.  But at some point we will be able to look back and see the tiny mercies.  The little miracles.  And in the end.  If we endure it well, we can come out having been molded into something beautiful that anyone who looked upon us would just say, “wow”!

Have you ever done that when you have seen something that someone made that was so intricate and detailed and beautiful that all you can say is, “wow”?  That’s the kind of miracle I’m talking about.

I promise you, everyone.  You CAN receive a miracle in the midst of your trial.  I have no doubt that the Savior is walking with you through it!  He is in the process every step of the way.  He won’t leave you.  He can’t leave you!  In order for you to be molded through the fires of life He has to remain by your side, so that the right things happen at the right time.

Lean on Him.  Trust Him.  Pray and fast often.  Be humble and YIELD your heart to him.  Let him take the lead.  And then follow Him!  I beg you to follow Him with all of your refined and purified and polished heart! 

That’s it for today my friends! If you or a friend have had an experience that you’d like to share.  Please contact me, I’d love to have you on the show. Talk to you again soon!

You are the ONE

Today’s message is short, but sweet.  And I hope one that will resonate with you as you hear these words. “You are the ONE”. 

These past several weeks I have had so many things weighing heavy on my mind.  It all started with an experience that I had a few months ago that will forever leave an impression on my mind and caused me to go into deep research mode in all of the scriptures from the Old Testement in the Bible to the book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price.  As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ we believe that we have many scriptures that have been given to us in these latter days.  And we continue to be blessed with counsel and guidance from living prophets, seers, and revelators. 

As I have struggled through this trial of faith, I have been so grateful that my Heavenly Father and mother and my brother Jesus Christ, see ME!  Who am I, I have asked myself many times,  to receive such love, compassion and understanding? And the answer is always quick and unfailing, “you are mine”.  And you are “one” of my children whom we dearly love.  It almost never comes in the same way.  Most often it comes in the form of others lifting me and sharing their love with me.  Messages that they have no idea, come directly from the Lord through them, to little ole me.  But I see it and I recognize it and give praise for it.  Because without it, I would be like a fish floundering out of the water, struggling for breath.  

You see there are moments in this life, many moments when we need to be reminded that we are the “one”.  The one that He sees and He loves, and He wants the best for.  But it doesn’t come without work.  It doesn’t come without asking, seeking and knocking.  Sometimes we fall to our knees in anguish because it seems so impossible to get through what we’ve been asked to endure. 

But I promise you, that if you will turn yourself over the Lord, if you will let faith lead you, if you will put your trust in the arm of the Lord and not in the arm of flesh, He will find you, the “one” that He has been waiting for to come follow Him.

Today I will be sharing some thoughts from Elder Ronald A. Rasband’s talk from General Conference, October 2000. Incidently, the General Conference will be held this weekend on October 2nd and 3rd.  You can stream from the https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/ and I encourage all to watch, take notes, pray for personal revelation and then watch how the Lord caters to YOU, the “one” amongst many.

In His talk, Elder Rasband shares the following, “Throughout my life, I have come to know through my own experiences that Heavenly Father hears and answers our personal prayers. I know that Jesus is the living Christ and that He knows each of us individually, or as the scriptures express it, “one by one.”

This sacred assurance is taught compassionately by the Savior Himself in His appearance to the people of Nephi. We read of this in 3 Nephi, chapter 11, verse 15:

“And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth” (3 Ne. 11:15; emphasis added).

To further illustrate the “one by one” nature of our Savior’s ministry, we read in 3 Nephi, chapter 17, verse 9:

“And it came to pass that when he had thus spoken, all the multitude, with one accord, did go forth with their sick and their afflicted, and their lame, and with their blind, and with their dumb, and with all them that were afflicted in any manner; and he did heal them every one as they were brought forth unto him” (3 Ne. 17:9; emphasis added).

We then read of the special blessing given to the precious children in verse 21: “And when he had said these words, he wept, and the multitude bare record of it, and he took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them” (3 Ne. 17:21; emphasis added).

This was not a small gathering. In verse 25 we read: “And they were in number about two thousand and five hundred souls; and they did consist of men, women, and children.”

