Update: Stroke of Grace has become In Darkness Sing and has moved to JenniferSaake.com.

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. Jenni 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.

Jenni 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.

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, January 5, 2013

Happy New Year

My first post of 2013. I am doing better than I was when I last posted. In fact that hard cry seems to have been good for me. Though I was still emotionally fragile that night and the next day, I have only cried once since, and even then got the tears stopped again pretty quickly!

From Facebook
I have been focusing on my prayer word, Restore, and have been trying to tackle about one new project a day, as we strive to bring our home as close as back to the "normal" we knew before the strokes as we can.

My garage is still packed full of boxes of things that other packed away during my hospital stay. It is too cold (and the boxes too heavy, and there is no railing to get up and down the step) for me to get out there are start to tackle that project yet, BUT I have totally sorted through my closet this week, getting rid of any clothes or shoes that will no longer work for me with a semi-functional hand or foot.

There was one pair of pretty, pink sandles that I bought just before the stroke that I never even got a chance to wear, that were especially hard to let go. But anything with heals or without a back or at least a strap on the back (most of my shoes) had to go, because I will likely never realistically hope to wear them again, even if I regain significantly more stability. Clipping thing onto hanger was still a real challenge, but I eventually managed, mostly with my right hand.

My one cause for tears came when I tried on the beautiful purple silk dress I wore to our last fancy pre-stroke date. No matter how I contorted, I just couldn't manage it now. In fact I got so stuck, I thought my mom was going to have to cut me out of it! I had no idea there could be some much emotion linked to clothing.

It was a hard purge, but I'm glad I got brave and did it. I rediscovered several favorites that I haven't been wearing that I still can and even two shirts that I didn't recognize at all, so can only presume I acquired them both shortly before the strokes. Everything is orderly and organized in my side of the closet now, and I feel as if I have a whole new wardrobe. I don't think I was physically or emotionally able/ready to tackle this chore any sooner than I did, but it does feel like a big step in the "restore" process. :)

A couple days later Kathy and I went through my entry area, re-matched gloves, sorted out old newspaper, and cleared out the entry bench. It looks so much better! It wasn't particularly a hard or emotional task, just took energy, really needed to be done, and made a big difference in our home. The hardest part was probably getting up and down off the floor, but Kathy helped with that too. :)

Yesterday, I braved my bedroom sink area. I have never really felt "at home" here ever since I came home from the hospital over a year ago. It was lovingly and amazingly cleaned and reorganized while I was gone from home, but little was where I knew how to find it, many of my daughter's things mixed in with my own, and things I used to be able to grab without really even looking were moved around and re-organized. I went through my entire under-the-sink area and my jewelry, sorted, rearranged, gave things that were no longer usable for me (clasps I can't dream of learning to fasten, etc.) and her own things to my daughter, and cleaned (my first time cleaning a sink on my own, post stroke!) and re-organized my sink area that I had so badly neglected (mostly in lack of physical ability, but more recently out of emotional frustration as well) this year.

I also managed to get most of the family laundry for the week pushed through the washer (and often even transferred to the dryer) on my own this past week too! Our oldest son still had to sort laundry piles for me and my mom still had to fold, but I can remember trying from my wheel chair, not so long ago, and wondering if any of this would ever be doable again? I almost made one really awesome crock pot meal, feature a jar of my husband's homemade bacon jam on Thursday - turned out to be the BEST roast I have EVER eaten. (I'm finishing the left over for dinner tonight! Yum!!!)  Maybe our "restored" lives won't look much like they really did before, but it feels so good to be regaining a measure of new normalcy now!

It feels great to walk though my re-ordered and cleaner bathroom, on my way to an orderly closet now! I feel that "restore" is already very much coming to fruition. I am physically exhausted, my right foot was in extraordinary pain yesterday afternoon (from taking the bulk of my weight balance when I was standing at my sink), and know I can't keep up this pace very long, but maybe a household reclaim project per week or so is do-able? We re-start a new school semester on Wednesday (our oldest starting public school for the first time, the younger two still at home with me for the rest of the year) and I suspect this will really stall most of my reorganization for a while, but hopefully we will still manage to keep moving forward with both education and re-settling our home?

