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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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« School Update (Toben) | Main | Tears (Toben) »


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Hi Toben, I heard through Beth Moore's blog - a prayer request for Joanne - I was on my sofa with my laptop. It has been a privilege to pray for you all, plus meet your Mom here in Zurich. God bless


Beth Moore's blog

Bobbie Lutz

Toben, you're an amazing man and Joanne, Audrey and Emma are blessed to have you in their lives. Thank you for keeping those of us on-line informed and for giving us the privilege to pray for all of you.

I do remember where I was when I heard about Joanne's stoke--in bed, feeling sorry for myself b/c I had had shoulder surgery that was a little more than I had bargained for on Jan. 12th. When I heard about Joanne, God let me know that my feelings should be on the back burner and to join everyone else in praying for the healing of our precious Siesta! As I went thru physical therapy, I entered my clinic praying for the strength and courage to get through a session, always praying for Joanne and I to succeed together.

Wendy Schulz

I remember exactly where I was standing in our old house when I got a message from Janna - it was the first time I had fallen to my knees literally and begged God for mercy. I remember arriving at the hospital and Joanne's mom giving me a big hug and saying "nothing is lost in God's economy." She taught me more about faith in that hug than years of bible studies ever could. On a light note, the third thing I remember from that day is going back with Kristen to see Joanne and the two of us telling Joanne she had to wake up because her nurse was hot. Joanne did you ever get to meet him? He was adorable and so kind. One final thing I often think of was a few days later when I came to the hospital and things were dark, very dark, but Beth Moore had just called and left a message. I remember Audrey telling me and seeing a moment of happiness in her eyes. I often think of how special that call was. I love you all and have been praising God and praying for your family all day.

Holly Smith

You know I do...I was put face down for weeks. God woke me to pray at night (I don't easily wake at night, but for Joanne, YEAH, I will). I love you all and am so honored to have walked this journey with you on my knees and with a smile, right? Can't wait to see my friend on Tuesday!! Taking extra vitamins to keep her safe.

renee altson

i remember that when i found out i cried and cried and couldn't stop crying; and for a very long time, i thought about joanne & the rest of your family almost all the time. joanne had requested to be my friend on twitter, and i didn't know what to do.


Yes, I remember. I was sitting at my computer reading the blog and was shocked, to say the least. Joanne's blog was the first blog I had ever read. I got the blog address afte reading her book on simplicity. Praying for you all, especially for Audrey's adjustment and Joanne's peace and happiness. Blessings-Missi

Michelle from Australia

I think it was Angie Smith's blog that asked for prayers for Joanne. And I've been praying and following your journey since. Thank you for letting strangers like me journey with you. God Bless you all.

Dixie V

Hi Toben & Joanne,

I don't remember how I stumbled across your blog (it may have very well been at the time of Joanne's stroke and because of it), but I wanted to tell you an experience I had while praying for Joanne.

I often see things when I pray for people and I remember clearly praying for Joanne in bed one night in the first days after the stroke. Having only ever seen a picture of Joanne online, I saw a vision of her with a halo of soft light around her face with little lights twinkling in the light.

Somehow I knew she would make it through because of that beautiful soft light.

I trust the remembrances of this weekend will be one that draws you again to the only source of hope and comfort -- Jesus.


Angela, in England, posted in Facebook asking for prayer
for her friend in surgery. I replied, 'Praying.' And she replied that it was Joanne Friedenstein. I checked out your blog right away, was blessed by your marriage stories and by your testimony through the hard weeks in the hospital. Thank you for sharing your story.

Teri Lee

My oldest son never slept. That is very much not an exaggeration. :) I found this blog from some pumpkin tutorial Joanne posted once. I read the blog regularly through the nights, reading through old posts because I just connected to her. Joanne lives in a totally different area, is in a different phase of life, and has had a different life experience from me...but I felt this connection. One night, shushing my oldest to sleep in his crib, I read the post that announced Joanne's stroke, and I spent the rest of the night and following days in prayer for this sister I've never known face to face. At this time, my son regularly woke up every forty-five minutes, day and night. As I went to calm him, I would pray for Joanne, thinking that I could especially cover her in the night. I am grateful that we can still keep up with Joanne and her family as she works through these hard days. I am still praying as I read, now with my younger son (who thankfully sleeps more! :)). Thank you, for writing this blog. Thank you for the testimony of the Lord in your story. It brings me to worship and gives Him great glory.


I was just randomly checking Joanne's blog. I checked in once or twice a week, but hadn't for a couple of weeks due to the holidays. Your post was only up for hours when I checked! I felt like a family member had been injured and she went on my and my church's prayer list for a long time...still on mine. I'm such a fan of Joanne's writings and own all of her books. I bought several extra for my daughter's hope chest. Blah, blah, blah... I do go on! But just wanted you and your girls to know you remain in my prayers!

