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.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Boots and a Baby

I'm not even sure where to start...

I guess bad news first. We are pretty overwhelmed. Since last summer (less than a year) our kids have given us a broken bone, head stitches / staples, a significant learning disability diagnosis, revisiting a possible genetic illness concern, and at least 3 major rounds of family-wide sickness. They tell me this would be overwhelming even if I weren't fighting my own health battle. (We also found out yesterday how terribly gullible I am now and that while, at times, I feel pretty smart, and other times I KNOW that I don't know something anymore, but the scary times are when I think I am being wise and knowledgeable and I'm not at all.)

As I write, I am fighting significant vision distortion from another ocular migraine, my husband is taking time off work to drive our daughter to the orthopedic surgeon who said it isn't another break this time, just a nasty sprain around the growth plate, that requires another several weeks in her boot/cast she still has from last break, and our son is throwing up! I still am supposed to have (had to cancel for today) nearly-daily therapy and/or doctor appointments for stroke recovery.

All this on top of still trying to home-school the younger two (wouldn't be possible without amazing parents!!!) and learning the public school system for the first time mid-school-year, starting two months ago, for our oldest!

It is to the point where I feel the current devotional book I'm writing (includes themes on spiritual warfare, does talk of Job a little, but I'm wondering if that should be a bigger focus of the book) can't be finished up quickly enough! There are other major stresses in our lives right now too. Last night it all got to be too much. I just broke down and sobbed (and post-stroke crying isn't at all pretty with all the snot and ragged gasps for air and emotional instability to factor in).

I am so thankful for these amazing kids and so many other blessings in our lives. Just feeling pretty beat up right now!!! I asked Rick if he ever feels discouraged, feels like the more he prays, the worse things seem to get. He agreed that often thing do get worse before they get better, but also pointed out many blessing God has given this past year.

The good new is (and if you have been reading here long, you know we are talking MAJOR victory) that I hadn't broken down at all (even alone with Rick) in a couple weeks now!!!

Almost two weeks ago, my physical therapist got me walking on a treadmill (starting at .1 MPH, gradually up two nearly 2 MPH over 15 minutes) for the first time since the strokes. My Dad has since closely supervised me in this activity at the gym. I can actually feel much more of my need to "weight shift" more onto my left leg. I can remember hearing this instruction, over and over ever, since they first started working on helping me stand again in the hospital, but couldn't really grasp what they wanted because what felt "straight" to me was actually way over to my right. What they tell me is "straight" has felt like I have been significantly leaning over left. It is such an amazing difference to have straight actually feel somewhat more straight now!!! I know I still am not fully balanced yet, as my left foot still slides when I walk sock-footed on a smooth floor, so I've got to keep working on more evenly putting weight through my left leg, but there is notable progress on stepping more evenly with both legs.

 On a related note, I sucessfully wore something other than tennis shoes to church yesterday morning (yes, we had to leave even before the service started, because our little guy started throwing up at church). I got to thinking about how I had previously tried full shoes (with a solid back, not just a strap), thinking this would make it possible for me to wear them. Since I easily kept walking out of them, I realized that shoes that are easy to get on are still way too easy to get out of as well.

So I found a pair of my old boot (dressy, not snow boots) and it took me over 15 minutes to wrestle them on (it used to take me this long to wrestle my way into tennis shoes, that now I can put on in a minute or two), but once I got them there, my feet did not slip out! They are really flat, but since there is a 1/4 inch big, flat, steady back heal, I still turned my left ankle several times trying to wear them because I am just not used to any heal at all. There was no question that I was dependent on the cane for walking again while wearing them. It just felt so nice to have another potential option beside tennis shoes, for when I want to dress up a bit!

Last Wednesday, I was scheduled to do a medical test. It required fasting and I lost my instructions so I did eat breakfast. :( I'll try again this Wednesday (if the tummy flu doesn't mess up those plans). For all the testing and procedures I am constantly going too, not a bad track record that I messed up just this one!

Also, if health permits, I'm going to give the Access transit system a second attempt tomorrow. I'm nervous, but it will good for me to find out I can do this. My mom will travel with me tomorrow. If all goes well, I will try on my own next week.

Sorry to the eight people who have already read this, but I have to add in something AMAZING that I can't believe I forgot to share!!! I accomplished one of my long-term goals last week! For well over a year I have been sad about, and for many months I have been working with both my counselor and my physical therapist over, my desire to hold a baby again, something I have been unable to do since the strokes and something I deeply grieved. On Thursday, a mom trusted me to hold her 4-month-old little girl! I was seated, held her with my strong side, she arched her back like she didn't feel very secure, and I held her for less than five minutes, but I got to do it at all! How like God that her name is Hana! <3

Instead of a specific verse today. I would like to share a prayer containing so many Biblical concepts. I have tagged a therapy video on to the very end, but don't know how to turn it for you, so it is what is is. We will hold the camera differently next time!

Lenten Prayer

Lent should be more than a time of fasting.
It should be a joyous season of feasting.
Lent is a time to fast from certain things and feast on others.
It is a season in which we should:

Fast from judging others; feast on Christ dwelling in them.
Fast from emphasis on differences; feast on the unity of all life.
Fast from apparent darkness; feast on the reality of light.

Fast from thoughts of illness; feast on the healing power of God.
Fast from words that pollute; feast on phrases that purify.
Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.

Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.
Fast from worry; feast on divine order.
Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.
Fast on negatives; feast on affirmatives.
Fast on unrelenting pressures; feast on unceasing prayer.

Fast from hostility; feast on nonresistance.
Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.

Fast from personal anxiety; feast on enthusiasm.
Fast from suspicion; feast on truth.
Fast from thoughts that weaken; feast on promises that inspire.

Fast from shadows of sorrow; feast on the sunlight of serenity.
Fast from idle gossip; feast on purposeful silence.
Fast from problems that overwhelm; feast on prayer that [strengthens].

- William Arthur Ward (American author, teacher, and pastor, 1921-1994.)


  1. Those are awesome pictures by the way! So sorry for another boot on R! You look wonderful in those boots!

  2. Wow Jenni - you have so much going on! No wonder you broke down. Great pics - you are looking great! Glad you found some boots you can wear! I'm praying for you, friend. Hugs.

  3. You look great! Praying for you this week. Hope you've been encouraged as the week has gone on.

  4. PrincessR says "the boot is cute and back off because we do belong to the Grate I Am!!!!!!!" PS. love the boots and plaid skirt xoxoxox !!!!!!! Love,PrincessR