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. Jenni remained hospitalized until 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.

Jenni is currently writing more books and stays active on both Facebook and Pinterest. Here is her resume.

Since Jenni's chiropractor carried no insurance and moved out of the country soon after the accident (thus avoiding any legal or financial consequences), if you would like to help contribute to the Saake (pronounced like the two small words, say and key) family's massive financial needs (medical expenses alone are estimated to cost between $1- and $1.5- Million in Jenni's lifetime), please visit Jennifer Saake's Stroke Survivor GoFundMe Page. (This support information has been added in direct response to several reader requests.) The Saakes sincerely thank you for your prayers and if God prompts and equips you to send any monetary assistance as well, this is a significant added blessing.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Core Deep Lies

Please follow me on Facebook and Pinterest

Where to start? On May 9, 2017, my life took a dramatic change.

You may have already read about how God so unexpectedly restored my hearing.

The story few know yet is one I've spent 2 1/2 weeks praying about how to share, what to share.

It's rather like putting together a puzzle.

Piecing together fragments of nearly 45 years of life to gain a clear picture of where I am today.

(Literal jigsaw puzzles are my newest fascination. I call them my "new Facebook," where I'm spending my free time focus. A peaceful place to train my brain while meditating on the Lord.)

I've come a long way from being challenged by a 24-piece puzzle in December, 2011!
Last week I did four, 100, 300, and 500 piece puzzles in 6 days! 
This is even with spending lots of hours focused on deep housecleaning, gardening, laundry, dishes, writing, doctor's appointments, and therapy, so these were accomplished in my free moments scattered throughout those six days!
Starting May 8, and for nearly 40 hours that week, I underwent an intensive week of much needed counseling. The restored hearing was God's gift to get my attention from the get-go and affirm that He was in my week, working, and wanted my full attention.

Physical restoration was the most obvious change to come out of my ministry week, the most easily seen and explained to others, but was actually the least significant change God brought about this month.

I am finally ready to share what some of you have even directly questioned about my life but I have long denied. 

As a very young child, on the mission field in Asia with my parents, I endured prolonged, repetitive, and serious abuses at the hands of a nanny hired to help free my parents to focus on ministry work. My entire family remained unaware well into my adulthood. 

Short and Sweet is the newest book I'm contributing to. If you wish to buy a copy, they are available on Amazon now!
This was a fun writing challenge, to express huge ideas in 250 words of only one or two syllables, 5 letters or less.
I learned of this project at Mount Hermon Christian Writer's Conference, just a couple days before deadline, and my submission (on prayer fasting) was selected for publication in this anthology! :)

My husband was the first to know of my abuse, followed by a counselor, then my parents, then this current counselor, then my children, in-laws, brother, Sunday school class, a very select few friends, and now you. In hindsight, those who have known me long-term can see the imprints left on my life, the impact on marriage, parenting, and relationships with others and with the Lord. 

I got to meet Christian actor and chiropractic stoke survivor, Kevin Sorbo (wow is he tall!), just 54 hours after my hearing was restored, the first time I wore my hair down in public in several years!

To the few who have learned some of the specifics of what I've endured and been broken by the vile ugliness, reduced to sobs and hugs of overwhelming sympathy, I can only share that your reactions catch me by utter surprise. I get that you are just catching up with a weight that's dragged me down for a lifetime, but as you process a new-to-you burden, I've been set free, my heart is lighter than it has been in my entire life! I want to shout from the rooftops what God has done in breaking down strongholds, losing tight bonds of secrecy, shame, and pain.

I am not "all better" yet. I am not fully healed. Many nights are sleepless and terror-filled, especially right now as God peels back the scabs I have so carefully guarded for so long, and oozes out the infection at its source. I still anticipate at least one more intensive week of upcoming counseling as well as potentially other "breakthrough" moments of aid needed.

The day before my counseling week began, I got to attend a dear friend's baptism!

My despair has been transformed to joy. God has not left me without relief.

