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.


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

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Summer Bliss – Original Piano Composition


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

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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

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Love In The Wind: Trust in God & Soar!

Hey guys!!

I’ve been a little MIA on this blog for awhile, but hey … that’s life 😉 However, I recently had an experience that I just can’t help but write about. My little brother got married last weekend!! It was a great day & I had the honor of playing one of my newest songs, “Love In The Wind.”

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I find it funny & awesome how God works in mysterious ways in our lives. When I started writing Love In The Wind, I just knew that I wanted to write a love song. I didn’t really have a reason for that, I just knew that’s the direction I wanted to take it. I wrote a beautiful, pretty simple, lovely melody. This was going to be my love song. Then, out of the blue, a new sequence in the left hand came to me & at first I thought, “Oh man…this is going to be so awesome for my next song!” However, I soon realized that it complemented my love song very well & that I could combine the 2 ideas.

Pretty soon, my special 2 part song, “Love In The Wind” was born & I created this whole story in my head on what the song was about. This fueled the song & made it become one of my favorite songs I’ve ever created. I imagined Part 1 of the song being the story between 2 people in love.. passionate & romantic. The song changes at Part 2 & this is where the “wind” comes in. At this change, I imagined that something happened between the couple & they could no longer be together for whatever reason (like death or military or something like that). In this part of the song, they are no longer together but can each feel the other’s “love in the wind.”

Have you ever had that feeling? Like when someone you love is no longer with you, but you can still feel their love with you? I have… & it made this song really resonate with me in a way that no other song has. In fact, once I completed the song, the first person I shared it with was my husband & I was in tears afterward.

When Kevin & Abby asked me to play a song at their wedding, I could think of no better song to play. Not only is it a gorgeous song for a wedding in general, but there is a deeper meaning in choosing this song for them. Abby’s mom Jean passed away 8 years ago & I just felt this deep sense that this would be the perfect tribute to her…conveying that her love would be with Kevin & Abby on their special day. I think God (& Jean!) had this in mind when they planted the seed of this song in my mind, even though I didn’t know who or what this song was really for at the time! Oh, and how fitting that the day of their wedding was a windy day.

Now, I have made major strides with my stage fright & performance anxiety problem in recent years, but for months before the big day, I was SO NERVOUS. I thought about it a lot & couldn’t put my finger on why exactly this performance was so different than others. After all, I was only playing 1 song & had played multiple songs at other weddings & events with significantly less nerves.

I ended up settling on 2 things:

#1. It’s a family wedding & my fear stems back to when I was an adolescent & was not able to finish the song at my brother Paul’s wedding.

#2. I am so in love with this song & I want to do the song justice so that it resonates with other people the way it does with me!

I tried to calm my nerves by practicing my song every single day leading up to the wedding day. I prayed a lot to God & to Jean & asked that they would help calm me on the day of the wedding so that I could convey the meaning of the song & sincerely enjoy the experience of sharing it. I still felt some pretty strong nerves as I practiced at church the night before the wedding at rehearsal, & also when I practiced it there the morning of the wedding after taking pictures.

However, once the ceremony started, I felt a sense of calm wash over me & I was significantly less nervous (of course, there were still some there but I was feeling much better!) When it was time for the song during meditation, & all eyes were on me,  I looked at Kevin & Abby & thought, “This is for them.” Then I thought, “OK God, OK Jean, help me out here!” I started playing & really focused on connecting with the music, the meaning behind it all, this special day & how beautiful it is to be able to contribute this gift to the newly married couple. I was comfortable throughout the entire song & I’m happy to say that my prayers were answered. It brought some people to tears & I consider that to be mission accomplished 😉

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Afterward, some people told me that they could see the trees blowing in the wind through a big clear window that was above me as I was playing the song. I believe that was another little “hello” from Jean. I think, in that special moment, everyone at the ceremony felt her love in the wind…and I’m so blessed to be the one that she was speaking through.



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Know God First, Because He Knows Everybody

Hey guys!!

