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What is living simply?

  • Living simply is not so much about the particulars of our lives as much as it is about the principles that govern them. Knowing what God has called you to do, and then doing it--that's living simply.

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  • On Jan. 11, Joanne suffered a major stroke. She is now at home and continues on the journey to recovery.

I love to hear from you!

  • I love to receive your comments and get to know you a little bit better. I don't always respond to every comment--but I will do my best to answer any questions. Don't want to leave a comment for all to see? Feel free to email me at thesimplewife [at] aol [dot] com.

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Comments

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Kim

It's so nice to hear from you again. Glad things are looking up in 2012.

Kimberly

Thanks for the update. So glad you are doing some family counseling...I am sure it will help.

Jill Donnelly

I have been thinking and praying for you. Glad to hear your cast is off! 2012: you be good to Joanne!

Kathleen T. Jaeger

It is good to hear from you. I have been thinking about you and praying for you and your family, especially while the blog pages are silent -- a pulling in for your family.

A faithful blog reader since before the stroke. May your days be filled with joy and peace as you patiently endure this trial. May your days also be filled with laughter, smiles, and 100% healing. :+)


Teri in Vancouver, WA

So good to hear from you again. Praying for continued healing for you every day this new year.

Meredith

Recently I read your blog but have been so ill myself I do not comment. I enjoy reading your blog all of it. I no longer label things good or bad. After being ill for 6.5 years I think differently. I found your blog back a long time ago when you had braided the girls hair. . Here is to a healing 2012. I have a New Dr. I get to see next week. My Family and I are very hopeful.

I keep you and your family in prayer always. My husband and Dad have been great with me also.

I am so excited to read about you brainstorming ideas about creating. YEAH!!!!

Deborah

I am praying for you, Joanne. We've not met here...I first heard you back on the radio on FOTF in the 90s. :) Marla & I met online...and later in person, and I've been praying for you at many points since the stroke. I am glad to hear from you personally, and I will continue to pray for you as you keep going on this new road.

With love,
Deborah <3

Deborah

Oh! And I am praying for your dear family, as well... :)

Shasta

Hi Joanne, I've been wondering how you and your family were doing. I can't believe how much life changes you have packed into a year. You have done amazing! I know it must be so frustrating at times, but take please take inventory of all your wonderful achievements. I have, and you put me to shame. I pray that 2012 is the best year yet for you and your wonderful family! By the way, since Toben is doing your typing for you, how do we know it's really you saying all those wonderful things about him? Just kidding! ; ).
God bless, Shasta

Karene

Dear Joanne, It's SO good to hear from you again! I will keep praying that you get to actually experience Toben's imaginary gift to you--total healing. Congratulations on getting your cast off!
With love from So. Cal.

OceanMommy

Hey sweet one! I have been thinking of you as we come up on Jan. 11. I am praying that God absolutely stuns you with blessing after blessing this year. You and your family have been so faithful to point others to him in 2011. Love and prayers!

Steph.

Lina Bickel

Joanne, you are a miracle. I pray for your continued progress and for a Hawaiian vacation for your family!

Michelle From Australia

Joanne, our little family here on the other side of the planet will continue our prayers for you and all who love you. May 2012 be a marvellous year of great health and much happiness for you all.

Michelle

Denise

praying for you always.

Melissa

God bless you.

Carolyn McCready

Hi Joanne,

It's so great to hear from you how you are doing and how you feel. Praying for you regularly and thinking about you all so often. May 2012 be even better than you can all imagine - not an imaginary year but a real and healing, grace-filled year.
Love and blessings,

Carolyn

Pam Houston

So thankful to hear from you Joanne, and thank you so much for updating us all on how especially to keep ya'all up in prayer. What a journey this past year has been and I am so glad 2011 is a memory now. Your post was uplifting and hopeful and in just a very few days the one year anniversary of 1-11-11 is here. What a champion you have been with the help of your wonderful husband and family, and I marvel at your progress. At the same time we give God the glory for the beauty of all your lives. Just imagine what Christmas 2012 will be! Trusting for amazing grace to continue and awe.

twinkle

You and your family are a miracle. Don't give up. Keep persevering, praising Him and praying for strength and focus.
The healing will continue.
Love you and your family.

