Say Your Piece - Jennifer Burch
Updated: Jun 25
So with every interview series I've done, each guest has had a social media connection to KD the Writer. But every so often a connection to KD the Person gets thrown into the mix. For those new to reading my interviews, there is a difference between KD the Writer and KD the Person. Okay yeah, explaining the difference would require a blog post in itself, and that's not even including the interview KD the Writer did with KD the Person. The best way I can sum it up is this: KD the Writer does not exist outside of social media, and KD the Person is hardly ever on social media. Yeah, it's a whole entire thing, but it sounds way more complex, complicated, and convoluted than it actually is.
Jennifer Burch is one of those peeps with a tie to KD the Person. While I won't go into details of what that connection might be, I will say that it involves copious amounts of coffee (and a blog post regarding said amounts of coffee at a later time). Let's see what Jennifer Burch has to say, shall we?
KD: Okay, so KD the Person knows who you are, but let the world know...who are you? Who is Jennifer Burch?
Jennifer Burch: No one calls me Jennifer except strangers, and teachers on the first day of school. I'm Jenny to my oldest friends and family, Jen-Jen to my sister, and just Jen to everyone else. I am a mom, an outdoorsy person, lover of words, a Jesus follower (but not the bigoted kind, more the living-in-God's-grace kind). I'm a practical theologian but not a clergyperson, I'm "granola" but enjoy the occasional cheeseburger; I consider myself a feminist and care about kids, the earth, and social justice.
KD: Alas, I can only call you Jennifer Burch. Such is the sorrow of being KD the...wait, I almost drifted off course. Blame it on the squirrel that just ran by. Well, there were two of them but that's beside the point. And I caught myself, so there is that. So what do you do for relaxation?
Jennifer Burch: I love to read -- nonfiction and spiritual things, historical fiction. It's renewing for me to go for a walk near trees or water, bake, listen to music, and dance.
KD: That all sounds like great ways to wind down, refresh, and recharge. Okay, tell the readers what you like about your corner of the world.
Jennifer Burch: The Colorado Front Range is beautiful -- lots of sunshine, access to green space, mountain views, outdoor-oriented people, good food and music culture.
KD: Speaking of outdoors, If I say "Mother Nature", what thoughts come to mind?
Jennifer Burch: So many of my best times have been out in nature -- I've been a camp director, wilderness guide, backpacker, and mountaineer. It's been my experience that nature is deeply spiritual and a powerful teacher. Mother Nature holds and sustains us, and she is both elegant and violently powerful. She deserves respect. To me, the natural world is one of the most accessible ways to encounter the divine/holy.
KD: When I think of Mother Nature I think of mountains, rain showers, pine cones, and white ferrets. Okay, now the three-parter. What genre of music/movies & shows/reading do you listen to/watch/read more than others?
Jennifer Burch: Singer-songwriter folk and bluegrass music, multi-part harmony and musical storytelling. I try to get out to see live music locally as much as I can. I don't watch much TV or movies, really, but I like round characters, beautiful scenery, and stories that make me think.
KD: How do you balance your career with home?
Jennifer Burch: I have never quite dialed work-life balance; I work from home and it's easy to either work too much or to get terribly distracted. I try to make sure to have some sort of human interaction every day and to get outside every day, even if it's just on my deck or in the garden.
KD: Believe me, I understand how easy it is to get distracted. Like, putting together an interview while watching squirrels doing the Harlem Shuffle. True story. So the work you do, the way you explained it to me, it's so inspiring. Care to tell the world what it is you do?
Jennifer Burch: I have been blessed to have a career doing meaningful work with great people in the nonprofit sector. These days I'm the Director of Communications & Community Engagement for the national association of United Methodist Camp & Retreat Ministries. So I support and resource the leaders of 180 church camps across the U.S. They're really fun and inspiring people doing good work, providing sacred places apart for people to retreat, and safe, engaging outdoor experiences for kids -- building community and helping make faith real.
KD: So now the question that inspired the notion of this interview to begin with. Coffee, tea, or...?
Jennifer Burch: Coffee with cream, most of the time, and I am religious about my reusable cup. Herbal tea on a snowy night. I can't handle much caffeine these days, so my second and subsequent cups have to be decaf. I love a coffee shop with ambiance and/or books.
KD: When I write from home I have this Batman cup. Has a picture of Gotham City and the Bat-signal changes color based on how hot the coffee is. It is as much a part of my writing experience as my Pilot G-2 pen and notebook. Now, how would you describe yourself as far as personality and character?
