Believe in yourself

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. This is episode 41.

Chapter 4

Believe in yourself

“ Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen. Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Take control of your destiny! Believe in yourself! Those are two of the most powerful statements I think I have ever read. I am going to tell you something now that I think you will find most profound. You know yourself better than anyone else! You are the only one that has spent every waking second of your life with . . . YOU! Who could possibly know you better, with the exception of God?

Why then do we tend to doubt ourselves so much? I believe the reason we do so much self-doubting has to do with many factors. It could be the way that your parents raised you. Maybe you came from a very emotionally or physically abusive home. It is possible that you suffered many tragic losses throughout your life. Maybe you have had to endure a physical debilitation or disease, or mental illness.

Regardless of the circumstance, we are all capable of change. We all have the ability within us to take control of our lives. It is true that sometimes we cannot control the circumstances that happen to us, however we definitely can control the attitude with which we choose to face these experiences. I know that there will be many that will want to argue this point, but the fact is we “drive our own cars”!

Sometimes I think it might benefit us if we could take a step back from our life and view it from a different perspective. We are so good at looking at another person’s life and providing a solution to all of their problems. If we could use this same objectiveness in our own lives, we could solve a lot of crisis before they arise.

Have you ever felt restless? Like you were supposed to be doing something else with your life, or something is missing? I like to think of this restless feeling as God’s way of helping us to realize that we still have room to grow (and I don’t mean in height or weight!). Another way to view this feeling is to look at it as “growing pains”. Remember when you were a child and you would get stomach aches the first week of a new school year? Or maybe you just started a new job and you had those anxious butterflies in the pit of your stomach . . . Yes, I would have to say those are “growing pains”.

A few years ago I was able to attend a convention, the keynote speaker happened to be Sharlene Wells Hawkes, Miss America 1985. She discussed a technique that I feel is imperative to making your life what you want it to be. It is relatively simple and really does not take a lot of effort . . . once you get used to it!

I am sure that many of you have heard of the “comfort zone”. This is a place that we make for ourselves that is easy to be. We rarely take steps out of this safe place because it is hard or maybe a little scary. We stay in the same routine day after day and never do anything that feels uncomfortable, thus we have created our “comfort zone”.

But there is a very interesting fact about our comfort zones and that is that they never stay the same. It is either growing or shrinking! Sharlene goes on to discuss that the only way we can make our comfort zone grow instead of shrink is to consistently take steps outside of it. This means doing things that are hard or maybe even a little scary. But each time you do this your comfort zone will grow.

Rest assured I am not telling you that you need to do anything that is risky or dangerous. I am talking about setting small goals for yourself on a daily or weekly basis that you may find a little difficult. These might include: Getting up a little earlier each day so you can get more accomplished. Or parking your car a little further out than normal so you can get a little more exercise. Maybe you could try choosing carrots instead of cookies if you are trying to lose weight. Each time that you take a small step outside of your comfort zone an amazing thing happens . . . It grows! And it also gets a little easier to take that next step.

Unfortunately, the opposite is true when we choose to remain inside our safe little place and don’t take small chances on a regular basis. It is not easy. And very often, in fact more often than not, our chances will be accompanied by failure. But as Sharlene would say, “Failure doesn’t keep you from success, it leads you to it. . . if you are willing to learn.”

Some of the most successful people I know did not realize their dreams by mere happenstance. It takes effort, it takes desire, and it takes a willingness to learn from our failures. When we choose to let our failures defeat us and we shrink back into our comfortable place it becomes harder and harder to venture out again and our comfort zone gets smaller and smaller. The fact is, that we have all been given special gifts that are ours to develop if we choose. We can use these gifts, not only to improve the quality or our own lives, but also to help others around us. However, we can only do this if we learn to develop these gifts by taking consistent steps outside or our comfort zone and believing in ourselves.

