Category: General Articles

Again

Our family is WAY too acquainted with Emergency Rooms, ambulances, hospitals, and medical tests! This is the third immediate family, overnight hospitalization, of 2018.

We were back in the ER Sunday night, after 3 closely-related medical crises in less than 24 hours, for one of our children. (If you know us personally, please don’t ask details or name names publicly, as kids get tired of being featured in my blog posts! Contact me privately if you have questions, please. I’m happy to talk details one-on-one.)

As we were being discharged after one o’clock Monday morning, the issue repeated, so discharge papers were changed to transfer papers and we took an ambulance ride across town, from our smaller satellite hospital, to the children’s hospital at our big, main branch (where I lived after my strokes).

There was serious talk of ambulance transport to the huge medical school children’s hospital hours away, but in the end, we came home late on Tuesday instead. We now have three local specialists lined up for appointments in the next week or two.

We started new medication Wednesday morning, and have now gone 44 hours without another event (7 major, and 3 more mild crises between Saturday night and Wednesday afternoon). We are praying this new medication prevents further events.

Three specific prayer requests are:

  1. Significant reduction in the severe nausea this medication is causing. (Side effect lists indicate it could resolve as we adjust to taking it.)
  2. Profound increase in thirst and ability to tolerate hydration. (Nausea is making it very hard to take in fluids.)
  3. Resolution of symptoms, allowing a safe return to school and outside activities, and ability to quickly get fully caught up with all missed assignments. (Missed this entire school week. As our kids, jr. high, high school, college, are getting older, a solid week of missed school, plus the additional classes that will be missed for follow-up care, is a pretty big deal.)

Our church has been beyond amazing. Several friends showed up in ER, bearing hugs and gifts. Then the next day of admission across town was a fairly steady stream of encouraging visitors. We feel loved and very blessed!

This child could hardly fit in the hospital bed that was so piled with cuddly comfort items. Even the nurses were amazed! I was awed by the boldness and maturity this kid exhibited in seizing the platform to boldly share Jesus with lots of hospital staff.

I am a tired Mommy.

God is good, all the time!

One Night…

What Does It Take?

One of my favorite things about writing a blog is that people introduce me to all kind of cool products. They do so in hopes that I’ll share them with you. Mind you, I am very picky about things I’ll actually share here.

I get way more  review requests, than hours have available to review. So, right out of the starting gate, I’m quite selective about offers I’m even willing to try. If I say I’m going to honestly review something, I’m going to commit the time to really exploring that product. My first consideration is deciding if it is something I feel meets my needs and could bless my readers.

If you are taking time to read what I write, you are placing a certain level of trust in the validity of my opinion. I value your trust! I don’t take your loyalty for granted. I never wish to compromise or minimize the confidence you place in my words.  Please know that I have your interests at heart, am treating you as a personal friend, when I tell you about something that makes me own life happier.

I ask myself if I feel a product world be worth spending my money on, in order to have it in my life or not? Encouraging you to get something that I’ve talked about here, will typically involve expense on your part, and I don’t take that idea lightly. (So, yes, I’m telling you about a product that has been supplied to me for free, in exchange for my honest reaction.)

This kind of careful evaluation takes time, so something has to really interest me to begin with, in order for me to be willing to invest that time.

What Do I Want To Share With You Today?

I signed up to review the ONE NIGHT advent story calendar for two reasons:

1. I love  entire season surrounding the celebration of Jesus coming to earth. #Christmas

2. I’m trying to cut way back on sweets. Is it even possible to replace the cheep cardboard countdowns I buy each year, with something that offers anything better than candy behind each door, while still keeping my kids excited?

(For the record, my young-adult son thinks ONE NIGHT is far superior to any advent calendar we have ever used, but suggests that I also buy giant chocolate bars and hand out individual squares to each person to enjoy while we are exploring that night’s continuation of the month-long story.)

Why?

We had passed the first test. I liked the premise of the product enough to want an in-person look.

Then a HUGE flat box showed up at my door. I wish I had thought to take a picture. Instead, I was too curious about the contents of this box to think to grab my camera. We excitedly opened our mystery parcel and were blown away by what we saw. No tiny, cheep cardboard with plastic windows here! 

