Jim and Freda’s journey together may not be your “typical” love story, but what REAL love story is?
Once upon a time, Jim and Freda ( having both experienced a couple of failed marriages) decided that falling in love (and staying in love) was not in their cards. It would turn out, though, that God had other plans for them. When their story began, Jim had been a bridge builder for 40 years of his life, traveling all over the state of Iowa to supervise and build bridges while Freda had worked a swing shift for 20+ years at Monsanto. Having both struggled with alcohol addiction in their earlier lives, Jim and Freda each felt that God needed them to carry a message of hope. What they were to discover, was that they wouldn’t be carrying that message alone.
In 1996, Freda took some time off of work due to some health issues. Little did she know that taking that time off would change she and Jim’s lives forever! Jim and Freda were introduced by friends during that time period, and they were able to spend time getting to know each other. Ultimately, as with any love story, they fell in love!
Two years later, in 1998, Jim and Freda were married on the beautiful Cedar River. As fate would have it, Bug Soother, our famous natural gnat and mosquito repellent, was to make it’s debut in nearly the same spot, 10 years later, almost to the day!
Through out their relationship, Jim and Freda discovered they had shared values and purpose. Both of them possessed a strong faith that would carry them through good times, as well as some rough patches due to the loss of family and friends, health issues, and the normal challenges of everyday life.
In the early years of Simply Soothing, Freda was able to retire from Monsanto and devote her time to the fledgling business while Jim continued working full time building bridges. Freda built a workshop in the basement of their home, making and creating products. One day Jim joined her in the workshop, fussing with some candles…and that’s how “The Butt Crack John’s Sticky Stinkbait Candle” was created by Jim the Bridge Builder. From that moment on, Jim and Freda’s lives were blended in a new way, as the two came together building a business that was to take them from SE Iowa, around the US, and as far away as London.
With a blended family of 2 sons and 2 daughters, their lives were further enriched. 3 of their children are an integral part of the business while the fourth is a successful conductor and musician. Even the grandkids take an active part in growing the business as well. You can find Jim and Freda’s 3 oldest grandkids (when they were a little younger) on displays, brochures and other promotional materials. Many of the pictures on our social media pages highlight their youngest grandson. The grandkids are great promoters, giving out Bug Soother, helping fill orders, and entertaining Jim and Freda in their spare time.
More than 20 years after Jim and Freda’s love story began, they continue to carry their message of hope in their personal life, as well as in business.
Now, if this were a fairy tale, we would end Jim and Freda’s tale by saying “and they all lived happily ever after,” but this is real life, and REAL love, so we will end by saying this instead – Each day of their love story has brought them joy & love, and sometimes even sorrow…but through it all, it’s brought them closer to each other, forever changing their lives for the better.
Happy Valentine’s Day! May you find love and laughter along the way!