I once heard someone say that in order to be a winner you have to ACT like a winner. I honestly believe this to be true. Our actions speak louder than our words, we can voice what we intend to do but until you take action there is no meaning behind the words. When we are doers our emotions will follow suit. It is hard and scary to attempt something new that is uncomfortable and no doubt our emotions and thoughts tell us that we won’t succeed, that we shouldn’t attempt the unknown. But, it is only in attempting or taking action that we find out what our abilities are and how good we can feel when we achieve a dream.

If you are anything like me, and I believe you are, you are probably saying to yourself right now, “How do I find out what my gifts are?” Or maybe you are thinking, “I don’t have any gifts.” Finding out what your gifts are is much simpler than you may think. Start by making a list of things that you are good at. Maybe you enjoy reading or listening to music. Who knows, you might just have a gift for writing poetry or music.

Second, start listening to, and accepting compliments. This is a great way to discover hidden talents. For example, people consistently comment on how great your hair always looks or what a snappy dresser you are. You might have a real talent in the cosmetology industry or maybe your gift lies in retail sales.

Has anyone ever told you what a great listener you are, or that you are very caring and sensitive? This could lead one to believe that you may be great in a field of social work or another related field. My point is, that sometimes we spend so much time complaining about the gifts that we don’t have that we lose sight of those gifts that are uniquely ours. There is not another person in this world like you , so why not celebrate that fact by being all that God intended you to be and by doing that, we not only help ourselves but, we help others along the way.

Finally, don’t be afraid to dream big. We are the culmination of our dreams put into action. If we stop dreaming we stop living. Don’t let anyone tell you can’t. If you can dream it you can achieve it!

I remember when I was a little girl and my mother gave me a necklace. On the chain was a heart-shaped locket made of glass that had a mustard seed inside. It was accompanied by a little metal plate with this inscription on it: . . .if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there”, and it will move. –Matthew 17:20

At 5’3” the shortest player in NBA history, Tyrone “Mugsy” Bogues, believed in himself against all odds. He said, “You can do anything you want to do in life, if you have a fierce belief in yourself, a strong will, a big heart, and some role models to inspire you.”

Don’t ever give up on yourself. If you have faith, belief in yourself, the patience to persevere, and most importantly, a positive attitude, you can make your dreams a reality.

Climb ‘Til Your Dreams Come True

By Helen Steiner Rice

Often your tasks will be many, And more than you think you can do . . .

Often the road will be rugged And the hills insurmountable, too . . .

But always remember, the hills ahead Are never as steep as they seem,

And with faith in your heart start upward And climb ‘til you reach your dream,

For nothing in life that is worthy Is ever too hard to achieve

If you have faith to try it And you have the faith to believe . . .

For faith is a force that is greater than knowledge or power or skill

And many defeats turn to triumph if you trust in God’s wisdom and will . . .

For faith is a mover of mountains, there’s nothing that God cannot do,

So start out today with faith in your heart And climb ‘til your dreams come true!”

Assignment: Make a list of the things that you feel that you are good at, or that you have a desire to become good at. Then write down some small goals or steps that you can take outside of your comfort zone to achieve those goals. Record your steps. Start with the small things and soon you will be leaping out of your comfort zone and growing consistently.

Remember, you are doing this for you! Don’t let anyone keep you from your dreams or tell you that you aren’t good enough. Believe that you can be all that God wants you to be and you will become better and stronger than you ever believed possible! Go now, and start expanding your comfort zone!

Thanks for reading! I hope you are enjoying it.

XO, Wendy

Fighting the fear within

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. This is episode 40.

Keep Up the PACE

Chapter 3


“Fear is just excitement in need of an attitude adjustment!” Russ Quaglia

To say that I was afraid of what might lie ahead was a great understatement. I came from a long line of family members who suffer from depression. Some have been on medications with complications and some have been content to struggle with the disease on their own. And then there are some that remain in denial and are afraid to admit that something might not be right. I found it necessary to find some sort of middle ground.

At this point, I feel it is very important to address an issue that has a way of clouding one’s judgement. More specifically, one who is not thinking rationally as is. This issue is that of how people who have never suffered from depression, or have not been closely involved with a loved one who has, view depression in general. There is still quite a stigma against people who suffer from mental illness.