Kimberly

It is so great to hear from you! PS-Feel free to practice your speech therapy on the phone with me!!!

Kim Lothman

I've been following and silently praying for your recovery here in Georgia. It just occurred to me after reading about your struggles with typing that you could benefit from a $79.00 software program call Dragon naturally speaking. It turns your speech into text with out typing. The program requires minimal training. Happy blogging. Hope this helps. God bless and Happy New Year.

Brandy

I can remember when staying up till midnight on New Year's was paramount! Now, I'm lucky if I make it to 11:30!

Lora Osburn

I love you so much Joanne and am so proud of you. Tears come to my eyes as I read and hear your heart and think how you have endured so much in the last (almost) year. Be of good cheer. You, Joanne, are The Father's full time charge. So much love and a (((hug))).

Ann

I've followed your blog this past year. I thought I would look back today to see what you were thinking/posting just before the stroke. Here is what you said about your 2011 goals....

"For me, 2011 is going to be marked by LOVE. I want to pay closer attention to how to love the people in my family--in ways they need and receive, rather than just how I prefer to love them, what's most convenient for me, or most comfortable."

Quite the over-achiever I think!! I think you should make the goal for 2012 to be of HEALING (physical,emotional, and spiritual). I will be praying that your healing (and that of your families) is 10x what anyone would expect.

Love and prayers to your family.

Susie Vaughan

You have been in my thoughts and prayers this week, knowing the anniversary of your stroke is coming up. I followed your blog for about a year before your stroke, and I know this last year has been so unpredictable, painful, uncomfortable, and filled with moments of sadness and anxiety, but God has done marvelous things in your life! Your year has been marked by LOVE. I hope that you feel the love & support from your online friends. Many who might not comment, but continue to pray for you and your family. You and Toben have been an inspiration to me! Calling him your hero & best friend. That is awesome! Thank you for your updates! Your family is always in my prayers. Love from Tennessee, Susie

Phyllis S

I found your blog shortly after your stroke and have been amazed at your recovery. It has taken lots of hard work, and I know you are still working hard, but you amaze me. If I had a real place in HI, I would be glad to give you a vacation in 2012, but alas, the best I can do is an imiginary one. Blessings and healing to you and your famil from NC.

Nancy Youree

praying for you and your family.. just found you thro' a friend (brandy's) blog...

happy 2012
http://nancyogengayouree.wordpress.com/2012/01/07/2012-goals/

Michal Ann

So thankful you've been able to post. We don't know each other but I've been following since I first heard news of your stroke. Just today, I told someone about you and the charm bracelet that I keep in view as a reminder to pray.

I'm in massage therapy school so it's heart-warming to hear how much you've appreciated Brooke's work.

Your story will be part of my 2012.

Love in Christ

Susan

Your family is in my thoughts and prayers. What a crazy year 2011 turned out to be for you. I am praying that you do get some much needed peace (and a vacation would be nice) in 2012. I think family counseling is an awesome idea -time to really put everyone's feelings out there and work on figuring out exactly what happened last year and how to process it. It's been huge for all of you - alot to process and adjust to. Take care and Blessings to all of you!

Child of God

Happy New Year!
Glad to hear the cast is off and you are healing. :)
What a good idea having family counseling. I am continuing to pray for you and your family. Continued healing, endurance and hopefully walking and running soon. :)

Praying and praying,
<><

Lori

Maybe a Gratitude Journal would help??? You are very lucky and blessed to be able to go through what you have this past year and live to tell about it. My friend had a massive stroke on Christmas Day 2010, went into a coma and never came out of it ~ she died on Memorial Day. Never to hold her grandchildren again or see the love in her husbands eyes, see her children or share wonderful times with her many friends. And you're right - imaginary presents WERE lame! A fun idea - I'll give you that - but certainly the children could have received presents, and maybe a day spent with those less fortunate? I used to enjoy reading your blog but now it just seems like a Pity Party. Requesting prayers for things that aren't perfect for you anymore ~ I would rather thank God for what you have been given.

