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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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Bunny Vance

What a beautiful post. Wishing you and yours a very Merry and Blessed Christmas. I have followed you since before your stroke and you are such an inspiration to me.


Sweet friend. Praying that God overwhelmes you this Christmas. You are loved and prayed for!!


Sis Kristen

I love you sis. I can't stop crying for how beautiful this is. I am so weary of hurting and yet it is nothing compared to what you feel. You are so gifted, so beautiful and my hero. Christmas is our favorite time of year but now it is also the hardest. I am honored that we will be together and I'm honored to serve and love on you. Yes, Christmas is not as it used to be but it is a new season. A chance for God to teach us new, but hard, things. Keep writing Jo. WELCOME BACK.

Steve Lambert

Joanne- Thank you for a breathtakingly transparent post that offers insights and thoughts to ponder that would never have been available to you or to those who read your post had you been on your feet and busily "Martha-ing" instead of "Mary-ing". It's a "Mary Christmas" this year it seems. THANK YOU for sharing. Do I wish you could turn back the clock and Martha busily about this Christmas serving others and giving on both feet? Of course I do! But since that isn't happening, I am beyond thankful that you've taken time to reflect on your Mary-Christmas and shared your thoughts with the rest of us. As I've told you before- you have LOTS to share- even in the midst of sadness and suffering. Merry Christmas!

Kim Feth

Balance may never come in the grace, but I wish you peace and rest in the grace.

Merry Christmas, my friend.
Kim Feth
Apex, NC

Jennifer White

Thank you for being raw and honest and so real, Joanne. Your words, your experience is guiding us to receive Him. You are precious, so precious in His sight and mine. Much love and BIG hugs!

kimber fenili

May you receive amazing GRACE from our Lord and Savior this holiday season. Know that you do give so much to all of us that keep you in our prayers. To see your post is such a blessing.

Thank and Merry Christmas!!

love, kimber

Dr. Michelle Bengtson

Joanne, our relationship with God is always an unbalanced one, and your post was a beautiful reminder of a picture of grace. I'm praying you will be able to rest in Him this Christmas and know that it is enough.

Norma Hill

My heart aches for you . Thank you for your post. I pray this can be a Merry Christmas because we know our Saviour and that HE cares for us.


Joanne, thank you for being so open and vulnerable. As a Christian you probably know and feel that in God's eyes no being is too small or too unimportant or broken to be deserving of his love. Every being is complete and wonderful in his eyes. So, you are, too. Just the way you are.

Yes, you lost much and you mourn. But this is a new you, a new life, and you are complete. You have different things to give today, maybe you are still looking for them.

merry Christmas!

Marla Taviano

I love you so much, friend. This post moved me so deeply. And then Kristen's comment. Sigh. WELCOME BACK indeed. I know things are still so hard (and maybe even getting harder in some cases). But we need you. Your writing is a way to give again. I've been so blessed by it today. Praying God just rocks your world with peace and joy this Christmas. xoxoxoxo


Your post fed my soul; thank you, Joanne.

Erin Soriano

Dearest Joanne, thank you for your honesty. I am praying that your time with your Mom, Dad and Sisters family will be a positive and rejuvenating time for you. As for you not being able to give this Christmas...that is not can give in so many ways and you do! Giving is not always a tangible thing. You give your family love and so much joy by just being you and being there and being alive. People love you for who you are, and not for what you can do for them or give them. I hope that makes sense my dear sweet Joanne. You have touched all our lives in such a profound way and I thank God that I have the honor of knowing you. Many Christmas blessings and much love to you and your family.


Thank you for this gift, Joanne. For your perspective, and for the grace you give on to us by writing. Much love to you. Merry Christmas.


Joanne, you may have trouble typing but your writing is excellent! I've only been coming here since your stroke so I haven't read many of YOUR posts on YOUR blog. You have an ability to say simply what so many of us feel. Thank you for that. You have given me a gift. Merry Christmas.

Suzanne Lautaret

Thank you for sharing your heart. Remember that blessings come to those who joyously serve you, so think about all the blessings being bestowed on your behalf. I know that's not easy.