Just the other day I happened to mention to a colleague that I was writing a book about my experiences with depression. The comment that I received was one that I have heard on many occasions. I would be willing to bet that most sufferers have as well. “What do you have to be depressed about?” Believe me, I have asked myself that same question almost every day. This is one of the reasons most people find it difficult to seek the help of a professional. What I know now, is that depression is not a respecter of persons. It can and does affect both males and females, rich and poor, young and old.

Depression is not a reflection of one’s life, it is an inward disease without an outward appearance. Although symptoms are not physically seen, does not in any way mean that they do not exist! I was very fortunate to have a therapist who, from the beginning, explained this disease thoroughly and helped me to realize that this was not a reflection on me as a person. She gave me many options and explained each option in great detail.

Upon diagnosis is the best time for you to find a good support system. A loved one, trusted friend or counselor can help immensely. If you are not so fortunate as to have a support system at home, there are many support groups and therapists in every community that can help you.

Never give up hope, there is always a solution. As I spoke of in chapter two, I have always been a highly motivated person. I attribute much of this to the work ethic that my parents taught me. They taught me to take pride in myself and my accomplishments, and to always strive for something better. I believe that having positive role models in our lives is imperative to our success.

I remember on one occasion, I wanted to ride my bike down to the local convenience store with a group of friends. It was a sunny Saturday morning and this was a day when my siblings and I were required to help out with various chores around the yard. I must have been about ten or eleven years old. On that particular Saturday, it was my job to weed one of our many flowerbeds. It happened to be the one that was full of prickly bushes that would fill out the bed about three feet in width and grew low to the ground. The trick was to pull all the weeds that would grow up between the bushes. This was a job that was detested by me and all of my siblings, and I assumed my parents as well. Otherwise, why would they always make sure that one of my brothers or I had this job?!

Other than the scratches and cuts up and down my gloveless arms, what I remember the most was having to go back and finish my job because I had not done it to the best of my ability. This experience taught me a great lesson in taking pride in what I do and learning the importance of doing a job right the first time so I didn’t have to go back and do it over! I have to admit our trip to the convenience store was one that I felt I deserved beyond any shadow of a doubt. That candy never tasted so sweet!

As I began my road to recovery, these early lessons began to come back into my mind. I was able to realize that without risks there can be no achievement. And without working hard and lots of practice, how would I ever get better and stronger?

Starting on the medication was a huge risk for me, but one that I was willing to take in order to achieve a more fulfilling life. A better life! As the medication began to take effect, I was able to start thinking more clearly and rationally. I began to enjoy the simple moments in my life as a young mother. Bathing and feeding my young family became rituals that I relished. Even their mischievous moments became more enjoyable.

For example, the time I was overcome with panic, unable to find my four year old daughter McKayla. I had searched the house three times yelling out her name. I had sent five and half year old Chris, to scour the neighborhood homes. I had looked under the beds, just in case she had fallen asleep in one of her favorite hiding places, all to no avail. I called my husband at work in a panic. He reassured me that she would turn up and urged me to continue searching. We both knew how much she liked playing “hide and go seek”.

I hung up the phone, said a fervent prayer, and continued my hunt. As I was searching our toy room for the third time, I heard a muffled sneeze. I opened the closet door to reveal a “chicken-costume-clad” McKayla crouching ever so quietly in the corner. I scooped her into my arms and sobbed as relief swept over me. “Why wouldn’t you answer me when I called, sweetheart?” I questioned. With her innocent blue eyes, she looked up at me and said, “I thought you would get angry because I am wearing my costume, I’m sorry mommy.”

She had a dance recital coming up and I had asked her not to play in her chicken costume. As I documented this experience later on, I was able to see the improvement in my ability to stay “pulled together” at a time when previously, I would have been unable to cope. At the same time, it helped me to see how much I had missed feeling emotion. It felt so good to “feel” again.

