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, May 3, 2016

May Giveaways, Mother's Day, Reflections

Maybe it is because I have been having fun hosting my own butterfly giveaway but I have a couple other giveaways and other fun things I've found around the internet I wanted to share with you.

How does this fit with the topic of stroke?

Maybe it doesn't exactly. Except for the fact that I am a strokie and this is my idea of fun right now. Oh, and I've thrown in some thoughts about writing from my stroke perspective, so now this blog post is officially on topic.

If you are looking for serious stroke support information, there's plenty to be found on this blog.

If you would rather have fun than be serious today, that's my personal pace at the moment (though thoughts get more weighty toward the end of this post, then come full circle and conclude with something fun).

A dear friend's dad is selling his beautiful woodburning artwork. Go like his Facebook page and leave a comment to enter to win the above plaque. smile emoticon

Do you love hot air balloons? I sure do. I'm hoping to get past my stroke-induced fear of heights (it is actually getting better, slowly) enough to go up in one again some day. I had a couple opportunities to ride in ones pre-stroke and it was delightful. One of my someday dreams is to ride one with my family over Lake Tahoe (I had this dream for years before the strokes) and the idea is getting a bit exciting to me again, but I'm sure not ready to try yet! At least I can WATCH a hot air balloon without utter terror now, so that's progress. In the meantime, enjoy this story about the "UP" themed balloon! (UP is one of my very favorite movies too!)

While we are on the subject of phobias, let me tell you a funny story. When Kathy last came to help me with the house, we were working in the garden. With each leaf I moved I feared a mouse or a snake would jump out at me. The mouse thing, like excessive terror of heights, is new with the strokes for some reason. The snake thing predates my strokes by decades. It has been a fear since early childhood.

Not that it matters. I wouldn't get close enough to either one to find out!

After the strokes I was no longer particularly bothered by snakes. Instead I would hyperventilate and/or nearly throw up if a skydiving commercial came on t.v., to see a hot air balloon start gently ascend to the skies, to see a tall building or mountain, even to pass an escalator or flight of stairs with a view of a lower floor. I know what that was about, tapping into the terrifying sensation of severe dizziness that made me cling to the chiropractic table for fear of falling off.

Thank you Google search.

The mouse thing, who knows where that new reaction came from? I used to think the little guys were actually cute. I've had a few post-stoke run ins with mice and they were not pretty (the mice nor my reactions). The most recent was last Thanksgiving. I was kneeling down next to a bin of fall decorations. Next thing I knew I was screeching and standing in the laundry room five feet away, clinging to the doorframe for balance. The only evidence I had of how I had managed to move that fast were two bloody, rug burned knees. My daughter was momentarily deafened (she was beside me but didn't see how I managed that move either!) and sons and husband came running, thinking something was catastrophically wrong. My heart didn't start two slow until those four beady eyes and two sets of whiskers were taken outside and disposed of. I through away almost all those decorations.

Back to my statement to Kathy. "I think my brain must be healing a bit. I'm less afraid of mice than I was last year, but I'm becoming quite worried about snakes again."

"I never thought the phases, 'I'm becoming afraid of snakes again,"and 'My brain must be healing,' would go together, be such a GOOD thing, but it really is great!"

Adult (not x-rated, just intended for grown ups to enjoy, I use them to reclaim fine motor skill because of the level of detail) coloring book giveaay at http://www.scatterthestones.co.uk/christian-colouring-book/?fb_action_ids=10153463957636022&fb_action_types=og.comments.

Dayspring FTD partnership and $100 giveaway at http://jenniferdukeslee.com/flowers-living-plus-100-giveaway/ - This is a new collaboration between FTD and Dayspring to offer spiritual encouragement through the gift of flowers.

I'm afraid this giveaway might already (?) be closed by the time you read this (it has taken me two days to put this post together and I already pulled one contest from my post because I know it to now be closed) but I decided to keep this one in because I wanted to share what I had posted about it on Twitter yesterday:
What an amazing way to encourage an woman with a Mother's Heart on Sunday!
See that 5th line, 2nd name in, that's our first daughter. <3
This is the inside cover of the latest reprint of Kathe Wunnenberg's beautiful and healing devotional journal that would make a perfect gift for any pregnancy or infant loss Mom this Sunday, Grieving the Child I Never Knew.

Here's what I said on my personal Facebook page on Sunday:
Today is "Grieving Mother's Day." It is also a day my pastor preached on sanctity of human life, from conception to natural death. I couldn't help remembering having to walk out of a similar semon, in tears, nearly 20 years ago because it was simply more than my heart could bear. 
For men and women grieving the children they miss, either those not ever conceived or those gone too soon, you are in my prayers this week as we head toward Mother's Day next Sunday. http://www.russellmoore.com/2009/01/18/why-i-hate-sanctity-of-human-life-sunday/ 
- Remembering with love, Noel Alexis Saake, Joel Samuel Saake, Hannah Rose Saake 
And so very thankful for three living miracles on this earth!

On a happy note about Mother's Day, some of you know my mom had major abdominal surgery last Wednesday. She spend 4 nights and five days in the hospital and is now safely home (but quite uncomfortable!) with a 15-inch incision across her tummy! Thank you for all who have been praying for her, checking in, bringing her meals and cleaning her house! You are such a blessing. In addition to my living children, I am keenly aware of how very blessed I am to still have my mom to celebrate this coming weekend with.

When I went with Mom for her eye injection the previous week before surgery, she told me not to post this picture to Facebook.
I assured her it would only go up on my blog instead. ;)
Love you, Mom!

The following picture describes how I'm feeling about my next book. It has already taken me five times as long as my last manuscript and I'm still far from done. Yes, I "should be dead" and with 6 parts of my brain erased, I  am crazy, by medical standards, to be writing at all. I just so deeply need this part of "me" back.

I started this manuscript a week before my strokes. Obviously I could not even try to write at all for the first few months after (though one of the first things I remember saying in the hospital is "This is going in my book!"). Then many long, empty months when my kids did not live at home, it was "writing" that gave me purpose in the dreary hours alone, not in therapy.

I only can use one hand, so that already makes the process longer!
Now I'm trying to "clean up the blood" from my early attempts.

That almost makes this phase harder because I'll think the book is just about finished, only to keep finding sections that are unfinished or make no sense and require massive re-writes. It seems like this process is take forever and I get so discouraged. I would love your prayers that the book gets DONE, gets published, touches hearts and changes lives. If one person comes to Jesus, it will be worth all the effort. I am praying for far more than one. I so long to clearly communicate the Truth of God. In my weakness, may He be manifest!!!  

Sadly, this last giveaway one will only work if you have a Facebook account. I know a few friends do not. For those of you who do, So many of you know my fun with cute jewelry, especially butterflies! It has been Laura Mizzell Baker who has continuously supplied my addiction with fun pieces for myself and as gifts, at highly affordable prices, these past 4 years. I'm so sad to hear she is closing up shop, but what it means for you is that her already amazingly affordable stock is going on sale for 50-90% off, first come, first served. So come have fun with us this week athttps://www.facebook.com/events/1180958011956265/1180968851955181/and comment SOLD on anything you want to buy. I'm already thinking remembrance gifts for friends this year and stocking stuffers at Christmas! heart emoticon

If you could please swing by and enter my giveaway too, my platform building effort are not going so well, so I would really, really appreciate your help! 

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