The Weary Traveler – Original Piano Composition

Hey everyone!

Today I’m sharing the full version of “The Weary Traveler,” which will be one of the songs included on my New Beginnings album (goal release December 2016).

This was one of those songs that I wrote from start to finish in a couple hours. I remember that it was the same day that I finished another song, Gardener’s Waltz. For some reason, after I finished that song, my mind went in a completely different direction & I ended up playing around with this droning sequence in the left hand. I put a melody to it & in just a few hours, this song was born.

That droning sequence in the left hand is the continuous theme throughout this song. It reminds me of a wanderer, someone traveling through the desert, unsure when they will reach their destination, growing weary but continuing on, determined to press on until they get to their final destination.

I remember this story coming into my head early on in this song’s writing process. I had the title in mind before the song was finished, which was a different approach than songs I had written in the past. Usually, I wouldn’t come up with a name until it was all finished. This song taught me that focusing in on the song’s inspiration & naming it early on in the writing process helps me come up with a work of art that is completely congruent with that story & title.

 

Hope you all enjoyed The Weary Traveler! Thanks for listening & visiting my blog!

– Janeen

Website: janeenarens.com
Facebook: Janeen Arens Piano 
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Love In The Wind (Full) – Clip from Concert

Hello everyone!!

I’m beyond excited to share this FULL song with you today as it is the song that has touched my heart more than any other song I’ve written. I won’t say too much in this blog post as I do give a little description of the song in my video & also wrote a full reflection in a separate blog post, which you can find here, after I played this song at my little brother’s wedding.

It’s a special one, guys! Hope you like it!!

Love, Janeen

Website: janeenarens.com
Facebook: Janeen Arens Piano 
YouTube: Janeen Arens
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Road to Triumph – Original Piano Composition

Hey all!

Here’s a video of me playing the full version of Road to Triumph. I wrote this song in early 2015 but it is part of my collection of my most recent songs to be included on my 2nd album, “New Beginnings” so I wanted to reshare!

This song just makes me so pumped up every time I play it & it’s one of my most fun songs to play! The triumphant key change ending gets me every time😉 It gives me the feeling of being able to conquer anything. This one was tough to write/teach myself, but that feeling of finally conquering it was one of the best.

If you’d like to see another video of me playing this one & some more insight into this song, check out this blog post that I posted when I first wrote this song last year.

Enjoy all!! I’d love to hear what you think of this one. Can’t wait to record album #2. Recording date is set for November 5!!

 

Love, Janeen

Website: janeenarens.com
Facebook: Janeen Arens Piano 
YouTube: Janeen Arens
Instagram: janeen.arens

Confidence Is The Most Attractive Thing

Hey all!!

Last night, my husband & I were discussing our “beginnings”… how we met & how our relationship began. I asked him if there was anything about me back then that’s different than how I am now. He thought for a second & then said, “I think more than anything I’ve watched you become a more confident person. You’re less self conscious than you were back then & you’re just confident in who you are, and that’s very attractive.” This struck a chord with me & we talked a little bit about the transformation that I’ve gone through in the (almost) 8 years we’ve been together.

Back then, I was so obsessed with my weight & self image that I was blind to the fact that I was beautiful. I was just never good enough for myself. I worked out hard every day, no matter the cost (lack of sleep, skipping a meal, etc) & if I didn’t get a workout in one day, I’d beat myself up & would instantly see myself in the mirror as 5 pounds fatter that day. On top of being obsessed with my workouts (mostly long duration cardio), I obsessively counted everything I ate. I ate everything low fat, low sugar, low calorie, low carb (AKA low nutrition), to stay under my 1,200 calorie limit, & played a game with myself to see how low I could keep it (sometimes only 700-800 a day). I remember moments during my senior year of college, stepping on the scale & crying that I couldn’t get it below 125 pounds no matter how hard I was working (yeah…. 125 lb’s). When I think back on it now, I can honestly say I had an eating disorder.  Food controlled me, even though my twisted mind at the time thought I was the one in control.

After my wedding in 2012, I indulged at our honeymoon & my shorts barely fit me on the day we left (talk about a shot metabolism). I continued to fight this battle with my metabolism for the next year… working out hard, eating little, trying desperately to control my weight but gaining immediately when I’d indulge ONCE or eat a few too many calories that day (like 1,500 – oh no!). The next year, a heart to heart with my best friend (who is now an integrative dietitian) inspired me to free myself from calorie counting, focus on the QUALITY of food I’m eating, not just quantity, & listen to my body for what it needs rather than trying to “outsmart” it by calculating input vs. output. It finally clicked that our bodies don’t work that way, & I finally faced the realization that I had been in a very unhealthy place for a long time & I was going to try & dig myself out of it.