But even though I had experiences like that one from time to time, for the most part my emotions remained on an even keel ninety percent of the time. I knew, that because of this glimpse of how good it felt to “feel”, I wanted more. I wanted something even better! I wanted to enjoy every positive moment. I wanted to feel sad when conditions called for sadness. Happy when things went well. And I started feeling as if the medication kept me from feeling some of these emotions. At times, I felt simply numb to emotion.

That is when I began to seek for something better. I have always been an avid reader. I loved to go to our local library. To this day, I have a stack of books beside my bed waiting to be read. I consider myself a “bookworm” because I rarely finish a book. I simply “worm” my way through looking for things that apply to me and my situation. I am a big fan of self-help and motivational books. So it was at this time that I made a trip to the library and returned with about eight books on depression, more specifically on alternative forms of healing.

As I read and reread I was able to see a common thread amongst most theories. Nutrition and physical exercise play a big part in maintaining our hormonal balance. But what I remember most was reading about serotonin, the brains own natural anti-depressant and tranquilizer. And I was intrigued that physical exercise played such a key role in the release of mood-enhancing substances known as endorphins. When endorphin levels become elevated so does one’s mood and vice versa. “This is it,” I thought “this is the key!”

I decided then and there that I was going to be in control of my own destiny. I had read enough and documented enough of my current patterns, to know that to go off of the medication “cold turkey” was not only dangerous, but could also set me up for an all-time low! Something I definitely did not want to have happen. I had worked so hard to come as far as I had. Instead I formulated a plan and set some goals, working with my physician. Together we devised a plan to wean me slowly off the medication. I had been working hard to exercise on a daily basis for about two years which explains the glimpses of emotion I had experienced.

Another major key in fighting depression is our diet. So I set out to find a nutrition plan that I could live with. Sifting through the wealth of information on nutrition is a job in and of itself! But as you are searching for something that will work for you here are some hints that I have found helpful. Be careful to avoid those that promise a “quick fix”. Avoid the diets that eliminate whole food groups. Make sure that whatever you choose, it is something that you can continue for the long term. If you have a hard time sticking with something for 2 weeks, you will never be able to stay with it for life. And above all, try to find a plan that works with your family as well. There is nothing harder than trying to fix yourself something different than your family. And it is just as important that they learn healthy habits too!

I have found that moderation seems to work the best. Instead of eliminating your favorite foods just try to learn how to enjoy them in moderation. Now, this is really important! Though I personally have learned how to function normally without the help of medication, and what works for me, does not mean that it will work for everyone. And it won’t always work for me, for that matter. I want to reiterate the importance of working with your personal physician and or therapist to find what works for you. There are so many options available today!

Throughout the years there have been times when I have let my priorities get out of line and I have not paid attention to what my body was trying to tell me and have had to return to medication. It’s not the end of the world! It is an option that is available to us and personally, I am so grateful for that! Whether you decide to try medication or not, definitely consider taking on an exercise program. This is where the list of priorities from chapter one begins to play in.

I hear so many people say that they cannot find the time to exercise. I agree that with a family, a husband, a job and all of our household duties, it is difficult. But if you make it a priority, even if it means getting up an hour earlier than everyone else, or giving up on your afternoon nap when your children are sleeping, you do it for one reason; Until you start taking care of yourself you really can not effectively care for anyone else.

Once you realize this you will be on your way to making some very positive changes!

Your assignment: Look back on your list of priorities that you made in chapter one and make sure that you are still working on them. If not, recommit to making this a priority! In your journal or on your calendar start to document your highs and lows and record your emotions. This will, not only help you to see and understand more about yourself and your emotions, but will also help your physician in making a correct diagnosis, should you choose to see one. Also, I highly recommend starting an exercise program. I truly believe that this is probably the key change that I made and have continued to do throughout my life that has kept me from slipping back into those major bouts of depression. Plus it keeps you young and looking great and that alone helps improve our spirits!

Thanks for reading today. I hope you are enjoying the book. Talk to you all again soon.

XO Wendy

Willing to change

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. This is episode 39.

Chapter 2 

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up each time we fail.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson —

I want you to stop and think for a minute about all of the people you know that you would define as successful. I believe that you will find, as I did, that one of the common denominators that each of these individuals have, has to do with the pace they choose to set for their lives.