I have managed to get my hair pulled back like I like (requires two hands) a couple more times this past week. Still requires some creative contortion to accomplish and isn't as smooth as I would like, but I am slowly getting there with greater measures of consistency. :)

My jaw and side of my face are still REALLY sore (and front of the left side of my mouth fairly profoundly numb), but I think my left shoulder, while still quite sore, is slightly improving finally? Other than my mouth, I do have restore sensation in the left side of my body, but it remains rather diminished and I'm still prone to interpret pretty much any touch (even very slight or gentle) as pain, especially if I am not aware it is coming in advance. My foot (and somewhat my hand, although it is less feeling than my foot in general) reacts in pain with pretty much any slight bump, even when I know it is coming. It usually isn't terribly excruciating pain, but pain all the same.

Our marriage seems to be continuing to grow and improve by the week. I am so very in awe and thankful for the man God has giving me to share my life with. For the gift of marriage itself, though it is hard at times, that God is so obviously restoring and rebuilding that which I feared was all but lost. I know it is all more grace than we deserve. To God be the glory!

Picture from Pintrest.

Today on Facebook, I read, "If the devil only knew what your marriage would be, after the storm, he wouldn't bother you. He does have a clue that God meant your union for greatness but his job is to distract you and your mate so it won't come to be. Declare war on the enemy and stand for your marriage and the future thereof! If the devil can see greatness in your marriage enough to want to stop it from existing, then surely you have to realize that it has a magnitude of value. The enemy hates anything Christlike so he hates your union and anything you include God in. God word gives us ongoing hope because it has stood the test of time being "tried & true"... Even when you don't see it yet, learn to "Say it til you see it!" ......DEVIL IF YOU ONLY KNEW WHAT WE WERE GONNA BE, AFTER THE STORM, YOU WOULDN'T EITHER BOTHER US! - The Diggs

I have become quite the Pintrest addict lately. I've had an account for a while, but never really did much with it. Recently I discovered it is a great "online brain" for short term memory loss. When I get an idea, read a quote, or see a picture I want to remember, I know I won't be able to find it again (or remember the details, or even likely that I even ever saw that the idea existed) unless I "pin" it and put it down in my digital memory some way. I now have already made over 30 different boards (most quite active), covering quite the range of topics. I can't actually "do" most of the things I pin, but it is fun dreaming. I really like all these ideas, anyway! No matter what you are into, it is likely I am sharing SOMETHING of interest to you. Please come follow me at pinterest.com/InfertilityMom! (Let me know your address, so I can follow you back!)
From Facebook

You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance.
- Psalm 65:11


  1. Happy new year to you too. I typed a long response but my dog came over and bumped the computer just right and it got erased. I totally understand the house thing. The more I slowly clean, the more things I find that are either out of place or that I didn't buy....I get a surprise every day I try to straighten things. I have thrown out more junk than I know.

  2. I also understand the house thing. Sam and I need to try to sell our house and get into a different place within the next year or so. I was telling a missionary friend of mine (who was my babysitter when I was little) that I didn't know what I was going to do with keeping the house in a condition to show. She suggested I get a housekeeper. I had kept telling myself that we couldn't afford it but in praying about it and through her words which sometimes I feel is a word from above, I got my Aunt's housekeeper to come. I was thinking that I could afford once a month. Her rate was so reasonable I found it in the budget for her to come twice a month. The main floor and downstairs of the house look great and this helped alleviate some of my stress. I just need to work on the project of the upstairs. She was a gift from above when she came after my surgery. I had only been home 3 days and was still working on the dishes and I told her to work around them since they weren't part of our agreement. She did all the dishes by hand (most of them pots) and dried them and laid them on the counter. What a blessing to me. I'm still working on the floor with the bedrooms...if only I could stop sleeping most of the weekend away.