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  • Hello and welcome to my blog! My name is Joanne and I’ve been blogging for many years under the name The Simple Wife (you can see all of my old posts under the archives or by clicking on any of the categories that interest you). I love receiving comments from you and try to respond to each one personally. I hope you’ll visit often!

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« Emma's Visit | Main | Darned Popsicle! »


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Brynn in CO

Not that any of you wold have chosen these circumstances, but even so, I think one outcome of them is going to be an extreme closeness and mutual appreciation for each other as a family of 4. I've seen families that walk thru traumas like a mom with breast cancer or ever loss of a job, and they seem to have a closeness that couldn't have built any other way--but simply thru hard work and the realness that the people we love our precious and fragile. God bless you and keep you and your girls as you "do the work" during these long days!

Ashley Honea

Praying for Audrey tonight as I head to bed. What a brave little girl.


What great woman you have in your life! You and Joanne have done a wonderful job bringing up such strong girls! Joanne is going to be thrilled on what they have accomplished while she has been sick!
Many blessings to you all.


I'm following your blog (and praying) from Alaska; and to some degree, reliving the stroke my mom had when I was 13... It's been nearly 50 years and yet I remember that time so clearly. It is so good you and Audrey can talk about her feelings about not wanting to be the "mom". As the oldest, she's going to want to be responsible, yet it is so important she be given the role of child as much as possible. I've had a wonderful life, but that one event instantly took away my childhood. Keep listening to her, praying and PLAYING through this time. (Oh, yes, my mom recovered most of the way and lived another 30 years. Her testimony powerfully told of God's changing her role in the world dramatically, yet using her so much more as an empty vessel filled with, and obedient to, His Holy Spirit, listening and ministering in a new quieter way. I know God has great things in store for Joanne and your whole family as you look to HIM!)

Melana Cummings

Bless her sweet heart. Please let her know that her service to her mom is such a kind and loving thing. It would be easy for a kid to just shut down and not do anything. Praying that very soon, Audrey and Emma will get those hugs from their mom. I'm just sure that Joanne is yearning for that, too.

Patti in Craig

Highs and Lows. That's our walk with Him,
as He leads us thru the valleys and again to the mountains. This will not be a short journey and there has been some real groundwork layed even before this event began. To each of you who are following with Joanne and family, may we not grow weary in our prayers but be strenghtened in Him and for them as well to continue faithfully in prayer. A few weeks ago I did not even know Joanne but now God has gave me such a passion of prayer for this sweet one and her family.


I'm praying for Audrey. Your words brought back feelings of when my mom battled leukemia when I was 16. I felt much like Audrey does now. You are doing a wonderful job of talking with her and helping her to understand her feelings. Joanne is so proud of her too I'm sure. When I look back at that season in my life, I can see God's hand in everything. I will specifically pray that God will reveal Himself to Audrey through this time. I'm praying for both girls that they can hold onto that childlike wonder and innocence that can be taken away by difficult circumstances. God is working a miracle in all of your lives and I praise God and give Him all the glory.

Auntie Mip


What lucky/blessed girls Audrey and Emma are to have such a wise and loving daddy. Reading your words and descriptions of your wants and desires for your daughters reminds me of my daddy...we lost him 6 years ago Feb.24th. I ache for what your girls must endure, for the grace with which they are handling a very adult heart is so sad for Audrey tonight knowing this burden she carries, the guilt of a classic mom/daughter right of must feel so big and overwhelming for her. Then my mind turns to your Emma, finding her mama moments after her stroke, what that must have been like for her. And of course my thoughts are of you, trying to be all things to all three of the precious women in your life. It all must feel like too much to bear at once most days. When it seems like touch, when it is all to heavy to carry remember this...

Where there is pain, there is love. Where there is fear, there is love. When darkness destroys the light, there is love. When hope seems lost, there is love. When loss of control threatens sanity, there is love. When the saddness of your girls is beyond your fixing, there is love. When the burdens of the day weigh heavy on your soul, there is love. When the next step seems too far, so out of reach, there is love. When you feel like every small improvement comes with multiple setbacks, there is love. And Toben, where there is love, there is God. God is love and he who abides in love abides in God and God in he.

Loving your beautiful family through prayer, today and every day.


