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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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« Father Knows Best | Main | The New Normal? »


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holly smith

Praying, my Brother. Know that. Every day. Every hour even. God will make the way smooth. He is very much with you all!!


Peace and love and patience and strength and all that you all need to work through this time.

Angela Hall ( England)

I hate grief its a journey that sucks and the stage your in must feel like a deep bog my dear friend who has walked with me through grief three times gave me the childrens book were going on a bear hunt!! I guess you will have read it t o your girls but they come to a bog and they cant get over it they cant get round it they just have to get through it just like pigging grief. I am so sad typing this cos i wish you all didnt have to go through it but God has trusted you with it we dont know why just wish we could see things through his eyes.
love you all
Angela xx


I met a woman today at work. I mentioned my husband having had a stroke and she told me of a book called "My Stroke Of Insight" They have a web site too. We spoke at length about how a stroke changes not just the survivor, but the family as well. I thought of you, Joanne and the girls.
I'm praying for you all, Toben. Remember, you all are loved by the Lord.

Sara G

Think of you all often and praying. It takes time to get used to being at home along with all the processes emotionally and physically. When I came home from the hospital after having stroke there were so many changes but it does get better. The more Joanne and you do things together along with her therapy at home, the more she will learn to manage doing on her own. I believe. There are so many things I could say because of my own journey. My husband and I had to make things work and even through this journey change happens. I am more independent on some things and now after 1 1/2 years we feel and act a little more natural. Keep doing things together, listening to each other and praying together. Also do take some time out for you to process your thoughts and spend with the Lord on your feelings. Love you all, many blessings!! Sara G


I'm so thankful for the wise and loving comments made by you and your prayer partners. "And we are praying, too, that you will be filled with His mighty glorious strength so that you can keep going no matter what happens, always full of the joy of the Lord and always thankful to the Father." Col. 1: 11


Prayers are with you all. As I read your post two thoughts continued to come to me.

First, in my experience, although I would like the grief process to be a straight line (through each stage once) I have found it to be a back and forth process. In one stage then back in the last a bit and then forward again......However, each time I went back to a stage I was able to sit with the pain and experience more of it each time...thus healing at deeper and deeper levels. As one professional told me, unfortunately, you have to feel the pain to heal it.

Secondly, While this is difficult for the girls, there will be good come for it as well. I experienced the significant illness of my father at age 10. Believe it or not, today I remember that time as probably the most signficant and most POSITIVE time in my life. To this day I see that as time when I gained so very much.

I pray for you all and especially for God to bless you Toben with a special level of emotional healing during this time of complex sadness you are walking through. While I know our Father will walk with you and carry you through this....I so wish we all out here in cyber world could link arms and pick you all up and carry you through this valley.

Kathy Rivera

Thank you for your open heart. We will be alongside in prayer. Remember that the daily mercy of Lamentations 3 is doled out individually to each of you. As the father/ primary caretaker, you do not have to share your supply of mercy with the others. God has entrusted this trial to each of you, at this exact stage in your life. Grace is appointed along with the struggles as His Enabling power. You are making 'pilgrim's progress' right on schedule. You are all loved by all of us who walk with you in prayer.
Kathy in Idaho


Thank you for sharing honestly where things are for you. I continue to pray for you, Joanne, the girls, and the extended family. You need to go through the sadness and the anger. You all have a "new life", one maybe that wasn't asked for or planned, but new for this season of life. I know that it's not easy. I also appreciated Joanne's father's post before. We don't always get the answers to the "whys" of trials and suffering, at least on this side of heaven. But we can CHOOSE to trust God's character and love for us through it. I know what you are going through--I have been through it also in some ways. Two years ago, I became paralyzed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome (a rare viral infection of the nervous system). I had to be hospitalized for weeks also and learn how to walk, bathe, eat, etc. It was a scarey time for us too. I studeid Job a lot during that time, and one verse really spoke to me through it: "Yet He knows the way I have taken, when He has tested me, I will emerge as pure gold." Job 23:10 That became my prayer, that through all of the trial, pain, therapies, my faith would become pure gold and I would be a witness for Christ through such a trial. I hope this encourages you too.
Know that many of us are lifting you all up in prayer. As hard as it is, each new day brings lliterally, new steps for Joanne.
Becky, Colorado


I've been following your blog and praying for you both. Your post today really moved me. I can imagine how sad you both are at times. This event happened to you too Toben. Your life has drastically changed also. We will keep you both in prayer. Keep pressing on . . .


