I Got My Uniform and Now I am Ready To Work!

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“Mom, I need a t-shirt because I have to be in my uniform!”  Zoe made a statement as if truth was held in this precious shirt. Her mom laughed and grabbed a shirt resigned to the fact that her daughter loved few things better than this farm.

Zoe has been riding here for almost four years. She has “trained” all of our horses and ponies, and she loves each one as only she can.  She proudly tells every new student or instructor all that she knows about each horse.

“Now BRUTUS, he is big!” She pats the big Fresian on the shoulder and her eyes twinkle with pride.  “I trained him too!” She holds her hand on his massive shoulder and gazes into his eyes like a mother with her newborn babe.

Everyday when she walks to her mother’s beautiful car she tells all that one day she will work here. That day is finally coming. Her mother asked me if she thought Zoe could “work” here once school let out. Zoe overheard our conversation and said with pride, “Mom, you can just drop me off and I’ll work here!” Zoe can hardly wait to have the independence that she sees the other helpers have.

I easily have four to five helpers-volunteers everyday that tirelessly assist instructors, tack or untack horses and ponies, clean stalls, leather, tack-shack or sidewalk and lead during lessons. They are an integral part of my farm, and it would be impossible to run this farm without their unwavering support. Zoe has dreamed of the day when she would do what they do.

Last Saturday she got her RAISE YOUR DREAMS FARM t-shirt and it is with great pride that she will wear her uniform to work!  When that day comes I know few who would be prouder to be at this little farm that holds hope.

Jill Mansor, owns RAISE YOUR DREAMS FARM. She is also a motivational speaker and author of FIGHTING FOR THE FINISH (available on Amazon or http://www.jillmansor.com)

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Let’s Raise A Praise!

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What should one do, when their hope is failing?  Raise a Praise!

It is my first year living at my farm.  As a single woman, operating a farm, opening a business, working full-time as a high school teacher, I was struggling in every aspect of my life.  The original fence at the farm was an electric tape that my ponies loved to push down and climb through.  Though they never went to the road, my neighbors would find them in their backyard, or lounging under my beautiful oak tree in the front yard.  I had to do something.

I took all my money from my savings to buy a wooden fence.  I ordered the fence, never thinking that I would need to calculate two to three feet needed to stabilize the posts that would be buried in the ground.  Because I ordered the fence, it was cut to my specifications.  The fence posts were only five feet in length, not the required eight feet.

The fence installer looked at my devastating miscalculation, shook his head, and said, “This fence won’t hold a horse,” and I did what most would do, I hung my head in complete despair.  I knew that I had just lost the biggest investment I had made at my farm, $12,000 of complete waste.

The fence installer left imploring me to get new fencing, but I knew I did not have the money to re-order new fencing.  In my mind, I had just lost all.   I drug myself into my prayer closet and did what I knew I had to do, praise the Lord.  Initially it was very hard to praise when my heart was like a soaked blanket.  I was determined to get God to work on my behalf.

One hour of praise led to two, then three hours until I felt my heart loosen, and the words of praise rang true in my sorry heart.  I called the lumber yard, just knowing in my heart, God would make a way out of this mess.

When the lumber yard said they would take it back and refund my money, I literally fell to my knees.  They charged me a service and handling fee, but it was minuscule compared to the thousands I had just given to them.  I learned a valuable lesson that only God can teach us when we are in the valley.  Praise Him until you get out of it!

When hope is lost, despair is walking boldly into your heart and mind, that’s when it calls for a mighty praise!

Have you ever praised the LORD when all hope was failing, and He took your despair and turned it into joy?

Please share!  And always, thanks for reading my rambling!  LOVE YOU ALL!

Thread Bare Faith

 

IMG_1654I know I must, then why is it so hard to do it?  What must I do?  Praise the LORD, that’s my mandate, but I am slain in overwhelming disappointment.  I thought that after I battled cancer my life would be restored.  Instead, I lay in destruction.

I am fighting my fear, disappointment, and hopelessness.  You see, I did something the world would say was crazy.  After not being able to work last year, I closed a large account, in anticipation of spending it on my crushing debt.  After an extended fast, God said, “Do you trust me?”

