Friday, July 31, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me, My Gifts to Thee...

Yes, it's my birthday and 40s creeping up on my ever-closer now! I realized that I can no longer stretch the claim of "mid-30s" with this birthday. LOL

So since we are talking birthdays, let's talk presents. Here are three that are all for you!!!

First, be sure to drop by and leave your comment on the thread about Holley Gerth's book, Rain on Me. Today is your last chance to enter to win this amazing encouragement devotional!

Second, head over to and find out about the special 12% discount you can redeem Aug. 1-3 off your entire purchase of Affordable Mineral Makeup™!

Third, while you are on the InnerBeautyGirlz blog, find out how to earn up to eight entries into my give-away for a free makeup bag!

Not my give-away at all, but I had to add in an extra bonus here when I found out a blogging friend is giving away a Sushi Making Kit. I love sushi! If you do to, you will also want to follow the link to this give-away (children mentioned). :)

How's that for a birthday celebration? Now I'm headed to enjoy fresh strawberries with my three sweet little miracles, my wonderful hubby is doing our grocery shopping during his lunch break, then we are all heading to my parent's house for dinner tonight. My blessings overflow in the celebration of another year given to enjoy the gift of living and the amazing joy of family and love! I will be starting IV treatments on Aug. 9 (yes, they were originally scheduled to start a couple weeks ago, then were delayed) and my doctor informs me that, "The only fatalities reported from this treatment have been during the first infusion." so my statement about life being a gift is not lighthearted, but the thankfulness for my blessings is truly overflowing.

Oh, and if you want to leave me a birthday present, please comment sharing at least one thing you are thankful for in the beauty of your life today, then pass this link along to someone else so they can do the same. :) I also love new friends, followers and subscribers so these would be great gifts too!!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

How it Feels to Live with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

I love word pictures. They capture the emotion of an experience in a way I can grasp. So when I came across an article titled Why CFS is Like Being Tied Up With Rubber Bands my attention was captured and I wanted to read it! What a great explanation of the continual ebb and flow of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome symptoms. If you know someone living with this unpredictable illness (well, you know at least one someone - me!) then please take a moment to read this short essay today. :)

While a much more lengthy story, The Spoon Theory by Christine Miserandino of But You Don't Look Sick is another very helpful and eye-opening word picture of chronic illness. In Christine's case it's Lupus she's talking about, but I can relate to so much of what she shares.

If you are reading via email subscription and can't see the links, they are and

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Top 10 Reasons I am Excited to Stay Home with My Family this Coming Weekend.

I am not attending BlogHer this weekend (as you already know if you have been reading my blog). It would have been fun, but I have some very good reasons to be home! If you could please leave a comment on this post, I would sure appreciate it because I'm in a contest to see if I can be one of the top 15 bloggers posting about my Top 10 Reasons I am Excited to Stay Home with My Family this Coming Weekend - placement is determined by highest number of blog comments, and I'm blogging for a $100 cash prize, so pretty please, will you leave me a comment?

Top 10 Reasons I am Excited to Stay Home with My Family this Coming Weekend:

10. I get to learn about Cozi, a website I had not heard of before this weekend.

9. I didn't have to pack, travel, sleep in a hotel room, be homesick for my family or travel back home again to unpack dirty laundry and take weeks to recover from the trip. (With chronic health issues, the weeks of recovery is no joke! I'm still feeling the impact of a family vacation from over 2 years ago that put me in bed for nearly 5 months upon return home.)

8. I'm having a blast participating in all the NonBlogHer online events this weekend. #BlogHop09 #NonBlogHer #pityparty09 #BlogNerd - making so many amazing new friends!!! :D

7. My mom and I spent the morning together this morning, still a very special treasure after living apart for so many years and them finally moving here a year and a half ago. For lunch Dad taught us how to BBQ pizza on the grill this afternoon, a handy new skill I would otherwise have missed out on learning!

6. I got to take my kids out to dinner tonight, just the four of us. I rarely have the energy to take all three of them somewhere without the help of my mom or husband, so it really was a special treat, topped off with icecream together at the end!

5. After dinner I was feeling well enough to actually play ball with them for a few minutes. Maybe sounds like a little thing to most, but to me it was a huge victory and the grins and giggles from my kids are more than enough reward to stay home from BlogHer to enjoy!

4. On the way home we stopped by and surprised Daddy at the Reno TweetUp event and got to see the pride on his face as he hugged his kids at an unexpected visit. :)

3. Our 9-year-old broke his personal best at the McDonalds playland slide obstacle course. 3 levels of mazes and a full loop in 27 seconds flat! To be the one here to get his excited hug of celebration was well worth missing BlogHer to experience. :)

2. Our youngest son is celebrating his "3 and a half year old" birthday party with an Elmo cake and cars decorations. Mommy was too sick to juggle a party at his 3rd birthday, but we get to have our first summer birthday party ever and he couldn't be more excited.

