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, September 3, 2015

Little Big Things

I just learned of a gentleman imminently dying of cancer (maybe even to die today!) and a beautiful, uplifting picture book (geared for children AND adults) he had published that just released last month.
Proceeds will go toward college fund for his two young children. Please buy your copy of Thank You For... today!


I've been fighting mystery tummy pain since April - several ER and doctor office trips, 4 CT scans, etc. Finally they have decided I will have a hysterectomy and take my appendix too, look for new endometriosis growth, clean up prior scar tissue from previous surgeries, etc.. I think there is likely a hernia or pulled ligament or something they haven't identified too, flared up because of my uneven post-stroke walk. I'm praying something is obvious and fixable when they open me up next Friday (Sept. 11) as I REALLY want to feel all better after I recover from this surgery!!! 

Meanwhile Central Pain Syndrome has remained fairly quiet for a bit, but my entire left (more stroke impacted) leg is nasty since Sunday. With my worst tummy pain being down near the pelvis on the right, this makes finding a tolerable sleep position interesting! But I must say, last night was my lowest pain night and most comfortable sleep all week. Thank you for so many prayers on my behalf!

Another pretty butterfly dress. :)
Very encouraging to me this morning:
"Let the dew of My Presence refresh your mind and heart. So many, many things vie for your attention in this complex world of instant communication. The world has changed enormously since I first gave the command to be still and know that I am God. However, this timeless truth is essential for the well-being of your soul. As dew refreshes grass and flowers during the stillness of the night, so My Presence revitalizes you as you sit quietly with Me.
"A refreshed, revitalized m
ind is able to sort out what is important and what is not. In its natural condition, your mind easily gets stuck on trivial matters. Like the spinning wheels of a car trapped in mud, the cogs of your brain spin impotently when you focus on a trivial thing. As soon as you start communicating with Me about the matter, your thoughts gain traction and you can move on to more important things. Communicate with Me continually, and I will put My thoughts into your mind."
Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

I've been thinking about "little things" this week. First off, I am very blessed to be here, to be alive, to be nearly a 4-year survivor, to live relatively interdependently, to not be locked within my own body. I pray that my ongoing documentation of the stroke recovery journey never sounds whiny, never diminishes my keen awareness of these facts that remain first and foremost! I am no longer fighting daily just to live. I really am not even terribly fighting hard to regain an acceptable quality of life anymore. I'm "there". I hope for slow and continual long-term gains, but I have accepted this as my "new normal" and am overwhelmed by the blessing of my reality that is so far beyond the best lifetime expectations that the medical community ever held for me.
Still, I have endeavored, from the very beginning, to give you a true, first-hand account of my journey, thus I bring up some little irritants to allow you a glimpse into my thought process... You know of some of my big losses, such as driver's license, much hearing, IQ points, ability to homeschool and deep struggles to resume my writing career, emotional liability, chronic pain, small motor function of my left arm, pronounced limp of left leg, loss of speed and overall impairment of balance and coordination, but there are a million little things that are also daily impacted. Here is just one example:

This week I was achy and didn't feel good and just wanted to crawl into a warm bath and relax. Not so simple.
1. I was home alone. While, pre-stroke, an evening home alone was the optimum time for a relaxing bath. Now, a bath without someone in the house to help me is downright dangerous!
2. Bath temperature must be closely monitored now. Too cool, I chill badly. Too warm, I kick up neuro symptoms like vomiting. Finding that Baby Bear "Just right" is a near impossibility. Even when I get it, the temperature drops in a matter of minutes and what used to be an hour-long soak now must be limited to 10 minutes or less.
3. "Relax". What???
Before this week, I had managed about 4 baths in nearly as many year. (I've taken two so far this week! More on that in a minute.)
By the time I went though the exhausting and frightening calisthenics of climbing both into, then back out of again, the tub, any "relax" effect was totally erased just from that effort!
Then there was the horrendous spin out effect I endured if I let my head recline backwards against the tub or down into the water at all. No thanks!

My bathroom door - "Only toward the sun sunflower bloom"
I had just about decided tub baths were absolutely never to again be in my future. But between my tummy (described above) and stroked leg both aching SO BADLY, I decided to give it one more try Tuesday night while my daughter was around to safely help me in and out. Well, I can't say it helped the pain, BUT, I did it and it was at least a neutral emotional experience, rather than an utterly negative one as in every other time I've tried since the strokes!

More from my bathroom. I ordered inexpensive little wall clings so I could get butterflies to decorate my new walker and they included these too. :)

Then, last night, I decided to try AGAIN (two nights in a row? Wow!) and I managed, very slowly and laboriously, to safely get both in and out of the tub without assistance!!! (I, obviously, had family on ready stand-by, but never had to call!) It DID help pain levels a bit while I was in the water (unfortunately, no lasting benefit, but those few minutes were a nice reprieve!).

The extra walker butterflies (that came with my sunflowers) that my daughter added to my computer keyboard to make me smile. :)

But the very biggest "little" (HUGE) thing came when I dared to tilt my head back against the back of the tub and it actually felt good last night! I didn't spin out in a rush of wild vertigo, I didn't want to throw up, it didn't cause any panic. It was just a nice, warm, peaceful sensation!!! Honestly, I NEVER, ever thought I would feel this again! I'm so beyond thankful!!!

Here's what I've been thinking this week about our first daughter, Noel.

This is my prayer.
That God will bring about Eternal Life in others because my human life is messed up!
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
—Psalm 46:10

She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
—Luke 10:39–42

For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.
—1 Corinthians 14:33 nkjv



  1. my sweet sister of the heart, love you beyond measure. praying for you.

  2. Praying!
    Love the flowers.