by Mary Boren

Joan’s gift for art, animals, and plants is apparent as even the amaryllis bloom reaches for the beautiful serenity of her painting.

As the youngest of our sharp-as-a-tack nonagenarians, Joan puts us 70-somethings in the shade. She is often the first one at the door as a greeter for the 11:00 service, with an infectious laugh and enthusiastic welcome that makes anyone glad to be at church.

It was my pleasure to visit the charming home of Joan and Buddy on a recent afternoon, arriving to the aroma of fresh-baked cherry pie. “Shall we have it now or after the lesson?”, she asked. The planned “lesson” was on how to access and navigate our church website, blog, and member forum on her nifty Jitterbug Android. I suggested we save the pie for later as a reward for her newfound tech savvy, and that idea appealed to both of us. Little did we know it would be almost three hours before we turned our attention to the Internet, having become totally absorbed in the joy of getting better acquainted and learning how many common interests we share — from the dogs, mountains, and men we’ve loved to the depths in which Unity teachings have resonated and shaped our current lives. We knew we shared an affinity for one another at church, and now we know why!

Buddy is a wonderful conversationalist as well, with intelligent eyes that meet human eyes intently, head cocked and ears alert to follow every nuance of expression. Wouldn’t the world be a happier place if everyone had (or was) such a good listener? Joan’s special relationship with the canine species led her to volunteer as a dog-walker for our Practical Care Team until her mobility took a nosedive on a mountain trail three years ago.

Joan has lived close to nature, hiking, canoeing, and enjoying all the opportunities an active life provides to appreciate this wondrous planet’s gifts. She especially loved her Colorado mountain cottage, returning there to escape the hot sticky summers after retiring in the New Braunfels area. The only reason she walks with a cane now is the lingering effect of serious injuries sustained while jogging on that obscure mountain trail, when a rock rudely robbed her momentum. She attributes her survival to a “God-thing” that brought a lone hiker to the scene where she could have lain on the ground for days before being found. So now she is suitably cautious while walking Buddy, and when climbing the stairs to the loft that serves as her craft room, in which more of her original paintings are displayed.

Colorado Mountain Cottage, by Joan Kemple

Oh, by the way, Joan picked up on the web tutorial in no time, immediately grasping the potential in this new way of connecting with fellow congregants through online interaction. And the pie couldn’t have been any better served warm!

I would welcome the opportunity to help others explore our online presence in the comfort of your home, mine, or at the church during office hours. Read about my nerdiness as it relates to Unity of New Braunfels and find a contact form under Circuitous Paths and Certain Passions.

Use this form to send Joan a private message, or scroll on past it to post a public reply.

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