Carrie Adkins

As I was going through a very difficult time in my life, I read your and Ryan Dobson's book, Wrecked, and then for some reason, I was on the Family Talk website and saw a link for information about Joanne and recognized her name from the book so I clicked on the link and learned about her stroke. I started following her blog and then also her sister's blog and just praying often for Joanne as I followed your story. And through either Joanne's blog or her sister's, I read about Jesus Calling and it was amazing how so many times it seemed to be just what was needed that day for your situation and so I got the book for myself and now have many of my family and friends hooked on reading it. My mom and I keep a pile of them on hand and when someone is going through a tough time, we give them a copy of Jesus Calling as it has been so helpful to us.

Nicole Helman

I heard about Joanne's stroke through Marla Taviano's website. She had asked for prayer for her friend and had a link to her page. Since then I have prayed for your family and checked your blog often to see how things are going. I started getting disappointed when the blogging started slowing down, but remembered that your family has a life to live as well and that when there is something important to blog about, you will do so. I have also loved reading when Joanne has blogged. I purchased a couple of your books after browsing through your website Joanne, and I love your writing!
Prayers for your continued strength and healing, for the girls to grow into very strong Christians that will sustain them through their lifetime and for the strength and encouragement for Toben to continue to be a great support system for the entire family.


It was probably Holly's or Fran's or Becky Jo's facebook - and how thankful I am for technology that links those in Him who may never on this earth meet. I am forever thankful for the understanding that the privilege of praying for Jo and you all brought daily. Her need brought me to my knees like I've never been brought before - also a mom of 2 - 12 & 15 - a whole new aspect of faith. Still remember visiting the blog and watching the 3 girls recite from memory a Psalm. Continuing to read, pray and give thanks for your witness. (Hoping you brought the garden sign with you to storage for your new home.)


I was on Beth Moore's Blog when I heard about Joanne's stroke. Beth asked that we take the time to pray for her. Just doesn't seem like it's been that long ago. I have read your blogs ever since. I am 55 yrs. old and can't imagine what it would be like to have had a stroke at such a young age. I pray that God will give you peace of mind and that life does get better each and every day for the 4 of you. Just praying a lot for the 4 of you.

Kris H.

I was on another blog and they mentioned Joanne's stroke and asked for prayer. I clikced on the link to Joanne's blog and have been reading ever since. Many,many prayers have been said over the last 2 years for Joanne and you family. Many prayers continue to be said for you all!

Kim Feth

Toben, I was on Joanne's blog looking for the post about how much you love Pioneer Woman cinnamon rolls. I couldn't bring myself to try them until this year. My husband and son also ask about Joanne and the family on a regular basis.
You and your family are treasured!
Grace and Peace,
Kim Feth
Apex, NC


I was on Angie Smith's blog and she referenced Joanne's stroke so I went to the blog. I remember feeling so bad, I think she tweeted something about starting a fire the day before and I thought wow we never know what is going to happen, she had a normal day and then the next had a stroke. I do pray for all of you and still pray that some day Joanne will be able to run again. I am someone who really misses working out when some medical issues pop up but I never had to give it up completely for an extended time. Your strength always amazes me. Continued prayer for all of you.


Beth Moore's blog. Sitting right here at my computer. Thinking "Oh, No! Pray, Pray, Pray! So young!" and I've been here for every blog in that 2 years! Cheering and crying with you and your special family as you adjust and accept the 'new normal.' And loving you every step of the way for your honesty and grace.


Toben, I have met your parents, little sister and Audrey at Whitworth parents weekend. Someday I hope to meet you & Joanne in person too! I pray for your family daily. I had just discovered The Simple Wife blog the week the stroke happened. I think everyone grappled with-Why Lord? I was in Glen Ellyn, IL at the time getting ready to bring my daughter back to Washington State to finish high school because she was so miserable. (I pray especially hard for Audrey adjusting to new schools...) The past two years have had a lot of challenges and changes for our family but your posts are always teaching me and keeping things in perspective;God & family is what matters most. Thank you for your faithfulness; to God & your wife. He is using you in a mighty way! Praying blessings & peace for your sweet family.


I had not read Joanne's blog, but I heard her story of the stroke on other blogs, and from my daughter who also blogs. I read Joanne's story and started praying for her. I was so glad when she got to finally go home. I prayed for all of you, and my heart broke for all you were going through.

Now a days I come and visit when I get an email update, and always hope to hear of some improvements. I am still praying and wishing you all blessings from above!


