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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  • This is one of those lessons I’ve just started to learn, about maintaining friendships and what makes a good, true friendship. For way too long I was hung up on being part of the “popular” crowd and wanting to fit in with them, rather than finding friends who loved me (and who I loved) for what they are.

    I had the opportunity to read through Lisa’s Advent book with some children at my church a couple of years ago, and they just loved it. Not yet being a full-time mom (just a sometimes-stepmother) I’ve not read her mom-directed books yet, but if her blog posts and speaking are any indication this is a book I’d love to dig into.

    That said, my best friend is really my husband. He knows me better than anyone else, he always loves me for me no matter what, and we’ve made it through times that would have crushed tougher relationships. I can’t think of anyone I’d rather live with every day.

  • I am thrilled to hear about Lisa & how she loves the Lord but I truly love the fact that she is doing so much for women. I have yearned for “best girlfriends” whom I can call & talk to about anything and hang out to be busy with or do nothing with. I have only a few friends that are that kind of friend and they are precious to me.
    But, my very best friends are my dear, sweet husband and my incredible, precious daughter. I would rather hang out with them, than anyone else. I yearn for time for just family but the way I work, it is difficult.
    Women aren’t always great friends to one another and it starts early. But, I wrote a Teen Girl’s Bible Study that touches on key elements on being a good friend, boys & when things happen that are not their fault. I am trying to make a difference in these girls lives so they can develop lifelong, good, CHRISTIAN friendships like God wants us to have.
    GOD BLESS YOU, LISA!! You are a wonderful role model for us, moms & women who want to be obedient & blessed.
    Thanks, Lisa for your ministry.

  • Thank you Lisa and Karen for sharing, and thank you the many ladies who took the time to post their own stories of friendships.

    I want to share about a handful of women, that have deeply impacted my life. God has placed each one in a different seasons of my life.

    Summer–Gloria was my first BFF. As a little girl, I believed that I could have no other best friend than my friend Gloria and to a great extent that has been the case. We’ve been friends since the tender age of 6, and 37 years later we’re still “forever friends”. Our lives have taken different paths and distance has also limited our ability to spend time together. We do see each every so often and each time we pick up right where we left off. Its almost as if time has stood still when we get together and reminisce and share the new stuff going on in our lives.

    Spring–I met Becky at the age of 19 in junior college. This was a particularly difficult time in my life and I was literally at a crossroads. Although our friendship was short-lived because she moved away and we lost connection, it was this friendship that was life-changing. As it was Becky who introduced me to the Lord and gave me my first Bible. She walked with me during my baby steps in my new-found faith for almost a year. I will always remember her as someone who gave from her heart expecting nothing in return.

    Autumn-=Julie I’ve worked with and known for 21 years. She recommitted to the Lord a couple of years after we met and has become a great friend whom I can always count on for prayer and support.

    Winter–I met Pilar about 10 years ago during a difficult time in my life. She has become a sister-friend and speaks words of truth and wisdom in my life, even when its been tough love and vice-versa.

    All Seasons–Kate who is not just my Auntie, she is also a sister-friend. She is only 11 years my senior and our lives paralleled in many things, particularly as moms. She is the only person that knows me better than anyone else (other than my beloved husband) and with whom I can share anything that’s on my heart. We’re not only related, but have lived together, cried together, laughed together and grown together. We now live about 200 miles apart, but we always make an effort to stay in touch at least a few times a month, if not more.

    I cannot say that anyone of them is any more or less important to me, because they all are important to me. As with the Seasons in nature, I believe that my friendships, and these in particular, have been imperative in the sowing, nurturing and maturing of my own spiritual growth and my walk with the Lord.

    Thank you again for the opportunity to share with you! God bless!!