It has been shown in many studies that people who lead a busy life are more efficient and more effective people in general. Why is this? Most people would tend to believe that the opposite is true. But the main reason lies in the fact that busy people don’t sit around waiting for life to happen to them, they go out and make life happen for them!

When I graduated from high school I earned a cheerleading scholarship to attend College as well as a partial academic scholarship. It was my first experience away from home. Granted, it was only an hour drive so I could go home if the need arose. However, I was determined to survive on my own merits and so I tried to go home only on special occasions and when I had free time.

Free time was a rare commodity because I also chose to work as much as I could, to ease the financial burden on my parents. So between school, cheerleading practices, games, dating, and work, there was little time for homework let alone homesickness.

But on one particular day I was feeling relatively “blue”. Had I known what I know now, I would have been able to see this as a clear symptom of depression. It was a gray, and rainy morning and it just so happened that my first class was very early (due to work and practice commitments). To tell you the honest truth, the only reason I kept attending this class was that fact that I was really hoping for a date with a cute guy in the class!

I walked into class that morning ready to sleep through most of it, as usual, but to my surprise found written vertically on the board in huge capital letters the word PACE.

My professor proceeded to ask the class if they knew what this word meant. Most of us yelled out various definitions such as, setting the progression of an event, rate of movement, distance covered by a runner, and so on. Not one of us could give him the answer that he wanted to hear. And so he began to break it down. Positive Attitude Changes Everything! You control the PACE at which you will build your life, one experience at a time. You, and you alone control your attitude. Yes, you will experience ups and downs in this life. Yes, you will have heartache and happiness in this life. And yes, you will always be in control of the attitude with which you choose to face these experiences.

You have the power to learn and grow and become better because of these experiences. You also have the power to use these experiences as a crutch or a thorn in your side. To say, “If it wasn’t for this. . . I could have been this. . .” or “If this hadn’t happened. . . I would have been a better wife, mother, father, husband, daughter, friend, etc.” It’s time to throw out the “should haves”, “would haves”, and “if only’s”!

“Wow!” I thought. The rest of the class was a blur because I knew that with that one important lesson he was talking directly to me! I began to regret the many times that I had slept through the class thinking I “should have” taken a different class, and realized for the first time in my life that I literally had the power to control my own destiny!

Mind you, this was a small glimmer of hope, for there were many events that would take place in my life that would teach me the importance of putting that thought into action. I have to give credit to my parents, because they are two of the best role models anyone could hope for. My parents did everything they could to help me to learn that it was up to me what I would make of my life.

They helped me to build a strong foundation of religious belief, a love of God and family, and strong moral values. For this I will be eternally grateful. There have been many times when I have turned to this foundation of strength and endurance.

But there comes a time in every person’s life when they have to find these truths out for themselves. Some will call this awakening, discovering your identity. I like to call it “setting the PACE”. When everything that you have experienced in your life up to this point comes together like the pieces of a puzzle that suddenly connect.

When you finally realize, “Hey! I can make a difference in this life. I have just as much right to be whomever I want to be as any other person, regardless of what I have had to endure or what I will have to endure in the future!”

But this requires more than a thought, it requires action. Now don’t suppose that after that my life became perfect, full of sunshine and happiness. In fact, this was a small awakening that I would look back on to draw strength from, in my deepest, darkest moments.

NOTE: It’s important to take a breather here and explain that as many of you know, life happens and things can change drastically over the years. In the next section I will be talking about my former husband, who remains a good friend to this day. Was that marriage a mistake? Absolutely not. It was part of my journey and helped shape me into the person I am today. And we got 4 beautiful and amazing children along the way.

Now back to the book.

Shortly after this realization, I decided it was time to set my life on a course that I had always dreamed of. More than anything I wanted to be a wife and a mother. It just so happened that my future husband, had been chasing me relentlessly. You know the statement, “Sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees?”