I am going through a difficult time this year too. I bought no gifts for my grown children, and really shouldn't have charged a credit card to give a little something to my grandchildren and my sister's grandchildren (I lost my sister to an overdose in August).

It's been very humbling to have to be poor, when I used to be the one with plenty of money. But that's just how it is this year.

You have been such an inspiration to others. Thank you again, and God bless you!


As I have told you before, I love to read ANYTHING you write! I never fully get it the first time, so I drink slowly a couple of more times. Your presence is your present! I know it's hard to receive those tangible gifts without giving back! Why not give them each a letter dictated by you? That would be the best gift in the world! The BEST! I will write you more after Christmas, but please know you are loved and prayed for all over the globe


Oh how I feel for you and your family Joanne... I am sure that you have so much to give others, even if you don't fully know what right now. Hugs to you my blogging friend....


Joanne thanks for writing,I think of you often and I pray god shows you what a blessing you are to people you don't even know. I am like you this year not able to give my grown children material gifts but our family will be together,and that means more than anything!! Keep writing Joanne and i will keep praying for you. God has you here where you are for a reason don't lose hope and just keep trusting in his word..Love to you and your family Merry Christmas! Anita


Such a lovely and heartfelt post. Praying that you receive with joy this Christmas until you are filled to overflowing.


Echoing those above, you are the gift. Learning about rest and grace has to be so tough. Sorry you can't all be together. Bless you all. Prayers from Zurich.


I read your beautiful post last night and now on this Christmas morning you came to my mind the minute I opened my eyes. My husband and I prayed for you all just a moment ago. As I wait for the young sleepers to awake, here is a Merry Christmas message to you from Canada! I have never met you, Joanne, and only started following your blog at the time of your stroke but please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers frequently. You're such a gifted writer. Thank you for including us in your journey ... may God bless you with a powerful sense of His presence and strength today.

Bobbi're BACK! Praying you are filled to overflowing this Christmas as you allow yourself grace from your family and God. It's specially intended for you. I smiled that you lay there "noodling" out an answer...and I thought, "There's my Jo's voice! Yes! She's thinking it out with God!" I know things are far from figured out...and sometimes we can't see the forest for the trees...I'm guessing this road is getting harder in some ways...but I love you...God IS ABLE...and I'm praying!! It's the most powerful thing I can offer you this Christmas!

Charlotte Moore

A very touching post. So sorry your not able to be with your husband and children today. Sometimes things have to be different for one reason or another.



Julie Christian

Thank you Joanne. This has been such a hard journey. One of pain, loss, and unbearable stripping. I see that. Being weak and needy is so. very. hard. But I believe you are tasting the true goodness of the grace of Jesus that you could not have known any other way. His heart is for you Joanne. Even when you don't feel it or can't believe it. Your gift is to write. Share the depth of how you are tasting what you used to know in knowledge, but have now rested in by experience. You have so much to offer. Choose life.
1 I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
and he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
and steadied me as I walked along.
3 He has given me a new song to sing,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
They will put their trust in the Lord. Ps. 40:1-3
Held by Him, Julie Christian


Beautifully written. Please keep writing, Jo. You have a gift with words and sharing experiences. I feel like you gave me something very special to consider today.Thank you for that. Much love to you...


your voice comes thru strong. your words beautiful. thank you for the reminder that being able to cook and wrap and make the house pretty and have a lot of people over to celebrate -- that in doing these things that may have made me a bit grumpy I am lucky. And fortunate.


Hope you had a very Merry Christmas despite all that is going on in your life. I hope that you keep writing on your blog because you are such an inspiration to all of us.

Take care Joanne!


Joanne, your transparency in your feelings this year make easier to "feel" your pain and your grief....and yes, your season of waiting and simply being. My heart lifts up you, atonement, and the girls! You all are courageously facing the future with your heart open and in supplication for what HE wants for you!

