Be Still and Know that I AM GOD!

In the rush of life, sometimes it is just good to be still, pray, and allow God to work in my life.  My students start every lesson off with prayer.  They have come to recognize the importance of asking God to be with them as they ride and work around 1500 pound animals that could spook because a simple plastic bag is flying across a field.  It is here that we begin with the most important aspect of RAISE YOUR DREAMS FARM!

Do you need peace?  Be still, pray, and allow God to work it all out!



Nothing Better- Loved by Great Pyrenees


Snowball watching over his kids!
Snowball watching over his kids!
Timmy and the boys- Frosty and Snowball
Timmy and the boys- Frosty and Snowball
Sweet Frosty greets even those that are afraid of big dogs
Sweet Frosty greets even those that are afraid of big dogs

Living in the country is full of excitement.  Skunks that have made their home in my barn, and I was inadvertently sprayed because I reached down to pet what I thought was one of my cats.  There was also the time that the bulls from across the street decided to stampede down my driveway and into my horse pasture.  Lest I forget the time that the horses got out and decided to stand in the middle of the road, stopping traffic.  This is my life on a glorious horse farm, named Raise Your Dreams Farm.

Unfortunately there are some people who also enjoy perusing the country-side searching for an easy target.  My neighbor heard noises coming from his basement only to find a bad guy hanging out.  So when our neighbor had her barn broken into, my husband and I began in earnest to find a dog that would be intimidating enough to scare any would-be robber into thinking twice about coming to our farm.

As luck would have it, we were watching the Animal Planet TV show and they were featuring the Great Pyrenees dogs.  They were excellent guard dogs and would defend their “family” even to the death.  Their size was intimidating enough, 150-180 pounds, standing about 3 feet in height.  We had the land, and of course the livestock that needed their protection, so we concluded that these might be a good dog to invest in.  We ordered two fluff ball puppies on the internet, brothers that we named Frosty and Snowball.

I could not imagine any puppy cuter than these rather large bundles of white downy fur.  They slept all the time, played with one another, ate, and then slept again.  Unlike my labs, these puppies enjoyed laying around more than being up and getting into mischief.

As they got older, we realized these were no ordinary dogs.  A baby in a stroller was something for them to protect and they would even block the mother from attending to her infant, a toddler learning how to walk, they would walk next to them slowly allowing the child to balance themselves off of their broad backs.  A loud truck driving by, now that was something to be chased unto its death.  Occasionally the township worker would blow their horn to incite total havoc in my yard amongst my fierce dogs.  We have an electric fence around our home and thankfully they respect it because I think a lot of joggers and bikers would be in serious trouble if they ever got a hold of them.

If you are visiting the farm for the first time, expect to be stopped immediately and then escorted down the driveway to the parking space where they want you to park.  Get out of the car and expect to be sniffed and nudged until satisfied.  They will never wag their tail, until they feel that you are an accepted part of their “family”.  If they find you suspicious, they will bark until my husband and I are alerted.

Their favorite activity is to bark, dig, and chase anything that should not be riding down the road.  This is their property and they will not have any shenanigans here.  But their soft side is always shown to all that come here.  They beg for pets, high-five the kids, and lay on you if you happen to lay down on the soft ground.

They are now eight years old, still extremely active, and somewhat celebrities in our town.  If someone is not sure where we live, all we have to say is the farm with the big white dogs.  “Ohhhh, I know exactly where you are.”

Wouldn’t you want to be loved by a Great Pyrenees?


The Amazing Suzanne

The amazing Suzanne
The amazing Suzanne

The one constant in Suzanne’s life, is her camera. She snaps pictures of the horses, clouds, her kids, moments, and all of these memories spill out onto her Facebook Page, Twitter Account, or Snap Chat.

One day my students were having a hard time trying to get one of the horses to go into another field. That’s when Suzanne told the kids she would get the horse to move and she did not even need a halter or leadline.

