forgotten history // our new muse.


Recently, I claimed a concentration. I’ve entered back into the world of academia (wait, I never really left – homeschooling/teaching/always learning!) I’m doing my darnedest to gradate with my MA in American History. It was a back-and-forth debate on whether I should focus on my native country, or Military History, but eventually I came to peace with my choice – when I first started discovering my passion for history, it centered on my homeland and that has always remained of the most interest to me. This is not to say I am not thoroughly intrigued with European, Public or Ancient history – I most certainly am! However, the American experiment has my heart.

Within my first three terms, I’ve had the opportunity to research/write about The Great Depression, FDR and the game-changing photojournalism featuring Dust-Bowl migrants, destitute farmers, and urban squalor. It’s been enlightening and all-together wonderful.

I absolutely love history.

I’ve also found a renewed interest in forgotten history. I’ve long had a thing for historical “leftovers”. The subjects and materials that no one writes books about (well, except this one.) The articles of the past that are left at estate sales (that I capture and give new life to) and the stories that are rarely recounted or heard. I could pour over historical trivia, ephemera, and little-known accounts for my entire life, and never tire.

We recently renovated our home and it offered us a clean slate. Our walls have never been more bare, and with this golden opportunity, I decided to begin a new collection that I’ve always desired to start. Vintage portraits of unknown people. I took down our “flower wall” (any of you remember it?) and Sean and I have taken a new direction. Slow and steady is the key – finding the portraits that peak our curiosity the most.

I recently stumbled upon an ETSY seller that I was instantly captured by. She had a portrait that spoke to me (the fabulously dressed muse at seen at the top of this post), and after some time and deliberation, we purchased it. Come to find out, the portrait has a little American history of its own, which made it more than just a striking piece! It turns out that the artist is C.L. MacNelly. MacNelly was the publisher of the Saturday Evening Post from 1961-1964. This was after he served in the Navy in WW2. Later in life he turned toward portrait painting, and painted many politicians and famous figures, including Barry Goldwater, Hugh Downs, and Billy Graham (you can learn more about him here). Our lovely lady is said to have been the wife of a Portuguese Ambassador, visiting the United States, in the late 60s. I do wish I knew more of her story. I’ll settle for this beautiful rendering, however. It’s colorful and soothing and has vibrant life. This is the first piece of art we’ve had in our home which came with appraisal papers & a back story, which makes it somewhat traceable. Most of our past wall-hangings have been cast-offs, found in dusty attics and back-alleys. It’s an exciting change and one that has me searching for my next portrait.

Until I find another of the same stature, I must find a name for this lovely woman. Have any suggestions? I’d love to hear them!


If you’re anything like I am, you can easily be distracted by a post/article/book that reveals lost history. Here are a few online suggestions for your viewing pleasure, that I’ve recently enjoyed. There’s more where these came from – I could fill post after post with intriguing historical curiosities. For now, have fun discovering!

I’ve been searching, buying and recovering vintage/antique photos for years and have seen my fair share of forsaken photo collections, but never like this: Rescued Film Project

Personal tales of Civil War families.

What a lovely Restoration story, full of rich American history.

Abandoned America is a fun website that will turn into a rabbit hole adventure. It’s eerie and somewhat sad.

I almost fell over learning about this failed 1930s town. You can also grab a book on it here!

The changing landscape of heirlooms and passed-down family treasures.

The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you can see.”

Winston Churchill

Rome // America // Victory


I just finished my second course in my Masters program. During the course I researched the decline of the Roman Empire, and boy if it didn’t ring some bells and set off some alarms.

From Edward Gibbons book, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Gibbon’s observed, “The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful.”

I will spare you the numerous thoughts I have about the current state of our nation – I’m sure that you, much like myself, don’t need another voice in your ear. We all have too many. And I think that’s one of the problems. Our society has grown so accustomed to being told what to think, believe, advocate for, stand on and yell about, that we aren’t sure the truth anymore. We’ve descended into a people that argues to argue, hates simply because we disagree and shuts other opinions down because we no longer have the ability to properly frame an argument. Additionally, I truly believe that most people don’t have contextual historical understanding so they are blind leading blind. Like the quote regarding Rome – there are so many things to worship and everyone wants their way to be the truth.

If this sounds very judgemental, I might have apologized in the past, but I’m not certain I’m stating anything other than fact. In my humble assertion, it seems we might all do better to step back, learn a bit more and THEN choose our platforms a bit more carefully. I see many people jumping on bandwagon social movements without any research into the backgrounds of these organizations……wait. I’m going down a rabbit hole.

That was not the intention of this post. I will stop before I hit the “Rachel point of no return” and write for six hours about all of the woes of American culture in 2017.

The real reason I wrote this post is because my heart is heavy each day for our country and the hate, anger and ignorance that seems to be on full display.

My prayer is that before we lock arms with any social justice campaign, politician, church or leader, we first set our eyes on the only victor in this fight.

Jesus Christ. He and He alone are the only way that we will feel vindicated, satisfied, loved, cherished, whole and valued.

He is the only chance for national restoration and peace.

this season // learning.


This particular season of life I find myself chin-deep in learning.

Learning about myself, learning about others, and learning with my children. There has been no other period in my 37 years where I have been so forced to face clear realities – both carefree and dismal – as much as I have in this past year.

Things I had once tried ardently (often to a fault) to adjust or change, I learned were not pliable and I needed to allow them to be.

Things I had routinely worked hard to hold on to, I learned would always be there for me, even if I let go.

Things I assumed would be lifelong bedrocks, I learned aren’t always going to be steady.

Things I thought might never become reality, I learned can occur overnight, and without my provocation.

I’m learning very much and it’s astonishing (in a good way, I’m thankful to grow) that God is allowing all of this learning to occur. I know I’ve alluded to the current time in my life as a bizarre circus of emotions. This isn’t to be intentionally vague, I simply don’t have enough time to adequately share it all. Additionally, in the interest of some things remaining private in a very public world, I’ll keep much to myself. But yes, It’s been a year of learning and stretching and growing and I desire for this to continue.

Of course, during all of these sizable changes that are happening for Sean and I, there are normal seasons we are passing through, just like every other adult.

Parenting seasons – our youngest child, out of diapers and weening her from pacifiers. Our middle child, learning to read and developing her own intense interests. Our eldest daughter becoming more sensitive to life cycles and cultural occurrences. Her mind maturing, but her heart strongly desiring to stay little. Us watching her feel these things and giving her all the space in the world to play, discover and feel peace in the aging.

Personal seasons – watching dreams deferred become possible life changes and movements. Celebrating 15 years married and hugging goodbye as he walks out the door to work each day – becoming more and more in demand at a job we once questioned even saw his worth. Growing with friends and community. Growing in wisdom but laughing at our immaturity. With one another, more each day.

School seasons – starting school for myself. Trying to champion education for my girls and seeing that I learn more teaching them than I ever will in a college class. Filling our days with reading, answering questions and struggling with new concepts, hard concepts, exciting concepts. Teaching them that character counts more than grades ever will.

I feel like I’ve aged 25 years in the past 12 months. The weight of everything can often leave me wanting to go collapse into bed and not get up for 3 days. But you soldier on, just like every other person.

Life is good and change is coming. There is hope in the seasons.

Not simply hope that they will end quickly, but rather hope that you will leave them stronger and more equipped for what God has next.