Michelle in CA

Joanne, one word describes you and each of your family members: AMAZING! It has been encouraging to see God's awesome care and love for you through this long and arduous journey. I will continue to lift you up in prayer.~Michelle in CA

Sheryl in Florida

Wanted to comment on your post. BTW, always great to hear from you. I'm proud of you for sharing your true feelings, even at the risk of the readers disagreeing or not understanding what you are going through. Our God is faithful but his faithfulness often changes in appearance, depending on what he is trying to convey to each of us. He may be trying to teach you patience or endurance or joy, while teaching another about hope or letting go or courage. We "can't know" what how he's working out your salvation day by day, but we can watch and ask him what he's doing in our lives.

I'm glad to imagine how incredible his love is for you and your family and am blessed when you give us glimpses of it when you could just keep all of that to yourself.

Your idea of imaginary gifts seemed good to me. I spoke with my 80+ mother today who was fretting because she just couldn't get presents bought for all of us. She lost my stepdad last fall, broke her arm just before the funeral, has my out-of-work brother living with her and she was distraught about not buying her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren presents! Now, if THAT's what Christmas is supposed to do to my elderly mom, THAT'S LAME! I told her about your idea and how much fun we could have doing that, and we got to laughing on the phone about what we could imagine getting each other! Thank you for putting into practice an idea that took stress out of holy celebration!

Every family is different. Some are crafty and some are craft-challenged. Some have time and some have to work one or more jobs. Some are creative and some are practical. Some are able to set aside money for Christmas spending and others are not. Thanks for helping us think outside the box of our "normal" so we can imagine a "new normal." I thank God you are alive this year and loved deeply by the One who made you. ~sl

Erin

I have followed your blog from early last year and have prayed for you all year. You have the best husband and support system...you have been so honest in your post. I have been humbled by your struggle and I think of you often in my daily life. I would just like you to know that you have given me strength and perspective in my own life. Thank you and god bless you. Thanks...You made a huge impact on my life.

Mommyto2

To "Child of God" I find it unfathomable that you could leave such a negative and self-righteous comment on Joanne's blog. Unless you have walked a mile in her shoes, you should do nothing but love her, support her and lift her up. Joanne, you have come a long way in a year! I pray for you and your family daily. Here's to 2012! You deserve a vacation and if I had a place in Hawaii, I would love for you to use it!

Mommyto2

My apologies - the negative comment was from "Lori" not "Child of God."

Gwen

I found your blog shortly before your stroke & have checked daily to follow your progress. You are one amazing lady with a remarkable family! Thank you for sharing your journey -- physical, emotional & spiritual -- with us. You didn't have to let us in. We have been blessed!

Karene

I agree with Mommyto2 and Gwen. May we all be blessed with empathy for Joanne and her family as they share their daily struggles. I have been so inspired. Dear Joanne and Toben, thank you for sharing what this journey has been like for your family, and for letting us know how we can pray for you. You are so supported and loved in the blog world, more than you ever will know until heaven. We are here to support you through the down and difficult days, however long they may last. Like Gwen said, you didn't have to let us into your journey, but I have been forever changed because you chose to be vulnerable with us. You will continue to be in my prayers.

Kim

Thinking about you and your family as you mark the one year anniversary of your stroke. May God's light shine upon you all in 2012.

Holly Smith

Hi friend, How did I miss this post? I am thankful for you, I love you. You are such a delight and bright spot to my life. Thank you for calling me friend. I love you bunches!!

Holly Smith

And Lori? I am sorry about your friend. I'm sure she was wonderful. I know it hurts.

I wish you would not speak so to my friend--you have no idea what you are saying, so I forgive you.

