Wednesday, August 19, 2015

It Could Happen to You

autoimmune disorder
8/18/15 - When you love someone, you love every part of them...even great sickness. 

This morning as I lay with Rana, I find myself thinking about all we've been through together and all things that may come. Kissing her precious bald head and holding her weak hand, I soak in this moment as she nuzzles closer to me to find comfort and safety. Tears of gratitude stream down my face as I pray silently to God on her behalf as waves of nausea pass. I know God hears me because I feel his presence. Laying my hand on Rana, I claim victory in Jesus and I thank him for walking with us in this season. I rebuke Satan over and over again because I am faithfully believing God is able to heal her to his glory. I will not give up the fight and I will not stop praying because to do anything else is impossible for my heart to understand. 

My dear friend Kathy Mashburn wrote this about her sweet daughter Rana just yesterday. As I'm writing this tonight, she is in the ER at T.C. Thompson's Children's Hospital in Chattanooga, TN waiting on fluids to replenish Rana's frail body. July 13, 2015 started out as a normal day but as Kathy watched her daughter grow sicker and sicker, she knew something was wrong. That's the day Rana was diagnosed with HLH, a life-threatening autoimmune disorder. This is Rana's senior year of high school. She is 17 years old.

She receives chemo to suppress her immune system which has caused her hair to come out. She is still glowingly beautiful! Kathy has been widowed about five years. Her husband passed from a long illness with a heart disease. Kathy is one of the strongest and most talented people I know. Two weeks before Rana's diagnosis, Kathy and I were scheduled to have lunch. We rescheduled due to conflicts. I just can't believe how drastically and quickly her life changed.. My heart weeps for this family. They are constantly in my thoughts and prayers.

I wish I could do something great for Kathy and Rana. All I can do is wait on God as they are faithfully doing. I have opened a Pampered Chef fundraiser for them at, 15% of your purchase will go directly to Kathy for expenses. Rana has labwork several times a week and chemo 50 miles from her home. Kathy can't work, Rana requires too much daily care. Cash donations are also accepted via Paypal at If you feel compelled to help this dear mother and daughter, please don't hesitate, do it now!

Our world changed quickly March 2012 when Steve was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease causing pulmonary fibrosis. The doctor flippantly said "You've got 3 to 5 years." The news is like being on the playground on the merry-go-round on an extremely hot day. One minute you're having so much fun and the next minute, you're nauseously ill, wondering when it will stop and praying it never does. So scary and unsure. God is our refuge and strength. He is the giver and taker of life, not a doctor.  Please don't neglect to thank God every day for your health and well being. You just never know when something like this could happen to you or yours.

For more information on HLH and Kathy, please click the links in this article. Thanks in advance for your prayers, donations and kindness. Follow updates for Rana on Facebook at RanaStrong or on Twitter using #ranastrong.

Fighting for her life,
The Happy Handicap

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Four Types of Stares: Which One are You?

I cracked up when I ran across this comic yesterday. It reminds me I've been stared at my entire life and how insanely ridiculous stares are. Never seen a short woman limp before? People's stares used to bother me but now I relish them. I even miss them! If I go to a public place and people don't stare, I'm offended! Did people all of of sudden get polite or am I invisible? I seriously ask my husband and kids "Why aren't people staring at me today?" 

My husband is learning to process people's gazes. He requires oxygen. You would think he has leprosy the way people look at him with a cannula in his nose pulling an oxygen tank. He almost gets more attention than me. I don't care if they stare. (Steve calls me an exhibitionist.) I just want to understand why people can't take their eyes off of me. Now, Steve is another story. He don't want to go out in public anymore due to the stares. He's always been a very private person. Me? I'll seductively pull down my long black socks and show you my prosthetics if you want to see them!

