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!)

Friday, August 21, 2020

Asking for a Thankful Heart

I made Mimi's Cafe Corn Chowder for my daughter tonight. The recipe says prep time is "10 minutes".

That step took me over 70 minutes. The cognitive effort of following a recipe, getting proper execution of all the right steps, in the correct order, is still really overwhelming for my brain, exhausting for my body.

I'm exhausted. The kitchen looks like a tornado hit it. My feet are sore and swollen from standing for over an hour. I snapped at my sweet hubby in the process. And clean up is likely to take me a good couple of hours. 
(ETA Our sweet 14-year-old has jumped in to clean the kitchen, so I can head to bed!)

It is so easy to get discouraged by how tediously slow I am about everything, until I remember that I'm doing all these things at all, when doctors said I would be dead or a vegetable, never walk again, etc. I'm asking God for a thankful heart!

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?