Erin Koss

Joanne - Thank you for so humbly capturing the gift of the season. I imagine the loss is so so great this time of year and yet a glass fuller than empty was found. Blessings to you and your family. Sincerely, Erin Koss


Maybe Mary wanted to serve and be useful, but she needed to be sitting at Jesus' feet, feeding on the gifts He gave her soul. Thank you for sharing, Joanne!!! God HAS gifted you with words and a heart for people!!! You have shared SO much with us through your words and hurts. We are praying for you at this time - that God will BE EVERYTHING you need at this time. We know He is, but praying that you will feel this completely! God be with your family, too. Do have a Mary Christmas!!! Trusting you and your sis and parents have a wonderful memory-filling time together! Hugs to you!!! God sustain you.
LOVE many of the comments here, and agree. God IS a Very Present Help in time of trouble - therefore we WILL (a choice) NOT fear ... even if (whatever .........)


On His Blindness

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodg'd with me useless,
though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide,
"Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?"
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies:
"God doth not need Either man's work
or his own gifts:
who best bear his mild yoke,
they serve him best.
His state is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed
And post o'er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait."
John Milton


Joanne - You are the first blogger I ever followed long before your stroke, and you have been a blessing and an inspiration! For weeks I have checked for your posts, wondering what had happened. Thank you for sharing your life and your heart again. Please know that you, your words, and your life are all a gift and the Lord is truly using it ALL. DON'T STOP WRITING!!! Do it for you, for your family, for us, and most of all, do it for Him because He is redeeming every word in ways none of us can imagine. YOU ARE LOVED!!!!


I was sitting here thinking that I'm glad Christmas only comes once a year, because I am exhausted! Thanks for a different perspective.
I hope you'll keep writing, because the weary world needs your voice. It's a gift, and it's enough. Praying that God will bless you and keep you.

Sandi in MN

Oh Joanne,
I love the transparency of this post. All Jesus wants from us is total and utter dependence. What a hard thing to give! We want to be independent and do it as my children said when they were toddlers "all by myself!" You are living in dependence on the One who is EVERYTHING. May He meet your needs and show up in ways more intimate than you could imagine.

It is so hard learning to receive, I only had to do it through three months of full bed rest while I was pregnant with my first (14 years ago and with two other pregnancies in subsequent years) but it was HARD! I hated it! But I learned a lot. I learned that God loves me not for what I do but for whose I am. And others love me for that reason too. I'm still learning to be dependent and to go to Him with all my needs, big or insignificant. But he does have grace and lovingly shows me how over and over again. I love that about Jesus. His grace is so huge.

I've been praying for you since your stroke too and love hearing your voice here. Keep sharing your thoughts. You have much to offer!

child of God

Hi Joanne,
Grace is humiliating and none of us like to be in this position, yet in this spot you are still giving just in a very different way. You are giving your love, confusion, pain, suffering and hurt to Jesus and that is a very big gift because as you give these things to Him, He in turn gives His peace that surpasses all understanding.
1 Peter 5:6-7
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

This is a season of rest and receive for you. A time of change and growth and developing a part of you that you never knew existed. A time for healing in a way that will come from the inside out.

Praying for you dear one that you will feel the peace that can only come from Jesus Christ.


Joanne, this is such a beautiful picture of how we come to Christ and accept His gift of grace. It's also a wonderful reminder to me not to get so caught up in making Christmas for everyone else that I miss its true meaning. I love your honesty, your words, and your sweet, humble spirit. I know those are things your family cherishes as well.

Julie Reynolds

Joanne, your transparency and honesty never cease to amaze. You share from such a servants heart and I stand in amazed at all that God has brought you from and how you never cease to want to give back. Thank you for sharing, I don't comment alot but I have followed you all on this journey for many years and I am in awe of the grace with which you and Toben & the girls have handled each change, on your way to this new normal.


