World War II was in full force when Rita Lulay Malsch, the youngest of four girls, was born in the picturesque city of Heppenheim, Germany, where she inherited a love of theater, art, and literature. Right before Germany lost the war, her father escaped, but the family of six faced terrible hardship when he died suddenly. Rita later married and the couple was transferred to the United States, but jobs were limited due to her lack of formal education. She eventually opened a licensed family day care, but in 2002, tragedy struck when she was hit by a drunk driver, and she was forced to close her business. Her third spine surgery left her paralyzed from the waist down. After a lengthy rehabilitation, Rita returned home and began using a walker. While adjusting to a new life, she found that drawing and painting were an important part of her healing process as she learned to "exercise, trust God, paint, and take life as it comes."