I’m not going to say it was all butterflies & rainbows. It was hard as shit. Because I had messed up my metabolism so bad through years of restrictive eating & over-exercising, I gained weight when I started eating a normal amount of food, even though it was healthy. My “rock bottom” came in 2014 (picture #1 below). I couldn’t lose the weight no matter what I did. I had shaken the calorie counting obsession, but I was still working out hard every day & was eating healthy food. I cried trying on my summer dresses & swimming suits for our winter trip to Mexico because nothing fit me & I felt like crap. I was tired all the time. I felt sluggish. I had no sex drive. I hadn’t had my period in a year. I felt like my hormones were literally shut off. I was sick. Bottom line.

Transformation

Another life changing conversation with that same best friend (she is truly a God send!) inspired me to seek help from a functional medicine practitioner in Kansas City. The test results were what I expected. My thyroid was low from years of self-inflicted damage, which caused my metabolism & sex hormones to say good-bye as well. I was also deficient in some other key nutrients. A gluten test indicated that I had a gluten sensitivity & that I’d be better off without it. My “prescription” was as follows:

  1. Get rid of gluten in my diet & eat REAL high quality food (note: taking out gluten naturally helps you “unprocess your diet”
  2. Get rid of all high intensity exercise which is MORE damaging for people with low thyroid problems, & focus on MOVEMENT instead (this is when I fell in love with walking & eventually yoga)
  3. Take supplements (several of the key nutrients I was deficient in)

That’s it people. That is it. No medications. No crazy procedures. No hormone replacement. Just very simple lifestyle changes.

I started this protocol in September of 2014 & by January 2015, I was a new person. I had energy. I had my sex drive back. I got my period. I lost weight. I felt invigorated. I felt balanced. I felt healthy. I remember trying on my summer dresses & swimming suits for my winter trip to Jamaica that month (picture #2) & crying tears of joy because I felt completely different than a year before when I was so sick & miserable.

Picture #3 is from this summer. Nothing has really changed, & to me, that is music to my ears. I finally have BALANCE. I eat well, most of the time. I indulge sometimes, but that’s OK. My metabolism is now healthy enough where it won’t make me blow up like a balloon if I’m not perfect in my diet. I walk every day, focusing on movement rather than exercise. Sometimes I like doing higher intensity exercise too, so I do. If I’m hungry, I eat. If I’m not, I don’t. If I feel like exercising, I do. If I don’t, I don’t. I listen to my body & do what it tells me instead of relying on tracking devices to tell me how many calories I consumed, how many I burned, or how many steps or miles I got in that day.

THIS IS HOW EVERYONE SHOULD FEEL!!! I’m no longer that self conscious girl that I was. I’m not perfect, & I have my days. This world makes it a constant battle. But, the majority of the time I look in the mirror & I’m happy with what I see. I tell myself positive things instead of breaking myself down. Am I as skinny as I was on my wedding day? No. Do I have cellulite? Yes. Do I have some junk in the trunk? Yes. (haha) But, guess what? I’m healthy. I feel great. Those “imperfect” things about me are what make me ME & after working on my MIND day in & day out for YEARS, I am finally at that place. That’s why it breaks my  heart when I see other people struggling with what I struggled with, & that’s what made me finally write this blog post today.

Balance, people. It’s not about eating less & exercising more. Please don’t make the mistake I did. Just listen to your body & guess what, if you exercise less you probably won’t feel like eating as much & if you exercise more, you’re probably going to want to eat more. BALANCE. Eat well. Live well. Move well. Be kind to yourself. TRUST yourself. Not the app on your phone that’s telling you what to do. Not the crazy fitness model instagram posts telling you how you should look. BE YOU & be confident in that. THAT is what is most attractive, take it from my husband😉

– Janeen

PS: If you would like some more resources & people to follow who believe in this same thing, here are a few of my favorites:

Robyn Johnson 

Dietitian Cassie 

Shawn Stevenson (specifically his podcast, the Model Health Show)

Dr. Jade Teta 

Abel James (specifically his podcast, Fat Burning Man)

Dr. Mark Hyman 

Erin Mullins, Fit Rocker Chick (she has my SAME STORY, I swear…it’s craziness

– Natalie Jill ~ she’s very into fitness but from what I’ve heard her talk about with her new book, “Unprocess Your Diet” her views on nutrition are on point

Echo – Live Clip from Concert

Hey all!

Time to share some more songs from my upcoming “New Beginnings” album!🙂 This song is close to my heart because it was the song that got me back into composing. It’s funny to me to think back on when I first wrote it & how much I have changed since then. I started writing this song in 2014 & slowly chipped away at it for a good 6 months until I considered it finished.

