Thank you so much for stopping by! I’m a New Jersey girl currently living in Atlanta writing about God, food, family and hospitality. My passion is to remind you there’s a big God Dare with your name on it!
My life revolves around writing/blogging/cooking and developing easy and healthy recipes for you and your family. My goal is to inspire you with posts about mothering and faith, hospitality and hope.
I’m married to Mike, my best friend and, yes it’s true, we’re the parents of recording artist Francesca Battistelli and Mimi and Poppy to Franny’s two adorable children, Eli and Audrey Jane.
Before becoming a Christian, I was an actress and singer in the New York Broadway musical theatre world. I toured for 2 1/2 years in the Broadway National Tour of The King and I playing Anna opposite the legendary Yul Brynner as the King and it’s where I met my amazing husband.
Mike and I were very intentional in the way we raised our daughter. We wanted to make sure she would never be afraid to pursue God with passion and purpose. I wrote a book all about our parenting journey and it’s called Growing Great Kids: Partner With God to Cultivate His Purpose in Your Child’s Life, published by Charisma House. If you believe your child is a world-changer (and I guarantee you he or she is!) then it might be just what you need as you grow your own great kid! I’m currently working on my second book entitled The God Dare.
You know, I always imagined myself as the mom of 4 or 5 kids, house in disarray, chaos, crumbs and craziness everywhere. Of course, things don’t usually turn out how we plan do they? God had a different path, a unique story crafted just for me.
His plan? Give me one precious child and teach me day by day and year by year. He slowly uncovered her gifts and talents deep within and taught me and my husband Mike what we needed to do to give her dreams wings. I wrote about our struggle with infertility and having an only child here.
I never, ever saw myself writing a book. No way! But God did. All along He was writing the chapters deep in my heart year by year as I took up residence in “the mother ‘hood.” His lessons stuck with me and when He was ready He gave me a ‘divine nudge’ and Growing Great Kids was born. My part? Obey and start writing. It didn’t really matter how I saw myself. He said write so, I wrote! Good thing He doesn’t only call the equipped but still equips the called!
You know that crazy idea you have right now? The one that’s way too big for you? The scary one? I call it a God Dare and it’s Him, divinely nudging you. Take the plunge! Follow through, make the phone call, start the business, go back to school, start the ministy, write the book, adopt the baby. Whatever it is, Just Do It. If you fall flat on your face, so what? What if you don’t? What if it is God and He has a huge plan just for you?
A Few Fast Facts About Me
- I love to cook.
- I HATE to clean.
- I’m a total word nerd and appreciate good grammar and spelling.
- Coffee over tea. French Press (can I get an amen?)
- I can knit and crochet.
- I’m a messy (just ask my husband).
- I find immense beauty (and a huge life metaphor) in sea glass and I’ve collected it since I was a little girl.
- Chocolate is my weakness. Dark, preferably with almonds
- I love to make my own jams and preserves and salsas and can them at home.
- I’m a complete Broadway musical theatre dork.
- Because I love to cook, I make most everything from scratch, except worcestershire sauce…so far. Here’s my Recipe Index. You’ll find lots of healthy, uncomplicated whole food recipes. Many are gluten free and paleo too.
- My grand-babies, Matthew Elijah and Audrey Jane are the cutest kids on the planet.
- I can’t draw to save my life and I’m in awe of those who can.
- For five years I was a certified childbirth instructor in The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth.
- I went to 4 colleges in 2 years and didn’t graduate from any of them.
- My husband is my best friend.
- I think cilantro is overrated. I still like it though but not nearly as much as fresh basil
- My love languages are acts of service and gifts.
- I’ve been to traffic school 3 times. Oops.
I just turned 60 and as I reflected back on my life, I realized God had taught me so many things over the decades. I share them here in one of my favorite ever posts: Sixty Things I’ve Learned in Sixty Years.
My most shared posts:
- Ten Truths About Motherhood I Learned at the Grocery Store
- When God Allows What He Could Prevent
- For the Mama Who’s Lost Her Way–Ten Tips to Help You Cope
- Motherhood: The After Party
- Why Jesus is Better Than Cake
My most shared recipes:
- Cheesy Bacon Burger Bites
- Salmon Patties
- Easy Balsamic Chicken in the Crockpot
- Chicken Sliders
- Apple Pumpkin Gluten Free Muffins
- Best Ever Scalloped Potatoes
- Chocolate Cupcakes & Two Ingredient Frosting
Meet the Family
My husband, Mike
We actually fell in love across the footlights. I was traveling the country in the National Tour of The King and I and Mike joined the tour in Detroit as the Assistant Conductor. Now Detroit is not my idea of a romantic city however, it holds beautiful memories for me!
