I firmly believe that where we are today started many years ago. For me, pretzels and chocolate started when I was a child. I grew up in a military family and every holiday season, my mom would make about 25 different types of cookies for everyone. They were all beautiful, delicious, and different. Each one was made from its own unique recipe, decorated and sent off to loved ones; all made with love.
Fast forward many years when I had my own family and we wanted to continue on the family tradition of making cookies for the holidays. With three young kids, we tried it for a few years but there were too many different recipes, too many kids running around to really make it be successful.
About 15 years ago, when I was ready to call it quits on making holiday gifts, chocolate pretzels started to come out in stores. So I went to the grocery store, grabbed some chocolate, some pretzels and some candies. We set to work melting the chocolate, picking out the unbroken pretzels from the canisters, and choosing the best candies. We packaged them up, tied some cute holiday ribbon and the kids’ teacher gifts were ready.
Everyone loved them.
The next year we started making trays for the teachers and some people would say, “Kate, why don’t you sell these? They’re amazing!” I would always respond, “The world doesn’t need another chocolate company.”
I was blessed with being able to be a stay-at-home mom and professional volunteer for most of my kids’ young lives. In 2010 we found the need for me to re-enter the corporate world, it was a major transition for me, as I was trying to blend the corporate and the ministry. I decided that if I’m going to be away from my kids, I need to love what I do. That wasn’t really happening with my job, I enjoyed it, at times but I didn’t love it. Around this time, my kids got involved in sports, triathlons specifically. Being in Indiana, there wasn’t a major market for triathlon coaching, so my husband and I decided to fill that void. We threw ourselves headfirst into it, training, coaching, mentoring these kids and their families. In November of 2015, I had just come home from a weekend of elite coaching training and I noticed a pain in my back. My gut told me it was serious but many around me said I had probably just strained it working out. Over the course of 15 weeks, and beyond, life would radically change starting with a back surgery in February of 2016.
During this season of my life, I realized a few things: chronic pain can truly mess with your all-around wellbeing-not just physically, but spiritually and emotionally. I truly did not know this kind of pain could exist without a significant injury or accident. I also kept trying to push through it and desperately needed to stop trying to do it all. I had some really tough moments. I was in pain like I had never experienced before, worse than childbirth. I wasn’t able to get all the pain medicine I needed, I didn’t feel validated in where I was and what I was feeling. I soon realized that I needed something, or someone to really take over.
For some time, actually, much longer than I care to admit, God had been trying to get me into space where I would hear Him. He tried to get my attention when I became a mom when I got back into the corporate world, after the previous 8 surgeries and even when I became a triathlon coach. He was trying to get my attention to tell me that He has so much for me in this life.
It came a time when I was truly at my wit’s end. I could hardly move because of how much pain I was in. I could barely take care of myself; I would wear the same clothes for three days straight because it was too painful to change. I was laying in my closet, trying to get dressed to hear my youngest speak about a school project when the electricity soared through my body and took me to my knees. It was over. I finally heard it, “You are stronger. Stronger than you know. I love you and I have heard you but there is only one person in charge of your life, Kate, and it’s not you.” I surrendered and a new life was born.
Things began slowly but have taken off like a wildfire. What had started so many years ago in my mother’s kitchen and then changed to fit my kitchen and lifestyle has now not quite become a household name but has a consistent and loyal and growing following. Our product has been shipped all over the country and is continually recognized as outstanding flavor, packaging, and branding. It’s a little product, but one that is making a mighty impact in its niche market. It’s a small & pretty, but one that packs a flavor explosion of high quality and when appropriate all natural ingredients. It’s a small gift, but one that is made, packaged and sent in Love. The greatest commandment is to “ LOVE the Lord with all our heart and LOVE one another.” Love is surrendering our own desires for the greater good and Love is treating one another better than ourselves. That message, that love, at the end of the day is what we’re here for. We just do it through wildly delicious and pretty chocolate confections.
We love people through pretzels and chocolate.