A former television actress enjoys her current
wife and homeschooling mom
By John W. Kennedy
For nine years, viewers of NBCs Facts of Life watched
Lisa Whelchel portray Blair Warner, a rich, pampered, good-looking
boarding school student. Over the course of the situation comedy,
she matured from a prep school teen-ager to a responsible adult.
One of three actresses to stay on Facts of Life for its entire
1979-88 run, her character by the end a law school student
ended up buying the financially troubled Eastland school
for young women.
As Lisa finished the series, other acting offers awaited the talented
actress, then 25. Instead, for the past decade, Lisa has been playing
a role she believes has a higher calling: wife and mother. Lisa
made the transition only two months after the final first-run episode
aired in 1988. Since then she has gone by her married name, Lisa
and Steve, both Christians since childhood, met at a prayer group
at the 5,500-member Church on the Way in Van Nuys, Calif. Since
1982, Steve has been on the 24-member pastoral staff as director
of information technologies and an administrative assistant to Pastor
Jack Hayford. During a two-year period, Lisa and Steve became close
"Her consistent prayer request was that the Lord would help
her find the right husband, and we all fervently prayed," says
Steve, 37 at the time of the marriage. Steve, the son of Foursquare
pastors Curtis and Alice Cauble, earlier had spent a decade heading
the music department, then as business administrator at a Bible
college in Los Angeles.
After a year and a half of marriage, the Caubles had their first
child. Within three years after the first birth, the Caubles had
become a family of five. Today, son Tucker is 10 and daughters Haven
and Clancy are 8 and 7. "They require so much attention, and
it is something that I dont want to delegate to somebody else,"
she says. "At first it was just keeping them fed and clean
and dry, but now its trying to train them against the current
of the world."
A native of Fort Worth, Texas, Lisa was put in an acting class
when she was 7. Soon she was doing community theater. At 12, she
landed a part in The New Mickey Mouse Club and moved to California.
Over an 18-month period, she participated in 186 daily shows as
one of a dozen mouseketeers. Her break of being cast as the wealthy
princess on Facts of Life resulted from a turn of a phrase during
a script reading.
"The character was originally supposed to be a fast-talking
girl from Texas, and so thats why they called me," Lisa
says. "But there was one line in the audition that I read just
a little bit snobbishly, and they liked it. So when they cast me,
they had actually rewritten the part."
Lisa had been raised in a Christian home, and she committed her
life to Christ at age 10. Her faith did not waver during Facts
of Life. In fact, she used her celebrity recognition to give
her testimony to teen-agers at churches and schools. As part of
the touring, in 1984 she cowrote songs and recorded an album, "All
Because of You," which hit the Christian music charts and garnered
a Grammy nomination.
Lisa attended public school through elementary years, then had
on-set tutors, which enabled her to graduate from high school at
16. The original motivation for homeschooling her children was financial.
"We had assumed we would put our kids in a private Christian
school, but then we had three so close together, and thats
just not possible on a pastors salary," Lisa says. "Its
just gotten better every year." Because of the childrens
personalities and dispositions, Lisa believes the nurturing and
biblical foundation that can be laid in homeschooling have been
Lisas weekday mornings are spent teaching math, science and
history, while the children read on their own in the afternoons.
On Steves day off, Monday, the family takes field trips.
Television is not the center of the Cauble household. "Theres
no time in our day to watch it," Lisa says. The Caubles live
in a northern Los Angeles suburb. "There are other like-minded
moms here and were working toward the same goal: raising our
kids in the way of the Lord."
The Cauble kids have seen their mother on Facts of Life
reruns. "They think its kind of neat, but then the novelty
wears off," Lisa says. "Theyd rather be outside
Someday, when the children are grown, Lisa may consider a return
to acting. "I still enjoy it, but its really not feasible
at this time," she says. "It would require me to leave
early in the morning and I wouldnt get home until 6 or 6:30.
Or, if I did movies, Id be away for months at a time. Its
just not something I can consider right now."
Lisa does not believe she relinquished anything by leaving a life
in front of cameras for a life of schoolbooks and dishes. "To
me it wasnt walking away from a great thing to a lesser thing,"
Lisa says. "It was really walking away from a great thing to
a better thing. Im thankful that I was able to experience
a wonderful career and then be able to go from that to marrying
a wonderful husband and having great children. That seems to be
the ultimate calling."
John W. Kennedy is general editor of
the Pentecostal Evangel.