Well, in this case that statement rang true. This boy moved into my neighborhood when I was just eight years old and he was eleven. I will never forget my Father looking me directly in the eyes one night over dinner and saying, “Now Wendy, that’s the type of family you want to marry into!” My response was that of a typical eight year old, “Daaaaaad, ewwww!” To this day I still have not figured out how he knew before I did that that boy was the one I would eventually marry.

Our courtship was not easy. To say it was bearable would be a great understatement! My future husband would probably tell you that he would prefer to be hit by lightning than to go through our courtship again! Over a period of about a year and half, I single handedly succeeded in getting him to fall hopelessly in love with me. How I managed to do this I will never know. I think I did everything I could to torture him and drive him away.

We lived just three houses apart from each other on a dead end subdivision. I lived at the top of the street and he lived near the outlet. This put him in the perfect spot to see me drive up and down the street with various dates. Over that year and a half, we dated and then broke it off half a dozen times, and it was during those times that I proceeded to torture him.

I truly did not intend to do this. I felt that we had made it clear to each other that neither of us would have a problem with seeing the other person dating someone else. So you can imagine my surprise when he proceeded to feed me a little of my own medicine. Over a period of three weeks he made sure that I saw him having a great time with three different and very beautiful girls. Little did I know that he had no particular interest in any of them. One was “just a friend”, one was his friend’s date, and only one was actually a girl that he had any interest in. This didn’t matter to me, because what you see and what you feel can be two very different things and I felt jealous!

Not just a little bit, I was extremely jealous! To make matters worse, not only was I jealous, my mother was jealous for me! I knew it was time to make my move I had to reclaim my status with him! Now this may seem egotistical and I assure you that I really had no intention of raining on anyone’s parade, but I had finally realized what I was giving up and I wasn’t going down without a fight!

Fortunately, it never came to out and out combat. Whatever I had done to get him to fall in love with me must have been the right thing because he unloaded her like a bad habit! Lucky for me, he is a patient and very tolerable man. He has been the “wind beneath my wings” so many times I have lost count. To say he brings out the best in me would be a great disservice to him. He has treated me as if I were what I ought to be thus, I have become what I am capable of being. I hope that I do the same for him.

Having related this experience, let’s get back to setting the PACE. You see, I had to tell you a little bit about my husband in order for you to understand what he had to endure for most of the first eight years of our marriage. We brought our first child into this world just ten short months after we were married. Then seventeen months later, we had our first daughter. It was at this point that I realized how hard being a mother really is and I remember looking into my husband’s eyes and saying, “If you want more children, it’s now or never because I am not going through this stage again once I am out of it.”

If you have ever had two children in diapers and on a bottle at the same time you will be able to relate. I was so not independent and I knew if I became independent again I would never want to go back to that lack of independence.

Unfortunately, I was setting myself up for a long and hard battle with depression. First of all, if you have ever had a child or you have witnessed someone who had a child, you know how hard it is to return to pre-pregnancy shape; both emotionally and physically. Following the birth of our second child, I became pregnant again within twenty two months. After eight short weeks of constant questioning of myself, “What was I thinking?”, I miscarried this pregnancy.

Instead of seeing this as a sign that maybe I wasn’t ready for another child at this point, I blamed myself for the miscarriage because of my constant questioning. Consequently, I became pregnant again and delivered a beautiful baby girl twenty seven months after our first daughter. I think at this point I had a “help me make it through this stage Lord, and everything will be ok. ” attitude.

Boy, was I ever in need of an attitude adjustment. And yes, boy number two came along twenty two months later. So if you are doing the math, I had four children under the age five! What a nightmare! Not the children themselves, but my inability to deal with the task at hand and my ever changing hormones.

Now, you can see why I call my husband a patient man! Over the space of about four years I would go in and out of deep bouts with depression. I had a hard time coping with the mundane tasks of the day such as laundry, cooking, and cleaning up after the kids. Everything seemed overwhelming and instead of tackling one task at a time I gave up. Essentially this created a vicious circle. Not following through, giving up, and then berating myself for being such a terrible mother and person. It would get to the point where all I wanted to do was go to bed and wake up when it was all over. A serious sign of Post Partum depression.

