Sunday, January 22, 2012

Amazing Support

This past week, Jocelyn, Stacey, Jennifer and I met with the Family Therapist expert from the Marilyn Denis Show.  His name is Joe Rich.  If you want, you could read up on him here: However, if you just want to read about our experience, read on.  Any time you hear the word "therapist" you sort of are a little nervous.  My friend, Della, is a therapist, and she said that lots of times people don't like to talk to her because they feel uncomfortable.  In their minds, they feel like she is analyzing them.  Let me tell you, we were no different.  Jenn called me about three times asking me why is he coming and what will he do or ask?  I had no idea.  I jokingly said that maybe that could be a show on its own!  LOL

Joe walked in our house all smiles and introduced himself to Vince, Stacey, Campbell and myself.  We sat in the kitchen, Stacey, Joe and I, as we waited for Jocelyn and Jenn to arrive for the appointment.  Joe said he liked people and he loves an adventure.  He then said that we were starting a new adventure.  He had a very easy way of speaking and joked a lot!  I loved the way that he put Jennifer at ease fairly quickly.  He said that he came as a person who likes people and adventures and wanted to know how excited we were for our new adventure.  We all took turns sharing a little on how this "adventure" started.  He then told us the angle that he was going to use on the first show.  He asked us what our goal was and what was our motivation.

He said most people don't know what motivates them and are often surprised when they come to that realization or their a-ha moment.  He gave a very good word description of what is a goal and what is a motivation.  He explained this so easily for me to understand the difference.  The goal for anyone is where they want to go - a measurable, tangible thing - or the destination or "vehicle".  The motivation is the gas in the tank to take you there.  Sounds simple doesn't it?  Well, even though I thought I understood what he asked, I obviously didn't.  He gave us a card and asked us to write our goal on one side and our motivation on the other.  I wrote one goal on one side, and then found out I wrote two goals on the other!

Stacey was the only one that got it!  He then said she had enough motivation to take her to her destination and then back again!  hahahahaha!  After a bit of reflection, both Jocelyn and Jennifer could express their motivation... me?  I sat there with an anxious look!  Joe then said that Jocelyn had enough gas in her tank to get her there and Jennifer had gas to start off, and he then turned and looked at me and said that I didn't even have a syphon hose!!!! hahahahahahaa!!  Nailed it!  It really is a deep reflection.  I think I am distracted by the goals and I am going to have to look at what is going to motivate me, what is going to be my gas in my tank to take me to my goal.

Joe shared a lot of his own personal testimonies on different areas.  He just put himself out there like a real person.  It really put us at ease.  A couple of times he had Jennifer laughing so hard and even extracted a "high five" when he mimicked a Marg moment.  It was truly funny!  Joe talked about our new found role as a family that others will be talking about - sometimes in a good way and other times not so much.  However, he said that it would be easy to get discouraged but to bring to our minds a time when we were successful and it will help us get out of a slump.  He said that he will honour the "public" Stahlbaum family and the "private" Stahlbaum family when he shares with a viewing audience.  Again, this put a lot of us at ease.  We believed him.

We really laughed a lot that night.  He is really funny... if he ever wanted to give up his day job, he could get an agent as a stand up comic!  He is actually hilarious!  However, I asked him a serious question.  Because we are a family, and we are working together with this challenge, there are going to be times when I, as the mom I am", will bug my kids to eat right or exercise.  I just know me so well.  Joe gave me the perfect advice and I'm so glad I asked this question before we really get started.  He said, "The first time is asking or telling, the second time I say it is reminding, the third time it's said is nagging."  He said I can only do steps one and two.  He then expanded and said that we are not to say anything negative to each other or to anyone else about each other.  We are to treat this challenge and each of us that are participating as sacred moments we are sharing.  He said we are to treat it with the utmost respect it deserves.  I am going to have to repeat this to myself over and over.  I want this so bad for Jocelyn, Stacey, Jennifer and myself - also for Greg.  He's working on this too without as much professional support.

This week we are starting the kick off!  A pantry purge and a new fitness routine!  Stay tuned!


In 1994, in the midst of a sad time in my life due to my dad's death, another exciting thing happened.  I had gone to the doctors because of some abdominal pains.  He sent me to the doctors because he suspected gall bladder problems.  The stenographer sent the results to the doctor and his office called me later that day to come in.  The doctor said, "There are several gall stones and did you know you were pregnant?"  Uh... no... actually I didn't.  I was about 10 weeks pregnant and that was the start of a whirl of different feelings!  Wow, six children!  How will we manage; how can we afford another child; where will I get the time to do this as well as take care of five other ones and my mom!  God has a way of directing your life like none other.  Campbell has been a source of joy.