I emphatically answered with a resounding YES!  What He told me to do next, rocked me to my core, “Give me all that you have.”  I had thousands of dollars in my account, earmarked for debt, and God was asking me to give it all to Him.

With shaking hands, I trusted Him, and wrote the check out for everything I had.

I rested in the glorious verses,  Malachi 3:10-11

Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house. Test Me in this,” says the LORD of Hosts. “See if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out for you blessing without measure. 11I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your land, and the vine in your field will not fail to produce fruit,” says the LORD of Hosts.…

Luke 6:38

38Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”

Admittedly, I was getting excited with expectation of how He would use this extraordinary gift.  What came next rocked my world and left me spiraling in despair.

First, my sweet aged horse went into a severe colic and double pneumonia.  The vet bill crushed me.  Next, we were hit with a tax bill of $13,000.  Then our two-month-old refrigerator stopped working, and because it is under a warranty, Sears said they can’t come out for nine days.  All our food spoiled.  My tractor stopped working and now it is in the shop.  Everywhere I looked was destruction.

Maybe I will be laugh at these calamities someday, but right now it is raw.  I cried out to God, and proclaimed the verses of hope, prosperity, and all that is afforded to a believer in Jesus.  My faith is faltering, my strength failing, and my hope is thread bare.  Then I thought about it all, God is God of my life.  Even this period of wilderness will bear much fruit.  I am learning that my circumstances are temporary, He is forever.

I got my praise music on and literally laid on the floor, tears streaming down my face.  My big fluffy dogs trying to comfort me.  I did not care, I was going to lay there until He changed my heart from despair to hope.  If He gives me nothing, I am still going to praise Him for saving this sorry soul from the pit of hell.  I will smile in the face of defeat, because God is working it all out for my good, even when I wish His “good” was my kind of good.  My Father is a good God, and He loves me too much to leave me in this wretched place.

I repeat out loud, as if it were a battle cry.  “I am your daughter!  You are my God, and I will serve You no matter how bad it looks!  Have mercy O Great God!”

Immediately, my heart is restored, hope floods in, and I know that He will bring good gifts, I only need to hold onto hope.

Are you in the valley of despair?  Let me pray for you, please just put your name in the comment box.

Take Your Grubby Hands Off Of That…..It is Mine!

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“How will they know it is Me, if you keep trying to make something happen?”

A smack down, straight from God Almighty.  I am a bull-in-a-china-shop, a go-getter, stop-at-nothing, million-miles-an-hour woman, type-A, who always wants to be in control.  I get more accomplished before eight o’clock in the morning than most people do all day and in some cases all week.

Written goals organized into steps to be taken each day.  The biggest goal is marketing my book, Fighting for the Finish, and I am constantly weaving a web of purposeful steps to get my book “out there.”  I think about it constantly.

Then I got the smack-down from God.  Do I trust Him with the story He gave me?  I started to laugh to myself, yes, of course.  Who wouldn’t?  Reflecting upon my constant flurry of action, it was leading me to destruction, and in all honesty, I was NOT trusting Him.

Forgive me O Mighty God.  Hands off, I will rest in You!

Have you ever had God tell you to stop, rest in Him, knowing that He is working it all out?  Please share!

The Farm That Hope Built

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“Miss Jill, you are the luckiest person I know,” Josh held out his hands trying to encompass all of my farm.

“Josh, this has nothing to do with luck,” I stated flatly, for he had no idea how much time, planning, and effort “all” of this luck took.

“Aw, c’mon, Miss Jill, it was all luck,” he laughed awkwardly, as if it were inconceivable to have anything without some luck.

This conversation gave me many flashbacks.  I was thrust into my past with my many friends who became nay-Sayers who discouraged me and sabotaged me.  I saw myself on my knees and recalled the countless hours in prayer.  All the extra jobs I would take no matter how tedious to make extra money.  All the hours in careful planning of how I would get the money to open my own farm.  And after I got my farm, how many times I went without food.  This labor of love, Raise Your Dreams Farm, had nothing to do with luck.  It had everything to do with my relationship with Jesus Christ.

The day I accepted Christ, I felt a tugging on my life, to give it all to Him.  I read His Word, memorized His promises, and I kept mine to Him.