Did I mention this thing is really big? Here it is pictured next to a pair of my shoes and a big Bible study dictionary. Oh, and that guy holding it in the first picture is about to turn 13. He’s on the rather larger side of the growth chart, for a boy his age range.

Better than candy, these flaps hold the greatest Story ever told. The Story progresses over 24 days, facts told through the fictionalized perspective of two shepherds who were watching sheep the night angels interrupted their evening to announce the birth of the King. Beautiful black and white, hand-drawn images lead the imagination through a detailed journey of wonder that holds true to time and culture.

I’m Impressed.

Solidly designed to last, this new part of our family’s Christmas tradition reminds me of a picture book. Here, let me give you a close-up of the book-like binding construction:

The Book of Luke (2:8-20) says that on the night of the first Christmas angels visited shepherds tending their flocks and told them to visit their newborn savior.  ONE NIGHT reimagines the story through the eyes of one of the shepherds.  

Set against the turbulent backdrop of ancient Judea under Roman rule, ONE NIGHT follows the shepherd as he risks his flock to journey through the countryside in search of the baby Messiah — and the elusive promises of worldly and spiritual redemption.

There is a long and diverse artistic tradition of imagining the story of the shepherds.  In our telling, we have tried to capture what it would have really been like to be there the night Jesus was born, and how a regular person might have tried to make sense of that extraordinary event.  The story is intense, exciting — and even a little spooky.  

It’s a feeling that’s echoed in the stunning visual art.  Rendered in the style of a classical draftsman, ONE NIGHT feels like an ancient document, full of timeless drama and mystery.

Whether you know the Bible inside out, or you haven’t read it since you were a kid, we hope ONE NIGHT will surprise and move you with its riveting portrayal of its characters’ search for goodness and a better world.

How YOU Can Help:

This exciting tool is NOT available to the general population for purchase YET. The author and artist want to produce them for distribution soon. YOU can help bring that mission into reality. Check out this video from their Kickstarter campaign.

Any pledge, even just $1, will help fund production! A gift of $30 or more will also earn YOU your own beautiful keepsake story calendar ($40 retail value) in time for use THIS December, 2018. (As  long as they get all the funding they need over the next month, as I suspect they likely will since they are well on their way and this is a worthy investment.)

Recap:

ONE NIGHT tells a story in 24 parts.  Each part of the story is hidden behind a numbered door (1 through 24) that you open to reveal an illustration and text.  You can open one door each day, from December 1 through December 24, counting down to Christmas.  Or you can binge-watch, by reading all 24 parts in one sitting, like an illustrated book.  

Printed on heavy-weight paper wrapped around millboard, ONE NIGHT is a sturdy, free-standing triptych that you can place on a mantle, table or windowsill as an amazing Christmas decoration.  You can also close the triptych and keep ONE NIGHT on your bookshelf or coffee table.   

 

Giveaway Link and Movie Review – Paul: Apostle Of Christ

I  wanted to see Paul: Apostle Of Christ, the movie, in theaters, when it released in May. I’m glad I waited to view the DVD.

Why am I glad I waited? I’m an ugly crier. I made it almost to the end, before I was a blubbering mess. Then I had to go back and watch the closing two scenes I had been crying too hard to fully appreciate the first time. You can’t do that in the theater.

 

Paul: Apostle of Christ is presented in my very favorite genera. It is based on known solid facts and accounts of real people, and researched cultural realities of time and place, woven together with “could-have-been” fictional people and plot lines. This film’s retelling of the final years of Paul’s life, and Dr, Luke’s endeavor to write an account on the Acts of the apostles, seems faithful to the historical and Biblical realities that marked this significant period of early church history.