This little baby has become an amazing young man.  Campbell has the temperament of Jocelyn, the humour of Greg, and thoughtfulness of Stacey, concern for others like Jennifer and attention to details like Kerby... and he is built like Vince but has an uncanny resemblance to my brother, Bill and nephew, AJ.  He makes us laugh so often with his insights and when he shares his ideas, it can also make you think!

Anyway, Campbell has done a few commercials... actually he's done quite a few KFC commercials!  Today, he is going to Toronto to be outfitted in Walmart gear!  His wardrobe call will be about an hour to an hour and a half.  Usually you have to bring your own clothes down and the wardrobe people go through your items to see if they reflect what they are trying to portray.  Sometimes they use a piece of yours and some of theirs, other times, there isn't anything in your clothing and they outfit you off their clothing choices.  Either way, it's always interesting to watch this process unfold.

We'll find out soon what day this coming week he shoots.  This is going to be one really busy week in our house!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Reveal Day!

Wow!  Today was something else!  Who'd have thought that family in Cambridge would be given such an opportunity!  I got an email last week from Sharon, the producer, and she said that Tuesday, Jan.17th, would be the day the viewing audience would find out who one the Family Fit Contest.  An email followed the next day saying it would be Wednesday.  The Marilyn Denis Show would be sending in satellite truck and it would be a live feed into the studio downtown Toronto.  Then early Monday morning, yesterday, it was changed again.  A satellite truck was not going to be available but we were asked to skype in.

I got up this morning, did my three repetitions of depth squats, push ups and planking exercises and then got ready to go to Breakfast Club around 6:30 am.  I work with the most amazing volunteers at Breakfast Club.  We have worked together for so many years that each of us knows each job inside out.  I was able to leave shortly after 7:40 to come back home to get everything ready for the skype appointment.  I was asked to pick up this HD webcam.  Man... I am so technically challenged!  I couldn't figure out how this webcam clamped on to my laptop.  I asked Stacey to see if the webcam was working and she said that the picture was very fuzzy.  She looked at me like I had six heads and said that I didn't have the webcam attached to the computer.  I knew that!  It wasn't attached at all because I was holding it!  She is so smart... she knew exactly what to do!

A phone call soon came in from the Marilyn Denis production crew and they wanted to do a skype audio and picture test.  Well, this $100 camera was great but it kept going out of focus.  So, at last we just removed this webcam and used the one in my computer.  We still had half an hour before we were to be on air.  I tried to hold myself together, but I couldn't.  I was in the living room trying to laugh to cover my crying but then Jocelyn called me out on it.  "What are you crying for?", she asked.  All I could do was say, "I'm scared." as I grabbed a kleenex and nervously laughed and cried some more.  I really tried to pull myself together and eventually after some reassurance from my family, I was more composed.  At least my nose didn't bleed!

I wish my son, Greg, could have been part of this challenge, but living in Moncton was too difficult to co-ordinate.  He said that he is going to try and work along side us with some other pastors in the area.  I hope he does.  He was working this morning and tweeted a shout out to us and then tweeted a picture.

The show started and we had about two minutes on air.  I am so proud of my family.  They are supporting each other and encouraging each other in so many ways.  Kerby's fiance, Jeremy, even video taped the show and posted it to his wall on Facebook!  

We have had to submit to the nutritionist a three day food intake record and then had to send Brent Bishop, our fitness coach, our exercise log.  He has been checking in on me about every third day to see how things are going.  He's made some recommendations and encouraged me to push myself a little harder.  I'm afraid... I don't know what of, but I am nervous.  I'm going to try hard.  Try hard to face that fear.  Maybe that's why they have Joe Rich, Family Therapist, coming in tomorrow night to meet with us.

When I got home from the Swaziland warehouse today, I got a phone call from the media department of the Marilyn Denis Show and was told that the Cambridge Times wanted to speak to me about our challenge.  They are going to feature us this coming Friday in the Times.  They also want to keep a running story on us as well.  Should be interesting.  I still can't comprehend it all.  We really have so much support.  I'm humbled... and scared silly!  :D

If you haven't had a chance to see it, go in about 4 minutes 54 seconds into the segment, and you'll see the "reveal".

There is lots happening next week - on Monday, the nutritionist is coming in to inspect our pantry; she'll be taking us on a grocery trip and then Tuesday, we are in the studio for the full hour on the Marilyn Denis Show; after that, we go to ThinkFitness Studio with Brent Bishop to shoot some exercise footage for future shows.  :)  Yup... who'd have thought.... certainly not me!  But I'm grateful.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Another Fitness Evaluation

Monday, January 9th, we drove EARLY in the morning to arrive near Bloor and Jane to Think Fitness Studio in Toronto for 8:00 am.  We were to meet the fitness expert of the Marilyn Denis Show.  His name is Brent Bishop.  We got lost coming off of Dundas Street and was able to get clear directions from someone at Tim Hortons.  Wouldn't be a normal day of me driving somewhere unfamiliar if I didn't get lost.  I was going to say, "at least I didn't end up in the wrong city" but that'd be a lie.  We ended up in Mississauga instead of Toronto, but I digress. We finally ended up in Toronto at the correct location.

