Mrs. Gray is a super mom of four kids under the age of five. She loves to read Jane Austen and Shakespeare and enjoys getting to talk about what she loves about her profession.
Me: Where did you grow up?
Mrs. Gray: I grew up in Kansas. We actually moved to Texas when I was thirteen, but I didn’t appreciate the fact that we were uprooted at the beginning of my teenage years, so I kind of claim the midwest and Kansas specifically as to where I grew up.
Me: How many kids do you have?
Mrs. Gray: I have four kids, my oldest and youngest are girls and I have two boys in the middle.
Me: What’s the age range?
Mrs. Gray: My oldest is four and a half and my youngest is five months old, so I have four children under five!
Me: What’s your most prominent memory as a mom?
Mrs. Gray: I would have to say their births, that’s probably because I’m still so close to them in terms of time and I have great memories of all of them. There’s nothing like meeting the child that you carried for the first time. It’s so real, strange, and exciting, but a little bit sad the moment when I realize that I won’t get to carry them with me all the time. I hope that I get to hold on to those memories because it’s such a special set of moments to meet your child for the first time, actually see their face that you’ve imagined and feel the hands and feet that have been kicking you for so long and I think that that’s just really special.
Me: What drew you to being an English teacher?
Mrs. Gray: I fell into teaching without intending to. I went to college to pursue an English degree just because I love reading and that made sense to me, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do as a career. When I finished my Bachelor’s degree I still didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I went ahead and went straight to grad school. During that time I had a graduate assistant position; it was also then when I started teaching for TPS on the side. I really fell in love with teaching because I got to talk about what I loved to a sort of captive audience. So I figured that this was something that I liked to do. I wasn’t a bad teacher, even though I still had a lot to learn! In the end, it turned into something I really enjoyed!
Me: Who would you say is your favorite author?
Mrs. Gray: That is one of the most difficult questions you can ask me as an English teacher because I try to find value and substance in the vast majority of what I read. In terms of a favorite author, I would have to say Jane Austen or Shakespeare. Both super cliché, but I think they are both brilliant for similar reasons in the way that they use dialogue and conversation to shape certain effects on the audience.
Me: What’s your favorite Jane Austen novel?
Mrs. Gray: Persuasion. It’s not one of her more popular ones like Pride and Prejudice but it’s just a different take on that same story of a woman who wants more for herself and so rejected marriage as a young woman and is now much older and just lost in her society. She saw her dreams just crumble away. So it’s sad but it’s a story of renewal and forgiveness while not as cliché as the classic romance story in some of Austen’s other novels.
Me: What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish?
Mrs. Gray: I love it so much, I’m almost sick of it, but I would have to say green bean casserole. I don’t know why, but Campbell’s knew what they were doing when they wrote those recipes for cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soup. I mean, it’s three ingredients, but you just can’t go wrong.
Me: Do you have any memories from past Thanksgivings?
Mrs. Gray: After my family moved, Thanksgiving looked different because we weren’t close to family anymore. For the last few years my husband and I have lived quite a ways away from our families and so Thanksgiving looks a little different every year for us. There are not a lot of memories that stand out, but I am looking forward to making memories with my kids.
Me: What is your favorite Bible verse?
Mrs. Gray: Isaiah 43:1b which says “Fear not for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name and you are mine.” I have ‘fear not’ tattooed on my wrist and it’s a lesson that God had to teach me twice in my life because I forgot it the first time. It was something that I wasn’t going to forget again, so I put it on my arm where I’ll always see it, so I have no excuse to forget it again.
My Enneagram number is 6. So I naturally carry a lot of anxiety and fears, something that I started to realize in high school. I went through several years of trying to figure out what God says about it and heard from a lot of other people to just pray harder. In that first season, I needed to know whose I was to fully understand that I really had no reason to be afraid. Because fear has no foundation in the light of who God is. Later in life, I forgot that and found my identity in other places and other people. I was completely lost and all those fears came back. When we remember whose we are, we remember that God has us, then the fears are all significantly minimized. It’s something that I continue to combat, but I think the other verse is in Hebrew 6:19 which says “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the sanctuary behind the inner curtain.” I just remember that in waves of anxiety and fear, the gospel stays true. That is where my identity lies.
I loved getting to know Mrs. Gray this month! I wish her the best in her journey as a mom and teacher!