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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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« Howdy there! | Main | My story/stroke speech »


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I've followed your blog since before your stroke. My heart was sadden what Toben and the girl moved away and I knew something was up. I am so very sorry, but you made the choice that was best for you and I am thankful you are moving on with your live. You are an inspiration to so many.

renee altson

<3 love you always.

Bobbie Lutz

You're moving forward with a positive attitude and that will make a big difference for you now and in the future! I will definitely be praying for you during this transition as you continue your journey! God's your guide and He knows your heart! Praying for the girls too! Hugs from Texas, sweet girl!

Gerry Blumberg

Having been there, I know the disappointment and sadness along with some guilt that you feel. God is a God of second chances and He loves you today as much as ever. Look for new mercies every day.


He DOES have a way of making all stories end well. May He continue to bless you and remind you of His unending, abounding, love for you, his precious daughter.

Susie Vaughan

Thanks for sharing your life with us, Joanne! I am praying for you! Love to you!


Hi Joanne! We've been "friends" since long before your stroke and just want you to know that I greatly respect and admire you. Your heart and faith have always been very transparent in all that you do. You are correct in that God is still writing the story of your life and I am certain He has many grand things in store for this next chapter. Know that I will continue to pray for you as you move forward, especially regarding your counseling with the girls. Love and blessings, friend!


“Have not I commanded you? Be strong, vigorous, and very courageous. Be not afraid, neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
‭‭Joshua‬ ‭1:9‬

Brandi Luiz

Sweet girl, prayers continue for you. As I am sure that missing your girls is gut wrenching at times. Grateful for the plans for counseling and parenting plans. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. You are adored and prayed for!

Carol Bruntlett

I have been following your blog since your stroke , I admire you my friend
You stay strong and be courageous and stand firm
You are an insparation to many and whose life you touch daily .
Praying for you my friend
May God bless you

Liz R

Love you sweetie!! HUGS

Terry Johnson

I can't imagine how hard of a decision this was for you. I've been with my husband for 40 years with many ups and downs with his health (including a TIA). It's not easy but we try hard. I've been your "friend" reading your blogs before your stroke and have alot of admiration for you.


I read your blog before your stroke also. I admire you honesty and your heart. Sometimes you just have to move on. Good luck to you and your girls. I am disappointed in Toben for blogging all the good he was going to do for you and now this. God is good!!


My Heart Hurts for you all. I loved reading Toben updates when you had your stroke and while you was recovering Toben was there 100%. Time changes our needs and sometimes its just sad. I loved how Toben stood by his Family his girls his inlaws his work his friends he did a wonderful job. But Joanne The stroke was YOU and your needs changed and Thank GOD you have your Parents, and Team because this is about you I hope someday soon Toben makes the girls more available to you and your parents, We dont know everything thats happening and its not our business to judge Toben but I just wanted you to know I care about you and your recovery. Life is HARD sometime and talking about counseling sounds great. Please dont hurt any more and keep moving forward. I love You all. Your Maine friend. Rena aka/ Ann Murr face book.

Pam Cole

I'm so sorry that it has come to this. But I admire you and applaud you for moving on. Its hard for me to imagine someone (Toben) who seemed to be SO there for you and it makes all that he said and wrote seem like a total lie now. I wonder how he can live with himself. Trying very hard not to judge him because that's God's job, but my heart just breaks for you. I'm praying that you and your girls'relationship will be restored and that the counseling will be very helpful in that. Hugs and prayers!

Kim Feth

I'm so sad for everyone involved, but you're right, Good is still writing the story. We will confine to pray for a full recovery.
Kim Feth

Jane Carver

You are brave and God is with you! So sorry your marriage has ended but I will continue to pray that God brings healing to your body AND your relationship with your daughters! Sending prayers and hugs. Looking forward to a possible book you might write in the future! P.S. My maiden name was STORY and I agree yours is not finished yet.

Michelle Bentham

My heart is sad with you for this news, but I am praying the closure will allow you to walk forward in yoir healing journey and that you will be restored to your childrenin peace & love as all that is needed is provided by Father God. Thank you for sharing, Joanne.

Lisa Craddock

I'm so sorry, Joanne. : (

I think counseling with the girls is a GREAT idea, and I will be praying that there is complete reconciliation and restoration of your relationship with them. Your girls NEED their mother--even if they don't realize it at this point in their lives. You matter, as the person Joanne, but also as their mother.

much love to you!!