Certainly, there is a very profound and tender personal message here. Jesus Christ ministers to, and loves us all, one by one.”

I know that was a large portion of his talk to share but I felt like it so perfectly illustrated how Christ caters to the “one”.  Even in the midst of a sea of people that number the grains of sand on the shores, He sees us each.  He reminds us each that we are important and that He is very aware of the details of our lives that can be distressing for us.

As I said before, these last 2 months have been a struggle, but so many good and precious events have taken place that have reminded me that He sees me.  It did not come without pleading and prayer and fasting.  I was prompted to give up social media for a time. To clear my mind of clutter and unnecessary stress.  I have been guided to the correct people, places and passages of scripture that have guided me on this continuing journey.  

I have not found all the answers.  Far from it.  But I have learned a very important lesson.  That the Lord works in “ones”.  He does not forsake us.  He never has and He never will.  

So if you are having a similar struggle with something in your life.  And you’re just not sure how you will go on or how it’s all going to work out.  I want you to know that you are that “one”.  He sees you, He hears you, and He will come to your rescue.  It might not happen quickly.  It might not happen in the way that you had hoped it would.  But, it will come!  Of that you can be sure!

Thanks for listening/reading.  I hope that you will watch General Conference this weekend and let the Lord speak to you through his anointed ones.  Until next time, my friends, choose to stay!

XO Wendy

Epilogue to the epilogue

Epilogue to the Epilogue Episode 46

Hi friends, and welcome to pointing toward hope. 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 follow 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. This is episode 46.

In the last episode I talked to you about doing a follow up to the end of the book, Keep up the Pace.  Since it was written back in 2002 a lot has changed in my life as you can imagine.

Since that time I went through a divorce, struggled to stay in the church, I moved to Tennesse, got married again to an amazingly good man.  I became a photographer and had a blossoming business.   And everything seemed to be going so well.  Even though after my divorce I wasn’t sure I would ever feel good again.

As I said, at this point I had left the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and I was unsure if I would ever return.  Things just seemed to be better the way they were.

And then events started to happen that would change the direction of my life and my husband’s life, pretty drastically. We had moved into a new home and then soon after that, my huband’s business began to struggle financially and that was really difficult.  So many experiences happened during the next year that were just so hard for both of us, but especially for him.  

I remember him coming home from work one day, and saying “I’m just so tired of being punched.  I feel like just when I get back up, I get punched again and I’m just so tired.  It was so hard to see him going through such hard things.

At that same time my photography business seemed to be flourishing.  I was photographing out of my home, babies, family and boudoir sessions.  And was set to make more than I ever had that year.  We’d been in the new house for about a year.  I was getting pretty busy to the point that I was getting fairly stressed but I was hanging in there and really didn’t pay much attention to that at the time.  I was doing all the other things.  Working out, eating right, sleeping well, drinking lots of water, etc.

But it was at that point that I made the most stupid decision I have ever made in my life.  Because I was feeling so healthy, I made the choice to go off of my medication that I had been on for about 10 years for depression.  Not only that, I went off of it cold turkey.  And to add oil to the fire, I had started to use a patch on my arm that promised amazing energy, weight loss, clear mindedness etc.  Little did I know (I should have been better about doing my research), it was loaded with caffeine, which is one of the worst things with someone with bipolar (which I didn’t even know I did have bipolar at the time).  And on top of that I was drinking two cups of coffee every morning.  Not so smart, and not a good combination.  I had lost sight of my priorities and was looking outside of myself to find them.

Well you can imagine, my body basically went into an upward spiral of mania where I was just so euphoric and felt like I could do anything.  That week or two after I quit my medication and started the patch, I was like the energizer bunny.  I wasn’t eating, or sleeping. And I was taking on more and more and more.  And then it happened.  My body just crashed!  

Remember, at the end of the epilogue from last week where I talked about our bodies being like computers on overload? Well, that is what happened to me again.  I don’t remember much about these experiences because it really is like my body just had to be turned off and rebooted.  It’s really scary.  When I was coherent enough to understand what had happened, I found out that I had been diagnosed as having bipolar II.  And I was not happy about that at all.  You can read more about that on my blog.  I’ll link that in the show notes.

