Interview and Giveaway with “Facts of Life”‘s Lisa Whelchel!!!

“Ya take the good, ya take the bad, ya take them both and there you have the Facts of Life…..”

It was 9:00 pm on a Wednesday night in the early 1980’s. I made sure my homework was done, my clothes were all ready for the next day, and my chair was closer to the TV than my brother’s, just in case he had the bright idea of hopping up and turning the dial off of NBC channel 10. (FYI…for those of you much younger than I, there were no remote controls then and our television only got in four channels!!!)

Yep….it was time to spend a half hour with my television friends Tootie, Natalie, Jo and Blair.

I especially connected with Blair.

And her hair.

I so wanted to have “Blair hair”.

So did thousands of other girls across the nation. I nearly popped a circuit (with two different curling irons and a set of my mom’s old hot rollers from the late 1960’s plugged in and perched on our bathroom counter) as I attempted to acquire my own “Blair hair”…… to no avail.

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Fast forward about twenty years…..

I was sitting in our church’s foyer perusing a pamphlet I’d found. In it was a story about Lisa Cauble, pastor’s wife, homeschooling mom of three and the woman who, years earlier, had been the very Blair Warner whose hair I so coveted. I read the article, discovering that she had left showbiz and had instead dedicated her life to being a wife to Steve and mom to Tucker, Haven and Clancy. I knew right away we simply HAD to have her come speak to us at a Hearts at Home conference for moms!

In the fall of 2002, Lisa did just that. I had the pleasure of meeting her. She had the pleasure of hearing myself, along with three friends, sing a little parody of the Facts of Life theme song put to “mommy” lyrics to fit the conference. (NOTE TO SELF: When meeting other famous, TV star people in the future, do NOT make up a silly parody theme song. They might not be as gracious as dear Lisa. In fact, they might think it is downright stalkerish and promptly call security!)

Today, I am fortunate that Lisa is my friend and has been a wonderful roll model for my nearly 19 year old Mackenzie. We have kept in touch, have spoken at various events together over the years and when she is in Michigan speaking, Kenzie and I offer to help her husband Steve run her book table.

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That man is a GEM!!!!!! (No wonder! Reminds me so much of my own handsome, “how-can-I-help-you-out-honey?” husband) Seriously ladies, I wish he had about three single brothers for three of my single friends. I’d be doing the matchmaker dance in no time at all! And what a story about how they got married! It is Kenzie’s FAVORITE!!!! Maybe I’ll have Lysa back sometime to tell it….or you’ll just have to read her books and find out for yourself!

But, I digress!

I can attest to you now that Lisa is the real deal. She loves the Lord, her family and helping girlfriends all over to become better moms, wives and Christian women. She writes awesome Christmas letters, loves anything deep fried (although her figure would never tell you!) and is simply NOT diva-like in way, shape or form. In fact, she is exactly the opposite of Blair! This is a woman who was kind enough to quietly forgo her speaking fee at an event we appeared at together and tell the church to send it to me instead. (Lisa—PLEASE don’t get mad at me for telling. You didn’t want to tell anyone you did that. You never said I couldn’t!!!)

Little did she know, my hubby was facing a months-long layoff and we didn’t have enough money set aside to pay our bi-annual property taxes. When the check arrived in the mail, it was almost to the dollar the exact amount we owed! Yes, ladies, this gal loves the Lord, listens to Hims and helps teach the rest of us how to do the same.

Today, Lisa is going to join us to talk a little about her Christmas, give away a wonderful book and ask our thoughts on a new one she is writing. So gals, get ready to meet YOUR new cyber girlfriend Lisa Whelchel!!!

pubshine_aLisa, what is life like at your house during this crazy/busy Christmas season?

Well, the weeks leading up to Christmas have been pretty hectic. I am writing a new book and the manuscript is due later this week. So, I have been taking 2-3 days a week to get away and write. It has been kind of hectic juggling writing and Christmas but the two weeks after Christmas, we have nothing planned but being together as a family. Tucker will be home from California where he attends college and the girls are still here in Texas, one at a local college and one still in high school. It will be really nice to just be together and enjoy the stillness. I also bought a MacBook and have been too busy to learn how to use it so I will be spending some quality time with my family and my laptop!