I hope you will continue to find ways to love God and others. Jesus is everything! And He shines through my friend, Joanne. He shines brightly. You are being prayed for as I hit Post. Holly Smith

Amy Lynne

Prayers for a wonderful 2012 for all of you!

Pam Houston

Dearest Joanne,
First thing when I got this morning and took in the date, I knew I had to "connect" with you to tell you how proud I am of you and how much you are shining through it all. And when I say "you" I mean Tobin too. He has been such a wonderful example of a Christian husband who so dearly loves you. I am so grateful for your will to survive in spite of all the heartache and loss you personally have experienced. You have been such a blessing as you have shared from your heart and dared to be honest and authentic and "tell it like it is." I hope and pray that someday I have the honor of meeting you personally, as I feel so close since I have not ceased lifting ya'all in prayer for the past year. May you continue to fight the good fight of faith and receive deeply and sweetly from the LORD. I remember and have memorized your scripture from SSMT Jan 2011, "We though are going to love-love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first." 1 John 4:19 You and yours are the epitomy and example of this powerful scripture and have put flesh and blood on it for all to see. I have laid hold of this particular scripture myself, just because of your example. I love you in the LORD and continue to believe with you for impossible things.
Blessings in 2012 - far beyond what you can dare dream or imagine.
Lovingly,
Pam H. (a So. Cal Siesta)

Erin Adams

Hi Joanne,
Just wanted to let you know that your words both pre/post stroke resonate with someone far away and unknown to you. I had always been a big fan of your blog and books. I live pretty far away, in Ontario, but I always thought you'd be such an amazing person to meet in real life. Anyway, I know this anniversary is a challenging one and I certainly don't have anything meaningful to add, other than to let you know that I continue to be inspired by you and I believe you can accomplish anything.
Still praying for you and yours,
erin

Susan

I am sorry to say I didn't know about your blog before the stroke -- I read about the need for prayer for you and your family, soon after the stroke, through Beth Moore's Siesta-ville.

Ever since, I have been following your blog and praying for you and your family. What a blessing to read this post, and to think back to a year ago -- and see just how much the Lord has brought you through, and recognize His hand of love in your life, and in the lives of each family member. I will continue to pray for you all, over here in Switzerland. Be encouraged and blessed today - I bless you in the name of Jesus, Joanne :-)

Brynn in CO

God bless you for all that you and your family have shared with us in your vulnerability and pain over the last year. Thank you for letting us go along with you and lift you up to our Father in Heaven. I am always excited to see what will come next in your journey, Joanne, and I pray that God will continue restoring you to 100% healing.

Kelli

I am praying for you today as you mark the one year anniversary of your stroke. God is faithful. The evidence is before us here in your blog. Thank you for letting all of us in blogland walk this painful journey with you. I am praying Is 61 for you.

laura

Praying for you...for sunshine to peek through the clouds and for unexpected gifts to fill every corner of 2012.

You continue to be so very brave!

RC

Hi Joanne! I have been following your journey for a year now and though we've never met I have prayed for you and your family. I love the idea of imaginary gifts so wracked my brain for one I could give you. Therefore...my gift to you is a completely healed body and mind + entrance into the Hawaii Marathon with hotel on the beach for you and your family where you'll recover not from the stroke...but from reaching the finish line with an amazing 7 min mile pace. You're going to totally rock that run!! keep your head up girlfriend! You're doing amazing things :) ~Sending Love from the Midwest

Sharon

Thinking of you and your family today especially, Joanne. We've been praying for you each night (and often throughout the day) for the past year and will continue to do so until you have had a full recovery. And probably even after that.

I would definitely delete the rude comment. My word, I cannot believe some people. I love that you do still take the time to post on here, even if it's not all flowers and roses. I love that you are real. Always have been, always will be. It's a great trait to have. No one can relate to someone who is joyful 100% of the time, especially when they are going through a huge life changing trial.

And I thought the imaginary gifts were a great idea (and I love that someone offered an imaginary place to stay in HI!!!)

Carol

I continue to be impressed by the grace you and your extended family have demonstrated during the past year. May God shower you all with blessings as you continue on this path towards recovery.