Depression comes in different forms for everyone. So it is important that you understand that my experience with depression may not be what you have experienced but that does not make yours less real. Also it is imperative to understand that Depression is a condition that there is no cure for. Except in some cases of Post Partum Depression or other situational or environmental depression. And even then it’s tricky.

If you have been diagnosed with depression then you have to learn how to manage it so that the symptoms will be at a level that you can function with. There are many great medications available today that work very well and I highly recommend seeking out a professional who is trained in working with your specific form of depression to find out what works best for you.

For me, when a bout of depression is coming on I can actually feel a dark cloud settle upon me. It is so real to me that I feel like I could reach out and try to push it away. That’s when I know that something is out of balance and I need to re-evaluate what I have been doing. For you it might be much different.

The point is that it is important to get to know your body and your emotions well enough that you can manage it when it arises. During that four year period when I really did not know what was going on with my health, and the above situation would start to improve I would think, “Hey, things are looking up!” So what else would any normal person do at that point? You guessed it, I would take on another project. “I am woman, hear me roar”, right? Slowly and steadily, I was leading myself down a path where sometimes there is no return.

I was setting a PACE that had nothing to do with positive attitude and everything to do with lack of control. Because I felt that my abilities as a mother and a woman were out of control, I was looking for anything that I could control. As I sunk deeper into depression I struggled more to look like I was on top of it all, on the outside.

I wanted anyone and everyone to know that I was in control, when I knew full well I was anything but in control. If you have ever suffered from depression or know someone who has, you may be able to relate to this scenario. At home, behind closed doors I was falling apart and yet when I was around people I was very good at concealing what was really happening inside. I would put on what I like to call the “happy face” also known to many as the “mask”.

Of course this is not always the case, a lot of how we act and react has to do with the stages of depression we are in and how many times we have hit the lows. I happened to be very fortunate to have someone who loves me finally pick me up off the floor and tell me, “This is not real life. You don’t have to live like this!” My husband helped me to realize that it was time to ask for help. This disease was bigger than me and it was dangerously out of control!

Over the next few years I began my long road to recovery. It was never easy. My first step was to visit a therapist and talk about my options. This woman helped me to see that choosing to be on medication was not surrendering to the disease, but the beginning of the fight. She helped me to realize what my pattern had been for each bout of depression that I had experienced and what I could likely expect over the coming months.

She pointed out to me the pros and cons of being on medication. This was something that I could not have done for myself because I was not thinking rationally at that point. I feel that she helped me to understand that I needed an attitude adjustment, I needed to be willing to change my lifestyle and I needed to be able to think clearly so that I could set a new PACE.

As painful as change can be there is always growth and opportunity waiting to occur. For me, this meant starting on the road to recovery with what any person should do who has a disease, and that is to take the proper steps to help your body heal.

Even with all the controversy and stigma at that time over anti-depressants and depression in general, I couldn’t justify not taking this chance. It was a badly needed light at the end of the tunnel, it gave me hope! 

Your Assignment: 

Find a notebook or buy a cute fancy journal (whatever helps you want to write), and write down your feelings and experiences. You may think that this is a waste of time but, I can’t tell you how many times I have looked back on what I wrote during those down times.

Whenever I read the words that I penned myself, it helps me to know that things did get better, even when I could see no way out. Generally, I am not one who would push people to see a therapist.

But in the case of depression or the meriad of other emotionally dysfunctioning diseases, I highly recommend talking to someone about what you are experiencing. Even if it is just to sit down and have a real “heart to heart” with your husband, mother, sister, best friend, or clergyman.

Talking things out and getting them out in the open will not only let someone else in on what you are feeling, but it also helps you to sort things out in your mind. Talking it out and admitting that you might need some outside help, that what you are doing is not working, is the first step on your road to recovery. And believe me, what lies beyond that first step is worth the risk of putting it all out there. Hiding behind the “happy face” is no way to really LIVE life!

Keep up the pace

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


Eating Nutritiously

Staying organized

Giving Service

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

Scrap Booking

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.


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.