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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.

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  • 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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Jeanie in KS

I have no experience with stroke..I have fibromyalgia and my mother has degenerative spine disease. My mom has suffered through narcotic withdrawals and I know how brutal that is. I'm sad that anyone has to experience it. I have taken a drug called Savella for about a year now and I think it is a miracle for chronic pain. My Mom began it last week and already has felt a difference in her pain level. It has minimal side effects. Just passing it on for what it is worth as sometimes docs don't think through all the options for pain management. I have long followed Joanne and have a couople of her books. It makes me sad to know her life has changed so drastically because just from reading her I know she was a very active and vibrant woman.
Even in this time of trial, however, her true love of Jesus shines through in the words she puts to paper. Thank you, Toben, for continuing her blog and updating those of us who originally fell in love with your family through Joanne's writing. Your family is part of my prayers.

Karen Booker Schelhaas

I have prayed for all of you so much. I check in with the blog and want you all to know that your story has been profoundly impactful to me. But I know an "impactful story" doesn't make your day any easier, and I pray for an easing of some of the hardships, and a return to some of the things Joanne enjoys. I hate the shoe thing for her. I've heard that the difference between hope and despair is a good night's rest, but I beg to differ. Sometimes I think it's a new pair of shoes!!! Praying for some kind of solution there -- I know God cares about those details. Thanks for your authenticity -- appreciate all of you so much.

Cathy King

Thanks for the update, Toben. I have been wondering how Joanne is doing. I can't begin to imagine what her life is like after the stroke. Am still praying for her, you and the girls. So proud of you and Joanne.

Heather Gerard

Wow. It's just amazing the things we take for granted. My prayers are for strength and wisdom for you, Toben. And healing and restoration for Joanne. I always pray that God's presence will be so close with your family and that He will continually lift you up! You all are amazing and have truly impacted the way I think about life! May God's peace and love be with you.


Praying. And giving thanks that you choose to glorify God by sharing your journey of suffering & hope. I'm sure you both must get so weary. May God's love feel palpably near...

Chere Williams

Hi Tobin,
I just have to say how inspiring your family is. You are a testament to so many and God has truly blessed your family with the strength you need. When I read this blog post I was reminded of how many days I have taken for granted and how much I would miss doing the simple things if they were suddenly taken away. I write a blog and had to post this with a link back to the Simple Wife. I am a single mom and there are days that I am exhausted and a little ranky and after reading this I am ashamed. I posted your blog because you and Joanne are an inspiration and I will continue to pray for her full recovery and for you to keep up your endurance and faith. God is good and with him all things are possible. God bless you all and thank you for this post.

Chere Williams


Sending thoughts and prayers to you and Joanne today! I will particularly pray for the withdraw and the pain. Chronic pain just leaves us emotionally and physically wiped out.

Nicole Beurkens

I sent you an email a few weeks ago, but I don't know if it got to you or not. I have been following your blog since the time of the stroke, as a friend asked me to pray for you and your family. I am a clinical psychologist specializing in neurological issues. I would like to suggest that you consider Low Energy Neurofeedback (LENS) as an adjunct to your current treatment. LENS is noninvasive and highly effective; and it has a very good track record with restoring function following strokes. You can get information at I'm know there are some practitioners in Colorado. I'd be happy to connect with you more about this if you are interested. I firmly believe it would help reduce the pain and restore function. Feel free to email me at nicole(at)

Best Wishes,
Nicole Beurkens

Pam Houston

Dear Toben,
Honestly I am amazed at your fearlessness in face of the adversity in your beloved ones life. Praise God that we can depend on Him, no matter what it looks like, "We don't walk by sight..." "He will certainly accomplish what He has decreed for me..." Job 23:14. He who chose us for eternal life has also planned the path by which we are to reach it. Nothing ever happens by chance: "Every cross is a mercy, every loss a gain, every trouble a rich blessing and every trial a seed of joy! (James Smith - 1850)...Praise God that it is an immutable fact that the same love that planned our trials, also provides the strength to bear up under them. My prayers are with you as you and Joanne get the strategies to overcome the morphine addiction. I believe that the LORD will crown your efforts with success and Joanne will be able to begin to move forward. Also, I couldn't help be moved by the hope offered by Nicole Beurkens and the LENS therapy. Praying for the will to effort and the new hope to be revealed. Joanne has a voice and believe me, her voice will be heard! I believe that and am praying accordingly. Your lives are rich with purpose and meaning and may you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus who loves you perfectly and is only motivated by His great love.
Your sis in Christ from So. Cal,
Pam Houston><>

Margie Smallman

Hi Toben and Joanne :-) My family COMPLETELY relates to this whole description. We live it too. We've gone through the struggle to remember what we still have more than we look at what's gone and what's gone is huge, just like you both understand. It's the unexplainable grace of God that gives us what we need every single day that has kept us sane and given us joy in the little things.

Like you mentioned with the big, fun rings.... the daily T-shirt can also be a creative one instead of plain. Grocerystore trips can be taken at lowest possible busy times. I'm sure you know that! Also, at some point down the road, it is far kinder to pass those adorable shoes on to someone who can wear them instead of them being a painful reminder of a loss.

We pray for you. We understand.

Kim Feth

Praying it with you!
Kim Feth
Apex, NC


I remember reading a fairly recent blog post in which you mentioned a comment by Joanne while watching a runner; something along the lines of "I hope she appreciates it." For whatever it's worth, I'm a runner and ever since reading that particular blog post, I do appreciate it. Everyday. More than ever. So I just wanted to say thank you, and I think of your family often, with great admiration.

Christian Louboutin High Heels

Speaking from a daughter with a father who would do the same to protect me, That is a wonderful thing you do for Audrey! Safety is certainly a MUST.


Toben: I only "know" you and your family through this blog, but this tragedy seems to have made you a better father and husband (and I hope this comes across as a compliment!). I see you looking for ways to read between the lines and searching for ways to improve the lives of Joanne and your girls. I am praying for a miracle for Joanne, but I am thanking the Lord for the love and strength you are showing your family.

Carrie P

Hi JoAnne & Toben, thanks for letting us know how you are doing. Your honesty and faith have amazed & inspired me. I will continue to pray for both of you & your precious girls. Your posts have really shown the deep love you have for Joanne, Toben. It is a beautiful thing to witness. And Joanne, I miss hearing from you! I pray that your pain will be completely healed.


Your love for Joanne pierces my heart. LOVE NEVER FAILS! I know it is so very hard, for all of you, but you continue to be lifted up in prayer by the blogging community. xoxo


Toben, you have been an amazing husband and father through all of it. Not every decision you make is going to be the right one, or the perfect one, but you get up every day and do the best you can do. Your love for Joanne and your girls shines through every post, every struggle, every joy. Keep on doing what you're doing. You rock. Lots of prayers to all.

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