The kids stood back, as she walked into the field, complete with purple hair, high heels, and spiky red fingernails. They smirked as she waded into the mud. She tiptoed, pirouetted, and hopped over the big puddles. My seasoned students wanted to see this and a small crowd gathered at the fence to watch this larger-than-life parent wrestle our 1500 pound Hershey into the other field.

Hershey eyed her, and that’s when she grabbed her ever ready phone camera out of her back pocket.

“What a handsome man!” she coyly cooed.

The horse stood at attention and she started snapping pictures. He turned from side to side, enjoying her accolades and the snapping of her camera.

She slowly walked into the other field and he followed her like a big dog.

“See kids, that’s how it is done!” she flipped her hands through her purple hair and smiled broadly.

This woman just “schooled” my kids in how to get a horse to become putty in her hands.

Refreshing Faith

Mother's Day 2015
Mother’s Day 2015

“Why can’t you breathe?” my father ushered my mother into a small room where all the hymnals were kept. The service had already begun. She clung to my father deeply, almost piercing his skin through his thick wool overcoat and jacket. It was Christmas Eve and he had a lot to do at Church. His focus was now on his wife who gasped and wheezed.

“Judy, I am calling 911!” She shook her head for him not to, but he grabbed his archaic flip phone and dialed. He described the incident in great detail, his face now burdened with concern.

Within three minutes, the ambulance was there and they ushered my mother onto the gurney. The trip to the hospital would take minutes, but this journey would last the rest of her life.

While driving to the hospital, my father called each one of his children. I was the first to be reached. I had just finished cleaning up our Christmas Eve meal and getting ready to go to my neighbor’s annual celebration at her home. My husband and I climbed into our truck and took off for the ICU at Christiana Hospital. My mother was in congestive heart failure.

Within five days she had two open heart surgeries, put on dialysis, and was in grave condition. Though my mother was a regular church goer, it was not necessarily because she wanted to grow in her faith, it was a social club of sorts. My mother loved people and people loved her. She enjoyed volunteering at the church bazar, driving flowers to shut-ins, driving those that couldn’t to their appointments, volunteering her nursing knowledge to anyone that needed it, and of course attending the church where she was the most popular amongst all the parishioners.

She spent four excruciating months in and out of the ICU. Her body was shutting down. This little dynamo of a woman who could do anything was now incapacitated. Her zest for life, family, and friends was reducing to just surviving.

Prompted by the Lord, I woke early on a cold Sunday at the end of February. Get her saved. I heard the Holy Spirit begging me into action. I got out of bed and asked my husband to come with me. We had been praying for months for an opportunity to share the hope we have in Jesus.

The beauty of knowing the Lord is that He already knows how it is going to work out. I came into her room, and her face was rosy and she was alert.

“Jill! What are you doing here? Dan, I am so glad to see you!” and she genuinely was excited. With her many surgeries and lack of oxygen her memory was horrendous. She actually thought that she hadn’t seen me for months.

We both gave her a hug, and feeling immensely aware of the gravity of the situation, I asked her if she wanted to get saved.

“I would love to get saved!” she was giddy with excitement.

“Repeat after me- Jesus, I acknowledge that I am a sinner and need your grace. I know that you took the punishment that I deserved on the cross. You are the Son of God! Come live in my heart, dwell with me forever!”

Then she clapped her hands in excitement. “That was the best prayer! Let’s say it again!”

I stayed for an hour and during that time, she kept telling me that the prayer we had said was the best thing she had ever heard, and we probably said it a dozen times before she fell back to sleep, with a smile upon her lips.

It was June 3, my birthday and mom is now on hospice. Her time is limited, her breathing labored, and she no longer responds to us. It is 7:30 in the morning, I stand by her bed and rub her arm.

“Mom, today is the day that you will walk on streets of glory in the splendor of heaven. You will see the Son and the Father. You will hear the voice of angels telling you to come and see the mansion Jesus has built for you. No longer will you be in pain. You will be dancing on strong legs, with a heart full of love. Yeah though I walk through the valley of death, your rod and staff comfort me….Go mom, you’re free! Go!”

That’s when the room crackled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus was there ushering in his beloved child, my mom.

