(2nd Edition Published by Ozwind Publishing, March 2015. 1st edition winner of a Reader’s Choice award in 2013)
*all photographs were obtained through free stock photos and modified per copyright regulations
Today you are going to meet a character from one of my published works. Robin Hillard, Gregory is the primary female character in THE FINE LINE. I’m going to let her tell you about who she is:
I came from a stable home with a caring mother and spiritual stepfather. I grew up in Southern Ohio with my brother and much younger sister. As a victim of sexual abuse, I rose above my victimization and became extremely well accomplished. My high school career consisted of many honors and achievements. I kept my abuse to myself, but set my goals high to overcome my circumstances.
I attended college at the University of Dayton, majoring in social work. Once I obtained my LISW, I went to work for a local children service agency. It was a refreshing change of pace from my graveyard shift internship at Miami Valley Hospital. I moved into different departments at the county agency, starting out in ongoing, then investigations, and I was finally promoted to supervisor of the intake department.
As a child, my life was simple. My father died when I was very, very young, so Richard, my stepdad, was the only father I really knew. He was kind to me and to my brother. As a Pentecostal preacher, he raised us to believe in all of the miracles of God and the authentic truth of the Bible. However, I was too much of a free spirit, I guess. I just couldn’t sell out and I started asking questions about my own spirituality. This lead me to research the answers myself because no one liked my questions. In fact, at one point I was told I was going to Hell for asking those questions. Still, there was something deep inside of me urging me forward. I couldn’t ignore it. My quest caused me to become more spiritual than religious and I began a routine of meditation and prayer.
Even with all of my education, I had really bad luck with men. My picker was broken for sure. I ended up in a situation of domestic violence. He even held me hostage. I didn’t think I would live through it. But, I did and after that, I knew dating was not in my best interest. Too many liars, cheaters, and players out there. I didn’t want any part of it.
So, I focused totally on work. However, I still socialized with friends and co-workers. In fact, I was convinced to sign up for the agency softball team, despite the fact that I am totally graceless. I trip on carpet at work. Seriously, it’s totally not funny. But, I thought being physically active would help me find great release from such a stressful job. I had no idea that my decision would lead me to my future husband.
Once I met Dr. Matthew Gregory, there was no holding back, in spite of my best efforts. I not only fell in love with him, but also his daughter, Olivia. I quickly found myself in a whirlwind romance and when Matthew proposed, I hesitated. I didn’t feel like I knew him well enough to marry him. Still, something kept pulling me toward him. That man’s love and sincerity overcame any doubts I had. Along with becoming a new wife and a stepmother, I became a home owner. Matt and I restored and moved into Pikeview Manor, an historical home just outside of town. I absolutely fell in love with the place, even before it was finished. But, then strange things started happening. I didn’t realize I’d need my spirituality more than ever before.
When I look back on all of the challenges and all of the things the house took from me, I realize that it was all part of a bigger plan. I had to learn my own strength and I had to fortify and integrate my own faith with other faiths. I still had to rely on the miracles of Christ and still maintain my spiritual truths. And, I could do that even though I didn’t think I could. I always knew there was something different about me, even as a child, but Pikeview brought on so much darkness that, for a time, I wasn’t sure I’d ever see the light. Thankfully, I did. Still, when I think about all of the things that happened, it doesn’t seem real. Such a scary time in my life. I’m certainly glad it’s behind me.
So much has taken place since then. I’m older now. I have two beautiful children and one exceptional stepdaughter, and two precious grandchildren. My love for my husband has grown and I know I was meant to be right where I am; right by Matt’s side. I have had my fair share of heartbreak, but I came through the fire as gold, as my stepdad used to say, God rest his soul. Matthew Gregory taught me that I could be loved and that I was worth more than I ever believed. He has stood by my side all of these years and I can’t thank him enough for that.
I still live at Pikeview, despite it’s tragic history. I feel like we have given life to that old house. Even though it hated us at first, it has grown just like we have. It’s all been worth it!