“There are tooo many poopers in the pen!”

While my new schedule will have me off on the weekends, I had scheduled today off for a youth temple trip.  Sadly, the stomach flu and then the weather here in central Texas both did not want to cooperate for a such an adventure.  With roads and overpasses iced over, I was still curled up in bed under a mountain of blankets with our cats while checking in with my team from work on #Slack to make sure everyone was accounted for.

With my first “full” day out of bed ahead of me, my husband decided since I was only suffering the after effects of the horrid flu (abdominal aches and pains) and since I hadn’t spiked a fever since it broke at about midnight, that it would be a good idea to pack up this afternoon and head out to his parents for the day.  His plans are to reload ammo for a family trip to the range in three weeks up in the ammo reloading room above the shop.  My plans are completely different:  go through the lesson on Grace that I’m teaching Sunday next, check in with my team at work, begin a read through the personal progress book and delve into some personal scripture study.  If I feel really adventurous I may plug myself into my phone and listen to Victory of Eagles by Naomi Novik on Audible (nothing like a bit of the Napoleonic Wars with dragons to make your day).

Something you have to know about Mister Matt and Miss Lisa is that at their home there are currently 28 yearlings, nine breeding pairs, twenty six hatched babies and ninety five eggs in the incubator room with an average of sixteen more eggs each week for a hatch rate that is just above fifty percent.

What are we breeding and hatching?  Emu.

Double take time.  Read that again.  I promise there’s a point to this rambling during another of these, ‘getting to know me’ posts.  But first, how about a few adorable baby birdies? as a distraction?

Two weeks of hatchling indoors

Too many poopers in the pen!

And this of course leads me to the title of today’s post.  “There are too many poopers in the pen!”

It has just been too cold to move the four older hatch lings from the hatchery out to baby house.  So the title probably is making more sense.  There are ten babies in that indoor pen that normally houses five to six at the week old mark and that means that in addition to those adorable babies, there is a lot of poop!  Sure the poop does make for some amazing fertalizer, but they’re stinky right now.

The hatchery pen normally looks something like this:

baby emu in hatchery

Hatchlings in the hathery pen,

Our family is definitely interesting with Mister Matt as the bird whisperer and a huge mob of birds.

Now if you are curious, these adorable little guys will eventually weigh between 100 and 150 lbs and could potentially stand with heads as tall as six feet.  If you’ve ever seen Jurassic Park and can recall the scene of the raptor tapping it’s talons, well, lets just say I’ve heard that before, but they were emu talons.

So what does this mean for today?  Today we’re moving food, lighting a fire in the house, checking for eggs, feeding birds and then hopefully making with our plans for the day which are to just relax as much as possible.

And just in case you are curious, and have never seen these wingless birds before, here’s a picture of Miss Lisa with a bird on a leash.

Emu caught after three week absence

Bird on the run, cuaght

In late November, we had a pair of some of the sweetest birds escape over the fence after a predator approached the pen they were in.  While we were able to round up Wylie within a week, we thought that this guy, the road runner, was lost to us.

After about a month one of the neighbors posted on the local board that they had an emu in their front yard and we were able to wrangle him in.

Even against the pavement you can see his huge talons and can understand that while they’re sweet birds under normal circumstances, that there can be trouble on occasion.

For example, an emu can kill a steer, easy.  Two and a half years ago during the emu rodeo Mister Matt and a bird he was wrangling both fell and he was garroted.  There were some major miracles that day since I was at work (I’m a trained medic) and it was just Mom, Dad, and two of my sister in laws.  The morning FaceBook post that day said “Emu rodeo, what could possibly go wrong”.

With his major vessels exposed Miss Lisa and the girls got him to the hospital and we know the Spirit was definitely with him because none of those exposed vessels were ruptured.

Needless to say, the girls don’t get too hands on with the birds during rodeo season and my husband and I make sure that we’re present.  Additionally, no one ever says “what else could possibly go wrong” anymore.

Another thing to keep in mind is how strong these gentle giants are.  When we had to get the birds certified for nPip registration, my husband was holding down Oscar and Mister Matt was trying to get the blood draw and Oscar easily picked up my six foot seven husband and my h\husband clocks in at about 260 pounds.  To keep Oscar down, I was on my husbands back after that.  I’m six feet tall and not really a light thing.  Oscar still managed to get us both up off the ground.

These stories aside, our mob is pretty amazing and incredibly friendly  During the weeks that Road Runner was missing, Wylie was loose in the main yard.  When you sat down on the side walk she would come up next to you, flop down and warp herself around you.   Sure, they’re a lot of hard work, but we love them all the same.

Even though Mister J and I don’t actually live here, we spend a lot of our time here working with the birds.  Between feeding, egg safaris and tagging and caring for the little ones and keeping the big ones safe from predators, life is pretty crazy for us before you even begin to add in work and church.

Life is definitely interesting for us around here this time of year, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.


Welcome to Young Women, Sister G!

Last week the Second Counselor and I had training with the president of our Young Women’s organization at church and I learned so much about the program, and yet I know so little!

If you aren’t a member of the Church ofJesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or are a concert like me, the number of organizations and programs within the church that are always running can be overwhelming.

As a new convert I was given the opportunity to not only learn the gospel and gospel principles, I taught them as I learned them. That doesn’t mean I know the who’s who of the Book of Mormon yet, but I’m working on it.  

