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, June 27, 2015

Of Family


My mind is going in a million directions at once, so I hope this will be a coherence post! It will be mostly a collection of thoughts and pictures I have shared over at Facebook over the past week or two, as I know at least two regular blog readers here who do not do FB. :)

Personally, the big thing I'm trying to work on personal is having a softer spirit, allowing the Lord to chip away at the harsh edges in my attitudes and especially in my reactions (often not thoughtful responses) toward my loved ones, especially my precious hubby, then also my kids.

On about the 19th of June, our 12-year-old princess finally got a long-awaited pet of her own! <3

Here's the pet I really want (but hubby says we aren't zoned to own and aunt points out the technicality that it would grow up):

Even grown up, maybe a good back yard pet, right? http://imgur.com/akyx3Ff (Bear in pool. Don't know how to attach this video, so you will have to click the link is you want to see a funny, short, adorable clip.)

So I don't loose the resource:

My great grandma made this. It now hangs in our daughter's room:

A friend has been doing lots of beautiful cross stitching projects lately. Her pictures inspire me to get brave and try to finish a pre-stroke project after the kids go back to school this fall, to see if I can actually work a needle or have the eyesight to take up stitching again. Scary, but I'll never know unless I try.

Sorry it is blurry. My hands aren't always too steady!

I have been hesitant to process my feeling on this one, as I don't want it to knock Kendra (or any other stroke survivors) for the same loop it knocked me. I'm praying it won't hit them hard since they don't have the same personal connection. Last weekend I posted, "I am rather stunned. I just learned that a young college gal who I have never met in person, but have been following her story for over 3 years, who stroked a few months AFTER I did, died very suddenly and unexpectedly on Thursday. She had been making such gains and doing so well. Shocking! Simply fell out of bed, had a seizure (likely why she fell out of bed in the first place) that led to becoming unresponsive, and was pronounced dead by the time the ambulance got her to the hospital. Just wow. 
frown emoticon Praying for Maggie's family!".

Not taken by anyone I know, but so cute!
A chiropractic review. The last 5 minutes (out of 15) are especially notable:

Kathy and I (she did labor while I "directed") got a lot done on my landscape project last week.


The kids helped some too (even got a couple neighbors involved, Tom Sawyer would be proud)!

It's been too hot by the time I've gotten moving each day (I was out of bed a total of 5 hours out of 24 on Thursday, and slept past 10:30 whenever I can lately) to get anyone out there to do any more yet, but we have a little over a month of summer break left. It will get done in due time. Thank you for all the help, Kathy!

Last week was busy with VBS. Our kids had a BLAST. Well done SRBC! Thank you!

My mom was quite sick all week (doing a little better today, but we were worried and threatening emergency room there a few days, so it wasn't pretty) and by Thursday I was exhausted and too fizzled out to even ride with my Dad, who faithfully got the kids to class and home again, each day, all week. Thanks Dad!

Remember the meat I so foolishly purchased a couple weeks back? Well we DID have a really nice Father's Day meal last Sunday evening. :)


Our girl and I pulled it off all by ourselves (well actually no - Rick dry rubbed the steaks and made the garlic bread)!

I learned how to steam lobster and she is a master of the grill!

We didn't make the planned green salad (decided we already had plenty of food as watermelon had been a late addition to our plans) and we forgot the mushroom sauce, but everything else turned out really great! I was so excited the two of us were able to pull this off for our Dads!

The week before, our little man made his dad's favorite jello, pretty much alone. We are proud of him too! (And I carried his boiling water across the kitchen without spilling much at all!)

This probably should go over on the InfertilityMom blog, but I am still hoping to get it smoothly transferred to my own domain one of these days, so trying not to add new content right now. After three consecutive casts that kept her grounded for something like 15 months, look at this glowing expression to be back working on her flight hours!

Between my mom's and my health issues, and without a driver's license of my own, it seems I'm just not making it to the gym for water aerobics (my physical therapy) as often as I should. If I don't consistently get there at least twice a week, I noticeably loose skill. I am very, very thankful to my Mom for the times she can take me, my hubby for providing the monthly dues, and my in-laws for gifting me with the membership to go at all, but get discouraged when we hit crazy seasons like this summer and I'm hit and miss in attendance.

I had been praying about what to do and for a while and came across a core training video program that is filled with totally different muscle movement that I have ever seen or tried in over 3 years of being told "engage your core" by every physical therapist and exercize instructor who has ever tried to help me reclaim balance, walking or other abilities, I'm not sure the video is all that interesting (as my son says, it looks like I am "just laying on the floor") and I know I was off on my stoke recovery timeline by a full month, but I needed this record as a benchmark of where I'm starting off with 0-6 Pack Abs. I just started this week and can tell I'm going to be on step 1 (out of 18) for a LOT longer than the average bear, but progress is progress and I'm just thrilled to have this option!

I found a long skirt I should actually be able to walk in even with a cane! I don't like most bi-level skirts, but love this one as even the short part is long,  I hope it works out as well as I hope it will.

I've prayed about how to address the issue that has most occupied my mind the past day and a half. While this is NOT a political blog, and I respect that my readers come from many walks of life, a current part of my story IS how I'm processing this profound issue. Rather than rambling on and on, I will simply share a few Facebook posts I have shared yesterday and today (including that link I just posted that well addresses many of my thoughts).

