Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Real-World Christmas Catalog

Are you familiar with the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog?  You know the one that has that special section called "Fantasy Gifts"?

Well, in case you missed this year's edition and you're still searching for that perfect gift, here are a few highlights:

For those people dreaming of having a few chickens in the backyard, how about this Heritage Hen Mini Farm for a mere $100,000?  

Those chickens better lay a whole lotta eggs.

For the adventurous spirit tired of bungee jumping like everyone else, consider this JetLev R200 jet pack for $99,500.


And for the person with truly discriminating taste, this $354,000 2013 Neiman Marcus Edition McLaren 12C Spider should fit just perfectly.


Are you wondering if anyone actually buys these extravagant and outrageously expensive items?

Well, only 12 of these vehicles were made for the Fantasy Gifts Christmas catalog and all 12 were purchased within two hours of going on sale.

But the whole idea of "Fantasy Gifts" got me to thinking....  what if I put together my own little Christmas Catalog? And what if stuff like money and practicality were no object and I didn't care one bit about being selfish?  What things would be in my "Fantasy Gifts" section?

I give you.... 

The Lana Rush Christmas "Fantasy Gifts" Catalog.

1.  Mary Poppins
A nanny who is "practically perfect in every way", has a bottomless carpet bag filled with anything and everything that kids might need, can use a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down in the most delightful way, and with a simple snap of her fingers, your children's toys are put away.  And those middle of the night wake-ups?  She's got them covered.

Price - $50 per month
(she loves her job and does it just for the sheer joy of taking care of your kids) 

2.  A House-Calls Only Doctor

This doctor does not even have an office because your home is his office.  That little black bag and that SUV are fully equipped for any and every medical need that may arise.  Never again will you have to drag your sick child out of his bed only to wait in a crowded doctor's office filled with germ-laden toys.

Price - $35 per visit
(he knows your medical bills are huge so he considers this service his way of being a blessing)

3.  Grocery Delivery Service
Place an online order and within two hours, a friendly deliveryman is at your door, arms laden with the exact items you selected.  But it doesn't end there!  Deliveryman proceeds to unload all the groceries and put them away for you.  Forget to order something?  Not to worry.  Just call back.  One item or one hundred items - no order is too big or too small.

Price - $15 plus cost of your groceries
(and if you re-order within 24 hours, the $15 fee is waived)

4.  A Professional Paperwork Organizer
Stop handling all the pesky mailing, filing, bill paying, check writing, form-filling out, permission slip signing.... Let a perky professional organizer free you from these never-ending tasks.  She will set up the perfect organizing system, then maintain it by showing up once a week to take care of any necessary paperwork while you and your spouse smile, drink coffee, and watch her do all the work.

Price - $25 per month
(another person who loves her job and would do it for free - she seriously can't get enough of paper)

5.  A Chef
Not only does our chef prepare delicious and healthy meals, she is able to keep up with the ever changing diets of your special needs children.  Gluten and casein free diet?  No problem.  GAPS diet? No big deal.  Paleo diet?  Child's play.  This chef is equipped with an endless array of recipes for any eating plan that comes her way.  And for those picky eaters?  She makes a mean PB & J.

Price - $50 a month
(plus she gets to eat what she cooks - a real bargain!)

6.  A Housekeeper    
This lovely lady comes to clean every single day.  She does laundry.  She cleans the oven.  She washes windows and sweeps the front porch.  And you don't have to pick up anything before she arrives.

Price - $60 per month
(this one is a little pricey but she does come every day and you don't have to pick up beforehand) 

7.  Lawn Care Service

A beautiful lawn doesn't just happen.  But that doesn't mean you have to take care of it.  Let our yard maintenance professionals handle it all.  Not only do they mow, weed-eat, edge, rake, fertilize, spread mulch, sweep, and clean gutters, they also take care of seasonal planting so your yard is always in bloom.  Service includes installation and removal of Christmas lights.

Price - $20 per service
(offer them some iced tea and they might even knock a couple bucks off)

See anything I forgot?

A product or service you would like to see offered in the catalog?

Leave a comment and I'll do my best to get it included.

Remember, this is our catalog.  So tell me what you want.

And do keep in mind the motto of The Lana Rush Christmas "Fantasy Gifts" Catalog:

The sky is the limit but the budget is not. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Just a quick post to let each of you know how very grateful I am that you take the time to stop by the blog, read our family stories, laugh along with us, and pray for us. 