I am attempting to type with both hands sometimes now. I am believing there will come a day when I learn to drive again, rather than thinking that to be a forever impossibility. I am no longer accepting the therapist's statement that I should give up the goal of standing for a shower and be content to sit on a shower bench for the rest of my life. I believe there may likely come a day, this side of Heaven, when my muted hearing is fully restored in volume, when my latex allergy abates, when my need to use a walker or elevate my more-stroked-leg due to vascular pain, resolves.

May "snow" in Reno. The cottonwood trees are in bloom!
I have given up the practice of full-time head covering and am only practicing this for corporate worship, prayer, and prophecy (including ministry writing and public speaking), wearing my hair down and unbound whenever I wish now. I have been totally off antidepressants for nearly a month. I am stretching my brain by learning Biblical Hebrew, just because I find it fascinating and always thought it would be cool. (You too can earn college credits with this flexible online course in just two hours a week! If you enter the linked giveaway, you will automatically earn $100 toward a course and could even win an entire 9-month class for free.) 

As stated above, I'm taken with jigsaw puzzles now. I've spent 14 hours deep-cleaning two bathrooms in the past two weeks. While I'm still feeling the effects of ME/CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), my mom and kids say I have more life, spark, energy, than they have seen in my oldest's 17-year lifetime.

As God has been scrubbing my heart, freeing me of chains of things done to me, He has also provided new strength for this mobility-challenged mom to get in and clean things I have not been able to manage for years!

Jesus has broken three core-deep lies that the enemy has shouted to my heart since childhood:

1. I am not beautiful/acceptable/pleasing to God or others. I am "less than," never good enough.

2. No one will ever believe me. I'm a drama queen. I'm a good story teller. I'm just making this up.

3. I must be broken to be a viable witness. It is my responsibility to "steward" and shoulder my story well, that it may bring glory to my Father. That to be "useful" to God's kingdom, means "being used" by God in the same way I was used and abused in infancy.

These have been replaced by Truth:

1. God loves me, calls me by name, delights over me. I am His jewel, His treasure. 
Through all I have endured, He has never left me alone. At the bottom of a deep, dark well, He is my Living Water. I can trust both my past and my future to Him. I am more than enough because He imparts His value to me, His beloved daughter. God does not leave me without help, without hope, but desires relationship with me.

2. Jesus is the Truth. I am not a Drama Queen, rather a Princess of the Most High God!  He has confirmed my story in countless ways, and continues to do so even now. Yes, He has honed the craft of story telling within me, not so I can flourish in fiction (no wonder I've never gotten the hang of fiction novels!), but so that His story can be displayed in the unique way He has crafted only me to share it.

3. Sometimes healing takes time - this is to my benefit that I continue to bring my brokenness to the Lord, that I don't get my way and forget to keep coming to Him. He makes all things new. Jesus came to bind up the broken hearted. He has already caused this lame woman to walk, blind woman to see, deaf woman to hear, all thing doctors never believed could happen! He who began a good work in me will be faithful to carry it on to completion.
He will guide me one step at a time, lighting my path for this moment. It is not mine to look into plans He has not ordained for me. He calls me to rest in Him. My striving for perfection and accomplishment, is exhausting and vain. He does not use nor abuse, but is gentle and tenderly carrying me.

I an FREE! <3

Please follow me on Facebook and Pinterest

If you haven't read it yet, don't miss the funny story behind this picture!
I'm removing some wording from my blog header. I am ready to go from victim to victor:
Jenni is walking (with a cane or wheeled walker), had recovered much eye-sight, some hearing, partial use of her hands, could care for most of her own personal/toiletry needs...
 (please read more and watch short video)...
Near the five-year recovery mark, Jenni has renewed her pre-stroke excitement about the unique Lilla Rose hair Flexi eight jewelry she sells and has finally regained enough hand/arm function to regularly use! (The biggest ongoing losses at the 4 1/2-year point of recovery are left-side nerve pain, inability to drive, loss of homeschool teaching capability, significant sound processing issues (often triggering nausea), and some profound physical ability limitations such as a limp, balance challenges, clumsy use of right hand and only large motor function in left hand.)  
Jenni is clinging to God's grace through the entire experience. Here is her unfolding story, documented in her own words (typing with only her right hand), as she perceives it happening in real time, messy, honest and to the glory of God...

