On 1 February, after the "Super Blue Blood Eclipse Moon" and about 16 hours at the hospital, we welcomed little miss Ezra Whelpley into the world! She's healthy and has started sharing her first smiles with us this week.
Ezra isn't named after the Biblical character (or a Star Wars character), but she is named after the same concept or word as the cupbearer to the king of Persia. `Ezer (עזֵרֶ) and the variant `azar (עזַָר), which means "helper," it's first
used in Genesis 2:18 when God desires to make a "helper" for Adam. With a handful of exceptions, the rest of the 103 times it's used it refers to either: God's helping power, or help with the strength of an army behind it.
Our prayer is that Ezra's life will be characterized by a God-given strength that will be a precious help to those around her.
One of that traditions that our little family has is that we wait until our children are 2 years old to give them a middle name. We've been all over the place trying to land on a name for this bold little boy, we were even half-considering Honey-Badger at one point.
On his birthday at the end of February, we announced that his middle name would be Regi (pronounced REEJ-eye), Carrie's mother's maiden name. It seems to be related to the word "regal" – a meaning shared by Carrie's dad's name (Stephen), my stepdad's name (Roy), and my brother's name (Ryan). The quieter parts of Xander's personality reminds Carrie and I both of her grandfather Donald Regi: generous, determined, and noble. Xander tends to yell a lot more though. We're praying that the Lord will empower him to lead well, and to earn the respect of those around him by caring for them well (Xander means "defender of the people").
Back in the fall, I mentioned going to Las Vegas for some training, and the fact that I was taking a sabbatical soon. I'll talk about both of those in our next letter!