She had peace on her face, and I began to jump and praise the Lord. My excitement was uncontainable and it spilled out into the room like a palpable blanket. Everyone came into the den, and felt the Holy Spirit and His peace. My mom had done the impossible. Rejecting Jesus Christ as her savior all of her life and thinking that church would save her. But at the end of her life sensing her need, she accepted the gift of eternal life- Jesus Christ. My heart rested in faith, I would see my mom again. This time she would be walking on streets of glory.

This greatest birthday gift my mom has ever given me, she is sitting sweetly on the side of the Father, making pies, and I am sure helping others decorate their new mansions in glory. Hallelujah!



Is That Steve?

I think I see Steve! Timmy pointed to a little dot flying high in the sky.

Hmmm, you think that’s Steve?

Yup, that’s him! He has come back to say thank you.

The bird descended slowly as it rode the thermal air stream. Was this my imagination?

See, that’s him!

How do you know? I asked.

Because he loves me. Timmy’s smile said it all.

Well, by golly I do think it is Steve. I patted Timmy’s back in agreement.

And with that the bird let out a piercing scream as if on cue.

Steve is a hawk that Timmy and I rescued after its parents had died. We found it on the ground and Timmy became the bird whisperer that day. He calmed the very big bird down by wrapping his arms around it and cradling it like a baby. We took it to a bird rescue and the woman was incredulous when I told her that Timmy picked it up. She told me it was a miracle. Most people would have been torn up she said and showed me a few nasty scars. That day Timmy named this majestic animal Steve. A few months later I got a notice that Steve had been freed into the wild. Ever since then Timmy has scoured the skies searching for his beloved friend. I guess today he came back to say hi to his human friend and rescuersteve-rescuer, Timmy.

Timmy smiled broadly reassured that surely Steve had come back. I’m always amazed at Timmy’s faith and simple belief that surely God would give him this sweet gift of knowing the simple truth- WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!

Fighting for the Finish- Chapter 1 Concludes

There was no way I could I explain, rationalize, work through, or find a solution to help me with this force that was unseen and unnamed.


I composed myself and started to let the last horse out, a beautiful Palomino Quarter Horse named Que. He was my favorite horse at the farm. His personality was quirky and he was always full of mischief. His favorite treat was honey buns and he loved to torture me by pulling on my clothing looking for the elusive honey bun that I would hide in a side pocket. He was quite a handful to lead because he would use his lips to tickle me. I spoiled him terribly. He was a great lesson horse and one of the favorite mounts for my students to ride. He always made me laugh, and I needed one now.


The sun glimmered in the sky and I heard the faint sound of a faraway owl. I could also hear the barn phone ringing. I knew I would never be able to reach it, so I took my time putting Que out into his paddock. I held up the honey bun and he greedily ate it. Then he licked my hands and I kissed his beautiful and dignified face. I let him graze on the sweet grass outside of the barn and buried my head in his strong neck. His sweet aroma gave me comfort, and I desired that more than ever. He pulled his head up as if to reassure me and I scratched him under his chin. I reluctantly put him out and secured his gate with two chains. He was a real Houdini and could undo any lock with those infamous lips of his. He stood watching me, and I told him there would be no loose horses on my watch. I reluctantly left him, not knowing what I would face once I got back to the barn.


As I rounded the entrance to the barn, I could hear the phone ringing again. Sharon met me in the barn office and sat on the sofa across from the desk. She wanted to say something, but there was nothing to say. I was slowly losing all dignity and control over myself. I placed my head in my hands and then wiped my eyes.


“I can’t take this anymore,” I said, fighting back tears. This is destroying me. The truth is I’m scared. I can’t fight this by myself. I am ill-equipped,” I said.


Sharon said nothing, but her face said it all. She knew that there was something here, a presence that was menacing and looming in every room, every stall. Its ominous and threatening presence hung over us like a dank odor. It intimidated us and convinced us that we were at its mercy. The jail sentence had been handed out, and what we were guilty of we did not know or understand.


