If I've tweaked your interest to learn more than let's do tea! You & Me can dive into one of my favourite things to talk about where you can learn more to see if this something you'd like to be a part of !
All are qualified & all are welcome!
WHO: 29 year old personal trainer meets 67 year old retired insurance broker
WHAT: whole food based supplement
WHERE: 604 Danforth Avenue, Toronto
WHEN: February 2001
WHY: to understand the value
How could something so insignificant create a ripple effect that today impacts so many people all around the world?!
AND... continues to today & will forever.
THAT’s Legacy my friends!
For those who don’t know, John McRoberts is my JuicePlus sponsor. He’s the one who showed me the research behind this whole food supplement when I skeptically asked for proof that it actually works way back in 2001.
John & I used to meet often as I worked at a gym on the Danforth & we’d grab a coffee between my client sessions... most times just chatting about life in general.
What began as a business partnership to help me to host the occasional in-home wellness party, attend events for me to better understand about micronutrition (more often than not, he was either begging me to meet him there because I was “too busy”, “too cool” or a total “no-show”. Sometimes he would even drive to my house to bring me himself!! lol - Boy, was I stubborn w a serious attitude!
But John was WISE! With 67 years, he had a lifetime of experiences that made him an important vessel to learn from!
In his younger years, he was a high level track ATHLETE with hurdles being his talent & even earning a scholarship to the University of Houston!
He was also a DAD & a GRANDFATHER & an immensely proud one! His grandsons played sports & he didn’t want to miss a beat so he thrived on being their chauffeur & #1 fan at all their events! His face would light up whenever he spoke of his family to me.
I met John before having kids myself so our conversations changed over the years and man oh man did he teach me much as I ventured on paths that he’d already journeyed. Part of his gift was that he didn’t lecture or preach… he just shared & was there for support when needed.
John was a GENTLEMAN. Like I’m talking, ladies first, holding doors, respectful language - spending time with John was a true gift.
And he was the eternal OPTIMIST! I lived in Pickering when we first met & so when we planned our coffee meetings I always dreaded trying to find parking on the Danforth because it was nearly impossible - literally!
He used to always say to me, “Now when you’re driving down Jenn, I want you to visualize where you’re going to park. I want you to trust that the parking spot for you will show up, just keep your thoughts there, stay focused & look for the signs.”
And ya know... the perfect parking spot was always there! Always!
He had a favourite word too: the F-word! I use it occasionally but I’m going to be more intentional about making sure I use it everyday to honour my old friend John.
FASCINATING! If someone was rude, mean-spirited or just a jerk... John would simply say, “That’s FASCINATING!”
He knew that no one was worth us letting go of our own character values & dignity & that ultimately, we get to choose how we react in our life.
But as I alluded to earlier... I was short sighted, self serving & without vision. I simply didn’t know, what I didn’t know.
Fortunately for me, John in his wisdom, understood this & despite my endless excuses, ego, push back & quite frankly ignorance, John was LOYAL to his belief in me & incredibly PATIENT because eventually, I did come around.
When we last spoke in December, we joked about my stubborn ways & enjoyed a good chuckle about those early days. He told me how proud he was of me for all my personal growth, achievements & success with our Company & shared that he saw those possibilities & my potential all those years ago. I’m not the kind of person who seeks recognition but man did that make my heart swell hearing him say those words to me.
John knowing my story of struggles understood me because he was also familiar with my journey... we talked about all that too because truth be told, John was a like a father figure to me.
He watched me grow from a “know it all” personal trainer working pay cheque to pay check spinning my wheels getting no where, to a broken woman digging in the dirt of her own pain-filled bull crap, to the top of our Company anchoring into a mission that was “meant for me BECAUSE of my pink ribbon scars”.
You see John was about PEOPLE! When he sat down with me on that winter day over coffee, he wasn’t concerned about me saying no to JuicePlus.
He wasn’t worried that he wasn’t a health “expert” when I started asking questions that he didn’t know the answers to.
He wasn’t thinking why would this 29 year old female personal trainer talk about health w a 67 year old man who could be her father. [Keep in mind, I didn’t even know John - he was referred to me by one of my clients!]
But John didn’t give a rat’s butt about that nonsense!
What he did know was that he had something that could possibly help me & so he took time out of HIS day to meet with me bc I was curious about what JuicePlus was & he simply offered me some information about it.