I remember keeping this song all to myself for a LONG time, until I finally decided to share it with my mom & sister when they came to visit me here in Valentine. I remember being hesitant to share it with them because this was my first attempt at writing music again & I wasn’t sure if people would think it was any good. However, they loved it & just that little boost of encouragement set me into motion (slowly but surely). The start of my New Beginning.

Now, less than 2 years later, I have 12 new songs ready to record onto a 2nd album. In just 2 short years, I have come from a place of being hesitant, scared, & so worried about what people think to being grateful to God, full of love for my music, & confident in sharing it with others no matter what their opinion is. Regardless of that, I still hope you like this one😉 This is a live version from my concert at church last month.

Ohh, and if you’d like to learn more about Echo, or see another video of me playing it, check out this post from last year.

Love, Janeen

Website: janeenarens.com
Facebook: Janeen Arens Piano 
YouTube: Janeen Arens
Instagram: janeen.arens

Summer Bliss – Original Piano Composition

Hello!

I’m SUPER EXCITED lately because I finally settled on a goal release date for the New Beginnings Album (album #2), & that is December 1, 2016. There will be 12 songs on the album & I’m planning to share videos of me playing the full length versions of each song for the weeks leading up to the release🙂 After releasing the “Reflections of Joy” album at the beginning of this year, I really wanted to take my time before releasing this next one & just make sure that I’m really ready for it (it is quite a bit of work after all)! However, once I knew I was ready to commit, it hit me like a ton of bricks, & I’m busting at the seams excited to get it done. Woo hoo!!

Most of the 12 songs for “New Beginnings” have been finished for several months now, but my “Summer Song” was always one that just wasn’t quite complete. I actually started this song last summer, but didn’t finish it & let’s be honest, once fall & winter came, I had zero motivation to write a summer song. Ha! However, now that summer 2016 has officially made it’s appearance, I have found my summer inspiration back & let that feeling sink in as I finished it the other day. I just LOVE spending time outside in the summer, soaking up the sun, spending time in nature, walking, gardening, reading in my “backyard oasis”, biking, yoga on the deck, grilling out, mowing the lawn, you name it … I try to spend as much time as I can outside in the summer! It gives me a very carefree, content, & blissful feeling, which is why I settled on “Summer Bliss” as the official song title. I’m super excited how the final song turned out & I hope it gives you that same blissful summer feeling that inspired me to write this song.

It’s funny how each song has it’s own journey to completion. Some songs, I sit down & write start to finish in a couple hours. Others, like this one, I start but don’t complete until several months, or even years later! I think there’s always a reason for that though, so no matter the song’s journey, as long as I’m following my own inspiration & creativity & curiosity, I feel like I’m doing it the right way🙂

Hope you all enjoy “Summer Bliss” which will be one of the songs on my “New Beginnings” album at the end of this year. Thanks for tuning in!!

Love, Janeen

Website: janeenarens.com
Facebook: Janeen Arens Piano 
YouTube: Janeen Arens
Instagram: janeen.arens

 

Stepping Outside the Comfort Zone

Hey all!!

A few days ago, I performed a concert here in my hometown of Valentine, NE at my parish. This concert was completely my idea & completely voluntary. I say that because that might be the thing I’m most proud of!! Not the $410 we raised for St. Nicholas Church, not that 60 people attended, not that I did well, not that I got great feedback, & not that lots people liked it enough to get my CD after the event. Although I’m extremely proud of those things, I think I’m most proud of the fact that I had this idea to put myself out there, I scheduled it, & I followed through with a genuine smile on my face & a love for my music.

You see, I used to have to be forced into these things. Maybe “forced” is too strong of a word, but I really did not enjoy playing for other people, even if it were just a few of my extended family members who wanted me to play for them. When I did perform for anything, it certainly was not my idea, & I struggled through the whole process. That’s why I know this time around is different. No one asked me to do this, no one expected me to do this. I did it because I wanted to, & I truly enjoyed the process.

Getting more & more comfortable performing has been a goal of mine since the release of “Reflections of Joy.” I know that the only way I can do that, is to just DO IT & know that it won’t be perfect, there will be mistakes, I might feel nervous & have some moments of fear, but I will survive. I will live through it, be stronger afterward, & I’ll do better the next time. And that’s exactly what happened. My performance wasn’t perfect, & I don’t know if I’ll ever have a perfect one, but I accomplished what I sought out to do. I put myself out there, I “practiced” performing, & most importantly, I had a love in my heart for sharing my music & my story…

… and next time will be even better.

Here’s a clip from the concert:

 

Love,  Janeen

Website: janeenarens.com
Facebook: Janeen Arens Piano 
YouTube: Janeen Arens
Instagram: janeen.arens