Over the years, I've classified four stare types. They are:
  1. The Sneaky Stare. This type starer notices me but glances straight ahead like they're not going to stare. I walk toward them and at the very last second when we're walking past each other, when they KNOW I'm not going to know they stared, they quickly shift their eyes in my direction for that gratuitous look-see! CAUGHT! Uhhhh, you're not sneaky at all and if you'd just ask me, I'd share my story with you!
  2. The Blatant Stare. This bold starer just don't care if they get caught. They gawk, turn around in circles to make sure they seen what they think they saw and will probably ask me "What happened to your foot?", "Did you hurt your foot?", "Were you born with Polio?" etc. I've heard them all. Please...stare all you want but don't jeopardize my dignity by playing 20 questions.
  3. The Backwards Stare. This type's curiosity gets the best of them. They're cool and collected when they notice Tammy has a problem. They don't want me to feel uncomfortable or "stared at" so they look away, until, I get by them. Then they look back at me trying to politely figure me out until they realize I know their type. When my eyes meet theirs, it's over! CAUGHT! I've often wished they would turn into a pillar of salt.
  4. The Apologetic Stare. This is the worst starer ever. Bless their hearts. They mean well, but when you're stared at the entire length of a 10 mile mall it's difficult to accept those Basset Hound hung down jaws and sad baggy eyes that seem to say "I'm so sorry you're hurt and limping." Really. People. It's okay!!! If you sincerely feel that sorry for me, hand me a dollar or the keys to a new car with a disabled tag. Please don't stare!

2 Corinthians 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

I made it my calling to teach my children to accept others as God made them. That's a whole 'nother subject because mostly people are the way the world has made them.

My favorite personal wisdom is this: If everyone had something "different" to deal with.....people would be "different", possibly even polite. If you gotta stare, stare hard to see the good in people not to figure out the bad.

Here's looking at you,
The Happy Handicap

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Coming Clean: my Secret Addiction

finding nemo
James 5:16 Confess you faults one to another, and pray for one another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteousness man availeth much. 

Lisette and I watched Finding Nemo yesterday. Do you ever feel like Bruce? He's the shark that loves to eat fish. My favorite scene in the movie is when he confesses his addiction. Hi. My name is Tammy. I'm addicted to eating at midnight or after. Seriously! I wake up every night and simply cannot resist the urge to eat. I started this bad habit with my first pregnancy 28 years ago! I still cannot control it. And, it's mostly sugary perfection. 

You're probably thinking don't buy yourself treats or don't make them, right? I'm that smart. But, don't you just love a warm, crispy toasted piece of fresh bread with melted butter, sugar and cinnamon on it? I do! Yes. I'm that pathetic midnight snacker you see in commercials or movies ransacking the pantry or fridge for food. I've actually woken up with crumbs on my clothes that I don't know how they got there. I'm confessing this to you so maybe I can stop this insanity.

I'm thankful and surprised I'm not overly overweight. That's my body with Bruce's head in the picture. Eating at midnight is terrible for my digestive system. I feel awful the morning after. I'm allergic to sugar and most food chemicals. The allergic reaction causes baggy, saggy eyes. I wrote a blog entitled 5 Tips for Problem Eyes hoping I'd follow my own advice. Nothing has worked so far. Just last night I ate seven or eight little chocolate donuts after midnight. I made it all better by washing them down with water. I can't walk to exercise due to my disability so minimizing food consumption is the only way I have to control my weight. 

My bad habit probably seems silly to you. Midnight snacking is extremely frustrating to me. Embarrassing even. I could probably be a cat burglar I've become so good at sneaking in and out of the pantry so my husband doesn't catch me. I know he knows! One night I was in the pantry with the door closed, my daughter and her boyfriend came home from a date settling into the den to watch TV. I was trapped in the pantry for three hours in my t-shirt and undies. There was no way I could get past them without being seen in my shirttail. I'm surprised they didn't hear me laughing at myself and then almost crying when the reality of being a 51 year-old-woman trapped in a pantry controlled by my own sugar vices struck.

As James 5:16 instructs, please pray for me if I cross your mind. I would love to be healed of this mind game.They say "mind over matter", but it's more like "mind wrapped around a Twinkie and won't let go"! I'd appreciate your tips on overcoming habits/addictions if you've successfully done it. Reply to this email or email me at Confession is good for the body and soul.

Feeling crumby,