More than that even, John actually CARED about helping people because John was for people.
Read that again...
John was FOR PEOPLE.
20 years after our first meeting, John passed away last Wednesday. He passed away on my youngest’s 15th birthday. I don’t believe in coincidences.
Claire is an old soul, all about kindness & has an incredible calmness about her. Her perspective is beyond her years & her patient curiosity serves her well in life.
When I opened up the message on Saturday morning to read that John had passed, I was shocked. You know when you just assume that people will be there forever? That.
John & I just spoke in December & he sounded great outside of the fact that he missed going to the gym because of Covid: he was a member of the Granite Club for all the time I knew him & he never missed his workouts! Health was very important to him & that included moving his body everyday. He shared with me that because of the winter weather, it was just too risky for him & his wife to go walking outside on the slippery sidewalks & that he was excited for spring already just to get to do that again! He had the best attitude!
I sat in my chair by the window, sipping my tea trying to digest this news with a lump growing in my throat thinking about his words. The day was just getting started and the sun was already beaming: spring is finally here with the birds chirping & singing their glory but John was not.
John changed my life with a simple act of kindness and not in a little way, but in the most important ways!
My heart has been feeling all the feels of my friend & my only hope is that he knows how grateful I am to have met him all those years ago & how much I value his mentorship despite our paths taking us in different directions in the latter years: he with his grandchildren & me with my children.
I’ve spent much of my weekend reflecting on the conversations we enjoyed including the wisdom of his words & actions. They seem more poignant now because I understand them better in hindsight << isn’t that always the case?
My emotions feel like a roller coaster ride with sadness, tears, laughter but mostly... GRATITUDE. I am so blessed to have been able to call John my friend & because of John, my life has been so very blessed but also... because of John, I have been able to pay those blessings forward for others to benefit.
You see, John was a quiet CHANGE MAKER. Many don’t know even him & yet thousands benefit from his work in some way.
He’s what I call the “Silent Leader”... the one standing at the back of the room, cheering everyone else on, genuinely happy FOR THEM!
No recognitions, special titles or medals.
No “what’s in it for me.”
Just pure joy for THEIR accomplishments! For them overcoming & succeeding!
We’re so conditioned to focus on the people with “the marker” or “the microphone” or those strutting their “brand” on some stage but I want to encourage you all to look at who’s standing WITH you, BESIDE you because they are likely to be a Change Maker just like YOU! And YES, YOU can be a Change Maker too! We ALL are... John IS proof!
John changing my life started by him introducing me to a simple solution for better nutrition because he CARED & I’m so grateful that he did because that one simple action was a pivot that invited me to create my life & be who I am today fully & completely; a present parent, a supportive partner, a teachable leader & ultimately, a conscience human.
My hope is that wherever you are in your journey of life, you have a friend who cares half as deeply as my friend John did for me 20 years ago. To patiently & kindly pursue you because they see YOUR abundance & potential & the ripple effect of all the possibilities of how you can lead a fulfilled life by helping others, in a way that adds to your life... even if you initially see it as a “subtractor”.
Love those friends hard & faithfully… because they CARE intentionally for your good!
As for me, I know I only have to look as far as the back of the room to know John, my Change Maker is there in spirit, proud of the Change Maker I am becoming too!
And truthfully, I can only hope because those are some big shoes to fill!
Love & Gratitude,
PS. Don’t sweat the small stuff. And it’s all small stuff.
As we move our clocks forward with daylight savings time into another spring, I thought it might be timely to talk about sleep health! Pardon the pun;-)
The truth is, most people struggle with consistent quality sleep on a good day so it only makes sense to bring this topic to light at this time ~ another pun but stay with me ;-) We know that sleep deprivation is a thing but have you ever considered how this 1 hour of sleep lost contributes to sleep debt? It’s real & worthy of a conversation so let’s talk.
As a health professional, I speak a lot about the Core Four Health Habits with rest being one of them. Tackling daylight savings time this year can feel like it’s even more of an uphill battle with the last 12 months of covid living impacting our mental health, overall feelings of fatigue & these “groundhog days” of living.
Here are 5 healthy sleep tips for you to use today but the back-to-basics simplicity of them make them a useful checklist to circle back around any time of the year!
BONUS TIP: create an environment conducive to restful, quality sleep: quiet & dark with a temperature in the range of 60 to 75 degrees. Some of my favorite affordable tools for success:
I hope this helps you transition into spring feeling less foggy headed & excited about the longer & brighter days!
