Update: The In Darkness Sing blog at JenniferSaake is experiencing prolonged technical issues, so I'm temporarily posting back here on my old Stroke of Grace blog.

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.

Jennifer 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. (Please see above temporary update note above!)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

2 Years, 9 Months Give Away

During those first few months (2 months, 3 months, 4 months, 6 months, etc). I would hear of people 2 or 3 years post-stroke and just couldn't fathom surviving to that point, seeing warriors this far into the battle and having absolutely no comprehension that they could even really relate to how bad off I was for surely they had never been in my shoes, just look at them now!

And yet, her I sit, yesterday marking just another 3 months until my 3rd re-birthday. I can breath, I can eat most anything I want now. I rarely threaten to drown in my own saliva now, I can sort of sing again (about 70% accuracy of hitting the notes I'm striving for, especially if notes are in the flow of a tune and not stand-alone, or their is accompaniment music and/or other singers to rely on guiding me through a tune), I can walk pretty well with my cane, my face isn't too impacted, I have basic, large motor use of my left arm now, I can hear when there is (not what, but that) something else going on in a room with my left ear, if my right is covered (like listening into a telephone). Someone still not able to sit up on their own, still on a feeding tube or breathing tube, blurry vision and eye paralyzed into severe double vision or lack of sight all together, would never guess, probably not even be able to relate, to hearing that this is where I have come from!
I'm SLOW but I am reading on adult level again. I just finished an amazing (317 page, 68 chapter) novel by Robin Parrish (based on the Daniel Lusko film that released earlier this month). I had promised that I would tell you about this book by the 17th, but since I just finished, I couldn't really tell you my opinion before now! So what is that personal opinion? Well, the book isn't a genre I would normally read, being a murder mystery-type thriller, but I must say that it was very well written, a true page turner, I deeply connected with some characters and couldn't wait to read more each night to find out what happened next! One section even made me cry hard enough I couldn't see the book through my tears for a few minutes. (Long-time readers of this blog know that crying, without my husband around, is usually an impossibility, so that speaks highly of the quality of this story!)

I liked it so much that my 11-year-old was checking in with me daily to find out what was happening in the unfolding story and I'm now turning the book over to my teenager. I hope I'm doing this correctly (first review for this company and I know I'm a week past review deadline), but Leave a comment on this post by July, 28, along with an email address where I can contact you for mailing address (and if you aren't already following my through Friend Connect over in my right side bar, I would really appreciate that too), and I will pass one name along to contest sponsors* asking them to send you your own free copy of Persecuted!

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”
The premise of the book is, "The Question Is Not IF Attempts Will Be Made to Limit Religious Freedoms, But When". The story line, in brief, is that the most popular evangelist of his day, John Luther, simply wants to share the Gospel and enjoy a quiet life with his family. He never asked to be at the center of a political controversy, but an ill wind has been blowing through the halls of Congress, and supporters of a new religious-equality bill see Luther's endorsement as critical. But when Luther refuses to lend his support, he unknowingly sets in motion an explosive plan bent on destroying his reputation and undermining everything for which he stands. His once-normal life is turned upside down as he becomes a fugitive left with only one dangerous option--putting everything he holds most dear at risk while he fights to expose the truth. It is a mission that brings him face-to-face with the coming storm of persecution that could threaten the very fabric of our nation's freedoms.

Three of the four pieces of Joshua's helmet that saved his life when he was riding his bike and got hit by a car.
Speaking of sharing this book with our son, he's the update I posted to Facebook about him on Thursday: "For those asking, Joshua is doing SO well. I just can't believe this kid was hit by a car less than a week ago! Scrapes and swelling are all healing well. Only two areas still terribly bother him, elbow and hand. Concussion symptoms quickly resolving. Even whiplash is improving. Amazed at God's grace in all this!"

Another view of shattered helmet that, thankfully, was not his head!
Sharing news of our kids, Congratulations to our daughter, for placing as a semi-finalist in TWO different categories in the Take 2 Performers Studio talent search. Please come out and support her by joining us tomorrow (Thursday, 24th) night at 7PM at the The Freight House for a live audition performance of all these talented young semi-finalist as they strive to move on to the next round of each category. and then, yesterday, our daughter has advanced into the finals in the talent search contest last night, again in both disciplines (acting and singing)! She was so adorable last night and just SPARKLES on stage.  Was amazing to she her shine like that.