We took the elevator up to the second floor... why didn't we take the stairs?  LOL  After all, isn't it about fitness?  I actually didn't see a stairs sign.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  None of us have a gym bag or anything like that.  I walked in carrying a grocery bag containing my clothes and running shoes.  Jocelyn did the same, and Stacey brought Jenn's and her things in a backpack.  We must have looked like rookies!  As we got to the door, we removed our outer shoes and walked in.  There we met Brent.  His smile was huge!  He genuinely seemed happy to meet us.  He looked at each of us and knew our names too!  That was a great feeling.  He had water bottles ready for us and just made us feel really at ease.  Brent brought us into his office where he discussed his philosophy of training and what we can expect.  He asked us about our goals and our obstacles.  After that was done, it was off to the change room.

He broke us up into teams of two.  Each of us did thirteen minutes on the treadmill to see our endurance and our heart recovery.  I've never used a treadmill before so I was a little nervous.  After that, we had our body fat measured.  Yeah...  We did push ups, wall sits, and planking. We did a flexibility test... I discovered I'm not flexible  LOL.  One of the toughest ones for me, after sit ups, was depth squats.  YIKES!  I hope that gets better.  At the end of the time, we were tired.  He said we did great and he has benchmarks for each of us.  I don't know how often we'll work with him.  We are going to be given a secondary fitness person in Cambridge to work with us from time to time.

When we were done at the Think Fitness Studio, we had an appointment at the Marilyn Denis studio for before shots.  We met Sharon and Seta once again.  They set up a white back drop and the photographer, John, came down and instructed us as he shot us.  John was quite animated as he forecasted six months time and he shoots the after shots of our new selves.  He told us to plan a night out on the town!  You know, I think we should!  A play and a wonderful healthy dinner for my family would be a great way to celebrate a new lifestyle!

I don't know if it's wishful thinking or not, but everyone seems so supportive - co-workers, extended family members, friends, co-volunteers, and even my facebook "family" of friends.  I hope God strengthens me through this.  I hope He shows me what He wants for me and the changes He wants me to make in order to serve Him as I was created to do.

The Process

The day the crew came from the Marilyn Denis Show was an experience like none other.  I woke up early to go over my furniture and floors to make sure everything was clean.  I cleaned out my fridge because I knew that they were going to be doing shots inside it.  LOL

As the time drew nearer for them to arrive, my nose started to bleed and my heart began to race.  As I held a kleenex to my nose, I began to laugh out loud to myself.  Really?  Can this be happening?  I know it was just a nervous laughter because there wasn't anything to laugh at!  I was sitting in a chair holding a kleenex to my nose for heaven's sake!  That lasted almost an hour and a half!  Then the phone rang.  It was Sharon, the producer, calling to say they had arrived.

Just like I couldn't get my nose to stop bleeding, I couldn't stop my mouth from talking!  I just babbled on about how nervous I was and blah blah blah.  I'm sure they had some second thoughts.  As they went through my house looking at the lighting and distractions, the team of five began to actually look like real people.  I mean they said normal things, they looked normal, and they acted normal.  How strange it must be for them to walk into a strangers home and start looking around?

It didn't take too long, maybe about two hours before I began to feel a little more like myself again.  The first thing they did was do a group interview of myself, Jocelyn, Stacey and Jenn.  After that, they did a personal interview of myself.  Sharon asked many personal questions about my eating history and weight gain.  She asked me again if I'm an emotional eater.  I am beginning to think that I am.  A couple of times now, as I have been very conscientious of my food intake, I have found myself wanting to grab something to put in my mouth as excitement, or disappointment or other feelings rise up.  One of the things I talked about was my brother Bill's suicide.  The camera man, Michael, said he was appreciative of my honesty.  I said that it doesn't help anyone, myself especially, if I don't talk about the things that are deep in my heart.  I told him that I have met many people since 1987 that have had either attempted a suicide or had someone they loved die by their own actions.  We have a bond that others won't understand and perhaps there will be a viewer that struggles with that too.