See you on the sunny side friends!
LOADED POST: “If you should go skating on the thin ice of modern life...”
Welcome 49 year old me to finding me!
In case you haven’t noticed, I like to have fun w photo filters but I wanted to share my raw & real 49 year old selfie today.
No mascara, brow brush or face powder.
No fancy clothes or hat.
No frilly, anything.
Just me full on...
Smiling, showing my crooked teeth.
Hiding behind nothing.
How vulnerable... or liberating, depending on your perspective.
Truth... I feel it ALL & it feels AMAZING!!
All my life I’ve been on a quest to fit in, belong somewhere, be accepted... anywhere, & sometimes, that included some pretty unhealthy, even dangerous places.
If we’ve chatted recently, you’re likely aware of the personal journey I’ve been on for the last few years. You might also get a sense of this if you follow me on social media bc it’s so damn hard for me to contain the enlightenment I experience on a daily basis - it’s actually mind blowing at times!
All this to say, 49 is even better than 48 & I’m actually excited for 50!
I’ve finally realized (1/2 a century in) that not only will I never fit in, I was never meant to ~ what a realization.
God’s Plan for me has always been greater than my imperfect life journey: I did not always know this but He selected ME to wear these “pink ribbon scars” KNOWING that when I showed up (albeit terrified & unsure) these indelible marks, I like to call them my pink ribbon scars, would be my catalyst to courageously face the challenges, required BY me to overcome, to evolve into the person I am today in order for me to best serve others. He knew that through my own lack of, I would be better able to take on the very important & unique task of helping others in a much greater way bc I understand the FEELING & that this is crucial in order to authentically serve the mission of “No parent should have to choose between paying the bills & raising their children”.
This person I am today chooses to live life feeling it all, leaning into & not running from, who chooses to trust her faith & turn to Him knowing I incapable on my own.
When I hesitantly stepped into His calling for me, He showed me the #1 most glorious place to “fit in” in this great big wonderful world - the place I’d been literally craving for, seeking all my life, was right before me... my very own family that I created.
Charlie, my partner in life who stands strong behind me & loves me through to my very imperfect core, unconditionally. To him I am indebted bc when I feel weak & insecure, he strengthens me simply by his belief in me & my purpose.
Avery & Claire, my conscious, heart-lead, brilliant & beautiful daughters who teach me every single day how to be a better human being... the greatest gift of all is being the mom that I am to them for them, but also FOR ME. They I would say, are the keys to unlocking my unknown potential. #healers
It’s so easy to “get lost” or “distracted” in this "modern world" (hence the title of this blog) that we must be INTENTIONAL about HOW we want to live this one life we’ve all been granted. #dontwasteitondogma
So yeah, 49 is feeling pretty spectacular so far & what has been highlighted for me these days is that... time passes quickly, things mean nothing & experiences are really what our hearts FEEL forever.
Here’s to living life authentically, passionately, unapologetically & understanding that it’s not about being everyone’s “cup of tea” but waking up to each of us living our higher purpose, creating a life we want to live & thrive in based on the decisions we make in our day-to-day. And... along the way, we find our people.
As I move into 49, I want to extend a genuine thank you for being here & supporting me & if you're also finding yourself on a personal path of self discovery too, let's connect! I know I have soooooo much more to say about all of this & so I'm deciding now to share more deeply & more boldly!
Blessings w Peace & Love,
#discoveringme #sharingboldly #anotheryear
What an opportunity! We’re not just starting a new year, we’re starting a new DECADE!! Was it not just yesterday when we were all singing along with Prince, “We’re going to party like it’s 1999”?!
I came across this video of me sharing my story in front of a few thousand of friends. It actually made me shudder. I will never forget this day when I finally shared my story publicly ~ it was one of the scariest days of my life.
And yet, it was, hands down... the most liberating.
I have so much more to say on this picture, this video & the whole experience of finally allowing myself to break free but I will leave just the video for now so as not to take away from it.
What ever you do... don't be comfortable in this life.
With the kids home from school & lazy summer days fast approaching, I'm already planning for the timeless question... "I'm hungry, what's there to eat?" When I think of these words, I'm reminded of my own teen years where all I did was swim during the day, play hide 'n' seek all night & eat... those were the best days!