And this last week (the day Persecuted broke through and got my tears started), I wrote, I can usually be pretty matter-of-fact about what happened to me at my last chiropractic adjustment. Today, I've been reading other chiropractic stroke survivor stories. I'm having vivid flashbacks, am sick to my stomach and fighting tears (and crying is nearly impossible for me now, due to stroke damage, so we are talking serious emotions today to be even threatening tears. My own counselor has yet to ever see me cry!). Ugg. I so want to help bring about change. This is just so emotionally intense! If you can, with a little less emotional attachment, help out, please join us at LEAGUE FOR CHIROPRACTIC NATIONAL SAFETY~ LCNS and simply write a letter or two expressing concern (we outline them for you and even offer links to contact addresses) to our government, for the people, by the people...

Earlier this week, my sweet friend, Shelly, invited me to "blog hop" with her, from over on her beautiful blog Renewed Daily. Shelly is my (in)Courage group co-conspiratorleader and a dear friend in every way. We first connected through this very blog, have yet to ever meet in person, but are truly sisters of the heart with Christ of foremost commonality. The blog hop asks 4 questions about writing and then we each introduce 3 writers we enjoy:

1) What am I writing or working on?
My current project and their descriptions are all written out at http://strokeofgrace.blogspot.com/2013/07/books-blog-social-media.html :)

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I think because I not only address those who are struggling themselves, but also provide references and resources for those who love them.

3) Why do I write what I do?
Because I looked for resources and couldn't find what I needed, so I didn't want others to be stranded in the same areas.

4) How does my writing process look?
I keep both paper files and computer files of ideas and partially written topic articles and book ideas. I add to them as ideas hit. If I sit down with the intentional goal of writing, I always try to start with the prayer, "Lord, please help me to wisely handle the Word of Truth!"

And now I want to introduce you to three (OK, and a couple more) friends.

Kendra - Queen of Brussel Sprouts - my long time, pre-stroke friend, now a strokie buddy too, and lots of great and easy cooking tips.

Jeanette  - Limitless - Leader of the one and only real-life writing group I ever participated in, and fantastic author. 

Tina - Girl Meets Globe - Precious HP sister I've actually been blessed to meet in person!

Holley Gerth - Coffee for Your Heart - Another internet-only friend that I feel so blessed to know and cannot believe we have never actually met in person!

Thelma - Life As Two - HP, like just about all my dear "live-in-my-computer" friends. I love her heart and resources for couple creating a fulfilling life when God closes the door on parenthood!

Here's today's three reasons for thanks challenge I've been doing each day with my (in)Courage group this summer: 1 We finally got nice family pictures taken, four years in the making! 2 We have a low-key, relaxing family day without a ton of schedule demands today. 3 We have another week and a half of kids home for the summer before school starts back up.

About on family pictures, we successfully got them finally taken last night.  Four years since our last family pictures. One of the very last things I had done before the strokes was to but shirts for the guys and a Christmas dress for Ruth for our annual picture tradition. I remember talking about family photos in my hospital bed. Finally this part of our normal family life has been restored. We won't get our pictures back until several days into August, but if you would like a sneak peace, the preview album is posted here

Getting ready yesterday, I successfully used an iron on our clothing, another first since the strokes!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Bright Copper Kettle and Warm Summer Accident

What a week! I've debated on how to open this post. Re-quoting, "It was the best of times. It was the worst of times..." seems somewhat fitting, though "bad" certainly isn't "worst"! Striving to count my blessings, I figured I should list off several of "My Favorite Things," and though there literally has been a "bright copper kettle" moment in the mix, like "warm woolen mittens" that would bring me much more suffering than comfort (because I am allergic to wool and would painfully hive out!) all of the blessings have not come without some stress too. No dog bites nor bee stings, still some "feeling bad" moments for sure!

