Gipson was raised in Manila, the daughter of Rick and Dianne Sparks. She is a 1991 graduate of Manila High School and is pleased to be able to come back to her home school. She received a bachelor's degree in 1996 and a master's degree in counseling in 2000 from Arkansas State University.
She and Kris Gipson have been married for almost 11 years. Her husband is from Monette. He is the son of Gary and Judy Gipson of Benton and the late Lela Lu Gipson. His dad is a Baptist minister and has served as pastor at Gravel Hill Baptist Church for over 20 years.
For five years Mrs. Gipson worked at Mississippi County Community College serving as counselor and coordinator for the recruiting program. In that position she visited in at least 20 schools. Her job involved a lot of traveling and night meetings.
"When we started thinking about having children, I decided to go into public school counseling and give up the traveling," Gipson said. "From working in the schools, I knew that I would enjoy working with the young people."
She was the counselor at Gosnell junior high school for two years before coming to Manila.
Mr. Gipson has his own construction business in Manila and specializes in cabinet building. He also does floors, trim, painting, remodeling, and new construction. He also raises cattle which keeps him pretty busy.
The Gipsons have a son, Matthew, who recently celebrated his first birthday. Mrs. Gipson calls Matthew their "gift from God."
He was the first grandchild on both sides of the family, but that only lasted a short time. Mrs. Gipson's sister had a son, Connor Andrew, when Matthew was seven weeks old and Mr. Gipson's sister had a son, Carson Andrew, when he was 10 months old.
"He has cousins to grow up with and there is definitely enough love and attention to go around for all of them," Mrs. Gipson said. "Matthew gets tractor rides when he visits in Benton and golf cart rides when he visits his Papa in Manila."
He also has his great-grandparents, J.T. and Betty Bruce, of Manila that enjoy babysitting every chance they get.
Mrs. Gipson said before Matthew was born, she enjoyed reading, riding bikes, walking and helping her husband take care of the cattle.
"My hobbies have changed much since Matthew's arrival," she said. "I just get to read to him and I have his company while I ride bikes and walk. Kris has an extra helper now to take care of our cattle. My parents gave me a bike with a seat for Matthew for Christmas, so I can't wait until I get to try it out this spring. I can still remember riding in the seat on my dad's bike and my sister riding on the seat on my mom's bike. It brings back a lot of great memories.
"Another hobby that Kris and I share is raising a garden. Even though I don't get to help much in the garden anymore, I still enjoy putting up the fresh vegetables in the summer. We usually raise peas, corn, squash, potatoes, okra, peppers and tomatoes. Of course, none of this would be possible without the help of my grandparents, Betty and J.T. Bruce. They took a break last summer, but they have already told us that they are ready to get back in the garden this summer."
Mr. Gipson's hobbies include playing the guitar. He plays for Matthew every night.
Mrs. Gipson was always very active in sports through her high school years. The Gipsons are members of the First Baptist Church in Leachville. They filled in as youth directors in 2002 and enjoyed working with the young people there.
Mr. and Mrs. Gipson are making plans to build a house. They plan to do the work themselves and hope to start this spring.
"It is tough juggling all of the responsibilities, but I can't think of anyone that I would want to trade lives with. I am so blessed, and I am very thankful for my husband, Matthew, and all of my family. I love my job and the kids that I get to work with every day. I just pray that I can help guide them in love and help them set and reach their goals. It is great that I get to do this on a daily basis. By the time Matthew gets in high school, I will have had lots of practice working with teenagers," she said.
Mrs. Gipson said she learned to cook after she married.
"My mother and grandmother are both really good cooks and I have to admit that I was spoiled when it came to cooking," she said.
She did learn to cook and one of her specialties is chicken and dumplings. It is Matthew's favorite meal. Mrs. Gipson said the recipes she is sharing are very simple.
"I know that is important for working mothers. Several of the recipes that I use on a daily basis were given to me in a cookbook that was created in memory of Kris's mother in 1978. I also use some from my mom, Aunt Pam and my grandmother, of course -- three of the best cooks around. My sister and I have quite a bit to live up to," she said.
2 cups plain flour
2 Tbsp. oil
1/3 cup milk
1/2 tsp. salt
Black pepper as desired
Beat egg, milk, and oil. Add to flour and salt. Makes the dough. Roll as thin as you can. Cut and dry 15 minutes. Drop into boiling broth. Add 1 can cream of chicken soup.
(This was Kris's mother, Lela Lu Gipson's recipe)
1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion (chopped)
1 medium green pepper (chopped)
1 large can tomato juice (1 quart)
1 can mushrooms, sliced (optional)
Brown onion, green pepper and hamburger meat until onions are transparent. Drain this. Add 1/2 can of tomato juice. Add onion salt, garlic salt and celery salt to taste. Cook all this down. Then add remaining tomato juice and mushrooms if you want them. Simmer until done.
Southern Pecan Pie
9 inch pie shell
1 cup chopped pecans
1 Tbsp. melted butter or oleo
1/2 cup Red Karo syrup
1/2 cup pancake or waffle syrup
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. flour
Beat egg slightly; add butter, syrup and vanilla. Stir until well blended; combine sugar and flour and blend this with the egg mixture. Add nuts and pour into pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
3 lb. chuck roast
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
1 can cream of mushroom soup (undiluted)
Place roast in center of large piece of aluminum. Place in roasting pan. Combine next four ingredients. Pour mixture over meat. Wrap foil loosely. Bake at 350 degrees for 2-1/2 to 3 hours. The sauce makes wonderful gravy. Serves 4 to 6.
Add potatoes, carrots and any other vegetables until tender.