You have a passion for helping moms point their kids to Christ in the midst of the sights, symbols and activities of the holiday season. Your book, The ADVENTure of Christmas, (a yearly staple at our house for the past 5 years, I might add!) does just that. Can you tell our cyber sisters a little bit about it and why you wrote it?

t.adventure.bookWhen our kids were little, I wanted so badly to give them great Christmas memories like I had growing up. However, there seemed to be a trend in some Christian circles to not do some of the traditions of Christmas because, on the surface, they seemed to be secular and had nothing to do with Jesus, the real reason for the season.

It was then that, instead of just doing (or not doing) what everyone else was, I made the whole issue a real matter of prayer. Feeling like Jesus had gotten lost in the frenzy of the holiday season, I asked the Lord to show me what I could do to teach my children the true meaning of Christmas.

I was caught off-guard when He simply replied, “Don’t do anything differently. Look in the middle of the celebration and you will find Me.”

He was right! There is no need to orchestrate moments to pontificate about “the commercialization of Christmas.” Instead, Jesus is beckoning us to come to the party and bring the kids. In doing so, we run into Him at the mall, the movies, even at school. He hides in the lights, the carols, and the cards. He is there when we dress the evergreen tree, when Dad dresses up in a red suit, and even when we eat turkey and dressing!

My book The ADVENTure of Christmas is a guide for moms concerned that their children are losing sight of Jesus in the midst of the distractions the holiday season brings. Instead of abandoning the traditions of Christmas, as a  family rediscover their original meanings, which were intended to remind people of God’s unfathomable gift. Hanging lights on the house, wrapping gifts, and decorating the tree can be opportunities to teach your children and grandchildren about how they relate to Jesus’ birth. With The ADVENTure of Christmas, mothers can redeem what’s been lost from the very symbols that are gentle reminders of the true meaning of Christmas.

(Karen’s footnote: And this gorgeously illustrated, hardcover book tackles 25 traditions of the season, giving their historical origin, their intended purpose and even lists discussion questions to help your kids discover Jesus in the midst of whatever topic is being addressed that day. But it isn’t just for small kids. In fact, later today I am holding a “Baking Day with Mom E.” for some of Kenzie’s college-aged friends here in Michigan and intend to utilize the section on the tradition of Christmas baking!)

Lisa, as a sweet holiday gesture, you’ve offered to give one fortunate gal a personalized copy of this wonderful resource to use year after year with her family. But in order to be entered to win, the gals must leave a comment.  What should they tell us?

Well, since I am meeting lots of new friends today and am busy trying to finish my latest book entitled Friendship for Grown Ups; Lessons I Missed and Learned Along the Way, I’d really like to hear from everyone about the topic of friendship.

Christmas is a time for remembering friends or sending long distance friends a Christmas letter or picture. But what are some ways you connect with your nearby friends on a day-to-day basis? There can be many challenges present in the friendships of women; challenges we need to overcome. I’d like to know what ways your readers have learned to connect heart-to-heart with their girlfriends in practical and tangible ways, maybe avoiding some of those challenges that might otherwise have occurred.

So tell me, what do you do (or what are you careful not to do) when it comes to forging, nurturing and maintaining friendships with those you love? What are some practical ways you go deeper in your relationships and help point each other to Christ? I am just finishing up the section in my book on this and would love to know!

Thanks Lisa for carving time out during this very full week to spend a few moments with us and we can’t wait to read that new book!

You are so welcome, Karen. Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Okay gals…hop on now and leave your friendship comment. One of you will be chosen to receive Lisa’s Christmas book. She will personalize it to your family, using your last name, and will autograph it too. I know it will become your most beloved Christmas book ever! Winner announced tomorrow. (Yesterday’s winner is announced at the bottom of this post)

And, for those of you who want to purchase an autographed and personalized copy for yourself, here is the info.

The book retails for $20, but Steve and Lisa are offering it to you for $15 (plus $3.95 shipping)! Remember that Lisa can not only sign the book as the author, but can personalize it to you and your family, or to those to whom you are presenting it as a gift.  What a special present!  And think—where else can you find a gift for the entire family that will be used for the entire month of December every year for only $15—and one that’s also personalized to them by the author?  (Keep in mind, too, that these books make excellent “Teacher Gifts” and that teacher’s love sharing the stories with their classes—and it’s a “legal” way to get the gospel into the classroom!) Click here for more info on purchasing.