The first time I laid eyes on him he was down in the orchestra pit on a cold night in Boston, before we got to Detroit. I thought, hmm…he’s really cute. Wonder if he’s married? Or gay? (the theatre world, remember?)
We clicked immediately and I knew in two days he was the one I was going to marry. Back then I lived in New York City and dated mostly actors or musicians. And back then, my mom referred to my recent boyfriend as “the thing with the hairy arms”. Let’s just say responsibility and commitment wasn’t his strong suit.
Not Mike. He owned a house. And a dog. He had a car. And, a lawyer.
Best of all, he sent his shirts out to be laundered. That really impressed me! I thought I’d died and gone to heaven and I knew I had to have him!
Oh, and he cooked Italian food too. What??? The perfect man for me. Here’s his famous recipe for authentic Italian Meatballs and Sauce, the best I’ve EVER had! And he loves making Tuscan Chicken Under a Brick. A man who loves God and food is pretty much perfect for me!
He is the smartest person I’ve ever known. He has taught me what integrity and honor and humility looks like even when it’s cost him. He’s a graduate of the Eastman School of Music and he has a master’s degree and a doctorate in conducting from the University of Massachusetts and he’s a brilliant musician. Dr. Mike! I figure his 3 degrees and my 0 degrees averages out to a nice B.A. for both of us.
Why do I love and respect him so much? He’s a faithful husband, he loves God, he’s a fantastic dad and amazing grandpa and after 30 years of marriage, he still makes me laugh and we still have lots to talk about. I wrote a post all about him called Ten Ways to Show The Father’s Heart because he’s taught me more about what it means to really live out your faith more than anyone I know. And yup, he’s still cute!!
Francesca, her husband Matt and babies Eli, Audrey Jane & Isaac James!
What do I love the most about Franny? She has the most pure heart for God and her passion her passion to make His name known is contagious and inspires me every day!
Being a mom is fantastic but being a grandma? It satisfies my heart in a dozen different ways. I didn’t know what to expect when Franny was expecting. What can I say?
I. Simply. Adore. Those. Babies!!!
I never had the privilege of having a son but I get to experience it in having a wonderful son-in-law, Matthew Goodwin. I see how deeply and tenderly he loves my daughter and how he delights in fatherhood. He follows hard after God and understands biblical concepts way too complex for me.
My Life on the Stage
In my former life I was an actress and singer living the dream in New York City. For a number of years I diligently pursued fame and fortune on Broadway and my stated goal was to be a Tony Award winning star! I performed all over the country doing regional theatre, dinner theatre, children’s theatre, off-off broadway, you name it.
In 1980, I auditioned for the role of the understudy of Anna in the National Tour of The King and I starring Yul Brynner. I got the part and diligently rehearsed and rehearsed until I knew my role backwards and forwards. I never expected I’d get the chance to perform with Yul Brynner. But God has a way of calling out our deepest dreams and giving them wings!
Below, is an excerpt from chapter one of my book, Growing Great Kids and tells how God, even before I knew Him, turned my life upside down.
Life Comes At You Fast
“About 2 months into the run of the show, I arrived at the theatre around 7:15pm for the 8:00pm curtain only to find out the leading lady was sick –and I was going on for the first time as the leading lady in forty-five minutes! I knew my part well but had never worn the costumes or handled the props, let alone been onstage with Yul Brynner! I was freaking out but I had to focus and get ready.
The night turned out well and I got to perform the role of Anna for two weeks while the leading lady was out with pneumonia. In the end, Yul Brynner (who not only starred in the show but was also one of its producers) preferred me in the role so he bought out the leading lady’s contract and offered me the role of a lifetime! It was an amazing time for me and I was privileged to play the part of Anna more than a thousand times, before more than a million theatre goers over the next 2 1/2 years!
The best part of the entire experience though, was meeting my husband Mike. He joined the tour about 6 months into the run of the show as the Associate Conductor and, as he likes to say, we fell in love across the footlights! After performing eight shows a week for the next 2 1/2 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.
A year later, we found ourselves answering an altar call and giving our hearts to the Lord. Franny was born a year later and we thoroughly enjoyed our new little family amid all the excitement of living and working in the hustle bustle of New York’s music and theatre world. It wasn’t long, though, before we began to feel the tug on our heart to lay down the business we had worked so hard find our way in and follow what God had in store for us next.
Bucking conventional wisdom, but following what we believed was God’s best for our family, we eventually left New York and our careers behind to embark on building a new life that included moving to the suburbs, starting a new business and homeschooling our little girl.”
Sometimes your dreams do come true. Interesting that my big break was with The King and I. Now it’s just the King…and i.
So, there’s a little about me. I’d love to hear about you!