Vona Johnson spent her early childhood in Blunt before moving to Pierre at the end of third grade. Author of A Different View: Start Living the Life Your Soul Longs For, Vona will be conducting a book signing in the 3 Friends occasional store in Onida this Saturday, December 4, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Vona says that it was during a time of family turmoil that she came up with the title of the book she eventually wrote. “The name came to me twenty years ago during some family troubles when I was able to look at something from another perspective,” said Johnson. “I wrote it down and tucked it in a drawer.”
In the midst of a thirty year career with the South Dakota Housing Development Authority, Vona says that she kept feeling the pull to do something more fulfilling. She retired to pursue coaching. “I earned a master certification as a health coach which evolved into life coaching, and now I do faith based coaching, working with Christians to help them find peace and fulfillment by finding out their true purpose so they can quit striving to be what the world tells us to be and be who we are created to be.”
Becoming who she was created to be is something Vona struggled with herself. “God lured me away from a great career,” said Vona. “I just knew I was going to make so much more money as a coach, only I didn’t. I’ve never been so sure about something that I’ve been a failure at by the world’s standards.”
Vona says that her cousin VeaBea Thomas gave her the push she needed to stay the course by asking ‘Are you going to starve to death?’ “I haven’t been financially successful, but I’ve grown in my relationship with Jesus.”
As an outgrowth of her coaching, Vona has a podcast. “I had a lot of material for a great book, and started putting it together,” said Vona. A breast cancer diagnosis last year took the book off the back burner. “It’s Holy Spirit inspired. I can’t take a lot of credit. It’s a great process, and a lot of fun writing a book.”
“I talk in the book about how the world has twisted God’s truth. We’re all striving for things God never intended for us to have, power, recognition, a fancy house, or a nice car. All of those things are what we want to have to feel fulfilled, and they don’t fulfill us, only Jesus does.”
Vona especially appreciates the chance Saturday’s book signing will give her to connect with her home community. “I’m a Blunt girl, and Leann and Carrie Jo [proprietors of the 3 Friends store] are just a few years older than me. Carrie Jo’s grandma was my first grade teacher. She was really instrumental in my love of books. Our lives get woven in and out through time, and I love how that happens.”
Together with her husband Steve, Vona has a son and two daughters and six grandchildren. She serves as a Commissioner for the City of Pierre, and says that her long career with the SDHDA working with people to achieve success in housing gives her insight into elements of her position on the city commission.
A Different View: Start Living the Life Your Soul Longs For sells for $27.99 hardcover and $15.99 paperback. Copies are for sale at 3 Friends, where Vona will be on hand this Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. for a book signing. “If you’ve already purchased a copy, bring it in for the signing,” said Vona.