Hey Audrey,
Like your Dad said, days like today happen and everyone handles stress differently. I'm like you in the sense that my appetite isn't all that great and I get sort of anxious. At that point, I make myself eat because the whole not eating thing just isn't healthy. The silver lining to this cloud is that this is only a temporary situation and you have a lot of family, friends and people praying for you and your family! You dad is also really awesome! Hang in there, sweet girl!



You are a good Daddy, Toben. God has prepared you for this day and you are doing a wonderful job. The words of wisdom you are imparting are being sealed in the hearts of your girls and they will no doubt draw on them MANY times over their lifetimes. Praying for you in FL.

Brian Elder


I know that in your quiet moments, you may be questioning your own ability to handle all that has been put before you. I just want to encourage you to continue being the awesome dad you've been with your daughters and the wonderful husband you've been for Joanne. I will be praying that our Heavenly Father will pour out His blessings upon all of you and meet the specific needs of each of you.


Michal Ann

I appreciate all you are teaching as you walk so transparently. Pausing to lift you all to the Lord...


Praying for the Holy Spirit to fill you with His peace during this stressful time! Also praying you ALL will be getting your hugs very, very soon!!!
Believing and dreaming of that vacation to the beach will be sooner than you think!!
And Praising God for all the special things you saw today! And Thanking Him for the Miracles we have seen so far!!

Marla Taviano

Oh, Toben. I don't know what to say or really even what to pray. So I'm just going to pray that God will love on each one of you tonight in the exactly perfect way that only he can, that each of you four will feel his love so powerfully and KNOW that you can do this. You can do all things through him who gives you strength. Love you all!


I can totally relate to Audrey's comment that she doesn't want to be the mom. My mom (a teacher) had a stroke when I was about 16. During her recovery, she had to learn to speak again. She practiced by reading Readers Digest out loud. I remember helping her with the words - it just felt so wrong and mixed up to "teach" her! And I just ached for her touch. I still (28 years later) have vivid memories of her playing with my hair and stroking my head as I lay my head next to her active hand on her bed - it was SUCH a comfort. Maybe that would help Audrey? Sadly, the cancer won less than a year after mom had the stroke.

Kathy Rivera

It may be helpful to lead a discussion with the girls about all the changes and what they miss the most about their 'old life'. It's a necessary grieiving process. The need for a hug from mom, an acknowledgement of the relationship, is probably something all three of you share. You and Audrey and Emma are the team called to bear this unusal burden together and yet separately. Joanne has a different calling in all of this. Don't be afraid of the 'where was God' questions. He can take it. Praying in Idaho.

Cindy Moses

I'm just continuing to pray for all of you. You are doing an amazing job of helping your sweet girls through this. Surely our Lord is with you!

Theresa Roach

This is bringing back so many memories from when my Mother had a stroke 23 years ago. My Sister was only 16 and took over that Mother role! She cared for my Mother and did most everything for her! I will never forget those days! I am praying for Audrey and Emma as they love their Mother back to good health! Have a blessed day, HUGS and prayers from Georgia!


Hi Toben,
I know how tough it is to feel like you are the mom with your own parent. My mom was severely mentally ill and my sister and I not only raised ourselves but took care of her. We were blessed that we both found the Lord early in life and made times for ourselves to we could be, just kids again.
Your two girls have been in my prayers each and every day, as they struggle with the fears they have with Joanne's illness and mortality.
Encourage them to have some kid time. Movies, ice skating, anything that is fun and makes them laugh. Anything that gets them away from the stress of Joanne's health. Reassure them that you can handle anything with Joanne, and they should go off for a few hours and have fun. (start small and work up to an overnight with a friend)
I'm praying, praying, praying, and the Lord above is an awesome Lord and he will answer our prayers.


As I read this my heart breaks for Audrey but I am praying that God will give her the strength and encouragement to get thru this. I am praying that the hug from there mom will come soon and Jesus will hear our prayers. This early morning when I was just waking up I prayed Psalm 40:29-31
I prayed that over Audrey and Emma
He gives strength to the weary and in creases the power of the weak Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall but those who hope in the Lord will renew there strength They will soar on wings like eagles they will run and not grow weary they will walk and not be faint. (Psalm 40:29-31 NIV)
I am praying for you as well thatGod would give you encouragement and strength I will praying for you as you go back to work.
I know you had said the girls got a WII Nintendo have you got any games for it yet I have Dance 2 and Dance on Broadway maybe the girl would enjoy those if you can find them and then maybe all 3 of you could play and laugh together.
Praying for you all


