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.

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 but wheelchair-bound and needing 24-hour care. At 5 years, 7 months God showed how He was writing her story from the beginning.

Jennifer is currently writing more books and stays active on both Facebook and Pinterest. 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 above temporary update note above!)

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.

Monday, January 15, 2018

4 birthdays, 2 out of state trips, 2 surgeries, Christmas, New Years, intensive counseling, all within 6 weeks!

December 18, 2017 through January 25, 2018, have been (are still being) crazy at our house! Our daughter has had unrelenting (7 1/2 - 9, out of a 10-scale) pain, 24/7, with every single breath, for nearly a year (started early the morning of January 16, 2017). We've seen gobs of doctors, done tests, seen specialists, had an ER trip. She's spent 4-5 months on an oxygen tank, we've endured three misdiagnoses from local doctors, she had to drop out of traditional high school and take online classes,, and we've taken four out-of-state trips to a children's hospital 5-8 hours (depending on traffic and weather) away, over the past 3 1/2 months. We finally got a correct diagnosis (Slipping Rib Syndrome) over there in the fall, have attempted several local interventions including a deep nerve block under general anesthesia since, and were back in California in a surgery consult a few days before Christmas.

Our girl's baby birds.

Tomorrow will be a week since one of our after-infertility miracles, our 14-year-old, left parts of 4 ribs and a whole lot of pain on the operating table at Stanford Children's Health - Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford. Thank you to her surgeon, entire HUGE and seriously amazing care team, and to Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) for a restful place of healing before and after our hospital stay and a bed for my husband to use over our hospital nights.

Please check out the beautiful, easy, comfortable hair solutions I sell that
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Her post-surgical pain is only HALF of how much pain she endured for an entire year prior to surgery, and they have been treating this level of pain with five different drugs. (In the past year, she has been allowed only over-the-counter basic medications that were pretty much useless.) She woke up from surgery in tears of JOY, "I can breathe!" She is still sore and tired. That long car ride home, stretched out over two days, Friday and Saturday, was hard on everyone. But she was feeling up to going to church last night and because she can fully expand her lungs again, I got to hear her project her beautiful singing voice for the first time in a year!

Our fireplace has not been rebuilt yet, in fact the contractor just gave us yet another reason for delay this weekend, but in update to my I Miss My House post, yes, we did have a newly installed floor before Christmas. Thank you for praying!

Today is my dad's first day back to work since my mom's knee replacement a week ago (mom is recovering well), Rick's first day back in office since our daughter's surgery, and our 6th grader's last day of winter vacation for school.

The floor, as it was going in! Yes, all the flood repairs have been going on at the same time as the rest of this craziness. Our insurance claim was dated February 1, 2017 and is still far from fully settled.

I'm a tired cookie. I'm still responding to medication alarms every two or three hours for our girl, around the clock. Tomorrow I start four solid days (6-8 hours per day) of intensive counseling that has been scheduled for months. My 2018 word-of-the-year is RELEASE. I'm praying for God to work mightily. Other than a few pre-scheduled picture posts I plan to set for my author page today, I don't anticipate being back online this week.

My parents, opening presents at our house on Christmas morning. :)

My dad turned 75 at Thanksgiving. Mom's 75th was a week before Christmas. Our first bring-home miracle graduated into legal adulthood a few days later (we got back from our surgery consult trip in time to take him out to birthday dinner). Next week includes a 12-year-old and a 15-year-old birthdays at our house. As well as getting our freshman back on track for all the schooling her ribs have derailed her from since August!

Another picture of our long-awaited new floor! Praise the Lord!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Oh Yeah, I Had Surgery Today

The ranking news awaiting me in my inbox this morning.

The look in my son's eyes when I hugged him goodnight and casually mentioned, "Oh yeah, I had surgery today," was hysterical. Surgery hadn't even been discussed before he left home 14 hours earlier, but got scheduled AND accomplished while he was gone!

Obviously a MINOR surgery.  That ear that God so dramatically healed in May, still had an ear tube from before the healing. The last few months the ear function has been great but the tube has become more and more irritating. The last couple weeks, especially so.


Tuesday morning it was SO ITCHY and irritated I couldn't stand it a moment longer. I picked up the phone to call my ear doctor, the guy who usually takes around 6 weeks to see, even for urgent issues. He had a cancellation and same day opening! In all the years of ear exams, tubes, surgery, and tests I've had with him, that's never happened before. And my parents were available to give me a ride even though that's their normal "day off" as my drivers and their day was packed full of appointments of their own.