Please feel free to take this banner for your own page!
Before I start, here are a couple pictures taken in late April, around my 2 1/2 year (30 month) mark. We are now coming up on 2 3/4 years, 33 months this next Friday. I actually really love this close up of my hands (even though the left is smaller, more purple and more rigid than the right), cane and "get-out-of-my-way" blinged out bell. It just shows what a very long way I have come since not being able to use that arm or hand much at all, and even struggling to use the right very well either!


As you may remember, Mom and I did marathon cooking the week before last, to fill up our freezers for the coming weeks as she is scheduled for surgery on this coming Tuesday morning. The problem was that all those dishes were stacked up in my refrigerator because my deep freeze was a space-less disaster, not having been cleaned, thawed or organized since 2010, about a year before my strokes. Last Saturday found me out in the garage for eight hours, starting the morning before 6:30, to get it taken care of and be able to move all the new food in. First world problem, I know! We are beyond blessed with abundance.

I was exhausted (and overheated, sore, unable to maintain balance) by the time I finished on Saturday, but after a rest and shower, was able to sit up in my recliner and be with my family Saturday evening, though I was in bed by about 8:30 that night! I even made it to church Sunday morning, but by Sunday afternoon, my body was protesting the overuse with bleeding hives on my arms and face and double vision. I slept much of Sunday afternoon and was back in bed before 7:30 that night. Both Monday and Tuesday the stroke fatigue was so bad that I didn't even get dressed again until I finally took a wobbly shower about 4:30 Tuesday afternoon!

I actually don't remember much of anything Wednesday. I presume it was a blessedly uneventful and relatively "normal" day around our house. Oh wait, I remember, my mom and I spent the morning and early afternoon with my 11-year-old just having a fun but slow, low-key "girls' day" out shopping (primarily for her school uniforms), lunch, and a visit to  the rehab hospital while my mom went and did all her pre-op registration and testing half a block away at the main hospital campus. I learned some new things from my doctor about my stay there (like how she had gone to her office and cried when she sent me back to the main hospital after confirming I had experienced more strokes), got to see some of my therapists, learn updates on a few others, visit with a friend who used to go to church with me pre-stroke (she wasn't there while I was an inpatient, but is now the receptionist) and tell her more of my story.

I have used much of the text from my recent Why I Never Give Up post to its own page called Never Give Up at http://strokeofgrace.blogspot.com/p/never-give-up.html if you are looking for it.
Thursday, my sweet friend Kathy (hope you are feeling better!) was sick but my kids and I still decided to work on the house together since that was already the Thursday schedule. Our girl cleaned bathrooms and took her little brother to play at the park for a bit. I sorted and started laundry. Our oldest worked on dishes. I cleaned the inside fridge (much easier than the outside freezer!) and got half of the kitchen counters cleaned. The two little one, when they got home from the park, had great fun turning the entire kitchen into a bubble skating rink and did a fantastic job mopping the floor.

Friday was our big day though. I got up early and worked some more on kitchen counters and laundry while our 14-year-old got out to ride his bike before it got too hot. I expected him to be gone about an hour. All morning a tune played over and over in my head. I just could not shake the song! Our daughter and I trimmed up a scraggly plant and were making breakfast when the phone rang.

Hi, my name is ____ and I live in your neighborhood. I'm just calling to let you know that your son was riding his bike and was hit by a car. He seems OK and the driver is a nurse who is right there with him. He says he's fine and wants to get up, but we are keeping him still and an ambulance has been called..."

The corner, about three blocks from our house, is farther from my house than I can walk. Even if I managed, it would likely take me an hour or more to get there. I can't drive. Talk about feeling helpless! Mommy panic. I need to get to my baby!

I called Rick, called both sets of grandparents, called Katie and blubber into the phone as she listened and prayed. (Wow! I actually CAN cry without Rick around, if the situation is scary enough! Another first!) And then that song was back! "When my world is shaking, Heaven stands. When my heart is breaking, I never leave Your hands..."

I'll tell the rest through a few Facebook status updates my husband and I share:

From Rick, around 8:30am:
PRAYER REQUEST: Joshua was out riding his bike this morning and was hit by a car. Meeting him at the hospital. 

From Rick, 9:11am:
He's in having CT scans right now. We will not know anything else for a while. Thank God he was wearing a helmet, docs said it saved his life.

