Finding Joy in 2016

A lot of people have commented over the last few months about what a stinktastic year 2016 has been.  Entire late-night skits have been written hating on 2016, and with good reason.  It's been the most challenging year for so many.  From a strange election season (which I am not commenting on), to big celebrity deaths, to world-wide unrest, too many people I love with health concerns, there's just a film over 2016 for just about everyone.  I starting this year with a post called Spreading Joy and gosh darn it, I am not going to pile onto 2016, I am going to spread joy all the way to the end.

I decided to look at each of the four seasons, and pick out the Best moments of joy.  So here goes:

Winter
-Celebrating six years gluten free.
-Having Running Daddy's uncle and the Sweet Boy's great uncle (and also his hero) come from Chicago and then watching your son win the player of the game that weekend.
-Only one major snowstorm.  Just enough, no snowmageddon.
-A great hockey team filled with nice families, Good kids and the Best coaches.
-Watching the Sweet Boy win his hockey championship and smiling a little as the only team they lost to this season was the all-girls team.
-Reconnecting with your childhood friend after a very long time.  Thank you Facebook.
-Attending Dare to Be with Natalie Grant and Charlotte Gambill, and while it was a little out of my comfort zone it made an impact.
-Knowing just which friend would attend Dare to Be with me.  

Spring
-A lacrosse team made up of the Best boys who took their second place tournament win with grace, it was a tough one.
-A lacrosse coach so Good, that a parent of the winning team stopped us getting Slurpee's to tell us how impressed she was with him and that he was a role model for all coaches.  Yup, he's the Best.
-A Sunday Fun Day lacrosse pool party that just thinking about makes me smile.  Eleven year old boys slurping oysters....priceless.
-The Mount Vernon Spring Wine Festival where it stopped raining just in time to celebrate Running Daddy's birthday.
-Having the Sweet Boy tell me this was his Best year in school and the reason that made it his Best year was his teacher.

Summer
-A camp carpool filled with silly sweet boys.
-Walking into the last day of basketball camp and hearing the coach of a very prestigious boys school tell these kids, it's really all about your grades and that basketball will only take you so far.  Thank you coach, you are a Good man.
-Back to the beach with our friends and the Best hometown 4th of July parade ever.
-Hanging out with the Sweet Boy's kindergarten teacher and her family on the 4th of July.
-Finding Good dog trainers who take your once rambunctious but sweet dog and three weeks later turn him into the dog you always knew he could be.
-The Sweet Boy's pool party which was simple, but he said was the Best party he ever had.

Fall/Holidays
-Bad Lax Moms happy hours at the Inn and a group of ladies who make me laugh.
-Lake house happy hour fires, bonfires and breakfast fires.



-The happiest this dog has ever been and the fact that he is so Good now we can bring him on vacation.
-The first crab cake I have eaten in a restaurant in 7 years thanks to Dutch's and their no filler crab cake.
-Seeing the Sweet Boy play a shepherd in Lessons and Carols this year.
-Holidays with food, wine, family, grandparents who are about to be great grandparents, sister who is about to become a grandmother, kids, and friends who are like family.

So see, 2016 you were not all bad.  There were lots of moments of Good and joy.  Thank you to all of you who helped make the moments of Good this year.  Here's to 2017 being the Best.

Feel free to leave me your Good, Better, Best moments of 2016 in the comments below.






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Christmas Download 2016

I LOVE CHRISTMAS.  I am also a type A person who has spent the majority of my day job career working special events.  Christmas love + type A personality + special events background = the want and need for this time of year to be special.  Now I am not the type that wants everything to be perfect but I do want things to be nice.  I don't bake the perfect cookies, in fact I only bake cookies for this one special cookie party that we go to every year.  Other than that....it's the Pillsbury pre-cut sugar cookie version but Santa seems to think they are Good. I want a nice tree from the sweet church around the corner where basically the same nice man has helped us for the last five year.  Christmas only comes once a year, and I know that the real reason for the season is the birth of Jesus, and that is something that is very dear in my heart.