While that was going on, another producer, Seta, was interviewing Stacey.  I don't know what kind of questions she was asked but  I could see through the french doors from time to time that Stacey was quite animated!  After arriving at 10:00 am, they crew left at 2:30 pm to get some lunch and then head over to Jocelyn's and Jennifer's house.  While they were gone, I started to prepare for supper.  They were going to be shooting us eating a family dinner of shepherds pie.  When they arrived around 5:30 pm to do that shoot, I think they were a little surprised by the commotion that goes on during a dinner.  It was funny to watch the camera man run around the table taking shots of different ones eating and whatever went on!  The crew finally left at about 9:15 pm for the night.

The next morning, the crew arrived at Jocelyn's house around 8:30.  Again, I wasn't there, but Joce said they had a lot of fun.  My girls didn't seem nearly as nervous as me!  Why is that?  LOL  At 10:15, three of the crew came to Grand View School to film an average day in the Library.  We imported six children to do that with me.  Parents had to sign a media release.  The kids didn't seem to care that there was a camera there.  After that shoot, we went to the Cambridge Preston Church of the Nazarene to imitate a typical Breakfast Club day.  Betty and Bea Ayres helped prepare the food with me that day.  The same kids were in that shoot as well.  After that shoot was done, we did one with me going through a McDonalds drive through.  I don't eat there much anymore, but there was a time when it almost seemed like a staple.  It's funny how your lifestyle dictates your actions.  As all of that was going on, another crew went up to Wilfred Laurier University to film Stacey in different activities around the campus.

We wrapped filming around 2:30 that day.  I have to say, that Patrick and Michael, the cameramen, Brett, the sound man, and Seta and Sharon, producers, were absolutely the most patient people I've met in a long time. There were times that one of my girls wasn't comfortable talking about or shooting something that made them feel uncomfortable.  They respected their requests and made them feel at ease.  I liked that.  While some of the conversations were perhaps not easy to talk about, they are real.  As the producers pointed out, there are going to be people sitting in their living rooms hearing our story and may connect with one of us.  Isn't that cool?

As I typed out that second last sentence above, I thought, "Yup.  That's what a testimony is.  Someone can relate to your story.  Someone can get hope from you."  As a christian, I hope that when I do share my story, someone can see hope.  I hope someone can see that.  The art of storytelling is rare.  The sharing of ourselves is rare.  I just realized that God has given me an opportunity to share Him, not necessarily through my words, but through my actions on a national tv

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Evaluation Day

Today, we drive to Vaughn for an evaluation.  A body fat and muscle evaluation.  I think I'll leave that statement right there.  This whole Marilyn Denis Show is scary for me actually.  It started out as, "Let's apply.", then it developed to, "Let's do a video."  Whoever thought that our family would have been chosen.

It is a big commitment as well.  I mean, getting healthy is a commitment so I don't know why I'm surprised.  As I look back at the time I spend each day doing things, I begin to panic and wonder if I can fit this in.  Jocelyn often laughs when I talk about how busy other people are.  I never thought of myself as busy.  I always just accepted that I did this or that each day.  I guess I never saw those things as busyness or work because I like doing them. I wonder if that is why I am feeling anxious about this challenge.  What if I don't like doing what they suggest?  What if .... I don't know, fill in the blank.

As I typed those words above, I remembered a quote from my Sunday School teacher, Mrs. Bogle.  She always said, "Don't borrow trouble."  In other words, don't dwell on what might happen - because it may not happen.  A rocking chair is like worry.  Keeps you busy but gets you nowhere.

Here's another thought that just crossed my mind.  What if I like doing the exercise?  What if I like the life-style change?  There's a thought for ya!  Everything we do, starts with a thought.  I need to embrace those positive thoughts.  That's my New Year's resolution.  I'm going to think positive.  Competitive athletes envision themselves winning.  They play over and over in their minds how they are going to execute the details of their sport.  They think positive.  What's the outcome?  They have played over and over in their minds what they would do in a situation, so they are ready to face it when they see it.

I'm going to do that too!  I'm going to start to envision myself facing my day and my new life-style changes.  I don't know what that is yet, but as I learn what they are, I'll focus on those things.  Besides, I draw strength from the One who created me and He will strengthen me all the way.

So, today, I face a day of finding out some things about my body I didn't know before.  And... if you don't know what's broke, you can't fix it.   With that in mind, I'm going to find out today another part of the "Marg" puzzle and start to do some repairs.  Tomorrow, January 5th, filming starts at my house, Jenn's house and Jocelyn's house.  They are going to be filming on Friday as well.  Stacey will be filmed on Friday.  Kerby will be interviewed on Thursday.  Friday they will be filming me at school and at Breakfast Club.  We have to import some kids for that day.

Although I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared, I'm thrilled that this is starting.  It is going to mean a healthier body for all of us.  Walk along side and encourage us please.  Laugh with us too... I'm sure there will be lots of that to go around!!!