Lisa Whelchel Chat 8-23-01 Chat Channel - fritzpw_admin: Hello there everyone. We are glad you could make it for our Chat with Lisa Whelchel. Before we get started, I would like to introduce our volunteers tonight. Helping on stage we have Teens_Editor, WomensEditor, NewsEditor, AppleHost, Yadah_Host, and JaoniHost. Roaming the Auditorium with the flashlights and making sure there aren't any parked RVs leaking fluids is GeHost and daisyhost.

fritzpw_admin: And now... she's on the road with her family driving across the United States, hanging out at some campground and praying for no more stitches in her kids... Lisa Whelchel!

Lisa: Hi! Welcome to the chat! I've been looking forward to this for weeks!

blairfan: Lisa, what was your favorite memory of working with the girls from "The Facts of Life"?

Lisa: My favorite memory would have nothing to do with working with the girls ... but working with George Clooney!!??!! Just kidding! I like the broad comedy of the later seasons! My favorite episode was the one where Blair was handcuffed to Jo. Cuz she wouldn't do an editorial for Jo. So Jo hid under the newsdesk! It was a lot of slapstick and a lot of fun!

skilling_fretz: I have heard there is a "Facts of Life" movie planned, will you be in it?

Lisa: Absolutely! We begin filming Sept 10th! Everyone will be there except Nancy McKeon. She is busy filming "The Division" for the Lifetime Channel. For those who want to follow the filming on my website, I'll be journaling every night and uploading pictures from the film shoot, but not too many to give away the plot! It airs Nov. 18th on ABC.

faith4ver: Hi Lisa! My name is Amanda. How are you? I really admire you and I'm a BIG fan of yours! I just want to know how you start to get into "show biz"? How did you start?

Lisa: I started when my mom signed me up for acting classes when I was 7 yrs. old! I was very shy. From there I auditioned for "The New Mickey Mouse Club" and won the role of a New Mouseketeer, which brought me to Hollywood.

thumper: How is life different now, spiritually, than it was 20 years ago?

Lisa: Mostly I'm more mature. God has proven Himself faithful so many times in my past. The trust is easier. Youthful enticements are no longer an issue.

wisp: Lisa, if you had to appear on one of the reality TV shows, which one would you choose?

Lisa: I'm a big fan of "Survivor"! I'm actually addicted. I'd love to appear on "Survivor," but couldn't leave my kids for that long! Even for a million dollars!

fritzpw_admin: What would be your luxury item?

Lisa: My Bible! The way of Roger!

skilling_fretz: Have you kept in contact with all the other girls from "The Facts of Life" ... and if you have, where are they now?

Lisa: Our paths cross occasionally, but it's similar to high school. We were the very best of friends, but after graduation we all went our separate ways. Kim is doing some directing for Nickelodeon. Mindy is doing European travel. Charlotte travels with a one-woman show part-time in NY. Nancy is filming "The Division."

skilling_fretz: Did you find it difficult to be a Christian when you were in the Hollywood scene?

Lisa: Not really . . . Any difficulty of being a Christian was just because I was a teenager trying to live the Christian life. Being in Hollywood didn't have the temptation that I was interested in. I never felt the need or compulsion to look to drugs or parties or money to find escape or identity. I knew that Jesus loved me. I had nothing from which to try to escape!

gumby2000: How did you come to Christ?

Lisa: When I was 10 years old, I wanted an excuse to wear a dress, so my girlfriend and I decided to go to church. They served donuts and orange juice at Sunday School! I went back the next Sunday morning! Eventually, I returned for more than the yummy breakfast. I knew my heart had found its home. When I became a Christian, I was born again in the sense that my life began at that moment. I knew it was to be all about serving the Lord!

3girlmommy: Lisa, tell us about your family. How old are your children? Boys? Girls? What about your husband?

Lisa: My oldest son, Tucker, is 11. Haven, my oldest daughter is almost 10. I can no longer say 9! My youngest daughter, Clancy, is 8! My husband, Steve, still looks 28!

skilling_fretz: How are you handling living in a motorhome with 3 kids and a hubby? Don't you think you will go nuts?

Lisa: Quite possibly! Even nuts make peanut butter! And that's one of our family's favorites!

fritzpw_admin: Yummm...

my3sons_243: Do you plan on homeschooling all through high school?

Lisa: That's my plan. We love homeschooling! God has been known to come up with a different plan than my own and if that happens, I'm sure whatever He decides will be best!

guest1028: Do you miss acting?

