One Phrase Guaranteed To Enhance Your Relationships

By Dan Ohler

Do you want to build greater trust and enhance your relationships?

All of the people we coach would answer a very loud and strong, “yes.”

Focus on What’s Strong; Rather than What’s Wrong 

Last spring, I met Peter Kenyon from Australia.  Peter travels the world, speaking to organizations and working in communities to support them to believe in themselves.  In doing so, they create meaningful change using the ABCDE model (Asset Based Community Driven Effort).  Peter uses the phrase, “We need to focus on what’s strong; rather than what’s wrong.”

It’s so simple, yet application of it takes dedication, commitment, and hard work. Unfortunately, it is too easy to look at, talk about, and focus on the faults, inadequacies, and what we don’t have. It becomes habitual and occupies many hours for citizens at the coffee shop.

When community citizens get together and have conversations about what’s strong (their abilities, talents, and resources), amazing results occur.  We’ve experienced this in Sangudo, and I could give you dozens of other community development success stories.

Focus on What’s Strong; Rather than What’s Wrong

It occurred to me that this exact same phrase has been powerful in my personal life.  Years ago, my mind was continually filled with thoughts, and sometimes spoken words, such as:

“I’m not smart enough.”

“I’ll never be able to do that.”

“I’m too shy.”

“I’m …” (you fill in the blank with your own)

Each time I would think or say those statements, they reaffirmed my smallness and insecurities.  Through much hard mental work, I learned how to override these limiting thoughts and to utilize my strengths – to focus on what’s strong, rather than what’s wrong.  As my self-confidence and self-esteem continues to increase, I am able to accomplish things I would never have considered in the past. I experience great satisfaction, happiness, and fulfillment.

Focus on What’s Strong; Rather than What’s Wrong

This phrase can also be powerful in a couple-relationship.

Like most couples, Carol and I went through a fun and amazing “honeymoon” stage.  BUT, like most couples, the orgasmic bliss began to dwindle as I realized that Carol was not the perfect person I thought she was.  I started seeing her faults and weaknesses.  The more I noticed and focused on them, more appeared and they all became bigger.  I was building a brick wall of guck between us.  Each time I identified another weakness, I placed another brick in the wall. Over time, the wall became so big that I lost sight of Carol’s strengths, talents, and the amazing qualities she has – yet they were still there on the other side of the wall.

When I reflect back, I was actively searching for more weaknesses.  In some sick unconscious way, I believe it helped me feel stronger or “right,” or justified in how I treated Carol. The ludicrous part is that Carol was making a big list of my weaknesses and building a brick wall too – a double wall of guck between us!

Any of this sound familiar to you? What bricks have you built between you and your partner?

Focus on What’s Strong; Rather than What’s Wrong

Carol and I enrolled into intense personal development training and coaching – together.  Neither of us had the courage or long-term grit to keep on with this kind of work on our own.

With support, we realized that the bricks were our own made-up stories about the other person.  We began to take the walls apart, one brick at a time. The bricks were heavy and it was hard mental and emotional work. Working together, it was much easier because we could support each other.

As we began to focus on what’s strong, rather than what was wrong, we began to see the real, genuine, loving, powerful human being on the other side.

We’ve been working on this for years, and it still takes conscious effort to override the part of our brain that likes to go into old filing cabinets and find the guck.  It’s weird, yet in times of stress or overwhelm, it can be too easy to fall into the old habits.

Focus on What’s Strong; Rather than What’s Wrong

Regardless of the quality of your relationship with your partner, what might happen for you if you focus on what’s strong, rather than what’s wrong?

What would it take for you to begin making a list of your partner’s strengths, traits, abilities, and talents?

What results might occur when you verbally acknowledge one or two of those things you admire?

How does it feel for you now, when you think about those qualities that were, and still are part of the human being you fell in love with?

What might happen for you now, if you consciously, consistently and persistently watched for (even searched for) more amazing abilities and traits, and add them to your list?

These are all things you control. What your partner thinks, says, or does is not in your control, so you can let that go.


Focus on What’s Strong; Rather than What’s Wrong

When, specifically, are you going to begin?