Jennifer Burch: I'm an ambivert (extrovert/introvert, depending on context), kind of serious, kind of a nerd. A spelling and grammar...stickler. Some people have called me an "old soul." I consider myself a good listener -- people like to tell me things. I'm super wholesome but also adventurous. Artsy. A lifelong learner.
(Speaking of...can anyone tell me why half the planet just one day up and decided to stop using punctuation? Anyone?)
KD: And how do you think your friends would describe you?
Jennifer Burch: I think people experience me as a warm and peaceful person.
KD: Back to coffee. You once told me this thing about coffee and decaf and stuff. Care to elaborate?
Jennifer Burch: Think I addressed this already.
(If you listen closely enough, you can almost hear her whisper, "And he actually interviews people?")
KD: Two-sentence career advice.
Jennifer Burch: Keep focused on the mission. Learn to delegate and empower others.
KD: Golden nuggets of wisdom right there. What, to you, is the greatest aspect of America?
Jennifer Burch: Diversity! Lots of different kinds of people make us culturally rich and innovative.
KD: And the other side of the fence, what do you feel are some of the greatest challenges facing America?
Jennifer Burch: Human rights, gun violence, climate change.
KD: I hold out hope for the days all of the above would be tackled in earnest. So, with hindsight being 20/20, name one or two things you wish you would have known or learned way earlier than you did?
Jennifer Burch: Two things come to mind: 1) Being independent is overrated. People like to be needed, and complete self-sufficiency is neither possible nor desirable. 2) Grief isn't finite and it's different for everybody.
KD: No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. Pet peeve?
Jennifer Burch: When people don't do what they say they're going to do.
(Right? For example, if you say you're gonna make homemade German chocolate cupcakes...)
KD: Speaking of inspiring...I mean, I did mention it in an earlier question, what and/or who inspires you?
Jennifer Burch: I'm always inspired when I see people who put love into their work. It doesn't matter what your job is, if you do it with care, heart, and integrity, it really makes the world a better place.
KD: Can you tell me about a "wow" moment you experienced?
Jennifer Burch: Oh, I have had so many! Being on a boat under a sky completely full of lightning, like a cracked piece of pottery. Seeing the northern lights on a mountaintop just before sunrise. Giving birth.
KD: Yep, any one of those would qualify! So I believe everyone has a "happy place"...that refuge for relief, a place of peace. The inner sanctum. Tell me about your happy place.
Jennifer Burch: Hard to choose just one. Church, the ocean, a forest trail, or my porch?
KD: What was your biggest accomplishment of 2023 thus far? What's a goal you have for 2024?
Jennifer Burch: Professionally, I went back to work full-time after working part-time for many years. Personally, I started dating this year after my 23-year marriage ended in 2021. Both of those life changes have taken a measure of courage and have worked out better than I expected. One goal for 2024 is to complete 100 hours of coaching for my International Coaching Federation credential.
KD: What's an unpopular opinion you stand by?
Jennifer Burch: Keeping animals in your house is weird.
KD: For me, Ben Affleck should have never been Batman. I shall die on that hill. Don't get me started on that. Instead, what are things that you wouldn't mind others knowing about you and your world?
Jennifer Burch: I once spent 2 nights alone in a snow cave (quinzhee) I built myself.
I've lived with ME-CFS/chronic Lyme disease for 16 years. I've regained a lot of functionality and learned to manage my symptoms and energy, so I feel super grateful for my health and being able to do the things that bring me joy.
Last year I participated in the Plastic Free July challenge. Might do it again this summer.
KD: If peeps wanted to reach out and connect, what would be a preferred method?
Jennifer Burch: LinkedIn would be preferred.
KD: Any business or website you'd like to promote?
Jennifer Burch: If you're interested in United Methodist Camp & Retreat Ministries, you could subscribe to the weekly e-news that I curate: https://umcrm.camp/news.
I'm also a practitioner of co-active coaching. If you'd like to discuss becoming a coaching client, KD can help you to contact me directly for details and rates. If you find yourself saying "I've always wanted to..." but haven't done it, I'd like to coach you to make that real and be the person you aspire to be.
My thanks to Jennifer Burch for her contribution to the "Say Your Piece" series! And my thanks to the readers for making this series (as well as the others) worthwhile. You are always welcome to let me know what you think. You can comment on the individual blogs or hit me up on Twitter!
So until the day pizza is no longer a major food group; Take a break from your world...visit for a while in mine. Come often. Stay for a spell.