Thursday, November 24, 2016

After Infertility Thankfulness

So thankful to be a mom, beyond words! Even after so many years, I vividly remember those childless years where my heart struggled to find thankfulness. Praying for those still waiting, grieving today!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Accidental Tradition

I don't like Halloween. I just don't.

I used to truly loath October 31, and really the whole season, all the "decorations" leading up to the day, the yucky costumes that night, EVERYTHING!

Two things have happened to make the day tolerable for me.

First, we moved to the state of Nevada. October 31, in addition to being Reformation Day (The date Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the door of the church, starting the Protestant movement) is also our state's birthday. Celebrating Nevada Day is significantly more palatable to me than Halloween!

Next, 5 years ago, an encounter with the profound glory of God, honestly made all the ugliness this world can muster for this date, truly make me ask, "Really? Is that the best you've got?" There's simply nothing ugly and evil enough to dampen the splendor of pure grace, goodness, peace, beauty. Honestly, the scary junk, while exactly that in my mind, junk, doesn't even phase me now. (Doesn't mean I like it, delight in it, find it pleasurable, just doesn't freak me out or give me nightmares like it did for nearly 40 years!)

I used to despise this date so very much that we would either turn every light in the front of the house off and just watch a movie or play games in the back and ignore the door, or we would actually pack up the family and go away for the evening, like to my parents' house since no trick-or-treaters even come to their retirement neighborhood.

Since my strokes, it easier to stay home then pack up, so that's what we usually do now. The first few years, my kids and hubby actually answered the door and gave out candy. Last year, I took a candy shift myself. This year, I fully managed the door all evening (though, with hearing loss, I missed the doorbell multiple times, making for some awkward moments as kids stood peering in the window and wondering why I wasn't answering, while I sat staring back waiting for them to play the game by ringing the bell before I opened the door).

Now that I've set the stage, let me tell you about our hysterical evening, the happy accident that created a  new family tradition.

Our daughter and I had just cleaned out the pantry. Since eggs (her) and wheat (me) are newly discovered allergens within the past year, we moved multiple partial Sam's / Costco size cases of various instant noodle meals to the front door so Rick (hubby can still eat them) could take them to work.

There sat all the individual noodle meals by the front door as kids came. About the third set of kids that came was a group of teenagers. As I gave them their candy, I heard, "Oh they have some good food in there. I saw cup noodles!"

On a whim, I called them back to the door and dropped noodles in their bags too. They all were SO excited! I haven't laughed that hard in a good while.

News quickly spread through the neighborhood that our house was "giving away soup," and packs of teens and college kids were showing up. As two girls said to one another, "Now we have dinner for tonight!" The reactions would make you think we were giving away cars or something! The squeals and pure delight left my teenager (pictured above) quite befuddled! He turned to Google and learned that cup-o-noodles as trick-or-treat gifts apparently are "a thing" in Japan. He insists, that even though he's going away to college next fall, we make family plans to give out cup-noodles every year from here on out.

It was a fun night. I would hear teens coming up the walkway saying, "I want soup!" so I would get candy ready just to see their reactions when I pretended that's all I had. I haven't laughed that much at one time in ages! Rick said it was wonderful to hear me laugh so much!

I wore the exact same shirt last year.
I couldn't find my wings this year, but the shirt displays my weight loss over the past year of being wheat-free.
We had food we could never have used before it went bad. We got to spread joy and had a blast doing so. :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Blue Playdough

Facebook gave me a good laugh today. Memory from 6 years ago:
Looking up tips on removing Play-dough from carpet. Thought I had it all up and out of reach, but somehow the dark blue canister made it into the craft bin in reach of a craft-loving 4-year-old who didn't think to move over 2 feet onto tile before he began joyfully mashing. Lord, help me to remember how I prayed for this child and what a blessing he is...

In comments I shared, Everything I'm reading says not to add water (ice would do that) because it makes a bigger mess. Working what I can our with a credit card, then let dry overnight, pick more out with a fork or comb, vacuum, repeat, comb, vacuum, repeat, comb, vacuum, repeat... Then spot clean with stain cleaner as needed.

Friday, October 21, 2016

What A Week!

Ooops, this post was written for my StrokeOfGrace blog. I'll post it there too, but will leave it up here as I think this readership will enjoy too.

A friend asked me yesterday how I was doing and I told her I was feeling generally agitated and couldn't figure out why since nothing specifically bad was happen.

This morning, I can put my finger on the reason.

I'm trying not to feel anxious at four days out from my 5th re-birthday (stroke-a-versary), next Tuesday.

