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Hi I'm Joni.

I practiced law for 24 years, and now teach high school students. I raised three daughters as a divorced mom and I'm a Mormon.

About Me

After my third daughter was born, I raised my children as a single mom. I worked many hours each week practicing law specializing in child abuse cases. The irony is that I was an abused wife for twelve years prior to my husband deserting us. Fortunately, I was able to support my family and my daughters were cared for in my home by a loving woman until they were old enough to go to a dance studio. They would then go to the studio and stay until I got off work and could take them home. This resulted in many years of dance training for my daughters and made me an official dance mom, except I couldn't sit at the studio and watch them for hours, as I was working. This also resulted in many fast food dinners. No, all Mormons don't bake bread and prepare gourmet meals! I enjoyed watching my girls grow up and the hours spent at dance competitions and cheerleading activities are times I cherish. When my last daughter married, I no longer needed to earn as much to support just myself and decided to fulfill a long time desire to teach teenagers, which I continue to do. Not long after she married, I met the love of my life, a wonderful man whose first wife passed away. We married and I inherited five "bonus" kids, also grown as mine were. We have loved life together for five years and have enjoyed our "empty nest" years. Now I am thrilled to be Grandma to fifteen sweet grandchildren. This portion of my life is happier than I ever could have imagined. I am so blessed.

Why I am a Mormon

As a fourth generation Mormon, it might have been easy to just sit back, and believe everything that my parents and grandparents told me about the Church. I've never been one, however, to take anything at face value. There was a tangible need for me to believe that the Mormon church was true and to find it out for myself. During the time following the birth of my third daughter, frequently I questioned how I could have been left alone and deserted by my husband. I honestly felt that I had tried to live by Christ's teachings and that, because of those efforts, life shouldn't become hard. I tried to be strong for my children and at work I completely devoted myself toward helping children who lived in abusive homes as their attorney and guardian ad litem. Then at night I would fall apart in the privacy of my bedroom. I cried many tears and pled with my Heavenly Father to please help me to be able to make it on my own. I realize the blessings that I had in being able to support my family. I also realize there are many single mothers who are not as blessed. However, to me, the overwhelming burden of responsibility for their welfare, seemed to be more than I could handle. One night I sat outside after the kids had gone to bed and prayed for the longest time. I prayed that I would be able to raise my kids by myself and was looking for inspiration as to how to do that successfully. As I stared at the stars, one of them appeared to get brighter and I remember thinking that I should follow His light too. That seemed to answer my fears and at other times I have received similar inspiration when I have felt discouraged. I know now for a surety that I am to follow Christ's light and that everything else will fall into place. I felt at peace when I returned into the house and now can say with conviction that I know that I have a Heavenly Father who knows my heart's desires and who answers my prayers. He answered them that night and has continued to care about me.

How I live my faith

Service to others has been an important step in overcoming the things in my life that have felt difficult. For the majority of my life I worked professionally with children and teenagers and have continued down this path with my callings in church. Whether I have been working in the Boy Scouts program, teaching music to little preschoolers or teaching teenage girls how to interview for their first job, I have loved working with young people. For thirty years I have worked with children, teaching them of Christ and His love. I have organized dunk tanks and scavenger hunts and taught little boys how to carve a bar of soap. On my most challenging days, when perhaps I haven't really felt like going and being with any other children other than my own, I have discovered great joy in working with children and young people. Now, many years later, I continue to hear from children that I worked with at church. It is a joy to see them grow into strong, lovely men and women and to watch as they raise their own families. As time has moved on, there have been new opportunities to serve. I have had the privilege in recent years to work with incredible adults, too. First, I have been blessed to serve teaching women of Christ and going into individual homes to work with and see women in various stages of life. Some are single. Some are young newlyweds or are just starting their families. Others have a house filled with teenagers. And still others may be elderly and in need of some special time just to talk. My latest opportunity has been to share the beauty of music with others as a choir director. This particular position has been a little intimidating to me as I have not felt that I have an adequate musical background to properly teach others. However, it is going very well. Each week after I teach the choir, I feel more confidant in my abilities and know for a certainty that the Spirit of our Lord can be felt when performing sacred music because I have felt it.