In 2008, my kids were grown, and I was nearing the end of my 40s. My work life had been a series of positions in jobs that didn't match my interests but paid the bills. I was ready to do meaningful work. My husband asked what that might be, and my initial response was, "I'd like to sit and drink coffee and listen to others tell stories."

I hit on the idea to interview people and produce their stories into books, and launched my first efforts with a few dear friends. Almost immediately, I realized the magnitude of the process that begins with listening. By the finish of those first pieces, my subjects and I discovered we had taken a wonderful voyage that ended with an heirloom and celebration. I was hooked.

Now, years into the work as a personal historian, I’m reminded of the simple yet profound purpose of the journey. With each subject, it begins with interviews and concludes with a distinctive book that honors a family history preserved for the future.



Rachel started work in family history at a young age. One of her favorite school projects was assembling a comprehensive family tree book. Now all grown up and working as a professional designer, Rachel loves learning about the lives of the people as profiled by Storied Gifts. Each cover she designs is customized to reflect the individual's unique story and personal style.



David is a writer, artist and teacher providing writing services for several organizations and businesses. He has provided website content and editing for a variety of clients, including Creative Concepts LLC, a social media and publicity firm; Social media Doktors (Netherlands); Smart Talk Connected Conversations; McClure Engineering (Des Moines, Iowa); and of course, is a proud contributor to Storied Gifts.

David’s artwork and photography has won dozens of awards and ribbons, from the Iowa State Fair (Fine Arts and Photography Salons) to the Des Moines Women’s Club Annual Art Exhibition, the Iowa Heritage Gallery, The World Pork Exposition and the “Downtown Art on My Own” shows. He has had participation in several private and public art shows over the last 35 years, and has had work printed in local and national publications.

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A love for language has been the glaze to the doughnut that is Alex's life: the sugar to her cinnamon toast. It has activated an unstoppable ambition from studies to her professional life. An application of her language love by way of copy editing and writing has been enormously rewarding, particularly when delving into the life stories crafted by Storied Gifts.

Photography has long been hobby, though exclusively to the end of capturing moments with the people Alex meets. A portrait – a capture of a single moment on a unique timeline – is an artifact of instant value that compounds immeasurably over time. Alex cherishes the opportunity to capture a beat of life. She celebrates the past, present, and future using words and photographs as her chosen tools.