Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Taproot Series - Yellow: The Call

rooted in faith, pencil drawings with christian themes, religious black and white art
Taproot Series - Yellow: The Call

The "Taproot" Series is very dear to me. The prevailing theme deals with having emotions, experiences, chasing dreams - while being "rooted" in our faith. Proverbs 16:9 states "In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps." In this series of drawings, the juxtaposed imagery of the "tree of life" and the fragile human, clothed in shadows and flowing fabric, shows the beauty of life and creation when the "roots" are in place. This series captures the raw emotions I've felt throughout my walk with God, and is a bit of a self portrait of feelings and beliefs.

Taproot Series - Yellow: The Call
Transition is a scary place to be. It can feel like standing at the edge of a cliff with no guardrail. This artwork focuses on that feeling of hanging from the edge to chase a dream. If our steps are established by the Lord, we're still firmly rooted, even during those petrifying moments. Philippians 3:13-14 states "Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

These prints are still in production phase and not yet available. Check back soon!




About the Artist:

horse artist, equine artist, PSSM horse
Since starting my art business in 2004, I have been on a roller coaster ride that's taken me from art, to house flipping, to legal assistant, to horse trainer, and a full 180* back to my artworks.

I'm thankful to get back to my art, and also for the life experiences I've gained.

Things in life that matter the most!  Jen, husband Jared, and Jax








Thanks for reading, I hope you've enjoyed my website!  Feel free to comment, like, or subscribe!





Taproot Series - Red: Steadfast

rooted in faith, pencil drawings with christian themes, religious black and white art
Taproot Series - Red: Steadfast
The "Taproot" Series is very dear to me. The prevailing theme deals with having emotions, experiences, chasing dreams - while being "rooted" in our faith. Proverbs 16:9 states "In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps." In this series of drawings, the juxtaposed imagery of the "tree of life" and the fragile human, clothed in shadows and flowing fabric, shows the beauty of life and creation when the "roots" are in place. This series captures the raw emotions I've felt throughout my walk with God, and is a bit of a self portrait of feelings and beliefs.

Taproot Series - Red: Steadfast
Having the Lord establish our steps - that's the fundamental idea behind this artwork. There is strength in walking your chosen path in life when the path has been laid out by God himself. 1 Corinthians 15:58 states "Therefore, my beloved brothers, be you steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."

These prints are still in production phase and not yet available. Check back soon!




About the Artist:

horse artist, equine artist, PSSM horse
Since starting my art business in 2004, I have been on a roller coaster ride that's taken me from art, to house flipping, to legal assistant, to horse trainer, and a full 180* back to my artworks.

I'm thankful to get back to my art, and also for the life experiences I've gained.

Things in life that matter the most!  Jen, husband Jared, and Jax








Thanks for reading, I hope you've enjoyed my website!  Feel free to comment, like, or subscribe!





Sunday, February 11, 2018

Moss Rock Side Pull, Back On Track Liner, Hilason Gel Pad, and HDR 5 Point Breastcollor - PSSM1 Friendly Tack


PSSM friendly tack, muscle disorder horse tack, bitless tack reviews
My favorite tack of all time (on a very tired boy who's just started canter work again) -
Moss Rock Endurance Side Pull Bridle - Moss Rock Website
HDR 5-point leather and sheepskin breastcollar
Back On Track liner under Hilason Gel Pad
Trekker Luxus Treeless Saddle - see my Trekker Treeless Saddle Review

Moss Rock Endurance Side Pull Bridle:

  • Bridle stays well away from his eyes
  • Bridle is made of biothane - easy to clean and maintain
  • Bitless - bits seem to make Jax's jaws sore, even though I have very light hands

I love this bridle.  I bought it September 2016, and you can barely tell that it's been used, even though it has been used daily since purchase.  It's nice and soft, and Jax seems comfortable in it.  It's a very gentle bridle, so works best with horses that follow a soft feel.  It's regular horse size, and just fits his large head.  There's a lot of different adjustments on it, so you can make it fit your horse perfectly.  It doesn't sit too close to his eyes, while most other bridles (bitted and bitless) used to sit way to close.


