Sunday, April 29, 2012


For the last week I’ve been going to the library everymorning before going to work. It’s a pleasant place, a library in the morning, in your housecoat, with your hair still askew and your eyes barely open. I am preparing a summer reading collection, biographies, fiction, a little history, a really fine assortment of materials to keep me happy all summer. What better place to do it than at the CNIB Library, now that it has revised its website? If you are an eligible client of theirs, you can browse for books, locate audio and braille editions, and download them to read on your own personal machines. It’s a miracle really. If he were here, I am certain that Sir William Mulock would be delighted by the development. He was, in his day, a forward-looking fellow, the kind who would implement snazzy new ideas. In 1898, Postmaster General Sir William Mulock granted free postage, known as franking, for all braille material sent through the mail. Later, after the invention of sound recording, audio books were granted the same privilege. It would be impossible to calculate how much it would have cost to distribute all the braille and talking books by mail over the past 114 years. Until very recently, almost all blind canadians ordered books from the CNIB Library in Toronto and waited for them to arrive in the mail. But times have changed. I was getting CNIB books by mail before Canada had its 100th birthday. I was getting them before anybody got to the moon. And getting books free in the mail was a wondrous thing which I loved, and I doubt if any Canadian was more grateful to Sir William than I was. But getting books on the Internet, in the cool of the morning, before leaving for work is even better.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


Statistics predict the future based on the past. They are important in telling us how things were. And here is something to remember when you get to thinking that things never change for women. For more than 100 years there was virtually no chance that the Premier of Alberta would be a female. And then, in 2012, there was only one question: In the race of five leaders, which of the two female contenders would get the position?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Join Wendy Edey and Carol Jeanotilla on a live broadcast of The Hope Journal Show from Denver, Thursday April 26, 9:00 AM Mountain Daylight Time. Wendy will be discussing the psychology of hope, the language of hope and the role that humor plays in hope. Listen-in live on your computer by going to www.castlerockradio. The broadcast will last 1 hour.

Friday, April 20, 2012


This week I attended the Knowledge Sharing Forum for the Alberta provincial Family Violence Treatment Program. It was truly an enlightening experience. The room was filled with probation officers, group facilitators, addicitions counsellors, social workers and psychologists. The mood was distinctly positive. I hadn’t really known what to expect, but I do know I wasn’t expecting that. The last time I attended such a meeting they were talking about confronting the offenders, forcing them to take responsibility for their actions. The tone was aggressive. It was hard to find a place for our hope and strengths strategies in that emotional climate. But that was then, and this was now. I met many hard-working people who are deeply proud of the work they are doing. The work is positive yet honest. There is a recognition that many offenders hope to be something other than violent, that they would do things differently if they knew how. There is an enthusiasm about working constructively with that hope.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


My sister brought her iPhone to my house, loaded with an ap for blind people. She took a picture of the Angel Food box.
“Angel Food,” said the iPhone. That impressed me a little bit, but only a little bit. We’ve had the ability to convert text to speech for 30 years.
She took a picture of the flower vase on my table.
“Glass flower vase,” said the iPhone. Now that impressed me. Of course I already knew it was a glass flower vase, but a thing that can take a picture of a flower vase, and translate that picture into words, might just change the world.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


So much of what we learn in one profession helps us to understand other professions. When it comes to understanding how humans decide what to do, it’s “Feel first, think later,” according to Julie Sedivy, co-author of Sold on Language: How Advertisers Talk to You and What This Says About You. This, I believe, is why hope talk works. When we talk hope in a structured, confident manner, we feel hope, and we act out hope also.
It works with people who have depression, and it works with people who have chronic pain. It works for athletes, for corporate boards and also for advertisers.

Saturday, April 07, 2012


Put two ideas into a jar, shake well, open the jar, and see what you have.
Will it be humour, some fabulous new invention, or two separate ideas—shaken, but not combined?
I have built a career on the two-idea mixing concept. You can see it played out if you consult the Internet in a search for the answer to the question: “What does she do, anyway?” You can see the combining there, lodged in the titles of speeches made and articles published. What do you get when you combine hope with getting old, with offender treatment, with having Parkinson’s Disease, with parenting a child with disabilities? What do you get when you combine hope with being a cancer physician, a corporate CEO, a refugee, a patient getting her teeth cleaned? What do you get when you combine hope theory and practice with the work that counsellors do?
How I love the things you learn when you shake ideas in a jar! No wonder I’ve been so fond of the career that chose me! No wonder I’m so often fascinated by the things that happen when others combine and shake ideas. Take this combination, for example: THE SOUND OF TASTE
Did you know that bacon taste better to people who hear the sound of its frying? This is true, according to Barb Stuckey, food inventor, idea shaker and author of Taste What You’re Missing.