Since 2016 is being so weird, right everyone, things just didn't totally go the way that I planned in many ways, so I wanted to do the old "Pause and Learn" that I do after every big event at work.  Even if I am the only person who ever reads this, while this was a Good Christmas, I wanted to get my thoughts down on paper to help for next year to make things Better in 2017. Because 2017 has got to be Better....right?

1) Don't get sick: Yeah, I started with a scratchy throat about 10 days before Christmas which developed into asthmatic bronchitis five days later...five days before Christmas if you are doing that math.  Ugh.  Asthmatic bronchitis is not easy to get rid of and especially challenging with my health problems.  Nothing says Christmas like asthmatic bronchitis.

Image result for friends monica sick i'm fine

2) Shop early: I actually like Christmas shopping and choosing a perfect gift for the people I love,   such as Gentry Bourbon for Running Daddy or a small luxury item that I know is out of the budget for someone. For the last three years or so I have gotten up and gone Christmas shopping on Black Friday at 5 am.  I am not a "Door Busters" person, I just need the time...alone.  I hit the outlets near our house which are not crowded at that time of day and then the running store near our house has a great sale until 8 am where everything in the store is 30% off.  Merry Christmas to Running Daddy.  I need to keep doing this.

3) Start the wrapping early or hire someone: I don't enjoy wrapping, I know some of you do, I do not.  Last year I hired our babysitter to do the family wrapping and it was the Best idea. Next year I need to start wrapping the things I buy Black Friday that weekend or hire someone again.  Why?  See #1.

4) Decorations come out Thanksgiving weekend: Ours didn't come down until a couple of weeks later, and it just put us behind.  I am not a person who thinks that Christmas decorations should come down before Thanksgiving, if you do I am not judging.  In our house, we need to take everything down for the inside and outside on Thanksgiving weekend.  We have the time, we need to use it Better.

5) Don't underestimate a Stouffer's lasagna: Did I mention I was sick?  So Friday morning I was trying to figure out what to have for dinner.  Yes, even I struggle with this from time to time.  My parents were in town and while they don't care what I fed them, I have the need to feed them.  I decided I would go to Wegman's because surely they must have a Good pre-made lasagna that I could just heat up.  I would find a gluten free option for myself and I would be Good to go. So I headed into Wegman's two days before Christmas, normally paradise for a food lover like me, but it was a madhouse.  I expected it to be so but there were people everywhere.  I meandered over to the prepared food case to pick up the lasagna...no lasagna.  There was a nice young man there putting more food out so I asked him if they had lasagna.  They were sold out.  Apparently I am not the only one that has the Good idea of lasagna this time of year.  He told me that if I want one around the holidays I should really order one.  Good to know.  I looked and him and said with a slightly disturbed look on my face "Should I get a frozen one?"  He told me to go get the big Stouffer's one and just add fresh Parmesan cheese and that it will be pretty Good.  Um, apparently he was right, even though I could not eat it.  Everyone raved about it and the Sweet Boy said it was the Best lasagna he ever had.  Who knew?

6) Hallmark Channel movies: Anyone who knows me know I love the Hallmark Channel .  Because I am challenged a lot with my lupus, I need to lie down some on the weekend.  When I was really struggling a few years ago, I would put on the Hallmark Channel and these sweet stories were comforting to me.  I like that I can watch them with the Sweet Boy and not worry about the content.  I like that people are generally kind to one another.  These movies are the Best and seriously our whole family loves them. I start watching the Christmas ones the moment they start showing them.   Leave me a comment if you want to know my favorites.

7) Remember the meaning of Christmas: I am usually so Good about this.  Being so sick, all I could really think about was how to get Better and wonder when I would stop coughing.  This slow week is a Good week to stop and think about the birth of Jesus.  So many times recently I have prayed for guidance and even for the right words, and when the time comes, He gives me the right words.  He is so Good.



So this is my Christmas download 2016.  I plan on referring to this next fall and hope that you all found it helpful too.  Feel free to leave me comments on things that you do to have the Best Christmas.

PS--I have been floored at the number of page visits I have been getting lately.  I appreciate each and everyone of you who read my blog, follow Good Better Best Food on Twitter and Facebook.  Feel free to subscribe as well so you never miss a post.
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2016 Thanksgiving Help and Flashbacks from Good Better Best Food





And just like that, as Monica from Friends reminds us,  Thanksgiving is upon us!  Over the last three weeks, we have had an interesting presidential election that I was part of for my day job, we went to the lake in western Maryland to unplug  and then I had a work conference in beautiful Palm Beach at my favorite hotel, the Breakers this week.  Now I am getting organized for the Thanksgiving week and sharing ideas to make this Thanksgiving delicious and healthy with Good, Better Best.

I am anti-fun police lately, meaning no kale chips at Halloween and mock mashed potatoes at the Thanksgiving table, it's one day people!  I do find that using the Best ingredients when you can such as organic veggies and an organic turkey also taste Better too!  So here are some easy tips with some Good, Better, Best flashbacks for Thanksgiving.

1) The Thanksgiving Basics-this post is an easy reference for the Best tasting ingredients as you are shopping and prepping this week.

2) Best Cornbread Dressing Ever-This cornbread dressing (stuffing) can be made with regular cornbread or gluten free like I make it.  Trust me, this will become your signature dish.

3) Butternut Squash and Pear Soup-This is probably the Best soup I make.  I made some last night as I often like to make soup when I have been working a lot and have not been home much.  I find it very therapeutic and always have.  I made this soup because it was going to be a busy week and the temperature literally dropped about 30  degrees last night and I wanted something warm and light to take us through the holiday week. This could easily be made ahead and taken to your Thanksgiving meal in a crockpot to keep warm, just make sure you have one like I do where the lid latches really well.  Serve in shot glasses as an appetizer or in coffee mugs for a casual feel.

4) Wine-Wine is the Best part of any Thanksgiving dinner and Running Daddy is typically in charge of wine for this meal.  Here are some of our Best suggestions for Thanksgiving wine over the years:

Thinking Pinot Gris or Pinot Noir? Try these

Chardonnay your Best friend?  This Kendall Jackson Reserve Chardonnay is the perfect choice.

Want to go totally outside the box?  Check out this Gewurz for turkey and the Penfolds Club Tawny Port for dessert.

5) Speaking of dessert, I have been making this carrot cake since the Sweet Boy was in preschool.  In fact he used to request that I make this for his preschool Thanksgiving party.  It's still his favorite now that he is a big kid.  Carrot cake has all of the savory and sweetness of pumpkin pie but a great option if you want to mix it up a little this year.

Ok, leave me comments below about what you are serving this year for Thanksgiving and post any meal prep questions you have for the big day.

Enjoy the Best Thanksgiving!


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Simply Good--- Gluten Free Pizza with the help of Trader Joe's



Ah pizza, right from your oven...on a weeknight.  Before I went gluten free almost seven years ago, I used to use  Trader Joe's pizza dough all the time. I especially used to like the one that was infused with herbs.  But since embracing the gluten free lifestyle to help me manage my health issues, I have had a hard time finding a good gluten free at home substitute.  One day this fall, a Trader Joe's crew member at the register noticed all of the gluten free items in my cart and asked me if I was gluten free.  I told her yes and she told me about the new frozen gluten free pizza crusts....bingo!

Right before Running Daddy left on a recent extended business trip, I picked up these pizza shells to make the Sweet Boy and I a quick weeknight dinner.  I followed the instructions on the package, topped the crust with olive oil, Trader Joe's Traditional Marina sauce, mozzarella cheese and a little bit of Tastefully Simple Garlic Pepper.  It was on the table quickly and with some cut up veggies we had a meal.

You can top this pizza with anything you like and it is easy to make this Good, Better, Best with organic toppings and cheese.  A choice of the non-gluten free whole wheat pizza dough is a great start to Good, Better, Best pizza.

This was a hit for both the Sweet Boy and me. The pizza was crispy and browned perfectly.  It was even Good re-heated the next day.   I will be making this again, but will probably use both crusts that come in the package, making one cheese and one more exotic aka pepperoni for Running Daddy and myself. I would probably pair this with a great Malbec as that is Running Daddy's favorite pizza wine.

What's your favorite pizza topping?

Enjoy the Best food.





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One Pan Balsamic Chicken and Potatoes







This one was a winner in our house.  Best of all, it is quick easy and you probably have all of the ingredients in your house already.  With the chicken and potatoes cooking in the same pan, all you need to do is add some steamed veggies or a salad and dinner is ready in about 20-25 minutes.

Ingredients:

4 chicken breasts (if they are large, cut them in half)
4 large red potatoes cut into two inch pieces
2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 springs fresh rosemary
1/4 cup quality balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons honey
1 Tablespoon grainy or Dijon mustard
salt
pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add olive oil.

Season chicken and potatoes with salt and pepper.

Add chicken, two springs of rosemary (needles only) and potatoes and brown in skillet about three minutes per side.

While the chicken and potatoes are cooking, whisk balsamic, honey and mustard in a bowl.

Add balsamic, honey and mustard and the remaining rosemary to the pan and mix gently.

Bake 15-20 minutes until chicken is cooked through to 165 degrees and the potatoes are fork tender.

To make Better add one element of organic chicken or potatoes or garden grown rosemary.  To make Best add multiple elements of organic chicken, potatoes or garden grown rosemary.

Enjoy the Best Food! 


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Sprinting into Fall

And just like that....it's October.  How did this happen?  It seems like yesterday that I was getting the Sweet Boy ready to go back to school. The weather until this week certainly felt more like summer than fall, but now October is upon us and we are starting to get those more normal temperatures to enjoy.

I know I am not alone in the experience that with the Fall temperatures come the fun and madness of fall sports, festivals and activities.  Sunday morning I found myself in the car at 5:30 a.m. on my way to our first hockey game of the season.  Some fresh brewed coffee in our new KitchenAid coffee maker  and a gluten free apple cinnamon muffin and I was good to go.  There's really something about this coffee maker that brews a great cup of joe!  Running Daddy and the Sweet Boy are literally sprinting through the fall, as a coach and a runner in both cross country and fall track. Unfortunately  marathon #32 is in question for Running Daddy due to injury but entire family is involved in our school's 5K race.   I never want "busy", such an overused word, to get in the way of family.

So here are a few things resources I am tapping into to help us through the fall:

1. Tastefully Simple:  This was going to be a busy week (ugh that word) so I took a few minutes to make some Southwest Chicken Corn Chowder from Tastefully Simple.  You can easily Good Better Best this by adding organic chicken and serving with whole grain bread.

 


I put in an order for more product last weekend.  They have a lot of gluten free items in addition to their regular products.  I bought several of the dips and soups that can be used to make skillet meals and casseroles that I can easily adapt to Good Better Best.  I usually try to cook everything from scratch but sometimes you need a little help from friends with home based businesses.

2. Meal planning: My weeks go better when I take 5-10 minutes on a Sunday while the boys are at track practice to put our dinners on the calendar.  It doesn't take that long and using what we have on hand and just helps organize my brain when we get home at night.

3. Good friends: I have been trying really hard to go out a little bit more with friends.  With my health challenges it can make it tough to make plans, because often when happy hours and parties actually roll around I have to really push myself to go out.  I am trying to pace myself and working hard to try to get out more.  As two friends reminded me in our monthly happy hour group, if at the last minute I cannot do it...my real friends will understand.  Thanks for helping me with this Joy ladies!

4. Fall Trip: We usually travel at spring break, sometimes a big trip and often a smaller trip.  We go to the beach every summer, but really the only travel I do in the fall is for work.  This year, we are going to the lake for a weekend.  A place we have never been.  Just a tiny house for us and our dog.  I am looking forward to a house on the lake, having our dog channel his inner retriever and s'mores, s'mores and more s'mores. Here's to finding Joy by the lake.

So that's what we have on tap for this fall.  Instead of getting caught up in the busy, I am working hard at embracing the Joy.

Tell me what you have on tap for the fall?  Trips?  Do you have any Tastefully Simple tips, tricks or favorite products?  Other meal shortcuts you find helpful? Share away!

Enjoy the Best Food and the Best Life!

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Simple Summer Sundays-Dijon Shallot Potato Salad



It's finally summer everywhere and hopefully you are starting to slow down and enjoy life a little. The weather is beautiful this morning at Good Better Best headquarters and we are looking forward to dinner at our pool tonight with friends.  In looking around the Good Better Best test kitchen I pulled together some ingredients to make a potato salad.  I have shallots, red potatoes and lemons from my farm share and I always have olive oil and Dijon mustard on hand.  This potato salad is great when you want something a little lighter than the traditional mayonnaise based versions and also great for those mayo haters out there.  You know who you are...