Thank you for joining us in our journey.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Turkey handmade by the Bird, just in case you were wondering....

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friendly Friday

Remember when we did Talk to Me Tuesday?

Well, just for a little fun before the weekend, let's bring that back again, ok?

First, a quick refresher on the rules:

I'm going to ask you two totally unrelated questions.  And then you're going to leave a comment with your answers to my two questions.

OK?  OK!

Here we go:

Question One:

What is something you have done lately that proves you are now officially a grown-up?

I cooked brussels sprouts and cabbage, two vegetables I have always despised, and I actually liked them!  Especially the cabbage.  I'm a big girl now!

Want the recipes? 

Quick note here - you may be thinking that you don't like either of these veggies but let me just say one small word to you:  Bacon.  Both recipes contain bacon.  And bacon makes everything better.  Even cabbage and brussels sprouts.

Question Two:

What are some of your favorite shows on television right now?

Blue Bloods
Duck Dynasty

Which reminds me - is anyone watching the show Elementary?  I've missed the beginning shows and I won't watch anything out of order but it looks pretty good.

While this isn't a TV show, I love NPR's This American Life.  And there's an app for it so you can listen to any of the archived shows.  Makes me so happy.

Now it's your turn.

Tell me all about what a grown-up, television watching person you are.

And have a joy-filled weekend, my friends.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fruit Snacks - Round 2

I think we all know that my first attempt at making all-natural fruit snacks was a dismal failure.

Click here in case you missed it.

But I am happy to report that my second attempt was a winner.

I know you'll be shocked to hear that I found the recipe on Pinterest.  Take a look at these pretty little things from the blog, The Mommypotamus:

All natural Sour Gummy Stars (5-minute prep) from Mommypotamus

Now, take a look at my version:

Photo: This time, a fruit snack success.

Not quite as shiny or cute but the Bird and I were both satisfied with the end result and that's all that really matters.

Couple notes here for anyone interested in giving them a go -

As suggested by so many of you (and not written in the directions of either recipe!), spray the mold of your choice with non-stick cooking spray.  Which seems like a total "duh" thing but I didn't do it the first time.

I just used good old Knox unflavored gelatin but will use all-natural gelatin the next time I make these.  Gotta keep with that "all-natural" theme, right?

Since I made these with lemon juice, I used yellow India Tree all natural food coloring.

And lastly, since Lily loves all things sour, I'll add the optional lemon extract next time to give the fruit snacks even more tartness. 

Want the recipe?  Well, here you go!

Sour Gummy Stars


  • 3 tablespoons grassfed gelatin
  • 1/3 cup lemon/lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons honey (where to buy good quality honey)
  • Optional – Non-toxic, vegetable-based food coloring ( I used India Tree)
  • Optional – A few drops of lemon extract or food grade lemon oil for increased pucker factor

Easy Peasy Instructions:

  1. Whisk lemon/lime juice, honey and gelatin in a sauce pan until there are no lumps.
  2. Heat over low heat until it’s nice and melty, stirring constantly.
  3. Add food coloring and/or extract  if desired – you’re almost done now!
  4. Grab an ice cube tray or silicone mold (I don’t recommend silicone usually but since we’re not baking with it here I think it’s fine). You can use a basic pan, too, and then just cut into squares or use a cookie cutter after it’s set.
  5. Pour in the mixture, then pop in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to firm up. Once they’re out of the freezer they will stay firm at room temperature.
  6. Enjoy!
Oh! One more thing.... be sure to pay a visit to The Mommypotamus blog for more great information on healthy living.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Oh Joy!

Back around the time of Lily's 6th birthday in late September, we did something a little different and a little bit out of our comfort zone.

We were approached by a sweet pastor friend with a heartfelt question - could he gather some pastors from around the city and bring them together on one night to pray for our sweet Lily Bird?

Now let me clarify something.  We are never against anyone praying for our baby girl.  But I knew this would be a little different.  These pastors are from all different denominations and do things a little differently than what my good ol' Baptist upbringing is used to.

And like has happened so many times since the birth of Lily, I knew this would be a learning experience; another opportunity for my faith to grow and stretch.  It never hurts my good ol' Baptist upbringing to shake things up a bit.     

A date was set.