One day I read, “As a man thinks in his heart, so shall he be,” Proverbs 23:7.  I set about immediately casting out negative thoughts.  I am being honest here, I always hated myself.  I grew up in an abusive household, it was ingrained in me that I was a worthless waste of space.

Admittedly, it was a struggle to change my thinking, after-all, I had lived this way for my whole life.  I filled my mind and words with His promises of who I was.  If Jesus knows me, then I MUST be something special I would tell myself.

I would spend hours in the stalls, listening to tapes that I made of promising scripture.  I woke up to these tapes, and then I would fall asleep to them.  I felt God prompting me to write down my goals, make plans to achieve them, and then set about doing something every day that got me a little closer to my goals.  Some days they were big steps, other days they were small steps, but every moment was spent thinking of my goals.

I remember going to a tack store and buying a brass key chain with the name, RAISE YOUR DREAMS FARM, so that each time, I grabbed my keys, I saw the dream and felt the farm.  I could visualize my farm, a yellow house, tree lined driveway that curved, and it all fell into place on May 1, 2002, the day I found my farm.  By May 31, of that year, I was laying in my Jacuzzi tub looking out on my horses at my very own farm.

A single woman buying a farm, sheer craziness, but with God ALL things are possible!

One of my dearest friends gave me a tiny figure of a woman that was on her knees praying, and she wrote in her note to me that she knew that this farm could ONLY be possible by copious hours spent in prayer.  It is not what you show outwardly, but what you do when no one is watching that produces the biggest results.

Do you have a dream?  Go after it with all your heart.  Make a goal, set a plan in action, ask God for His help, and believe in your heart that WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!

A Miracle Marriage

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“Jill, Dan is totally in love with you,” Sharon said one cold frosty December morning.
 
“I am not interested,” I said, as I looked down at my desk. I had just moved into my farm and I was totally overwhelmed. I guess I was complaining about my loneliness, and Sharon offered hope. Dan was a teacher at the high school I was teaching at with Sharon. He belonged to our little social club of like-minded-born-again-teachers. He came faithfully every morning to our prayer group and social outings. He had already asked me out, and I had said no.
 
But I was feeling that she had a valid point. He was the first person at my farm the day I bought it, he always encouraged me, and he was one strong Christian. These were the traits I was looking for in all of my friends and he truly fit the criteria.
 
That night, I started my prayer, when I felt the Lord say into my spirit, “You are going to marry Dan.”
 
The seed had been planted. Christmas Eve service was magical with each of us holding onto a candle. I love Christmas and the evening service is the highlight of my year. I love to sing Silent Night, Holy Night, and on this particular night, it was snowing. Dan sat next to me, and I grabbed onto his strong arm for support, because I began to cry. He patted my knee when we sat down.
 
That’s when I knew that Dan was possibly my soul mate, my protector, and husband. On January 6th of that year, I invited him over for dinner. I felt that God was speaking to me so strongly about marrying him that I would “test” and ask Dan if God was saying the same thing to him.
 
“Dan, is God saying anything to you about me?” We were sitting in my sun-room and he was playing with one of my dogs.
 
He looked at me as if he had just swallowed a golf-ball. “Yeah….” he said.
 
“What?” I asked.
 
“I’m not going to tell you,” he said and laughed slightly.
 
“Well, God is saying something to me and I was wondering if he was saying the same thing to you,” I paused to see if he was going to say anything. We sat there awkwardly looking at each other.
 
“What is he saying to you, I want to know,” I could hear the sound of hope rising in his voice.
 
“He told me that I was going to marry you!” I started to laugh nervously.
 
“He told me the same thing! But I told God it was impossible! I was walking one day, in fact it was September 1st, and He said that not only was I going to marry you, it would be within one year. I told God, that He has the wrong girl, because Jill won’t even go out with me,” like a spigot, he poured out all that he had suppressed.
 
Dan and I fasted and prayed for three weeks, and on January 27th we got engaged on a snow capped hill in Chester County, Pennsylvania. By June 21st at the age of forty-one, we married each other for better or worse on the front porch of our lovely farm.
 
After seventeen years of marriage, through ups and downs, we have found stability and strength from each other. Miracles do happen, for the world had me believing that I was more likely to be struck by lightning than getting married.
 