Dan & Carol Ohler are Relationship Alchemists.  Through coaching, they support you to make your relationships GOLD.  Call them at 780-785-3700. Check out their website



Pipeline Editorial – June 2018

Well it would seem that the big news this week, this month is pipeline.  The ongoing and unending saga of how we get our oil through the all the roadblocks that our seemingly unfriendly neighbor, BC, keeps throwing up.  The pipeline seems to me like it is essential to Canada. Until now almost all of our oil has been sold to the US but if we expand our customer base into the Pacific Rim we will make more money.  Seems logical to me.  Kinder Morgan’s original application was submitted back in 2013 and they have played by all the rules both provincially and federally since.  They have had to exercise much patience only to find themselves constantly wrapped up in sticky myriad of bureaucratic red tape. Last week they delivered an ultimatum, which in actuality does not seem entirely unreasonable, that if they did not receive some assurances that the project would be able to move forward without all of the significant obstacles that they have been faced with, they would walk away from the project.

In steps the federalists to save the day…Reportedly, Ottawa is now spending 4.6 Billion of taxpayers money to buy not only the pipeline but all of Kinder Morgan’s other core Canadian Assets. Then what? Will all the problems of building and moving forward suddenly disappear because of this little move.  Ok, not so little, since those are our tax dollars that the government is freely spending.  And why in all the reports does it say that Ottawa bought the project, Ottawa will invest, and Ottawa will take care of sorting this out.  Is Ottawa not made up of Canadians that represent this country from east to west.  I  wonder why I get really irritated by the term “Ottawa”.  Oh boy… That is likely a whole other editorial in itself.

This blurb from the Edmonton Journal Editorial Board pretty much says all :

The federal government announced Tuesday it is buying the Trans Mountain pipeline, the expansion project to twin it, and all of Kinder Morgan’s core Canadian assets for $4.5 billion plus other costs.

That’s one way to get a pipeline built.

Nationalizing a major infrastructure project from Canada’s private sector is certainly not how the process is supposed to work, but little about the Trans Mountain expansion has gone the way it ought to according to either rule of law or convention.

Instead, an energy company which has followed the rules in good faith, spent nearly a billion dollars in development and undergone exhaustive vetting to win regulatory approval has been impeded at every turn by opponents, including the government of British Columbia and the cities of Burnaby and Vancouver with what amount to nuisance court actions, given how Kinder Morgan has so far won 16 of these legal challenges in a row.

For its part, the Trudeau government greenlighted Trans Mountain in November 2016 and has long insisted the project is in the national interest because Canada loses $15 billion every year as a result of currently limited access to export markets outside the U.S

But before Tuesday’s announcement, Ottawa has done little to advance the project. Despite its constitutional authority over the interprovincial pipeline, the federal government brushed off the impasse as a sibling spat between B.C. and Alberta — ignoring or failing to recognize that by stalling Trans Mountain, B.C. Premier John Horgan was thumbing his nose not at Alberta, but Ottawa.

Perhaps when the federal government is paying the bills, it will take B.C.’s stonewalling of Trans Mountain more seriously.

So instead of settling these jurisdictional issues or enforcing its will, the Trudeau government has decided to spend its way out of trouble. The project will proceed under the ownership of a Crown corporation with hopes of eventually finding new buyers.

Direct government investment is far from the preferred solution but not entirely unprecedented either. Justin’s father, Pierre Trudeau, created Petro-Canada in the 1970s to further domestic energy interests while the Alberta government rescued Syncrude by bringing in other government partners to take ownership stakes. And let’s not forget 2009, when the federal and Ontario governments spent more than $13 billion to bail out North American auto makers.

Nationalizing Trans Mountain is a drastic and costly step but this is a case of the end result justifying the means so vital is this pipeline to the Alberta and Canadian economies.

What’s ironic is that by obstructing Trans Mountain so effectively, Horgan and other B.C. pipeline opponents will now be among its part-owners.”

Local editorials are the consensus opinion of the Journal’s editorial board, comprising Mark Iype, Dave Breakenridge, Sarah O’Donnell and Bill Mah.


A Final Tribute to Wayne Fortin

Last month I did a front page dedicated to Wayne Fortin and covered his celebration of life just briefly.  I said that his story would be continued this month in the Keep Me Journal and true to my word I have done a little digging into the Fortin history because I believe local heroes deserve to be recognized for their accomplishments during their time here on this earth.

That being said, The Keep Me Journal is going to continue with a historical article every month.  It may be about one of the founding families or another piece of history from Sangudo’s history.  I would like to reach out to the surrounding communities and encourage them to submit interesting facts, stories  or memorabilia from their past as well.  If you send it to me I will make every effort to print it!  Now as promised  a bit of history on the Wayne Fortin and the Fortin family.