  • You guys are so awesome. Its great to see more Christians stand up for what they believe and most importantly set the right kind of example and be be an awesome role model for kids. I was so surprised to see that Lisa was a Christian but so proud when I seen here talk about it on twitter. You guys keep up the awesome work you are doing and keep setting those really great examples. I am going to keep you in my prayers. May GOD Bless.
    Gerald

  • As a military spouse, I have been blessed to meet many awesome girlfriends. There is a core of about 6 of us that are super tight! Although it has been about 8 years since we have all lived in the same Albuquerque neighborhood, we take great effort to nurture and build up our friendship. One way we do this is to meet each year for a girlfriend trip. While not everyone is able to attend each year, we have a pretty consistent attendance each year. Since we are more interested in being together than sight seeing, we often choose places that are “off season” or FREE, like my inlaws’ lake house. The point is to laugh together, pray together, cry together, and of course eat together! And do it without having to take care of little people! :) We also encourage and build up each other. God shows up in a hundred different ways and we are constantly praising Him for bringing us together! I come away from those trips feeling like a refreshed woman, ready to tackle all the good, bad, and the ugly that comes with life! We are all military spouses. Therefore, if we can make these yearly trips happen between deployments and other service challenges (i.e. no nearby family), then I really believe most anyone could!

    Can’t wait to see your new book! Have a Merry, Merry Christmas!

  • Having one on one time with friends is so important to me. If my friends are far away I make an extra effort to check in with them via phone or mail. To keep up with the daily stuff that goes on in their lives, and always remember to ask updates on important things that have happened. It is all about loving and nurturing lifetime friendships.

  • how generous, thank you for the interview too!
    i have a small group of friends and we stay connected by fun emails and silly jokes. we also have a “hot tub night” where we bring snacks and just sit and eat and chat, then soak and chat for hours. it’s so refreshing!
    after reading a lisa’s books i was so excited to hear her at WOF in columbus. as a scrapbooker and homeschooling mom too, i love her knowledge and passion.

  • I think it’s hard to maintain friendships during this stage of life (with three little ones)! I try to make a point of “checking in” with my close friends at least once or twice a week, usually with an email (I can write it when things are calm here, and she can read it when things are calm there). I try to make sure I’m both real (not hiding my struggles) and encouraging in my notes.

    I also try to get together with my close friends, without our kids, once a month or so. Usually, it’s just a couple hours to get a bite to eat or something, and we chat and catch up without our normal interruptions.

  • Friendship:
    We must be honest (not brutal, but tactful).
    Be loyal, trustworthy, gracious, never taking advantage of one another.
    Never make fun of (unless they know in advance you are about to take a jab at them). Words can never be taken back.
    Confidentiality is very important.
    Most important of all is to listen. Not only the words, but your friends body language. It will tell you so much.
    Remember, to pray earnestly for your friends daily.

  • i had the pleasure of meeting Lisa (aka Blair) a few weekends ago at the Women of Faith Conference in Sacramento. she said some things to me that really spoke to my heart at the time i needed to hear it. thank you Lisa!

    well as for your question…my BFF Diana…go on coffee dates. we catch up even if its for a little while. sometimes when we only have an hour to meet we end up going over it because we lose all track of time when we are together. sometimes we instant chat on facebook when we see each other on. i truly treasure my friendship with her. sometimes when i feel a little wild & crazy, she doesn’t judge me for a silly comment it make. thanks for reminding me, we’re due for another coffee date…this time we are match making our children…LOL!

  • My best friend and I make a point of seeing each other as often as possible. As young adults we have college and work and adjustments to adult life to figure out, but we always seem to find time for each other. My best friend and I met at youth group at church in 7th grade and we have been friends ever since. We have made a pact to be friends no matter how far away we are. We also thank the Lord everyday for having us be friends because our lives would not be the same without each other. Friends and friendship are important because if we know how to have a friendship with others we can have a friendship with God.
    Thanks

  • I am so blessed to have a friend who I consider my BFF. God ordained a meeting over 5 years ago when she and I both attended a Mom Time Get-A-Way in Kansas City hosted by Lisa and her husband. Neither one of us could have imagined or dreamed what God had placed in front of us would be better than we could have ever imagined.

