Jonica van Rikxoort lives in the beautiful Okanagan with her husband, family, and their velcro pup, Dutchie. Although surrounded by world-renowned wineries, she still prefers a martini! Jonica’s hobby is chasing rainbows.
If you had to introduce yourself in just a few sentences, what would that introduction look like?
I’m like brussels sprouts, you either love them or hate them!
I wear my heart on my sleeve.
I love all creatures big and small, not leaving out the unicorn!
What or who is your biggest influence in life and/or business and why?
My sweet Mama! She was my first love, mother, and bestfriend.
I have never met anyone as forgiving, kind, or as brave as her. She was an eternal optimist even though she worried way too much about all of “us.” I only related to those “Mom” worries later in life when I had my own children.
My Mother grew up with very little of anything including love! When I think of her first 9 years of life it upsets me deeply! But she never complained about what she had or didn’t have. Her first doll was a bloody potato. I kid you not! She made it clothes and strolled around the streets with it in a pram. Maybe that’s where Mr. Potato Head originated from!
Mom taught me how to make the most of life, to stop and smell the roses. She said dream it and you can make it happen! I’ve always lived my life that way. She made me aware of my surroundings from the ground up to the sky! Rainbows were our thing especially when encouragement was needed. It’s why I still chase rainbows.
Mom gave me the best childhood, from growing fresh veggies, baking cupcakes, and making all my dolls clothes (something she was good at from a young age), and wrote the best children’s stories. We were always entertained.
“A mother’s love will never end; it is there from beginning to end.”
If you could give any advice to your younger self, what would that advice be?
As I look back on my 61 years, for sure I’d say and do some things differently. But I would tell my younger self don’t procrastinate. Unfortunately, it runs in our family. Because of this, I told myself in my 40’s I must finish everything I start, no matter how long it takes. I’d say, don’t hesitate as much, take leaps of faith and trust your gut instincts.
They say life is short but it’s, in fact, the longest thing we are given. You can’t buy time back, trade it in or bank it! Spend it wisely. You are old before you know it!
“Time has a wonderful way of showing us what really matters.”
Can you share with us your pursuit of fulfillment, success, and happiness?
My Momma always said, having her two girls and being a Nan, raising her five grandchildren was her biggest success and achievement. That penny dropped later in life!
I thought I was successful owning a post-secondary academy, and hosting my own TV show, always chasing the almighty dollar that I lost sight of what really mattered! Soirees, networking, and business trips took me away from my beautiful children, time I can never get back! I was just so blessed my mom helped raise my three children and we have always been a very close family! Thanks, Mamma for being the glue!
Call me old-fashioned but I didn’t feel fulfilled or truly happy until I met my second husband. We met on Lavalife (online dating) on a Sunday, went on our first date on Tuesday, engaged in six days, and got married in Vegas three weeks later. Fourteen years later I couldn’t be happier. With a strong faith in our lives and being supportive of each other, we are probably the happiest couple we know!
“It’s not what we have learned, it’s what we are learning.”
What would you like people to know about you?
I’ve suffered from Lupus since I was 15 years old. I’m often told “But you don’t look ill?”, well that’s because I don’t go out when I am. I retired young due to this but tried to get my mom’s books published on and off for years! We got really close, but the contract meant they owned everything my mom had written (there is manuscript upon manuscript), and we had a gut feeling to walk away.
In 2017, Mom was diagnosed with cancer again, and this time her news was not good. We had just met up with Izabela Bzymek to illustrate “What If Bunny Poo Was Square?” then Mom was told she had three weeks to live. Being the forever optimist and don’t forget cheeky, she told the doctor she was not ready yet because she had way too much going on! True story! So, I stepped up and helped to co-author and create the design of the book, and my amazing husband invested in us to get it self-published.
When I said procrastination ran in the family this is a perfect example. We had so much time, and then we had none!
My manager’s head got into gear and I promoted the heck out of this 88-year-old little “nanomite” (the nickname she got for having a pacemaker). She became my little puppet, from dressing her up as a unicorn and pink tutu for Instagram ‘likes’ to book signings at Indigo (Kelowna) she was so busy. My best buddy, Lisa Redl, had her own talk show and Mom was seeing herself everywhere… it was bittersweet! It was actually like the movie ‘Bucket List’. We did so many events together I sometimes would feel like the wicked manager knowing she had stage four cancer but pushed her anyway. We even went to a recording studio and recorded our song “FOREVER HOMES” with the very talented Jeremy Hoffman, who brought to life the book producing and writing the music. She was a celebrity!
Those twenty months were a gift, and I believe we used them well. We even invested in a ventriloquist puppet (our bunny character from the book). My dear friend, Gary Owen, connected us with MAT PUPPETS, (Mary Ann Taylor), and Patch was born! We have read in schools and libraries! He is now the star of the show.
My life from Playboy bunny (funny how this seems parallel), to owner-operator of an academy, to writing a book about Bunny Poo, is definitely a funny turn in life… you have to admit that! But truthfully working with my mom was the most rewarding adventure I’ve ever been on! We always had fun growing up but the memories we made in those 20 months are irreplaceable.
Mom and I believed that children are the future, so I had a free curriculum package created for the teachers. I’ve just revamped the website and you’ll find free fun and learning activities, two school curriculums (K-Grade 2) that are for educators, and homeschooling (following Covid safety and regulations). There’s a catchy little hoppy song for after the learning is done, so they can hop like bunnies do! And best of all for the parents, the book teaches responsibility and caring for a pet.
I promised before the book was ever printed that we would support the Cuccione family to raise money and awareness for the Michael Cuccione Cancer Research Program at the B.C Children’s Hospital and we have been involved ever since! ‘Together we can make a difference!’.
Without unicorns, there is no magic” ~ Teri Baker ~ 1928 – 2019
NEVER THE END…
P.S. I chose April 01, because it was to be our grandson’s (Onyx) due date! But he was born in March instead! Obviously, an eager little chap!
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