Wow! Just got done listening to a new podcast I discovered called “Going Solo” by Matthew Mayer – Solo Piano Artist. I must say, it struck a big chord with me, especially when I heard this quote by the solo piano artist being interviewed, Kim Deardorff. Kim spoke a lot about letting God work through you & trusting in Him to guide your path. This shift in thinking for me was the sole reason I had enough courage to put an album out there into the world. To say this podcast interview was relatable would be an understatement. My new go to motto is “Serve the Lord.” When I’m in pressure situations or if I’m nervous that I’m not good enough, I tell myself that serving God, & in turn serving the world through God, is the purpose behind what I’m doing, & He will help me through it & guide me according to His path for me. I’ve been trying to know God first, & that has made all the difference for me.


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Kim Deardorff Quote.jpg

“It’s a God Thing”


Quote - God's gift

What’s your “Why” ? I used to not know the answer to that question. I wasn’t connected to the purpose of sharing my gift with others. I used to think it wouldn’t be humble of me to put myself out there & share my gift with the world. I used to be scared.

I’m still scared sometimes, but now I am connected to my “Why.” I now remind myself of this often. I think of my piano talent as a gift from God & NOT sharing this gift with others would essentially be throwing that special gift away. I want to use this gift from Him to serve others & touch other people’s hearts.

When people ask me how I write music, I say, very honestly, “I don’t know. It’s a God thing.” I think of myself as a vessel through which God inspires beautiful music & do my best to honor that “call” when He puts melodies in my head.

I truly am so grateful for my gift from God & I thank all of you who root me on throughout this scary journey to put myself out there. “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13


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365 Days of Love: The Sweetest Gift Idea!

Hey all!!

Valentine’s Day is around the corner!! Need a gift idea…. for next year?

Hear me out.

Last Valentine’s Day I came up with this sweet gift idea for my husband, Brandon. And it truly has been the gift that keeps on giving! Granted, it took a bit of work, but it was SO worth it!! You could do this for any special event though (anniversary, birthday, Christmas, etc.) or just a random “I love you” gift.

What is it, you ask? A daily calendar, each day including a reason why you love that person.


How do you come up with 365 reasons!? Seems a little daunting, right? Maybe a little, but here’s what I did to make it even more special.

Every day for a whole year, I paid attention to a reason that I love Brandon & wrote it down (or entered it into my diary app on my phone). I soon realized that this also acted as a diary of sorts & reviewing it a year later would be fun to reminisce on what we did that day the year before.

I came up with this after receiving a sweet Valentine’s Day gift from Brandon where he typed up 2 pages of reasons why he loves me. We usually don’t go that crazy for Valentine’s Day, so this was a very sweet surprise. It made me want to do something special for him the next year, so I started planning ASAP. At the time, I had just read “The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy & he talked about how he had written down in a journal 1 reason every day why he loved his wife. He gave that journal to her as a gift the next year, & it was obviously very heartfelt & meaningful. I thought, I should do that, but instead of just giving him a journal, I could make a daily flip calendar where he got to look at a different reason, on display, every day for a whole year. My crafty mind went to work immediately & I started paying attention to & tracking my “love” reasons right away.

Steps for Part 1: 1 YEAR OF TRACKING 

  1. Get a journal OR a “diary” app on your phone where you can type something in for each day. I used the diary function on an app called AwesomeNote, but I’m sure there are tons of others out there!  Displaying IMG_3810.PNG


  2. Every day, pay attention to a reason why you love that person. Trust me, this is a true labor of love. It’s hard to remember to pay attention every single day to this, but after awhile, it becomes a habit (probably a good thing for your relationship, right?). Don’t worry if you forget a few days…just try to think back on what you did that day & come up with something. And if you can’t remember, that’s when I would just write some kind of physical feature or general reason (like great teeth, or kind-hearted, or something like that).
  3. Optional: Throughout the year, periodically type up your reasons in a word document (this will make your life easier when the time comes to make your calendar).