    I needed a roommate and she needed 3 so we got paired up for the weekend. At the end of a good refreshing conference, we promised we’d email back and forth, but as we all do, time came and went and we didn’t email. Then out of nowhere I got an email from her. I couldn’t believe it, but it blessed my socks off. We began emailing on a regular basis, and sharing struggles, trials, downfalls, and LIFE!

    After a while, it was like we became sisters. Sisters because our God made us sisters in Christ. We got to the point where we felt comfortable being really honest with one another. She’s said many prayers for me and I’ve said many for her. We’ve been through loss, marriage difficulties, struggles with kids, but no matter what we face or what we’ve been through we know that we can depend on one another no matter what! I can bring myself to her, real and broken, and she extends back the hand of God’s grace, picks me up, brushes me off, and helps me renew myself, all the while loving me for who I am. She also knows she can come to me and she will have my total support. We feel totally comfortable being who we really are, and that’s because God has instilled trust in our relationship.

    A couple of years ago, we began doing a Bible Studies in online chat just she and I. That was so much fun, and it really gave us a goal and mission of who we wanted to become and at that point we became accountability partners for one another. After babies being born, and older children at home, we just fell out of sync trying to find something to study. But if we could figure it out and find something we could both benefit from, I’d adore spending time at night after the kids were in bed just talking about God and life to her. I actually really miss that time we dedicated to study and discussion.

    She’s the best friend in the world that I could have ever imagined….and although she lives 3 hours away, we manage somehow to stay in contact and still be available for one another. I never would have dreamed God’s amazing direction would bring us closer together. What started off as an amazing weekend for moms relaxation, rejuvenating, and renewal, turned into a God ordained crossing of paths that has not journeyed away. It’s amazing how our paths are intertwining even more and how we can nearly finish one another’s sentences! Friendship is sweet, and God’s ordained friendship is a blessing!

  • My close friend and I meet every other week for coffee. It’s a great way to keep in touch, and to build each other up in the Lord. As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17)

    It seems that if we don’t schedule this time together, too much times passes in between visits.

    Thank you so much for the giveaway!

  • This life is not about stuff, but about relationships. (First and foremost about our relationship with God through Jesus Christ and making Him LORD. Jesus’ example teaches us how to love and be compassionate.) Building relationships is key to understanding our purpose in life. This must be viewed as investments rather then expenditures. We were created to need each other and to serve each other. In so doing we receive the greatest sense of fulfillment. Giving encouragement is as easy as a hug or a smile; a note (like on Facebook) or card in the mail. I like to send birthday and anniversary cards to my family members (which is now up to 95 entries on my calendar). A kind word goes a long way. But sometimes you have to be willing to get in their face with truth and confront the negative behavior that is hurting themselves. But it has to be done with gentleness and sensitivity. Never give up on a friend or friendship and never, never stop praying.

  • Lisa is such a great inspiration not only to others but myself as well! On Lisa’s website she had put a prayer up and after I had read that prayer I wrote it down for some reason; yesterday I knew why I had written it down because God wanted me to! Early this morning around 1:00 AM my friend called me asking for my help; he told me he needed help getting back on the right path and asked for some advice. Without thinking about it I told him that he needed to sit down and have a personal convo with God about the wrong doings he has committed and to ask God to help him get back on track with his life. The next thing I knew I was reading Lisa’s prayer to him and telling him to write it down and tape it above his bunk. My friend asked me a question I didn’t even know I had the answer to; and later this afternoon he called me again and told me that he had gone out and bought a Bible! To me friendship is something that takes work and being there for someone is the most important part whether or not they need your help. Things don’t work out just by chance with friendships, God plays a major role in who is placed in one’s life. Friends sometimes come and go but no matter what they will still be your friend through Christ; whether they are thousands of miles away or right next to you! So thank you Jesus for all of those you have placed in my life! God Bless and Happy Hollidays!

  • I really don’t have a “best girlfriend”. I have a lot of really good, Godly women in my life that I love dearly. Most of us homeschool our children so we share a special bond. Most of us, but not all, have teenagers and share our hopes and struggles in trying to raise Godly children before they go off to college. I’m so thankful to God for the blessing of the women He has placed in my life to help me grow spiritually, give me Godly advice,and accept and love me as their sister in Christ. They also hold me accountable and speak truth into my life. I am blessed!!!