For one whole hour, this amazing group of pastors, along with their wives, prayed over Lily Bird.  Sometimes, one voice, clear and strong.  And sometimes, a steady hum of quiet voices tumbling over one another.

It was the sweetest sound I've heard this side of Heaven.

And I want you to know - Lily sat there for 45 minutes of it, just like she knew something special was going on and she didn't want to miss it.

Did Lily rise up from the gathering, eloquently speaking like nothing was ever wrong?


But let me tell you what did happen.

My heart was broken, then lovingly and tenderly knitted back together.  My sorrow was replaced with joy.  I left that gathering feeling bold, reminded that I could ask God for anything at all.  I left with the gift of hope deep in my bones, courtesy of these pastors who love and pray for my family every single day.

About two weeks later, we had our monthly phone call with Dr. Goldberg.

Towards the end of the phone call, he brought up Lily's blood work, which we have done once a month for the past year.

Now let me clarify one thing here real quick.  The entire basis of Dr. G's treatment has been built around this theory:  if we can increase the IgG's, then the white cell count should increase, and then Lily's body should be able to fight off the virus on its own, just the way the human body has been designed by God to perform.  But it's been a lot of if's and should's for the last year.  With no changes.
And once a month for the past twelve months, we hear the same news - Lily's IgG's are still rock bottom, therefore her white cell count is still rock bottom, therefore the virus is still running rampant through her brain.

Until October 16, 2012.

All of sudden, for no physical reason at all, Lily's IgG numbers increased.  As a result, her white cell count increased.  Just like it's supposed to do.  With no changes in medicine or diet or therapy or treatment of any kind.

Dr. Goldberg asked us if anything was different, trying to account for this sudden increase in numbers that we haven't seen for an entire year.

What was different?

Oh, nothing much.

Except for that amazing group of pastors who came together to pray for one of their own.  That amazing group of pastors who firmly believe that God still performs miracles.  That amazing group of pastors who reminded this mama that God has not forgotten my baby girl.

Thank you, Jesus.

We will be doing another round of bloodwork the week before Thanksgiving.  Will the numbers show another increase? Will they be the same?  Or worse, have dropped back down again?

I don't know.

But here's what I do know - There is beauty in brokenness. There is hope in heartbreak. And there is joy in sorrow.  I choose beauty.  I choose hope.  And I choose joy.

 Taken from Beth Moore's Praying God's Word Day by Day:
Nothing on earth compares to the strength God is willing to interject into lives caught in the act of believing.

"Father, so often I feel like the boy's father who first exclaimed, "I do believe!" then in a flood of sincerity cried out, "Help me overcome my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24). Please help me overcome my own unbelief, Lord, so I can start taking You at Your word. I pray that the eyes of my heart may be enlightened in order that I may know the hope to which You have called me, the riches of Your glorious inheritance in the saints, and Your incomparably great power to us who believe. (Eph. 1:18-19). As You did for the jailer who received salvation through the witness of Paul and Silas, fill me with joy when I choose to believe You (Acts 16:34)."

Friday, November 2, 2012

31 Days to Crazy Joy Finale

Need a little pick-me-up to kick off your weekend?

To start things off, how about some sweet pictures of the Bird?

Hanging out on the trampoline with Dad...

It's not exactly active play but it sure is a good place for some snuggles.

Made some of these cute little jack-o-lantern oranges for Lily's teachers and aides.

Ready for trick-or-treaters.

Halloween is hard work!

Lily was wiped out - in bed by 7PM, and asleep by 7:05 PM.

Next, an article that will make more than your weekend.  Chy Johnson and "Her Boys" by Rick Reilly will make you smile, restore your faith in our teenagers, and serve as a gentle reminder of everything we hope for ALL our children.

And lastly, did you think I wouldn't finish my 31 Days to Crazy Joy?  Especially since I didn't do any posting this week??

Well.  Boom. Bam.  Here it is.  All 31 Days.  Read 'em and see for some joy yourself, ok?  And by all means, share that joy with me!