HDR 5 Point Breastcollar:

  • Great for holding a bareback pad or treeless saddle in place
  • Looks beautiful
  • Sheepskin keeps it from rubbing hair on shoulders
  • Fits my huge-shouldered horse when most styles of breastcollars won't
I've had the breastcollar for over 4 years, and it's still in wonderful shape.  I've tried numerous breastcollars on my massive beast of a horse, and very few have fit him.  The sheepskin keeps it from rubbing, and there's elastic between some of the attachments (just above the sheepskin) that allows the breastcollar to stretch for the horse to graze. 


Back On Track Liner:

  • Surprisingly versatile 
  • Has held up very well for over a year
  • Does a wonderful job of loosening muscles
I've been using this liner for over a year.  I've both used it under tack, and tied it into Jax's blankets.  The velcro is supposed to be sewn into a blanket, and you can velcro the liner in when needed.  I didn't want to put holes in my blankets (possibly ruining their waterproof quality) so I tied it in place a few times - it didn't work great, but it worked in a pinch.  However, I love velcroing around a treeless pad and using this under my tack.  Unlike a regular size saddle pad, this covers back over his hips and SI - a major sore spot for him.  Since I've started using it to ride in, Jax's back has been nice and soft, and he loosens up quicker and rides smoother than he does without it.  Because it works by holding body heat, I don't use it in weather over 80*F (many won't use it over 70*F, but Jax stays on the cooler side, so he can handle a little extra warmth).


Hilason Western Gel Pad:

  • Dampens a rough trot
  • Works great with the BOT liner
  • Keeps a thick-paneled saddle from being bouncy
I've only had this pad for about a month, but I had one that I used for a few months with an earlier treeless saddle.  It works great to dampen a rough trot, and seems to be comfortable for the horse.  I bought this pad specifically to help keep my seatbones out of Jax's back when I use my bareback pad, and it seems to be working really well.  The felt pad I was using before was very bouncy, and I think that "bounce" was causing issues with his back - those issues disappeared with this pad.  I got the western pad so that it wouldn't add thickness under my legs - I had the english pad before, and it really made the saddle fit wide.  This pad works great with the BOT liner:

PSSM friendly tack, muscle disorder horse tack, bitless tack reviews
The velcro liner goes under this pad, and the velcro strip goes over these straps to hold everything together

I haven't put enough miles on this to determine it's durability.  I'll update this review if I have any durability issues, or when I feel I've put enough miles on to recommend it further.




About the Artist:

horse artist, equine artist, PSSM horse
Since starting my art business in 2004, I have been on a roller coaster ride that's taken me from art, to house flipping, to legal assistant, to horse trainer, and a full 180* back to my artworks.

I'm thankful to get back to my art, and also for the life experiences I've gained.

Things in life that matter the most!  Jen, husband Jared, and Jax








Thanks for reading, I hope you've enjoyed my website!  Feel free to comment, like, or subscribe!





Trekker Luxus Treeless Saddle Review - PSSM1 Horse Friendly Tack

Trekker Luxus, Treeless Saddle Review, PSSM horse tack
Winter 2017-18 Setup with Trekker Luxus Treeless Saddle
  • Works with almost any saddle pad, currently using with a Hilason Gel Western pad, with a Back On Track liner velcroed to the saddle pad
  • Saddle is extremely comfortable, with a good twist and removable kneeblocks
  • Saddle is very secure, and seats me in a good position even with shorter stirrups
  • Fit is adjustable with both a pommel adjustment and (re)moveable panels
  • Solid construction and doesn't slip

I adore this saddle - I found it on eBay for a steal at a little over $600 shipped (used but very good condition).  I bought it in February of 2017, and we've finally started using it on a regular basis these last few months.  I wasn't able to use it often during the first year of Jax's rehab from his muscle disorder - he was just too sensitive in his back and shoulders.  He now seems very comfortable in it and moves out great.  It's extremely short length means I can place it behind his shoulders and the saddle doesn't sit me passed his last rib on his extremely short back (in fact, because of the short span of saddle in front of me, I sit in the exact same position as I do bareback).  I measured the length of this saddle and it is 19" in length!  Perfect for my boy.

