I’ve been up to some things recently, and it is time to share. First, the family news:
- We’re having another child. The baby is due later this month, within a few days of our first daughter’s 3rd birthday. Ah, it will be crazy in the Zephyr household this summer! Daughter #1 is having a ball – she gets both an Elmo-themed birthday party and a new baby sister this month – who could ask for more?
- This new baby will have an uncommon Biblical name (just like her big sister). Here is the criteria:
- the name will not appear on the top 1000 names for any year on record on the Social Security Administration Baby Name website;
- the name will have a great biblical story associated with it (ie, no prostitutes, heretics or third wives of random old testament kings); and
- the name hasn’t been used in my wife’s family (all of the 16 children in my father-in-law’s generation have Biblical names, and many of the 40+ cousins also have Biblical names)
- After some delay (and multiple late-term ultrasounds and frantic web research) the baby finally decided to switch into the proper head-down position. For the past few weeks she was in the breech (butt-down) and transverse (laying sideways) positions – both of which usually result in ceasarian sections. Thanks to www.WebMD.com and other sites, I now know much more about fetal positioning.
Second, the professional news:
- At the end of August I’ll leave my job at a not-for-profit corporation and take a 50% paycut. The not-for-profit paycheck was too high for my liking, especially with a wife earning a rookie pastor’s salary and mounting expenses of a growing family. Life would be too boring if we had enough money.
- On September 1 I’ll begin a 9-month program as a resident chaplain at a regional teaching hospital. My time is technically split in half – half-time work, half-time learning – so the compensation is in the form of a stipend for the 50% of my time I spend on hospital rounds. (For you church wonks out there, I’m doing a CPE Residency, earning 3 units of CPE.)
Why am I doing this? As I mentioned back in November, I have been "entranced" into the Candidacy Process for ordination in the Lutheran church. The candidacy committee asked me to do another unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (I had done one unit in the summer of 1998, while I was still in seminary). With a growing family I needed to maintain some income, so the 9-month residency (as opposed to the unpaid summer or the extended, part-time programs) was my best option.
But why am I just going through the Candidacy Process now, rather than during seminary in the late 1990’s? Well, let’s just say that youthful hubris, combined with a very demanding Candidacy Committee, combined with a multi-tiered emotional crisis (death of a close friend, end of an engagement, and discovery of a pandora’s box of intense emotional family baggage I never knew existed) led to the derailment of my Candidacy Process. It wasn’t pretty or fun at the time, but necessary. In the time I’ve been away from Candidacy (4-7 years, depending on how you count), I’ve grown up a lot, dabbled in other vocations, gotten married and started a family, and seen a lot of the church. And all of this, with God’s help, has led me to return to Candidacy and formal preparation for ordained ministry as a much healthier, more mature, and faithful person.
Well, that’s the update. New baby, new job, and preparation for a new call. It’s all a little overwhelming. And all I can say is, "I will, and I ask God to help and guide me." (Thanks to Pastor Paul for reminding me of the power of this line).