The members of one of contemporary Christian music’s most popular recording groups enjoy raising children in Nashville.
The members of Point of Grace are your typical moms-next-door. Denise pulls up in a SUV, swiping on lip gloss in the rear view mirror. Leigh leaves her cell phone in the Publix shopping cart and has to rush back to retrieve it. And Shelly admits to bribing her daughter to eat lettuce. Meeting these honest, charming women in person, you’d never know they’ve sold more than 6 million albums, recorded 27 number one chart singles and received 10 Dove Awards. Leigh says, “We are three women with three voices united together to encourage other women, today in a time when everyone can use encouragement.”
You’ve been together for 19 years! How do you handle disagreements and how do you use that experience to teach your children to maintain relationships?
Leigh: The way we each grew up, with siblings sharing your room and your curling iron, helped us form our ability to get along. The kids see us working together creating the song lists for a show or our tour schedule and it makes a strong impression on them.
Shelley: If someone feels passionate about something, we’ll have a group discussion and figure it out so everyone is somewhat satisfied. And if all else fails, we just mud wrestle. (Ha ha!)
In your photos, you‘re so put together, gorgeous and perfect. Is life like that all the time at home?
Shelley: We like to call it the magic of Photoshop, or in my case, photo-chop, as in digitally chopping off five or 10 pounds. Any woman can look like a million bucks with a stylist and makeup artist, but when you see me running around town you can bet your life I’m not gonna resemble that girl on the album cover.
Leigh: Oh please! I’m going to have to get a second job to pay for hair color to cover all this gray.
What do you kids think of your fame?
Denise: They think we’re more famous than we are, but so far they’re not embarrassed by us!
Leigh: They feel proud, but Darby was shocked when she couldn’t go backstage at Cheetah Girls.
How will you guard them against the troubles that some children of famous parents seem to face?
Leigh: There is strength in numbers. We are privileged to live in a place and to work in an industry where my child can play with friends who’s parents guide them similarly to how we do our own. But ultimately we’re responsible, so all the more reason to keep my house in order.
Denise: We have very good and grounded people around us who we walk through life with. I can’t guarantee my children will make the best choices, but we’re on our knees daily for kids, for the spouses they’ll someday marry and the choices they’ll make.
You‘re not originally from Nashville. Do you like raising a family here?
Denise: The school systems, public and private, are great. They not only care about the academics, but the heart of the children. Nashville is very family oriented. There are a billion things to do with your kids every day.
Leigh: Nashville has a Mayberry hometown feel, but it’s got culture, creativity and politics, too.
Denise, you‘re a singer and an athlete. How do arts and sports both enrich children‘s lives?
I think both of them help with confidence and both build character. Arts and sports teach you to work together as a group and that you’re not always the star. And you have to live with disappointment. But you have to be careful not to allow an activity or passion to define the person. God created you to be more than just the activities you are good at.
Do you decorate your own Christmas tree or have it done by pros?
Leigh: Decorate our own with White Christmas playing on the TV. Ours is the tacky tree with all the ornaments.
Shelley: I decorate my own, one in the living room and one in the family room. Last year, I wanted it to look Martha Stewart so bad, I swear I went back to Target a thousand times for more and more ornaments. That’s the key to a professional looking tree, TONS of ornaments!
Leigh and Shelley, you both have 8-year-old daughters. Do you compare notes?
Shelley: When Caroline started taking piano a few years after Darby, I remember Leigh telling me to chill out about making her practice and just help her love it at this point.
Denise: Be careful not to compare too much because you’ll panic if your child walks three months later than a friend’s. Each child is precious and unique, and it’s important to have friends that recognize that.
What is your family‘s favorite home cooked meal?
Shelley: Caroline loves spaghetti and my husband David’s is probably poppy seed chicken.
Denise: My boys and husband love walkin’ tacos (Crunch up a snack bag of Doritos, then add meat, cheese and toppings.)
Leigh: Their favorite is spaghetti. Mine is when my mom cooks for Thanksgiving: deep fried turkey, dressing with gravy, macaroni pie and sweet potato casserole. We starch it up!
What one item or dish does everyone refuse to eat?
Leigh: Brussels sprouts!
Denise: Anything green isn’t well received. They like a yellow plate.
Shelley: The other day I offered Caroline 20 bucks to eat three pieces of lettuce WITH RANCH for goodness sake, and she couldn’t do it. That’s sad!
When you‘re not on the road, what‘s a typical day look like?
Shelley: Go for a run, answer e-mails, do a load of laundry, go to Publix, pick up Caroline.
Denise: Get breakfast going, take the kids to school, pick up the house, plan the week’s menu, run off copies for Bible study. My kids told me that they don’t like when they’re rushed or when I talk business on the phone when they’re in the car, so I try to get it all done during the day to be there 100 percent for them in the evening. Now things aren’t so frantic.
What has having a child of your own taught you about your Heavenly Father‘s love for you?
Denise: From the moment the boys were born, I realized how different they were and how I love them so much and so equally. I realized that God loves us all equally and wants what’s best for us the way I want what’s best for my children. I find so much delight in my boys, and it helps me understand more fully how my Heavenly Father finds delight in me (Even when I mess up).
Shelley: Having a child has helped me understand that the time we spend with Him is probably the most important thing. Just like with your own child; you can’t truly know someone if you don’t live in the moment with them. That’s what I want to do.
Leigh: Having that little girl represented God’s mercy and the fact that He is the creator of all that is beautiful.
Deborah Bohn writes Busy Bodies for this publication in addition to celebrity profiles. She lives in Franklin with her family.
Your family can enjoy music of the season with Point of Grace‘s new Christmas CD, Home for the Holidays (Word Entertainment; $13.99).