I tried using this saddle with a felt pad, and it was bouncy at the trot and canter.   Some of that was him and his jack-hammer trot when he doesn't feel good, but I immediately noticed a difference with the gel pad which seems to work better with these thick panels.  

The saddle is comfortable for me as well.  It has a nice soft seat, a good twist, the panels are thin leather so it's close-contact, and the kneeblocks are velcro so they can be moved around or completely removed.  The adjustable pommel is phenomenal, and the area behind Jax's shoulders that tends to get bulgy isn't squeezed by this saddle.  It's also really secure, doesn't slip, and has a tall cantle for that massive canter that can easily unseat me when he spooks! (Which thankfully, is rare with PSSM management).  I have mounted from the ground while on the trails a time or two, but I usually use a mounting block or climb on a rock when available so that I won't pull on his back (also, he's very tall at 16.1h, and with my shorter stirrups, I'm just not that limber lol).

Overall, this saddle is exactly what we needed.  I can't think of anything I don't like about it.  Since I do love my bareback pad, I still ride in it quite often, and finally have my boy's trot and canter to a smoothness that can now be sat bareback without holding on (something I've wanted to accomplish since I got him 6 years ago).  And that is mostly thanks to this saddle - it kept me secure during the rougher transitions so I could work him through it without worrying about my seat.  I highly recommend this saddle!





About the Artist:

horse artist, equine artist, PSSM horse
Since starting my art business in 2004, I have been on a roller coaster ride that's taken me from art, to house flipping, to legal assistant, to horse trainer, and a full 180* back to my artworks.

I'm thankful to get back to my art, and also for the life experiences I've gained.

Things in life that matter the most!  Jen, husband Jared, and Jax








Thanks for reading, I hope you've enjoyed my website!  Feel free to comment, like, or subscribe!





Acid Base Disorders, Calcium Disorders, Chloride-Bicarbonate Exchange

[Note: most of this page is quotes from the links they fall under.  Everything in italics and brackets are my notes, not quotes.]

Acid Base Disorders - Merck Manuals



From this article:
Acid-base disorders are pathologic changes in arterial pH and carbon dioxide partial pressure (Pco2), and in serum bicarbonate (HCO3).
  • Acidemia is serum pH < 7.35.
  • Alkalemia is serum pH > 7.45.
  • Acidosis refers to physiologic processes that cause acid accumulation or alkali loss.
  • Alkalosis refers to physiologic processes that cause alkali accumulation or acid loss.
Actual changes in pH depend on the degree of physiologic compensation and whether multiple processes are present.

Metabolic causes of Acidemia (acidic):
  • Insulin resistance
  • Inhibition of anaerobic glycolysis [production of lactic acid from glucose - hypoglycemia affect this?]
  • Reduction in ATP synthesis
  • Hyperkalemia - [high serum potassium levels]
  • Protein degradation
  • Bone demineralization (chronic)
[Some horses have hyperkalemia due to cellular breakdown after tying up.  Protein degradation - PSSM2 variant horses suffer from muscle atrophy and protein loss - will this push them into Acidemia?  During his period of exercise intolerance, my horse seemed to suffer from hypoglycemia - did this inhibit anaerobic glycolysis and cause Acidemia?]