A Love That God Built

horses grazing“Daddy, please stop the car! Pleassse!” We were driving by a horse farm on a rural road near my home. The horses and ponies dotted the pastures, and one very plump Palomino pony was near the fence. He was irresistible, and my dad knew that this desire to be near horses was unquenchable.

“Jill, I don’t have time. Now stop whining!” My dad said in his gruffest voice.

I stifled a sob. I was five years old, and totally and utterly in love with horses. Knowing that riding a horse or taking lessons was out of the question, I moaned deep within my spirit.

At seven years old, I had learned to negotiate a bike, and I would steal away on day time excursions to this farm. For hours, I would watch the horses, laugh at their antics, and entice them with carrots I had taken from our refrigerator. They were unkempt and mangy, but to me they were valiant stallions. I would breathe deeply their scent, and it seared itself into my heart. Someday, I don’t know how, but I will own a horse, I said to myself!

I was unwavering in my decision. As soon as I graduated from college and got my first “real job” I signed up for three lessons at a stable close to my home.

Riding with tiny children that rode like champions was almost too much to take, but people my age were not starting lessons they were already accomplished riders. I stood out like vanilla in a sea of chocolate. I was in the beginner class, and the lazy Appaloosa that I rode every lesson was happy with one speed, super slow. I wanted to gallop and jump like I had seen the more advanced riders. It would take me three painstakingly long years.

Then the opportunity of a life time presented itself. A just-turned-four-year-old broken-down Thoroughbred cross was for sale. His bones jutting out against the scruffy red-bay gelding. His name was Raise Your Dreams, and his eyes, large and expressive were begging me to save him. I did not know that he would save me too.

Working in a job I hated, a broken engagement, and a life spiraling out of control, Raise Your Dreams gave me a reason to live. He was extremely bright, and I learned one of the most essential lessons a rider can grasp, a horse needs a reason to do what is being asked. Once I grasped this coveted concept, I excelled in my riding. I even rode with an Olympic coach who saw in me a heart destined for learning. People would remark about the beauty of my magnificent steed, his coat glistened, his eyes were bright and alert, his ears flicking in accordance with the aides (signals) I was giving him.

My heart still yearning for more, I became a certified riding instructor, and taught at premiere farms in southern New Jersey. Then something happened that was a true miracle.

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart, Psalm 37:4. I began a relationship with Jesus. My life would never be the same! What He gave me was far beyond my wildest dreams………………………………….

(this story will continue)

 

Who Wants To Catch a Tickly Caterpillar?

Who said horse farms are for riding horses?  Caterpillars like to tickle and crawl, and it seems we have a gazillion here, and the boys find them irresistible!  Horses are here all year and caterpillars are available only for a few weeks, and the little furry critters like to tickle! What can a horse do compared to a caterpillar?

I still couldn’t resist asking, “Who wants to ride a horse?……. No one???”

Jake said,  “Miss Jill, we are catching caterpillars!” His tone exasperated, how could I not understand?

I guess I will ride by myself.

 

Helmet Please, Continued….

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The sweltering heat is keeping everyone from riding. So, Katie practices with her doll.

“Helmet please!”

The weather can’t break soon enough for Katie and her doll!

Horse Show Ready!

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I am not sure who is more excited, Bella or me. Isabella is my neighbor, my right-hand-helper-do anything-for-Miss-Jill rider. She takes two to three lessons a week and has become a fabulous rider. Her leg is solid, hands steady, and she loves pushing herself.

So, when the opportunity came for her to ride in a horse show with her absolute favorite pony, Squirt, it was a dream come true. The little pony, naughty as the day is long, has become her best friend. He in turn showers her with affection by placing his head on her shoulder, licking her hand, helmet, and face. But his biggest demonstration of his love came one day while she was warming him up. He stumbled badly and fell to his knees. He could feel Bella falling forward, and he literally caught her with his head and pushed her back into the saddle.

That’s why I agreed to allowing her to ride this little brown and white pony that will try his heart out for his beautiful and elegant rider that loves him more than anything else in the world.

Stay tuned for news of our outing.

As I told Bella, ride with JESUS, He will never let you down!