In 2017 I found out I had lesions on my brain. I had been feeling really bad for a year and all of the symptoms started to come together to spell out that I had Multiple Sclerosis (MS). When I got home from the doctor, I laid in my son’s room in the dark for days. I was so scared of dying and leaving my husband and kids alone.

I wallowed in self pity for a while.

Then I went to church on a Sunday morning like I always do. God’s peace and comfort surrounded me and I all of a sudden knew that everything was going to be ok and that God was going to walk through this with me.

That week I wrote the words “pretty tough” on a card and put it on my mirror. I thought “I am a pretty tough girl and with God’s joy and strength, I can do this.” I can be a great wife, mom, and Christian example in the midst of my pain. I had more to give the world and feeling sorry for myself wasn’t going to help anyone.

I looked at this card for months and anytime I felt the pain and fear that come with a diagnosis like that, I would tell myself “I am pretty tough.”

This inspired my new ministry “The Pretty Tough Jacket.”

In the midst of this time of fear, I taught myself hand lettering as a distraction from the doctors visits, shots, and pain. After a few years of lettering, I wanted to use that skill to encourage others who are going through a difficult time.

I decided to start hand painting on jackets for VERY special women who are also “pretty tough.” I can’t wait to share this photo series with you a few times a year. Each time, everyone involved in these photo shoots will be all women-owned businesses and they will donate their time and talents to create a beautiful memory for these strong women and girls.

I am so excited to feature women who are inspiring and can remind all of us that we all have this amazing inner strength that only God can provide.

Click on this Instagram Video below to see the Pretty Tough Jacket being featured on KVIA El Paso

Jacket Hand Lettered by Deonna Wade @deonnawadeart

Photography by Charissa Wong Life in Tandem Photography  @charissaintandem