Lisa: If I didn't have children, I'd miss acting! I enjoy going to work and being creative. I enjoy making a lot of money. I enjoy people catering to my every need! (smiles) But NOTHING compares to being a mom!

guest1100: Hi Lisa, do you still get recognized as Blair whenever you go out?

Lisa: If I'm wearing makeup and my hair is not in a ponytail, yes, I do! Even my voice gets recognized over the phone ... say, in a catalog sale!

boobearhost: How are you enjoying your dream vacation so far?

Lisa: It is better than we dreamed! Every's easier than I thought it would be. We're learning more...the kids are getting along better! Steve and I are still's more comfortable...and tons more fun!!

peacenpearl: What special challenges are there in homeschooling "on the road"?

Lisa: This afternoon, the swimming pool was calling when it was time for Math! So the competition to study is much more intense with all the fun things available to do.

guest955: Where in the United States are you looking forward to visiting the most?

Lisa: Washington, DC. The homeschool mom in me has to vote for Washington!!

wisp: What inspired you to write "Creative Correction"?

Lisa: Sheer desperation! My son, Tucker, was diagnosed with ADHD. I didn't need a doctor to tell me that! He was hyperactive... I'd read all parenting books and I was doing all the right things. But my children were not cooperating. So I had to get creative and parent them each according to their own strengths and weaknesses and realize that the top three parenting techniques are not very effective -- yelling, time outs, and spankings ... although ... I gave them ALL a good try! (smiles) So "Creative Correction" is a book full of ideas when you have no idea what to do! That's where I was when I wrote it.

joybelle26: How has being a parent changed your view of the world?

Lisa: Most everything I experienced is not multidimensional because I view it in terms of sharing it with, or teaching it to, my kids. I'm much more outward-focused now than just looking out for myself!

wisp: Lisa, there is a percentage of Christians who claim to be anti-Disney. Considering
you were once a Mouseketeer on "The Mickey Mouse Club," do you have any thoughts on the Disney corporation?

Lisa: I understand the concern with Disney and I agree with many of the hesitations some Christians have. But I have a lot of fond memories as a Mouseketeer and now the "Facts of Life" reunion movie is being produced by Disney, so I have a lot to be grateful to Disney for.

wisp: Lisa, what's been the most challenging for you: being an actress, being a pastor's wife, or being a homeschooling mom?

Lisa: There's no comparison between those three!! Being a mom, homeschooling or not, is by far the most challenging!

guest1163: Lisa, I really enjoyed your first book and wonder how you manage to find time to write not just one but two books in the past few years? Any great organizational techniques?

Lisa: I happen to have an amazing mother! She's an even more amazing Grandmother. She takes care of the children for me while I write or just need to go to Starbucks by myself!!

bulimchik: Warnsie...Was it hard being away from your mom while you worked on "The Facts of Life"...were you close to her?

Lisa: It was THE hardest thing being away from my mother and family, but it makes these last 13 years since she's moved to California that much sweeter!

raccoonlover: You sound really content being a Christian wife and mother. Any advice on how other women can feel that way?

Lisa: I think being a Christian wife and mother is one of the highest callings you could have. Many people ask me if it was tough going from a life of show business and fame to being a stay at home mom. Having experienced what many aspire to, as far as success in the world is concerned, I know firsthand that there is nothing better than a happy, healthy family serving the Lord!

guest1035: Will you let your children get involved with acting?

Lisa: Absolutely NOT! (smiles) In my opinion, it's a "no win" situation! Either they are very successful at a really young age and not equipped to handle that success, or they are rejected all day long when after every audition, they are told that they are not good enough or tall enough or pretty enough or whatever excuse for not getting the part. I've spent my life building up their self-esteem. I'm not going to let somebody else tear it down everyday! It's not worth it!

guest1258: What curriculum in homeschooling are you using, Lisa?

Lisa: I've used a different combination every year! This year to make homeschooling easier while on the road, I'm using Kumon Math packets, Daily Grams, along with a writing assignment every day, and then whatever we're studying along the road where we're visiting!

guest1090: When is your next book hitting the stands and what is it about?

Lisa: My next book is called "The Facts of Life...And Other Lessons My Father Taught Me." It should be in the stores within the next two weeks. It's available for preorder on my I will autograph those! The book is a collection of autobiographical stories illustrating how my Heavenly Father has been a very practical Parent in my life. And how He is teaching me everything from whom to marry, to how to spend money, to how to be a Christian in show business, to how to raise children, to how to diet and everything in between!

guest1259: What are some of the "lessons" or blessings that God is showing you lately?