From Rick, around 10:30am:
Looks like he's going to be ok. Ct scans look good. [Such a relief to me personally, as I was afraid of another significant brain injury in the family!]

From me, sometime around 11 or a little after:
Other than a mild concussion, some road rash, general soreness (ya' would think he had been hit by a car or something!), and utter exhaustion from the adrenaline rush, Joshua is home already and relatively OK. Thanks for all the prayers and support. The bike has seen better days and may or may not be repairable. The helmet is totaled, but so much better the helmet doing its job than his brains being scraped off the road this morning! Our family likes to do things out of the norm, but SO thankful that today's injuries were surprisingly minor and there wasn't even an overnight hospital stay resulting from this ambulance ride! KIDS (grown ups too), WEAR YOUR HELMETS!

From me, this morning:
Thank you for all the prayers and support when Joshua Saake was hit by a car while riding his bike yesterday morning! He is exhausted, SORE, swollen, banged up, but home and ALIVE! We are told it would have been a fatality without his helmet. He bounced off the car windshield and shattered it, apparently with his head! In God's amazing protection, he seems to have no broken bones nor evident internal injuries, though we are still waking him often (due to mild concussion) and will be keeping an extra close eye on him over the next few days. The driver and passenger were a trauma nurse and ICU nurse, so he received outstanding care within SECONDS of the collision that briefly rendered him unconscious - God's care! What a "What did you do this summer?" story he has to tell when he goes back to school next month!

He's also got whiplash, a REALLY sore neck, and is thankful he didn't get any teeth knocked out nor need dental repairs.

What does this all have to do with a "bright copper kettle"? Well, just that I "stress clean" when I have the physical ability to do so. Of course it helped that I already had a chunk done on Thursday and pre-phone-call on Friday morning. But with all those hours of waiting for updates on Friday, my kitchen is cleaner than it has been since my strokes! Even after Joshua got home yesterday afternoon, he slept and between checking on him times, I cleaned like crazy.

The old copper kettle on my stove, a badly tarnished antique rescued from a yard sale years ago, used to be polished by me ever four to six months or so. I have only attempted to polish it, with Kathy's help, one time since the strokes, and even then I lacked the muscle strength, hand coordination, "elbow grease" to do a very good job. Last night the family sat down to watch a movie in attempt to unwind from the day's events. I spread an old rag towel in my lap and spend about 2 hours working my pent-up emotions on polishing that black and green water receptical until it glowed a beautiful metallic rose shade again, like it should. I had forgotten why I love the warm welcome of copper so much. It makes me happy every time I glance toward its perch on my stove top!

We hope to go out to lunch today, to celebrate that Joshua is still with us. He's not sure if he will physically feel up to going out at all. We shall see... [He made it. Totally done in now after less than 2 hours out of his bed. I seriously doubt he will make it out of the house for the full morning of church activities tomorrow!]

In other news, we will hopefully be taking our first professional family pictures since my strokes this coming Friday night (2 years, 9 months). Hopefully everyone will be healthy (Rick's fighting a nasty cold the past few days) and will feel well enough (our girl is still in a pretty filthy arm brace and of course there are Joshua's needs to consider, though most of his visible injuries are under hair or clothing other than one scraped up arm and skinned up/swollen hand). This has already been scheduled for a while and it seems someone in the family is almost always having some physical trauma or another, so as long as everyone is up to getting to the studio, we might as well get them now since this seems to be our "normal" and I'm not sure that waiting will yield any better results! I am SO glad, more than I know how to express, that our family still has 5 living members to picture together!!! Here is our last (obviously, not professional) family picture taken on my birthday 2 years ago this  month. I could not stand by myself without support at all yet, so you will see I'm being held up by other snuggled in close in every picture!

Joshua is the tallest kid in this picture, though now he is taller than me and almost, maybe even, a little taller than his dad. You will notice big changes when I post this weekend's picture!

