Update: The In Darkness Sing blog at JenniferSaake is experiencing prolonged technical issues, so I'm temporarily posting back here on my old Stroke of Grace blog. (You will notice many typos in older posts. I intentionally never corrected them, as they helped document my cognitive abilities at various stages of recovery.)

Thirty-nine-year-old Jennifer Saake (founder, Hannah's Prayer Ministries), experienced 6 strokes via vertebral dissection at a chiropractic office, including brain stem and cerebellum bleeds, in Oct. 2011. Jennifer remained hospitalized for nearly 2 months and was not expected to live (near death experience) nor recover, but if she even survived, she was slated to live out her days in a nursing home or, best case, to maybe come home wheelchair-bound and needing 24-hour care. At 5 years, 7 months, God clarified Jennifer's theology on healing and showed how He was writing her story from the beginning.

Jennifer is currently writing more books and stays active on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Stroke of Grace became In Darkness Sing in early 2018 and has moved, along with all five of Jennifer's active blogs, to one location at JenniferSaake.com. (Please see temporary update note above!)

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Time?

Time moves crazily during quarantine! I planned to post a week ago and did not even realize a second week had gone by. Sorry about that.


I've quietly celebrated another physical birthday with my family since last post. My "public birthday" is October 25, my stroke anniversary, my re-birthday, the day my life experienced a hard reset and I had to begin relearning how to breath, swallow, move my body, sit up, walk, talk, see, hear, and think. 

Several newly wired parts of my brain will begin turning "nine years old" this fall. This shell of my physical body just turned 48 several days ago.

My family bought me the Bible I really wanted. It is 17-point font, designed for visual impairment. As this picture demonstrates, a chapter number fills my wedding ring! Though my eyes are no longer the issue, my brain is so much happier making sense of this giant print.

Our biggest news this week is that, after ten months and 5 attempted contracts, our Reno house is finally sold. We are so thankful to now only be paying one mortgage again! 

Crazy issues ranging from repairing a significant builder flaw not uncovered until inspection (thank you, LORD, that our roof never fell on our heads during our 15 years there), to several different attempting buyer loan issues, to COVID, stalled this sale for the better part of a year. We are beyond relieved that the Reno house is finally completely behind us! We are excited for the new family who gets to live there now. We loved that house, have many happy memories there, but are glad to fully be able to focus here now. 


Our "new" (to us, built about 30 years ago) house is significantly smaller and has many features we specifically thought we did not want in a house (such as stairs I need to climb each day), but we have seen over and over why this is the specific house God prepared for us for this season of our lives. 

The backyard swimming pool means I don't need to pay for water therapy 💦 or a gym membership anymore because our youngest (pictured on pool float) has taken on an active role as my physical therapist. So nice!

God, we thank You for supplying all our needs through this transition.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Clarifying a Piece of Purpose in Our Move

Before my strokes, I was a published author. Hannah's Hope by Jennifer Saake was written before this brain damage. (Free first chapter PDF, Amazon book link, and audio CD)

I have been struggling to write my next book since strokes (coming up on 9 years, this fall). 

Thanks to the talents of my sweet new next-door neighbor Carolyn Howell, I am thrilled to announce that we are actually writing our next book! We anticipate being ready to shop for a publisher by end of first quarter, next year (2021).


My cognitive function is limited to basic addition (a far improvement from the days I couldn't add 2 plus 2!), so I write and regularly loose track of files. Every task now takes me anywhere between 3-10 times longer than it should (simple blog posts like this typically take 2 or 3 days to complete). 

So when I first told my family about our plan to write this book, they tried to be supportive, but knew how I now lack the organizational skills required for writing a full book. "This time will be different," I said, "because I am not going to be actually writing this book."

"Interesting strategy, Mom. Successfully writing a book, by not writing a book," questioned our oldest.

Carolyn's skills as a technical writer initially led us to think I would give her tons of notes I've been gathering for years and she would organize them into book format, based on an outline we designed together. In reality, we are equally contributing to all aspects of the project. 

Carolyn works full time and is very dedicated to her job, but she takes her lunch hour each day to meet with me, for prayer and book research. (Yes, we practice social distancing, adding another interesting twist to the process.) Some days we meet for a couple hours together after work. Lots of email and texts fly between us early in the morning, late at night, and over weekends. When Rick wakes up in the morning to see me texting, his first words have consistently become. "Good morning, Carolyn!"

