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A Single Yellow Rose

There are many things that fascinate me:  people, God, processes that lead to growth and transformation, spirituality, mission, the human journey, springtime, theology, ministry, night skies, learning and study (BOOKS!), being with, being a part of, teaching, hope, service, writing, leadership, friends, red wine, travel, puppies, singing, biking, Ocracoke Island NC, the ocean, any beach!, novels, friendship, camping, Celtic-inspired prayer, movies, trees with character, fantasy-scifi, companions and companioning, Narnia, saints' stories and writings, young people, robins, dolphins, images, stars, creativity, wisdom, people in moments of significant change or deepening or discernment.

                              But if you want to know who I am, the best image I have is a just-opening single yellow rose.
                                                                                  And it was a gift from another. 

The short story is that a creative, caring and valued teacher gave me a single yellow rose when I was a sophomore in high school.  It was a thank you for being a guitarist/singer at our regular school liturgies and prayer.  The gift was given with words close to these: "Joanne, you remind me of this rose - beautiful and open."  I wrote my first song about that yellow rose, and have spent all the years since wanting to be faithful to that vision of who I am and who I'm called to be.  Open, available, vulnerable, beautiful -- these are words I live and want to live into more fully -- in approach to God, life, relationships, creation, being. 

Like all of us, my life experience has included the beautiful and the heart-breaking, the failures and the celebrations, the faithfulnesses and the turns away, the very difficult and painful and the amazingly joyous.  I believe in the way God accompanies in every season - and in God's delight in me, in us, in creation, in our learnings and turnings.  And so I have practiced - with joy or sorrow - living all these seasons with the loving God whose name is WITH - Emmanuel.  

It is the being on the journey that I bring to the work I am about with In-Spirited.  There is professional and academic competence - and that is absolutely essential.  You can review the academic education and experience background below or on my LinkedIn profile.  But it is the human and spiritual journey that complements or contradicts the messages we might convey with whatever wonderful methods.  

In my words as a young teen:
                                              A yellow rose is beautiful: what it symbolizes means more.
                                                 To be like and open yellow rose is what I love and strive for.

There are special pilgrim-friends who have tutored and guided me along the way - with immeasurable impact and great care - and do still.  I am forever grateful.  Especially I am thankful for my parents, John Elwood Cahoon and Frances Harriette Cahoon. 

I pray for greater faithfulness to the mystery that is my own human and spiritual journey, and the calls which are God's invitations and challenges, specially written in the life and loving of Jesus.  And I would love to meet you or your group on the way, and share the Good News that is ours.  May we not only hear this news once more, but tap and strengthen our ability individually and corporately to respond and live more fully Gospel lives with Gospel eyes, ears and hearts.

Academics and Experience

Along the way, I have been a teacher in elementary, secondary, undergraduate and graduate school settings.  I've been a youth minister, a high school campus minister, consultant, writer, national trainer, diocesan staff member, staff member of a graduate school, a spiritual director, facilitator of retreats and professional coach.  "Other" jobs through the years have included some marketing materials/design work, retail and clerical/admin (teachers' summer jobs!), tutoring, food service, cleaning, direct sales (Avon!), and whatever was necessary to make ends meet as I engaged in ministry and pursued education.   

I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies, including a strong psychology focus.  I completed a year of graduate study in pastoral counseling before moving to and completing a Master of Arts in religion/pastoral studies.  I hold two Graduate Certificates - one in spiritual direction and another in spirituality studies.  In 2006, I received a Doctor of Ministry degree from the
Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, where my specialization was spirituality using practical theology methodology.  There I was also particularly shaped by substantive focus on missiology, especially as it informs ministry and spirituality, lay ecclesial ministry and formation.  My researched doctoral project is entitled:  Embodying the Gospel We Proclaim: The Spiritual Formation of Lay Ecclesial Ministers.*  I subsequently completed a coach training program and earned a certification as a professional coach, as well as an Associate Certified Coach credential from the International Coach Federation.

                                                                                                                        * available through Theological Research Exchange Network

     One last important descriptor and faithfulness worth mentioning....                  

Gooooooooooooooooooo RAVENS !

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