While I'm digging out older pictures, her is one with my brother, sister-in-love and one nephew (the other from this side of the family was already off in college when this was taken in 2012,):

With my parents:

The tea party my girlfriends surprised and blessed me with in celebration of getting out of the hospital:

Some of our littles at this same party:

“When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen.
“When you come looking for me, you’ll find me.
“Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed....
Jeremiah 29:12-14

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Of Chiropractors and Change

Why  I Never Give Up

Life dragged SO SLOWLY that first year. Now, it is flying and I feel like I am ever-scrambling just to keep up!

20 second video with important message!

I've been trying, for well over a week now, to compose one simple political letter for help with the LEAGUE FOR CHIROPRACTIC NATIONAL SAFETY (LCNS) and I have yet to finish that. LCNS hopes to have all concerned citizens, not just injured chiropractic victims (link shares the mechanics or "how" of chiropractic stroke), join with a loud, clear voice to regulate the field of chiropractic with stricter Standards of Care, Code of Ethics and more proficient notes during imaging scans of the head and neck so that Chiropractic Stroke, VAD (vertebral artery dissection) and CAD (carotid artery dissection) are not buried in primary records. More factual statistics  should result in better health, medical and legal accuracy. We are primarily trying to demand it become mandatory for hospitals and imaging centers to report if a victims had chiropractic stroke (can you believe that this is NOT currently a requirement thus often does not get reported at all?!) within 120 days. Just a simple form they fill out with a case number, injured within time frame after an adjustment. Would be cool if had a box whether signed informed consent too or if orally explained risks too (I was given no prior warning of risk).

If you still think that this was just "bad luck" that happened to me, we strongly contend that chiropractic neck adjustments are NOT so rare, just dreadfully under-reported. :( Check out What's The Harm in going to a Chiropractor? Also Frequently Asked Questions at Neck911, this article on Stroke and Chiropractic from the journal Spine, Cerebrovascular Complications of Neck Manipulation published in Logo, and if you have a little more time (41 minutes), Dr. Bill Kinsinger shares a mind-blowing (no pun intended!) talk with a group of physical therapists on What CHIROPRACTIC is NOT.

[Edited to add, here is treatment advice from one chiropractor to another, along with even more statistics and the latest statement on the topic from the American Heart Associationhttp://strokeofgrace.blogspot.com/2014/08/Advice-from-One-Chiropractor-to-Another.html ]

From the Neck911 page, sited above, there is a patient who is asking about all the concern when your chances of a chiropractic stroke may only be equivalent to the risk of being stuck by lightening? I love the answer, "The real concern is not the “likelihood” of suffering a stroke; it is that it happens at all. Put another way, it is all about risk/benefit ratio. In mainstream medicine there are lots of risks taken every day, and there are bad outcomes. The difference is, in mainstream medicine, we consider the risk/benefit ratio and will not proceed with a certain type of therapy if we do not believe the benefit outweighs the risk. Upper neck manipulation has no proven benefit for the vast majority of conditions for which it is utilized, therefore, if the risk is death and the benefit is zero, then it is unacceptable to proceed." To this I would add that even if you know it is unlikely to get struck by lightening, aren't you careful to out of a swimming pool during a thunder storm? If you would not purposefully go outside with a long metal rod during a lightning attack, why put yourself at risk with a neck adjustment either?

Also from Spine, "Our results suggest that adverse reactions to chiropractic care for neck pain are common and that despite somewhat imprecise estimation, adverse reactions appear more likely to follow cervical spine manipulation than mobilization. Given the possible higher risk of adverse reactions and lack of demonstrated effectiveness of manipulation over mobilization, chiropractors should consider a conservative approach for applying manipulation to their patients, especially those with severe neck pain." And for those (such as Defendant Chiropractic lawyers) who love to fall back on the ONE published study saying there is no significant link between chiropractic manipulations and stroke, did you know that both the lead author of that study and one of his co-authors were both chiropractors? Hmmm...