I can feel the emotion in this post, and it so touches me. So sorry that you are in the sad phase, as that is harder to deal with than the angry phase, I believe. Things happen health wise, that change the aspects of marriage, and many times very hard to deal with. There is sadness, a grief over something that was, then the guilt of feeling the way we do.
Praying for you both, and the girls...


Praying for your sweet family tonight.


Praying Toben that the sadness goes away and comes with a peace of mind. Everything happens for a reason and we might not know why Joanne had to have her life turned upside down in this life. Praying for all of you.

Steve Lambert

I've never met either of you, but heard about you through a friend and I've been prayerfully following your story since January 12th. My wife's aunt had a nearly identical stroke with a nearly identical outcome at around age 40. She had been a busy, physical therapist and suddenly her life changed. She and her husband lived a rich, full life together until her passing at age 75. It was a combination of their faith, but perhaps even more importantly their sense of humor that helped them make the most of those next 35 years. They traveled, enjoyed friends, loved wonderful food and loved each other. Easy? No. What they would have chosen? No. But she had a life worth living and they made the most of it despite her limitations. My prayer would be for Joanne's complete healing- but if that doesn't happen, then my prayer is for a full and rich life, filled with joy and humor and companionship. Thank you for sharing.

Child of God

You have had to be strong for so long, it was only a matter of time before it hit. It's ok, there are lots of people praying for you. I think you have been doing an amazing job!

Praying and praying for you all brother,


Toben and Joann, so glad to be hearing from you this quiet Sunday afternoon. Yes, the sadness has to come, doesn't it? And you probably have lots more 'unpacking' to do in your thoughts and with your mentors/advisors/friends/wife/kids before there is much clarity. You've had so much else to focus on.

Prayers still being lifted daily for your journey together. Healing, peace, joy!

Esther in Queen Creek, Az

Toben, until we are resting in Jesus arms face to face, we will not understand all that God has allowed in our lives. I can understand your great sadness for all that has happened and changed in all of your lives, but only God knows the reasons. As you said, you and Joanne are "knit" together and you just can't pop in and out, and so you slow down and appreciate the little things, accomplishments going on. Rest in that, my friend and know that God loves you all and that there are many people, whom you have never met that pray for you and Joanne and your girls on a daily basis. Maybe some of those people have not uttered a pray for years and maybe some of those praying have grown so much closer to our God, just by reading and praying for your family.


Dear Sir,

I just want to encourage you. My three daughters have had to go through a similar experience to what your two daughters are going through now.

Four years later I can tell you that our daughters are now more compassionate, more helpful, and more self sufficient because of my illness. I remember being so sad and frightened that my disability would harm them, but quite the opposite has occurred. I'm so proud of them. Now we thank God for all He has done for them and through them since, and even because of, the onset of my illness.

Give your children to Him (over and over). He will use this painful and very difficult time to increase their faith in Christ Jesus.

Praying for you still,



The Lord bless you and keep you and make His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you. I will continue to pray for all of you.

Margie Smallman

Toben and Joanne, your precious tears are collected and noted by God. Cry when you need to. I think they're a gift from Him so we don't explode!

I pray every day for all of you as you continue through the muck of the stroke's aftermath. Only God knows how best to comfort and sustain us when we need the mystery of His grace to be as real as concrete.



Thirteen years ago at the age of 21, I lost my husband to a car accident and my 5 month old baby boy suffered a brain injury on the right side, similar to Joanne. The cool thing for you and Joanne is that the brain can rewire itself to compensate a lot. With my son, it was explained to me by many professionals that it is harder to rewire the brain when the brain had not yet formed those connections since he was so young. At 13 now, he does not talk, is still in diapers and always will be, walks with a leg brace, and is developmentally in the 12-18 month range. He can nod "yes" or push something away for "no", he can point and reach for things, feed himself, cry, scream and has traits of autism like banging his head, kicking the wall, etc.

As for the grief part, as someone else said, it is two steps forward and one step back. In my experience, let yourself feel it as much as you are able and be HONEST with yourself and those who truly care to hear how you feel, and don't stuff it down and pretend it's ok. That will only make the journey longer. I read once that tears of grief have a different chemical make-up than tears of pain or anger. There is a true cleansing of the body taking place. Know that it's okay to feel what you feel, to get a break when you need it and do something just for yourself - if you don't take care of you, who will care for Joanne and the girls? God will give you the grace you need for the step you are on, and that's all He expects of you. I used to think I had to do it all for my son, and others had their expectations of me doing more and more for him, but I got burned out and depressed, and finally realized that what I was doing WAS enough.