This is a physically and mentally taxing process for me, but I have such excitement over the way God is really pulling this book together. For the first time since my strokes, I have real hope that God will use my written words to accomplish His purpose through another book. Carolyn's and my co-writing technique is highly unconventional, but God has paired us together so beautifully!


2 Corinthians 11:14 says satan disguises himself, masquerading as an angel of light. Using Jesus’ “I AM” statements in John as our measure, we unmask counterfeit thoughts, practices, and experiences that ensnare us. Worshipping God in spirit and truth brings us freedom and teaches us to discern lies.

2 Corinthians 11:14 says satan disguises himself, masquerading as an angel of light. Using Jesus’ “I AM” statements in John as our measure, we unmask counterfeit thoughts, practices, and experiences that ensnare us. Worshiping God in spirit and truth brings us freedom and teaches us to discern lies.

P.S. My main author page is Harvesting HOPE from Heartache with "InfertilityMom," author Jennifer Saake at https://www.facebook.com/HarvestingHope/ and I  offer an interactive group where we can encourage one another at .https://www.facebook.com/groups/InDarknessSing/ if you would like to join there as well. 

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Eyes


Yesterday I saw my new Neuro-Opthalmologist (brain doctor who specializes in vision issues). It was only a 2 1/2 hour appointment.

"Only" is literal. My shortest ever neur-op appointment before this was 3 1/2 hours. My longest was 9 hours. Typically these appointments have run in the 5-6 hour range.

In Reno I saw my Neuo-Opthalmologist at least yearly, over recent years. Right after strokes it was every 6 weeks, then I got to 3 months, 4 months, 6 months, then finally we got to yearly. I expected to continue being followed by neuro-op for life.

Yesterday's new doctor seemed rather befuddled to examine me, in contrast to the records she had read. She repeatedly made comments like, "I don't have to tell you what a LOOOOONNNGGG WAAAAY you have come." She declared my recovery  "remarkable," and decided she didn't even need to do her full battery of planned testing.

She does want me to come back Monday to see the regular eye doctor. I definitely need glasses and will follow with him for yearly exams. Unless he sees a need to send me back her way, I'm done with Neuro opthalmologist appointments for good now!

Always in the past, when I've had my eyes dilated (see first picture) it has taken hours or days longer for the left (more stroked) eye to loose it's dilation, so my kids were looking forward to capturing a wonkey, lopsided eye picture this morning. I disappointed them by having equally restored pupils already, upon wakening this morning!

Sunday, July 5, 2020

New Beginnings

Of the past 14 months, I have spent all but about 7 weeks in Arizona. (And of the 4 months prior to last May, had made 3 trips, totaling about 3 1/2 weeks, down here.) So it is fair to say that my daughter and I have spent the majority of the past year and a half here now, though we didn't make the final and official move until mid September of last year. (The family had to move in stages, due to school and work, but we were finally all five back together by the evening of my husband's 50th birthday in November.) 
With that being said, this post will be my final regular mention of our 17- or 20-year-old's health issues. They are both adults (or almost!) now, and need to make their own decisions about what is being shared about their own stories. So unless their health issues are directly impacting mine, or there is an urgent and critical prayer need that arises, this post is my line in the sand, separating my stroke recovery journey from their ongoing health issues. I cannot thank you enough for your prayer support, cheer-leading, and encouragement, over the past wild three and a half years with two out of three kids in medical crisis.

The move did little to significantly impact our young adult son's health, for the positive or negative. If anything, the physical strain of the move itself produced slight setback, but that's hard to judge as he had already been mostly housebound, primarily bed-bound, since Thanksgiving of 2018 (and in and out of bed, but still trying to attend high school then college, and to hold a job, for more than a year and a half before that). In nine months here, he has managed to unpack about 2/3 of his meager possessions, nearly all memorabilia and non-essential items, having been left in Nevada, where he spent his childhood.

The change to lower elevation has been life-restoratively positive for our daughter, who has gone from passing out 2-4 times per DAY (and was often out for LONG stretches of 5-90 MINUTES) up in Reno, to now only averaging one faint per MONTH (often out for only SECONDS). Vision and hearing both continue to improve. She was able to successfully attend a few months of school down here, before the pandemic sent everyone into quarantine. We eagerly await news about how the school district plans to conduct her Senior year of high school.