One more thing on chiropractic strokes, then I'm back off my soap box for a bit. One of the favorite tactics of layers in defending the "doctors" who injure through chiropractic manipulation, is to say it absolutely could not been the doctor or the procedure at fault, but is the patient's own fault because they must have had some prior, underlying condition that was likely to lead to a stroke anyway. The founder of LCNS, Donna M. Freeman, explains it this way, "If someone is in a car accident and it is their fault they have remorse and no anger.  Same here with VADs [vertebral artery dissections]. If ours are caused by an outside source, I think we deserve to be upset as justice not just injury is involved. I wish more people would take a moment and try to understand that. OUR bodies did not fail us. SOMEONE else failed us who is a professional and educated." Basically, even if our bodies were already prone to stroke (and who says your isn't?), the injury still happened directly at the hands of another. The stroke would not have happened then, there, as severely, or maybe not even at all, had it not been for the catalysis of that adjustment. If someone stroked due to a car accident that was another's fault, the stroke would be considered damage of the accident, the responsible driver deemed liable for the injury even if the hurt person had other reasons they might (or might not) eventually have stroked anyway. Why is this not the case when a (trusting and typically uninformed) neck is intentionally twisted by a person trained with the knowledge of what can go wrong?

Those who say, "Oh I have had lots of neck adjustments before and never had a problem!" I rejoice with you that you have had no incident yet but submit that you cannot know that those prior adjustments have not already been weakening your arteries making a future adjustment even more risky. I hadn't recently seen a chiropractor before my strokes, but had regularly gone in for adjustments throughout my teen years, so had undergone many neck manipulations without incident myself! Not only did I not even know chiropractic stroke to be a risk, but because of my own many happy experiences at a chiropractor, I'm not sure I would have even worried about the possibility if you had told me. So to those determined to continue seeing their chiropractors, I urge you never to let them twist your neck. I am seeing more and more evidence that even concerns me about the "q-tip" or "activator" methods of neck adjustment that are still placing many pounds of direct pressure right against vulnerable arteries.

Changing gears here, as you may remember, I've had a huge cyst growing on the side of my right (less stroked, so takes more of my body weight) foot for at least a year and a half. I even had it evaluated by a foot specialist and was scheduled for surgery last fall (that got canceled when I had kidney stone surgery instead).

As long as I stay totally off the foot (like when I was down with the kidney stone) the lump and pain goes down, but when I'm up on the foot, it gets bigger and more painful each week. This morning it was nauseatingly excruciating. I grabbed the toe and yanked it forward, hard (the only way I've gotten relief for months is to "pop" the join, but I've never done so with such frustration or force) and I visibly watched as the big lump sucked back into my foot (can't see ANY sign of it now), heard a loud pop and pain instantly drained to almost non-existent in that joint. (I cringe to think this is about of the violent "cracking" that was done to my neck, but since there is no artery running through the big toe joint...)

My theory is that my big toe has actually been dislocated all along, or maybe I would get partial relief when I would pop a subluxation back in over and over and now I finally have it repositioned well?  Anyway, this issue seems resolved as of this morning and I am really hopeful it might stay that way now. It feels so wonderful to walk without shooting pain with each step! My foot feel (and looks) so much better today. Indescribable!!!

I'm tired!!! But my freezer is well on its way to being stocked with meals for the month. Rick thanks for shopping a 2 page list for me on Tuesday night. My mom and I spent an hour or so planning menus and that shopping list the first part of this week, then about 3 1/2 hours actually cooking yesterday. We have about 5 or 6 poultry dishes to do up tomorrow (we had planned for today but I had to take a break!), then we should both be set for a bit.

Please keep my mom, Betty, in prayer as she has hernia surgery on July 22nd, survives the pain until then, and recovers afterward. We also have a pretty important appointment for our daughter that day and would so appreciate your prayers for unity in our medical team, wisdom, clear direction and peace for us.

Why I Never Give Up

Despite all my warning about taking unnecessary risk, I fully believe in God's sovereignty and grace. I know I would be here, neither in the shoes of a stroke survivor nor in the place of stroke survivor had God not lovingly written my story this way from the beginning. I have my moments of grief (like when my family went on a short walk last weekend, rather than the big hike they would have previously take, but I still panted and staggered in trying to keep up even with the aid of two walking sticks, one that I eventually had to give up because my left arm couldn't control well enough to keep from tripping myself) but overall I am generally peaceful about the changes in our lives now. But how I long to spare anyone this same journey, for it has been a hard fought and painful battle toward embracing contentment!

Why I Never Give Up

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8