You have a slew of prayer warriors going before the Lord for you and your sweet girls. I have been paring that God would walk beside you in every moment. I know this was not what you wanted and I am saddened that you have had to face this, but know you are never alone. We will continue to pray for everything to work as it should and that the healing for all continues. Satan has tried his best to steal and destroy and it may look like he has done so, but he has no power over any of this! You have walked gracefully before the Lord and He has not forsaken you. He WILL RESTORE ALL that the locusts have eaten and these desert days will soon be over. Know that we LOVE YOU GREATLY...even though some of us have never met you, and will continue our call from the Lord to pray for you. And know this...we were called to pray by Him. Truly.

Diana Brasher

Thank you for sharing this. Your life has not been easy, but you are moving forward, and I am so glad. I know your ex-husband has medical issues of his own, and I hope he is in counseling. You and the girls in counseling together would be a very good thing. I know how your parents have "been there" for all your family. I don't know, nor do I need to know the entire story with Tobin, but I know your parents stepped in so many times when he felt he had to step back. The girls will always be YOUR DAUGHTERS and will realize their need for YOU, their MOTHER. The first time I connected with you was when you and the girls were memorizing scripture together, and I remember how sweet it was. I bet they remember too. Much love to you, dear Joanne.


I've wondered... I'm praying for you. This is a difficult step and I'm sure it causes you a lot of pain. I pray that joy or peace will emerge from this incredibly difficult path. You are so special. I'm so pleased your parents have been part of your recovery and that you are receiving such amazing care from them. I also pray for your relationship with your girls and for some peace with Tobin. I have no idea what happened but it didn't sound good or healthy. I'm sending you good thought for growth and happiness and above all, love.


Saying a prayer for you now. Thank you for the update. I started following your blog shortly before your stroke and I have been following you ever since. God is good and he will make ALL things beautiful in His time. You are a strong kick A$$ woman and I admire your strength!! To Gimod be the glory!!

Marla Taviano

Love you so much, friend. Asking God to remind you just how very loved you are. And asking him to bring sweet, fun blessings to you that you could never, ever have imagined. And for a sweet someday restoration of your relationship with Audrey and Emma. Thank you for your determination to keep going and to keep finding joy. You are my hero. xoxoxo


I love you Joanne and Marla couldn't have said it better. I completely agree with her. Praying for God to bring restoration between you and your daughters. You are amazing!Praying for God's blessings over you! Much love.

Ruthy :o)

Precious Joanne yes when I came to the end of your blog I wanted to weep for you BUT God....(Adapted for personal use)
She who dwells in the Secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty I Joanne will say He is my Refuge and my Fortress My God in Him I will trust x He shall cover me with His feathers and under His wings I shall take refuge x Psalm 91 v 1,2,4

Sandra Heska King

Oh, Joanne... I am so sad, but yes... God is still writing this story. But I'm so happy that you will be counseling with the girls and developing a detailed parenting plan. I am praying for strength and wisdom and restoration. Loving you from afar.

Adrienne (fuzzytop)

Dear Joanne - I am so sorry to hear this news, but happy that you are moving forward and trusting God to write the story well. I will pray that the counseling brings healing and restored relationships, and that you will have peace in your decision.
Much love and hugs - Adrienne (Fuzzytop)


Very sad with you as you have to go through more pain. I know, from experience, how this process feels. Remember that God loves you and He is in control and He is good. All the time. I am praying for you and your family. You are not alone.

I agree with the other person who said she was looking forward to another book soon. :D

Wendy Selvig

I have to admit, I've had a hard time following your story thinking, "where the ____ is Toben?" And there is a lot of room to judge. But thank God we can give it to Him and let Him do the judging. You are brave and strong and walk with One who is mightier that these circumstances. I can't wait to see restoration on your journey Joanne. Continued prayers are coming your way!


I have followed your story since before you had your stroke. I admire the woman you were then and still admire you for your faithfulness through this healing process from the stroke, family hurts and now divorce. It was so hard reading your story sometime and knowing your difficulty, but I am so very thankful that I stayed with it. It was so painful because my Mom had just had a stroke prior to yours by a couple of months. And I was also going through a divorce at the time. Wow, little did I know how much we had in common. But reading your words of faithfully putting your future in God's hands and knowing for sure He was working it out for good, reminds me so much of the words I journaled during that time in my life. I can attest to the fact that He has worked many things out for good in my story, as I am sure He will in yours. I pray for your girls and their hurts through all of this. May the counseling and the Holy Spirit heal there hearts!

