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, August 14, 2013

Ups, Downs, and Spinning Around

All our kids are in school (picture at link) this week. I went back to bed after they left and slept for over two more hours this morning! When I woke up, it was with a jolt of panic at how late into the morning it was and fear that my kids were unsupervised all that time. What a relief to relize I was allowed to sleep like that and they were being well cared for.

So far, they are having a blast and I am not too lonely, delighting in the relaxation hours, though of course I do miss them. Really, since the kids moved back home, a quiet moment alone is a rare thing (not that I'm complaining, just stating facts). Actually, for a few months now, I have been able to count on a relatively uninterrupted hour to think my own thoughts every Tuesday afternoon, waiting for my ride on the ACCESS bus, but that isn't the same as being in the quiet and relaxation of my own home.


Maybe it is because I am trying hard not to let my mind go there, but I really am not having anywhere near the identity crisis I expected I would over no longer being a homeschooling parent. I more think it is God's amazing answer to prayer that I am so peaceful about this change. Because I know the kids will be coming home at the end of each day (unlike when they were living away from home the first several months after I came home), I feel very peaceful about them being gone for so many hours each day.

Remember how I said Sunday morning that I had yet to serve a meal to my family? Hubby had a meeting on Monday night and did not get home until after dinner. So I made up my mind and just did it. It was slow, sloppy, a little messy, and probably didn't look to pretty, but I accomplish my goal and served dinner to my children that night, rather than passing the serving spoon off to one of our kids!

Generally, I've had a hard week, physically. Actually, looking back, the less balance issues have been going on for a couple weeks now, starting on my birthday, so this pre-dates my last ear surgery that certainly didn't help the balance issues, but can't be held entirely responsible either. It was all compounded when I made the mistake of trying to wear 1-inch chunky heals for the first time, this past Sunday. I figured that they were very sturdy and the with of the "heal" was as wide as the shoe, so I though I would be able to manage. I figured wrong! I was unsteady when we left for church, but assured Rick that I always have to re-learn slight muscle variation any time I put on a new pair of shoes and I would soon adjust. Actually, I did pretty well at church (even received an encouraging, "Look at you go!" from a friend, but after sitting in the car for a few minutes after church, I was totally thrown off balance again and could hardly walk! Rick had to hold my arm or hand and guide me for almost every step.  Back to only totally flats for me.
Picture from Facebook
Since then, I am still pretty thrown off. I don't know why exactly. If it had only lasted a day or so, I still would have been blaming those silly shoes, but today is Wednesday, so I have a hard time seeing how a few hours in unwise shoes last Sunday could still be throwing me off so much even now? I am using my cane to get around the house quite a bit again, especially when it is dark, I'm especially worn out, or I have to move quickly (like the restroom). I haven't consistently needed to use the cane inside my own home in months now, so this is confusing! Maybe I'm fighting some little virus that I wouldn't even notice were it not manifesting itself in this way? My water therapy coach notices a huge difference and has been quite concerned, but finally seemed to conclude this is my body's way of coping with all the changes of having the kids go to school this week - I'm not yet sure if I agree with her theory or not. Maybe???

Weeks ago I talked about pain issues being so bad that I was thinking about returning to a wheelchair. Not much has changed there as far as pain, but I have been learning to cope better and rarely contemplate returning to a chair due to pain now. However, if this balance doesn't improve, I'm currently thinking I may need to go back to a walker, if not a chair, here before long, as a safety consideration. I've really scared myself a few times lately. :(
Found on Facebook
Speaking of scaring myself, I woke up choking at 2 this morning. I think I had simply swallowed spit wrong in my sleep. I coughed HARD and drew in several noisy, raspy, strangle-ly breaths before I could clear my lungs and start to breath easily again. I was a horrid way to wake from sound sleep, terrified my husband, and woke up our daughter from down the hall, who came running into the room in a panic. I fought vomiting for another hour (because I was coughing so very hard when I sat up choking), but all seemed fine after that, though I didn't sleep well (disturbing dreams) until after the kids went off to school. Who knows what that was all about.

I'm generally quite joyful now. I think of the future and see definite plans unfolding (God's continued guidance and blessings, public speaking, new books, etc.). I look at the present and am thankful (deeper relationship with the Lord, husband, children, parents, not just living in "survival" like that first year or so, abilities doctors said I would never be capable of regaining, health insurance that is covering many of my needs, an army of caring healthcare givers, great friends...). And yet I must guard my heart and focus on these blessings. It is so easy to get caught in the comparison trap, to envy what others have or the abilities they have struggled for and gained back. I can much too easily get caught up in feeling put upon because I don't drive, am no longer in good shape to teach my own children, or envying other skills and material possessions (hearing aids, adult trike, etc.) that I think I should have. I have to consciously remember to be thankful for what I do have, including my very life, a great schooling provision for our kids (going to elementary parent night tonight, went to high school last night), a husband who loves me and has stuck with me though a terribly hard season (happy 21-years tomorrow!), children who well could never have been in our lives, and so much more!

I am going to work on transcribing my handwritten journal entries from Aug. 2 and 3 into this blog now. I'm not sure how much I will get done before the kids come home as the first was 15 pages long (but I write really big and sloppy, so the word count shouldn't be too bad). I will be back-dating those three posts to the actual dates they were written.

One last thought, if you don't have a penpal yet, please prayerfully consider contact Art. His information is listed at that page and, to my knowledge, he still doesn't have a buddy yet. He was heavy on my heart in the early hours of this morning.

For my mom (both of these)...

And hubby...


  1. praying for you and your children.

  2. I want you to know, that although I can drive, we spent the entire hour today at pt working on loading and unloading my wheelchair, walking to the door, and opening it...all that in an hour and I only did it twice!

  3. I can drive, but can't write as well as you! I'll drive. You write!

  4. You have a gift for writing and your blog inspires others who are recovering from strokes. And something we all have - a God who loves us and will never leave us :)