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.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Retiring and Renewing

No, I'm not retiring from blogging! I'm just ready to retire some items. My "Failure is NOT an Option" hat that has served well as my pool hat for a year or more now, was already a broken-in hand-me-down when I started using it. It captures my determination well, as Kathy recently put it, "With God and Jenni, nothing is impossible!" But that hat is literally falling apart and the Velcro back keeps catching on, tangling with and badly pulling my long (Yeah! Growing!) hair.

Saturday, my mom and I found a couple of new pool hat options for me at over 70% off! I have an all-white one with cute flower and blue with white poke-a-dots now. :) I had thought about designing my own to say something like, "SURVIVOR" on one line and "6 strokes, age 39" on the next, then maybe "StrokeOfGrace.blogspot.com" under that, but both VistaPrint and CafePress only give me Velcro closure options and would be around $20. Since I paid less than $4 for each of what I just bought and the back styles don't pull my hair, I dropped that idea for now.

Not looking at the camera because my vision is still quite doubled to turn my head to the side and move my eyes to look straight in front of me! Still dizzy from that attempt, but at least you can see my new pool hat. :)
Clear back to my hospital days, I was dealing with so much very intense, non-optional, sudden and total change and loss of control in so many areas at one, that I scrambled to claw to grasp on to any sameness I could achieve on any level. I do not believe my experience was unique, for my neighbor in the rehab hospital had her house on the market when she stroked and refused to let the house continue to be shown in her absence, stating, "Don't let anyone touch my things! Don't let strangers see or walk through my house!"

For me, a crisis issue was Tupperware. Yes, plastic storage dishes! It wasn't until toward the end of my rehabilitation stay that I began to grasp that many friends and family members had been working hard on my behalf, for weeks, to be sure that I came home to a safe, clear, orderly, adapted home environment. I remember blurting out to my husband, "Just don't let anyone touch my Tupperware cabinet!" little knowing that it had already been completely overhauled weeks prior. (I still wonder why this was the one issue that really stood out to me, but for whatever reason, it was.)

We rolled in the door upon discharge and my husband proudly wheeled me around the house opening drawers, cabinets, closets and showing off many of the changes that had been worked in our home over past weeks. I was livid, left utterly violated and betrayed. All the love and effort poured out on my behalf was seen as more uninvited change heaped upon my already-shattered heart, threatening to suffocate me with my own lack of sameness. The home I had longed for, dreamed of, craved, no longer felt as mine, safe, welcoming. I know now that everything accomplished was intended as blessing, but at the time when I was so frail and frightened, the changes seemed overwhelmingly daunting!

So back to the Tupperware cabinet. Several months (a year or more???) ago, Kathy helped me drag everything out, rearrange it to my satisfaction, then label every shelf, in hopes of keeping it orderly and usable under my new challenges, then finally feel like it was my own reclaimed property again. That didn't work out so well.

This morning.
Don't get me wrong, it did help for a while, especially with the emotional side of the issue, but I can't reach or climb to higher shelves and apparently my children don't read labels well. By this summer, it was risky to even open that cabinet and risk an avalanche of plastic. I've gradually been desiring to use less and less plastic in our food storage and preparation anyway, so last week I decided to transform my "Tupperware cabinet" and start dragging out old glass and ceramic pieces that were inaccessibly stuffed into other cabinets. On Saturday I bought new storage/mixing/heating bowls and am currently taking a break from reorganizing to write this post...

Work in progress...
Several hours later, I'm back to show you what I've accomplished:

Tada! Everything is orderly, the stuff I use most is much more accessible, much plastic is replaced with glass and everything is clearly labeled right on the cabinet, so we have reasonable hope of keeping it pretty much this way! Several items I haven't been able to use at all or store well, now fit too, since I filled up an entire cardboard box to give away.
I'm so excited!
I thought the lighting on a kitchen chair was amazing one morning this week.

As you may be able to guess by now, from all the photos I'm snapping, I got a new cell phone, a special slide out keypad model that I'm learning to text with a bit and is actually a little easier for me to hear and see on than our home phone. It is great for staying in contact with my many doctors and immediate family, though I am still not a happy phone "chatter" anymore. What excites me the most is that I now have a camera I can use without having to drag my laptop around for the webcam (and it takes mirror image photos anyway, so written words, the direction I hold anything, etc. comes out backwards) and I am so proud of myself for learning how to upload the pictures from my camera onto my computer, something I never could figure out with my old phone! Here are my first couple of pictures:


And a "selfie."

The weed-overgrown garden Kathy and I worked towards reclaiming (a few hours and 4 large trash can worth) on Wednesday.

My first roses I have managed to salvage into a bouquet in three years! This made me SO happy!!!!

Kathy, I had planned to send the bouquet home with you on Wednesday, but I was so excited to have my very own roses on my table that I just couldn't bring myself to offer this first batch. Thank you for helping prune my garden and bring them in!


Typical state of my "nest."

I spent 13 hours cleaning it up and reorganizing my chair corner this weekend. Now it looks like:

I love bears and roses, so a friend had a flower pot specially designed just for me, several years back. Fun to practice shooting photos on!

And more pictures, just for the fun of playing with my new toy:


And some pretties from our girl:


Praise! I had another hearing test yesterday. My left ear is up from virtual deafness to nearly 75% potential in the lower sound ranges! It does still drop off significantly with higher tones, but I can actually hear about 3 out of every 4 words spoken in a male tone with that ear now!

Our marriage has been one constant STRESS for 3 years straight (though really, for nearly 20 years of chronic illness before that too, just not at this level of intensity). My counselor's goal is that we are to strive to reclaim that marriage can be fun and joyful, not just a thing to be endured. This morning was great. Praying for not only continued endurance, but more and more fruit from the endurance thus far! Yesterday was our 265th month-o-versary. Satan may come to steel, kill and destroy, but Jesus, the Overcomer, is STILL winning this battle!
May the Lord lead you into a greater understanding of God's love and the endurance that is given by Christ. - 2 Thessalonians 3:5 GNT


  1. My Tupperware cabinet....don't get me started. My greatest frustration house wise was that until I could take charge of my own kitchen, I could not control where things got put, and it drove me to distraction.

  2. Great Post. nice to visit and walk :)