Claire Green says she always knew that after college she would return to her hometown.
“So many people say, ‘I’m leaving; I’m never coming back,’” said the Greenwood resident. “I was always the one who said, ‘Oh, I’m coming back.’”
Green said she knew she wanted to make her home in Greenwood, surrounded by her family and friends.
“I loved growing up here. I missed it the whole time I was gone,” she said. “I got to be here and be raised with all of my cousins. I loved that and wanted that for my kids.”
Green, 40, graduated from Pillow Academy. She attended the University of Mississippi, where she received a degree in English. She stayed at Ole Miss and continued her education at the university’s School of Law.
After graduating from law school, she moved back home and married her high school sweetheart, Lauren. Green and her husband have been married for 14 years.
They have two daughters — twins Ann Grace and Mamie, who are 11 years old.
Green’s closeness to her community helped her and her husband get through a difficult time almost 12 years ago.
Her daughters were born prematurely, and the family stayed in the neonatal intensive care unit at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson for six months after their birth.
“The twins were born at 28 weeks,” Green said. “They were 1 pound, 10 ounces, and 2 pounds, 5 ounces.”
Green said she knew something was wrong early in her pregnancy. She saw a specialist, who believed the girls had twin-on-twin transfusion syndrome, a rare condition.
However, a friend, Dr. Emily Johnson, who is from Greenwood and a Jackson obstetrician and gynecologist, suggested that Green get a second opinion.
“At that time, (Johnson) was a resident at UMC. I was talking to her, and she ended up getting me to transfer,” Green said.
The mother-to-be soon moved to Jackson at 24 weeks pregnant, where she had to check in with medical professionals daily in order to decide when it was safe for her to give birth. Green said she already knew at 20 weeks that her children would have to be delivered early.
At 28 weeks and four days, it was time, and it worked out that her childhood friend, Johnson, was the doctor who delivered her daughters.
“Once you get to a specialist, I didn’t have a choice who would deliver them, and it ended up I got to have her,” said Green. “I did not take that for granted; that was a big deal to me.”
When the girls were delivered, the doctors “ended up seeing something I don’t think they had seen before (they were born),” she said. “One of them was keeping the other one alive. It had not become a toxic relationship; it was just a miracle, basically.”
Both of the girls were sick, especially Ann Grace.
Throughout that difficult time, Green said, “Even though it was so hard, I could see God in it. ... I could make a full-page list of Greenwood connections that we had in the NICU just to walk me through it. It’s just a testament to living in a small town.”
After six months in the hospital, “we came home with a lot of machines,” she said. Now, the twins are “perfectly healthy” and enjoy reading, church activities and spending time with their friends and family. “We’ve come a long way,” said Green.
The Greens were involved with the March of Dimes for several years and served as a March of Dimes Ambassador Family in 2010.
While Green holds a law degree, she later found out that the career she’s passionate about is teaching.
After her children were born, she received a phone call “out of the blue” about a job opportunity at Mississippi Delta Community College.
“What I really wanted to do was teach at the higher level,” she said.
Since joining the staff at MDCC, Green has been a dedicated employment readiness and life skills instructor. She was hired at the Greenwood center but now teaches at the main campus in Moorhead, where she’s been for about six years. “I love it. I love my job. I love my students,” she said.
Green said she enjoys spending time with her students, teaching them about life skills and opportunities, and later seeing her former students around town and successful. Helping them get on that path is a rewarding experience, she said.
Green is an active member of St. John’s United Methodist Church, where she leads a small group for junior high girls and has led women’s Bible studies. She’s also taught Bible journaling, which has become popular over the last several years.
“I’m probably known as the Bible journal girl,” said Green, who has taught at her church and online classes. She also has a Bible journaling Facebook group, “Praying Scripture.”
Bible journaling is a colorful way to keep notes, focus on a Scripture passage or pray. In Green’s Bible, she writes notes on the side of the pages using different colored pens and pencils and sometimes illustrates a passage or pastes pictures or notes.
She said Bible journaling is a way for her to set aside time to read Scripture and pray.
“My whole Bible is colored and crafted. I am a scrapbooker by nature,” she said.
Green said this prayerful activity gives her “a connection to the words that I didn’t have before.”
•Contact Ruthie Robison at 581-7235 or email@example.com.