The phone rang again. This time I did not hold it to my ear; instead I picked it up and slammed it down.  Anger recoiled like a snake and it lifted its ugly head from the depths of my soul. I gritted my teeth and grunted. Sharon sat with a look of horror on her face. We were both terrified.


I had met Sharon at the high school I was working at in the fall of 1990. She was the school nurse, and I taught special education. We had similar personalities, as we were both nurturing and caring. We loved the students, and we would mutually come to the same conclusions in helping many of our most difficult charges. We would encourage each other every day and would frequently spend the evening discussing the intimate details of our trials and tribulations. It was during this time that she started attending a small country church, after she discovered that her husband no longer wanted to stay married to her. It devastated Sharon. She found strength and peace in getting to know God. Frequently she would share the pastor’s lessons and teachings with me. I listened half-heartedly, for truthfully, I did not really believe in God.


Abruptly Sharon said, “I have an idea. Let me call my pastor, his name is Don, and he is wonderful. I told him about you last night, and I explained what has been happening here. He told me to tell you that you should call him.”


“No, Sharon,” I said. “I don’t want to talk to a pastor. What is he going to do?” I was incredulous. To me pastors were weak people with stiff personalities. Talking to a pastor, I thought, would be a waste of my time.


The phone rang again. I guess this was the theme for today. On other days, it manifested itself through strange noises, either humming in low frequency or loud banging, or chairs would move, lights would go on and off; or music would play reverberating through the house’s speakers. Today it was driving me crazy with a ringing phone. I shook my head as tears welled in my eyes. As I accidentally hit the bump that was now the size of a softball under my arm, I winced in pain, recalling the first assault of the day.


Sharon picked up the phone while I busied myself with straightening the papers on the desk. I knew who she was calling. I glanced at the wall clock; it was barely seven in the morning.


“Pastor Don,” she said, “I’m sorry to call you this early, but it seems that things are out of control here and I think Jill needs to talk to you. Remember, she is the girl who is staying at her friend’s farm while the family is on vacation? Yes, it is starting again, but it has never happened this early or intensely before. She was stung by a bee and the phone has been ringing incessantly with no one on the line. Would you like to talk to her?” She paused and then handed me the phone. She held the phone at arm’s length, and with her free arm, she waved frantically like she was holding the keys of hope for those in despair.


I vehemently shook my head and placed my arms across my chest to show that I would not take the phone, nor talk to her pastor.   I continued with my business of organizing the papers until she held the phone up to my face, and then she did the unthinkable, she walked away, forcing me to pick it up.


I held the phone up to my ear with trepidation. Choked with frustration, my voice came out cracked and weak, as I uttered “Hello.”


“Is this Jill?” His gentle voice was calmly reassuring.


“Yes, I understand that Sharon told you about me and what we are experiencing here,” I said. His calm voice evoked a feeling of peace, and I longed for it like nothing else before. I was like a weary traveler longing for rest, and his voice was a soft, downy pillow that was oddly comforting my soul.


“Yes, Sharon did tell me about you and where you are staying. I actually know the place. If I am correct it is one of the oldest historic sites in New Jersey. What exactly are you experiencing there?”


He wanted to know every detail. Like a faucet, I turned on the spigots full blast and spilled out the whole story. The music that would blare out of unseen speakers in the house, the TV that would change channels and how the volume would rise and fall without being touched, the chair that scraped across the wooden floor even though no one was near it, the chandelier that would only partially light, the screaming fight I heard on the balcony outside the bedroom that I was staying in the first night. I told him about the banging and thumping that would permeate the house and that no matter how hard I searched, I could not find the source. I shared how I would turn the lights off and as soon as I got to the balcony, every single light in the house would go on.



I told him about how my faithful dog, Amy, refused to step foot in certain rooms. She would whimper and at times her hair would stand up around her neck and she would snarl as if she were protecting me. She would stare and follow an invisible force that seemed to float above her. I told him about the flickering barn lights, the red welt under my arm, and the persistent phone ringing with a dead line as soon as I answered.