Lisa: (Which do I tell about?) I always need to grow in the area of trusting God. Not taking matters into my own hands. Whether it's in my marriage or as a parent or my writing and ministry, I'm forever releasing those important things to Him. For Him to control instead of being in my tight grasp.

skilling_fretz: What has been the lowest point in your life?

Lisa: Having been a Christian since I was a little girl, I have been spared much heartache and pain because following God's ways really does bring blessing and protection. None of us are immune from suffering. As a matter of fact, we should expect it -- that's what the Bible says! It's in those times that we often grow the closest to the Lord. That's been the case in my own life. The two lowest points personally have been the years on "The Facts of Life", when I was away from my family and my parents were going through a divorce. I gained a lot of weight. But through that time I learned the habit of daily time with the Lord in prayer and reading my Bible, which has ultimately changed the course of my life in many ways! I'm thankful for that low time!

Lisa: The second lowest time in my life was the first few years of marriage. Going through that hard time ultimately changed my personality in many ways for which I am grateful. I am becoming more of who the Lord wants me to be and less of myself. Persevering through those years has brought a sweet marriage!

guest1090: Who is your role model? (By the way, you are awesome!)

Lisa: Thanks! My role model is my mother who is the ULTIMATE mother. I want to be a grandmother just like her when I grow up as well.

guest1078: Lisa, if you hadn't gone into acting, what career do you think you would have chosen?

Lisa: I enjoy psychology and counseling. I enjoyed school. The many years required to become a doctor would have been fun for me!

guest968: What was it like working with George Clooney?

Lisa: George Clooney was a lot of fun to work with! It was like having a big, rowdy brother on the set. I had no idea he would turn out so handsome or I would have worn makeup to rehearsal more often. (smiles)

Lisa: I want the people in the chat room to know that while I am talking to them my husband has folded ALL the laundry and is putting it away!! He is corralling the children, one of whom is stuck in the bathtub washing her dirty feet! He could only do that because the same wonderful husband unclogged the black water tank today!!!

Lisa: Cheers!!!

fritzpw_admin applauds fervently.

wisp: When Mrs. G was running that candy store, did she keep things in her hair? You know like pens, pencils, spare change, small hand tools, or even pets?

Lisa: Not that I'm aware of! Whew ... would have to think about that one!

fritzpw_admin: I heard she brought out a VW bug once. (smiles)

guest1001: Will Mackenzie Astin be in the reunion movie?

Lisa: I don't think so, and I'm sad about that because I'd love to see him.

guest1414: During your Family Dream Trip, will you be able to attend any of the Winter Olympics in Utah?

Lisa: We're trying to avoid winter on this trip! We are traveling in the south during the winter months. You have to remember that we need to put these children outside and lock the door on a daily basis to keep our sanity!

guest1001: Who is your favorite contemporary Christian singer?

Lisa: Steve Curtis Chapman. I really like his lyrics and it's not just entertainment. I also like his style of music.

guest1417: Are you able to have much fellowship with friends from back home as you travel?

Lisa: We talk on the phone (I have about a million hours on my cell phone plan). E-mail has been harder than I anticipated. The joke around here is the book I am writing on the trip is called "Finding God in America" and the subtitle should be "Finding a Modem in America." I have very strong friendships with the ladies from my Mom Time group, so we make sure we stay in touch.

guest1035: How do you find time for daily prayer with a family and close quarters?

Lisa: I just turn on a little light over my bed and reach for my Bible. I also try to go for a walk in the morning before the kids wake up. It's easier for me to stay awake if I'm praying out loud. Steve and I are enjoying praying on the long drive down the interstate.

womenseditor: How did your Mom Time group get started?

Lisa: For the last 10 years, I've met with a handful of girlfriends every Friday to play games and eat! (Two really important elements for survival as a mom of young children.) The refreshing time and the friendships have sustained me through many tough times whether raising my children or marriage or finances or just the stresses of life. That's why I am now putting together a Mom Time starter kit to equip other mothers to begin their own Mom Time groups. If that sounds interesting to any of you moms, you can find out more information on my website

guest1001: Did Steve ever watch "The Facts of Life" before he met you?

Lisa: Just a minute...I'll ask him! Steve says..."Two times!" I'd like to make another announcement...I've been cooking pasta during this chat I let it sit in the pot...the whole time...and I believe we're going to have pasta porridge for dinner. (Too late for pizza!)

fritzpw_admin: Lisa, is there anything you would like to say in closing?

Lisa: Don't let your pasta sit in the hot water when you're on a long phone call! Come back and join me again for another chat and bring your friends... This has been fun!!

Lisa: (waves)

fritzpw_admin: Thanks for coming everyone.