Finally, the winner of yesterday’s giveaway– the peppermint themed gift box and Jennifer Silvera’s book Believe is: Christina in KY; timestamp 12/14 at 2:03 pm

Please email me at karen@proverbs31.org to give me your mailing address. Congrats!

Merry Christmas and Friendship Blessings,

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89 Comments

  1. Every year I try to find one more tradition to include for my family that keeps us focused on Jesus. I love the Advent…We’ve got our candles and just read part of the Christmas story and pray…This year we added praying for the people who sent us Christmas cards. I love having my tree and all our former traditions too. We just try to keep Jesus right in the center of it all. Thanks!

  2. My best friend is my husband of 34 years. He truly is a gift from God. It’s always been a struggle for me to form close friendships. I’ve always been the shy quiet one. But I do have a few and I love them. Although, we don’t see each other as often as we would like, we do try to stay in touch as much as we can.

  3. When I moved to FL 3yrs. ago I had no friends or family here. I had a hard time finding friends who believed in Christ’s story and in God. I joined a church and started finding Christian friends shortly afterwords. I was still having a hard time opening up about my problems but was very quick to help w/ everyone else’s. I finally took a step towards healing and opened up at a bible study. It felt good to have close friends again. It’s still hard to “let people in” but I’m getting better.
    For Christmas this year I sent cards to my friends and family back home and to my new friends in FL. I was honest about what God has done for me and wanted to let them know that I prayed for them everyday. A few are not Christians but I hope that w/ the Lord’s help they will be reminded of the real reason why I celebrate Christmas.

  4. My daughter is my best friend, and lately we’ve gotten a bit adventurous! In the past I was always fearful of going more than 30-45 minutes from home, in case of car trouble. This year when I turned 52 I decided enough time had been wasted, so my daughter, her two small children and I set out for Myrtle Beach, SC in April. It was the 1st time we’ve ever been and we all loved it! Next we headed for Hershey, PA to see the chocolate factory. It was a hit, too! I don’t make a lot of money, so our trips have been 3-day trips, but we’ve had so much fun, we’re going to go somewhere every year. God is blessing us with happiness!

  5. As my kids get older and busier, I find it harder to spend time with my friends. I make a point to carve out an hour here and there to visit with a friend, and if it’s been too long and we are both too busy, I will make a quick phone call or leave her a short note through a private message on the computer letting her know that I am thinking of her. It’s important that my friends know they’re on my mind, just as I like to know that they are thinking of me as well. Sometimes just a small, “Hi! I’m thinking of you!” can brighten my entire day.

  6. I thank God everyday for the friends I have now. There are five of us in our little group. We refer to ourselves as the sisterhood of faith. We are all strong believers and live our lives serving the Lord. We all are very different and have different strengths, but our common bond is our love for the Lord. Only God would bring such a different group of ladies together. We don’t get together on a regular basis, yet if one of us is having trouble one phone call and we are all together holding each other up with love and support. I am the youngest of the group and don’t come from a Christian home. These ladies have taught me what unconditional love is. It is only because of their generosity that I was able to attend the WOF with them in St. Paul, MN that I am here writing this. This one of my friends paid for the ticket and the others helped pay for my hotel room. I had been struggling with my faith for about a year. At the WOF I had one of my long time dreams come true and was able to meet Lisa Whelchel. Because even though my friends didn’t understand why meeting her was important they stayed with me. I bought Lisa’s book The Facts of Life and read it. It renewed my love of reading and strengthen my faith. That’s what friendship is we nurture and strengthen our friends with love and faith.

  7. This topic is close to my heart and I am so excited to get Lisa’s new book when it comes out!

    I have two small boys and am a stay at home, homeschooling mom. (several of Lisa’s other books have inspired me to try out homeschooling!). Some times I find that I am incredibly lonely for other women my age. My life gets so consumed with kids, kid events and little things. Most of my friends are in the same boat. It’s difficult to get our schedules to mix and match or spend quality time chatting, when there is a little one glued to our hip.