I realized I had been recalling all of these weird happenings without taking a breath. My heart was pounding and I began to involuntarily nervously pace in the small office.


Pointedly, I asked, “Am I in danger?”


He took a deep breath and said, “Yes, I do believe you are. Accept Jesus as your personal savior. He is the only one that has the power to break the stronghold of these demons. Once you ask Jesus into your heart, His blood will cover your sins, and you will be His. No one will be able to mess with you. You will have the power to overcome these demonic forces that are” he paused for a moment; “quite obviously harassing you. Now would you like to accept Jesus as your personal savior?”


He had put a name to these forces, demons. I had watched scary movies of supernatural forces, but I did not think that they actually existed. I was frightened and confused. Why were they harassing me? I wondered.


All I could think of was how much I disliked Christians. They always seemed so judgmental and condemning. Pastor Don was just the opposite, though. He had a soft, soothing voice, and it seemed that he had a lot of experience with people who were in trouble or frightened. He was calming me by putting a name to these frightening occurrences and most importantly he held out a solution. He talked about blood and the cleansing of sins. However, I felt I did not fit in with the other sinners of the world. I reasoned that I was a good person and that my sins were not all that bad.


He continued to talk about the blood of Christ, that all people are sinners and that they need a savior. I half-heartedly listened as he spoke, as I had always believed that Christians were crazy and I didn’t want to be one of them. I could not comprehend powers that I could not see, yet I seemed to be in the midst of them. It seemed that the only thing I was certain of was that I did not want to be a born-again Christian. I liked my life the way it was, and I was certain that it would go back to normal once I left this place. All I needed to do was leave this disturbed house and farm, and I reasoned that would be happening in precisely two short days, sixteen hours and thirty minutes.


“No thanks,” I said emphatically. I did not want to accept Jesus as my personal savior.


No sooner had I said those words than the phone started to ring while I was on it. I held the phone away from my ear and stared quizzically at it. Sharon quickly came back into the office thinking my conversation had ended. I motioned to her that I was still speaking with Pastor Don, but the phone was ringing again. Impossible, there was no other phone line. How could the phone be ringing while I am on the phone? My mind raced ahead. Would I be in this condition forever? Would I be harassed by demons for the rest of my life? Surely this was supernatural and demonic.


“If I accept Jesus as my personal savior, will this stop?” I asked, as the unremitting ringing of the phone interrupted my thoughts, and I began losing my concentration. What I really wanted at that moment was rest and, more importantly, peace. I knew this pastor had the answer for me.


“I don’t know,” Pastor Don replied. “What I do know is that if you accept Jesus you will have the power to come against these demonic forces because He will be in you.   Therefore, you will also have His power. Jill, whether you realize this or not, you are in a dangerous place. It is not only dangerous for you physically but spiritually as well. Jesus is the only one who can help you now. God, the father, Jesus, the son, and the Holy Spirit are the only ones that can help you now. I won’t be able to help you, Sharon won’t be able to help you, no one will be able to help you, except Jesus.” He said this so forcefully that I was frightened. I knew deep in my heart that what he was saying was the truth.


The phone continued to ring, interrupting our conversation. His words soaked into my brain. I was faced with the reality that I would not be able to escape this harassment, and it pierced the core of my being. A perfect compromise appeared and I leapt at the chance to use Jesus at this time to get rid of these forces. This was a viable solution to me. Then, I believed, I could forget all about this and resume my normal life.


“Okay, how do I accept Jesus into my life?” I asked, as the ringing continued.


He took a deep breath, and said, “First you need to confess that you are a sinner. Then you need to ask Him to wash you clean of your sins. Ask Him to dwell in your heart. That’s all.”


“But how do I accept Jesus?” The simplicity of salvation hadn’t sunk in yet. There must be more to it than this, I thought.


“Why don’t you repeat after what I say?” He didn’t wait for me to respond, he just plunged forward. “Jesus, I recognize that I am a sinner (he paused for me to repeat him). I ask that you wash me clean of my sins (he paused). Come dwell in my heart Jesus (another pause),” he said.