I remember having an insatiable appetite ~ swimming will do that! I'd come home from the neighbourhood outdoor pool at 10pm starved after a full day of being in the hot sun, playing cards, in the water strategically shouting marco polo or diving with my friends off the highest diving board, to make a big bowl of spaghetti... with soy sauce & butter ~ truth! Oh goodness... it was easy & fast ~ I wasn't looking for nutrition; I was looking to fill my belly!
Other staples were soda cracker cheddar "sandwiches" that we'd pack to-go ~ do you know how much fun these are to eat with friends?! We'd stuff our faces & then have competitions to see who could talk without being the first to bust a gut laughing as cracker bits flew everywhere! Looking back, my safety self knows this was a choking hazard but we didn't know better & it was cheap fun!
Fortunately, at this time, we happened to live in an apartment complex right next door to the local "fruit stand" which was a family run store that served fresh cut meats, daily baked breads & treats, as well as various nuts, seeds & other tasty foods. It was like a premium grocery story but without the price tag! It wasn't fancy then [they've since renovated & grown to be a well established, integral part of the community still serving the best quality goods around! We literally lived STEPS away from farm fresh, locally grown produce as shown by the arrow in this picture! This was our "fast food", our grab'n'go, our convenience store... this was our "normal" growing up.
It wasn't until years after I moved to Ontario that I realized how lucky we were to not just have our "fruit stand" but, to also have the experience that it offered us growing up. Eating lots of produce was just our way of life. I didn't grow up on a farm, or even garden as a child but I did learn to appreciate the taste of whole foods & had open mindedness to various foods which I credit to this "little fruit stand". The variety, accessibility & quality of good tasting foods played a key role in my appreciating it all today. Living so close to a source of fresh foods helped me develop the healthy eating habits I have today because we just didn't know any better. All we knew is that we enjoyed eating them & naturally craved more because they tasted good!
Growing up, our "fast food" was plums, peaches, nectarines, apples & grapes ~ these were the usual suspects. But don't get me wrong, we still enjoyed eating the occasional Jos Louis & Flaky prepackaged cakes too! But they were just that... occasional treats.
Seeing my own teenaged daughters, who today are way more conscious of their own food choices than I ever was at their age, makes me so grateful. Not just because of how it impacts the way that they feel, or because we live in an age where pre-packed & processed foods are the norm & they are aware of this, but because these "food-like" products are toxic, cancer causing, disease breeding ingestibles that are target marketed to our children & wreaking havoc on their long term mental & physical health! Because it's really a life skill to be able to master & make sense of ingredient lists so that they can make difference choices because they want to. Because they understand that just because they sell it... doesn't mean it's safe for us.
I'm a big believer in preparation & prevention & so I'm getting ready now for the lazy, hazy days of summer 2019! I want our summer to be made up of memories of having fun, learning, living & feeling fab, without compromising our values, taste buds or health. And so I'm preparing now for the inevitable relentless pleas from hungry children: there's nothing to eat as they stand for minutes in front of the fridge, doors wide open.
Let's face it... it's part of being a kid so... here are some quick solutions for those moments when they happen. These are a few of our easy & healthy, kid approved, go-to recipes! I thrive on showing my children how good healthy foods can taste & how amazing feeling healthy feels so my hope is that you will enjoy them as much as we do & that they bring simplicity to your lazy summer days too!
Don't Throw Away Your Cold Coffee! Save & refrigerate it for the swealtering afternoon & make this easy afternoon chiller! No need to feel guilty because it's a healthy option for you!
COMPLETE ICE CAP
2 c ice
3/4 plant milk
1 c cold coffee
1 banana, frozen
1 scoop of dutch chocolate protein powder
Smoothie Bowls: Versatile & Fun!
Seriously, I've never been a fan of cereals... not even as a kid! They're cold, get soggy & are just gross! But smoothie bowls... I get to choose my consistency & decorate it with my favourite toppings?! Sign me up!
BLUE WAVES SMOOTHIE BOWL
1 c plant milk
handful each of… blackberries, blueberries, spinach
1/4 c pineapple
2 tsp blue spirulina
1 serving french vanilla protein powder
We All Scream for Ice Cream!
Fresh, tangy & good for you ice cream?! YES! This lip smacking, non-dairy, ice cream is a loaded fat fuelling dessert & will quench your thirst & leave you craving MORE deliciousness with it's fresh fruitiness! Pick your berry & fill your cups!