From my friend Lisa: "We're going to see a lot of rainbows today... Anyone can change their avatar, but only God can set the rainbow in the sky. The rainbow isn't a symbol, it isn't a logo, it isn't a political statement. It is a covenant between God and His people. It is sacred. It is holy. It is created by God Himself. And regardless of how people will copy and paste it all over, only God can put it in the sky."

Yesterday, un-coached by me or my husband, our 15 year old shared this as his FaceBook status:
"Today, the supreme court of the United States of America legalized gay marriage in all 50 states. I do not hate anyone, and I am not a "homophobe." However, I am a Christian. The Bible, which I believe through study and personal experience to be the word of God, does give humans commands against gay marriage. It also commands Christians to act out the grace and love that were first shown to us. Because of these things, I do not support the supreme court's ruling or gay marriage, as I would rather side with the ruler of the universe than popular opinion. However, while I do disagree, I WILL NOT HATE YOU if you are gay or in support of gay marriage. I can't force you to believe the same things I do. I can't force you to live a certain way. Even if I could, it wouldn't be right." Well-stated, son!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

3 years 8 months

I've had a rough (physical) day. Meant to post several things, but headed to bed instead. Will try to post again before the end of the weekend.

From my rose garden. :)

Saturday, June 13, 2015

For Kendra

Fun post. Just because Kendra and I both have a think for purses now. I don't think I change them as often as she does, but it sure has been an journey to find what would actually work for me! (A current criteria for my purses is that they must feature butterflies. :) )

The straw is my current inexpensive find that fit thing perfectly and I hope will last all summer. It had to be pretty much exactly 11-12 x 5-8 inches, in order to fit my handicap placard and medical necessities without being too heavy nor bulky for me to carry. If I have a purse, I WILL fill it to max capacity, so they are my size requirements! My mom, daughter and I spent over 4 hours on our feet, out shopping for my "perfect purse" last weekend, never to find what I actually wanted. Ebay to the rescue!

The teal leather is compliment of our credit card insurance because our card number got compromised recently. It is a gently used brand name that would typically retail in excess of $200 new, that I got for around $55 (could spend up to $100 with insurance promise of reimbursement), I am very pleased with my find! It is the EXACT same size as the straw and should be a great long-term replacement when the inexpensive bag wears out. (I had considered purchasing the exact same design brand new, in gold, for $80 instead of this one, but liked the teal better.)

Remember 2 1/2 years ago, when I was still unable to actually carry a purse at all?  Who would have dreamed that I would ever be able to post such fun, personal pictures?! Thank you, Lord!!!

Door-to-Door Grace

This sign is going up on my door this week:

I've always found such signs to be rather rude. I would prefer something more gentle like:

My would say chocolate rather than wine. ;)

Selling = Giving Away

But after getting sucked into charging nearly $500 to our credit card this week, on frozen meats (incredible average price per serving compared to market rate, but in nearly 23 years of marriage, we have never once brought lobster into our house before now!), I am VERY thankful for my hubby's protection in 3D printing me this straightforward sign for me! I'm too gullible and kind-hearted and too much of a "people person" for my family's own good. :(

The salesmen were incredibly kind and sweet, no pressure, no manipulation. They were young, with young families and I really wanted to see them succeed in providing for their families. I just no longer posses good decision-making skills. This is probably the sign I really need. ;)

Rick responded to my indiscretion with way more kindness and grace than I could have imagined. He just shrugged his shoulders, hugged me and said, "It is done now. Nothing we can really do about it." We did talk through how I could have handled the situation differently, and why. But he remained commendably calm and gentle. So now we will be paying off my costly mistake for a bit!

After last week, I REALLY kicked myself hard for this one. I had just read an article on avoiding the term "stupid" in self-talk, so I've been calling my mistake "knuckle-headed" instead. I obviously really embraced the heart of that article. ;) My kids and mom have been heard telling me to just let it go, forgive myself, learn from my mistake, move on, more times than I can count since Thursday evening.


This morning I read an article on grace. As you know, I really struggle with the concept of beauty, so this phrase jumped off the screen at me, "Start responding to God’s love — instead of other’s expectations of what is beautiful or good enough." No one but me did anything in this situation to make me feel "not beautiful", but me (I'm an "anyone" with very high expectations of myself!).  Still, it was a very healing reminder of His grace when I read, "Grace means we no longer are trying to make up for our weaknesses. Grace means giving ourselves permission to express God’s beauty and rest — in you and me." 

I woke up with a migraine and 101 fever yesterday afternoon after my nap. Rick sweetly brought home dinner and I flopped my way through a feverish and achy night. This morning my fever is down and most pain has intensified and localized to my lower right abdomen, for the 4th 4-week cycle in a row. I can hardly move and had real tears spring to my eyes this morning. Rick is lovingly yet firmly fussing at me any time I get up and our daughter made fantastic grilled cheese for lunch. 

I anticipate we will still make it to church tomorrow and I'll have a smile on my face (until the older gentleman comes up before church and gives my leg rest chair a hard/painful shake like he does most every Sunday - from the look of jest on his face, obviously a sign of affection when he is not sure how else to relate to me, but a situation I have not yet quite figured out how to handle). This smile is not meant to deceive, rather just trying not to let pain win! I see Carla (doctor's PA) again Monday and will talk next steps again then.