Here's where I "should" be today (best case, supposing I had even lived), locked in, not able to lead a "normal" life at all. And here's where I actually am! I am so thankful. I do not take my abilities nor bonus time I've be granted lightly in the least! And yet, there are sobering losses, very real griefs. A day like Tuesday leaves me processing such a wild mix of emotions!

So, I've been intentionally overloading my life with positive distractions, pretty much all to your benefit. Allow me to recap:

Today is the very last day to enter my giveaway for two Adult Coloring 2017 calendars! (As of this posting, there are just over 12 hours left to enter! Two prizes, with only seven folks who have entered so far! Please join the fun. I would love to smile at your answers about what color crayon you would be and why, and you have fantastic odds of winning a prize!)

Tonight, 5 (Pacific), I'm hosting the Facebook portion of my post-stroke Grand Re-Opening celebration Boutique for the Lilla Rose Flexi hair clips I had just signed up as Stylist (consultant) a few months before my strokes.

Since I finally have figured out enough coordination and tricks do my hair again, despite some remaining stroke paralysis and lack of fine motor skills, and because I'm working hard to earn my way to the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in the spring, I'm excited to share these beautiful, durable (made of music / piano wire, so highly flexible, yet incredibly strong), ingenious (unique figure-8 design) "hair jewelry" available in seven different sizes and hundreds of designs to fit every length (if you have at least two inches of hair, you can wear a Flexi, even some fun designs like motorcycles that I've seen men wear in their beards!), hair texture (baby fine, pin straight, thick curls, floor length, dreadlocks. pixie cut, any everything in between), and personal style (from simple and practical to frilly and flamboyant)!

Tomorrow, at 4PM, please come to my house (need directions?) for the hands-on portion of my party! It will be my very first in-person Boutique and I'm pretty excited to gather some friends together to celebrate five years of stroke survival and the accomplishments these years have brought about. Playing with Flexis will be fun too! :) If you can't make it to my house due to distance or schedule, you are still welcome to join the Lilla Rose portion of the party on my website. You can order hair pretties for yourself or as gifts (holidays are quickly coming!) any time, but to count towards my grand-opening celebration (where it will make the most positive impact for me in sales numbers), all orders must be in before the end of the day Tuesday the 25th.

Tomorrow morning, before my Lilla Rose event, I get to spend a few hours with my church sisters at a get-to-know-you brunch. Being the social butterfly, people-person, that I am, even though I know this will cost me in terms of physical and mental energy (thank you, stroke and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), I know it will this time together will bless and encourage me emotionally and spiritually!

On Tuesday, my actual stroke anniversary, I'm scheduled to participate in a research study at Renown, the hospital where I lived for the first two months. I told the study coordinator I had scheduled for that date because I wanted to "do something significant" that day.

Oct. 25th, my re-birthday, is much more significant to me that the actual date of my birth each year, now! I hope to see some of my care team. Mom and I plan to go out to lunch afterwards. I've asked my hubby to take our family out to dinner that evening.

My brain doesn't really even go beyond next Tuesday yet. Starting my 6th year of survival?!

Mailbox surprise from Kendra. :)
I have no new blog post ideas after Tuesday. Do you have any questions? Anything you've wondered about? Feel free to ask! I need your curiosity right now, to spark future blog content!


New American Standard Bible 
When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul. -Psalm 94:19

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Jesus and the Beanstalk

I almost refused to read this book, based solely on its quirky title. BIG MISTAKE! Don't judge a book by it's cover.

Wow! I feel like Lori Stanley Roeleveld is a personable new friend. I wish we could sit down and have coffee (or tea, since I detest coffee, but I was going for coffee house intimacy with that phrase!) and a long chat together.

As God so often does, He put this book in my life at the same time He was putting the spotlight on the same part of Scripture through other means. I had just started a new Bible study on 1 and 2 Peter when He brought this book across my path. Seeing the back cover blurb about "use the hidden gifts in 2 Peter to topple the giant challenges in your life," made me willing to give this book a (albeit skeptical) chance.

The subtitle: Overcoming Your Giants and Living a Fruitful Life, was also highly appealing, being on the spiritual fruit journey I've been on for these past 5+ years! The list of words, "Faith, Godliness, Affection for Others, Love, Perseverance, Goodness, Knowledge, Self-Control," had enough overlap with the Fruit of the Spirit I'm dissecting, to get me a little excited, before I even opened the front cover.