    So what did I do? I prayed.

    I feel like at this time in my life my job is to be a friend, rather than have a friend. I have 3 or 4 very special women in my life that I love dearly and my mission right now is to serve them. Providing meals, a cup of tea, the offer to babysit….those are all ways that I can show them that I love and care about them. And amazingly our friendships have grown because they feel a little better too.

    Life is full of cycles and I’m sure that it won’t be long before we have to adjust ourselves to new changes that come along, but I hope that I never forget how I can be a good friend.

  8. I met Lisa a few years back at a Moody Bible Conference at Parkside Church in Ohio. She is just simply adorable. She is a living testimony about hearing God’s voice and following it. Even though it took her longer to follow with Steve. It is women like her that inspire other women.

  9. Friendship is something I’ve struggled with over the years. For a long time, I wondered why anyone would even want to be my friend – I felt that inadequate. But gradually I came to realize that if I acted like a friend, friendship would follow. That sounds simplistic, and I could probably write an entire book about it. I basically have tried to remember the things that I appreciate others doing for me, and do them for others. It doesn’t come naturally to me, and it is a time investment, but it’s WORTH IT! My best friends now are ladies I’ve met through various “mom” groups.

  10. Lisa is such an inspiration for all of us gals out here. 2009 has been a very difficult one for me. I have a mom diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and 1 year ago was told she had less than 6 months to live. I am happy to say she is still fighting a great fight, brain tumor removal and all a month ago. My dad is battling lymphoma. I was laid off from my dream employeer in March, aftwer working as a leader for nearly 13 years. All in all, it’s been a pretty undesireable year when looking at these negative things. Through this all, I am upbeat, positive, and hopeful. I know our God has great plans! This Christmas, we are trying to remove the stuff and enjoy family time. I read Lisa’s updates on Facebook, and she is such a great person & tool that God has placed in our lives! God is great…Merry CHRISTmas. May each and everyone enjoy the true meaning of the season, and try not to let the hustle and bustle of it all take away the reason for the season. This new book of Lisa’s sounds like one that truly should be read by everyone.

  11. I have three girl friends that I try to meet up with once a month for coffee. Considering the fact that we have 14 kids between us it’s not always an easy feat, but we love getting together. During the days in between we use Facebook and email to stay in contact. Even though we all live within 5 miles of each other it’s hard to see each other on a day to day basis with all that we have going on.

  12. I have enjoyed Lisa’s book’s for some time now. I am a military wife with 4 young children and a husband often away. A few years ago, Lisa sent me a few of her books and it helped me survive a very rough deployment. The kids were 7, 3, 2, and 7 months at the time. I had no family nearby and my wonderful husband was overseas. Thank you Lisa for caring. You have such a wonderful gift and a truly wonderful heart! Merry Christmas from our Family to Yours! ~Melissa

  13. Next to my husband, who has been by my side through the most difficult times in my life and will always be my absolute best friend, I have a great girlfriend who is just as important to me. We talk about anything and everything. We laugh and cry together. We call and share joyful news and we call on one another in times of crisis or emergency. She is like a sister to me (which I naturally do not have) and I love her deeply. Staci and I pray together and seek the prayers of one another regularly. We just started attending a Bible study together, which focus on being a great Christian woman, wife, and mother, and its brought us even closer, as friends, too. She is an inspiration and is always a great side-kick!

    When forging relationships with other women, I make sure that we share similar values and beliefs, first and foremost. While I love the debate and the conversations when those who do not share my love for Christ or value His direction over our lives, I NEED to surround myself with women of a like-mind. It’s so easy to forget, in the stressors of the world, where Christ fits in or when it is Christ who is speaking to you and I believe, wholeheartedly that Christian women can help point those things out to those they love! Girlfriends who will be brutally honest with you is also important. Ya know – the kind who will tell you when you’re having a bad hair day or when its time to retire that old pair of jeans or to never wear that shirt again. They’ll also tell you when you’re being ridiculous and expecting too much from your husband or your children; they’ll help ground you! My friends and I do this for one another…we are a sort of “sounding board” for our lives and its great!

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