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!)

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Oh Yeah, I Had Surgery Today

The ranking news awaiting me in my inbox this morning.

The look in my son's eyes when I hugged him goodnight and casually mentioned, "Oh yeah, I had surgery today," was hysterical. Surgery hadn't even been discussed before he left home 14 hours earlier, but got scheduled AND accomplished while he was gone!

Obviously a MINOR surgery.  That ear that God so dramatically healed in May, still had an ear tube from before the healing. The last few months the ear function has been great but the tube has become more and more irritating. The last couple weeks, especially so.


Tuesday morning it was SO ITCHY and irritated I couldn't stand it a moment longer. I picked up the phone to call my ear doctor, the guy who usually takes around 6 weeks to see, even for urgent issues. He had a cancellation and same day opening! In all the years of ear exams, tubes, surgery, and tests I've had with him, that's never happened before. And my parents were available to give me a ride even though that's their normal "day off" as my drivers and their day was packed full of appointments of their own.

I went in expecting an exam and a follow-up procedure appointment with more waiting until after Christmas. Instead, I was ushered directly into his office procedures room. The doctor came in, examined the ear, and proceeded to give me anesthesia ear drops and remove the infected tube right on the spot. He followed up with steroidal drops that I'm to keep taking three times a day through tomorrow or Saturday (until bottle is empty).

Core Deep Lies
He was stunned to hear my story and agreed with my plan to check the ear again in late January to see if any further intervention would even be needed, rather than to replace the tube on the spot. My ear feels SO MUCH BETTER with the tube gone!

I'm getting ready to do my one in-person event of the year for my Lilla Rose business on Saturday, a craft fair fundraiser at our younger son's Jr. High. It is really exciting. I've been giddy all week! More "doing life" Kathy. :)

After ten months of headache, our 3rd worker (we've tried a General Contractor, a Licensed Handyman, and are now with an amazing Tile Setter that has 20 years of experience, an entire crew of subcontractors, from carpet to carpentry, working for him, and is currently in the process of obtaining his contractor's license) is almost finished with our entire 3-room floor remodel after water damage last winter. Filepe started working on our floors on Saturday and is planning to finish today. Carpet was stretched last night. Base boards are slated to go on this afternoon. We are relieved!


Our family is entering into this Christmas season entering into a brand new church plant. Lifechurch Midtown is the second campus of an existing Reno church. We will be one church, two campuses. This campus is being planted in the heart of some of the most dense population in the city. There is only one other evangelistic Christian church currently in that entire part of town. General services are slated to begin in February, Lord willing. We are excited for this new adventure.


This was fun and unexpected news to wake up to. StrokeOfGrace.blogspot.com ranked 17th in "the most comprehensive list of best Stroke blogs on the internet" this week! Panel selection is based on Google reputation and Google search ranking, Influence and popularity on Facebook, twitter and other social media sites, and Quality and consistency of posts. Updates are selected weekly The rest of the list is pretty impressive, a mix of some really well-done personal stories and some professional organizations.

Not bad for the one-handed dribble of a "should-be-dead" girl, right Kendra (my "little sister," 5 1/2 months behind me in this journey, for whom this blog was originally established)? Praise Jesus, to whom this story is dedicated!

Sunday, November 19, 2017


I can remember my stroke group support leader talking about all the times she was doing it.

She must not have been as bad as me. I'll never be able to do that again.

It turns out her strokes really were bad. Life flight. Brain surgeries. Months as a hospital inpatient.

The factor I had neglected was time.

So, this weekend I picked up a household paint brush for the first time (here's why) in over six years.

It took me the better part of an entire day to paint the archway between our living room and kitchen and the very small walls surrounding it, as well as two hours of touch up today, but I did it! I accomplished a never!!!

Up and now 3 steps of a ladder. My left foot was an angry shade of purple / red by yesterday afternoon, due to blood flow issues. My left hip was protesting by last evening. I've been in bed since 2:30 this afternoon in utter exhaustion.

My left leg can't climb normally, so I take a step with the right, then sidestep the left leg onto the same step. Instead of my knee pointing forward to climb straight up, I climb with that left knee pointed 90 degrees out to the side. I back down climbing the same way in reverse.

I kept thinking about how my painting day was "great therapy," but my friend Kathy likes to remind me, "You do therapy, so that you can do life." :) I did lots of life this weekend!

Fear of heights has been a significant "thing" since stroke, so pair that with true balance issues, and three steps up a ladder felt pretty courageous, even dangerous a few times, but I never fell. My next in-your-face-TAKE-THAT-stroke goal concerning physical motor skill and heights is to do the ropes course at Mt. Hermon at the 50th anniversary of the Christian Writer's Conference in the spring of 2019. With another year and a half until that landmark, I already have my hubby, my kids, the conference director, and a few friends, cheering me on.

Even my stronger right arm still couldn't extend then guide a heavy paint roller, so doing every bit with a hand brush added to the clock.

Click on this one to enlarge.
You will laugh at all the paint I'm wearing on my face!

The floor is much worse for wear but I did it this weekend because the floor is getting replaced this week anyway.

I did have one big paint oops than led to one entire unplanned wall section getting painted as a slip with brown paint is pretty noticeable. Rick said we should just camouflage the mistake with a butterfly, but our daughter was adamant that wasn't ok. I do, thankfully, actually like the final look, even without a butterfly added.

I couldn't have imagined this even a few WEEKS ago. Stroke recovery is an ongoing process of learning to balance limit pushing with reasonable safety. Add time to that mix and God is allowing me to conquer things that seemed could never be again! Praising Him for His grace!

I've come a long way! This was about 5 months after my strokes, already accomplishing a never as doctors had said I would never walk again: https://www.facebook.com/ricksaake/videos/3494383568250/

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

6 years



ONLY that long?

ALREADY that long?

I've actually been pretty emotionally stable at the thought of this re-birthday. God's already blown my longest possible life expectancy out of the water by a good couple of years. It doesn't feel so much like "borrowed time" anymore. Is is simply and undeniably a life that medically is without president. Only God! Lord, may I use every single day of this "shouldn't have been" to Your honor!

This past Thursday tripped me up pretty badly emotionally. As the text I sent a few friends shared,
My mom just got admitted to the hospital. Of course I'm worried for her! But my battle for the mind is HUGE for selfish reasons too. 
Six years ago, within 2 1/2 weeks, my dad was hospitalized, got out, then my mom was hospitalized, then released, then I was briefly (one night) hospitalized for pancreatitis. A few days later I was back in the Emergency Room because I had a debilitating migraine headache that wouldn't quit. [The positive from having gone to the ER that night is that they ran a full set of head/neck scans to be ABSOLUTELY SURE I had NO SIGNS of a threatened, impending stroke, as sever migraine symptoms can sometimes mimic stroke. We have CT from less than 18 hours prior to my chiropractic injury that verify that my artery was healthy and I was not medically threatening to spontaneously stroke!] 
Since I had an allergic reaction in ER to the narcotics they administered to help with my head, and untimely got sent home without pain relief as the ER was out of options for me and I had been cleared of any life-threatening concern, in desperation I called a chiropractor the next morning. [I had used chiropractic adjustment since age 16, just hadn't had insurance coverage or been able to afford treatment for the past few years at this point. I never had a single problem with an adjustment, until the day I had a MAJOR PROBLEM at age 39!] 
I walked into that office under my own power. I left, unconscious, by ambulance, not to take another step for months, not another unaided-step, for years. 
Rick's dad was just in the hospital. [He was already released by the time my mom was hospitalized and is well-on-the-way to full recovery. Praise the Lord!]  Now, my mom. 
I'm trying HARD to take thoughts captive to Jesus! Please pray. So much for the 6-year-mark not tripping me up.
Mom's left hand cellulitis AFTER 8 hours of IV antibiotic improvement!
Mom's home and continuing to improve on just oral antibiotics. I have had no hospital or ER trips of my own this week. I'm not superstitious, however the timing and uncanny resemblance to my pre-stroke days was fodder for the enemy to fill my head with lies and heart with fears! I'm so relieved to be almost to tomorrow with no further incident!

My hair comes past my waist now. God sure has grown it back after the devastation that was six year ago!
If interested, I sell these amazingly sturdy and comfortable hair clips (made from piano wire) that come in 7 different sizes and hold an entire hairdo with just the single clip, at LillaRose.biz/InnerBeauty.

My sweet friend Kathy is coming to help me clean tomorrow. I still don't quite manage the house well totally on my own. So 6 years later, Kathy is still faithfully coming twice a month! We both realized a while ago that, while home care would be overwhelming alone, I technically could struggle through the very basics by now. If I had no help, the house would be even more of a constant DISASTER than it already is by me trying to go it alone 13 days out of 14, but my family COULD survive. By now the friendship has become so precious to both of us though, that we count down until our cleaning days, not for the sake of house cleaning, but because we so treasure the hours TOGETHER! We've intentionally juggled our schedules the past few months to be sure we would be together this day. I am so very thankful!

I guess I don't really have any profound thoughts to share about tomorrow. Subdued maybe? I'm looking forward to seeing Kathy. I'll be glad to have another landmark behind me. I think I'm actually doing pretty OK. I'm thankful I'm still here. I'm ready to just get the day over with, the date past, though!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Full Time Job

Stroke recovery is time consuming!

This was a prayer request I shared on a Facebook group today. Would you please pray with me as well?

"I'm writing a book. (I'm already a published author - Hannah's Hope by Jennifer Saake, so this is a real plan, not just an "someday" dream.) I've BEEN writing this book for over 6 years now. (I started it within the month before I endured 6 life-altering, nearly fatal strokes (Stroke of Grace by Jennifer Saake) at the hands of a chiropractor who broke an artery in my neck.) I type with just one hand. I still have enough scrambled thinking that there are MANY times I'll write a passage and reread the next day and have NO CLUE what I was trying to say. I'm on my 3rd major rewrite of the entire book right now.
"Every year, for the past 4 years, my goal has been to finish the manuscript "before Christmas" and have it publisher-ready. I'm seeing my Christmas landmark coming ever-close again in 2017 still without the real progress I was hoping for. Please pray for God's timing, clarity, strength and perseverance for me to finish well, and the right publisher to contract the project. I love this book, but am SO TIRED of the process of writing it by now!!!"

According to Katie Golden in her article for The Mighty, it goes something like this:

Job TitleChief Medical Officer of Personal Health Affairs (AKA Social Security DisabilityBeneficiary)

Job Description 
Full-time position, flexible hours.
Prerequisite: Ideal candidate would have a background in all of the following areas: analytics, accounting, patient advocacy, medical billing, insurance underwriting, legalese, pharmacology, healthcare administration, Social Security Disability, Medicare and Medicaid. Preference for those with M.D., Ph.D., CPA, RN, NP or Esq. after their name... [continue reading at 
https://themighty.com/2017/10/why-being-disabled-is-a-full-time-job-for-many-people ]
Thankfully, where the above sighted article mentions 1-3 medical appointments per month, that's actually about where I am most months now (for me personally, then add in multiple appointments fro three kids, and my mom and dad, and it feels like we are always in the car with mom driving to a doctor ever still!), though there are months I have 1-3 appointments per WEEK. (The first several months I was home from the hospital, we averaged 1-3 medical appointments per DAY! So glad I'm no longer at that stage!)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Multiple Personality Advantage

This video of Priscilla Shirer interviewing neuroscientist Dr. Caroline Leaf about brain wiring is astounding! These are two ladies I pray to meet and would love to interview some day!

Here are my own videos recorded today, even before watching the above video! This morning I started a new video series on "Three of My Favorite Things..." where I'll share my favorites on all kinds of different topics, like authors, recipes, hair (today), kitchen gadgets, stroke therapy, what have you.

This month, make a qualified purchase (example above) and receive a free hairband of your choice from LillaRose.biz/InnerBeauty

First the 2 1/2 minute version:

And the 15 minute detailed examination of each product:

What are your favorite things (for hair care or other)? What Favorite Things topics would you like me to share in future videos? Please share in comments!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Test Post

This brief post is simply a test to see if I can figure out how to create a blog post from a mobile device.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Baby In Pink

Facebook is filled with first day of school pictures yesterday and today. While my oldest just graduated from high school, after so many years of waiting and grieving through infertility, I'm still stunned I have been given God's gracious gift of having pictures of my own to post over the years, or more specifically, that I was ever given the children who make this possible!

As I was scrolling through my news feed today, one picture brought me to a standstill, totally undid my heart! The little first grader in pink, proudly sporting her new backpack, was born about 2 weeks (maybe 10 days?) before my strokes. I held her as a TINY newborn. Drove to their apartment to see her for myself and hug on her Mama who I had been discipling for some time. I remember I left my sunglasses behind. Had to pull the car back around to a parking spot and run back up the stairs to the second floor to collect my missing possession. How I took such simple ability for granted!

She was the last baby I held prior to strokes, the last baby I held without assistance until just a few weeks ago (and that wasn't physically "easy" a few weeks ago, nor was I relaxed, just was the first time it had even been possible in nearly 6 years).

That day I held this baby was one of the last days I ever drove a car. I never particularly enjoyed driving when I could. Now I really miss it. Well, not exactly driving itself, the responsibility and all. It's the freedom I miss. The spontaneity. The ability to come up with a last-minute thought and jump in the car without having to plan or coordinate with anyone else. The fun of being a mom when I want to do something unscheduled with a child that would take us away from home. The ability to simply "be," like to forget an item and have it be non-eventful, not the least of an inconvenience to ANYONE that I misplaced an item or was a bit careless.

My emotions are all over the board with this picture! Joy that this little girl is alive. Thankfulness that so am I. Overwhelming love for her Mommy who hold a special pre-stroke spot in my heart... Pride at how far this "marker baby" and I have both progressed in both physical and mental skills since that day. Grief over the ugliness of this world (on so very many levels). So much many more emotions I haven't even sorted out yet.

I have an emotion-driven single tear (my more stroked eye, the one that used to leak non-stop, then could NOT cry for years, and now seems weepy again over the past week, but this is only the third time the flow has been specifically tied to any emotions) persistently rolling down my cheek and I can't even put into words exactly why.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Loosing Left

Today's post is going to be a journal of landmarks I need to remember. It's written "to" me more than you. Feel free to read along if you wish.

So thankful for early boarding when I fly, usually allowing me to claim bulkhead seating so
I can keep my left leg elevated, thus significantly diminishing PAIN and swelling that would otherwise occur from sitting with my leg down, not to mention the added physical stress of sudden altitude changes!

I've titled it "Loosing Left" to remind myself of what happens when I don't stay consistent with my physical therapy.  Between two different week long trips, two different bouts of days in bed on muscle relaxants, and the business of summer life in general, I didn't make it to the pool more than 2 or 3 times in the entire month of July! I'm paying for it in loss of much left side response and function. I can still force my body to do most anything I could do back in June, it just is a little slower for the left side to respond and MUCH more painful. Skills that had been regained and had gotten fairly easy, not so much now. I've also noticed my overall sense of balance is more compromised than what had become my normal - I almost fell yesterday even while using my sturdier, wide-footed cane, simply because I turned a corner and my brain kept spinning long after my body stopped, nearly taking me over. Thankfully a wall caught me!

While the stroke-born fear of heights still catches me by surprise as adrenaline surges startlingly at the very instant of sight of even a picture of someone sitting/standing on a tall building or even a cartoon of a person hanging from a  cliff (WHY???), I am so thankful that I am able to calmly fly on airplanes again! Thanks for this blessing, Lord!!!

My kids are back to school on this next Monday already, at least the younger two. My college freshman (GULP!) has one more week home after that.

Posted to Facebook with no credit given.

Wow has it gone FAST (both this specific summer and his childhood as a whole). I have said, for years, that time moves SO DIFFERENTLY this side of infertility. I know that decade of praying for children was MUCH longer than the 17 years just past!!!

Beautiful baby rose from my garden this summer.

Physically I've had kind of a tough summer. For one thing, as much as I loved homeschooling, and miss it, as much as I adore my children, I must be honest and say being around people 24/7 really drains me. As much as I hate to admit it, God knew what he has doing in sending my kids to traditional classrooms post stroke, allowing me several daily hours of solitude. Thinking, making decisions that impact others, on a continual basis, still puts my brain on overload!

 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. - 1 Corinthian 12:15

For many months, I've had intense pain, and radiating tingling/numbness associated with what doctors think is the extensor tendon of the 2nd-in-from-the-baby-toe (actually, they use much more elaborate medical descriptives, but that's my translation) on my right foot. How random! How irritating, aggravating, annoying, painful! Scans and exams and meds and frustration! And if I pointed my toes wrong, like sticking my foot straight to get into bed sheets at night, or bumped the top of the foot just right, OUCH. No, I never actually threw up from the sudden stabs of pain, but I came very close a few times! And on my LESS stroked foot too. Why??? (Perhaps I over extended it compensating for the weaker left?)

Then, this happened!

I dropped a large ceramic trivet on that EXACT spot on my foot. The trivet did not even chip, just rolled gracefully onto the floor. My foot absorbed the entire impact of the fall. I couldn't have aimed better if I had tied!


And guess what? All that blood flow flooding that injury no doctor has been able to fix, dramatically reduced the pain! As my oldest says, "God words in mysterious ways!" Amen, son! Praise Jesus!!!

Sure, I did NOT find the moment of impact at all enjoyable, and that bruise itself is still a little tender two weeks later, but the extension pain, is all but gone now, mild irritation very occasionally now. Haven't had to take pain meds (doses were several times per day for a few months there!) at all, in over a week. Flexing the foot can (but often does not) still triggle minor ache, and the top/side of the foot still gets a little numb/tingly at times, but that is at a totally livable level now!

The rest of today's post will be pulled from Facebook posts I've written over the last few weeks. I want to gather those stories in one spot so I don't loose them!

Thank you to my sweet neighbor for giving me this sweet gift, and to "My Kathy" for planting it in my rose garden!
On Monday, I posted, "today is my REAL (as in, the day I was actually born) birthday. I have Oct. 25 listed here on Facebook, as it is my "Re-birthday," the day my life started over from scratch almost 6 years ago, where I had to re-learn how to breathe, swallow, crawl, walk, and live again, after a chiropractic accident led to six strokes within 26 days, the two nearly-fatal ones in my brain stem and cerebellum, right there on the treatment table in his office. I thank God for carrying me through these 6 years, as well as the 39 prior!
So here's my birthday request. I am 45 today. I would love to build up 45 (or 450, or 4,500!!! *grin*) new likes on my Jennifer Saake, author page today, please! I even have a fun giveaway going this week (and another, every week this summer)... Could you please go like /HarvestingHope then share this post and invite your friends to do the same? Potential book publishers are looking at my social media right now and need to see I have potential for spreading my message far."

The above post brought me 57 new page likes in 2 1/2 days. :)

Thanks to my hubby, my kids, my bestest lunch buddies, and my parents, for making Monday such a special day for me. 
Thanks for the yummy dinner and gluten-free berry cobbler, Mom!
Do you think they might know I like butterflies or something?

One of my very favorite treasures of the day, hand-drawn/designed/colored/shaded by one of our sons.

I was overwhelmed with Facebook birthday greetings. One of my favorites was:

Purchase poster at https://pro.teechip.com/butterfly-out-poste
This has been a summer of transition for our family. We feel we are "on the fence" between two seasons, a season of chronic loss, grief, and destruction, and a time of healing, renewal, joy, restoration, favor. This picture is significant to me right now:

Thank you, A Little Perspective / Scripture Pictures
My commentary on Facebook was, Ever prayed through a hard circumstance for a LONG time and HURT so deeply, yet felt closer to God in that season than any other time in life? Then, once prayers are answered, that close dependence on the Lord tends to slip? I think this is why God allows struggles, to remind us of our need for dependence on Him. If He feels far away today, He isn't the One who needs to move closer again.

Thank you Joanna Weaver!
If you use Facebook, please take a moment to take this guided tour of my author page. This way, my non-FB friend don't need to wade through details of, and links to, features such as weekly Saturday Giveaways and Tuesday Prayers. Current giveaways there include a summer-long series of games and rewards of brand new, still sealed, Christian music CD classic (circa 1990s). 
Choices still available to choose from this week (as of this posting, since one prior winners still need to claim from among these) are:
- Heaven in the Real World - Steven Curtis Chapman
- The Great Adventure - Steven Curtis Chapman
- I Only Want to See You There - Keith Green
Steve Green
- Coram Deo - Susan AshtonMichael CardMichael EnglishOut Of The GreyCharlie Peacock
- Nailed In Stone - Barrett Brian
- Home Run! - Geoff Moore and The Distance
- Field of Souls - Wayne Watson
(Sorry, other SCC titles, Jaci VelasquezPoint of GraceAmy GrantMichael W. Smith, the WOW I Love Christian Music, and others have already been claimed earlier in the summer.)

I have to say it is quite fun that I now get more new people I do NOT know "liking" this page than the number of pre-page friends joining. I am very thankful for each already-established relationship and cannot thank my friends enough for joining me here. It is just really exciting that God is also bring me new friends, expanding my "tribe" with this page. I am eager to watch how God continues to "build my platform" and leads in my pursuit of an agent and publisher!

Last night I posted:
Today was a tough day, starting with an inability to continue water therapy after 15 minutes of really struggling. After that I spent all day in bed, eating like crazy, feeling ravenously hungry, cold, and exhausted, and blurry vision. I'm thinking the blood sugar meds I've been on for 18 years were causing hypoglycemia today! 
By not taking my dinner pill and eating plenty of M and Ms (thanks my sweet Rick), I'm doing better this evening.
First I weaned off years of antidepressants and actually was coping better within 6 weeks than I ever had since the strokes, then much hearing was restored, then my latex reactions dropped from anaphylactic levels to nearly non-existent, now this!
I've already cut my Metformin dose 3 times in the past couple years, so that I was only taking half of my highest dose in June when I started in on these symptoms and dropped my dose in half again, then. Since I'm now on the lowest dose, I guess it is time to just try to stop all together.
This journey is crazy amazing! I did nothing to deserve what God is doing. I'm not getting to pick and choose what is getting healed nor when, but Wow! Thank you, God!
My left-handed coloring is coming along. Still slow (this incomplete 3x5 card represents 30+ hours) but hand control has majorly improved since my first left-handed coloring post in January 2016!
After reading a friend's post about a particularly beautiful way God had restored her joy in an area that has been quite downtrodden for quite some time, this morning I replied with:
I have a tear rolling freely down one cheek as I read this. I have had trouble crying for nearly 6 years now, since my strokes! Beautiful!...
A second tear calmly, silently followed the first. I rarely get even one tear past the first unless I am in an ugly rage. Peaceful/joyful release through tears just really isn't a thing anymore. On the very rare handful of times they have ever come, I may get one tear, so small it has evaporated away before it reaches the tip of my nose. Today was TWO fully rolling tears, the first tear rolled to my chin and dripped, the second making it to my lips before it dried away. Both I sat through joyfully, peacefully, and just smiled my thanks to the Lord! BIG DEAL!
...There starts a 3rd! And even the other eye is a bit damp under the lower lid too!

Pretty view from a recent trip.