Now that I'm well into the book (I'm a SLOW reader, thanks to dyslexia then my strokes), I can't imagine a better-fitting title than Jesus and the Beanstalk. Lori has so masterfully woven familiar fairy tales together, Jack and the Beanstalk in particular, to illustrate deep spiritual truths. As a writer, I marvel at her clever mastery of both the English language and cultural concepts, with nearly every turn of the page. This one should become a bestseller if enough readers can get past the "irreverence" (my primary objection) of the title and delve into the richness behind the selected monacure.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Hair Jewelry Sale!

I shared why I love these Flexi clips so much, how I first became, then (rather accidentally) stayed, a Stylist (consultant). Fun story over at StrokeOfGrace today. :)

Join me for at least 15%, up to 50%, off everything from our unique Flexi 8 clips, to headbands, U-pins and so much more! 

And yes, you can still earn those U-Pins even combined with this amazing sale!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

15 years

15 years ago we woke up to a ringing phone and images of 1 1/2 twins towers, the half billowing smoke but not yet fallen. Through the morning my long-awaited toddler played as I sobbed and watched a second tower hit, panicked people jump from windows high, then the towers fall. As the day unfolded, I relayed news of two additional plane crashes to my husband at work. For three solid days I cried and seriously wrestled with God over the issue of should we continue to bring more lives into this broken world or not.

We learned my husband's aunt was initially scheduled to have been on one of those planes and got bumped. Being on the west coast of the country, we were slightly insulated from the trauma in the sense that not every single person here knew someone who died that day, but the tragedy was massive enough that everyone here had at least one loved one they worried over until safety was confirmed. There was still enough communal loss that the churches were packed for week and flags flew abundantly and high. Rick's grandma, who lived next to the airport, lived under eerily quite sky for days.

Since that day, life has carried on. That baby is about to get his driver's licence. We have been blessed with two more living miracles here on earth. My husband has changed jobs twice. We have changed houses. We just celebrated that aunt's 70th birthday and she and her husband had another very near-miss going through the airport in Turkey just before the recent bombing there. (My husband and son were in the same airport two years prior!)

I've published my first book. My father-in-law has battled cancer epically. My mother has given us a sound hospital scare. I've survived a traitoris immune system that tried to abandon me a decade ago. I've survived a chiropractic accident leading to six strokes. A year ago today I had massive abdominal surgery for feminine pain and a renegade appendix.

The joys and griefs have been great. Today, I simply pause to remember. To lay the details of our lives before the Lord. To thank and rejoice for the blessings. To acknowledge the losses. To pray.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Writing News

My manuscript for Hannah's Hope was due to the publisher 12 years ago this month.

I had no idea then that I would even write another book at all. Once I realized that was God's call, never dreamed I wouldn't have a second manuscript to a publisher yet.
God's timing...

When I think of the current (pre-stroke) manuscript in terms of the writing profession, it is taking SO LONG and I get really sad and discouraged. (Hannah's Hope took me 10 months of active writing time. The manuscript for Harvesting Hope from Heartache has had 4 years of active writing - I started it a week before the strokes, then could not do anything with it for the next several, so it has been about 4 years since I had the single-handed typing coordination and eye-sight to get back into this project - and it is STILL not finished!) 
I think even the snails and turtles are lapping me at this point!

When I think of all I have accomplished in the past 4 1/2 years from the perspective of a brain stem stroke survivor who should not even be alive, and what I do type is through very slow thought processing and single-handed typing, I'm honestly rather blown away by what God is working through me THIS FAST!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Memories and Deals

Thinking of Noel Alexis Saake, Hannah Rose Saake, and Joel Samuel Saake, today and always.

People ask me, "What's your sign?" For years I didn't know the answer because I do not believe in the Zodiac. I've had enough people inform me over the years that I now know I'm classified as a "leo" but I would much rather claim the Lion of Judah, the Creator of all constellations, as the Answer to why I have the unique personality traits He has given me. - Jennifer Saake

By one book, get on half off at Family Christian Stores right now! 

Hannah's Hope: Seeking God's Heart in the Midst of Infertility, Miscarriage, and Adoption Loss sells there for $14.99. That means you could by it for just $7.50 if you are buying any other book there!

I pretty much am a Lilla Rose hair consultant for personal purchases (tired of plastic jaw clips - wanted something that held all day and looked beautiful - very low cost business to join, only $29 in purchases and/or sales required PER YEAR to stay active!), but there's a sale going on right now that's too good NOT to share. Basically you get consultant-type discounts without even being a consultant. (And if you buy from my link, I won't object to earning a little commission check for having shared this very limited time sale with you either.)