Steps for Part 2: MAKE THE CALENDAR

  1. Buy a flip photo stand. I bought this one from Amazon & it worked perfectly!


  2. Pick out your paper. This was my favorite part because I have an obsession with scrapbook paper. I used a combination of nice printed scrapbook paper/cardstock & plain construction paper to save on costs. I picked out different printed/colored paper for each month’s theme (January = white, blue, silver … February = red, white, pink … March = green, gold, black … etc.)
  3. Cut your paper to desired size (if you use a paper cutter it’s much easier!). I believe I cut mine to 6×6, that way I got 4 sheets from each 12×12 piece of scrapbook paper.
  4. Type up your 365 days of love. Make sure you use a template on Microsoft Word or Microsoft Publisher where you can cut out multiple days per sheet. Size doesn’t really matter, as long as it’s smaller than your piece of scrapbook paper you cut out. I think I printed mine on a 4.25 x 5.5 (4 sheets per 8.5 x 11 sheet). You can print these out on any type of paper you’d like … I kept mine cheap & simple & printed on plain ivory paper.
  5. Make a cover sheet for each month (use same size as your other days). I spiced mine up & included cute themed pictures on each.
  6. Fasten your cover sheets & 365 days of love to each larger piece of themed scrapbook paper (using glue stick, tape, or whatever other method your heart desires) & organize/keep in order! Here’s an example of mine:
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  7. Using a hole punch, punch 2 holes in the top of each sheet (can do multiple at a time).
  8. Use a binder clip or paper clip to organize your 365 days by month. Here’s what all of mine looked like when completed (February is on the stand right now so that’s why it’s missing…ha)
  9. Get out the current month to display on your stand & store the rest to bring out throughout the year! If you purchase the stand I did, you can remove the rings from the top, loop through the holes you punched on your calendar & fasten on the stand. Here’s what it looks like (TaDa!):
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  10. DONE! Trust me, this is a hit … Brandon was shocked that I had done this for a whole year. It took effort but it was WORTH IT!

Lastly, MAKE THIS IDEA YOUR OWN!! This is simply me sharing something I did, but there are so many different ways you can customize this & make it your own. Don’t enjoy the crafty thing & don’t want to go through this much work? Maybe you could just buy an actual calendar for the next year & write down a different love reason on each day. You could do the journal idea & simply give your significant other a journal with your reasons. Heck, you could do 1 reason per week or 1 reason per month if you want instead of each day! The possibilities are endless, but I hope this at least inspired some creative thought & a new unique gift idea for the loved one in your life!


Love, Janeen 🙂


From Fear to Joy: My Transformation in Performance

Hello everyone!

My friend Dana recently shared a picture on Facebook from her beautiful wedding back in September that I had the honor of playing for! When I saw the picture, it brought up lots of emotions. Here’s why…

Playing for Ramm Wedding

When I first saw this picture, I felt proud. If you would have asked me 10 years ago how I would have felt seeing a picture of me playing at a wedding in front of hundreds of guests, I would have said, “TERRIFIED.” In fact, I did play at some weddings in my early days, but I always approached it with FEAR, so it was never enjoyable for me (until it was over).

One of the defining moments in my past was when I made a mistake playing for my brother’s wedding. Because I was consumed by fear, this one little mistake led me on a downward spiral & I could not even continue the song. Instead, I stopped playing, sat at the piano, & burst into tears until my Dad came over & hugged me & told me everything would be OK (cue “Safe in Daddy’s Arms” here).

I am now a new person. I am grown up. I have rediscovered my passion. I have learned to view my gift through a whole new lens. Instead of approaching these challenges with fear, I approach them with joy & gratitude that I have this gift from God to share with others.

This wedding was my most challenging public performance to date, yet I was the MOST comfortable I’ve ever been playing in front of a large audience. This picture is a beautiful reminder of that, & it brings me to tears (of joy)!

– Janeen

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The Holly & The Ivy / O Come All Ye Faithful Cover

Hey guys!

Getting in the Christmas spirit & decided to play around with my own versions of Christmas songs 🙂 This is one of my FAVORITES – The Holly & The Ivy mixed in with O Come All Ye Faithful.

The Holly & The Ivy has always been one of my favorite Christmas songs. I think it was because of when I fell in love with George Winston’s version as a kid. I’ll have to try to learn his version by ear sometime … in the meantime, here’s my own spin!

Hope you all enjoy & have a MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

– Janeen

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