BERRYLICIOUS ICE CREAM
1 ripe avocado
1 banana, frozen
1 serving french vanilla protein powder
Creamiest Fudgesicle... EVER!!
I may not be the biggest ice cream fan... but I grew up eating the Original Fudgsicle & love the delicious & creamy cocoa taste of this healthy treat!
1 c coconut milk
1 banana, frozen
1 tsp peanut butter [can use seed butter]
1 tsp cacao [optional]
1 serving dutch chocolate protein power
Complete Bark Bites
This melt in your mouth snack won't last long but that's okay because every bite is packed with solid nutrition for those busy summer days at the beach, cottage or just by the pool!
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 serving french vanilla protein powder
Decorated with pumpkin seeds, coconut flakes & chocolate chips
These recipes may be tweaked & played with for your own personal preference however, I'd like to note that the protein powder I use in these recipes is family friendly & what I personally recommend because of it's quality, taste & texture, including it's safety for children of all ages to consume [this means expectant moms & seniors on medications too! If you'd like more info on the ingredients I invite you to browse my website here: jenniferowen.canada.juiceplus.com/what-is-juice-plus/complete This is a clinically backed product approved by Health Canada & as a personal trainer, I know I can trust this for all my clients.
If you'd like to try an order, simply message me at firstname.lastname@example.org or book a coaching call 705-220-2823 & I'll be happy to share with you how's it's benefitted our family for over 18 years, including my daughters who are both competitive athletes!
So save time in the kitchen this summer with these quick & tasty recipes & spend more time outside, under sunshine filled skies, making memories with your family & loved ones that will last a lifetime!!
WELCOME to my first blog post! I’m supa nervous!!
I’ve been wanting to write since I got my website up but truth be told, I’ve been feeling unsure about what exactly to write on. I don’t follow any bloggers so I don’t really know how these things typically roll out. My goal here is to be transparent, authentic… and just me. I would love for this to be a place you’ll want to visit often, and maybe even share with your friends, however it may fill your souls.
Lately, I feel like I’m in “this different space” of reflection with recent experiences shifting my way of thinking about how I’m choosing to live life, especially with the choices I’m making for my future.
I feel like I’ve just woken up to the reality that… it’s all just a phase.
I often talk about the “chapters in our book of life” and if I were to quickly compartmentalize my own life into chapters it would look something like this:
~ The Babysitters
~ Teen Years
~ Young Green Girl in Toronto
~ Life with Charlie
But even as I write this list, I know the depth of each story and see them more as developing sequels like the Avengers! Ha! Ha!
Life with Charlie is definitely a book on it’s own:
~ Before Kids
~ Raising Conscious Kids
And then this can be further sub-categorized:
~ Blissful Pregnancy
~ Baby Years
~ Raising Girls
~ Finding Me
~ Building a P/T Home Business
~ Unexpected Mompreneur
And then there was that “life curveball” we never saw coming:
~ Charlie’s Accident
~ Mom’s Plan B to Family’s Plan A
~ High Road aka Lonely Road
~ Resolution & Forgiveness
~ Levelling UP
And now, we’re about to add a whole new continuation… and a blessed one if I may say.
I’m going to be honest, writing all of this down and seeing it in black in white makes me feel very vulnerable. I’m generally an open book but sharing my journey through blogging is definitely pushing me out of my comfort zone because either I share authentically, or I don’t share at all… it’s just who I am.
I remember when I was a child [that would be referenced in The Babysitting Years Sequel ;-)] my life goals were to have 10 children, write a book & marry a rich man! Truth! Ha! Ha! Well, here’s to the book in blog form!
I will say that seeing my “life titles” above reminds me about how far I’ve come, about how strong I am and, it explains a lot about the woman I am today. Despite the vulnerability blogging puts on me, it actually feels necessary at this part of my journey. I believe in paying things forward and my idea is that, if I can inspire even just one person out there, then every second of this uncomfortableness is worth it!
So this “place of reflection” that’s pulling on my heart strings these days is reminding me of how “fleeting” all these moments are in our life and how truly precious time is.
That on the gloriest of days… the sun will set, so live with intention and remember to stop to feel the wonderfulness of the moment. And always remember, that in our darkest of hours… the sun will come up tomorrow.
And with that, I will see you here again soon <3