And that my friends, is what started the ball rolling for both my husband and I to find our way back to God and right the ship again.  A few years after we went through all of that, I started my blog to document all of the experiences that we had.  And what it was like to learn how to live with bipolar and reset my priorities according to my new state of being.  Soon after that I started this podcast and have been going through the ups and downs of living with bipolar for the past several years.  It will be six years this week, since I crashed 2 months in a row.  

That was the lowest time in my life…. Rock bottom.  But sometimes that is what it takes for us to be able to realize that we have to be so constantly vigilant about our health and well being, mentally, physically, and spiritually.  Because that is the way God created us to be.  

God is such a big part of my life now.  I was so surprised as I read through the book that I really only mentioned Him in the first chapter.  How very strange that is, as I look back.  I mean most of what I write about now, is how I have gotten through all of this with the help of our Savior!  

Clearly, it was all part of God’s plan for me to return to the fold. And for my husband to be baptised. The Lord doesn’t make our choices for us (like my stupid one to go off of medication).  And they will always have consequences.  But God has a way of turning something so hard and devastating into something really beautiful!  And for that I will be forever grateful.  I have re-dedicated my life to Him.  And to constantly re-evaluating my priorities so that I can stay healthy and always Keep up the PACE.  

It’s not always easy to have a positive attitude.  In fact sometimes it’s just downright the last thing I can muster.  But I have learned that if I can work to look at the good that comes from, or can come from, a negative situation I will have so much more joy in my life.  

If I can look forward with hope in Christ, He will always be there to rescue me.  And I know He will do the same for you.  All you have to do is reach out and open that door!  He’s waiting on the other side to enfold you in His arms and help you through anything!  

Again thanks for tuning in.  When I come back in a few weeks, I will return to the posts and interviews that I typically do.  

Until next time, choose Joy!  Talk to you again soon.

XO Wendy

Be who you are

These are me today (2021). And me years ago when I wrote the book , around 2001 (a very touched up old photo).

Hi friends, and welcome to pointing toward hope. 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 follow 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. This is episode 45 and Chapter 8 of my book Keep up the pace.

I am so excited that we have made it to the end. I have had such a good time sharing the way I felt years ago and the things that I was experiencing in that time. It has made me realize how far I’ve come and in some ways, habits that I need to re-adopt. At the end of today’s chapter I leave an Epilogue which was added a few years after the book was written. I would like to do an Epilogue to the Epilogue in the next few weeks where I share where I am at today and the things and ideas that have changed. So hopefully I can put that together soon!

Thanks so much my friends for tuning in and supporting me. It really means the world to me! Without any further ado, let’s jump into the last chapter!

Chapter 8

Be Who You Are 

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” Ralph Waldo Emerson 

When my daughter, Mckayla, was in Chicago competing for the National title of Miss Teen International she met some really amazing young women. One of the girls that she became close friends with, taught her some really great lessons throughout the week of the competition. It was funny that these two were able to bond as they did because McKayla was the youngest competitor and her friend, Kim, was the oldest competitor.

Having experienced more than McKayla, Kim became the source of much inspiration. McKayla learned first hand what it means to surround yourself with positive energy. But one statement in particular really stuck with McKayla and helped her to be more confident even though she was the youngest competitor and lacked the experience some of the other contestants had. Kim told her, “Always be the best version of yourself, not the second best version of someone else.” I was so impressed that at the age of 19, Kim already had a firm hold on who she was and she wasn’t going to compromise that for anyone or anything.

One of the greatest Challenges that the youth of America face today is the struggle to find out who they are and what their place is in this world. Not only do the youth struggle with this concept, adults do too, especially adult women. I have found through my own experiences of working with youth, that the most noticeable changes in self-acceptance for girls, happens between the ages of 12 -15. And unfortunately the opinion that we form about ourselves when we are that age sometimes continues on through adulthood. So how do we as adults learn to accept and celebrate who we are and teach our children to do the same? That is the million dollar question.