Dear One,
Knowing you, just having you with them was one of the greatest joys & gifts everyone with you could have.
I am sorry that it's different and hard and all crazy-not-how-you-wish-it-was. I cannot imagine that pain. I won't belittle it either. It's real and it's hard and I am so sad about that.
That said, it is SO GREAT to "hear" your voice. You still have a purpose and a message and your words matter. YOU matter. PLEASE KEEP WRITING!!! You've brought a smile to my face, even through the tears in my eyes. I LOVE YOU. Not what you've done in the past, not for all the AMAZING gifts-literal & figurative-you've poured into my life, but simply for who you are.
Thank you for that picture of grace. It is so harder to receive than to give.
I love you.


Thank you for writing. Your transparent words of truth touched my soul. Amazing grace......another perspective. Praise God in the ache.


PLEASE keep writing. I come here so often to see if there is a new post. Your thoughts always stir up a new work in me, challenge me. I pray God will fill you with His peace and grace daily.

R Buckley

Joanne, your post was a gift to SO many of us. Thank you for your honesty. May God bless you today.
Love, Regina

Angel S.


I don't know you. I never followed you before your stroke. Some other blog had asked for prayer for you. I checked in to see what it was all about.

Once I did, you have reserved a special spot in my heart and prayers. It is amazing how often you have come to my mind.

You have been given a special gift. You have the ability to truly share persepctive and struggles from a hard and sometimes scary place. This is not a choice you would want to make, but one that God makes for us.

I will continue to pray and believe that God has a master plan and that you will feel Him each and every day.

YOur post today was a perfect example of sharing healing through hurts.

You go girl!!!


Thank you, Joanne, for sharing. You do gift so many when you write. I'm still praying for you and looking forward to hearing more from you in 2014.


Weeping - I continue to pray for you and your family. Thank you for your honesty - that honesty, ministers life . . . if I may, I want to correct you - your honesty and vulnerability IS standing and giving . . . the Body needs this - desperately. You are a voice crying out in the wilderness. Your gift is more tangible than any and it is homemade and real and spot on. For hundreds, if not thousands of readers.

Andrea W

I continue to pray for your family. I'm so sorry you aren't with Toben and the girls. Please try and let others serve you and GIVE to you. Hugs to you and know we are all lifting you up.

Erin Koss

Welcome back indeed. Keep it real. God's using you for His glory to be sure. Much love, Erin Koss


I prayed for you today. The Lord had you heavy on my heart, Joanne. I am sorry for the suffering you have and are experiencing. May His very Presence comfort and keep You and Your family.


Your honest words have obviously touched a raw nerve with a lot of us. They remind me of something I’ve been learning lately myself. We had a dear friend who died on December 16th at the age of 55 after a 5-month battle with cancer. He was a wonderful, witty, intelligent man who spent most of his life rejecting God, but turned to Him and yielded his life to Him a few weeks after his diagnosis. His wife told me that G’s theology was really shaky since he never even had a chance to learn a lot about the Bible - that he didn’t know Abraham from Moses. But I told her that it seemed to me that G had learned the only thing that really matters - to cast himself into God’s arms and just lean on Him. I think God cares more about our utter dependence on Him than he does about our Bible knowledge or our ability to serve others. So, beautiful lady, just keep leaning into Him. I pray that God will show you untold riches in your times of dependence. You ARE a blessing, even though you cannot see it yourself.

Laura Lane

I'll say a prayer for you and your family as soon as I hit enter.

May God bring you hope, comfort, healing in body and in relationships.

Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage


In your previous post I wrote how I identified with you. See below. You are a beautiful person and have been in my prayers before it happened.

I was thinking of the potters wheel. I no longer have the ability to gibe you the verse. I believe it is not my say how the Lord chooses to mold me. I am ill too, I understand dark days, sleepless nights.

I know you have it in you to receive gifts. Your testimony/post will help others in ways you may not be able to see.

Pam Houston

Your gift has never been more keen, nor your insight more on the mark! I am humbled and brought before the cross as I read this post from your heart. No doubt a mystery of exchange is going on. This is the year to fly! Take wing Joanne, take wing...we so need what you have to give.
Love you so in Him,
Pam Houston
A So. Cal "Siesta"


it is already January 10, 2014 and I am just sitting done to read this. What beautiful words from a beautiful heart... you are amazing!

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