Paul (Faulkner), who goes from the most infamous persecutor of Christians to Christ’s most influential apostle, is spending his last days in a dark and bleak prison cell awaiting execution by Emperor Nero. Luke(Caviezel), his friend and physician, risks his life when he ventures into Rome to visit him. Paul is under the watchful eye of Mauritius (Martinez), the prison’s prefect, who seeks to understand how this broken old man can pose such a threat. But before Paul’s death sentence can be enacted, Luke resolves to write another book, one that details the beginnings of “The Way” and the birth of what will come to be known as the church. Their faith challenged an empire. But their words changed the world.

Kudos to the entire team responsible for lifting this story from the black and white pages of Scripture, and challenging our minds to move beyond the cobweb corners of dusty history books, in order to better grasp the lives of the first generation that was called to live for Christ without ever having see Him in flesh. While this movie is fantastic for any adult interested in history and/or the Bible, I believe it could especially benefit (older) middle school, high school, and college students, who are seeking an emotional understanding of this period of history. Please be aware that the PG13 rating is well merited. While the majority of the goriest depictions, such as Christians fed to wild beasts in Nero’s circus, or the beheading of Paul, are only alluded to, while visual portrayal is left to the imagination, there are some rather gruesome scenes.

The movie opens  (and similar scenes continue throughout the movie), by portraying the horror of “Roman candles,” human beings doused in oil and mounted to stakes to be burned alive, as light for the streets. Another potentially stomach-lurching sight, illustrates injuries Paul obtains via flogging. There are several instances of verbal abuse and physical violence played out. The directors did an admirable job of balancing enough details to let viewers begin to understand, without showing more than needed to convey the idea, but this is absolutely not a movie suitable for young children!

The story-lines are intricate and detailed. Especially with many scene set in dark environments like a dungeon, and less-than-optimal hearing capability on my part, I had to watch the film twice to start grasping some of the nuances. Being well-versed in the Scriptural side of the story, and relatively familial with the historical context, many cultural and fictional elements of the script took three plays before I felt I had a good grasp on story line. I do not see this as a fault of the movie-maker, rather I mention to let you know that this isn’t a light movie to be played in the background while your focus is divided. It is a real thinker’s movie. I expect to discover missed details and glean deeper understanding every time I watch it again.

Movie stats:

WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY:Andrew Hyatt

PRODUCED BY:T.J. Berden and David Zelon

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS:Eric Groth, Rick Jackson, Harrison Powell and Jim Caviezel

STARRING:Jim Caviezel, James Faulkner, Olivier Martinez, Joanne Whalley and John Lynch

Follow along at:

facebook.com/paulmovie and

instagrman.com/paulmovie.

 

I did receive my DVD copy for free, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Enjoy a free digital download with DVD or Blue Ray purchase.

Fill out this form to be entered for a chance to win a copy of the #PaulMovie of your own. (Odds of winning depend on number of entries competing for the five copies being given away.)

* indicates required

 

 

What’s New

It’s 95% sure…

…that I do NOT have thyroid cancer. I do have multiple thyroid nodules that are likely benign. The very fact that there are multiple, points to a greater likelihood that we are dealing with auto-immune thyroid issues. Finding only one nodule would have slightly upped the cancer concerns.

I haven’t intentionally left you on this cliff hanger. My primary care doctor left her practice quite unexpectedly, before I could even see her to follow up on the test. I’ve been working hard to find a new provider for continuation of care. I see my new PCP about a week and a half into July, followed by a new endocrinologist in August.

Are you in Northern Nevada?

5:30. Please contact me to join our information and announcement group if you want local group attendance details.

If so, I would really like to meet you, in person, early tomorrow evening!

I’ll be facilitating the new Life Writer group in Midtown Reno. We so hope you can come!

What’s In A Name?

“Your Dad’s name for you is Fer? Yeah, that’s got to be the lie!”

We were playing Three Truths and A Lie, the get-to-know-you group game where every person share four short and unlikely “facts” about themselves. Each member of group then makes their best guess to pick out the one fictional story in the mix.

They unanimously picked the first fact I shared, to label as mythical.

“Nope. Mom calls me Jenni, and Dad calls me Fer. That’s been 100% true of their in-private nicknames for me, for as long as I can remember!”

I love my Daddy. I love that I’ve had a special nickname from him.

