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Hi I'm Joanne

I'm a Mormon. I have done hard things in the past, but nothing has been harder for me than raising a daughter with autism.

About Me

I am happy wife and mother of 7 children. I have lived most of my life in Arizona, but have also lived in Utah & Chicago. I loved serving an LDS Mission in Japan for a 1 1/2 years. It strengthened my beliefs in the gospel and taught me to do hard things. I graduated from college and encourage my children to do the same. One of my daughters has autism. It has been a challenge for our whole family, but I am grateful to know that God has a purpose for all of our challenges. My daughter has severe autism. She doesn't speak and we have been trying to toliet train for 5 years. There are days I think I can't handle another minute, and then there are days that she is so sweet that I know she is a gift. I know God knew we would love and take care of her and He also knew she would teach us patience and unconditional love. I know she gives our family depth and united purpose.

Why I am a Mormon

I feel lucky that I was born into this church. I can imagine that it might be hard to accept doctrines that are unfamiliar. The best thing about learning of our church is that you can test it for yourself. You can pray to know if it is true. I have been taught from my youth about the gospel and have never doubted. I find great comfort in knowing where I came from, who I am, and where I am going. When you understand the big picture of God's plan of happiness for us, it keeps you focused. Everything else falls in place. It gives you determination and understanding to get through life's challenges. God's plan is better than any kind of plan that man could contrive. Plus, if we are faithful to God's commandments, we have His promise of eternal happiness. What could be better than that?

How I live my faith

Just like there are jobs within a family, we have jobs within our church family. It keeps things running smoothly so that the church family is taken care of. I love that our church organization is all based on volunteer work. I love that my children have dedicated teachers that teach them about Jesus and His example and doctrines on Sunday, and also have fun activities with them on some weekdays. It helps my children remember what is important and helps them have friends with same goals. Since my daughter with autism keeps me very busy, it limits what contribution I can make to my church family. Right now I have a good fit for my volunteer work. Every month, the adult women have a meeting to learn more about enriching themselves and their families. I serve refreshments at these meetings. It is nice to have someone take care of the mothers that do so much to take care of their families. We also have a program called visiting teaching. Every month, my partner and I have the privilege of going into the homes of three different women in my neighborhood and see how they are doing. We get to visit and then share a short gospel message and have a discussion about it. I also have visiting teachers that check on me every month. It is a wonderful way to have a friendship and system of making sure every one is taken care of. If there are needs, we help each other. I can't think of a better way to live life then having the gospel as a guide. I am continually reassured that God's plan is kind, loving & fair. I am grateful to know it and do my best to live it.