Friday, May 19, 2017

No Words!

I've been quiet. 

Oh yes, there is PLENTY to share, more to process than I know how, in fact!

God very unexpectedly blessed me with much restored hearing 10 days ago. 

I am hearing tones I have never heard in my left ear since infancy, and the crackling and constant confusing whistling that have been constants for 5 1/2 years since stroke are simply gone. The pain issue caused by the strokes, where loud music causes vomiting, is also erased overnight.

Feel free to

Friday, April 21, 2017

I Spy a Miracle (or Three)!

What do you see here?




I see victories.


"I did it myself" moments.

Not so long ago, I couldn't fold towels. I now have enough right hand skill, and left arm function, that I did the stack myself, and rather quickly, this morning. No, they aren't perfect. Yes, more complex clothing items still present more challenge. But God has brought me so far since the day laundry won!

The Seder plate I prepared for my family last week.
Yes, our "lamb shank" was a chicken leg and our "parsley" was mint, but I manage it! 
Not so long ago, I couldn't begin to braid, or manage a hair tie, or problem solve the solutionlike when I had already packed away all my hair ties but figured out how to use the comfort strap from my Lilla Rose hair band as a makeshift pony tail holder for travel day.

Not so long ago, I couldn't travel. Now I've taken three major week-long trips in the past 14 months (plus a couple of one- or two-day medical travel excursions), one by airplane (another post-stroke first for me), and two busy and intense working conferences to the amazing Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference.

Butterfly lace and butterfly leggings!
What's not to love?
My conference was wonderful! I recapped the basics over at InfertilityMom and shared a funny story at Harvesting Hope. All my kids were walking under their own power when I left home, but I came home to two out of three in wheel chairs, one for illness, and the other for injury! Please pray for my family as my homecoming has involved meeting several new doctor, an urgent care trip, an emergency room trip, emergency MRIs for one of my children, several specialist visits, LOTS of missed school, and HOURS and hours worth of telephone practice (have I mentioned lately how much I hate telephone since my strokes?) with schools and doctors offices over the past week. (We now know that we are NOT dealing with a brain tumor, but are still seeking answers for what is causing our son's symptoms,) We are also dealing with insurance adjusters and contractors over a leaking roof and moldy wall.

My Easter outfit.
Several times this week, when I've started feeling sorry for myself, God's reminded me of my blessings.

I was confronted by having a child back in the room where I've personally faced so very many MRIs and CTs. PTSD! Then God sent a little girl by me who was a very recent stroke survivor with many obvious and tremendous deficits. I was reminded that what we are facing is hard but God has faithfully carried us through so much worse and that's not where we are today with either me or our own child.

My Christmas cactus has identity crisis issues.
 It has bloomed as early as Thanksgiving,, or like this year, as late as Easter!
I'm used to being the lady whose story puts other's struggles in perspective. Last week at the gym, I met a lady who had to live in the hospital for a year and a half and have 27 surgeries during that time. Suddenly my not quite two months as an inpatient and 8 surgeries over that first year seem rather mild!

I am reading the I am N devotional and am simply stunned by reminders of God's provision. Freedom, religious and political. My daily bread. I am so blessed! I take so much for granted!

When my Grandma died, this is the one possession I most wanted out of her house.
My great-granddad was a commercial artist and did the calligraphy work.
It hung over Grandma's sink for years.
It now hangs next to mine as a convicting daily reminder!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Keeping Up With My Trip

I'm leaving on Wednesday evening, after Kathy comes to help me with final preparation that morning, to start making my way to Mount Hermon Christian Writer's Conference. I will be tweeting daily updates from @RenoMom (my personal page, with motherhood and stroke focuses, along with northern Nevada interests, if I can get my phone to work with that account) and / or @InfertilityMom (my big infertility, miscarriage, adoption page, where my phone likes to post by default), using hashtag #MHWriters2017 either way. Please journey with me! :)

Want to leave me encouragement or post your prayers for the journey? Please use #HarvestingHope as your tag so I am sure to find you. :)

Hubby and oldest miracle baby preparing to leave for his prom this past Saturday.

