One year ago today, my family's story appeared on A Current Affair. It was the 23rd of June 2014. Approximately one week before, I received an email from a producer telling me they were doing a story about living on a budget. Would I be able to help them ? Oh my goodness !!!! My heart skipped a beat and I started shaking. I quickly told Darren about the email. This was our chance, This was the opportunity we had been waiting on God for. We knew we had a story to tell, we had lived this story for so long.
I replied to the email with excitement and shared a few ideas. The producer ( Stef ) quickly rang me to see what else I could share. We had a lovely conversation but when I mentioned that I fed my family for $270 a month, Stef almost came through the phone ( it was so funny ). She said that a reporter by the name of Ben Mc Cormack would be ringing me to have a further chat. He rang a few nights later with a list of questions to answer. We spent about 30 - 45 minutes on the phone discussing all sorts of budget related topics. He too couldn't get over our low food budget.
We arranged to meet at Aldi a couple of days later to start filming. In the mean time, the planning for the story was big. My family helped me tidy up around our home. Not that it really needed it but we wanted to present ourselves in the best light possible. For two nights I couldn't sleep. I had so many ideas whirling around in my head that I couldn't settle. The night before filming, I wrote all my ideas down. I had so much to share that I didn't want to forget anything. That night I slept like a baby.
The filming for the story went smoothly. The camera crew were wonderful and very supportive. I couldn't have asked for a better crew. In fact, I had prayed that God would send the right people for this amazing story. God provided and I'll be forever grateful to God and A Current Affair for their wisdom in sending Ben, Drew ( camera ) and Johann ( sound ). Whatever I had to share, they eagerly filmed. I can honestly say that nothing was made up to " create " a story. Everything that was filmed was and to this day, is exactly what my family does to live on a small budget.
After two days of filming we said our goodbyes. I was a little sad as we'd all formed a special bond over the story and I didn't know if I'd ever see them again. Since then I done five more stories with Ben and three with Drew. We just work so well together.
It was five days of waiting from the time the story was filmed until it went to air. That's when the nerves set in. I knew this story could possibly change lives. I knew this story would be talked about. I prayed during those five days that my family's story would help those who needed help. I also prayed the story would be an inspiration to those who couldn't find any hope. Nothing could have prepared me for what was to follow.
After the story went to air, Darren's facebook page was buzzing. ( I wasn't on facebook at the time ). The emails and texts started coming through from family and friends. The next day I received phone calls from Stef and the camera crew asking if I was happy with the story. I was thrilled. They couldn't have done a better job. The story was the second highest rating story on A Current Affair in the last four years. OH MY GOODNESS !!! It was bigger than I had ever expected or dreamed. No, I'm not big noting myself. I'm really not that sort of person. My family's story had struck a cord with so many struggling families across Australia.
So much has happened since the 23rd of June 2014. So much more than we'll ever know. I've received emails from strangers who now feel like someone understands why they live frugally. These emails have bought tears of happiness to me. Even to this day, just about every time I'm out and about, I'm recognised and stopped by strangers who want to talk about my tv stories. So many have shared their own story with me. So many are inspired to live the Abundant Life on a budget. So many see hope for their own family.