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!

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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.
 

Just Do It!

 

Another terrible day laid before me. No longer did I see a sweet package to be opened, but a day I had to endure in excruciating pain. I had gone through chemo and I survived it only to have my left knee blow up. Literally it was three sizes larger than my right.

I begged my oncologist to allow me to get my knee “scrapped” because I couldn’t get a total knee replacement. She reluctantly agreed and on July 2nd at 4:00 in the morning I was slated first surgery at University of Pennsylvania Hospital.

But I was still in pain four weeks later, not because of my left knee, but my right knee was just as big from overcompensating for my left. Living a normal life, I could probably drag myself around. If you own a horse farm, own two businesses, and teach at a local university like me than this would be impossible.

My epiphany came birthed from anger. “I’m a child of God! He says I’m healed, well than I’m healed!” I said out loud to myself  I was determined to put to death my pain and live in victory!

I got out of bed, tenderly like I always do. I put my shoulders back, grabbed my walking sneakers and took off at 5:00 in the morning. I was going to walk, speak, and think of nothing else but that I’m healed!

It took me 53 minutes to walk two miles, but I did it!  The next day 51 minutes, today 43 minutes, and guess what- I’m no longer going to believe the lie that I can’t have life abundantly!

I’m a water-walking-child-of-the-King and if He says it is good than I am!

I refuse to believe the lie of death and destruction! Because WITH GOD I CAN DO ANYTHING!

What are you trying to overcome? Share and I will pray for you!

Lesson Learned

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“Miss Jill, I want to pray!” Luke, the just-turned-seven-year-old-who-grew-one-inch, stood before me.  He was part of the six-strong nuggets that lived next door to me

“Great Luke, what do you want to pray about?” I asked.

“I want to thank God, but I don’t know how to do it,” with that he tilted his head, seeking an answer.

“It is easy, just talk to God like you talk to me,” I held my hand out, a signal that we were going to pray.

He bent his beautiful head, “God, thank you for horses, Miss Jill, and Luke (a paint horse that had his same name), AMEN!”

He looked up at me, proud of himself for praying on his own.

As I walked into my home I was struck by his heart that sought Thanksgiving. When was the last time I thanked God for all that He has done for me?  Thanks Luke for teaching me a lesson.

From Secret Rider to Horse Whisper

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My article was published in Renaissance Magazine, July issue.

Check it out!

Breathtakingly Beautiful

Have you ever found yourself speechless?  Well, Jill Mansor has found herself speechless. These are some pictures from Vancouver where I saw EAGLES as plentiful as blue jays. I even saw a very plump seal!

Three Words That Changed My Life….continued

beautiful summer day at farm

 

The journey that I never wanted to go on was commencing and it was during this time that I learned that a battle was raging, not in my body, but in my mind………

My prayers are ALWAYS for protection.  I am an offensive prayer.  I try to think of everything that could ever happen and pray against it.  Cancer is always my biggest one to rebuke and rebuff.  I thought I was covered under the blood of Jesus.  I am a believer in Jesus and His healing power, never doubted, not once.

“God, what do you want me to learn through this?” I implored in the early morning hours of August 31st.

“I want you to be able to relate to others, and for them to relate to you,” His still quiet voice spoke into my spirit.

“Ok, God, I want to learn.  Please Lord, help me to go through this with your victory and countenance” I said through tears.

What I learned would change my life……

 

Zelda Speaks Love Without a Sound

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Zelda has never spoken or written a single word in her life, but she writes everyday letters of love and hope on the hearts of those she has touched.  I’m blessed enough to say that I have witnessed it firsthand.

Zelda was born with cerebral palsy that crippled the left side of her body and in response her hands and feet have turned inward, making that part of her body useless.

No one is certain why she can’t speak or why she can’t hear.  But last night she heard the silent cry of a young woman in anguish and she answered it with all the love she has inside of her colossal heart.

Chrissy is twenty years old but looks more like she is forty.  Her life has left her heart broken.  She cannot speak and signs only two words Mommy and Hungry.  Her mom was unable to care for her once she reached adulthood, and she made the difficult decision to allow her to be with adults similar to her.  She found it in a wonderful group home for adults where she is cared for tirelessly by the most wonderful people who truly care about her.

On this particular Thursday she came to equine therapy with a sad face.  She was uncomfortable and frequently picked at her pants.  She was not going to ride because she seemed upset and she would whimper periodically no matter how much we wanted to see her buddy, Buttons, the fat pony.  She would shake her head vehemently and sit resolutely in our comfy Adirondack chairs.

That’s when Zelda came to the rescue.  With her numb leg she drug herself across the yard, which is the equivalent of crossing the Mohave Desert.  She sat in the chair next to Chrissy and tried to speak.  Her lips curled and her tongue puckered as dribble washed down her face.  She didn’t care; she wanted Chrissy to know she cared.  It did not matter that only grunts came out, her eyes and genuine smile said it all.

Zelda looked at me and signed love and then she pointed at Chrissy.  In her poignant and loving way, Zelda spoke the language everyone wants to hear- someone cares!

Zelda, you amaze me everyday!  I am the one who is richer for knowing a champion that conquerors everyday battles that all of us take for granted.  You do it all with a smile or giggle.

Keep loving all the people that you meet because I am the woman you have most changed!

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?

 

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!