Tell us about your family. David–56, Leigh–46, Will–22, Garrett–20,Ben–17, Daleigh–15, and Eli–13
How did you meet, and how long have you been married? Leigh: “I worked at Stage Department Store in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and David managed Stage Department Store in Benton, Ark. My boss set us up on a blind-ish date (we had met once). She told me I was going to marry David before we even went out on our first date. We were married 10 months after our first date. We have been married nearly 23 years.
Do you allow time to be with your spouse for a date night? David: We have. Is it as consistent as I would want? No. Leigh: We go through seasons. We definitely have times where our jobs, or the demands of raising our family have made it very hard to find time to fit in a date night. However, we usually recognize what is happening and try to become more intentional about it. What brings you the greatest joy as a parent? David: Watching each one use their talents for the Lord and watching them succeed in what they set out to do. Leigh: I agree. I love seeing them grow confident in the way God made them, with each strength, weakness, talent and unique personality. I also love seeing them all together laughing and sharing memories. I pray all the time that they would enjoy one another and have relationships with each other that aren’t dependent on me or David. I have always dreamed of and prayed for a very close family, even when they are all adults.
Who is the financial manager in your home? David: (Laughing) Do we have one? We jointly manage the money. Leigh: I suppose we could have a more organized approach with our finances, but our system has worked for us over the years. We tend to make sure we are on the same page with our budget, and we both check in with one another before making any large or surprise purchases that go outside of the normal budget. We often set a financial “to do” list of all the upcoming bigger expenses, and we list them in order of importance. Then we agree on how much we will save each pay period for the items on our list—and mark them off as they are completed. We’ve always approached finances as a team effort and with enough respect for one another not to create any “financial surprises”. When your children were younger, what was your discipline philosophy? Leigh: Because we homeschool and David’s job has required him to travel over the years, I suppose I am the main disciplinarian. But David and I have always discussed how to handle situations so we could present a united front. I’ve always known that my job was to raise a future adult. We try to set up real-world consequences for our kids. We also know that we can never want opportunities and privileges for our children more than they want them for themselves. It’s their responsibility to protect opportunities and privileges, not ours. If they lose a privilege, it is something that they chose for themselves, not something we do TO them. We try to read through scriptures and see how Godparents us, and mimic that as closely as possible. However, He is a perfect Father and we know we will fail. We try to recognize when that happens, own it fully, and apologize. Finally, we set firm boundaries, with a reason behind each boundary, never saying, “Because I said so”, but instead, saying things like, “Because you are loved, because we value you and you protect things that you value, or because we both know you can make better choices than that,”and we tell them that they have a voice. They are always welcome to approach us and request a change in the boundaries we’ve put in place or reconsider a consequence, as long as they approach us with humility, honesty, maturity and respect. That seems to open the door for everyone to be heard and create a relationship where our children feel they can always talk to us, even if the conversation is a tough one. David: It’s simple, bad behavior comes with consequences, good behavior comes with trust or rewards.
What do you see in your role as the greatest benefit to your family? David: Try to live a Christ-like life and be an example of hard work, caring for your wife, and taking care of your family. Sometimes I fall short and let them know that’s not the right thing todo and I apologize. Leigh: In my role as mom, I pray my children feel known. I pray they feel celebrated for the unique way God wired them. I pray they feel protected, safe and loved. I pray I have helped create a home where those things flourish. Most important of all, I pray I have taught them how to have a faith of their very own, and not depend on my relationship with God to carry them into adulthood.
What is your quick go-to meal that isn’t fast food? And who does the cooking? David: Spaghetti and whomever is available. Leigh: Also, veggie and sausage stir fry, taco soup, and rotisserie chicken with veggies are some of our quick meals. When I’m really staying on top of things, I batch cook and freeze meals, because I know our evenings can get crazy at times. I try to have a plan in place and give the cook for the evening instructions. David is right, if I’m not going to be home, the dinner may be prepared by him or any one of the kids.How long has Brandon been your home?Eleven years
What are some of your favorite things aboutRankin County? David: MS Braves ball games. And I like that our homeschool community offers baseball and other sports for our high schoolers through Jackson Victors. Not all homeschoolers have that opportunity. I also love that my wife and kids are able to be a part of Rankin Performing Arts. Leigh: I love how easy it was to find families who have the same goals as we have. I also love the beauty and growth I see in our community. This has been the longest we have ever lived in a state, and we have no plans to move. We adore Mississippi and specifically love Rankin County.
How do you spend your summer breaks? David: I work retail. I don’t have summer breaks. (laughing) We do go on a vacation or two and visit family. Leigh: I teach theater camps throughout the summer, so that is one of my busiest times of year. When we aren’t involved in summer camps, we love to visit our neighborhood pool. One of the benefits of homeschooling is that we can get past the busy summer and then go on vacation, as long as the kids keep up with their school work.
What accomplishments make you proud during your time in Brandon? Leigh: We never lived in any state long enough to get deep roots. We usually had a rented home and knew we would not be in one place for very long. That changes everything about your experience in a town. I’m proud that we purchased a home and have lived in it for nearly 10 years. I’m proud of the roots we’ve planted through friendships that are more like family. I’m so proud to be a part of Rankin Performing Arts. I love how far it has come and I love where God seems to be taking it.
What drives you to have the job that you have? And what do you do for a living? David: I am the manager of Kohls in Flowood. Making the store a success drives me. God has given me the ability to do it. Leigh: He’s being very humble. He’s a wonderful manager. Yes, he’s good at making stores be successful, but he is also incredibly talented at leading people. No matter where he has worked, his associates always tell me how much they appreciate his leadership. That blesses my heart to know what a great leader he is.I teach theater at Rankin Performing Arts. I feel that artists see the world differently and need a place where they are able to explore the way they think, feel and see things in their unique way.I view the youth of today as the leaders and world-changers of tomorrow. That drives me to want to help equip them to enter a world that is not always easy to navigate as an adult, and where artists are often misunderstood. Questions for the Children:
What is your favorite thing to do as a family? Eli: Vacations! Going to the movies, and playing games and sports, like disc golf, as a family. Daleigh: I like when we go to the beach, and I like going to the park, watching movies and playing games. Ben: Outdoor games like baseball, football, or basketball. Garrett: Playing board games, card games and outdoor games. Will: I like going camping with my family.
What is your favorite Restaurant? Eli:: McClain Lodge Daleigh: Chick-fil-a or Fernando’s playing games. Ben: Taco Bell Garrett: Fernando’s Will: McClain Lodge
What is your favorite TV show? Eli: I like it when we watch The Masked Singer, American Idol, or some other competition show as a family. I also like watching football. AndI like homeschooling. I enjoy Impact (our homeschool group), and RPA. Daleigh: The Office, Heartland, and Kim Possible Ben: Avatar, the Last Airbender and The Flash Garrett: I don’t watch much tv, but I love watching LSU and Saints football games Will: TheOffice