Metabolic causes of Alkalemia (alkaline):
  • Stimulation of anaerobic glycolysis
  • Formation of organic acids
  • Decreased oxyhemoglobin dissociation
  • Decreased ionized calcium - [low serum calcium levels]
  • Hypokalemia - [low serum potassium levels]
  • Hypomagnesemia - [low serum magnesium levels]
  • Hypophosphatemia - [low serum phosphorous levels]
Increased anion gap is most commonly caused by metabolic acidosis in which negatively charged acids—mostly ketones, lactate, sulfates, or metabolites of methanol, ethylene glycol,or salicylate—consume (are buffered by) HCO3. Other causes of increased anion gap include hyperalbuminemia [an increased concentration of albumin in the blood. Typically, this condition is due to abrupt dehydration.  Albumin - a simple form of protein that is soluble in water and coagulable by heat, such as that found in egg white, milk, and (in particular) blood serum.]  and uremia (increased anions) and hypocalcemia or hypomagnesemia (decreased cations).

[Unfortunately I've learned that dehydration causes quite a bit of blood in urine.  Bloody urine is usually associated with muscle degradation and protein loss - is 'albumin' moving from muscle into blood serum part of that? Is this another hint that Acidemia is part of Jax's issues?]

Decreased anion gap is unrelated to metabolic acidosis but is caused by hypoalbuminemia (decreased anions); hypercalcemia, hypermagnesemia, lithium intoxication, and hypergammaglobulinemia as occurs in myeloma (increased cations); or hyperviscosity or halide (bromide or iodide) intoxication. The effect of low albumin can be accounted for by adjusting the normal range for the anion gap 2.5 mEq/L downward for every 1-g/dL fall in albumin.


Recognizing and treating disorders of calcium metabolism in horses - DVM 360


"Shifting leg lameness and stiffness have been reported with Ca/P imbalance as is seen with nutritional hyperparathyroidism."

[RER (including Px gene) is a defect in the calcium channel of muscles - the muscle won't release the calcium and won't relax - is this related in any way?]

"High blood calcium concentrations caused by inappropriate increase in PTH secretion from the parathyroid gland is termed primary hyperparathyroidism. Because parathyroid tissue is found up and down a horse’s neck from the thoracic inlet to the thyroid gland, identifying the causative tissue and removing it is often extremely difficult."

"Secondary hyperparathyroidism occurs when calcium is wasted and phosphorus is in excess. If this occurs via dietary imbalance, it is termed nutritional hyperparathyroidism. In instances of renal failure, the increased blood P due to decreased renal clearance results in increased PTH secretion. In extreme cases “big head”, or fibrous osteodystrophy can develop. In less severe cases, horses may present with indeterminate lameness and stiffness."


Chloride--bicarbonate exchange in red blood cells: physiology of transport and chemical modification of binding sites.

"About 80% of the CO2 formed by metabolism is transported from tissues to lungs as bicarbonate ions in the water phases of red cells and plasma. The catalysed hydration of CO2 to bicarbonate takes place in the erythrocytes but most of the bicarbonate thus formed must be exchanged with extracellular chloride to make full use of the carbon dioxide transporting capacity of the blood. The anion transport capacity of the red cell membrane is among the largest ionic transport capacities of any biological membrane. Exchange diffusion of chloride and bicarbonate is nevertheless a rate-limiting step for the transfer of CO2 from tissues to lungs. Measurements of chloride and bicarbonate self-exchange form the basis for calculations that demonstrate that the ionic exchange processes cannot run to complete equilibration at capillary transit times less than 0.5 s. The anion exchange diffusion is mediated by a large transmembrane protein constituting almost 30% of the total membrane protein. The kinetics of exchange diffusion must depend on conformational changes of the protein molecule, associated with the binding and subsequent translocation of the transported anion. We have characterized the nature of anion-binding sites facing the extracellular medium by acid-base titration of the transport function and modification of the transport protein in situ with group-specific amino acid reagents. Anion binding and translocation depend on the integrity and the degree of protonation of two sets of exofacial groups with apparent pK values of 12 and 5, respectively. From the chemical reactivities towards amino acid reagents it appears that the groups whose pK = 12 are guanidino groups of arginyl residues, while the groups whose pK = 5 are likely to be carboxylates of glutamic or aspartic acid. Our studies suggest that the characteristics of anion recognition sites in water-soluble proteins and in the integral transport proteins are closely related."