After I said the prayer, relief and peace inundated my thoughts and permeated my being. The phone had finally stopped ringing, and I felt free. In that brief moment of prayer directed by the pastor, I knew that something had happened inside of me. I knew that somehow I was different. I was hoping that all of this would stop and life would become normal again. Little did I know that things would get a lot worse before they would ever get better.

(I have never written a book before, but this concludes the first chapter.  What do you think?  Has it captivated your interest?  Your feedback is valuable and I thank you for your honest thoughts)

Fighting for the Finish- Continues

“That is weird,” she said looking at the clock. “It is only 6:30 in the morning. Who do you think was calling?” she asked, as the cute little calico kitten jumped into her lap and she fed it a tiny piece of her croissant.


“I don’t know. I hope it wasn’t Beth,” I responded, knowing I have a tendency to think the worst. I didn’t want Beth to know that I wasn’t staying at her house at night. I would come early in the morning and then leave around nine or ten at night. Every day I would set the home alarm and take her gigantic black Doberman Pincher, Alfred, to my house to share my bed with me and my dog, Amy. I wanted her to enjoy her vacation. I didn’t want to bother her with any suspicion that anything was amiss at her home. I admitted that I couldn’t even formulate exactly why I couldn’t stay there.


We began our routine of letting the horses out one at a time into their designated pastures. I would start at one end, and Sharon would start at the other end. I took out the boarding horses and Sharon took out the docile lesson horses. At the end was a beautiful black Thoroughbred named Thunder. He was over seventeen hands high and his presence struck awe in all that met him. I reached up to attach the lead line to his leather halter and opened the door wide to get him to his pasture twenty feet away.


As soon as my foot graced the threshold, the phone rang.


I pushed Thunder back into his stall, and he unhappily shook his head at me. I ran as fast as I could to the office. I pushed the door open so hard that it knocked into the door stop and all of the papers on the desk flew off. I was determined to get this call. Again all I heard was the “nnnnnnnnnnn” sound of an empty line. I sat on top of the desk puzzled. It was now 6:42 and there had already been two calls. Someone must need me, I thought.


I started to gather the papers and neatly place them on the desk. I waited for a few minutes until I heard Thunder’s whinny for me to come back to reality and set him free. I left the office door open so that there would be nothing but a clear shot from the stalls to the phone.


I snapped the lead on Thunder once again, and as soon as my foot hit the cool concrete of the aisle, the phone blared out again, piercing the air. I pushed the big black Thoroughbred back into the stall again. This time, he jerked around and tried to pull me back into the aisle. He pinned his ears and made a menacing face as if he meant to harm me if I didn’t let him go. I insisted and shut the stall door just in time as his teeth bore down at me.


The feet of a gazelle could not have run faster than mine, and I slid across the desk like a baseball player rounding for home. But it was all to no avail, as I reached for the phone all I heard was that same “nnnnnnnnnnn” sound.  I slammed the phone back into its cradle. This time I pulled the phone off of the desk. As it precariously sat in the aisle, it would be easier for me to reach should it ring again.


I walked back to Thunder, and told him that I was sorry. He paced and pranced in the stall arching his neck, and each muscle rippling in the sunlight. He did not trust me, and I could not blame the big fellow. I opened the door and started to walk him outside into the crisp beautiful morning. He started to pull in anticipation of having a great gallop around the field.


As soon as I let him off of the lead, he reared and struck the air with purpose. As he landed, the sound of thunder could be heard from his mighty hooves. Then he sprang into a full gallop, completing five large bucks.   He was beautiful and majestic. Glancing over his shoulder, he paused to see if I was watching his grandiose show of power and might, and then he shook his head as if he knew I was admiring his antics.


Suddenly I heard the faint ringing of the barn phone. I sprang into action, running like a world-class sprinter. In record time, which even Steve Prefontaine, the world’s greatest runner, would have had a hard time to beat, I jumped across the aisle and impressively reached for the phone. Breathlessly, I breathed into the receiver and heard the aggravating “nnnnnnnnnn” sound of a dead phone.



