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.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Thoughts Here and There

Our oldest, now has a sprained foot. I really am pretty sure it isn't more than a sprain, but we were wrapping and icing and elevating and taking Tylenol all weekend. His lip is hardly noticeable now, thankfully! He is typically our one accident-free child, so this has been odd.

One thing I forgot to share about my rose gardening was that my first attempt resulted in two bad sunburns. My face was fine, thanks again to the sun protection of mineral makeup. (I used it faithfully for 5 days in a row, cleared up my skin beautifully, then forgot to use it for two days. By the third morning I woke up with 3 deep, painful, yucky, oozy zits that I really couldn't even blame on hormones, and about 20 "regular" smaller ones. I've been using my makeup faithfully for the past week, have only gotten 3 or 4 small new bits of acne, have pretty much dried up the rest of regular ones, and am getting the three deep ones dried up and less painful. The scars/marks will likely be there for quite a while, but at least they don't HURT like they first did!)

In addition to the picture God described to me through my gardening last week, I also want to record His words to my heart, "You asked for a unique ministry, so first I have to teach you some unique lessons." Perhaps this statement doesn't mean much to anyone but me, but I had to get it written down somewhere!

About the sun burns. I was sitting on my gardening bench, leaning forward to work on the roses. I started in a sweatshirt, but got too warm and went down to just a short-sleeved tee. My shirt must have ridden up my back whenever I bent over, because I ended up with a lovely burn across my back, for about 2 or 3 inches above my waist band. Ouch! And somewhere it would have never occured to me to need sun screen.

Because I started in long sleeves, I didn't think to protect my arms either. Both shoulders got a bit cooked, just below the rim of my shirt sleeves, trucker's tan-style. But the funny thing was, for the most part my left arm was totally unburned, while my right arm got quite lobster-y red. I thought I had used my left arm quite a bit last Tuesday, but I guess I mostly just held it in my lap, shading it with my body. Tells me that what I think of as "a lot" and fairly even usage is still quite lacking.

A shout out to my next door neighbor, E. Thank you so much for coming over to help, giving of your time, physical ability (the garden looks SO much better after your raking!), listening ears, gardening tools, and grasp strength when I couldn't squeeze the clippers strongly enough to cut quite a few of the older or larger stocks.

Something newer I am noticing with my swallowing, is that I simply am forgetting to do it lately! Several times this month I have gone to take drinks and am thinking about getting the liquid in and breathing, but I apparently am forgetting that the water or other liquid actually needs to go somewhere after it gets into my mouth. Several times I have found myself walking around the house with a mouth full of liquid, or needing to intentionally take a big gulp of a swallow in order to either answer a question someone else has asked or to answer the phone, or I have been drinking and my mouth is filling up with liquid and my cheeks are puffing out, but the water is not going anywhere once it gets to my mouth. Fortunately, this hasn't really caused a chocking issue, it is just a very odd sensation!

I am fighting a cold or (I think) horrid allergies this week. My nose runs like crazy, I sneeze and spray spit everywhere (due to mouth numbness and lack of muscle strength). My hearing is even worse than usual and there is SHARP pain in my left ear when I try to blow my nose. Uggh.

The weight thing is still an issue. 8 months at the gym + therapy + watching what I eat = only 1-2 pounds weight loss! The work outs are somehow still making an impact in tone though, because I missed most of my work outs for two weeks (sickness, scheduling conflicts, etc.) and my clothes got totally tight in that time, so the gym is important for muscle strength/tone even if scales won't budge! Yesterday I was diagnosed hypoparathyroid (low hormone production of the tiny glands on the back of the thyroid). Yesterday I didn't even know their WERE tiny glads on the posterior of the thyroid gland. Now I've learned this under-production of hormone (I personally think, primarily as a result of stroke damage, though I haven't found any documentation to directly support this theory yet) answers so many more odd questions about what's been happening with my body than just weight gain. Hopefully we are on the right path now, though it could take months or years to regulate effectively.

I'm trying. This post is for (you know who you are, who sent me the email and challenged my thinking along these lines. Thank you :) ). I'm afraid I would still describe a pretty poor "first picture," but probably not the "monster" I would have described before your email. :) Please take the time to watch. This video is eye opening about self-image!
1 Peter 4:19 "So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you."


  1. Love the line "you asked for a unique ministry, so first I have to teach you some unique lessons." That is so true about all God's children, yet we often balk at those lessons, seeing them only as trials and difficulties (me included) rather than how God enables us to reach out to others.

  2. Sprained ankle and sick again! Ugh!