BTW thank you to TheRedHeadedHostess for the amazing DoodleBooks!!!! I hope that they will help me become closer with the Book of Mormon. While I’ve read through it and listened through several times, I’m still learning the history and the stories and know that the journals and DoodleBooks created by her will be a benefit for me.

Anyway, LDS Organization in a nut shell, ready go!  Kidding… 

I’ve said before that as a convert (silly auto correct keeps changing convert to concert… Replace convert with concert in the previous fragment and laugh), I have not had the opportunity to go through the Young Women’s program. I’m still struggling with mottos and themes and personal progress. 

There are also things that I don’t struggle with like loving the young women and the youth leaders, teaching when it’s my turn in the rotation.

I will learn the motto.  I love the theme:

Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day. (D&C 4:2)

I don’t know, there is just something about this quote and embarking in the service of God that speaks directly to me. While I missed our New Beginnings program and have no idea what that even is at this point, I am embarking in a new service to God and it is a bit exciting.

While our Ward is not as large as others and your Young Women meet together I have an amazing and very special group of young ladies that I have the opportunity to get to know as a Bee Hive Advisor.

During training I got to learn that we rotate which group of young ladies will conduct each month, how we rotate activities during the month and a bit about the young ladies that I will be serving.

I will also be the Personal Progress Coach. 

This part is one that is a bit scary for me. I am being encouraged to participate in Personal Progress and complete the program with my girls since I have not had the opportunity to do so before.

This was a wow moment for me. Part of my responsibilities will be to know what extra steps and activities we can do with a lesson to fulfill requirements for personal progress.

What a challenge that will be! I’m being asked to become an expert about something I know nothing about, for me this means reading through the personal progress book really fast a few times to get the gist of what this part of the program looks like and then start throwing together go to lists and activities. I can do this.

At the end of training, there was something that was more precious to me.

I was officially welcomed to Young Women. I received my Young Women pendant.   With a hug, I felt like after years of continuing in growing in my testimony and still growing in my conversion, that I finally belong.

I don’t have a chain for it yet, but I’ve been carrying it with me this week and look forward to completing my own Personal Progress and earning my medallion with my girls.

You could say that this years theme was just for me. Like my girls, I’m embarking in service of the Lord.

From Sunday School Teacher to Young Women’s Adviser

I have been a Sunday School teacher for quite some time.  It’s been an amazing journey that has been shared by my students in my old class (12 – 14) and my most recent class (15 – 17).

That said, when I began my last lesson I realized that some of the students I was teaching have sat through the same lesson with me for three years running.  It was a realization that would follow me through the afternoon as my husband and I would struggle to remain at church for third hour.

My husband, the amazing Mister J, like his father, the intrepid Mister Matt, has narcolepsy.  The diagnosis was not unexpected as we knew the signs and symptoms.  Luckily something separating my husband and his predisposition to this disorder is that he does not experience catalepsy like his father.

The face of narcolepsy in church throughout multiple meetings, during one of which we both taught Sunday School at that point, was not an easy one.  Mister J and Mister Matt both try their hardest to remain awake and alert but this is not a feat often accomplished without some sort of secondary stimuli.  In Mister J’s case, he place 2048 and runs through his lesson plan a second time and third time and just like his father, without some sort of secondary stimuli, they both are quickly asleep.

This particular Sunday, about a month ago, was one of those Sundays.  Despite our late morning start for our first hour at 11:30 AM, we had both managed to fast for church.  Of course, this made for a more interesting than normal day for us between his problems staying awake and my plummeting sugar as a diabetic.

We were doing our best to make our way out to the car without being snatched up into the inbetween second and third hour chatter because of how much we were both swaying on our feet before we were pulled aside by our Bishop’s second counselor.

To my shock, after three years, I was being released as a Sunday School teacher.  In all honesty, I was relieved.

At work I had just been promoted and had been praying for a schedule that would allow me the time to be more active at church.  I was finally assigned a visiting teaching companion and with the schedule I would be moving into as part of the promotion meaning I would be home by three in the afternoon with no commute traffic, I was very relieved.

And then I was excited.  Without weekly lessons to plan I had an opportunity to be far more active in our Ward Relief Society and as a convert with husband who struggles with the priesthood due to his health, this was a blessing.

An amazingly huge blessing.  Relief and joy ran through me and Jeremy was beaming.

And then the catch.

“We would like to call you as an Advisor to our Young Women’s program as a Bee Hive Advisor.”

I honestly had no idea what that meant.  I knew that this would mean that I would be involved with Young Women, but since i had not gone through the program as a young lady myself, I was a bit on the clueless side of things.

Mister J was trying not to laugh.

We had been praying so fervently for my promotion and a schedule that would allow me to be more active that we just didn’t state what we were looking for specifically.

The schedule I begin in the next few weeks means no morning commute traffic and that I have a start time of 5 AM and a commute of only 30 minutes which is definitely a huge change from 9 AM with a two hour commute.

As to leadership, I had anticipated something in the Relief Society, never in a million years did I anticipate YM!

Perhaps the next time we pray so fervently with others for a change in our lives we should be much more specific.

I’m looking forward to getting to know the Young Women in our ward, and I get to teach in the Young Women program on March 8th on Grace.  Grace just happens to be one of my favorite topics.

I’m still nervous and probably will be for quite some time.