I screamed as loud as I could, “I hate this haunted, weird, demonic place! I can’t take it anymore! I want out of here!” I voiced what I had repressed over the past few days that the truth of it caught me off guard. I was in a place of uncertainty and strife, where I was not in control, and its unfamiliarity made me angry……………….

Read more tomorrow………………………


Fighting for the Finish

It was happening again. This time it came in the form of a frantic bee buzzing around me searching for a weakness. I swung my arms like a world class baseball player trying to bat it away. It landed under my arm pit and planted its stinger in my body. As it tore away, reeling in death, I knew that it was a launch from the devil himself. Angrily pulsating, a red swollen welt formed and the pain vibrated and throbbed through my body. It was just one more sign that made me feel that “something” hated me here.


This home, a term I use loosely because it is actually a mansion of over six- thousand square feet stands on over eighty acres of prime real estate. Though it is gorgeous now, it laid in disrepair for many decades before it was bought by my friend, Beth, and her family.


As a single woman, I was often asked by my friends to stay at their homes while they enjoyed their vacations. This would be a vacation for me too. A pool, horse farm, and a gorgeous house to lounge in was an escape that I could relish.   Leaping at the opportunity, I delighted over staying in this mansion and taking care of the many horses in her barn.


This mini vacation for me at Beth’s mansion would be unlike any other experience I have ever had or ever will have. It was here that I embarked on a glorious path of self-discovery that transformed my life.


Though it was only six in the morning, I was already exhausted. I was no longer sleeping in Beth’s home at night because admittedly I was too scared of something that I could not name or understand. There was something palpable there and its presence frightened me.


The sun shone brightly as I drove from my home in Delaware to this beautiful quaint town in southern New Jersey. I found myself reflecting on all that had happened to me at this home over the past five days. As each mile drew me closer, a feeling of dread would creep deeper and deeper into my mind and heart. Tiny pin pricks of fear danced and clamored up my back and onto my neck breaking into a crescendo at the crown of my head. Admittedly, I was scared of this beautiful mansion and what was there.


While Beth was gone my responsibilities were to feed the horses, teach riding lessons, clean the barn, and take care of this beautiful home. My heart was torn; I could not stay at her home at night. Fearful of ruining Beth’s vacation, I decided to compromise and spend the nights at my own home in Delaware.


This morning, I drove directly to the barn, on a separate driveway from the house. It winds through a deep forest across a small bridge and over a babbling brook. The barn and indoor, covered arena that allows riders to exercise no matter the weather, sit upon a hill, and today they sat glistening in the sunlight like a diamond.


This horse farm is unlike many farms in the area. There are several riding rings, an indoor riding arena, outdoor cross-country course, and a stadium jumping arena. The heated barn comes complete with a vacuum to groom the horses, and it also boasts of a wash stall with hot and cold water to ensure that each horse gets a royal bath. The tack room is heated in the winter and air-conditioned in the summer. Comfortable over-stuffed couches and chairs adorn the tack room too. Riders would gather and share stories about their horses, and a crowd of boarders and lesson students would be found relaxing in this room.


It is here that I teach riding lessons, and it is a position that I hold with great regard as Beth entrusted me to start her horseback riding program at her beautiful and grandiose farm. I am proud to be a part of this beautiful farm with its many amenities for the horses as well as the riders.


As I walked into the barn, the horses whinnied in excitement for their feed. I usually call to them by name, but after my run-in with the bee, I was frankly in no mood to be cheery. I went into the feed room and turned on the lights. They flickered on and off, something they have never done before, and it was a further aggravation. Frustrated and irritated, I found myself getting impatient. This was another indication that there was something here and it had chosen to harass and hound my every step.