Sandi in MN

I was on Beth Moore's blog when the post came up about Joanne's stroke. I started praying then. I remember driving down a country road one afternoon a few days after the stroke, I couldn't get Joanne off my mind. I prayed like crazy asking God for a miracle. When I checked the blog, that was the day her swelling and pressure was really high. So know that God was gathering prayer warriors that day to pray for her. Your Joanne, someone I've never met but felt compassion for. I also joined an on-line group of women, some who knew her and some(like me) who didn't who prayed in a live webinar for her every week for a long time. I feel blessed to have been a part of that and can't wait to meet my sister in Christ one day.


I was on Angie Smith's blog when I heard about the stroke. I remember being so afraid and pessimistic about Joanne's recovery. Each time I read updates I would pray and rejoice.


I was at my kitchen table, checking the blog and the post I saw was the second one (I think) after the stroke. I don't remember the title of it, but I thought it was Joanne writing about having messed up with one of the girls. As I kept reading, I was in shock to find that she had had a stroke and I went back to read the first post about it.

Kelly S

Joanne's blog was my entry into reading blogs - that was six or seven years ago now, and I can't imagine my world without blogs! I had loved Living Simply and was saddened to read the last page... thankfully, she included that little url and another world was opened to me - like a book that never ends! I was a college student and my "treat" after finishing my homework for the day was to read a month or two of the blog archives.

Anyways, I had been a longtime fan of her blog when I opened my google reader the night of her stroke on our iPad and saw the post on this blog and on Marla Taviano's blog too (I had started reading Marla's blog through Joanne). I remember being shocked and turning to my husband and we prayed for y'all, and kept praying in the days to come.

Thanks for the blessing your whole family has been to so many. Thanks, Toben, for continuing with blog posts - it's a treat to read your words. I'm sure Joanne probably struggles at times with feeling like she's not making much of a difference these days, but I hope she realizes that she has made SUCH a difference in inspiring and teaching so many!

Child of God

Hi Toben,
I had heard about Joanne's need from another blog that I follow and I have been praying and praying for the past 2 years and haven't stopped yet and do don't plan to stop anytime soon.

Continuing to press in with prayer.


I had been a regular reader of Joanne's blog for a few years and recommended it to friends. I have one of her books, (was thrilled to discover she'd autographed it when I received it) and checked in every week or so to see what was new. I remember reading the blog post about the stroke the day after and felt like it had happened to a friend (who I'd never met). I was just shocked. And cried and prayed. I'm glad you've kept up the blog. I still check regularly and pray for your family.

Laura Russell

I found your blog thorough Beth Moore and I've followed your story ever since. You and your family have been such an encouragement to me and more about the body of Christ...Prayers to you and your family.


I learned about the stroke from Grounded...

Pam Houston

I was on Beth Moore's Living Proof Blogsite on 1/11/11 and thus began my intercessory journey and prayer assignment for you, your Joanne and all the family. Prayer was mobilized and "globalized" thanks to the wonder of Internet. I shall never forget Audrey coming on the LPM blogsite and asking for a miracle for her Mother. Sometimes miracles come in suprizing packages! I had been on Joanne's blog and had written down a scripture from Joanne to help me in my journey before the stroke happened: "We are going to love - love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first." 1 John 4:19 (The Message). I had just began the daunting task of "trying" to memorize the whole of Psalms 139 for the year 2011. I couldn't lay hold of it by memory to my satisfaction, so I am now working it again this year for the year 2013 and the Siesta Scripture Memory Team. So, I've been brought back to 1-11-11 by the Spirit, and with those memories and reflection on the past two years, I can say "we are nearer now than when we first believed..." We've cried out, we've confessed, we've consented to the Living God! Your story has been real, raw and tear-streaked, but this one thing I know: Had the eye no tear, the soul would not know the rainbow! Praise God for the courage to carry on, to live and to love the life you have been given with your beautiful Joanne, your two daughters and your parents. I praise God for His awesome grace that has brought you all this far by faith, and will continue until we can say with the Psalmist: "Search me O God and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts, and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting..." Psalms 139:23-24
A So.Cal Siesta,
Pam Houston><>


I heard about it through Grounded

Meisha H.

Hi Toben!! Yes, I was home. I had just logged on to Beth Moore's blog, for the first time. The first post was a prayer request asking everyone to pray for Joanne.
It’s amazing to think back over my life for the last two years and see how far this blog has catapulted my growth in Christ. Through your prayer/praise requests; I've learned how to trust Him, Communicate with Him and seek Him in all that I do!! Wow, a real AHA moment! Thank you for always sharing!!


I read about Joanne on Beth Moore's blog and followed every grueling prayer-filled post during those first weeks and months. I check in regularly now, and continue to pray for you and your girls. God be glorified today!

Leslie P.

I'm reading back through the posts, trying to get caught up on Joanne's status. Just was thinking of her this morning, and praying for you all. I remember where I was. I was at work at Kregel Publications. Christine Beebe e-mailed me to let me know what had happened, since I hadn't hopped on social media yet that morning. We all prayed for Joanne's life and recovery.

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