I went in expecting an exam and a follow-up procedure appointment with more waiting until after Christmas. Instead, I was ushered directly into his office procedures room. The doctor came in, examined the ear, and proceeded to give me anesthesia ear drops and remove the infected tube right on the spot. He followed up with steroidal drops that I'm to keep taking three times a day through tomorrow or Saturday (until bottle is empty).

Core Deep Lies
He was stunned to hear my story and agreed with my plan to check the ear again in late January to see if any further intervention would even be needed, rather than to replace the tube on the spot. My ear feels SO MUCH BETTER with the tube gone!

I'm getting ready to do my one in-person event of the year for my Lilla Rose business on Saturday, a craft fair fundraiser at our younger son's Jr. High. It is really exciting. I've been giddy all week! More "doing life" Kathy. :)

After ten months of headache, our 3rd worker (we've tried a General Contractor, a Licensed Handyman, and are now with an amazing Tile Setter that has 20 years of experience, an entire crew of subcontractors, from carpet to carpentry, working for him, and is currently in the process of obtaining his contractor's license) is almost finished with our entire 3-room floor remodel after water damage last winter. Filepe started working on our floors on Saturday and is planning to finish today. Carpet was stretched last night. Base boards are slated to go on this afternoon. We are relieved!


Our family is entering into this Christmas season entering into a brand new church plant. Lifechurch Midtown is the second campus of an existing Reno church. We will be one church, two campuses. This campus is being planted in the heart of some of the most dense population in the city. There is only one other evangelistic Christian church currently in that entire part of town. General services are slated to begin in February, Lord willing. We are excited for this new adventure.


This was fun and unexpected news to wake up to. StrokeOfGrace.blogspot.com ranked 17th in "the most comprehensive list of best Stroke blogs on the internet" this week! Panel selection is based on Google reputation and Google search ranking, Influence and popularity on Facebook, twitter and other social media sites, and Quality and consistency of posts. Updates are selected weekly The rest of the list is pretty impressive, a mix of some really well-done personal stories and some professional organizations.

Not bad for the one-handed dribble of a "should-be-dead" girl, right Kendra (my "little sister," 5 1/2 months behind me in this journey, for whom this blog was originally established)? Praise Jesus, to whom this story is dedicated!

Sunday, November 19, 2017


I can remember my stroke group support leader talking about all the times she was doing it.

She must not have been as bad as me. I'll never be able to do that again.

It turns out her strokes really were bad. Life flight. Brain surgeries. Months as a hospital inpatient.

The factor I had neglected was time.

So, this weekend I picked up a household paint brush for the first time (here's why) in over six years.

It took me the better part of an entire day to paint the archway between our living room and kitchen and the very small walls surrounding it, as well as two hours of touch up today, but I did it! I accomplished a never!!!

Up and now 3 steps of a ladder. My left foot was an angry shade of purple / red by yesterday afternoon, due to blood flow issues. My left hip was protesting by last evening. I've been in bed since 2:30 this afternoon in utter exhaustion.

My left leg can't climb normally, so I take a step with the right, then sidestep the left leg onto the same step. Instead of my knee pointing forward to climb straight up, I climb with that left knee pointed 90 degrees out to the side. I back down climbing the same way in reverse.

I kept thinking about how my painting day was "great therapy," but my friend Kathy likes to remind me, "You do therapy, so that you can do life." :) I did lots of life this weekend!

Fear of heights has been a significant "thing" since stroke, so pair that with true balance issues, and three steps up a ladder felt pretty courageous, even dangerous a few times, but I never fell. My next in-your-face-TAKE-THAT-stroke goal concerning physical motor skill and heights is to do the ropes course at Mt. Hermon at the 50th anniversary of the Christian Writer's Conference in the spring of 2019. With another year and a half until that landmark, I already have my hubby, my kids, the conference director, and a few friends, cheering me on.

Even my stronger right arm still couldn't extend then guide a heavy paint roller, so doing every bit with a hand brush added to the clock.

Click on this one to enlarge.
You will laugh at all the paint I'm wearing on my face!

The floor is much worse for wear but I did it this weekend because the floor is getting replaced this week anyway.