Still praying for you in Las Vegas!

Abigail

The one thing I admire most of all about you and your family Joanne, is the honesty with which you have shared your emotions through this journey. Both high and low. It can be lovely to pretend and bury your emotions, but even Jesus wept and asked the cup be removed. Knowing all that He knew and the reason for his birth, he still wept. Whenever I feel low, I remember that I don't have to be strong, but take my strength from He who carries me through the storm.
You are a miracle Joanne. Please continue to blog. On this day I am thankkful you are still here. Still the wife mom, sister, daughter and friend for people who love you.
I hesitate to use words like example or role model as you are not perfect and you do have feet of clay. But I am thankful for all the lessons I have learned from reading your blog this past year. How a family rises up to the occasion, the love of a husband through sickness and health, the reality of struggling in faith and choosing to believe and the beauty of the marriage you and Toben share. I will probably never meet you this side of heaven, but you are definitely someone that has influenced me. Thank you. May God bless you in 2012.

angela

So proud of you... you have a wonderful attitude and I'm sure that's it's not easy to keep your spirits up. You are so inspiring... enjoy your cute outfit and your date with your husband.

Diginee

Lord, let it rain healing, abundance, and peace on Joanne, Toben and all the rest of the family. Surround them. Comfort them. Hold each tear, each smile, each day that they press forward. Honor their steadfastness. Thank you for Toben's job, bless that workplace beyond measure. Thank you for sister and her family. Thank you for mom and dad. What beautiful lives we have seen through this blog. Hold the girls tight. Speak words of peace and love to their hearts as they walk this path with their parents.

I thank you Father for this testimony of grace. Pour out Your Spirit!

Thank you for REAL tickets to Hawaii for ALL of them!!!!!!! I KNOW they are coming - amen and amen - and I look forward to all the pictures and words that will be shared about their trip as it will bring GLORY TO YOUR NAME!

Jane

Joanne: I also found your blog through Beth Moore's blog in Siestaville. I have read it and your sister's blog faithfully ever since. Your strength amazes me, but the love and support that has surrounded you this past year from family, friends and even strangers I hope has held you up when you feel weak. I am honored that you and your family have shared all the emotions with us, good and bad. Bless you! I pray for all your family's imaginary gifts to come true - especially HEALING!

Amy

Hi Joanne! You've been in my thoughts a lot today...cannot believe that it's been a year ago that I saw Rachel's post asking for prayers. So thrilled to see your progress over the past 12 months and know that oodles more is in store for you and your sweet family in the coming year! All the best to you TODAY and always....hugs from Amy in So Cal. ;-)

A Facebook User

Hi Joanne! You don't know me either, I started praying for you when Holly posted asking for prayers for you. I have been praying ever since and have been encouraged by you and your precious family. Thank you for sharing the good and bad with all of us. May God Bless You and Your Family!

Linda P.

Dear Joanne, I have been following your story almost since the beginning. I "happened" upon a "Praying for Joanne" button on some blog. I don't even know whose it was, but I certainly know that the Lord planned that I would see it! I am a sister in Christ, and I have drawn strength from your story, seeing how you persevere amidst suffering, how your precious family has supported you, and how you have been honest with us when you have struggled. I have a special needs son, and we have gone through some very difficult times. The Lord helps strengthen me as I read how others deal with their trials with His help. Thank you for sharing your life with us. I am always so glad when I find a new post here. May you picture the Lord's loving arms wrapped around you, because He is holding you tightly and loves you so much.

Jen Schrock

To Lori. Wow. What a hard post to read when reflecting on all my dear friend Joanne has been through, and upon reading the blessings of encouragement others wish to offer.

I know her well and personally. I've watched her go from homeschooling her girls, running regularly, attending seminary, writing, speaking, crafting like know one I've ever know, loving her Lord and family in a very active way, and the list goes on... to doing very few of those things. The day after the stroke was one I was supposed to have lunch with her. Instead, I visited the hospital and cried harder than I can remember over the uncertain reality that now faced her.

