We are connected to break down perceptions…

Gina & Michelle

Perceptions – definition – the way you think about or understand someone or something – Merriam Webster

Today, I witnessed true love in motion.
Spend anytime with Gina Hill, you will find a woman that loves her family more than anything. She will drop what she is doing to do anything for anyone at anytime. You will see a woman that faces her fears so others can feel comfort. A woman ready to set aside her beliefs on how a traditional marriage should be to be a knight and shining armor, to her husband, when he needs her most. I am feeling pretty confident that when she said “I do”, she was completely unaware of the tour of duty that she would sign up for. Gina’s husband isn’t like some wounded veteran’s that come back from war with a physical disability, he has an invisible war wound called PTSD. There is no way I could possibly do this story any justice so this clip is a great way to get more information on Allen and his journey through PTSD.
Veteran with PTSD Finds Help with Service Dog

I felt the need to write this about Gina. I do not enjoy writing and through the years find it hard to sit still long enough. So my heart didn’t ask my mind for permission, which is usually the situation, so I had to write about my friend Gina, her impact on this world and how our worlds collided through this little thing called The Torn Edge.

(OK – Fast Forward the story about Gina and Michelle)

Gina grew up as a small town girl and I was a country girl. She went to Ottawa to school and I went to a rural school called Central Heights. Our paths crossed in a few friend circles, but didn’t get a chance to really meet her until after high school. After many years and life experiences later, The Torn Edge would reunite our paths to uncover the truths about ourselves. Honestly, I can’t even begin to tell you the countless hours that we have spent sharing stories with laughter and tears. It would be only God that would know to collide us and know the power in a common thread. We instantly reconnected and it was like a “girl crush!” Ok that is our joke, but seriously we have experienced so many of the same pleasantly dysfunctional life moments that it leaves our heads spinning. We get some pretty unique perceptions laid upon us as we navigate the life of being authentic and fearless storytellers. These crazy little stories of our real life, would reveal the most uncomfortable, vulnerable, and raw experiences that neither one of us dreamed up in high school.

People often see us as the 2014 Michelle or the 2014 Gina, but have no idea of the pain to get to this place in life. I am a girl that just makes this torn edge art and Gina is this girl that lives an “easy life” by living in a cool house that was built by Extreme Makeover: Home Edition in 2011. Like me, she is reminded of the painful torn edges, to get her to this point and chooses to make something beautiful from them everyday.

As I drove out to her freakishly huge house, I realized immediately that it wasn’t the size of the house that mattered or even who built the house, but the incredible heart from within the house that you could feel from the road. Many that drive by, might just see the size, the finishes, the “television house”, the pool or know of the paid for mortgage. They desire to see the house from the outside, not to see the heart overflowing from the inside. This home was built from a lot of painful torn edges of their life.

The healing has only begun for the both of us. We find serenity from the comforts of our environment. Gina has a safe place to live finally. The house blesses not only her family, but keeps her husband safe. I have found healing from my art and realize that it just doesn’t bless me, but many, in ways that only God could create.

We both have felt the most amazing benefits of this journey, but we are constantly reminded of the pain that have gotten us to this point. We have felt natural separation of friends and family because of lack understanding of our true purpose in life. We have felt unworthy, but highly blessed to be in this place in our lives. We feel by doing something out of the “normal” and purpose driven, that it puts our children in line to be judged and vulnerable. We choose to take these moments and make incredible life lessons. We choose not to use them as excuses for failure. We also realize that we must embrace the journey that has been laid before us and we wholeheartedly believe we wouldn’t change a thing.

These are the top 10 things I know about Gina that has nothing to do with her house!
1. She is a warm and kind person
2. Amazing mom
3. A loving wife (She loves her husband unconditionally and with abundance)
4. A person with generosity that flows for her heart.
5. She has a contagious laugh
6. Gina is someone that struggles with being worthy of the blessings of this journey.
7. She has her own courageous story of survival that would be a top seller list.
8. Hot Mamma and the best things since sliced bread (given by Allen, her husband)
9. Selfless
10. She just wants to be Gina Hill

Top 10 things about me
1. I have been hit by lighting in September 1988.
2. I was Pitt State Dance Team Girl.
3. I love fast cars, demolition derby’s, and Nascar.
4. I walk a fine line between being a hoarder and a collector.
5. My favorite movies are comedies because life is too short not to laugh.
6. I love all people for their unique contribution to this world.
7. I love surprising people when they least expect it!
8. I live in the Land of Michelle – I speak Michelle Language and live on Michelle Time!
9. “Generosity and Kindness Rules” in the Land of Michelle
10. My mind simply never shuts off!

I have to admit that I was high fivin’ myself to think my art would replace some of the television show art, but honestly it is way more than that. When I think of making this piece called “Mended”, I think of the strong woman that has held this family together in torn times. The edges of this quilt, of their life, have been torn, frayed and tattered, but I see the most beautiful piece ever created by God. He has used her to tell a story of survival and true love.
So I am challenged to make a piece of art that reflects the quilt of their lives. This won’t be an easy task, but so worth the meaning and the beauty that surrounds it. After spending some time with Gina, I understand the fiber, the patches and the woven fabric of the Hill’s life. It is simply awe inspiring. This quilt represents the many experiences that the Hill family has endured, but it shouts out the common thread. That common thread that has “Mended” it all together is my friend, Gina Hill.

So as I think of how others perceive me or Gina and our unique journeys, I focus on the thing I say all the time, “Just love me for me, not for where everyone wants (or perceives) me to be.”