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, September 2, 2013


About 4 years ago, we took a family vacation to the Monterrey Bay in California (where we went on our honeymoon and have celebrated several anniversaries). It was not easy, even then, because I was dealing with pretty significant debilitation from a chronic illness (unrelated to the strokes) at that time (by the time of the strokes I was already well onto the road towards significant remission, at about 70% remission, and have only continued to realize health improvement in that department, up to a 90% threshold I have held for well over a year now, as evidenced by my ability to participate in my rigorous stroke recovery therapies). I documented our last big pre-stroke family outlining here (beautiful sea animal pictures in you care to look).

We went back again this past weekend. Rick and I both agreed that we would not even have attempted a trip like this last summer. I was much to physically disabled and emotionally fragile. Mental stability was questionable. It was wonderful that it was actually an option at all now.

This trip, put together by Rick upon my very last minute request, worked out wonderfully. We escaped the smoke for a few days (the huge forest fire 100 miles away has been dumping, thick nasty air into our valley for a couple of weeks now and even in filtered air conditioning, it isn't pleasant, is down right unhealthy outside!) and I even managed two 6-hour car rides and two nights in a standard (non-handicap-equipped) hotel room! A toilet without a grab bar is still rather unpleasant, but it is now at least doable if I have a wall/door frame close by and I don't have other options! (Take hope, Kendra!!!) The shower was more of a challenge and there thankfully was one safety bar in there or I would have gotten really hurt the two times I slipped badly in the quick rinse off I took after our swim the first evening. There was no shower seat of any kind and that was a major issue for me.

I spent Saturday at the aquarium in a wheelchair, but I got to go enjoy the day with my family! I'm quite exhausted today and REALLY sore, especially my left jaw/shoulder/neck and pretty tender in my left arm and hip, but it was worth it to make new family memories (photos hopefully coming soon, to my InfertilityMom blog).

And guess what? NO tears (At least from me. We are still learning to feel our way through the maze of parenthood.) the entire weekend! Of course, that may be more of commentary upon my new inability to cry at all than on my emotional stability growing, but I really do think I did amazingly well, all the way around, with this trip. Thank you, Rick!

On Sunday morning a lady (maybe in her 60s?) came over to my table in the hotel dinning room. She walked a little slowly and held (her son's?) hand. She spoke in somewhat broken English (Polish?) and said she had been watching me for a couple of days and wanted to tell me that she had been totally paralyzed last year by multiple strokes as well. She said her left arm is still pretty numb but she seems to have pretty full range of motion and function in it now and walks really well (holding a hand in crowds, but otherwise no assistance device at all).

The man with her said he was also hospitalized from a stroke one week after she was. I might have eventually guessed the lady's story if I spent enough time with her, though the signs were minimal now. I don't think I would have guessed the man's story at all! I know everyone is different, circumstances and amounts/areas of stroke damage are unique for each person, and recovery is individual, but it still was encouraging to see their progress! :)

I have to give a quick shout out to Lorraine from Residence Inn here. She was such a delight and made our kids feel so special. What a wonderful addition to our first post-stroke vacation memories!

I tried to eat really healthfully over the weekend, but I didn't stress over it either, just enjoying time with my family. Even though we only ate one big meal all weekend, I still had too many carbs on the trip as a whole. I gained four pounds this weekend! I currently way a pound more than I did when I joined the gym a year ago and just six pounds less than I did at my highest, earlier this year.  *sigh*

Kendra, my acne is really nasty and painful again this month. At least it seems tied to hormonal cycles, so I did have a couple of pretty clear weeks before it got so bad again. Right now it looks like I have a line drawn down the center of my face, with clear skin on the right and nasty red blotches all over the left.

I'm about to head over to my InfertilityMom blog in a few minutes and will be posting a little dedication to our first daughter (miscarriage-related) there, on this landmark date in our lives. I know my perception is totally changed because of what happened when I stroked!

You were reaching through the storm
Walking on the water
Even when I could not see
In the middle of it all
When I thought You were a thousand miles away
Not for a moment did You forsake me...

I've added several new Pinterest boards lately. If you enjoyed this song, you might also like Seas, Storms and Shelter. Related to my future Paul book,  I am just starting to build two new boards, Mountain and Rocky Road.
I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. Psalm 119:14


  1. Jenni - what a wonderful posting to read!
    To think that one year ago this was impossible to even consider and now you are writing about actually getting away and enjoying the time.

    Praises and thank yous to God for His faithfulness!

    Love, Lynn

  2. That potty...such a pain!

  3. I am so glad you were able to have such a wonderful weekend!