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.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Butterflies and Battle Boots

Several year before my strokes, I was preparing for a speaking engagement where I was giving each guest a small, pink, heart-shaped soap, imprinted with the word "HOPE." I remember a friend (Hi Fawn!) talking with me about how important it was for speakers to develop a trademark, a signature item that people easily associated with their topics and with the individual person and their unique message God gave them to share. I was frustrated that I hadn't yet found that key symbol that captured my heart.


Now I think I have found a couple of "trademarks," my signature items.  These won't surprise anyone who knows me well, or long-time blog followers, but I need to put these thoughts down somewhere, collect several images that have already been scattered throughout my blog, all in one place (as I have already started to do with my new butterfly label), even if you don't really need to read them. (Today's videos are posted near the end of this post, if that's what you are looking for.)  In case you are wondering what I might like my book cover to look like, that's really up to the publisher, but if I can offer input here are my thoughts on the topic.

From my near death experience page.

Unless I could find some cute combat boot key chains or something like that, I'm not sure how one could really be incorporated into a "platform" when I speak, other than just me wearing them, but the butterflies hold some real potential for creative expression.

As posted on Facebook, along with anonymous quote about stroke recovery:
I am sure you hear the phrase, when will you be the old you again?
I am sure many of us would like to return to the old you.
Then I look at a butterfly and think to myself. That butterfly will never return to the state of a cocoon. No one expects it to. I don't even think the butterfly would think that.
It may not have learned to fly yet, but it is beautiful in its own right.
Once it learns to fly and takes off, there will be no holding it back.
The butterfly would not be what it is, if it wasn't for the larvae, the cocoon, the chrysalis! We will all develop at the stage that is best for us. Not a moment faster, not a moment slower. We will all emerge at some point.
Embrace who we have become.
Learn to love the new you.
There is beauty everywhere, you just need to discovery it.

When I first discovered the above picture of each stage of a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis, I wrote (in reflection on my 2013 year), "The emotional / spiritual has been hallmarked by an "awakening" this year, finding "me" again, no longer thinking of my post-stroke self as totally disconnected from the "her" I was before the strokes. Borrowing words and a picture posted in my stroke group on Facebook, this picture best illustrates this realization / transformation / embracing of my new self and God's unfolding purpose here." Kendra and I had already spent quite a bit of time talking about stroke recovery being a renewal journey to a new life, like a butterfly trying to emerge from a cocoon and pump life into shriveled wings, so this series of pictures best captures that idea for me.

Kendra's beautiful reminder gift to encourage me along the journey.
Sorry, blogger keeps locking up and freezing my computer, so I'm having trouble adding pictures.

bracelet from Rick, necklace from Kendra
yellow boots
brown, rose boots

Of course butterflies and boots aren't my only symbols, the only items that represent me, the only objects that make me smile. I also love...

hearts and

bears and

all kinds of flowers,

especially roses (represent Grace) in my life),

my valentine red roses

and babies,
and hats.
My hat wall in my closet.
I'm sure others could add many more things that I really like (like cats, just don't have a cute picture of a kitten right now), but I guess these would all be sub-themes of images and objects that really tell you about me. Oh, and crosses, of course I love crosses! (But I think that's more God's "hallmark" territory, don't you?)

let's talk hands

crawling therapy
Flute, day 31

Jumping, Day 96 of 100
For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts. - 1 Thessalonians 2:4 (New Living Translation)


  1. I just love the butterflies from the book picture! That is so you!

  2. Love, love, love this post, and love you my friend.