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!)

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.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

StrokieGal on Facebook

My newest Facebook invite picture:

My "Bookie" bear, from my dear husband, is so soft, sweet, adorable.

Here's the instagram version I posted. I had fun playing with the filters and editing features, but think I like the top one better than this version:

These blog posts auto-cross-post at www.Facebook.com/StrokieGal. I would love to see you follow me there!

Here's the photo and started with.
I figured most of the edits on my own.

Thank you to my 14-year-old for the Instagram crash course.

Monday, February 13, 2017

He's 17. Let him brush his own teeth!

I stared at my husband blankly.

It's been YEARS since I've brushed our son's teeth!

Thank you to our 11-year-old for being my body parts model for this post!

Seeing the look of confusion on my face, he repeated, "You asked me to remind you to go get Joshua's keys."

Oh, that makes a whole lot more sense than, "Go brush Joshua's teeth."

Hearing Impairment

We've had several interesting conversations since my strokes!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Happy Day

I woke up a week ago Wednesday. From in the shower Rick asks, "How are you doing today?

"Good. It's a Kathy day," I replied.

"It's a happy day?"

"A Kathy day."

"A what?"

"Kathy is coming today."

"Oh, I was right then. It's a happy day."

Yes, he was so right. Every time Kathy comes it is a joy and a blessing.

After telling Kathy the story, we both took out our phones and marked February first as a recurrent holiday, our "Happy Day." We are already planning to go out to coffee or lunch or something to celebrate next year. :)

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

I missed a dose and didn't melt down!

The strokes destroyed the emotional centers of my brain. The wires of emotional processing and coping skills were simply erased.

I now have PBA (wild emotional swing and emotional reactions that are often contrary to my actual feeling, like outright laughing at things that embarrass me, make me sad, or cause physical or emotional pain).
Thank you Neudexta for PBA emotion pictures.

I also have depression.

The way antidepressant medications work for a lot of people is they should take daily, but if they miss a dose or two, they can get back on track fairly easily. For me, if I miss my morning "magic pill," my whole family knows it by early afternoon. I'm irritable and cranky and get overwhelmed by the simplest moments of everyday living.

Yesterday, I missed my pill. I did not break down. No one even knew.

I really felt the need for it by this morning, so the brain's not all re-wired there yet, but I coped through an entire day without chemical aid and no one suffered for it.

I started at 20mg of my meds, needed to go up as high as 40mg before I achieved stability, then dropped back down to 20mg a couple years back. I've since gone to 10mg, then 5mg, and now alternate two days at just 2,5 (one quarter of the smallest pill available), then a booster day at 5, then back down to 2.5 for two more days, before another booster dose. Yesterday's was to have been that 5mg booster day.

After I finish this two week set up in my pill box, I think I'll try just doing 2.5 daily and see if I can sustain this dose for the long haul without my family suffering as a result of that decision.

I may always need a little chemical help to cope with what's been destroyed in my brain, and I'm OK with that. It's just tremendously encouraging to have missed one day and no suffered emotional fall out as a result!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Bread Ties, Blueberries, and Butterflies

[When I get to Heaven] then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

Being married to one, and raising another, ultra-introverted guy, I know 1 Corinthians 13:12 doesn't appeal to all people to the degree it thrills my heart. For you I rest assured that God will care for every need of your heart, giving quiet and rest in abundance! But this extrovert delights at the promise of someday knowing others fully and being completely understood too!

View I woke up to this weekend. My phone didn't capture the glow of the clouds, but it's still pretty.
Here on earth, God's given me a tiny foretaste of that aspect of Heaven in some precious friendships. The one I have with Kathy is so unique. She knows me. Gets me. Maybe about as well as it is possible for one person to know another as a sister. Who else would bring me these and know her gift would be met with squeals of delight?

Kathy knows I collect bread clips because she has helped me repair my hanging blinds with them several times. When she handed them to me, I was giddy and would have jumped for joy if I could have. Kathy was instead rewarded with a huge grin and a hug. :)


It wasn't until later in the day when I realized just how well Kathy knows me though. My ice machine was jammed. We took it apart and Kathy washed it all out. As she pulled a frozen block of ice from beneath the hopper, she said, "There are still blueberries in here!" That's funny because early LAST YEAR our ice machine tried to ingest a bag of frozen blueberries that accidently fell into the machine. We regularly found bonus blueberries floating in our ice water for months thereafter but our treats had stopped for sometime. Sure enough, there were still a dozen berries embedded in the ice block that was jamming our machine last week. Who would even know to comment on the fact, or wash the parts without questing the blue blobs, if she wasn't invested in our lives like this?

As if friendship, deep, knowing, real investment of self, weren't enough, Kathy topped February 1 (henceforth officially know as "Happy Day" in commemoration of Kathy's and my friendship with the butterfly paper towel holder that matches my trivet she gave me for Christmas. *heart*

Yes, by Pioneer Woman, Kendra. From WalMart. :)

And look how perfectly adorable it is with the towels Mom bought me for Christmas a couple years back.