As someone who had to step into a "caretaker" role a bit too early, I will be saying special prayers for Audrey. I cannot imagine the great stress this is putting on all of you, but I do pray that the burden will be lifted by God and replaced with a peace that only He can provide. I continue to be amazed at the healing that is taking place in Joanne and pray that God will keep his amazing healing hand upon her so that she will have a complete recovery. I pray for the day for Joanne to be the mom again, to hug Audrey and Emma, and even dish out a little discipline...what a sense of normalcy you'll have then! :)

yanna westmoreland

I am so touched by all the comments. God is a compassionate God and those that have Christ living in them and how it shows even through the internet as they wrote really moves me. Toben you are a good man. God is developing Christ like qualities in you that will be far reaching. His love for mankind is beyond words. I am praying your request as well as for Complete Healing for Joanne in His Name. Siesta from Bryan, Tx

melissa irwin

Dear Audrey,

As a mommy myself, I can confidently promise you that your momma is not concerned about the fight you had the night before her stroke. From the core of my being I can promise you that. You don't know me and this won't mean much, but I just had to say it. No matter what that argument was about and not matter what was said and what was done, your momma knows beyond all doubt that you love her and she knows that you are sorry for your part, and that she is sorry for hers. She knows that if you could erase that event, you would do it in a snap. Sounds like her thoughts are in there and that she is processing very well. She wants to be the momma. She wants to comfort you and she wants to encourage you in all the ways that you are wonderful. Sweet girl, don't worry about the yesterdays.... eat a little, be strong, and go into the tomorrows with faith, hope, love, strength and in God's power. James 1:12 "Blessed is the man (and young girl) who perseveres under trial, becasue when she has stood the test, she will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." Praying for you still!

Leah C

Praying for you & your girls...

Amy M. Fry

You're a very VERY wise father. Audrey and Emma are blessed beyond words to have been gifted to you and Joanne by God.

One word I didn't see here, Grief. I sense there's a bit of that going on as well; though it's really hard to recognize when the person you're grieving is alive and basically sitting right near you.

You will have a "new normal", though it sounds as though Joanne is going to make it farther back more quickly than Richard has. You did a fabulous job explaining stress to Audrey. The grief thing though? And I'm not expecting less from God than a TOTAL healing for Joanne!, there IS grief right now. Grief for what was "normal" just a short time ago, in your life, and in their young lives. I was a Grief Counselor for 6 YEARS and didn't recognize the symptoms in myself, after we got home to our new normal.
NOT telling you how or what to feel, think, or say. Just that it took a long time before someone said to me, "What you're going through is the grieving process" and suddenly everything I was feeling made total sense.
In my prayers ALWAYS,


I wish I could say something profound to make it all better and to give you comfort, but I really can't. All I can do is offer you my prayers and thoughts and to say that my heart aches for you all. Audrey is so blessed to have a Father like you that is so sensitive to her needs, and can communicate so well with her. That is so important to her, just to feel like she can talk about what is going on and that she is being heard. I will continue to pray for you, Joanne, Audrey and Emma. May God give you strength, courage and wisdom to deal with each new day that comes your way. Please give a big (((HUG))) to Joanne for me and tell her that I will always remember how encouraging she was to me through my blog.


You have such a beautiful family! Your daughter helping her mom and your open communications with your daughters is amazing!


Wow. So impressed with all that Audrey did for her mom. Simply amazing.
My family of 4 has been going through unemployment and living with in-laws for the last 7 months. It is nothing like what you all are going through but I do agree that trials such as these bring families closer. My 2 teen girls are doing without A LOT but they have stepped up and matured in ways we never dreamed. Audrey and Emma are sure to do the same.
Continued prayers for you all!


You are such an amazingly in-tune and empathetic father. Joanne and the girls are so lucky to have you during this tough time.

Kristi Walker

Praying for peace! His peace. Your family is on our hearts daily. We've never met, but we share so many things in common and God reminds us of you daily. As homeschooling parents, and parents who have loved each other most of our lives, as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, as a family who has suffered severe sickness together... Our thoughts and prayers are with your family, Toben, Joanne, Audrey and Emma. They will continue to be!

Ruthy ;o)

While Praying for Audrey this morning re guilt the Lord reminded me of an illustration that has been a great help to me...turn the guilt into a tennis ball.. and throw it back to Jesus.

With love and Blessings

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