I did have one big paint oops than led to one entire unplanned wall section getting painted as a slip with brown paint is pretty noticeable. Rick said we should just camouflage the mistake with a butterfly, but our daughter was adamant that wasn't ok. I do, thankfully, actually like the final look, even without a butterfly added.

I couldn't have imagined this even a few WEEKS ago. Stroke recovery is an ongoing process of learning to balance limit pushing with reasonable safety. Add time to that mix and God is allowing me to conquer things that seemed could never be again! Praising Him for His grace!

I've come a long way! This was about 5 months after my strokes, already accomplishing a never as doctors had said I would never walk again: https://www.facebook.com/ricksaake/videos/3494383568250/

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

6 years



ONLY that long?

ALREADY that long?

I've actually been pretty emotionally stable at the thought of this re-birthday. God's already blown my longest possible life expectancy out of the water by a good couple of years. It doesn't feel so much like "borrowed time" anymore. Is is simply and undeniably a life that medically is without president. Only God! Lord, may I use every single day of this "shouldn't have been" to Your honor!

This past Thursday tripped me up pretty badly emotionally. As the text I sent a few friends shared,
My mom just got admitted to the hospital. Of course I'm worried for her! But my battle for the mind is HUGE for selfish reasons too. 
Six years ago, within 2 1/2 weeks, my dad was hospitalized, got out, then my mom was hospitalized, then released, then I was briefly (one night) hospitalized for pancreatitis. A few days later I was back in the Emergency Room because I had a debilitating migraine headache that wouldn't quit. [The positive from having gone to the ER that night is that they ran a full set of head/neck scans to be ABSOLUTELY SURE I had NO SIGNS of a threatened, impending stroke, as sever migraine symptoms can sometimes mimic stroke. We have CT from less than 18 hours prior to my chiropractic injury that verify that my artery was healthy and I was not medically threatening to spontaneously stroke!] 
Since I had an allergic reaction in ER to the narcotics they administered to help with my head, and untimely got sent home without pain relief as the ER was out of options for me and I had been cleared of any life-threatening concern, in desperation I called a chiropractor the next morning. [I had used chiropractic adjustment since age 16, just hadn't had insurance coverage or been able to afford treatment for the past few years at this point. I never had a single problem with an adjustment, until the day I had a MAJOR PROBLEM at age 39!] 
I walked into that office under my own power. I left, unconscious, by ambulance, not to take another step for months, not another unaided-step, for years. 
Rick's dad was just in the hospital. [He was already released by the time my mom was hospitalized and is well-on-the-way to full recovery. Praise the Lord!]  Now, my mom. 
I'm trying HARD to take thoughts captive to Jesus! Please pray. So much for the 6-year-mark not tripping me up.
Mom's left hand cellulitis AFTER 8 hours of IV antibiotic improvement!
Mom's home and continuing to improve on just oral antibiotics. I have had no hospital or ER trips of my own this week. I'm not superstitious, however the timing and uncanny resemblance to my pre-stroke days was fodder for the enemy to fill my head with lies and heart with fears! I'm so relieved to be almost to tomorrow with no further incident!

My hair comes past my waist now. God sure has grown it back after the devastation that was six year ago!
If interested, I sell these amazingly sturdy and comfortable hair clips (made from piano wire) that come in 7 different sizes and hold an entire hairdo with just the single clip, at LillaRose.biz/InnerBeauty.

My sweet friend Kathy is coming to help me clean tomorrow. I still don't quite manage the house well totally on my own. So 6 years later, Kathy is still faithfully coming twice a month! We both realized a while ago that, while home care would be overwhelming alone, I technically could struggle through the very basics by now. If I had no help, the house would be even more of a constant DISASTER than it already is by me trying to go it alone 13 days out of 14, but my family COULD survive. By now the friendship has become so precious to both of us though, that we count down until our cleaning days, not for the sake of house cleaning, but because we so treasure the hours TOGETHER! We've intentionally juggled our schedules the past few months to be sure we would be together this day. I am so very thankful!

I guess I don't really have any profound thoughts to share about tomorrow. Subdued maybe? I'm looking forward to seeing Kathy. I'll be glad to have another landmark behind me. I think I'm actually doing pretty OK. I'm thankful I'm still here. I'm ready to just get the day over with, the date past, though!