Jen P

I have followed you since before your stroke. I am very very sorry for this divorce. I know the pain is unbearable at times. I get it. My prayer for you is that you allow yourself to feel whatever it is your feeling at any given time. There is nothing wrong with feeling it, keeping it real, and calling out whatever may be the emotion of the day - - good or bad, hopeful or not. It is a story, this is yet another chapter. GOD BLESS YOU MY SISTER. GOD KEEP YOU IN GROWING STRENGTH. MAY YOU WALK AND NOT BE FAINT, MAY YOU SOAR ON WINGS LIKE EAGLES. AMEN.

Jen de Jong

I am saddened but not surprised by your news. I still remember my neuro telling me, as I was hitting rock bottom of my despair over my brain injury, that I should be glad that I wasn't married because of the astronomically high divorce for couples when one spouse faces brain trauma. And the younger the couple, the higher the rate. I was not comforted then, and I don't think it offers you much comfort now. It's hard enough that brain trauma is life-altering, not just for you, but for those around you. But it is downright cruel that it winnows away those who you thought would always be there for you. My prayer for you going into this next season is that God would shower you with love and daily expressions for all the way He cares for you and is with you. Much love to you.

Charlotte Moore

I sure hate you had to deal with this. However, when he suggested you stay with your parents it made me wonder what his motives was. What happened to the vows in sickness, in health until death do we part?? It is amazing how things can change. GOD knows what is best. PRAY your girls will be back in your life. Never did understand that.


All I have to say is I ❤️ You. And I am so proud of your character and who you are in all of this. Love your little sis.


I wasn't surprised to read this news. I'm so glad that you are going forward with your life as it is today. I was extremely disappointed in Tobin,angry really. Also,it appears that he has kept your girls away from you for some reason. Marriage isn't just a way to live when things are going well. We really reveal the person we are when times get really hard. I do want to applaud your parents who have been wonderful. Obviously this isn't what they would have wanted for you or themselves as your caregivers but they have been the true picture of what love looks like. Time to look/move forward and insist on time with your girls. You have lots of time to make up with them.

child of God

Hi Joanne,
I just can't imagine how difficult this has been for you and your whole family. I will continue to cover you in prayer for not only physical healing but emotional and spiritual too.


janine longoria

My heart is with you and praying for an wonderful Audrey and Emma chapter to be written in your new book of life by God. You live with great intention Joanne and God blesses your ministry of bravery and creativity. Praying for Toben too at this time; for God's mercy in his life. With Love, Janine


I'm so sorry to hear this. I pray God's peace for all of you.


Life sometimes takes turns that we do not expect and we certainly do not always get to know the reasons why! It is sad when a marriage ends but you have obviously given this a lot of thought and have sought counsel from godly people and prayer into making this decision! I pray for strength and peace for you as you move forward and for a total reconciliation for you and your girls!


Sorry to hear, but praying for you all through this time. I pray that you and the girls can get the help you need. My God continue to use you to minister to others and you continue to recover day by day.

A Facebook User

Precious sister, I write with tears in my eyes (and with broken emotions from my stroke, that's RARE!). I have been intensely praying, daily, for Toben and the girls to make strides to reunify your marriage and physically reunite your family, for months now, since I first really started to grasp that you had been asked to stay with your parents (probably June or so of this year). I hate God's answers sometimes, but know He has loving purpose for ever twist and turn He allows into our lives. I am inspired to see how you have been clinging to Jesus through this whole experience. I am sorry for this great loss in your life and am praying for you as you (literally) WALK into this new chapter God has laid out before you. <3

Jenna Hoff

Your bravery and grace in all this is inspirational. You are strong, and carried by a rock solid God. Know that it's OK and normal, healthy even, to grieve, cry and be angry over such a big loss. Sometimes we have to go through the hard emorions before joy comes in the morning. Know too that many people care deeply about you and are walking with arms linked in yours, even though we have never met.


I'm keeping you and the girls in my prayers.

Susie T

I've been following your blog for sometime now. I think the first post had to do with the fact that you allowed Audrey to die her hair pink! The topic was parenting & picking your battles. I thought you were the coolest mom, with the coolest kids, life & marriage. Blogging, parenting, running, all sure looked together from where I sat.