Friday, April 06, 2012


There are quite a few things I would do,
like getting my driver’s license,
and catching people’s eye.
Among other things,
I’d identify birds by using bird books.

What could be more fun
Than flipping through the pages,
Spying a bird with a cry of
“That’s the one!”

Me: I heard the most beautiful bird song this morning. I was talking to Donna on the phone at the time and I just had to open the door so she could hear it too.
Him: There’s a new bird in the robin’s nest on the veranda this year.
Me: What kind of bird?
Him: I don’t know what it is.
Me: Maybe it’s the bird with the beautiful song.
Him: Maybe. It has a very red breast.
Me: But not a robin?
Him: Smaller than a robin.
Me: And it’s head?
Him: Red head.

If I were a blind person,
I would try to remember
That I live in 2012
When anybody can go to the computer
And search for “smaller than a robin, red head, red breast, Alberta.”

Me: I think it’s a house finch.
Him: (looking at screen) I don’t know. I’ll wait until I see it again.
Me: I am sure it’s the song of the house finch.

If I have to be a blind person,
And it does seem that I do,
Then I’m glad to be one in 2012,
Even if I can’t say for absolute certain it’s a house finch,
Because here I sit, blogging,
While listening on the computer to a most beautiful bird song.

Thursday, April 05, 2012


I am delighted that we have female party leaders running in our election.
I hope women will be as comfortable in politics as men are.
I hope to help them be comfortable by promoting a Name It, Change It a website that identifies how sexism in the media gives male candidates the upper edge when it comes to getting elected, and provides a media guide to help media write fairly about female and male candidates.
I hope our media will use that media guide.
I hope we will support the media writers who use the guide, and withdraw attention and support from those media outlets who choose to get attention by disadvantaging females in politics through sexist coverage.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

hope and strengths strategies for health care professionals

Sign up now for this workshop presented by Wendy edey and Rachel Stege!

Saturday, May 5, 2012.
9:00am until 4:00pm.

The Hope Foundation of Alberta presents a 1-day workshop for Healthcare Professionals who would like to:
* Learn strategies for talking about hope with patients
* Consider false hope, denial, and acceptance in the context of being hopeful
* Explore ways of maintaining your own hope while doing your work

Who: Healthcare professionals (Note: Participants should be actively working in a healthcare discipline)

Cost: $100/person. Lunch will be provided.

Call 492-1222 to register. Limited to 12 participants.

Monday, April 02, 2012


Here’s a hope story for you. 100 years ago a band of 8 musicians played to the end while the Titanic sank. People began telling the story as soon as the first survivors were rescued, and we are still telling it today. In fact, an artifact is now being examined to prove that it is, as claimed, the violin played by by the bandmaster, Wallace Hartley. Why is it that we cling to stories like these? Could it be that each of us hopes that, somewhere in us, there is a spring of untested courage that would bubble up at the last?
The Band Played On: The Untold Story of the Musicians Who Went Down with the Titanic

Sunday, April 01, 2012


I am getting ready to speak at the Greater Edmonton Retired Teachers Association Second Wind Conference, taking inventory of my resources.
I will start with a good title. A good title gets you going. How about, Audacious Hope and the Search for the Future Me? That’s catchy. It puts your mind where it needs to be for a hope talk, in the future.
I’ll take hope tools. After all, the hope tools have built my speaking reputation. If anything can dig up hope, the hope tools will do it.
I’ll take a little humour, of course. That’s what people want in a keynote speech, a little humour with their morning coffee. Humour coats whatever else you put in a speech for easy digestion.
I’ll take my personal experience with teachers, not so much my experience as a student. Those experiences belong in hope talks at other conferences. But it just so happens that I live in a family populated by passionate teachers, hard-working teachers, retired teachers, first-year teachers, experienced teachers in the prime of their careers. Teaching, I have learned from them, can be an enormously challenging, often frustrating, and absolutely fabulous career. On any given day, in any given year, teaching is more or less of any of these three. I understand the idea of a passionate career. It gives me hope.
Then also, because I have no choice in the matter, I’ll take along my own body, the body of a woman my age, a body which, to my consternation, often requires that I call meetings of its parts to assemble an order of things before agreeing to get up after sitting on the floor, or spending a long night in bed. It refuses to remember those university days when I used to choose sitting on the floor. I’ve tried to make it promise better days. But so far it hasn’t been the greatest listener.
Remembering other times, like the times when I was a parenting expert, those times before I had any kids, I wonder if it would be easier to give a hope talk to retired teachers if I had the body of a 30-year-old.