This recipe can be made while you are enjoying your morning coffee and then sit in the refrigerator until ready to serve to allow the flavors to combine.



Good Ingredients:
8 red potatoes 
1 large shallot
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium lemon
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
sea salt
black pepper

Wash and dry the potatoes.  Start with the smallest potato and cut into quarters.  Cut the remaining potatoes in the same size.

Bring a large pot of water to boil with enough water to cover the potatoes. At a rapid boil, salt the water generously.  Boil until the potatoes are folk tender but do not over cook.

Drain potatoes and allow to cool.

While the potatoes are cooking or cooling, juice the lemon into a mixing bowl with the zest of one half of the lemon.  Add the olive oil and Dijon to the bowl with the lemon and whisk together.



Mince the shallot and add to cooled potatoes in a large bowl. (you could also substitute a little red onion if you don't have shallots on hand)  Add the dressing mixture and combine adding salt and pepper as needed.  Feel free to add a little more olive oil and Dijon if you think you need more to coat the potatoes.

Place finished potato salad in refrigerator for several hours until ready to serve.  The longer you let it set, the Better the flavor will be.

To make Better, use one element of organic or farmers market potatoes, shallots or lemons.  To make Best use multiple elements of organic or farmers market potatoes, shallots and lemons.

Enjoy the Best Food and the Best Summer!
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Friday Five---Five Things I am Loving During Spring Sports Season

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you know the Sweet Boy plays sports, mainly hockey and lacrosse but the Sweet Boy and Running Daddy are also involved in track and cross country. Hockey season wrapped up this past weekend with a BIG WIN for the Sweet Boys team.  They ended the season 12-1 in the regular season and won every game in a five game tournament to bring home the division championship.  I think we had the Best hockey season ever and watching him pose with this team and the championship banner really brought us joy. One of the biggest joys was to know that God had other plans for him last spring when he ended up playing on this team instead of another team he really wanted to be on.  Funny how life turns out, huh?

So now we are heading off in the world of spring hockey and lacrosse season. Any hockey/lax mom will tell you, it's the same game almost but one is on the ice and one is in the air and either way at this point in the year....you are freezing at practice whether it is in a rink or outside! Now the reality of midweek practices are also setting in.  Midweek practices are really something that I struggled with last year especially when it comes to dinner.  Here are five things that I am going to rely upon this spring sports season.

1. Burger Night: Oh I can Good Better Best Burger Night with whole grain buns, organic or farm meat and healthy sides.  I am also loving these burgers from Trader Joe's ..top it with avocado.

2. Taco Night: Taco Tuesday, Taco Wednesday...whatever...they are fast and can be healthy with Good Better Best.  We are typically a Taco Thursday house because by the end of the week, tacos are about all I can do.

3. GE Profile range: We needed a new oven in the Good Better Best household.  We have an old quirky house so we did have some limits on what we could fit in the kitchen, but Running Daddy also told me to get what I wanted.  We chose this beauty and it totally rocks.  Yeah, I feel old being excited about an oven, but this baby has really made my life easy.  I have used every cooking feature in the last month and couldn't be more happy.  The integrated griddle/grill....life changing!

4. Breakfast for dinner: It's totally ok to have pancakes and bacon with a side of fruit for dinner.

5. Occasional take out: I try really hard to make dinner six nights per week, but I am also going to give myself a break and if we are tired....ok I am tired, it is ok to have take out every once in a while.

What are your tips for surviving the Spring Sports schedule?  Share below.

Enjoy the Best food.



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Guest Blog on Despite Lupus: Benlysta Part Two: Three Years and Forever

Last year I wrote a guest blog piece for my friend Sara who writes the blog Despite Lupus about my challenges having lupus and the first part of my journey with new lupus medication called Benlysta. Benlysta Part 1: My journey to Benlysta I followed up this piece recently for her blog about my early days with Benlysta and how it has improved my life.