31 Days to Crazy Joy

October 1
1.  My laughing Lily Bird
2.  My new red loafers
3.  A great day at school for Lily

October 2
4.  Pumpkins
5.  A walk around Town Lake in the evening
6.  Overhearing my big girls laughing together while Face-Timing

October 3
7.  cozy naps
8.  Reagan's good idea turning into an exciting new project
9.  peas and cornbread

October 4
10.  homemade applesauce
11.  a new season of Sherlock on Netflix
12.  almost daily text photos of Ryley's "outfit of the day" for LU classes

October 5
13.  libraries full of free books
14.  booking Ryley's ticket home for Thanksgiving
15.  starting the Christmas planning lists

October 6
16.  hot chocolate with LOTS of marshmallows
17.  watching Ryan and Lily wrestling and hearing her girly squeals of delight
18.  a cute new purse - purchased by my mom

October 7
19.  boots
20.  after missing two weeks, getting to go to church
21.  rocking newborns in the church nursery

October 8
22.  a daughter who knits
23.  a helpful husband
24.  pajama days

October 9
25.  Parenthood - best show on TV
26. effective medication
27.  cooler temperatures

October 10
28.  Sonic ice
29.  watermelon - the Bird's current favorite treat
30.  mailing my first care package to Ryley

October 11
31.  the discovery of Duck Dynasty - and a brand new season just started!
32.  my monthly MOSK group - Mothers of Special (Needs) Kids
33.  new Christmas stockings for the whole family, handmade by Reagan

October 12
32.  a weekly delivery of free eggs from a sweet friend
33.  my crock-pot
34.  a beautiful front porch decorated for fall

October 13
35.  homemade spice tea
36.  organic honeycrisp apples
37.  The Pioneer Woman's French Breakfast Puffs

October 14
38.  hearing the words "Lily is rocking it today!"
39.  sweet buddies who volunteer to hang with Lily on Sunday mornings
40.  handing Lily a treat and hearing what sounds like "thank you" in her sweet voice

October 15
41.  gathering with my fellow pastors' wives to just relax 
42.  getting together with new friends and discovering what you have in common
43.  iPic movie theater - WOW!

October 16
44.  an amazing time of prayer for Lily with pastors from all over Austin
45.  the opportunity to teach One Thousand Gifts at a Ladies Retreat
46.  wearing a sweatshirt outside for the first time this year

October 17
47.  pulling something delicious from the freezer when I don't feel like cooking
48.  getting coupons to Barnes & Noble in my email inbox
49.  overnight oatmeal in the crockpot

October 18
50.  Discovering a new author
51.  Putting Reagan on an airplane for a "sister reunion"
52.  Seeing this on Facebook a few hours later:

October 19
53.  an unexpected date night due to the generosity of a sweet friend
54.  catching up with friends
55.  great  news from Lily's California doctor (more on this later)

October 20
56.  a good ARD meeting
57.  teachers who care about Lily and want to see her succeed
58.  a neighborhood wagon ride

October 21
59.  sleeping on freshly washed sheets
60.  Lily looking at storybooks
61.  seeing pictures of my big girls having a blast together in Virginia

October 22
62.  cousins
63.  Ann Voskamp's blog - A Holy Experience
64.  tweets that make me laugh out loud

October 23
65.  peppermint mochas from McDonald's
66.  answered prayers
67.  a new way of looking at a verse of Scripture I've known my whole life    

October 24
68.  getting comments on my blog posts  
69.  cheering for Lily Bird
70.  Skype conversations with Ryley

October 25
71. hearing Ann Voskamp's sweet voice introducing her 1000 Gifts DVD study - and inviting me to the farm!
Want to hear it yourself? Click here.
72.  an unexpected free day
73.  a clean car

October 26
74.  the smell of wood smoke
75.  the first fire of autumn in our outdoor fireplace
76.  chicken and dumplings that remind me of my Mamaw

October 27
77.  fuzzy socks
78.  the feeling of sweet relief that floods over me when I "cast my cares on Him because He cares for me"
79.  the sound of a crackling fire

October 28
80.  Lily marching to Father Abraham
81.  a response tweet from Ann Voskamp
82.  sweatpants

October 29
83.  blessing a friend
84.  my parent's anniversary today - and their example of a godly marriage
85.  new mulch in the flower beds

October 30
86.  the gift of being a stay-at-home mom
87.  beautiful music that speaks to my soul
88.  friends who pray regularly for my family

October 31
89.  Pastor Appreciation Month and the sweet notes of encouragement we receive from our church family
90.  precious children dressed up in their Halloween finest
91.  a  Joy Dare for the month of November -  and a brand new month to keep counting it all joy!     

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