Wayne Fortin  1940 – 2018.  The important part of that statement is not the 1940 or the 2018, the important part is the dash and everything it represents.  It is what happened between 1940 and 2018.  Its what people talk about when hearing Wayne’s name.  They don’t mention the year he was born and they will in a short period of time not really remember the year he died but they will remember many things that are represented by that seemingly insignificant little dash.  There was a lot that happened in those 77 years.  His friends and family tell me he loved trucking, that he was a trucking legend. However being new in this community the thing I got from both covering Wayne’s Celebration of Life and also catering  the event… The Fortin’s were and are loved by many starting before Wayne with his Dad and the very extensive Fortin family.

Wayne’s dad, Roy, arrived in this area with is parents and siblings back in 1912.  He later married Martha McConaghie in 1930 and they went on to have three boys, Carl, ,Harvey and Wayne was the youngest.  After they were married they settled in Sangudo, Ab and has a little house on the north end of town.  Roy had a new house built for his family in 1945, on the south side of Sangudo facing the Pembina river and it is still there today.

Roy created Fortin Transport in 1934 with his first truck which was an International with a wooden box and he started hauling grain and livestock.  By 1949 Roy had a very prosperous business and two body trucks.  The New Horizons book tells us that during that same year the Fortins suffered tragedy when the building that he stored his trucks in burned to the ground as well as the 29 loaded hogs ready for transport the next day.  This was a terrible loss.  Roy was resilient though from all I have read and his neighbor loaned him a truck and within one year Roy was back in the good and had two trucks of his own again.  He continued to haul livestock, some freight but I found out he also hauled the beer order for the Sangudo Hotel.  I am sure many were thankful for that!  In 1951  Roy and Martha were ready to start farm life and they started a dairy farm north of Sangudo which Roy and his son Harvey farmed .  Carl and Wayne continued the Fortin trucking business and they trucked until February of  2000 when they sold Fortin Transport to Ross Bohnet.  At the time of the sale Fortin Transport held one of the oldest operating authorities in Alberta.

After the sale of Fortin Transport, Wayne went on to drive for Lynden Transport,  Schmidt Livestock in Barrhead, AB.  He also drove  Grossenbacher Trucking, Degner Farms,Graydon Trucking and TGT Transport & Holdings.  This man truly loved trucking.

Wayne married Irene Hanson in 1966 and they have one daughter, Michele born in 1970.

Wayne and Irene love to travel, loved camping, playing cards and they were big pro rodeo fans.  Irene worked for CIBC for 35 years before retiring.  They loved and doted on their grandchildren Bryar and Shelbie.  Sadly, Irene passed before Wayne in 2011.

I am told that Wayne had a way of making people laugh with some of his antics.  He and his buddy Larry McBride would as young lads get caught swimming in the town water tower.  The two of them are said to have created a lot of mischief together.

By all accounts, this man will be missed by many.  He left  his mark on many hearts in and around this area.  I was witness to that when 500 people showed up to pay their respects at his Celebration of Life.  I suspect those words were never truer regarding anyone…. Celebrate his life friends and family, by all accounts it was great one!

The Reeves Message

May 2018

 The overland flooding has receded and the hot weather has once again returned, but with it comes the risk of fire. Lac Ste. Anne County is now under a Complete Fire Ban so please ensure that you follow the rules and report any wildfire to 9-1-1 with exact location to assist Lac Ste. Anne County Fire Personnel in locating and extinguishing these fires in a timely fashion. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.

Speaking of fire, Council wishes to congratulate Firefighter Dale Deschepper – Station 3 Rich Valley, and District Fire Chief Eugene Lewis, Station 5 Darwell for each receiving the Federal Fire Services Exemplary Service Medal for 20 years of exemplary service to Canadians on behalf of the Governor General of Canada. Great job guys, you make us proud!

After much deliberation and discussion with Administration, County Council passed the 2018-2020 Operating and 2018-2027 Capital Budget at the April 26th, 2018 Regular County Council meeting. Also at this meeting, we were joined by the Darwell Grade Six students as they are currently learning about Municipal Government in school. They were given a guided tour of the new Administration Office and were able to attend part of the Regular County Council meeting, where they had a first-hand look at how a proper Council meeting is run. We were happy to host the students for a hot dog lunch prepared by Council and staff! What a great opportunity to learn about local government.

