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!)

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/