My prayers are with you and Joanne, and I pray this journey only makes you both stronger in your relationship with the Lord and with each other.

Kim Feth

We are continuing to pray for Joanne, you, the girls, and your entire family! One of our prayers is that Joanne recover so completely that all of the medical staff are amazed and realize that they can only give God the credit! We will add these requests.
Kim Feth
Apex, NC

Jennifer Lo

Aloha Joanne [& Heims & family],

Your blog entries through this time of difficulty has been such a blessing to me. I came upon it through Grounded with Ryan and Toben, just before the stroke happened and have been following ever since, though largely quietly.

I am going through a difficult part of my faith, where I feel abandoned by even Christian friends and so hearing and seeing about the support that people of all faith journies have been giving you has been strengthening me as I don't have the same support.

Also, I have recently suffered a mishap with my knee. The doctor thinks there is some nerve damage. Minor compared to what Joanne is facing, though now I have some, maybe a 100th of Joanne, the frustration and discouraged sense when I try to bend my ankle all the way or my knee and it starts to hurt.

I didn't mean to write so much, but wanted to be of some encouragement if I could- PLEASE continue to write and work out the recovery and THANK YOU so much for your faith through all of this.

May God truly bless you,

Brian Elder

Continuing to lift all of you up in my prayers!

B. Elder


May you sink into your grief - be with it, get to know it, let it sit with you at the dinner table, and next to you in church. And then, one day you will look and you will be surprised that the grief had changed into something softer, something that is now a part of you, of your lives together. And that will be ok.


I don't have words of wisdom here - my thoughts are that you are very wise to acknowledge what you are feeling. This honestly will allow you to cope and move forward.

Prayers from Connecticut -


Continuous prayers as you all go through this journey together. Joanne's progress in healing, your sharing of this journey, the family's growth as they all learn to live well with the new adventures they face daily are all blessings from God. The emotional roller coaster is sometimes so hard to be on but be still and KNOW that He is God. Know that you are all loved so very much!

Cynthia Herron

Toben, I am continuing to pray for you and Joanne. Since first hearing your story months ago, I have lifted your names in prayer, and I will continue to do so. The sadness you're experiencing is so normal (and necessary) to move toward the next stage...acceptance. We lived in and out of hospitals for years with a chronically ill child. Sadness becomes an overwhelming pit if we allow it. (Not that we don't have every right!) Ultimately, our child was healed. Not in the way we'd planned, dreamed, or hoped but in God's divine way that best uses the talents God gave our child. When all is said and done, Joanne will rise higher, better, and stronger than she ever dreamed--and you, Joanne, and your precious girls will finally be able to see beauty for ashes. Keep the faith!

heidi carrico

praying for you as Satan wiggles his way into your life. Trusting God to bring you out of the gloom and allow you to see the joy that awaits you. Hang in there big guy! Change isnt easy, but love how you say you and joanne are knit together and more of a team now. Precious.
Life continues to be unfair, full of struggles, but praise God we dont have to be perfect to receive peace and joy that only comes packaged with care from Heaven. Praying you embrace it and know God will see you through this storm.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you;not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid.

11 Tim 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love and of a sound mind.

One more thing..just the other day... I was encouraged and lifted up by a compassionate 2nd grader. I was helping in our 2nd grade classroom in VBS when one certain little girl came up to me and wanted to talk to me. I took her out into the hall, very curious what that child would have to say. Keep in mind, Im a deaf woman, with completely dead ears and am fortunate to be able to lipread(precious gift from God from the moment God allowed my hearing to slip away at the young age of 5).
Anyways, I was praying as I took her outside that I would understand her. I asked her what she wanted to share with me, instantly, that precious girl covered her mouth to keep from quivering. She said,' I just feel so bad for you.'
Talk about a touched heart. She cared enough to share her compassionate heart with me. God bless that child... I told her not to be sad or sorry becasue God is all I will ever need and HE is everything to me. I pray I can continue shining/sharing that joy that comes with knowign Jesus in the midst of my hearing loss.
I share this with you because, deep down inside I feel like that little girl... wanting to hug you and Joanne and share my thoughts. Wanna encourage you along... hang in there. Joy cometh....sorrow will fade away...

Blessings from our home,
Heidi Carrico

[email protected]

would love to email joanne if she is ever up to it. would mean the world to be in touch with her.:)


Hi Toben and Jo!
It fills me with joy to hear that you are functioning as a unit. That is such a blessing. I will certainly be praying for you all still. Just a moment ago while praying I saw what looked like 2 stones rubbing back and forth together, and with each passing, they seemed to slide more smoothly. One was very bright. I don't know if that means anything to you, but if it does, I'm happy to share it.
Blessings on you and your lovely family.


