I love blogs. I love it when people who cannot write and cannot take pictures do a lot of both and then post it all over the Internet. Those people are generous with their story. Those people have taught me 90% of everything useful I know.
I have been stingy with my story.
After that first post you might be thinking, “Oh Lord, she’s just gonna cry and preach all over the place. BORING.” That’s fair. But here’s the deal: I am committed to being a generous storyteller. I will not just shake my bible and wax poetic about being sad and raising kids and eating bacon. Maybe the bacon part.
Here are some of the things and some of the people I want to tell you about:
My name is Rachel. I was born on my great-grandfather’s birthday in 1980. I do my best to follow Jesus, honor my husband, and keep my kids alive. I am an INFJ. I am a writer, mostly of lists.
I am married to Bryan. We met in junior high youth group where he played guitar and wore lots of vests. He no longer wears vests, but in our house, we use guitar cases instead of baby gates. Bryan is an artist, musician, and theologian. He serves as the worship pastor at our church, as well as the creative director at an advertising agency. He has degrees in studio art and theology.
With the help of my husband, I have made two other humans, Beatrice, and Leona. Bea is 3.5 and Leona is 14 months old. Beatrice is on the precocious side. Leona is on the I-think-punching-people-is-funny side.
Our dream is to homeschool our kids until they won’t let us anymore. We are starting with preschool because Beatrice has asked “What’s next!?” and “Can we do an activity?” since the moment she could speak, which feels like a long, long time ago. She was an early talker, early reader, and remains an early riser.
Mental illness is prevalent in my family. I was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder in 1993. I was hospitalized after a suicide attempt in 1998. Despite medication and psychiatric care, I experienced several periods of severe depression and mania over the years. After trying a variety of medications, my illness was best “controlled” with lithium, which I took from 1998 until I became pregnant with my first child in 2007. I discontinued my medication under the supervision of a psychiatrist. I have been pregnant or nursing ever since, and therefore remain unmedicated. I attribute my current sanity to the grace of God and my diet.
I suffered severe postpartum depression after giving birth to my second child. I list this separately because that experience was truly different from every other season of depression I’ve encountered.
I became obese at age 8 and remained so into my 20s. In 1999, I weighed 320 pounds. In 2004, I lost 135 pounds through diet and exercise. I re-gained 30 pounds in my first year of marriage. I gained 60 pounds in both pregnancies, losing 70 between them. In April of this year, I was 60 pounds overweight.
As of yesterday, I am a healthy weight for my height, for the first time since the second grade.
In April 2011, I eliminated all grain, dairy, legumes, and alcohol from my diet. Within 36 hours, every symptom of depression was gone. I eat a Paleo diet, lift heavy weights, and sprint. I do not cheat and I do not miss a workout.
Eating and moving this way is better than any medication I have ever taken. The weight loss is simply a physical expression of the strength I feel internally. It sounds trite, but it’s true. If you don’t take away anything else from this blog, take this: JESUS. GRAIN FREE. DEADLIFTS.
Though I have lost weight and recovered from depression before, it has always been a very lonely, and temporary success. I believe that this recovery is different and lasting for one good reason — I have not done it alone. For the last six months I have been lead by two intensely gifted women, Sarah Sherwood, my coach, and Diana Haggerty, my personal trainer. Though I consider these women dear friends, I work from home part time just so I can pay them every penny they’re worth.
So there it is! Romance, intrigue, homeschooling, fat kids…something for everyone! This blog can’t fail!