This piece took a lot for me to write.  Well actually I wrote it pretty quickly, but sat on it for about 10 months as this type of thing is difficult for me to share.  I will talk to anyone in person, whether I know them or not, who needs my help with lupus, but to put this out there for the whole world is a big step for me.  I love to talk to you all about wine, food and healthy living, but to share my health challenges like this on Good Better Best Food is typically not my style.  Most people who know me, don't even know I have lupus and unless you live in my house, you really don't know how sick I have been or how sick I still am some days.  But I do know is how scary it can be to have a new diagnosis like this for an invisible disease.and how you need to take a leap of faith to try a new medication that has not been on the market long.  If I can help someone who is where I was years ago, then I know that stepping out of my comfort zone and sharing this story is the right thing.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


GUEST POST: Benlysta Part 2: Three Years and Forever

I am thrilled once again to feature friend, fellow lupus patient, and health blogger, Patty Richey here on Despite Lupus. About a year ago, Patty shared with us Part I of her experience with Benlysta, the first FDA-approved drug for lupus in more than 50 years (approved back in 2011).Today, she's sharing the second part of that story, and I can't thank her enough for opening up for the benefit of those considering or starting Benlysta! Without further ado, here's Part II of Patty's journey: 
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Benlysta Part 2: Three Years and Forever by Guest Blogger Patty Richey, Good Better Best Food
The two most frequent questions I am asked when discussing my Benlysta infusions are “How long have you been doing that” and “How long will your treatment last?”  The answers are: Three years and forever.
I started Benlysta infusions on January 2, 2013--otherwise known as the day that I started to get some semblance of my life back.  Right before I started the treatments people would ask me if I was scared about trying something like this, especially a drug that had not been on the market very long.  Frankly, I was more scared to not try it. I was way more scared of having to live every day in the condition I was in when there was something that could potentially help. Do I hate needles, IVs and hospitals?  Yes, but I hate lupus more.  I went into this treatment with an open mind, an open heart and the hand to hold of Running Daddy and the Sweet Boy.
So how did this start? In the beginning you have three loading doses two weeks apart and I did those up at my doctor’s hospital in Baltimore.  I prepped for the first treatment with a high protein breakfast, Gatorade and a ride to the hospital from Running Daddy.  The first round went well with fantastic nurses in the infusion center and a couple of sticks to finally get the IV into my rolling veins.  When it was finished, and it took about 2-3 hours start to finish, I felt fine.  As we drove back to pick up the Sweet Boy from Dancing Granny’s house I felt a little hungry but I also felt good, good in a way that I could barely remember.  I went home to lie down later and then after that I was also good for two weeks until the next loading dose infusion.
Infusion two was a little more challenging.  Since I did so well with Infusion #1, I drove myself to the treatment.  When the treatment was finished, I went into the restroom and looked in the mirror, my chest was red, really red.  I went to the nurse in a mild panic.  I was not so much upset with what might be happening, I was worried that I would not be able to continue the treatments.  At the advice of Dr. B they gave me an additional bag of IV fluid and a Benadryl.  The rash started to disappear.  The nurses told me that if a patient is going to get a rash from any infusion, not just Benlysta, it is always after the second one.  They did determine that I would be able to try to continue the infusions but would do so with a pre-med of a Benadryl before each infusion. I would be able to soldier on.
I had the third loading dose without complication but with a ride from Running Daddy.  I could now have the infusions monthly and they were able to change my infusions to a Johns Hopkins center closer to my house.  I switched from having a morning infusion and then trying to go back to work in the afternoon to going into work in the morning and then getting a 1pm infusion appointment.  I am fine to drive home but then typically get into bed around 7:30 pm on infusion night and sleep through the night.  
While I know that everyone has different experiences with Benlysta, I can tell you after more than three years of being on this drug, I know it works for me.  My fatigue is less, my pain is less, my inflammation is better and I feel like I even have my personality back.  For so many years I felt like a shell of a person, up and about with not much left inside.  It was not depression. I was just a person who was put together with chewing gum and duct tape every day just trying to get through the hours until I could go to sleep again to escape the fatigue and the pain.
On are recent appointment with Dr. B  I mentioned to him “remember all those times I would come in the office and say that one day I hope I will walk in here and tell you that I am actually doing better—well today is that day.”  I am hardly cured but both Dr. B and I both agree that I am so much better than I was from 2009 to 2012.  It has taken me six years to get here, but this drug is helping me put my life back together again.
I have Benlysta infusions every four weeks and there is definitely a life cycle for its effectiveness.  I am in good shape for about 3 to 3 ½ weeks after each infusion and I then I start to feel the fatigue and pain coming on.  I also think I don’t look as great as I near the day for my “date with Ben.”
While I wish Benlysta was something that I could do for six weeks and be cured, it’s just not my reality.  So I need to embrace it for what it is and know that if it keeps working the way it does, that I will do this forever and just be at peace with it. This treatment has given me my life back and I am so blessed to have my family especially Running Daddy and the Sweet Boy. I am just so grateful for all of the scientists who help develop these type of treatments and Dr. B who is smart, kind and thoughtful in every sense of the word.  There is also a team of infusion nurses who help me every month.  They look out for me, take care of me and we totally make each other laugh.  These are the gifts that Benlysta has given me and in a way, lupus helped put some of these amazing people in my life.  
If you have any questions I can answer about lupus, autoimmune diseases or Benlysta, please feel free to leave them here or email me at goodbetterbestfood@gmail.com.   I will answer every one.
***
You can read more about Patty on her own blog, Good Better Best Food, where she talks about healthy eating made simple. What's the premise behind Good Better Best Food? - Each recipe starts as a healthy meal, which is Good. Add one element of organic, whole grain, or locally grown or garden grown, and you've made it Better. To make it Best, incorporate several elements of organic, whole grain, locally grown or garden grown. Healthy eating can be as easy as Good Better Best.
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2016-Spreading Joy