[So if the horse isn't getting enough chloride, they can't make bicarbonate, and will suffer acidemia.  Is this why baking soda has been helping my horse?  Also, arginyl residues, and carboxylates of glutamic or aspartic acid - Jax's feed that has really helped contains high levels of arginine, glutamic acid, and aspartic acid.]






About the Artist:

horse artist, equine artist, PSSM horse
Since starting my art business in 2004, I have been on a roller coaster ride that's taken me from art, to house flipping, to legal assistant, to horse trainer, and a full 180* back to my artworks.

I'm thankful to get back to my art, and also for the life experiences I've gained.

Things in life that matter the most!  Jen, husband Jared, and Jax








Thanks for reading, I hope you've enjoyed my website!  Feel free to comment, like, or subscribe!





Wednesday, February 7, 2018

A look at PSSM - what chronic pain feels like

Pain causes compensation, which leads to muscle atrophy in strange places.  I struggle with muscle and tendon issues, and recognized the patterns in my horse beginning back in late 2015.  While I didn't understand the cause at the time (we didn't get a diagnosis for another full year), I knew something was wrong, even though many around me didn't see it.


Trigger points - pain spots and knots that cause problems for Jax:

PSSM1 horse, trigger points, knotted muscles
3/6/17 - Pain and atrophy in the long back muscles
PSSM1 horse, tight muscles, areas of spasm
4/3/17 - Pain spot and atrophy in front of glute/lumbar connection
PSSM1 horse, trigger points, knotted muscles
4/3/17 - Pain spot and atrophy behind glute muscle
PSSM1 horse, tight muscles, areas of spasm
4/13/17 - Hip muscle - knotted and restricted
PSSM1 horse, trigger points, knotted muscles
4/19/17 - Tight muscle
PSSM1 horse, tight muscles, areas of spasm
4/30/17 - Pain spot behind last rib
PSSM1 horses, tight muscle, areas of restriction
6/1/17 - Lumbar pain and atrophy

These knots and trigger points don't just affect the area immediately surrounding it.  Take a look at this video to see the far-reaching affects of these knots:



Keep in mind the knotted muscles and lumps above, while looking at the muscle atrophy and stress points below:

PSSM1 horses, tight muscle, areas of restriction
7/28/17 - Muscle atrophy along topline, around
tailhead, and over ribs
PSSM horse, compensation pattern, muscle atrophy
8/20/17 - Muscle atrophy along topline - withers look higher
than usual; you can almost count the vertebra
PSSM horse, compensation pattern, muscle atrophy
8/20/17 - muscles behind lumbar are atrophied, causing the
lumbar spine and SI to have a "dip" between them
PSSM horse, compensation pattern, muscle atrophy
8/20/17 - long back muscles beside spine 
are painful and atrophied
PSSM1 horses, compensation patterns, restricted areas
8/20/17 - dip in front of and behind withers
most likely trapezius muscle atrophy
PSSM1 horses, tight muscle, areas of restriction
8/21/17 - Stress line from stomach up to ribs.  Sore spots behind
last rib and sensitive around flanks.  He also has a bit of a heave line.
PSSM1 horses, compensation patterns, restricted areas
8/23/17 - some sort of muscle atrophy behind his elbow.
PSSM1 horses, compensation patterns, restricted areas
9/19/17 - muscles under the stress line bunched and muscle
above line were gone.  A huge sign of compensation and
discomfort.  Saddle fit was not a factor.

Three books that have greatly helped me to not only find these pain spots, but also to alleviate pain and loosen these knots, are:
  • Beating Muscle Injury for Horses by Jack Meagher
  • Beyond Horse Massage by Jim Masterson
  • Stretch Exercises for your Horse by Karin Blignault
I found these books on Amazon, and they've been a life saver.  Beating Muscle Injury for Horses deals with trigger points and cross-fiber massage to loosen up specific knots, and deals with over 20 specific points.  Beyond Horse Massage is a whole-horse method that deals in both touch and gentle stretch/manipulation to help loosen the horse.  Stretch Exercises for you Horse deals specifically with stretches, shows the muscles you are targeting, and also gives ridden exercises to target those muscles.  I also have numerous books on equine fitness, anatomy, and specific exercise genres to help my boy to feel his best.




