One of my favorite podcasts, No Dumb Questions, has an episode, 039 Congrats… On a Life With Chapters wherein one of the hosts describes his quitting a dream job as the ‘end of a chapter’. I have started using this terminology lately as I find myself at the end of yet another chapter of my own life story.
Nearly three years ago, I started this blog as a point of contact and awareness for friends, family, and potential supporters as my wife and I embarked on a cross-country move. In these three years, I’ve shared struggles, celebrated successes, and contemplated big questions, all while maintaining an air of editorial self-importance that is probably the cause of my readership rarely reaching two digits per post. The goal has always been to maintain connectivity with people in my life while providing a platform for future supporters to connect and get to know me. As a side project, I began experimenting with photography, and resolved to post a picture with every blog post as a personal challenge to grow in my skill.
Much has changed since then. I left the Missions Aviation track last summer, deciding instead to finish my bachelor’s degree in Integrated Ministry Studies in hopes of going to Seminary in the near future. This negated the need for additional financial support (necessitated by the Aviation program, whose 5-year tuition costs are frequently in the 6-figure range). Around this time, I also found stable employment in an office environment, which meant that my need to pursue photography (at least at the level of a paid profession) was also negated.
So for the past year, Wayward Wings has had an awkward role in my life as the blog I’m obligated to but which no longer has a practical purpose. I have tried (I think in vain) to expand the brand to be able to include my more theological writing, but it has otherwise been a platform for only my most occasional of thoughts. Meanwhile, the web domains and email hosting for this project are costing me around $100 per year. This is not a terribly significant amount, but an amount which sees no return on investment.
I was already thinking about a massive re-branding of Wayward when I was laid off without notice from my office job at the beginning of September. October was spent reviewing options, applying to jobs, evaluating finances, and ultimately formulating a plan for the future.
Having finished my degree in July and with no ministry-related or vocational ties to Spokane, we have decided to return to West Virginia at the end of November. We will be moving cross-country again, this time with some help from family and without a massive moving truck and a towing rig. Our plan as it currently exists is to simply be present and nearby in the area while I search for employment at churches in and around West Virginia. We are excited to spend time with family over the holidays (we were in Spokane through the season last year) and the ability to connect with churches more easily while leaving behind Spokane’s cost of living.
We will be in Southern WV until we are able to make contact with a church and hopefully start ministering with them in their area. We look forward to seeing you all again and being back in the Wild and Wonderful.
With this new plan in place, and the founding purpose of Wayward Wings now being moot, this blog will be ending at the end of 2020. To be as brief as I can, here’s what this means, and what it doesn’t mean:
First, the blog and its content will still be visible. The domains (waywardwings.net and wayward-wings.com) will both continue to direct you to the blog until sometime next year when the domains expire. For the time being, you will also be able to access this blog via the WordPress domain waywardwings.wordpress.com. I will not delete this blog, as I appreciate the ability to look back at significant moments in the past 3 years.
Second, My Wayward Wings email will be going offline soon. This probably doesn’t affect you directly, however it does mean that any online accounts connected to this email (such as Teespring and Twitter) will need to be deleted if there is no way to switch the email address on the account. Most social media accounts specific to Wayward Wings will be deleted or altered to remove the Wayward Branding. So, now is a great time to buy some last minute merch, if you’d like!
Third, my portfolio will be going away. As stated above, the goal of being a professional photographer is no longer totally relevant to me. I am happy to continue it as a hobby and even do some paid shoots on occasion, but I no longer have the time and energy to invest in maintaining a professional online presence as a photographer. This probably won’t affect most of my readers, except for the fact that the landing page for Wayward Wings will change from it’s current state.
Finally, I will not stop writing. I will, at minimum, post my random theological ramblings on this platform though the end of the year, but I hope to have something more concrete in the works by 2021. My plan right now is to continue some sort of theological personal blog, even as I seek employment at a church. I am not yet sure if this means re-branding and re-skinning the Wayward Blog to fit this new purpose, or if it means starting an entirely new blog, but I will update this blog regardless with future information.
So with that, I think I must announce the end of this Chapter – Wayward Wings, Spokane, Snow-Capped mountain peaks.
I genuinely appreciate every eye that has graced this blog. I know you’ll be around for whatever future blog, endeavor, or overly-ambitious idea I come up with next, but I nonetheless appreciate the fact that you’ve been with me these few years.
Our lives are filled with chapters. While a certain melancholy fills me whenever I find the end of another chapter approaching, I know it means there is yet more of this story to be discovered. Every new chapter has new characters, new relationships, and new twists and turns that keep the narrative flowing. Somewhere downstream, I hope I can continue to look back on this chapter with deep fondness and appreciation for what the Author was doing all along.
Ethan R. Starcher
(Your Wayward Wingman)