The Public Works staff have been out on the County roads patching and applying dust control; please slow down and watch for workers.

And finally, on behalf of Council and myself, I would like to wish everyone a Happy Senior’s Week June 3-9, 2018! We invite everyone to attend the Lac Ste. Anne County Senior’s Tea Celebration which is happening at the Lessard Lake Outdoor Education center on Friday, June 8th, 2018. There will be a light lunch and refreshments served between 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m., and we are proud to be hosting HOJA as the entertainment. Please check out our website for more information and to pre-book for your FREE transportation to the event. We hope to see you there!

Give a Little; Gain a Lot: The simple secret to strengthen any relationship

By Dan Ohler

Can you imagine?  Can you imagine what it’s like to go to work or home, and have everyone getting along; treating each other with kindness, respect, and compassion?  Can you imagine people really communicating; they truly understand each other? You know what I mean; people speaking clearly and calmly while the other person focuses on just listening. Imagine that? And can you imagine what it’s like when everyone is happy and joyful all of the time?  Can you?

Probably not.  Bummer!!  We need to do something about this, don’t we?

Why doesn’t that scenario occur?

Here are some clues. These are from couples in their home-relationships and from executives and business owners in their workplaces. We hear these statements regularly in coaching sessions:

-“I wish she would give me some respect.”

-“He doesn’t seem to have time for us.”

-“I’d like her to show me some appreciation for what I do.”

-“He won’t help me with anything.”

-“We could use some more kindness around here.”

-“She won’t listen to me.”

Do any of those statements cross your mind at times? If so, you’re probably normal – not that normal leads to an abundance of happiness.

If you want to experience more of what was described in the first paragraph, here’s a challenge for you, should you choose to accept it.  Whatever you want more of, give it away.

That may seem ludicrous, but if you stop and think, it makes perfect sense.  If I were to say each of those statements above, they would indicate that I am focusing totally on me and my own needs.  They would indicate that I have given control of my experience of life, and my feelings, to someone else.  In other words, it would mean that what someone else says or does determines how I feel rather than me making the choice. Those statements above would indicate clearly that I am a victim in a huge way.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be a victim.

On the other hand, when I place my focus on the other person and what I can joyfully give, it totally changes my perspective.  It’s not about me, but about him or her.  I get to choose exactly how I feel regardless of how the other person accepts what I say or do.  And when I give away what I’m wanting, more of the same returns to me, expanded.

So here’s the application of the challenge, if you’re going to play along with me:

-If you want respect, intentionally be extremely respectful to every person, animal, or plant you encounter.

-If you want someone else’s time, give your time generously – to be there for the other person.

-If you’re feeling like you’re not being appreciated, be super appreciative about everything and everyone.  Find things about others you can praise, compliment, and appreciate.  And give the appreciation verbally so those you are appreciating hear it.  If we all did this many times a day, we could become an appreciation-nation.  Wouldn’t that be a swell change?

-If you’d like help, offer to help others.  And do it genuinely, joyfully, and without expectation of anything in return.

-If you want kindness to be shown toward you, be super-dooper kind to yourself and to others.  Search for ways to be kind in how you think, speak, and act.

-If others don’t seem to listen to you, become a listen-aholic.  Pay close attention to what others are saying and listen to understand them.  If you’re not sure, ask for clarification. And strive to keep your own mouth shut. It’s amazing what you can learn when you’re not talking.

Within a very short time, you’ll notice that what you want is beginning to come back to you in ways far bigger and better than you had imagined.

Is this a crock of s…&%#!?  I don’t think so.

Even if you think you’re good at this already, my challenge still stands. Whatever you want more of, give it away. From personal experience, I know it works.

I’d like to know about your experience with this – when you’ve given it your conscious attention and intention for at least seven full days.

I invite you to call me, email me, or text me.  I’m curious to know about you.