About the Artist:

horse artist, equine artist, PSSM horse
Since starting my art business in 2004, I have been on a roller coaster ride that's taken me from art, to house flipping, to legal assistant, to horse trainer, and a full 180* back to my artworks.

I'm thankful to get back to my art, and also for the life experiences I've gained.

Things in life that matter the most!  Jen, husband Jared, and Jax








Thanks for reading, I hope you've enjoyed my website!  Feel free to comment, like, or subscribe!





Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Life changes and my break from artworks


Why I stopped working on artworks for a while:


Just a couple of years after starting my art business in 2004, my husband and I started flipping houses.  We had already remodeled and sold our first house successfully, and really enjoyed it.  We bought our next house (already remodeled) and purchased a two story flip house at the beginning of 2008... Right as the market crashed...  We suffered thefts and break-ins, the heating system was destroyed a week after we bought the house due to previous owner error, and the project was just too big.  Our "remodeled" house proved to be a nightmare as well, and in the middle of the other project we had to stop and rebuild the back half of the house we lived in.

renovating our 1896 home, remodeling an older home, rebuilding an older house
We discovered the back wall was not attached to the floor, after
our kitchen fell down!  So much for a home inspection...
renovating our 1896 home, remodeling an older home, rebuilding an older house
A little structural integrity for our 1896 home.  I loved this
house, it's too bad it was in the middle of the city.
renovating our 1896 home, remodeling an older home, rebuilding an older house
I don't remember what I was working on here,
but obviously  I'm busy doing something!
After spending over a month with a hole in the middle of our house instead of a kitchen, we finally installed a new kitchen, rebuilt the back wall of our house, and were ready to continue with the flip house.  It was a slow, grueling 8 years trying to get it finished.  Halfway through that 8 years I went to work as a legal assistant to try to help pull the project through financially, but with the market crash on top we just couldn't make it happen.  After two years of typing, my tendons in my forearms started tearing, and the stress of the environment started giving me panic attacks.  By the end of four years there, my arms and hands were in really bad shape.  Two good things came from this time period though - I got braces (yay!), and I bought my horse.

PSSM1 horse, muscle disorder, polysaccharide storage myopathy
Thanks to this guy, it was all worth it!
After four years, I was put to part-time and, because of the overwhelming debt from the flip house, we were no longer able to stay afloat.  We finally decided it was time to make some big decisions.  The flip house wouldn't sell in it's current state for what we owed (we tried to sell it for over 6 months).  I couldn't type without ice packs on my hands, and consequently I also couldn't work on the flip house (drawing/sculpting was no longer possible either).  We filed for bankruptcy and I quit my job, and went on full-time to my next adventure:

The beginning of a new life:


During the same week that my job changed to part-time, I was offered a training position at my horse's boarding facility.  Even with my tattered tendons, I jumped on the opportunity.  After quitting my job at the law firm, I started training full time.  I started colts and tuned a few older horses for over 2 years, and I loved it.  This was a time in my life where I experienced a lot of personal growth.  I learned so much from every horse that I was blessed enough to work with, and enjoyed the friends that I made during this time.  This is probably also one of the single most important experiences for my artworks, as I'll explain later...

training young horses, starting colts, artist Jen Pratt
One of my favorites!  This mare was a difficult one to start,
but had a great mind and personality!
training young horses, starting colts, artist Jen Pratt
This guy was extremely curious and a fun one to work with.  He
got injured in a pasture accident and I had to stop working with him.
training young horses, starting colts, artist Jen Pratt
Giant 3yo Clydesdale.  Could be a little flighty,
but tried her heart out for me.

