I’m a writer by accident. I never had a thought in my head about writing a book or a blog or anything more than trying to write something pithy on a birthday card! Family-wise, I’m married to Mike, my best friend and I’m mom to recording artist Francesca Battistelli and Mimi to Franny’s two children, Eli and Audrey Jane. Before becoming a Christian, I pursued a career as an actress and singer in the New York Broadway musical theatre world.
Accident might be too strong a word since there really are no accidents when you’re following God. I just never figured writing into my plans. What I did figure was this: I’d get married, have a big family and be a star on Broadway. I know, crazy right? But God has ways of getting you onto paths you never saw coming.
A little background is in order since I’m sure you don’t know where I’m going with all this.
I graduated high school in New Jersey in the early ’70′s and didn’t know what on earth I wanted to be when I grew up. I was lost, rudderless and clueless about my future. I always loved to sing and started voice lessons at 15 but just didn’t know where it fit in my life. Lacking a Christian foundation I drifted through most of my teenage years. I attended four colleges in two years but didn’t graduate from any of them. I finally realized my passion was music and theatre so I auditioned for a local musical theatre company.
I worked with them for two years getting tons of experience and then started auditioning in New York. I did lots of regional theatre and one thing led to another until I was cast in the Broadway National Tour of The King and I starring Yul Brynner. For those of you too young to know who he was, he played the king in the original movie of The King and I. He was a huge star and I was chosen to be the understudy to Mrs. Anna, the leading role.
I never imagined I’d get a chance to actually perform the lead role but God has funny ways of changing your life when you least expect it. One night I got to the theatre in Buffalo and found out the leading lady was sick with pneumonia and I was going on in 45 minutes! What a terrifying and exhilarating night! I ended up performing the lead role for two weeks until she recovered and returned to her role. However, Yul Brynner liked doing the show better with me so he bought out her two year contract and put me in the lead. Can you even imagine? I was twenty-six years old and starring with a legend in a classic musical. What??? I did the show for almost three years and over 1000 performances.
The best part of the entire experience was meeting my husband Mike. He joined the tour about six months into the run as Associate Conductor and, as he likes to say, we fell in love across the footlights! After performing eight shows a week for nearly three years, we left the tour, moved back to New York City, got married, bought a little condo in Greenwich Village and began our new life together. Still no inkling any of this would lead to writing.
A year later, we found ourselves answering an altar call and giving our hearts to the Lord. Our daughter Francesca was born soon after and we thoroughly enjoyed our new little family. Before long God began to tug on our heart to lay down our careers and follow what He had next.
Bucking conventional wisdom we left New York and our careers behind to embark on building a new life including moving to the suburbs, starting a new business and homeschooling our little girl.
We both wanted a big family of five kids, with all the chaos, crumbs, and craziness it involves but of course, God had a different plan in mind. After a life-threatening ectopic (tubal) pregnancy we tried everything we possibly could to have more children including three failed adoption attempts. Clearly, God called us to be parents of an ‘only’ and I fought it for years. You can read more about my struggle with God and infertility here.
As Franny grew up, we noticed astounding gifts and talents and God began teaching us how to bring them out, polish them up and help her offer them to the world. He showed us her life was going to be a public one, her ministry large and far reaching and she’d need our full attention to help her achieve her dreams. So we learned all about the Christian music business and did what we could to help her launch her career.
The next morning, I’m stretched out on the floor just thanking God for allowing us to share our fifteen steps and for all the good things He’d done for our family when I heard God’s voice in my spirit clear as a bell. I like to call it a God Dare.
“Those are book chapters.”
Wait, what? Book chapters? Are you SERIOUS God? You want me to write a BOOK???
I gave every excuse imaginable why I couldn’t write a book. But He wouldn’t let up and He showed me this truth: If He calls you to something He’ll equip you to carry it out. So I said yes and Growing Great Kids was born.
I never saw myself writing a book. No way! But God did because year by year He was writing the chapters deep in my heart. His chapters stuck with me and when He was ready He gave me the ‘divine nudge’ I needed to write Growing Great Kids. My part? Obey and start writing. It didn’t really matter how I saw myself. He said write so, I wrote. And now, I’m about to publish my second book called The God Dare. Go figure!
So, like I said, I’m a writer and food and faith blogger by accident.
Who knows what the next chapter will bring?
What about you? Has God taken you on a different path than you expected?
This post is a part of our “Who We Are” Series. For all posts visit,