Then, you were handed a battle not of your choosing. And we knew the One who handed it to you. He shook you so hard that almost everything came loose. You were left with nothing but Him.

I'm so thankful that you've held on, that you didn't let go of your lifeline. I'm thankful that you keep getting up in the morning, keep posting your daily victories and joys.

Keep going, girl. You reflect Jesus every time you chose faith and forgiveness...and you keep me and so many others encouraged.

Much love sent from Texas!


A new season of life; one that you did not desire but which is bathed in prayer by all who know and love you. Does your church have a divorce support group? If so it might be worth checking out. It isn't easy being single in a world of couples but I made it and I know you can too. I hope you and the girls can attend the counseling sessions together. Please know that I am praying for you.


A longtime reader sends good wishes.You are an inspiration as you continue to move forward with grace and a sense of humor. You have overcome so much and will continue to do so with the support of your terrific parents. Praying that counseling sessions with your children can be arranged and are fruitful. Keep blogging your journey. It brings light and hope.


I admire and respect you so much! You are a brave woman. I am praying for God to bless your socks off! And for healing for the relationship with your daughters. Great things are yet to come for you!

April Bridges

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. – Hebrews 4:16 God has never left His throne and He hears every prayer that leaves your lips. You are starting a new journey in life as many did in Scripture. We must never be afraid of our future as God goes before us. He is your foundation and your rock, therefore, you will endure with joy as the angels surround you.

Life has many unexpected turns, doesn't it? We can't always see around every corner or know what tomorrow holds. You have been through a lot. And Life can be so tough at times. People in life will fail you time after time but God will never fail you. God has a great plan for your life. You are important to Him. I totally get it that it is your choice to have a relationship with your mom or not. It is the same way with God. You choose whether or not you want a relationship with Him. God does not force anyone to love him, choose Him or seek Him.. jeremiah 29 says, you will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, you are exactly right, life is about choices. there's one thing you can hang your hat on though, God Will always love you and so do I. You said you are almost 18. I hope you have the best birthday ever!

I'm a long time reader, first time commenter...Wonder if that makes me a blog stalker lol? if the stroke wasn't enough....Divorce is tough, but speaking from experience...Trust in HIS plan...Oh man, oh man the adventures and experiences you will have, will open a whole new world for you. You will find out who you are and do things you never thought possible..I see a strength in you that I can't wait to follow..Divorce was never a path you choose to go down, but I just know great things are ahead for you. The kids will come around, they are just at a crazy self absorbed age....that too shall pass. What a lucky lady you are to have such incredibly supportive parents...I love them even though I don't know them. Thank you for sharing with us the most difficult time of your life and now your rebuilding and starting a new life...Quoting Dr Seuss...."Oh the places you will go!"



A long time reader, who stopped with blogs but did always check back to see how you were.

At that time I was a burnt out intercessor and some other things which I still am (long term wife, living with my own long term illness, etc). I had gone to the Lord way before your stoke and asked him to guide you to divorce.

Glad I checked back to your blog. My prayer was answered. You gave me encouragement today. Hugs

Deborah S.

I am a bit behind on reading, but am so glad you are posting more frequently. I am very sorry about the divorce and continued estrangement from the girls. While you may have been the one who filed the papers, it's pretty obvious to me that Toben is the one who walked out on the marriage. Still, it also appears that it was not a healthy situation all the way around for you during your last couple of years together. In an attempt to be charitable, I have to think that Toben's own issues made him incapable of providing healthy support for you and may actually have been dragging you down. In any case, you seem to be making great progress both physically and emotionally where you are. I'm truly sorry that it took a separation and divorce to enable you to move forward.

I am also so very sorry about the situation with the girls. I have had two friends in the past 8-10 years whose spouses walked out on them and turned teenaged children against the remaining parent (even though that parent was not at fault in the divorce). After several long and painful years, both sets of children are reconciled with the parent they previously refused to see. I will pray that this is also the case with you and your girls. In the turmoil of the moment, I think that children can become confused. With time, distance and added maturity, they often gain new perspective. Certainly, your testimony as you lead your life and in the speech you gave indicates that there is much for them to admire in how you have faced adversity you never asked for.

I tend to think that I often waste too much time reading blogs. I never feel that way about reading yours. You have my respect and prayers as you continue to rebuild your life. I will check more frequently for updates.

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