Dan & Carol Ohler are Relationship Alchemists.  Through coaching, they support you to make your relationships GOLD.  Call them at 780-785-3700. Check out their website

Minor Sports at Risk; More Volunteers Needed

So. It’s a very sad day in Sangudo when we don’t actually have enough parents stepping up to the plate to volunteer for their kids sporting organizations.  It was the decision of the Sangudo Minor Sports, at their meeting on April 16th, to dissolve the hockey portion of the organization.  The softball part of the organization is yet to be determined.  A special meeting is being held on May 10th, 2018 at the former David Ovans School in Sangudo to make a decision regarding the future of kids softball in Sangudo as well.  If enough parents and members do not show up and step up then the board will proceed to make a motion to dissolve the entire Sangudo Minor Sports organization.  I had a meeting with three of the executive members to learn more about this decision and was informed that unfortunately this has been a long time coming.  At last year’s AGM much of the same occurred and in desperation a couple of parents stepped up to save the day.  Hockey Alberta attended that meeting last year and saw the difficulties at the time so that they would be aware of the possible direction and the difficult decision the board could be faced with this year.  The AGM was poorly attended even though it was advertised in the Freelancer, on the website, on Facebook and every member received an individual email.

I asked the board what they felt this would mean for our Sangudo Arena. They said that it will be up to the Ag Society to determine that.  Mayerthorpe will be the destination hockey club for many of our children and they already have a shortage of ice so it could mean that we will rent our ice to that club going forward.  The bigger cities, like Spruce Grove and Stony Plain also suffer from a shortage of available ice time. If made known and available to them perhaps they would consider renting here as well.  Our men’s teams including The Raiders and the fun hockey league we hope to see continue this next season.

I also asked the question “What about the funds that the Sangudo Minor Sports has? How will  they be dispersed?” “We are a ways from making that decision” the board told me.  “Still a lot to be determined in the next few months.”  They did tell me they would keep me apprised of any decisions going forward.  Watch the paper for updates.


Quite a number of area truckers brought their rigs and had a procession in honour of Wayne Fortin starting from the large truck stop east of Sangudo and travelled west on Hwy 43 to the local Sangudo school where his service was to be held.

This past Saturday, April 21st, 2018, approximately 500 family and friends gathered together in Sangudo, AB to say a big beautiful goodbye to loved one, Wayne Fortin.

 Leonard Wayne Fortin, was born on August 28th, 1940 in Edmonton Hospital. He was raised in Sangudo, the same place he raised his own family, owned a trucking company in partnership with his brother Carl and contributed in a big way to the community that he loved so much.  Although he left Sangudo and moved to Barrhead, AB sometime around 2004, Sangudo was the place his family felt compelled to say their last goodbyes. After suffering a stroke on April 6th, Wayne passed away peacefully at University Hospital in Edmonton on April 11th.  He is survived by his daughter Michelle, his two grandchildren, Bryar Vining and Shelbie Vining and countless family and friends that will miss him dearly.  He was described more than once as a happy and always smiling man. This is very apparent looking at his pictures.

Message from the Reeve

During the month of March, Lac Ste. Anne County Council attended the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts (AAMDC) Conference, which will now be known as the Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) as their name has changed. At this conference, we were able to meet with the Council of Woodlands County to discuss mutual concerns both municipalities are currently facing. We also had a chance to meet with the Minister of Municipal Affairs, Shaye Anderson regarding MSI funding and the continuing struggles of a sustainable rural Alberta. There were many opportunities for discussions with our neighboring municipalities, the event was very worthwhile. We were also able to attend an Economic Development conference with representatives from the Town of Onoway and our Economic Development consultants, Keystone Strategies. At the March 29th, 2018 Regular County Council meeting we passed the first reading of the Tax Rate Bylaw and were presented with the Draft 2018-2020 Operating and 2018-2027 Capital Budget and will begin deliberation next week. Council also made a motion for Administration to do a full departmental review of our Fire Services and Public Works departments as soon as possible. We have a great Council made-up of a very diverse group of individuals full of pride and passion when it comes to moving forward
in our County.

On behalf of the Lac Ste. Anne County Council and our great staff, we wish everyone a safe and Happy Easter and hope that you get to enjoy the time with family and friends! Don’t forget that April is Cancer Awareness Month – to raise awareness and funds for Cancer, please support a great cause.

~~ Joe Blakeman, Division 5 Councillor

April 2018 Contest

Unscramble each word, email in all 5 correct answers, include your phone number and you will entered into a draw to win a pair of tickets to :

The Cookhouse on Main’s Kickoff ConcertApril 2018 Contest
The Slocan Ramblers on April 30
Draw Date will be April 18th at Connections last concert.


Email Answers to: