Starting October 25 of 2011, "InfertilityMom," 39-year-old Jennifer Saake (founder of Hannah's Prayer Ministries), experienced 6 strokes, all due to vertebral dissection at a chiropractic office. The largest two strokes were brain stem and cerebellum bleeds. Jenni remained hospitalized until nearly Christmas 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 (please read more and watch short video). Jenni is now walking (with a cane or wheeled walker), has recovered much eye-sight, some hearing, partial use of her hands, cares for most of her own personal/toiletry needs, and is currently writing three books, maintains multiple blogs, and stays active on both Facebook and Pinterest. Near the five-year recovery mark, Jenni has renewed her pre-stroke excitement about the unique Lilla Rose hair Flexi eight jewelry she sells and has finally regained enough hand/arm function to regularly use! (The biggest ongoing losses at the 4 1/2-year point of recovery are left-side nerve pain, inability to drive, loss of homeschool teaching capability, significant sound processing issues (often triggering nausea), and some profound physical ability limitations such as a limp, balance challenges, clumsy use of right hand and only large motor function in left hand.) Here is her resume.

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 equipts you to send any monetary assistance as well, this is a significant added blessing.

Jenni is clinging to God's grace through the entire experience. Here is her unfolding story, documented in her own words (typing with only her right hand), as she perceives it happening in real time, messy, honest and to the glory of God...

Friday, April 21, 2017

I Spy a Miracle (or Three)!

What do you see here?


Ordinary?

Common?

Mundane?


I see victories.

Solutions.

"I did it myself" moments.


Not so long ago, I couldn't fold towels. I now have enough right hand skill, and left arm function, that I did the stack myself, and rather quickly, this morning. No, they aren't perfect. Yes, more complex clothing items still present more challenge. But God has brought me so far since the day laundry won!

The Seder plate I prepared for my family last week.
Yes, our "lamb shank" was a chicken leg and our "parsley" was mint, but I manage it! 
Not so long ago, I couldn't begin to braid, or manage a hair tie, or problem solve the solutionlike when I had already packed away all my hair ties but figured out how to use the comfort strap from my Lilla Rose hair band as a makeshift pony tail holder for travel day.


Not so long ago, I couldn't travel. Now I've taken three major week-long trips in the past 14 months (plus a couple of one- or two-day medical travel excursions), one by airplane (another post-stroke first for me), and two busy and intense working conferences to the amazing Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference.

Butterfly lace and butterfly leggings!
What's not to love?
My conference was wonderful! I recapped the basics over at InfertilityMom and shared a funny story at Harvesting Hope. All my kids were walking under their own power when I left home, but I came home to two out of three in wheel chairs, one for illness, and the other for injury! Please pray for my family as my homecoming has involved meeting several new doctor, an urgent care trip, an emergency room trip, emergency MRIs for one of my children, several specialist visits, LOTS of missed school, and HOURS and hours worth of telephone practice (have I mentioned lately how much I hate telephone since my strokes?) with schools and doctors offices over the past week. (We now know that we are NOT dealing with a brain tumor, but are still seeking answers for what is causing our son's symptoms,) We are also dealing with insurance adjusters and contractors over a leaking roof and moldy wall.

My Easter outfit.
Several times this week, when I've started feeling sorry for myself, God's reminded me of my blessings.


I was confronted by having a child back in the room where I've personally faced so very many MRIs and CTs. PTSD! Then God sent a little girl by me who was a very recent stroke survivor with many obvious and tremendous deficits. I was reminded that what we are facing is hard but God has faithfully carried us through so much worse and that's not where we are today with either me or our own child.

My Christmas cactus has identity crisis issues.
 It has bloomed as early as Thanksgiving,, or like this year, as late as Easter!
I'm used to being the lady whose story puts other's struggles in perspective. Last week at the gym, I met a lady who had to live in the hospital for a year and a half and have 27 surgeries during that time. Suddenly my not quite two months as an inpatient and 8 surgeries over that first year seem rather mild!


I am reading the I am N devotional and am simply stunned by reminders of God's provision. Freedom, religious and political. My daily bread. I am so blessed! I take so much for granted!

When my Grandma died, this is the one possession I most wanted out of her house.
My great-granddad was a commercial artist and did the calligraphy work.
It hung over Grandma's sink for years.
It now hangs next to mine as a convicting daily reminder!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Keeping Up With My Trip

I'm leaving on Wednesday evening, after Kathy comes to help me with final preparation that morning, to start making my way to Mount Hermon Christian Writer's Conference. I will be tweeting daily updates from @RenoMom (my personal page, with motherhood and stroke focuses, along with northern Nevada interests, if I can get my phone to work with that account) and / or @InfertilityMom (my big infertility, miscarriage, adoption page, where my phone likes to post by default), using hashtag #MHWriters2017 either way. Please journey with me! :)


Want to leave me encouragement or post your prayers for the journey? Please use #HarvestingHope as your tag so I am sure to find you. :)

Hubby and oldest miracle baby preparing to leave for his prom this past Saturday.

I would especially appreciate your prayers for Rick and our kids as they hold down the fort while I'm away. I'm cutting three days off my original trip plans, but still will be gone for nearly a week.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

5 Years, 5 Months

Will there ever come a day when seeing a date containing the number 25 doesn't stand a good chance of making me suck in my breath in a quick little gasp?


You would think that at nearly 5 1/2 years, I would have seen enough 25th roll by that they wouldn't trip me up any more, at least not the ones in big landmark months like my actual October stroke-a-versary on even the April half way point of each cycle. But March???


I go some months without really even noticing another landmark date, then out of the blue a random month will leave me reeling when the number 25 pops up on my calandar. Ugg.

Actually God created days, the measurement of "evening and morning" but I agree with the gist of this in the man-made segmenting of timekeeping.

I've realized lately that the likelihood that I will ever be able to apply for a driver's licence again is a dream I just need to let go. I still can't even get through a shopping trip without crashing my cart a time or twelve. I can leave the house doing great, and an hour or three later, within about 30 seconds, loose all peripheral awareness. Yeah, I guess driving won't be happening.


Two other ares I've "admitted defeat" (or at least acknowledged reality) this month are that I have applied (and been accepted on the authority of a strongly worded doctor's letter) for home delivery of my daily mail, and I've reapplied for ongoing public transit services and checkmarked the box "permanent" (rather than "temporary") on the disability application. Now I no longer need to push my walker down to the end of a very long block (what I was doing when I fell and got my concussion), cross a busy street, a try to maneuver over rocks to get to our community mail box.


My ears seem to be getting worse by the month. I still have some hearing, for which I am very thankful, but I guess I "yell" a lot. I pretty much can't watch t.v. with my family because to have volume up enough that I can follow a story, I drive everyone else from the house (not just the room, as ever being at the other end of the house its still too loud for them!).


My jaw seems quite tied to that left ear and the nerves like to fire off randomly and painfully. Thankfully, it seems to have been a little quieter recently. However, my left teeth has regained enough feeling to hurt fairly constantly now. My gums and tongue are still relatively numbish over there, but when I bite myself, they seem hypersensitive to pain and I sure know it.


Speaking of nerve pain, my left leg has been acting up pretty drastically this past few weeks. *sigh* Also, my left hand, especially the thumb that went several months without being terribly painful, is creeping back up in pain levels again. My left shoulder has been subluxing (painfully partially dislocating) at least 1-3 times a night over the last few weeks, after being strong and stable for months, (That still nothing like the 20-30 times a day it would slip out of join that first year or two!)


My eyes, the fact that I'm alive, my ability to walk at all, my arm, my hand, my shoulder, are all so very much improved. None are really near where they were before the strokes, but all far better than they "should" have ever gotten.


My book proposal has been set off to publishers. My editor tells me I have a real book in the making finally. This from a woman with six areas of brain injury. "But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord”" (1  Corinthians 1:27-31).



I'm getting ready to head off to Mount Hermon in a week and a half. I was able to raise all of my needed $1,300 but $130 registration plus gas, goFundMe fees, and incidentals. My hubby let me put this much on the credit card, to be paid back as soon as I can.) I'm in awe! Our Palm Sunday service up there is a yearly tradition I'm really looking forward to! Thank you to each and every friend who has helped in any way, prayers and pennies alike!



Kathy and I got out in my rose garden for the first time this spring. I hoed quite a bit on my own and kept my balance doing so! Moving some cantaloupe-sized rock and pulling weeds, my stomach protested at being bent over and Kathy made me stop after my near third vomiting episode in 10 minutes. Still, we managed 3 hours out there in my roses on Wednesday. Every year my garden is looking better and I can do more in it. :)



My computer, by God's grace, is still plugging along. There are days when it stops and won't restart for hours, but so far God's kept reviving it! Haven't had to implement those funeral plans quite yet. :)



I'm sorry this post has been a bit of a downer. I need to document where I am both physically and emotionally so I have records to look back on later.



Happy first week of Spring, my friends, Please leave a comment and tell me how you are preparing your heart for Easter, the celebration of our Lord's resurrection, this year.



Saturday, March 18, 2017

Checking In

Even though it is quite unhappy with life, has its hours and days where it won't work, amazingly, my computer continues to gasp for life. (I was sure it would have been totally inoperative by now!)


Since I've got some computer function tonight and my brain is fried where it comes to book writing, market research, proposal drafting, conference prep, and on overload from all things related to the book writing industry, I decided this would be a good time to give a random update.


Before I forget, I've got to let you know that you have just one day left to enter the drawing for a free Laura Story CD to be given away on my InfertilityMom blog on Monday morning. Hurry over to enter!

I adore this idea from Oregon Quilt Show about how to use pretty hankies!

After not being able to get on Facebook in a few weeks, I went back and realized people know I'm a butterfly girl! My Facebook wall was covered in various FB stories and pictures I'll share here. Since several were videos (like an adorable koala getting photobombed by a butterfly during a zoo promotional photo shoot) and I don't think there is a way to get non-You-tube videos off FB to post here, I won't be able to share those. They are appreciated though and made me smile.  Thanks friends!



Too much has happened in my personal world over the last few weeks to even know where to start with an update there. I guess the clearest overview statement would be to say God's growing our family up in Him, a devastatingly painful and joyfully fantastic experience all rolled into one! I'm exhausted and prayers are appreciated. God is good, all the time!

The Butterfly Nebula viewed by the Hubble Telescope. - Science Channel

Last Friday, I finally got the first 1/4 of my Harvesting Hope from Heartache manuscript is as finished as I can make it and off to Jill Jensen Amack for her fantastic editing services. I'm exhausted and happy!
I started this book in 2011, one week before my strokes. I committed to the third major restructure/rewrite of the entire project around Thanksgiving of 2016, and with the holidays, was finally able to give the project my full attention around mid January of 2017, still typing the entire piece with significant short term memory and word recall challenges and only one hand.
Four chapters down, twelve left to go. I'm praying for God's divine connections next month at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference that will lead to the right publisher and a contract to get this book into many hurting hands! I travel over on April 6.
If you are interested in learning more about my conference, please visit https://www.gofundme.com/StrokeOfGrace
Thanks for your prayers, support, and encouragement!



Too much has happened in my personal world over the last few weeks to even know where to start with an update there. I guess the clearest overview statement would be to say God's growing our family up in Him, a devastatingly painful and joyfully fantastic experience all rolled into one! I'm exhausted and prayers are appreciated. God is good, all the time!



I've had a pretty solid uptake in physical pain again, especially down my entire left leg. It's no fun. At the same time I've been working hard to break some bad habits, like impulsive spending as well as grumbling and complaining. My husband asked a couple nights ago why I've been tearing our bed apart so badly at night, and we realized its been  my excessive pain that I hadn't told him about. I need to somehow find the right balance between appropriate communication and complaining!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Computer Funeral Plans

My laptop is almost dead as I write this (Saturday, Feb.11) and prepare it to auto-post next week. By the time you read this, it may be no more. :( I'm backing up photos tonight. If I have those and my writing files, the rest will be sad to lose, butst "stuff". Praying next quarter's writing royalties could be enough to go a long way toward purchasing a new computer in May.


The primary issue seems to be the internal (not the easily re-orderable/replaceable external) battery.
Less than a week ago, as long as I left it plugged in all the time (total loss of all power within a split second of being unplugged from the wall), it could charge no higher than this much:


Today (Saturday) it's max charge level is only:


The trend does not seem very hopeful.


Once it goes out completely, I will not be able to blog, Facebook, email, or anything else for a bit as I borrow a computer to push through and finish my book!


Since this may be my last chance to post for a bit, I'll share a couple other things here.


First, a writing update.


I have been seriously dedicated to the re-write of my Harvesting Hope from Heartache
manuscript since Thanksgiving.


With the holidays in there, realistically, since the half way through the first week of the new year.


The initial chapters flew together quickly and so very well.


I have ended up adding significant amounts of new material I had not planned to include, requiring dozens of hours of new research on my part. As a result, I've been stalled at the "not quite 1/4 of my final draft" finished mark for about three weeks now.


I am SO EXCITED about all the new things I'm learning, how these early chapters now flow, but I am also physically/mentally exhausted (I'm often in bed for the night before our 11-year-old who has a 7:30/8 PM bedtime) and rather discouraged to feel like I'm rather spinning my wheels, not at all in book content, but in manuscript finishing progress.


My hubby and our youngest watching birds together.

Would you please pray with me to include every single word God wants me to share, but to also get this accomplished QUICKLY? My personal desire is to have a finished draft ready before I head to Mount Hermon Christian Writer's Conference in early April. At this rate, that is not a feasible expectation, but if God returns me to the speed I was seeing at the start of the year, it is still possible!

The other two people I keep keeping on for.
Now 17 and 14, both "seniors" of their campuses this year, high school and junior high.
An update on Mount Hermon, between a few gifts (THANK YOU), this past year's royalties still trickling in from Hannah's Hope (I'm very blessed to still be seeing any income from a 12-year-old title!), my money from my birthday and Christmas, and a partial scholarship directly from the conference, here's the breakdown:

My registration for the conference itself totals $1,285 this year, since I'm not going for the extra early pre-conference like I did last year. This amount is due in full by March 5.

I don't know how God is planning to provide this. I'm looking around at things I can ask my daughter to list on eBay (I'm InfertilityMom if you want to watch for my auctions) for me in the next week or two, to try to raise part of the needed funds there.

I currently only need $180 more in order to finish paying for conference registration. (If that comes through GoFundMe, I'll need a little over $200 there to pay their fees and still have the $180 to pay off the conference. If you wish to PayPalMe and select Friends & Family (without "PayPal Purchase Protection") rather than “Goods and Services,” I will receive 100% of your gift and not have any fees incurred).

This covers Thursday, April 6 dinner through Tuesday, April 11 breakfast, all meals, training, seminars, and lodging.

I will likely get a ride to go half way on April 3 and spend a few pre-conference writing days with my ride / co-author / conference buddy.  So the conference registration amount listed above will not cover my portion of gas or meals between April 3-6, or on the way home.

I will come home on April 11 or later, depending on ride provision. I can get at least half way home that day, even have a place to stay at the half way point if I need to spend another night or three there, but am still looking for a second leg ride home back over Donner pass.

Thank you for prayers for all of God's provisions in this matter!


The final thing I wanted to share could be its own post. If my computer corporates  I'll grab this and move it into another post at the end of the week. Just in case I don't get that chance...


Here's last Sunday's outfit.


Here's the necklace my parents gave me for Christmas:


The dress doesn't show the butterflies unless you get up close and in the right lighting. (Apparently a close up camera offers even better "lighting" than the naked eye!) A fun eBay find several months back! Thrift shopping makes me feel so amazed to spend pennies on the dollar just by buying gently used. :)


The shoes I bought new, also from eBay, over the summer, on a fantastic clearance.


See the "hidden purple butterflies" on the toes. Without the sparkles, they are even more hidden than on the dress!


Have I mention that I love butterflies?


Here I am last week, with our daughter's birds.