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. (You will notice many typos in older posts. I intentionally never corrected them, as they helped document my cognitive abilities at various stages of recovery.)

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. Jennifer 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 wheelchair-bound and needing 24-hour care. At 5 years, 7 months, God clarified Jennifer's theology on healing and showed how He was writing her story from the beginning.

Jennifer is currently writing more books and stays active on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. 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 temporary update note above!)

Monday, June 27, 2016

Memory Loss

While the movie has some language issues and loose morals, the story has a cute premise I found fascinating even before my own brain injury and memory loss issues. Here's an interesting (and beautifully SHORT) article that helps understand memory loss:

Could Drew Barrymore's memory loss in 50 First Dates really happen?

Boy meets girl, girl loses memory, boy gets girl


Saturday, June 25, 2016

4 Years, 8 Months

I don't post EVER. SINGLE. MONTH. anniversary anymore, but there's not a 25th of any month than usually goes by without me being aware. I wonder how long my heart will insist on marking each passing month?

A few quick thoughts...

Last week I wrote on Facebook, "It may be natural, but it's not easy! I've been scrubbing baked-on baking soda paste off the inside of my oven for an hour already and am only 1/3 done. I'm sure Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and low mobility due to stroke are complicating this far more than it needs to be, but now I remember why it's been a decade since I tried to clean an oven! I'm sweaty and shaking and the other 2/3 will have to wait for later. I'm glad I waited for a shower until AFTER this project!!!"

I updated a few hours later to say, "Amazing what a difference following ALL the instructions actually makes! After chiseling the first half of the oven, I noticed white vinegar sitting on the floor next to the oven. I had been trying to dissolve my baking soda cement with plain water. Once I started soaking my rag in vinegar instead, the junk literally just wiped right off, I finished the other half in well under an hour (40 minutes, maybe). I had been wondering WHY not one blogger I had read had mentioned the exhaustion of this process, then I realized that they had actually all remembered to USE their vinegar! 

Having only a semi-functional left arm and needing to do my best to use it on the left side of the oven because the oven door kept me from reaching across with my right arm, the oven still wouldn't earn any good housekeeping awards, but far better than yesterday before treatment or this morning's baking soda spackle! 

After hours of mumbling, "Never again!" I actually hit my upper oven door and floor with the same treatment, sitting now, and will wipe out this evening."

So the upper one, the one I use most because I don't have to bend over, did not come as clean (but was tons worse to start with!) and took about 5 treatments of the door, and nearly a week worth of time, before I decided I had gotten off all the gunk I could. Above is a picture of where we started though. Now it is a mostly clear piece of glass. My 13-year-old told me, "I didn't know you were supposed to be able to see into the oven!" Seriously, she wasn't teasing. That's how long it has been since I cleaned my oven!

Last weekend we got to see our 16-year-old who is living out-of-state for the summer. We took all the kids and saw Golden Gate Bridge,

toured the Disney family museum, attended a kite festival,

watched a couple boat races,

played tourist in San FranCisco's Ghirardelli Square, and mostly enjoyed just being together for a couple of days. The younger kids did not want to let their brother go when it was time to come home!

The day before yesterday I tried something I didn't do often, but COULD do easily, before the strokes. It is something that hadn't occurred to me I could not do, because I had never tried. I was caught off guard, surprised to find, even this far along, to still be discovering new losses I didn't realize I had lost!

What's funny is that I remember I was back in my bedroom, folding laundry, when I made my discovery. It wasn't a huge thing as physical tasks go, but mentally/emotionally it was rather devastating. I even spent quite some time thinking up a mental blog post on the issue, and now I can't remember what on earth this "thing," the new loss, new source of grief, even was! I guess there are benefits to short term memory loss sometimes - I can't grieve much if I can't even remember what had me so upset!

I did have two new accomplishments yesterday though.

The first was I got asked to move out of the physical therapy lane at the pool. I guess I was swimming too well and they didn't realize I was doing rehab!

Also, I used to make watermelon boats ALL the time, several per summer since I was a teen. I successfully made one last night, first time since the strokes (5 summers)!

On my birthday, next month, we (husband, kids, parents and I) will be going to a baseball game. No, I'm not a sports fan. I made this request because it is a brain injury survivor's night. I'm excited to spend my birthday in-person-meeting some local brain injury friends I know only online! I told these friends, It will be my 44th birthday. On the thought of birthdays, this is a good time to mention to everyone that I am highly allergic to latex (carry an EpiPen because I can't even breathe near a balloon nor latex gloves without risking a reaction) so NO LATEX, like standard balloons. I'm also wheat-free, so no cake. If anyone local is interested in joining us, please let me know. Survivors can get free admission and I have access to group ticket pricing otherwise.


