SHARING: How reaching out to others helped her survive her husband’s illness

By Sally Tippett Rains

Sometimes you find inspiration in the place you least expect to find it. I was looking on “Facebook Marketplace” to find some inexpensive craft items for something I was doing for our children in Rainbows for Kids (pediatric cancer charity).  I came across someone who had some craft items for sale and asked her about one group of her items. We got into conversation about what I was doing and pretty soon she offered to give it to me for free!

I was so amazed at her kindness, but once I learned her story it touched my heart even more.

“Kids –and parents need uplifting,” she said. “I’ve been through the ‘wait and see’ process for some time with my husband.”

Turns out her husband went through some very bad health problems and once she found out her craft items could help someone she ended up sending us way more than could have even been imagined—and it was all brand new.

Desiree and Rick Lewis lived a peaceful life in Iowa, breeding dachshunds until one day a  medical visit which included a physical to get a kidney stone removed changed everything. Tests showed that along with the kidney stone he had late Stage Three Lung Cancer and was given six months to live.  According to the doctor the only chance he had  was to undergo a serious lung surgery. After some treatment they went to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota for a second opinion, and he ended up suffering a heart attack there and wound up getting two stents and put off lung surgery for a year.

Many who either have a medical problem– or are caring for someone who does– can relate to that. Sometimes it seems things just keep piling up and it’s too much to take. During the many medical appointments, reading the magazines in the lobby got boring so she started taking things to work on.

Get excited about crafts“Crafting has always been an outlet for my stress,” she said. “I took things I could work on to the hospital and shared with people what I was working on.”

She used her interest in working on crafts to both help take her mind off her worries about her husband’s health and also making friends.

None of us want to be alone. To endure a family illness over a long period of time can be devastating and two things that can really help are finding something to do during that time and bringing people along your journey so you don’t have to be by yourself.

A lot of time we come up with ideas for things that our sick loved-one can enjoy, but we forget how important it is to nourish our own souls so we can stay strong and positive.

It’s so easy to fall into a depressed state when going through something, but never doubt that God can come through with a miracle if you need one.

“We attribute his recovery to our faith in God to give us a miracle,” said Desiree.

She said they prayed for God’s will.

“We didn’t pray for the cancer to be gone because we felt we’d be praying for his death,” she said.

Sometimes when we are praying, we really don’t know how to to do it– and that’s ok. God knows our heart and if you continue staying in His word and keeping Him in your heart, he will hear your prayers. Maybe it will help if I give you something that I heard when I was going through a tough time. “Our God is a last-minute God.”  That’s not anything official, but it has been true in my life. At the most trying times when you want to give up, He will come through for you. What would happen if you had given up on Him?

So pray, trust God, and keep going on with your life.

Throughout the journey of Rick’s illness they decided to do something they had always wanted to do: move to Branson, Missouri. The move gave Desiree a shot of enthusiasm and she opened a shop called Desiree’s Emporium on Commercial Street. She carries many items including the popular Melissa and Doug activity kits and Stampin’ Up.

Everything not roseyIt’s important to keep looking for ways we can find joy in our lives. There are so many ideas that pop into our heads if we let them and if you get a fun idea—go for it.

Everything is not always going to be rosey but it’s up to us to help make sure that at least some of it it.

“Since we moved to Branson, he’s had open heart surgery and was five weeks in the hospital and then spent time in a rehab facility,” she said.

But the point is, if they had given up 11 years ago when he was first diagnosed with cancer, think of all the fun they would have missed. Desiree tried to stay positive and trust God. She loves doing crafts and she likes conducting classes. It get her in a whole different world and helps keep her mind positive.

“I thank God each day that Rick is with me,” she said. “He is now 11 years cancer free when they gave him six months.”

Don’t ever believe a bad diagnosis. Even if you don’t have someone sick but you are going through a trying time you don’t have to believe that you will have a bad outcome. Don’t give up, keep going and doing your best.  It’s a great idea to develop new interests while you are at it, to keep your spirits up. Choose Happy.

There are craft kits in stores or on the internet for those who don’t really know what type of craft to start with. There are adult coloring books for those who don’t want to invest the time into learning something new.

Check out Desiree’s Craft Room on Facebook and if you are ever in Branson, Missouri, stop by Desiree’s Emporium,  204 N Commercial St, Branson, MO 65616, and see all she has to offer—and thank her for spreading her love through her donations to Rainbows for Kids.

Desiree’s Craft Room  (417) 544-0669

Bible Verse

“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”  — Hebrews 13:16


“In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.”  –Khalil Gibran

Action Plan

What are you interested in? Are there any crafts you would like to learn how to do– or is there something you used to enjoy doing but haven’t in a while? Playing the piano? Taking walks?  It’s time you start having fun. You don’t need a partner or a friend to engage in a craft, or do something you enjoy. You can do it yourself. Maybe it’s not a craft you could do– how about reading a book, or listening to a TED talk? Just by reading this blog shows you are on the right path– you are choosing happy over despair.

One More Thought

As the COVID-19 news gets worse every day, try to think of a way you can “escape” the news. Besides of course turning it off and not reading every social media post– especially the ones you know you aren’t going to like, there are things you can do to clear your mind. This week we took a trip to “the country.” We went to a couple of small towns and stayed in stand-alone places that we felt were safe. In one town, we stayed at a cottage and in another, a little “travel trailer” that was part of a bed and breakfast. It was great to be out in the fresh air and seeing nothing but fields of corn and a blue sky with white puffy clouds in it. The sunshine will do you wonders.