It’s been a long time since I have written and that is not bringing me joy.  I think about writing all the time.  I am still cooking, still trying to live healthy, working hard and going my Best to live well with Lupus.  I know my writing brings me joy and when I hear from people that this blog helped them or that they love reading it, it brings me joy.  Unfortunately, in 2015 I didn’t take enough time to write even short blogs that would bring joy to myself and others.  So in 2016, I am going to try and change all that.
                
Good Better Best is all about trying to live the Best, healthiest life.  Doing the Best you can, in that moment, on that day.  Some days Good is all you can do, and that’s just fine.  In 2015, we had turkey burgers and dogs way too many nights, but at times, it was the Best I could do.
                
When I started to think about goals for 2016, I wanted it to be some really transformational.  Not just the spend less (yup need to do that), lose weight (almost at where I want to be), I wanted it to be something that could really change someone’s day, including my own.  At some point this fall, I was in the elevator at my day job and a woman got in that I had seen many times before.  She always looks great but this day she looked particularly nice.  So I said to her “your outfit is super cute today” and her face lit up.  On the next floor, her co-worker got on and complemented her same outfit.  I looked at the second woman and said “I just told her the same thing!”  There was so much pure joy in that elevator.  When I got off, I was glad I did that and realized that I probably had just made that lady’s day.  I decided that I would try to do something like that, some pure act of kindness every day if I could.  Spreading joy.
               
I realized that there is a similar segment on the Bobby Bones radio show http://www.bobbybones.com/main.html that I listen to on the way to work in the morning.  It’s called Pimpin Joy. http://pimpinjoy.com/index.html and it is exactly what I am talking about.  There is even a familiar elevator story on the web page and health challenges that are not exactly the same, but very close to the outlook I have living with a chronic, invisible illness. 
                
So in 2016, as I plan to be spreading (pimpin) joy, I need to also make sure I am focusing more on my own joy.  This year I didn’t write enough and I need to change that.  I also need to focus on taking more cooking classes.  Running Daddy is so supportive of my love of cooking and always gets me Sur la Table cooking classes for Christmas.    http://www.surlatable.com/  Last year I didn’t find the time to go to a class (or make time) so this year I am going to make sure that I go to at least two classes.  Spreading joy….to others and myself.
               
So you know that I will be spreading (pimpin) joy this year, leave me your goals for 2016 in the comment section.  You are more likely to keep your resolutions if you make them public. 

                
Let’s make 2016 the Best year yet!  
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