Given those two choices, however, I ever-so-thankful that it was Mom‘s name that stuck with the rest of the world! For decades, I’ve gone by the name “Jenni” to all who have known me in person, even online, if you’ve known me well at all.

“Jennifer” was reserved for business ventures. It was a quick give-away when I answered the phone to a “Jennifer” request, that I would be talking to a stranger, likely a medically-related call. I occasionally got “Jennifer” letters too, often about my book, but from my first reply as “Jenni,” the formality I equated as comparable to “Mrs. Saake” was quickly dropped.

This all changed in January of this year.

After a lifetime of loss, I found myself again. Rather, God found me and put me back together again.

I realized, through counseling, that most of my worst memories were as unseen as my Dad’s name was unheard. These were my realities alone, and even though the evidence was there, even those who knew me best, had little idea of these unseen and unheard parts of my everyday life.

So, in a grace-drenched decision, I announced that God had been gracious (meaning of the name “Jenni” when I dug back far enough) to carry me through these decades of brokenness, and I am now closing that chapter of pain. God has restored my full identity, and in celebration of this fact, I’m slowly asking friends to honor this renewal by transitioning to my full name, “Jennifer” (meaning, among other things, blessed).

When I say this is a grace-soaked transition, I mean no one is to get tense, hyper, nor upset over slipping into old habits. Friends call me “Jenni, I mean Jennifer. Sorry!” often when I wouldn’t have even caught the problem myself. My ears are used to “Jenni,” so at times “Jennifer” sounds (or reads, in type) foreign still to me.

I am re-learning how to introduce myself. It’s socially acceptable to say. “Hi. I’m Jennifer. You may call me Jenni.” “Hi. I’m Jenni. Please call me Jennifer,” is a little awkward! My tongue doesn’t always catch the transition of my heart and mind in time. I really stumbled over my first few self-introductions in January and February!

Now, I try my best and when I forget, no big deal.

If I remember, I smile because I remembered. If I forget, I smile because hearing my “mistake” simply reminds me of the specific reason that I want to do it differently, and that I will probably get that chance the next three times I meet this person and apologize with my typical, “I’m sorry I’m so bad at names. I’m Jennifer. Could you please remind me of your name AGAIN?”

Old habits die hard, but in no way cancel my reality! What God has renewed is not broken by a childhood nickname. This “name change,” is simply my declaration of what God has restored. In this I greatly rejoice.

 

Why “In Darkness Sing”?

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, confidence in things unseen, according to the Bible, defined in Hebrews 11:1.

 

 

 

Faith has also been described (by many people, in various twists on this basic wording), like a bird who senses dawn approaching, and boldly begins a song to herald the imminent sunrise, courageously singing, even though still plunged in darkness.

I want to be that bird!

In darkness of stress and struggle, I sing out my faith in Jesus Christ, my sure hope. I am confident in my eternal security and comfort because of His shed blood of the cross and bodily resurrection.  – Jennifer Saake

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Please come along with me?

I’m just learning this whole WordPress thing. Thank you for your patience as I get my new page all set up. For now, find me here:

Facebook.com/HarvestingHope – My main author page.

StrokeOfGrace.blogspot.com – My story of surviving and thriving after six, chiropractor-induced, near-fatal strokes, at age 39. (Also facebook.com/StrokieGal/.)

HarvestingHope.blogspot.com – Stories of struggle and inspiration, and updates concerning my next book.

GivenMeAThorn.blogspot.com – Christians with chronic pain or illness.

HannahsHopeCover

InfertilityMom.blogspot.com – My unfolding experiences in motherhood after a painful decade of longing and loss.

HannahsHopeBook.blogspot.com – Several years worth of archived blog posts offering encouragement for growing your family amidst infertility, miscarriage, or adoption loss. (Active posts may be found at facebook.com/HannahsHopeBook/. )

Pinterest.com/InfertilityMom

Twitter.com/InfertilityMom

Instagram.com/InfertilityMom (I’m just learning Instagram too. Any tips?)

 

I also invite you come explore all the beautiful hair jewelry and accessories I sell at LillaRose.biz/InnerBeauty.

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