We are very thankful that both kids have fantastic medical teams down here, as do I. We firmly believe that God brought each and every family member down here on purpose, for His purposes. As we tell our 14-year-old (who is blessedly healthy and recently promoted from 8th grade, without ceremony of course) that there are no "tag-alongs" in this move. Over coming weeks I'll be sharing what we are starting to discover some parts of God's plan for us to include.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Moving, Moving, Standing Still

In 2018, I moved blog homes.

In 2019, I moved physical homes (and states), relocating from northern Nevada to the Phoenix area of Arizona.



In 2020, it seems the whole world is standing still with this pandemic scare.

My husband is working from home, along with much of the American non-emergency work force. My children are doing online schooling, along with the entire county.
Travel is restricted and non-critical medical care is canceled.
And (not virus-related), my beautiful new blog has been dead in the water for several months now.

So I am back here posting on my Stroke Of Grace home for a bit. If you are reading this message, could you please leave a comment here or on my facebook page so I know I'm not typing into a void?

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Changes, Changes

It's been over a month since I've posted. I marked 6 years, 4 months, since my strokes on Sunday. My heart is full. I'm just at a loss for words.


Our 15-year-old had major surgery, out-of state, on January 9, exactly one week shy of one year since she woke up in such excruciating pain that she fainted within the first hour out of bed that day. She lived like that, never in anything lower than a 7 1/2 on the 0-10 pain scale, 24/7, for the next year. In and out of doctors offices, hospitals, tests, scans, on oxygen since August, pulled out of traditional high school. It's was a rough year!

I have a surgical picture I contemplated adding here, but I'll spare you the blood and gore of parts of four ribs removed from Ruth's left side.
Check out Slipping Rib Syndrome on Pinterest if you want details.

Physically, she is recovering quite well. Her strength and resilience blow me away! After living in such utter torture and the resulting stress, anxiety, and isolation, for so very long, it is going to take longer for the (metaphorical) heart to heal than the bodily skeletal system. As God puts her on your heart, please pray for Ruth and our entire family, as we make up lost school months and fight to restore normalcy in our home.


Part of bringing our home back to order and rhythm, is that our flood damage repairs, from 13 months ago, are finally nearing completion, at least inside. Since there are still a few finishing details yet to go, I won't share pictures of the final results quite yet. Above and below this paragraph, enjoy a couple teasers. Come spring, the outside repairs come next, but at least we aren't living with a huge plastic curtain down the destroyed third of our living room anymore!


One amazing change for our family has come in the form of a new church home. Medical needs initially forced the move, late last fall. While we love and miss friends from our prior congregation, it didn't take long to see exactly why God had moved us. We have never felt quite so much at home, the incredible sense of purpose and belonging, as we are finding at LifeChurch. We have jumped into the new church plant of this church's second location, in a densely populated and sorely under-churched part of town, and are in awe to watch all God is unfolding there.


The pastor and his wife were close neighbor about 13 years ago, until they moved out of state. To find them not only back in town, but shepherding our hearts in this campus launch, is added blessing! Joshua (18) is on the audio-visual team, and Ruth (15) and Jeremiah (12) are both feeling incredibly enthusiastic about their youth groups. Rick is helping with website needs. And I'm on the most exciting, dynamic, engaging prayer team I've ever encountered.

The single-most intense part of my past year, really of my entire life, has been coping with some deep-seated trauma from childhood that has negatively impacted my entire life. This finally came to bear a little over a year ago, in ways that required immediate and intensive help. Thanks to the ministry of Hope Preserved, I am a changed, free woman today. The abuses that transpired on the mission field in Asia, God has stepped in and dramatically healed. Every part of my life has been transformed, from how I relate to the ongoing limitations of my strokes (allowing God room to bring about several significant physical healing in 2018, added to all He had already done in 2017; and grace to live to the fullest in areas where limitations yet remain), to my views on of self and pleasing God, like headcovering (a practice I no longer observe).


If you have been a long-time StrokeOfGrace reader, you may recall, a little over three years back, I talked of my desire to migrate this blog over to the WordPress platform. I've been working toward that goal ever since, but stroke brain has provided unique challenges in this area. (Now do you see why writing a whole book is taking me so long?) I likely will not try to move all these past posts, but come this next weekend, my hope is to activate the JenniferSaake.com domain and have one centralized spot for posts from my five different active blogs. It is still a work in progress, but feel free to take a peek at InDarknessSing.wordpress.com as I tweak it in preparation for launch next week.