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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  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.