1. Our daughter is being baptised this Sunday. There is nothing in the world that would keep me from wanting to witness this wonderful moment in her life!

As a fun bonus, I'm extending a 10% discount on Affordable Mineral Makeup™ to my blog readers who mention BlogHer this month - details posted at

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Having Fun Not Going to BlogHer

There's an amazing conference happening this weekend called BlogHer09 where 1,500 female bloggers will be meeting up in person to talk blogging. I won't be there, but I'm not letting that get me down. Instead I'm participating in several Twitter events including #BlogNerd #PityParty09 #NonBlogHer and #BlogHop09. One BlogHopper is even giving away a $50 gift card on her website. I'm actually quite happy to be home with my family this weekend and I would love it if you could read my Top 10 Reasons why post and leave a comment there (as I'm trying to win a cash prize for most comments)! If you have no idea what I'm talking about, that's OK! You can either not worry about it, or find out by following one of these links. :)

To join in the these parties I need to start with an introduction. So if you are a regular reader here, please bear with me, while I share a few things you might want to know with new readers.

I'm Jennifer (Jenni) Saake, with the A.K.A. "Hannah". I'll be celebrating my 37th birthday next week and my amazing husband and I will mark 17 years of marriage next month. We have three living miracles (ages 9, 6 and 3) after a long journey through infertility and 10 losses (miscarriages and failed adoption attempts). I am the co-founder of Hannah's Prayer Ministries and author of Hannah's Hope: Seeking God's Heart in the Midst of Infertility, Miscarriage & Adoption Loss (NavPress, 2005). We are blessed to enjoy the journey of homeschooling and are currently planning our first family RV vacation after winning a week's free RV rental through a local blogging contest (and could really use your tips if you have RV experience)! :D

I have lived with multiple chronic health challenges most of my life, starting with mono at age 8 that set my immune system off ballance. All through my teen years I dealt with the debilitating pain of endometriosis and in my late teens also developed fibromyalgia (though it went undiagnosed for several years). Early in our marriage we also discovered that I have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and as our years of infertility progressed we uncovered several other female issues such as uterine deformity, hormonal imballances and immne factors causing my body to attack the children I tried to carry. :( I finally had a hysterectomy last fall (age 26) and am encouraged to be mostly free of female pain for the first time!

My freshman year of college mono swept through the campus and upon that exposure to this virus, my immune system went into near-total shut down with the dramatic onset of chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS, also called CFS, ME and a variety of other names). The first two years I slept as much as 18-23 1/2 hours out of every 24. I gradually gained more freedom from my bed and more ability to function when out of bed, but nearly 19 years later, the impact of this illness (including pain like your body aches during your worst case of the flu, nausia, memory issues, muscle control problems, hormonal fluctuations, and nearly unmanagable exhaustion) remains a daily battle.

While it is a slow process, I hope to write a book on the life of Paul as an encouragement for Christians dealing with chronic pain and illness. Hannah's Hope took me 10 years to write, so I know not to rush this project either. In the meantime I keep an encouragment blog called Harvesting Hope from Heartache for hope and help in the midst of life's hardest seasons of grief, loss and pain of every kind.

On a lighter note I also am passionate about beauty, yes of the body, but especially of the heart. I am a consultant with Affordable Mineral Makeup™ as well as with Gurrlie Girl™ Christian Jewelry and I love to write share natural, healthy, green, and affordable beauty tips and tricks on my InnerBeautyGirlz blogs. :) And since I'm often asked how I became a published author I thought you might enjoy the link to that story as well. :)

Please leave me a comment here or on any of my other blogs. You never know when I might pull a random give-away and be emailing someone who comments, offering to mail you a book, jewelry, makeup or some other fun treat! ;) I'm also extending a 10% discount on Affordable Mineral Makeup™ to my blog readers who mention BlogHer this month - details posted at

Thursday, July 16, 2009

IV infusions start next week

I am very thankful for God's answer to prayer to provide some much needed medical care that we have been trying to obtain for nearly 2 years now. Insurance appeals have been battled through (at least on this specific issue) and I will start infusions next Tuesday morning.

Now that the reality is here though it's a little overwhelming/scary. As I understand it these treatments will take place once a week for the next 12 weeks and I will be hooked up to an IV for 3-4 hours each treatment. I am praying specifically that:
- I will tolerate the treatments well
- That the treatments will bring about significant improvement in my health
- That God will redeem the time I am sitting there each week:
1. either in positive interaction with others (patients, hospital staff, etc.) so that I can minister to those around me and/or
2. that I can use the 36-48 hours over the next 3 months when I will be forced into "being still" to make significant headway on reasearching/writing for my next book on the life of Paul and his "thorn in the flesh".
3. or that if neither my plan 1 or plan 2 are His intended plan for my use of that time, that He will still somehow use these hours to His glory and give me peace in resting in His perfect plan.

