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. 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.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Why Blog

Some people wonder why I'm documenting my story so publicly. The reasons are many, but let me give you a few. A couple of month ago I shared Why I Write in general. In addition to all these, the specifics to why I detail this journey include:

My friend  Kendra. She was the reason this blog was even launched in the first place, why it exists today. Anyone is welcome to read along, but when I'm writing her, she is my primary audience. Every stroke is SO different, but we do share many commonalities, and I want to leave sort of a road map, a document of both the hope and struggles, to give her what I've always wished I had, I view from a little farther down the road. I go into greater detail in our private email exchanges, primarily because there are some things only understood by personal experience, and so that is where I share the nitty-gritty. But for day to day journaling purposes of the main points and big picture, this is a great reference point for both of us to see exactly where and when I am hitting each stage of recovery. There are some landmarks I hit sooner than she does and some she accomplishes before I'm even ready to try, but this is a good generalization of the process. It is amazing to look back on some of my earliest posts, home from the hospital and see how far I have come just in writing ability and duration! I am in awe to see similar progress on Kendra's blog!

To educate and share an experience I hope you can ever only know in your imagination. I know I have often wondered what it would really be like to live with various kinds of disabilities. The only way I can (or would ever want to) gain more understanding is by reading or hearing the personal stories of those who do actually live it, day in and day out. So if you have the same "rubber neck gaucking" curiosity that I've always had, or if you have a friend or family member (or patient - I know of a few therapists and other medical personnel who read here) you are trying to gain a better understanding into their experience or possibly into their thoughts, I want to give you a fair picture of a bit of the daily reality of my journey, again realizing this is very unique and personal for each experience.

To provide hope, help, and resources for other stroke patients! I had such a hard time finding information or even anyone with personal understanding, once I started using the computer again. Resources ARE out there, I just wasn't finding them. By sharing what I have discovered, hopefully my list will save someone else a little of the frustration of searching.

To turn our eyes to the eternal. We all get so caught up in the troubles of this finite lifetime, that it is easy to forget where our lives really fall in God's great timeline. I don't have it down pat, don't have all the answers! But if one person gets right with God because of my costly sorrows, the entire situation is redeemed and so worth it! I do not feel I have a right NOT to be vocal about the great things God is doing here, especially my glimpse of Heaven!
Edited (April, 2014) to add : Can You Explain Your Hope encapsulates why I am so passionate about sharing (over-sharing?) details of my story, than any other article I have read! After you read the article, be sure to take a couple minutes to watch Matthew West's Do Something song at the end of the post.

As a personal log to document and process my own journey. As you know, I have very poor short-term memory. I want to be able to look back at milestones, in my own words, as they unfolded. It is both a good therapy tool for me and I am building some notes for my book. As my mom says, "I can't not not write." It is something I must do to emotionally process and decompress events.

From my writing Pintrest board
I continue to explore my theme word for 2013, Restore. I will be including many "restore" verses in the weeks to come, but here is the passage that started it all:
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones you have crushed rejoice....
Hide your face from my sins
    and blot out all my iniquity.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me...
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    and sinners will turn back to you...
the God who saves me,
    and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
    and my mouth will declare your praise...
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart,
    O God, you will not despise.
-Psalm 51:8-17

P.S. If you think about it, today is our 13-year-olds first day ever in a classroom.  Your prayers are greatly appreciated. I don't know who is more nervous, him or me! We are EXCITED too, but this is a total lifestyle change for all of us! The little ones and I start back to a new homeschooling semester today too.

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