I just can’t write about much of anything besides Joanne right now. She’s on my mind 24/7. I’m even dreaming about her. Thank you so much to all of you who have rallied around her and her family in prayer–even if you don’t know her. You are such a blessing to me.
Tonight Livi and I went to the grocery store together, and I just couldn’t stop thinking about Audrey and Joanne. Audrey wanted to see her mama today, so they decided to let her. When she first went in, she immediately came back out sobbing and ran into her Gran’s arms. But that sweet little 12-year-old girl was determined to try again, and she spent a good chunk of time holding her mama’s hand, playing new songs for her on her iPod, and even massaging her feet.
As Livi and I pulled onto our street tonight on the way home, I reached over and held her hand. Tears came to my eyes as I realized how blessed I was to be riding with her in a mini-van instead of lying in a hospital bed.
Goodness, I meant to keep this light tonight. So, I was looking back through my very first e-mails from Joanne. And I wanted to share a couple fun bits and pieces from them.
I actually read Toben and Joanne’s book, Happily Ever After (in 2004 maybe?) when I was doing research for Blushing Bride and even quoted her book in mine. In December of 2006, I had just signed on with an agent for the first time, and he gave me an example of a book proposal to look at while I was writing my next one. The book was Living Simply. The author Joanne Heim.
I left this comment on her blog on December 23, 2006. She and her family were on a cruise. With the stomach flu.
That is one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. You poor dears! Good to know you’re skinny though. Looking forward to hearing some happy news from aboard the U.S.S. Ralph.
She replied: Thanks, Marla! Yes, it was pretty awful…but we’ve recovered, are finally home tonight, and anxious to get settled and dig out of the snow in the morning!
On 12.25.06, I left this comment after she had posted a pic of their family dressed up for a dance on the ship: No way! That dress Audrey’s wearing was my oldest daughter’s Easter dress this year!
She replied: Way! It was Audrey’s Easter dress this past year too. You must have really good taste.
Then I e-mailed her: Hi, Joanne. I’m Marla. Nice to meet you. Just wanted you to know that I prayed for your girlies just now and will keep praying whenever they come to mind. I feel like I know them after reading Living Simply, which I just finished yesterday… I about peed my pants every time I read something else we have in common (except that I don’t knit, could never be a ballet dancer, and am not opposed to an occasional trip to Chuck E. Cheese). The icing on the cake was your H.S. prom pic on your blog–my husband Gabe looked JUST LIKE TOBEN when he was a senior in high school.
She e-mailed back: Thanks so much for such an encouraging e-mail! … And thanks for the books… Flipping through, I just have to let you know that I too am 5 feet 10 inches tall. Weird, huh? Can’t wait to put the girls to bed tonight and cuddle up with your books… since Toben’s out of town…
And then she blogged about working in a library when she was 11. I commented on her post: How random! I worked in a library when I was 11 too! I was a 5th grader and volunteered in the school library. LOVED it. The absolute best part was sticking the cards from the back pocket into the little machine that stamped the due date on them. It made the coolest sound!
Joanne: Of course you worked at the library–parallel lives indeed!
She read Is That All He Thinks About? quick as a wink and sent me a mile-long e-mail that completely made my day. Gut-honest, deeply personal, setting the stage for a beautiful, soul-baring, four-years-and-counting friendship.
She finished with, Every time I get an e-mail from you, I wish we could sit on the couch and drink coffee and munch scones and have a nice long visit. Not sure if that will happen, but I’ve found that as I “meet” more people online through my books and blog, I look more and more forward to eternity in heaven. So though we’ve not met face to face, I’m so thankful for your friendship.
I’m so thankful for your friendship too, you dear girl. Can’t wait for our next real-life nice long visit. I love you.
Do you have a dear friend you met online? I’d love to hear about her.