Thank you for joining me in prayer about all of this. I would also appreciate prayers for my kids and for all those who will be involved in helping me obtain my own care or helping in the care of our sweet little ones during these hours. They are used to a full-time at-home mom, so half a day apart each week will be a big adjustment for all of us, not to mention any additional changes or challenges to our schedule by any side effects I might experience from treatment.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Rain on Me Book Give-Away

If you participated in my Inner Beauty Girlz Virtual Spa Weekend in May, you may remember Holley Gerth's post, God thinks You're Beautiful. Holley has also recently released the book Rain on Me: Devotions of Hope and Encouragement for Difficult Times and she's giving away a copy on one of my other blogs, Harvesting Hope from Heartache™. Drop by and leave a comment there before July 31 to be entered for this drawing. :)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Dreaming of RVing

I've been blogging about our hopes to take an RV vacation over at Please drop by and leave a comment, share your vacationing tips or tell me about your dream vacation. :)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Free Book Offer, July 10 Only!

Order Skinny by Laura L Smith for FREE today only from the Nav Press website, using coupon code H20E1M3Y4. This is a book about teenage girls and eating issues. Enter your coupon code at the top of your cart before you head to check out. Shipping is also free and no tax!

If you are looking for another title to add to your cart, Nav is my publisher for Hannah's Hope. ;) I was pleasantly surprised that the free shipping extended to the other item I placed in my cart today (still had to pay tax, but I'm fine with that) and when my order confirmation came through, that email included a discount code for 25% off my next order from the Nav Press website! Great deal all the way around!!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

He is the Potter, I am the Play Dough?

Maybe you've heard the saying before, "He is the Potter, I am the clay" (based on Romans 9 and several other references). Tricia Goyer brings a delightfully fresh perspective to this well-worn expression in her newest book Blue Like Play Dough: The Shape of Motherhood in the Grip of God.

Though the book does not release for sale until the middle of this month, I had the delight of reading her first chapter this week. (Follow the link and you can too!) Though I know that Tricia was not an "Infertility Mom" many passages read as if they easily could have come from my own journals:

I loved dolls, and I loved imagining what it would be like when I would be a mom. Someday I’d have a baby of my own instead of a [play]-dough creation. But when I had kids, I felt like I was the one being squished and pressed. At times I felt like I was being poked as I tried to deal with the 101 needs of my kids. I felt stretched as I struggled through things I’d hoped I’d never have to face... I felt pulled when I tried to balance raising kids, taking care of our house, serving in church, and following my dreams. There were even days when I felt as if I was literally
being pounded—by life, by my hang-ups, by my own insecurities and doubts that I was “good enough” as a mom...

Some of my readers are moms, reaching this destination through a variety of paths. Others are still awaiting motherhood, longing and praying for such a blessing. But I think we can all relate to striving for a deep heart desire, then being surprised to find out that blessings can be costly as God shapes us after His heart in ways we never expected. I found this first chapter of Blue Like Play Dough to be such a refreshing example of how to live real life, messy life, crazy and unexpected life, by keeping God a first priority right there in the midst of it all. Looking forward to reading the rest when the book is available later this month!

Join the Play Dough Party on Facebook, July 27!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Mothering with Chronic Illness

Another dear after-infertility mom-with-chronic-illness friend of mine recently posted a beautiful article entitled Yes, I amd sick, but I'm also a Mom that captured the journey so personally that it had me in tears. If you have either gone through infertility or face parenthood with chronic illness, this is a can't miss read!

Thursday, July 2, 2009


I am dyslexic. So is my father. He was told by his high school guidance counselor that he was too stupid to even attempt to graduate. I wish that guidance counselor could see him now, a sucessful teacher who not only graduated college, but even worked most of the way through a Master's degree program and has written Bible studies that have changed hundreds of lives, including many men that went into full time missions work after sitting under Dad's teaching!

While we have yet to have our child tested, I am seeing signs in 1 of our 3 that lead me to believe this one may also face the same struggles in learning. So to my brave father, to my beloved child, in thanks to my mother for helping me survive my own learning challenges when schools ignored it or refused to lend aid, and to anyone who has ever been told they are too dumb to learn, I want to share these touching videos I happened upon at YouTube. My story is much like the first one posted here (though my mom hooked me on reading with Janette Oke Christian romance rather than monster murder mysteries).