I understand very much your sadness. I mentioned previously that I faced a potentially fatal illness earlier this year followed by a long recovery. In fact just this past week got the thumbs up that all is in normal range. I wish "normal range" for your family too as soon as possible.

I did not hit the depression phase of dealing with my illness until I was well on my way to healing. In the beginning you're just trying to stay alive - no room for anything else. Then you're totally focused on getting well - medicines, treatments, adjusting to new normal, etc. It seems like the more you physically recover the more the emotional side takes over and you start going through all the feelings of what has happened, what's to be learned, and asking why, why, why?

I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to feel grateful we or our loved one is alive and are getting better rather than all the emotions that come rumbling up some days and seeping in other days.

I am certain with time this too shall pass, but I didn't try to rush through it. I did try not to let it get too heavy or to sink in too deep without taking some action: talking to someone close to me or just trying to find something inspiring to read. I remember being very affected by the post-illness depression for a while, but I realized while writing this that I have not felt it for a long time. It has gone esp. since a great report from doctor's last week.

You have been blessed to come this far and you will continue to be blessed and helped. There are plenty of us out in the world who can relate in one way or another to your experiences and stand by you, pray for you and send good wishes. Hang in there beautifully & with an inspired heart as you all have thus far. It's summer, a beautiful time to heal.

Kathy @ In Quiet Places

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Eccl. 3:11

This verse is such a comfort to me when I need patience, grace, and peace (as you have asked us to pray for in your situation) as I purposefully choose to trust this truth that He is making something beautiful out of those things I can't understand and don't see answers.

Joining with the prayers of others on your behalf,

Kathy, in Dallas

A Speckled Trout

Toben & Joanne.....I stumbled upon your blog by accident when your lives took a dramatic turn. Your honesty through the ups and downs is what I've come to appreciate whenever I've read your postings. Sadness and grief are what they are and you will be who you are through it all. If I could box up PEACE and put a bow on it for you I would. In the meantime, people who's faces you will never know are rooting for you and take nothing for granted since you began to share this rocky road. My gratitude for writing about this in such an eloquent way.

Karen Booker Schelhaas

I keep up with your updates religiously, and appreciate you taking the time to post them. Today, maybe more than ever, I'm deeply moved. I've always found that the quiet moments after a crisis are often the hardest -- when everyone else has returned to their lives and you're left to process and sort through it all. Praying, old friends. This is hard. Flat out hard.

Lana D

Dear Joanne and Toben,
Wow. We have been praying for you all since this started and still continue to blog followers are faithful to always ask and tell me they are still praying too.
Toben, you are allowed to feel crummy.mad.sad.
Let me just tell you when you do, God isn't surprised, hurt or angry that you are in those different places at any given time...and He can take it. Just go with it!
Joanne, sweet girl, this is just a passage of more, no less...and you will be back soon. I would encourage you to write on your blog again...we would all love to see you here...and it's a start...I look forward with great anticipation until you do. :)
Still praying in Sugar Land, TX (all 136 + of us)


I am still praying!
2 Thessalonians 2:16
"May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father,
who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement
and good hope,
Encourage your hearts and strengthen you
in every good deed and word."
In Jesus' name I pray for you!!


Hope you had a nice week. sorry to hear about your cat hope it is back by now. sure do miss your up dates. I hope you have a great summer with the family and that you all find peace and joy in little ways. Your Maine friend Rena cares.

Lisa Brooks

Happy Father's Day friend. I hope you realize the amazing love and commitment you are modeling for your daughters. They will never settle for anyone less than they kind of man you are now...that is great!

Love to you all. Your dedication uplifts me when I am sad. Not that you are intending it, but I feel it anyway and am enamored of the idea that such a man still exists in the world.

Sorry for your sadness lately. I thought your inflexibility was kind of ironic. You've had to be the most flexible person (metaphorically) lately than anyone you or I will ever know; except Joanne of course.

Enjoy your day. All of us Brookses think of you often and pray.

Lisa Brooks


Happy Father's Day Toben and Joanne's Dad Mr.Chuck. Your love for your daughters Audrey and Emma in the case of Toben and Joanne in the case of Chuck shines through. You model the Heavenly Father's love just by being the men you are.



Know what a BUSY life you have going on right now, but could someone Please post if there are any needed Prayer Request we could be praying for all of you?

Thank you so much.

