Friday, February 4, 2011

She Ran The Race Set Before Her

This post was originally written for Frosting for the Cause, so head on over there to see the entire site and 365 women who are making a difference.


When I first found out about Frosting for the Cause, I knew immediately that I would do it. And I knew right away the person that I would share with you. And I knew what kind of cookie best fit her story.

In May 2004, I sat on my living room floor with my closest group of girlfriends while our dear friend Tammy told us that something was wrong. She'd had a few mammograms and she knew it was serious. We cried. We prayed. We hugged. And then we waited.

She was diagnosed with Stage 3C Ductile Breast Cancer with heavy lymph node involvement that led to a double mastectomy. Her doctors told her that even with chemotherapy and radiation, she had an 18%-22% chance to live 2 more years.

She and her husband of almost 14 years did what any family would do. 

They had a friend come to the house. And they took a family picture.

And she hugged her baby even tighter.

And she treasured every single minute. Every one.

And then she decided that she wanted better odds than her doctors had given her. She decided to live and live big. Tammy found an indescribable strength in God to get her through this journey. But even more than strength, she found joy. BIG JOY.  And every time I was with Tammy there it was. 
A true joy and peace deep in her eyes that can only come from God.
Yes, there were hard days. Yes, there were tears. But the peace never left and the joy got bigger.

I'll never forget this day. We were at Tammy's house for a 
party, and she grabbed all of the bald husbands in the room, 
yanked her wig off and commanded someone to take this
picture. She thought it was hilarious. It was.

Tammy's life verse is Hebrews 12:1
"Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us."

And run with endurance she did.

"Team Tammy" heading out for the Susan G. Komen 5K

It will be 7 years this May since Tammy got the news from her doctor that her life would never be the same. And it hasn't been since. She is an inspiration to everyone she knows. She is constantly on the lookout for people that she can encourage. Empathize with. And love their socks off while pointing them to the One that was and is her continual source of strength and joy. 
She loves to say to them, "I've been there. I know exactly what you're going through."

She is completely cancer free and still running her race with endurance with her beautiful family and her Father God. So in honor of Tammy and her life verse...

These chewy, chocolate, brownie-like sugar cookies are amazing. Just like Tammy. 

Chocolate-Orange Sugar Cookies
adapted from Southern Living's
Chocolate Fleur-de-Lis cookies
3 sticks butter
2.5 cups sifter powdered sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. pure orange extract
3 cups All Purpose Flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. sea salt

Soften butter at room temperature and beat until smooth in an electric mixer. Add sifted powder slowly until blended. Beat eggs and orange extract in a small bowl until combined, add to butter mixture.

Combine flour, cocoa, & salt and slowly add to the butter mixture. Beat for 2 minutes until blended. Divide dough in half and place on wax paper sprinkled with a small amount of flour/cocoa mixture. Roll each portion out to 3/8"-1/2" thickness and chill.

When dough is chilled, cut out shapes with cookie cutter or card stock design. Bake at 350 for 10-13 minutes, depending on the size of your cookie. Decorate with Royal Icing. 

Royal Icing
16 ounces powdered sugar
30 grams meringue powder
1/2 tsp. light corn syrup
less than 1/2 cup water

Sift powdered sugar & meringue powder into the bowl of an electric mixer with whisk attachment on low. Stream in water and speed up to medium high. Drizzle in corn syrup and mix for 5-6 minutes. For Outline Icing, place in decorator bags with #3 tip. For Flood Icing, add 1/2 teaspoon of water at a time until mixture is the consistency of thick syrup and place in decorator bottles.

Before chilling dough, roll out on wax paper first.

Don't have the right cookie cutter? No problem!
Sketch one out on card stock and cut out with a knife.
After tinting icing (I used Americolor Soft Pink here and made a light & dark batch)
outline shoe in a darker batch of Soft Pink.

Create stripe, flood with lighter batch of Soft Pink and add sparkles.
Add additional shoe details in white.
Flood remaining cookie with lighter batch of Soft Pink & White. Add details.

Allow to dry up to 24 hours and Enjoy Chocolate Bliss!!


Paula said...

Amanda, I cannot thank you enough for your wonderful post for Frosting for the Cause. As you saw by the comments, you and the story of Tammy's unwillingness to let cancer get the best of her were an inspiration for everyone who visited. Your sweet cookies were delightful. Our project it working because of the dedication of volunteers such as yourself and I cannot adequately express my appreciation for all you have done to help bake a difference. Thank you!

lizy b said...

Love the cookies and the words....keep on going!