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.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Combat Boots

 I ordered myself some combat boots this week. Yes, you read that right, combat boots!

When I told my mom she was incredulous, saying that when she was a kid one of the highest insults you could give out was, "Your Mama wears combat boots."

Well, hoping they fit well and I can use them, that's exactly what this Mama plans to do!
Why? Because it will be a regular, visible reminder to me that the battle belong to the Lord and to Him alone. Yes, I need to be willing to work with (rather than against) him in these battles (the spiritual and the physical of stroke recovery), but as long as I am doing what I should to suit up for battle (putting on my figurative "combat boots" and the rest of my spiritual armor as well as working hard on my therapies) I need only rest and wait on the Lord for victory.

You may still be scratching your head over why on earth I would ever make such a fashion choice, Confession time here - I would have never imagined myself in combat boots until I saw some adorable flower ones (pictures coming, if I find out they fit my needs). They immediately spoke to me that while I am in daily battle here, the journey is cushioned and liberally sprinkled with God's grace, just as these otherwise ugly, utilitarian boots are sprinkled in beautiful roses.

I can't get the picture to post here today, but I found them on No Moe Rack and ordered these $150 shoes that were clearance priced down to $33, then stacked discounts, rebates, a free shipping event, and an Ebates rebate sitting in my Paypal account, so ended up getting them for free! :) If you are thinking about investigating No More Rack, I have to give an honest disclaimer and say that the website, shopping cart and check out system were highly frustrating for me to navigate (though my mom was able to successfully order on her very first attempt), the online custom support initially non-existant, but the guy who quickly responded to multiple private messages on their Facebook page was very attentive and caring, doing all in his power to check in, make sure my orders got through, that I was satisfied, and went very far towards restoring my confidence in the company. I can't yet report on my shipping, product quality, or details of my order satisfaction, but if I have anything further to report, I'll let you know.

I'm comingback later, because I think I have found a way to finally share a picture of what I have ordered:
As far as progress here, ever since the strokes, if I was down on the floor and had to get up, I had to try to crawl (not pretty with such poor balance and disproportionate strength on each side!) over to a chair or table or sometimes could manage with the help of just a wall, and pull myself up with my arms and whole body, often placing my forehead on the chair for added leverage. As recently as early this week I was still surprised and frustrated by this process, because I have been working so hard to strengthen the muscles in my legs, but the nerve connections, balance and coordination just weren't there. We have been working on this skill in therapy. On Wednesday I finally managed to get myself up from the floor by myself (without holding on to or even touching anything for mental feedback about my environment) for the very first time!!! Yesterday I attempted several more times and managed it three times! :) It still isn't easy, or pretty, or steady. I still make my care givers nervous when I try and they are on high alert for my fall risk in the process. It is still both highly time- and energy-consuming and is more often unsuccessful than not, but at least I can say that I have now done it a few times, another skill (like walking or jumping) I thought I might never regain!!! I will keep working on it. :)

One other new think I am challenging myself on is my cane. I walk around the house (well-known surroundings, with close walls to catch myself, and less mental processing/stimulation than there is around other people) without it almost all the time, but I still rely on it pretty heavily any time I go out. I am to the point when it is often more of a "security blanket" than a necessity, though I cannot be totally without because I still catch myself to prevent falling several times per outing. I have tried just carrying it an inch or so above ground and walking, then putting it down when I need to catch my balance, but that doesn't work as well as I hoped. What I started trying yesterday was carrying it in my left (significantly weaker) hand, rather than the right where I've always held it. I'm not sure that arm is really strong enough to support me if I trip, but if nothing else it is forcing me to walk with straighter posture, focus hard on balance, and is good arm therapy, especially for my terribly weak wrist on that side. Today I more dragged it than effectively used the cane for support, but I'm giving this a try for now and will see how it goes.

I have a flip calendar from Barbara Johnson, called "Daily Splashes of Joy" (I'm guessing based on her book "Splashes of Joy in the Cesspools of Life"). Today's quote is, "Play on your one string as optimistically as you can."
2 Chronicles 20:17 (NKJV)
You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.”
1 Samuel 17:47  (NKJV)
Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.”
and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace
- Ephesians 6:15 (NKJV)

10-12 And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.
13-18 Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.
- Ephesians 6:10-18, The Message


  1. Wow! I still have to crawl and then use a bed or something sturdy to stand up. Awesome! As for the cane, I think that is great. I still use the wheelchair when I go out.

  2. Jenni, what a wonderful metaphor. We all need to be reminded that the daily battles are the Lords.