Some of you have heard me talk about the amazing softness of LuLaRoe clothing. Recently on Facebook I shared, "Summer's already been crazy busy! I needed (and am so very thankful to be enjoying!) a me-morning, to sleep, to pray, to clean house, to generally re-group while my kids are at VBS (vacation Bible school). It is deliciously cool outside, the windows are open and I'm comfy roe'n! (Don't know the term? Check out LuLaRoe Tami Majtan Shop Page for the softest clothes ever. They aren't cheap, but you get the quality you pay for. I adore my newest butterflies and my legs, that are so texture-picky since my strokes, are utterly happy to be wrapped in such luxury!)"

Leggings are the least expensive at $25. The other items will tell you the price on the albums they are posted in on Tami's page, linked above, up to about $70 for the Sarah, long sweater. (I splurge on about one piece a quarter or every 6 months - worth the investment!) Her shipping is $6.80 for as much as you want to add to your envelope and tax of 7.725% is added to every order. My next pieces I hope to save for are the Amelia dress, an Ana dress and an Irma top. (When the albums go up, there's a picture with a detailed explanation of each design.) To keep your stuff this lusciously soft, cool wash, hang dry.

I'll be hosting a LLR boutique up at my consultant's home in Sparks on Wednesday, July 6. Let me know if you would like directions! 

Here are a fun few shots from the 3 days I had the energy to help my mom with crafts at VBS, last week.

Our beloved van got towed away this month. Praying and waiting on God's provision for our next vehicle.

At reader requests, I wish to point out that I have a GoFundMe page for those God is prompting and enabling to help with our financial needs. If God leads you to help by praying or sharing our story and that link on your social media outlets, this would greatly bless us as well.

I love this verse! Friends often ask how Jesus could be both the Son of God and God, how He could be totally man and still totally God...
1 Timothy 3:16
Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith: Christ was revealed in a human body and vindicated by the Spirit. He was seen by angels and announced to the nations. He was believed in throughout the world and taken to heaven in glory.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Butterfly Facts

We joined some homeschool friends on a field trip today. I think my 10-year-old had a good time. My 13-year-old was less than enthused, but tried to humor me. Afterall, we spent an hour focused on butterflies; a craft, science via wings under microscopes, a craft, and a story. (She left me color her craft but I ran out of time there so need to finish it here at home.)

I learned three, new-to-me (or perhaps new-again, post stroke?) butterfly facts:

1. The plural of antenna is antennae. 

2. The terms chrysalis and cocoon are not interchangeable. The moth makes a cocoon, while the butterfly makes a chrysalis.

3. Butterflies have knobs at the ends of their antennae while moths do not.

I wore 23 butterflies on my person: 1 large one across a new shirt, 2 butterfly hair clips, a pair of earrings, 2 on the face of my watch, 12 on my shoes (3 double layers down each foot), and 4 more on my rings.

 I had more butterflies on my purse, cane, and walker. I felt appropriately dressed for the occasion!


Saturday, June 4, 2016

What's New?

Thank you Woodburning by George!

Remember all those "new thing" moments Mount Hermon birthed in my heart?

You will want to head over to my InfertilityMom blog and read my latest update.

Learn about my love of painting, what my kids are up to, my health (speaking of dentist, I had NO CAVITIES at this week's checkup, a post-stoke first!)...

and why we are in the market for a new vehicle.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Five Summers Ago...

This morning I've been hit with several unexpected memories of life 5 summers back, our last "normal" summer.

The first memory hit so fast, so sudden, so unexpected. Grief likes to blindside.

My new business card - front

I was cleaning out email this morning and hit a patch of June 2015 that never got tossed after they were read. There was a sale email from Old Navy last summer, advertising their $1 flip-flop sale. I felt physically punched in the gut, tears stung my eyes. Why???

back of card

Instantly I was back in the summer of 2011, driving our daughter to the mall before they closed that last Saturday evening of this sale, picking up the next few sizes of summer sandals for each child.

I never even terribly liked to drive. I don't often even miss it much. But I do miss the spontaneity, the freedom, the care-free whim-following ability of taking my daughter's hand, kissing my husband, and knowing that 25-minutes truly is sufficient to accomplish my sudden goal. No planning, coordinating, favor-asking, required!

Summer 2016, happy new memory. My beautiful girl got to achieve a life-long dream of horse-back riding! :D

Do I even mention the flip-flop thing? These are so not a shoe option for me anymore. Unless a shoe holds on to my foot, my foot can no longer hold onto a shoe.

That took a little trial and error to figure out and find happy solutions, but really isn't much a factor for grief anymore. It is what it is.

Most flip-flop like option I can get away with. Still not terribly comfortable nor secure, but at least I don't kick them across the room with each step!

There have been a few other June 2011 memories that caught me off guard today too, but I'll close with a good reminder Facebook gave me of this date, five years back:
"God's peace doesn't have to make sense - it passes all understanding. So no matter what you're facing today, no matter if circumstances are tough, no matter if life doesn't make sense, may you have a sense of God's beyond-all-understanding peace."
- from my friend Marlo Schalesky