Hearing the sound of tires on the gravel road to the barn, I glanced out the window to see my friend, Sharon, driving up to the barn. I greeted her at the door.   I pointed to the now red lump that had grown to the size of a golf-ball under my arm and told her that I was attacked this morning. As if in perfect synchronicity with this account, the lights flickered and sputtered allowing us to know that we were not alone. We both involuntarily shuddered. We fought the sensation to flee, and because we were nervous, we both started to laugh. She is the only one to whom I have shared what has happened at the house and the barn. I feared that if I shared this with any of my other friends or boyfriend, they would think I have gone insane. Sharon is a friend who I trust; she is a born-again Christian and believes in the existence of supernatural happenings.


Upon hearing our laughter, the horses understood that their food would be coming soon, and their neighs and whinnies swelled to a cacophony of noise. As if snapped into our primary purpose at that moment, we looked at each other and began preparing their feed and hay. We each loaded up a cart, complete with each horse’s feed, supplements, and hay. She took one end of the barn, and I took the other. Within a few minutes, the horses were happily slurping and chomping on their feed. Sharon has involuntarily become a horse woman, and I appreciated her willingness to help me. Their halter rings clanged in time with their greedy mouths, and this made a harmonious song that I would never tire of hearing.


While the horses ate, we decided to eat our breakfast too. We walked into the feed room, she pulled up a stool, and I grabbed the empty feed barrel. Sharon began laying out an elaborate breakfast, and I admired her ability to always be so giving and thoughtful. She knew that I probably had not eaten breakfast, and she had made the time to stop on her way to the barn to get us breakfast. Sharon had brought freshly baked croissants with fresh strawberry jam and small Styrofoam cups of black steaming coffee. This simple breakfast was delicious.


As I started to pick up another croissant, the phone rang. It echoed throughout the barn, interrupting the melodious sounds of content horses eating their breakfast. I rocketed off of the barrel and ran to the other end of the barn to the office. I pulled the door but realized that it was locked. I grabbed the key above the door jam and hastily unlocked the door. Practically leaping across the desk, I grabbed the phone. I held it to my ear and began to speak when I heard the dial tone on the other end. Thinking it strange that the dial tone was all that I heard, I ran to the feed room, where Sharon was cleaning up the remains of our breakfast and feeding the barn cats.


“Sharon,” I said, “it was weird. As soon as I picked up the phone, all I heard was a dial tone. You know that “nnnnnnnnnnnnn” sound?” I tried mimicking the empty dial tone.

Read more tomorrow………………………………..

Nothing Sweeter…..

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Being a high school teacher has its ups and downs, and when a student writes this on her facebook, I happened to be the talk of the school.  A student quickly showed me why.

I am so grateful for all of the students that have touched my life.

None of this would be possible without Jesus Christ guiding and leading me- To Him be all the glory!




A Miracle?

kassieIn her short thirteen years she has experienced more than most adults. Her parents felt led to take she and her siblings on a journey of countless perils to share the glorious Gospel to all people.

She went to France to learn the language and culture to equip she and her family for their special assignment in Africa.

It was here she learned about suffering first hand. While there she was almost kidnapped by the villagers and was saved by her valiant brother, who refused to give up until she was freed.

There were good times too! She witnessed children and adults come to accept Jesus as their Savior and had a pet monkey. It was during this time that she learned she had a precious gift- she loved to help and serve others.

Once back in the states her mother sought a horse farm where she could learn to ride and enjoy time away from service. That’s when she found my farm, Raise Your Dreams Farm.

Not only is she learning to ride, but she is once again serving others by volunteering here. Little did I know that her inner strength would also be seen outwardly in a miraculous way.

One day while leading our naughty pony, he tripped and began to fall, all the while a little special guy was on his back for equine therapy. Afraid that the student would fall, she lifted this hefty 1500 pound pony back to his feet.

It happened so quickly I could not mentally digest it. Once I was able to grasp the magnitude of her heroic fete I began to praise her and our Lord of Lords!

That’s when she said, “Miss Jill I thought he was trying to get some grass and I just pulled with all my might!” Her blue eyes glistened in the sunlight and she smiled with the satisfaction knowing that she had done the impossible.

Hmmm, I think I know a verse –

It was with God she did the impossible! And for that I am so unbelievably grateful!