Fibromyalgia took her teaching career, but not her creativity

willis article pic

Devona Willis, who owns and operates The Shepherd's Daughter, a home-based synthetic flower and gift store, displays her floral arrangements.

MATTHEW BROWN | News Bulletin
Published: Monday, January 7, 2013 at 12:16 PM.

LAUREL HILL — Creating colorful arrangements in her silk flower gift shop brings comfort to a north county woman whose illness cost her a teaching career.

Devona Willis, 64, has prepared synthetic flowers for 12 years; the hobby helped her cope after quitting her 20-plus-year teaching career due to fibromyalgia, a common syndrome that causes muscle pain.

"It’s chronic fatigue and pain," Devona said. "It changed my life — deeply.

"I still have dreams where I am still in the classroom teaching. I thought that was my calling."

Now, she’s fashioning a hobby into a home-based business.

"I spend most of the day inside the shop," Devona said, referring to The Shepherd’s Daughter, her business in the family’s former garage, near Almarante Cemetery.

"Out there is death; in here is life," Devona said.

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