  • I’m a single mom of 5, 4 still at home. Soon to be a grandma for the first time. All of my friendships are centered around our church family and I don’t know what I would do without them. We are all going through so many battles it almost seems impossible to be there for someone else but we push through and just do it because of love!

  • My husband is not fond of Santa and Christmas trees because of them being not Christian. I am very interested in your Advent in Christmas book. I don’t mind giving up Santa, but I do miss a Christmas tree. My son is still a toddler, so we have some time to decide what to teach him.
    As far as friendship goes, I live in a small town as a stay-at-home mom so sometimes I only talk to my husband and son. It’s hard to find close friends when everyone seems to already have their best friend. I’m losing touch with one of my best friends, but grateful my cousin moved closer and stays at home too. Thanks Lisa! Keep up the good work!

  • Lisa is such an inspiration and I love her ideas. This book sounds incredible and although I am not a mom…yet, I think that the ideas expressed are great for any age.

    As for my friends..particularly during the Christmas season, we don’t exchange gifts as we already have everything we could possibly need, but rather set aside time to spend together and just enjoy being present for one another. We have found everyone gets so “Busy” that it is easy to lose sight of what the true meaning of Christmas is, so we try to make it about time together and drawing closer in our friendship. I also connect with a women’s small group at church which has been instrumental for me in my life. These women are amazing prayer warriors and I know they are always there to lift me up or give encouragement and vice versa.
    Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas!

  • I have the Christmas book on hold at the library – waiting for it to come in. I have been wanting it for several years, especially since my girls are getting to the age that we need some new ways to incorporate Jesus in this busy season. As far as friendship comments: my husband is the best. We lived away from everyone for 2 years and it has been hard to break away again into the real world here and find deep friendships. I am great at the “start” of a friendship, but not getting to the deeper part. It takes work and effort on both parts and I have yet to find someone that will go that distance with me. Kinda lonely at times now that I am a stay at home mom starting this year. I am looking forward to reading the new book!

  • What a lovely giveaway! I had the privilege of hearing Lisa speak in Orlando. I went with a couple of girlfriends, and we had a wonderful time together. Afterward we went out for desert. To nurture my friendships requires a real desire to be open, vulnerable, and transparent. And of course, this requires time (it doesn’t happen overnight) and time spent together (just having fun, hanging out in each other’s homes, getting to know each other, praying together, and getting to the point of sharing deeper feelings, longings, struggles). I think when we get passed the more surface things and really focus our friendships on the Lord Jesus, the lesser issues won’t divide us. Some friendships are based around common ideals or philosophies, and this can be a real encouragement, but I think we have to be careful because these things can actually create a barrier to real intimacy with others. I hope that makes sense!
    I am so thankful for the dear, dear friends the Lord has brought into my life. When we moved last year, I left behind two of my very dearest friends. I can’t believe that recently one of them along with her husband and kids drove halfway across the country to visit us for a week. Now that’s a good friend!

  • My friends and I meet once a week to pray the Rosary over the intentions of the children at our school. It truly amazes us what the kids are praying for. Help on their spelling test (and they spell “spelling” wrong!) or for a sick loved one, or for help from God to make them a better person. We feel a connection that I don’t think we’d have without this special time together.

  • My husband is my best friend and such a gift from God. However, there are times when it’s my sister or my daughter or my girlfriends who meet many needs in my life. While Facebook is a great way to keep up with many casual friends, it is not the place for me to nurture my sisterhood with that special circle of gals who enrich my life and support me on deeper levels. In today’s busy world, long chatty phone conversations just take away time I could spend with my family. The same is true of shopping trips. What has worked best for me is to keep in touch with e-mail which can be composed and responded to at convenient times and then make a conscious effort to plan girlfriend time into my schedule. Like all important relationships, it requires work and sometimes is hard work because I have committed to never let my time with girlfriends take precedence over time with my family.