Things are about to change, again:


Unfortunately, the tendon issues got worse, and moved up into my elbows.  My horse was also starting to have health issues that the vets couldn't figure out.  I decided to take a break from training and see if I could help my horse get healthy again, and get my arms healed up (actually, I should state that my doctor decided this - when I was told I could lose the use of my arms by the age of 40, I decided I needed to focus on my health - and the chance of never doing artworks again - first).

It was during this time off that I learned I have Asperger's Syndrome.  That was an eye-opening moment.  All of a sudden, I was learning more about myself than I had in the 37 years prior.  I learned about my extreme shyness, why working in an office situation was causing panic attacks, and also about my proprioception issues that sometimes made training horses a bit difficult.  I learned that Asperger's generally came with muscle issues, such as fibromaylgia and hypertonia, which could explain why I have so much trouble with my tendons (these issues with my arms are not the first time or place I've had tendon issues).  I also learned why living in the city for close to 20 years had my health and sanity waning.  It was time, again, for some big decisions.

Focusing on the important things:


To get my horse healthy again, I started trimming his feet and massaging him (this did NOT help my tendons, but it did help my heart to watch my boy get better).  I started doing yoga, and even began jogging again, though that was short-lived due to knee strain.  I decided that other people's views on the "ideal" house and environment (bigger homes, city life) was not conducive to my happiness, and my husband and I started looking at the prospect of downsizing while moving towards getting land of our own.  I started reading minimalist books, and formulated an insane idea to hopefully make life easier.  Then this happened:

mobile home rebuild, 1970 trailer remodel, old single wide renovation
Meet "Gilda May", a 1970 junker trailer!
mobile home rebuild, 1970 trailer remodel, old single wide renovation
3/26/16 - Don't let it fool you, it's nastier than it looks!
mobile home rebuild, 1970 trailer remodel, old single wide renovation
3/26/16 - Soft floors and weak cabinets are hiding...
single wide rebuild, 1970 trailer renovation, old trailer remodel
4/1/16 - Extreme rot!  Good thing we were planning major demolition!
single wide rebuild, 1970 trailer renovation, old trailer remodel
4/2/16 - Hubby fixing a rotten area so she'll survive the move!
She's not pretty, but she has a heart of gold!  We bought this trailer that had been sitting empty for almost 5 years and had fire, termite, and water damage.  We moved it to a nice mobile home park out of the city and close to my horse, and remodeled it (basically, we tore out everything and rebuilt it!).  We bought it in March of 2016, and were finally able to move in (while still unfinished, but livable) in December of 2016 (right after getting a PSSM1 diagnosis on my horse and moving him closer to our new home - see Jax's Story if you want to know what else I was up to during this time).  All of this work, of course, set my tendon healing back quite a ways, but it was worth it - it's turning into a very comfortable, inexpensive-to-maintain home (and no mortgage!).

buying an older mobile home, moving an old trailer, buying an old single wide
4/5/16 - I don't know why, but I love this picture.
She looks as determined to get out of the city as I am!
single wide rebuild, 1970 trailer renovation, old trailer remodel
4/7/16 - the demo work
was all (well, mostly) me
single wide rebuild, 1970 mobile home remodel, old trailer renovation
4/19/16 - I guess I just love
tearing things up lol
single wide rebuild, 1970 mobile home remodel, old trailer renovation
5/29/16 - reconstruction work was all (well, mostly) Jared
single wide rebuild, 1970 mobile home remodel, old trailer renovation
6/25/16 - Insulation going in
single wide renovation, 1970 trailer remodel, old trailer rebuild
7/10/16 - Finally, a floor to walk on!
single wide renovation, 1970 trailer remodel, old trailer rebuild
11/5/16 - as usual, not paying attention and got my picture taken!
single wide renovation, 1970 trailer remodel, old trailer rebuild
11/27/16 - it's starting to look like home
single wide renovation, 1970 trailer remodel, old mobile home rebuild
1/2/17 - the beginnings of a kitchen


Downsizing meant giving away, donating, and selling a LOT of things, including the majority of my houseplants.  I still hate that I had to sell my 6' tall philodendrons, but I did get to keep these: 

single wide renovation, 1970 trailer remodel, old mobile home rebuild
Still quite a bit left of my house full of plants - a few
orchids, my herb garden, and my small black elephant ears.
Coupled with my bird of paradise, not a bad group of plants!
single wide renovation, 1970 trailer remodel, old mobile home rebuild
Just a few months after our move, this
beauty rewarded me with its first blooms.