I would especially appreciate your prayers for Rick and our kids as they hold down the fort while I'm away. I'm cutting three days off my original trip plans, but still will be gone for nearly a week.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

5 Years, 5 Months

Will there ever come a day when seeing a date containing the number 25 doesn't stand a good chance of making me suck in my breath in a quick little gasp?

You would think that at nearly 5 1/2 years, I would have seen enough 25th roll by that they wouldn't trip me up any more, at least not the ones in big landmark months like my actual October stroke-a-versary on even the April half way point of each cycle. But March???

I go some months without really even noticing another landmark date, then out of the blue a random month will leave me reeling when the number 25 pops up on my calandar. Ugg.

Actually God created days, the measurement of "evening and morning" but I agree with the gist of this in the man-made segmenting of timekeeping.

I've realized lately that the likelihood that I will ever be able to apply for a driver's licence again is a dream I just need to let go. I still can't even get through a shopping trip without crashing my cart a time or twelve. I can leave the house doing great, and an hour or three later, within about 30 seconds, loose all peripheral awareness. Yeah, I guess driving won't be happening.

Two other ares I've "admitted defeat" (or at least acknowledged reality) this month are that I have applied (and been accepted on the authority of a strongly worded doctor's letter) for home delivery of my daily mail, and I've reapplied for ongoing public transit services and checkmarked the box "permanent" (rather than "temporary") on the disability application. Now I no longer need to push my walker down to the end of a very long block (what I was doing when I fell and got my concussion), cross a busy street, a try to maneuver over rocks to get to our community mail box.

My ears seem to be getting worse by the month. I still have some hearing, for which I am very thankful, but I guess I "yell" a lot. I pretty much can't watch t.v. with my family because to have volume up enough that I can follow a story, I drive everyone else from the house (not just the room, as ever being at the other end of the house its still too loud for them!).

My jaw seems quite tied to that left ear and the nerves like to fire off randomly and painfully. Thankfully, it seems to have been a little quieter recently. However, my left teeth has regained enough feeling to hurt fairly constantly now. My gums and tongue are still relatively numbish over there, but when I bite myself, they seem hypersensitive to pain and I sure know it.

Speaking of nerve pain, my left leg has been acting up pretty drastically this past few weeks. *sigh* Also, my left hand, especially the thumb that went several months without being terribly painful, is creeping back up in pain levels again. My left shoulder has been subluxing (painfully partially dislocating) at least 1-3 times a night over the last few weeks, after being strong and stable for months, (That still nothing like the 20-30 times a day it would slip out of join that first year or two!)

My eyes, the fact that I'm alive, my ability to walk at all, my arm, my hand, my shoulder, are all so very much improved. None are really near where they were before the strokes, but all far better than they "should" have ever gotten.

My book proposal has been set off to publishers. My editor tells me I have a real book in the making finally. This from a woman with six areas of brain injury. "But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord”" (1  Corinthians 1:27-31).

I'm getting ready to head off to Mount Hermon in a week and a half. I was able to raise all of my needed $1,300 but $130 registration plus gas, goFundMe fees, and incidentals. My hubby let me put this much on the credit card, to be paid back as soon as I can.) I'm in awe! Our Palm Sunday service up there is a yearly tradition I'm really looking forward to! Thank you to each and every friend who has helped in any way, prayers and pennies alike!

Kathy and I got out in my rose garden for the first time this spring. I hoed quite a bit on my own and kept my balance doing so! Moving some cantaloupe-sized rock and pulling weeds, my stomach protested at being bent over and Kathy made me stop after my near third vomiting episode in 10 minutes. Still, we managed 3 hours out there in my roses on Wednesday. Every year my garden is looking better and I can do more in it. :)

My computer, by God's grace, is still plugging along. There are days when it stops and won't restart for hours, but so far God's kept reviving it! Haven't had to implement those funeral plans quite yet. :)

I'm sorry this post has been a bit of a downer. I need to document where I am both physically and emotionally so I have records to look back on later.

Happy first week of Spring, my friends, Please leave a comment and tell me how you are preparing your heart for Easter, the celebration of our Lord's resurrection, this year.