Keep Holding His Hand,

Shannon Primicerio

I haven't commented on here recently, but I have been faithfully praying for continued progress and healing for Joanne and for continued grace and strength for all of you. I just wanted to stop by and let you know that you aren't forgotten and people are still praying! Many blessings to you.

Psalm 73:26


I have just finished reading Joannes book, Living Simply, for the second time. I only noticed the blog address last night. I am deeply saddened by this bombshell that has hit your family. Joanne wrote with such vulnerabilty and transparency that i feel I know you all. I will hold your prayer requests in my heart and wait to hear further from you.

Cape Town
South Africa

Karin Hansen

I just heard your interview on You will be in my prayers and I know Jesus will do the miracle and raise you up and that you will recover completely The days of miracles are not passed and Jesus is the same yesterday today and forever. For the passed year my husband and I have started a healing ministry after many years working as missionaries What changed our whole perspective on healing is this website along with seminars like this I urge you please take time to listen to this as it will give you so much more faith for the Lord to restore you completely.
We come before you Jesus and command stroke to GO! NOW! and Joanne's body to line up to your word. We command LIFE into Joanne's body and mind and a full recovery! NOW! In the Name of Jesus! Amen!


You have been so missed hope you have a nicer weekend some how. your Maine friend Rena

Michal Ann

Checking in, still praying. I keep a charm bracelet in view as a little reminder.

Bless your precious hearts!

Happy Heart

You were prayed for this afternoon. May the LORD give you strength and courage as you walk this journey today. One day at a time :)

Blessings from Georgia

Mary & Kevin McKee

Toben and Joanne. I sign on here almost daily to check on you 4. We too have experienced twists and turns in our earthly journey that we didn't expect and quite frankly (for us anyway) didn't want. Kevin and I were so honored to be a part of your lives many years ago and are honored again to be in prayer for you. Thankfulness in the hardest parts of our journey are what have gotten us through. Thanking God for the stuff we didn't want somehow gives Him responsibility for it and also responsibility to REDEEM it. He will, he promises. Thank you for being REAL in Joanne's blog, she would want nothing less. Your vulnerability is an example and blessing to all who come across it's path. love, Mary & Kevin

michele reising

Hi! I saw your button on Blog sugar and just read Joannes story. Im also a young woman and have had 2 major strokes and 5 TIA's, so I know how it feels and it can be lonely because most stroke patients are elderly. I want to encourage Joanne in anyway I can and its a process and if she wants to talk or anything please let her know Im here and Im also a believer and if it were not for God Im not sure where Id be! I also have an implanted device from medtronic because my last stroke caused my bladder and colon to stop working. Anyway I just want to say your an awesome husband and God will bless you for your love and care for Joanne!
Let me know if I can do anything and hope she contacts me.
Be Blessed,
Michele Reising my email is [email protected]
facebook is michele reising

Teresa Wenske

I am home most of the time too due to my health. I had cancer and after my diabetes and neuopathy grew much worse.

Becky K.

Joanne and Toben...

I think you need to shake it up a little and enter my little give away at Hospitality Lane.

Today and Tomorrow only. It is a French Lavender Soy candle.....made by me!

I was so happy to see on twitter that Pumpkin has been spotted. Yep, you'll get that kitty back in the house.

Lana D

Dear Joanne,
You have been on my heart all week...I hope you are still fighting...don't give up.

you too Toben...

Still praying in Sugar Land, TX

Melanie J.

We are drawn to comment, when we are touched by a blog. I have no words regarding this particular post, except to say that you have a new person sending strength and prayers toward your family.

I came upon this blog rather organically, the way you see a link on another person's blog and that takes you to 3 more...then I trolled the archives of your last 6 months. And then I came across the marriage end of the blog, and the light it shines on your past difficulties. I have a lithium deficiency, so I empathize; and I'm blown away by the strength of faith and family that has assisted you and your girls in this crisis. My own faith is in flux, and as I find a unitarian approach that fits my beliefs, I'm buoyed by the strength of faith on this blog. Thank you so much for the updates as Joanne continues to heal.

Know you are loved by people both near and far. You are an amazingly strong woman and very blessed, and your words are stirring a faith inside me that I'd tossed away awhile back. Trolling your archives is reacquainting me with the Word in a manner that has me itching to read more (and I'm a Jan Karon reader, in spite of my paganism, so the fact that Father Tim's delightful exploits couldn't awaken that in me is something to note). Even bought a KJV Bible this week! Thank you so much, dear lady. Sending virtual hugs from FL,
Melanie J.


Miss hearing about you guys, but know that this is a busy and trying time for you all. I am praying daily for strength and encouragement for you all.

Have a blessed day!

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