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.
 
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Sometimes the World Becomes Right when Riding a Horse

Life can be hard, but I always found peace on the back of my beloved horse, RAISE YOUR DREAMS.  He became an extension of me, and I was his.  Many hours were spent at the barn with this special horse making my life right with my two-thousand pound hero.

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Every Wednesday Without Fail

Every Wednesday they pile out of the Deveruex van.  They come to ride, pick tasty tomatoes organically grown, and to clean stalls of their favorite mounts.  The countdown starts as soon as they leave, for stolen moments of freedom and fun at a little farm in southern New Jersey. They call themselves blessed, but it is me that receives the biggest blessings.

Sometimes You Just Need to get Violent!

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Battling cancer all year, two blown knees, and lymphadema in my left arm, I felt that I was broken beyond repair.  Until I had an epiphany!

You are a child of God! You don’t have to live in despair! Claim who you are!  God was speaking to me!

“Ok devil, I’m serving you notice! The battle is already won! I’m a child of the most high God! You cannot, will not be able to touch me!” Admittedly it felt good!  I got up and started to walk, usually painful beyond belief.  This time, I was going to praise God for the healing He promised me the day He died on the cross.

“Thank you Father for my healing!  I walk in victory, I speak in victory! I am more than a conqueror through Christ!”  Emboldened by faith, I knew that I was learning to live above my circumstances.

That night as I climbed into bed, my husband said, “You aren’t in any pain?” He was so accustomed to me complaining, moaning and groaning throughout my day that he noticed the silence of peace that comforted my heart.

“No, Dan! Do you believe it?  God taught me that sometimes I just need to get violent!”

“Violent?”

“Yup, violent with the devil! I beat him up so badly by claiming all GOD has for me, that he dare not come near me!” I laid down and a tear of gratefulness welled in my eyes.  For the first time in a year, I felt no pain!  I was healed, always had been, I just needed to claim what I knew I had!

 

Do You Believe in Haunted Homes?

My experience was more like Amityville Horror, but it totally changed my life.

Check out my interview on the AUTHOR’S SHOW at http://www.jillmansor.com. IMG_0428

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!

Pudgy Pony Power

He is forty-something years old, and if there is one thing he loves more than life it is this pudgy, sometimes naughty pony.  His name is Frank, and he comes dutifully every Wednesday morning to help lead this pony while he carries his special people for equine therapy.  Frank, was not sure that he could be loved, but this pony demonstrated what few have demonstrated in his life- unconditional love.  While leading Buttons, he would sometimes say, “Miss Jill, I don’t think Buttons likes me.”  As if on queue, Buttons began to lick his hand in response to his insecurity.  This pony was proving what I did not have to say. 
“I think he just showed you how much he loves you Frank!” I began to laugh.  That’s my pudgy pony’s power, to make all believe in the impossible.  He has carried people on his back to victory, once placing 6th place out of 21 thoroughbred horses at a hunter show.  But his greatest gift is loving all that come here and for them to know that he finds each one as a true treasure.  Buttons graces this small farm in southern New Jersey and all that get a chance to meet Buttons knows that he truly has pudgy pony powers.
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He is as round as he is tall. But his heart is even bigger. He loves deeply, and if you ever had a chance to be loved by him, then consider yourself blessed immensely.

Never Fear the Nuggets are Here!

IMG_0382The large rambling mansion held bedrooms that boasted of ample sitting areas and soaking-tubs in each bathroom.  It was a beautiful home and truly the talk of the town.  If I was describing where I lived, I would say I am right near the big yellow mansion and then my home could be identified.  Unfortunately its hefty price tag was too burdensome for most home owners.  My riding students and their families would frequently gaze at the mansion next door that stood vacant for over eight years and fantasize over living right next door to what they considered a dream.

To my utter surprise it was bought by a young family with six children ranging in age from two to nine.  Their mother is a tiny dynamo and she quickly shared why they chose to move from northern New Jersey to this little town in southern New Jersey, it was because it was next to horses.  Her girls had begun to ride horses in northern New Jersey and they all seemed to have been bitten by the “horse bug” and it could only be satisfied by close proximity of a horse farm.  It also helped that each of their back windows gazed out on my pastures where they could watch the horses daily.

The girls each enrolled in lessons and they would frequently ask if I needed help.  Of course I needed help, and this little next-door-army of helping hands were eager to organize the riding ring for the special needs children that came from a local school or muck stalls.

Each one had something different to offer.  The oldest, a determined young lady that soaked up everything that was taught.  I would mention something in passing and she had it memorized.  She was also eager to employ it, and I found myself giving her more responsibility each day.  She was a child I could trust because she knew that this was an earned spot at the farm.  The second to oldest child fell madly in love with our big Quarter Horse Paint.  She would ask me if she could meet her goal of riding him.  The day I allowed her on his back, she could not stop smiling or fawning over his massive body that glistened in the sun.  She would explain every little nuisance of each lesson.  She would critique how the horse did and how she handled it.  She was the one that would explain each goal she had and whether she thought she could achieve it.  The youngest one had an iron core.  She was tiny but undeterred and the day that Milkshake decided to do a drive-thru and grab a quick bite to eat of the luscious grass when she was leading him back to the field demonstrated her grit, because he had stepped on her little foot.  She squeaked and Milkshake quickly lifted his foot.  She hobbled over to the chair and we put ice on it, but her face was set, she would never let a horse do that to her again.

Everything has a nickname here.  After proving their unwavering devotion to the farm and our horses, we christened them THE NUGGETS.  We have grown quite fond of their generous spirit and desire to do their best.  It is quite refreshing to find children that love to please others.

They remind me of the verse in Galatians 5:13-

…..serve one another humbly in love.

They reflect what we all need to do for one another, seek to serve.

Do you know someone that has served you? Please share.

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!