I'm so sorry to hear about your dear friend, but I'm sure there have been many times Joanne would rather be with Jesus than trapped in a body she struggles to control. She is so blessed and fortunate to enjoy all that she does, but can any of us blame her for her being vulnerable about her sadness and frustrations?

I spent some time with her last week and she shared with me her theme for the year was "restoration"; that her goal for 2012 was to come to peace with what happened in 2011.

My hope and prayer for her is the same. She continues to inspire me, more now than ever. I miss the massive parts of her that were lost, but with wild anticipation, I look forward to what Christ has in store for her.

Lori, I hope you continue to read her blog and come to know Joanne as I do, a beautiful sister in Christ.

Linda

JoAnne,
You don't know me. I live in New York. Don't remember now how I found out that you had had a stroke. It was the evening of your stroke, when I visited your blog for the first time. I committed at the beginning of 2011 to pray. . .to enter into people's situations and pray like they were my own. God led me to you. I've been praying for you this entire year. Thanking God tonight for your life, your marriage that points to Jesus time and time again, and your daughters who have been blessed with gifts that no thief can steal. Thanking God tonight for how Your life has been and contiues to be used to glorify Him. Thank you for being hospitable to the Spirit of God who dwells in you. You are brave and good.
Love,
Linda

Vicky

Joanne,
I have been so blessed to read your blog as you and your family share from your experience of the past year. I started praying for you after reading about the stroke from Baby Bangs blog. Please know that I will continue to pray for you and your entire family. God is not finished with you yet and has some amazing things in store for you. God Bless you!!!

Vicky

Joanne,
I just wanted to add something. Please don't let one negative post get you down on yourself. That person just needs prayer. One of the things I love about you and your family is that you are able to share honestly your true feelings as you progress through this difficult time. We have all had times of doubt, anger, fear and questioning God , I know I have.
Malachi 4:2

Nanci

Congratulations Joanne on making the year full circle. This time last year was a very scary time for your family I know you have all been blessed by God to carry on. May you have a wonderful 2012 full of changes and blessings and I look forward to more amazing things from you.

sisters in Christ,

Nanci

Eileen

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Imaginary gifts......your imagination certainly hasn't stopped working and that's a beautiful thing. They can also be called hopes and dreams and I hope all the big, important ones come true for you in 2012.

Mary

Hi Joanne, Just came upon your blog and was wondering if you have read any of the blog "Hope Heals"? (http://www.hope-heals.com/)

You and Katherine Wolf share very similar stories (young mother and wife who experienced bleeding in her brain and now on path of recovery after ICU, rehab, etc). Sometimes it can be helpful to know that there are others who walk your path, also. Like you, Katherine is honest about her struggles and hopeful for her future.

I pray for continued blessings for you and your family in 2012!

Mary

Merla Parker

Joanne, I heard of your stroke last year, just as I was about to begin treatment for breast cancer. I have followed your progress for a whole year now and let me just say I have admired the very real way you have dealt with this...the good, the bad and the ugly. We have had different paths but both take endurance...and I have prayed for that for you almost on a daily basis. May you be encouraged by every gain you make,,,no matter how small. And may there be many gains for you in 2012. The only thing that kept me going during my treatment was a sense that there was some greater purpose in it all...it is hard to see when you are in the midst but I do believe it will be revealed eventually. I shall continue to pray for you.

Janet Baker

Oh, I hope Joanne and her family have read this blog - it is so good - and I think it will give Joanne alot of HOPE - since she, Katherine, is 3 years from her stroke. Such inspirational women and families! God Bless!
http://www.hope-heals.com/

karen

Joanne, I came across your blog through another requesting prayers. You were not yet responding when I first came on board. One of the things I most admire is the love and commitment between you and Toben, and your extended family. You have all rallied together, and it's a real inspiration to those reading. You have come so far! Keep going....

And, to Lori - I feel sorry for you, honestly. You are clearly hurting very deeply within yourself - you must be, to spew such venom in this of all places.

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