I have a couple of suggestions that seem to be working for my family. Most of these stem from personal experiences, and the journey towards self-acceptance that others have made. I am still learning and I am sure there are many things that could be added, but here are just a few to get you started.

First of all, learn to celebrate your uniqueness. Isn’t it just incredible that out of the billions of people on this Earth, there is not one single person who is exactly like you? Sure we can have a lot in common with others and there are certain people that we just seem to bond with easily from the start. But, there is not one person who has your eyes, your smile, your personality, your zest for life!

It is unfortunate that most of us will never live up to the great potential within us. However, we can start striving toward that potential by understanding that you have just as much right to be great as the next person. It doesn’t matter what color your skin is, or how thick or thin you are. It doesn’t matter what circumstances you were born under, or the cards that you have been dealt in this life. You still have a choice, you still “drive your own car.”

You can choose to change the way you view life! Is the glass half empty or half full? If you don’t like what is going on in your life right now, only you have the power to change it. If you look in the mirror and you don’t like what you see or the person that you have become, make the choice to change.

Realize that along with change comes fear, and taking risks is never easy, but only you have the power to change you! Celebrate that fact! Joy in knowing that no one else has your little turned up nose, or your ability to see the good in others. Be grateful that God made you. . .you!

Second, just because there isn’t another person just like you, doesn’t mean that you can’t learn from others. In fact, the only way that we can achieve our full potential, is to learn and grow from our experiences with all the people in our lives. Some of my very best friends are the ones that are very different from me. I have grown to love them despite our differences and they have helped me accept myself for who I am.

If we can forgo the instant stereotyping and really try to give others a chance to make an impression in our lives, we will all be better and stronger for it. I believe that God places us in the path of others so that we, in some small way, can help them along their way and vice versa. We will never know what joys we could have had or what great qualities we could learn from, if we never give anyone a chance.

Next, be fiercely loyal to yourself, your family, and your friends. Dishonesty and deceitfulness are on a rampage in our world. Don’t buy into it! Nothing can do more damage to a family, a business, a friendship or your character. Lying, backbiting and gossiping, and sharing confidences that were not meant to be shared, will become a heavy burden in your life that will only serve to bring you and others down.

When my husband was in college he had roommates that liked to drink and get a little crazy. Although that is not my husband’s lifestyle, he would go with them so that he could be the designated driver and make sure that they all made it home safe and sound. He never once belittled them for how they lived their life and he was always there for them when they needed someone to talk to.

We have bumped into some of them over the years and they always comment on how much they respected him for sticking to his values and standards but never making them feel inferior because they didn’t have that same value system.

Finally, when you are wrong about something don’t be afraid to own up to your mistake. When you are quick to admit your wrong doing your mind and soul will be free from unneeded baggage and guilt. You will be able to move forward with a clear conscious and renewed motivation. People will think more of you, for your honesty and forthrightness and your unfailing dedication to your own personal values and standards.

As you continue on your path in your life, I hope that some of the experiences that I have shared with you have made you laugh or cry. . I hope that you have seen yourself in some of the stories that I related. But most of all, I trust that you have become motivated to set a new PACE for your future and that you have gained a greater understanding of how important it is to set that PACE in your life.

Whenever you are feeling down, or circumstances just aren’t what you hoped they would be, remember Positive Attitude Changes Everything!

Your Assignment: Never stop setting the PACE! 

EPILOGUE Shortly after the completion of this book, I was hospitalized for a short period of time. My priorities had become hazy. I was not eating well, and I was spending many sleepless nights worrying needlessly over events that were beyond my control. I was operating on over load with nowhere to go but down.

Our bodies and brains are complex entities and just like a computer if you overload it, it will crash. If you don’t learn how to slow down, your body will do it for you. Crisis such as this can be avoided.

I share this experience with you to help you understand how critically important it is to constantly re-evaluate your priorities and where you are at in your life. You may think you have it all under control but if you haven’t been diligent in keeping balance in your life, sooner or later it will catch up to you.

At the same time, don’t let fear keep you from moving forward. Keep setting goals, dreaming big, and reaching for the stars! I wish you all the best in your future endeavors and as always remember Positive Attitude changes everything!

XO Wendy

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