Towards the end of 2017, my tendons are getting better and it's finally time to get my workspace in order!

artist workspace, art work area, art studio
My desk area with tons of storage
artist workspace, art work area, art studio
My small items that take up way more space than they should!
artist workspace, art work area, art studio
Jared (hubby) built this easel and it works amazing!

So at this point, you're probably thinking "this is after they downsized?"  It is!  With art materials, it's hard to really follow a minimalist approach lol, though we have minimized many other things and aspects of our lives.  But, we went into this seeking comfort and ease of living, not really to follow a methodology.  

The drive behind all of this:


We still have a bit of work adding in the half bath, finishing the kitchen, and of course flooring throughout.  But while we've continued to work on the house, we haven't been killing ourselves to get it done.  There's this pervasive feeling that "things need to be done now" - the problem is, when do we enjoy life?  When do we relax, live, and focus on the journey instead of the destination?  How do we become "that couple" in their 80's that giggle about the silly things they've done, the moments they most enjoyed, and the life that they lived?  And most importantly, how am I closing in on 40 years old before figuring this out?

Difficult decisions can set you on the right path:


For me, the answer is in simply choosing what is important, and letting the rest go.  The path I'm on now came from necessity:  I had to choose my health, or money (along with ego and pride for pulling off the impossible with our flip house).  I chose my health, which lead to an amazing experience of training horses.  During that time I had to choose between the normal idea of home and community, or a stepping stone to my dream of my own land and comfortable surroundings.  I chose to follow my heart and do what seemed counterproductive to "moving up". Again, my health came into question, and another difficult decision:  I took a break from training, and during that time, another huge decision: my horse's health, or the possibility of training horses again after (if) my tendons healed.  I chose my horse, and moved him to a different facility that would give me trails and an indoor arena on site.  

At this point you may ask how I've benefited from these decisions.  In short, I'm happier than I've ever been.  My horse has an incurable disorder, however, the fix is to exercise and play with him daily.  My home is cheap and easy to maintain, and it's no longer in city limits (read as no barking dogs or sirens waking me up, less traffic, and so much more!).  I have time to get back to my artworks, my health is improving on many levels (including tendons), and I'm one step closer to land and having my horse on my own property.  Through my experiences with horses, I've gained the "feel" I've been missing in my art, and have learned to enjoy the journey rather than seeking a destination.  At this point in my life, I truly feel blessed and ready for whatever God has next for me.

"Love Your Life"


If you poke around on this site long enough, you'll see little artworks here and there with the theme "Love Your Life".  This is my new motto, one that I hope to keep in mind daily.  As all of these events were unfolding, it seemed like so many things were working against me, and there is so much more that I didn't write down in this post.  But when you take everything as a whole, you can see a theme develop that is actually quite beautiful, and pushing me in the direction that I've always wanted but couldn't quite find.  The reason for this post is not to "air my dirty laundry" lol.  It's to share my experiences, and if possible, to help others find their "beautiful theme" as I've found mine.  In short, I hope this helps others to "Love Your Life".




About the Artist:

horse artist, equine artist, PSSM horse
Since starting my art business in 2004, I have been on a roller coaster ride that's taken me from art, to house flipping, to legal assistant, to horse trainer, and a full 180* back to my artworks.

I'm thankful to get back to my art, and also for the life experiences I've gained.

Things in life that matter the most!  Jen, husband Jared, and Jax








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